Friday, January 15, 2010

Bloom Day - January 2010

January in Northern California, and the pickings are a bit slim! This is absolutely all I've got, and only one is new, but I guess when compared to snow drifts, it's something! Loropetalum chinense 'Plum Delight' (Chinese Fringe Flower) is one of my favorite multi-purpose shrubs; happy in sun or shade, with these lovely floral explosions in winter.

Good 'ol Cerinthe major (Honeywort or Blue Shrimp Plant) has been unfazed by freezing temps and continues its graceful display. Cerinthe is a generous seeder; plant it once and you'll have it forever (which is not a bad thing!) There is a whole field of it growing in the gravel of my side yard where some of last year's plants were piled! The only thing it dislikes is hot, dry weather.

The yellow Lantana continues to bloom against a warm, south-facing wall, however most of the plant has succumbed to the elements. At some point I will cut the whole darn thing back, and give you all a rest from seeing his smug face...but not yet!

Lovely, lovely Arbutus 'Marina' is my favorite small garden tree. A hybrid of our native Madrone, discovered in San Francisco, this relative of the strawberry tree (Arbutus Unedo) has the same bell-shaped flowers, but with wonderful red bark like a Manzanita.

Still enjoying the unexpectedly lovely blooms of my green Senecio; quite different from the dingy white puffballs on the the blue kind.

Reviled by California gardeners as a virtually uncontrollable winter weed, Oxalis (or Sour Grass, as we called it as children while munching on the crunchy stems) still has a certain cheerful beauty on sunny days. It will be gone with the heat of the summer.

The Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' is really hitting its stride now, the tightly curled buds are flinging themselves open all over the place!

Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' is now revealing its round button flowers; the surrounding bracts will continue to turn creamy gold over the next month or two, getting taller and more star-like .

So what do you plant in a 6" wide strip of soil? That was an easy choice; a couple of sixpacks of 'Snow Crystals' Alyssum has turned into this lovely, fragrant border along the walkway through in my side yard. It even gets watered by the neighbor's sprinklers; you can't get much lower maintenance than that!

Good old Mona Lavender (Plectranthus) rallied through last month's freezes and is looking quite chipper!

Another good month for my Fuchsia thymifolia, which is much hardier than her tender hybrid relatives. This little flower is the size of a pinky fingernail, so sweet.

Last but not least, a new face, (finally!) and one that always says early spring to me. January through March is the season for the Hardenbergia violacea (Lilac Vine) that covers my side fence; it's just getting started, wait until next Bloom Day!

And that is everything that's blooming for me this month! 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. Such a collection.
    And many I have never seen before. What colour are the Arbutus berries? (Or do you have blackbirds and never get to see any berries?)
    That chinese fringe flower probably likes it hot, does it?

  2. Laura,

    Thanks for the colorful tour of your garden. I especially liked the lilac vine, I have never seen one of those before. I looks so delicate now and I can't wait to see it next month.

    Happy Bloom Day!

  3. These are blooms I don't see very often in my neck of the woods so thank you. Love that arbutus.

  4. Wow, I'm impressed. I love your flowers - many of them are new to me. The Chinese fringe flower is absolutely gorgeous and I want one too ;-) I'll check the internet whehter it is suitable for growing in the Netherlands.
    Happy Blooms day!

  5. This was worth the wait! Beautiful pictures, and neat looking plants. Can't wait to come out to your neck of the woods for a shot of horticultural difference and creativity!

  6. Hi;
    First time visitor - Curled up in front of a warm fire - 'flower shopping' with all the links at Carol's for GBBD. What a lovely collection! That Fringe Flower is calling my name! :))

  7. Wonderful blooms! And tough, survived the winter!

  8. What do you mean 'this is all you've got' - you've got a TON, girl! I love those blooms on the green senecio - don't think I've seen that before! And are you KIDDING ME? Your lantana is STILL blooming? You've got some sort of crazy magic soil over there...really beautiful!

  9. Laura, I'm with Rebecca here. What constitutes 'slim pickings' is clearly relative. By my Maine standards, any color in January other than white, brown or green is a wonderful sight! -Jean

  10. What a great collection of blooms. I just love your garden. You always remind me of a few things to add to mine!

  11. I love that senecio image, and wow, you have so much in bloom. Your photos are lovely, Laura. I have resisted using lorepetalum as it's so commonly planted here, but your photo reminds me that it's for good reason: great foliage and flowers. I'm going to plant some this spring!

  12. Kind of had to laugh ruefully at the thought that this is slim pickin's for you! We in Seattle have far fewer and those poor people who are still under snow... well, zone envy is pretty common at this time of year, I think! :) I love cerinthe and wish it would self-seed more than it does. Happy Bloom Day!

  13. Love the senecio pic!!! Beautiful!