Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bloom Day - April 2010

Now this is more like it. Everything here was planted one year ago, each plant in its carefully thought out spot based on water needs, mature size, etc. etc. Which left a lot of nicely mulched bare ground to be filled as only nature knows how. The original plants are now blending nicely, and I'm thinning out new Limonium perezii (Sea Lavender), feather grass and California poppy seedlings that will continue this combination throughout the open spaces in the garden, while the slower growers establish themselves.

~ Click photos to enlarge ~

The Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' is still spangled with pink stars, and will be for a while yet. Then the bright gold new growth will take over for the summer.

That little Silver Sage (Salvia apiana) plant I bought at the SF Flower & Garden Show last year is now a small shrub sending up some hefty flowering stems. This is the sage that smudge sticks are made from; I dry big sprigs to burn as incense or throw on a bonfire.

The dainty flowers of my Fragrant Frosty scented Pelargonium are kind of easy to miss once the strong, sweet lemon-rose scent of its foliage hits you. This is the bush in which Ms. Mantis laid her eggs last fall, so I'm keeping a close eye out for hatchlings.

The orange Diascia is off and running; that little topknot will keep unfurling one happy angel baby after another until December, with almost no maintenance. That's a value plant for me.

There's Tulbaghia simmleri 'Cheryl Renshaw' again, looking all cool and fresh.

New growth on the Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' means a new crop of shrimpish flowers; this has been going on for months!

Everybody seems to be lusting after Cerinthe major these days; she sure is loving our cool wet weather! Once it heats up she fades quickly, though not before leaving many large, black seeds that will germinate readily everywhere you'll let them. They seem to be happiest in self-seeded drifts; on their own they can be a bit gangly, but look great in a group.

The coral carpet roses inside the fence are back in business, another long performer; they will eventually be a fairly substantial hedge.

Lemon thyme WITH leafhoppers! As usual, I didn't notice them until I was processing the photo...

Loving these Euphorbia 'Helena's Blush' flower bracts, they look like little alien crab-clawed paratroopers! (You can see that, right?)

A single Echeveria flower stem; weeks of bloom here!

Moving to the cooler, shadier back yard, the Moonlight nasturtiums are emerging from their winter hiding places, the offspring of a packet randomly sown two years ago.

Ta-daaaah! Fuchsias certainly know how to make an entrance...

Self-seeded Nicotiana grandiflora alata is a nice accent that pops up here and there.

I think the Fuchsia thymifolia wins the official award for 365 bloom...

Which it would have to share with Sweet Alyssum...

Baby blueberries are so cute!

Chinese Lilac (Syringa chinensis) seems to be a good option for our mild climate; it was recommended by Monrovia and is lovely this spring.

Azara dentata already has my undying devotion for its useful vase-shaped, shade-loving, shiny-leafed self, and then it goes and does this for a little while each spring. Oh, yes.

Thanks, as always, to Carol from May Dreams Gardens for being the heart of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Visit her site for links to Bloom Day posts from all over the world.

"We can have flowers nearly every month of the year."
Elizabeth Lawrence


  1. Happy bloom day, Laura! Ah, I can almost smell the sage! And the colors are so lovely... Isn't spring grand?

    1. You should smell the Azara dentata flowers ...chocolate /vanilla ...mmmmmm !

  2. Thanks for getting in really close with the itty bitty blueberries. They're definitely cool now--and will be great snacks before you know it. You white sages are definitely ahead of mine, which get to live in one of the many "tough love" corners of the yard.

  3. Wow everything is looking great. You've got a ton blooming for a year old garden. I also have dried the Salvia apiana for incense. I like the idea of throwing a bundle on a bonfire though. I love the smell. I've also been wanting to grow some nicotine for a while. An old housemate of mine grew some one year and it reseeded the next, but not a third. It's a truly beautiful plant with amazing flowers.

  4. Hiya Laura,

    Impressive list of credentials in your sidebar :-)

    If that Cerinthe major likes your cool wet weather, I'll be lusting after it as well. Although it may still need a cool greenhouse here in the UK.

    I first thought we had at least one plant in common, mistaking your Diascia photo for Chaenomeles Red Coral.
    It seems your climate combines Spring and Summer, whereas we are still with one foot in Winter. Frost forecast for this weekend. Have to rush to get the Spinach under cover.

    You have talked/written me into getting a blueberry bush. Which particular variety has such cute little flowers?
    I enjoyed my visit.

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blooms. Many of them we can not grow here in southern Ontario. I especially loved the deep purple of the Sea Lavender. Valerie

  6. I think the first combo is my favorite! Just can't get enough of orange/purple-blue. I picked up some Cerinthe seeds on my trip to Idaho. I guess I'll sow them in the fall here.

    Jealous, as always, of my Cali gardening friends, though my garden is FINALLY out of hibernation!

    Happy Bloom Day!

  7. Laura, that is hands-down the coolest description of a Euphorbia ever!! I will never look at them the same again... Thanks for the laugh.

  8. I finally planted my Cerinthe major seeds. I know that it probably is not the best time of year to do so..but it is such a gorgeous flower. Matti

  9. @TownMouse It has been a glorious spring!

    @James A previous horti neighbor had silver sage growing in the park strip, gorgeous plant! It survived everything but having a bobcat parked on it. I planted one in her memory.

    @Brad The really amazing Nicotiana is N. sylvestris, which grew 8' tall in its second year; the fls are more sweetly fragrant, really lovely.

    @Joco Thanks, I've been busy! My Cerinthe bloomed all winter (even came through a couple of nights in the high twenties, which is as hard a freeze as we usually get). In the UK I would treat like sweet peas? Similar needs. And yes, our ocean-influenced zone 9 climate seems to give winter a miss and go straight from fall to spring. Southern Highbush blueberries do best here; this one is 'Misty.'

    @Valerie Thanks for visiting; unfortunately Limonium would be an annual for you; even lost a couple of mine when temps dipped into the twenties in December. But they do grow quickly and are quite happy without much water!

    @Katie Wish you could have visited my garden while you were here for the Garden Show, next time! Yes, there is nothing dainty about my spring color palette, that's for sure! Glad your garden is blooming, I need to get over & check it out!

    @Genevieve I'm glad you liked that; once I anthropomorphize something it tends to stick!

    @Matti If you can just limp along one or two plants through a bloom cycle you'll have them forever; they should actually be very happy in SF. Good luck!

  10. They're beautiful Laura. Spring has just begun to take on speed in the Northeast. I love seeing what you're growing out there.

  11. "Carefully thought out" - what does that mean?! I admire your ability to visualize the future and to plan accordingly; it clearly has positive results! The poppies+sea lavender are so eye-catching together, and your crabby paratroopers are as cute as can be! Happy bloom day!

  12. @Kari, Thanks for visiting! I was browsing your FB photos recently, so love your uniquely NE garden (view from front door? ooh-la-la!)

    @Diane, Carefully thought out means plants sitting in their containers on the site much longer than was good for them as I evaluated position from every angle (view from porch being paramount). And as a landscape designer with a huge palette of favorite plants, it was very hard to choose what I wanted!

  13. Laura,

    Happy Bloom Day! I am happily climbing on the Cerinthe major bandwagon. I love the shade of those flowers, they look like they'd combine beautifully with lots of colors.

  14. I bought an orange Diascia last week, I hope it does well for me too. I think they would look gorgeous with some Cerinthe majors:) I'll have to try to find some.

  15. I can totally see the paratroopers, good call! Amazing bloomday post!

  16. Amazng Limonium and Cerinthe! (I guess it's kind of obvious I like purple.)

  17. You have it going on in your garden! A terrific assortment of flowers, and some true skill with a camera. Your first photo really grabbed me (I'm a sucker for purples and blues), and the blueberry babies were a slam-dunk (one of my own favorite photos is of baby blueberries in my garden).

    Gorgeous photos. Great post!

  18. Such beautiful and interesting plants you have. I envy your garden!! I love the Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' - I want shrimp in my garden too ;)

  19. Hi Laura...great pictures! Nice to see the Mex. feather grass. I love mine, but take some heat about it! Jeannie

  20. So pretty! Now that we're finally starting to re-do our backyard (and then the front yard will be next), i can't wait to start having more blooms of my own so I'm not as jealous of yours. :-)

  21. I bought a white sage from Annies Annuals a few months ago- it is still tiny! I wish it would hurry up and get bigger so I can actually dry some of the branches!

  22. your garden... and your photos are exquisite.

    Your artistic eye is so apparent.