Bloom Day November 2011

It can’t be November already. But the winter-blooming salvias don’t lie.
Rosebud-like blooms are forming on Salvia wagneriana, and the slender wands of Salvia littae from Oaxaca, Mexico are budding up.
The latter’s tall, lanky growth habit is very reminiscent of Salvia uliginosa, but in pink and without the crinkly, rugose leaves or funky cat-pee smell. I’m checking S. wagneriana’s buds daily, but it seems to take an agonizingly long time for the complex structure of flower, bracts and calyces to elongate and reveal itself. (A watched flower never blooms?)
The third pink salvia is S. chiapensis.


Many of the so-called late-blooming, tender salvias collide with early frosts outside of zones 9 and 10. Here in zone 10, these salvias are not so much late fall-bloomers as early winter-bloomers, when they will bloom from November to March. Of course, a gardener’s perception of the timeliness or tardiness of a plant’s blooms arises out of a narrow range of aesthetic considerations. From a plant’s point of view, it is always exquisitely on time.

Salvia madrensis started bloom late summer and gets continued support from castor bean plants. It needs it.
These winter-blooming salvias are nothing like the herbaceous salvias’ tidy, vertical forms, but huge, sprawling shrubs that need cutting back after bloom, and then even again mid-summer to keep them to a manageable size. I can fit in only a few kinds, or there’d be no room left for a proper summer garden.


Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ continues its intricate weaving act, oblivious that most other summer performers have left the stage.


The Passiflora sanguinolenta is fulfilling its reputation as a dainty (maxing at 10 feet), prolifically blooming passion vine. I didn’t think it was possible, but now I’ve seen ever-blooming proof. Alongside is ‘Bouquet d’Or,’ the lone survivor of a one-time 30-plus collection of old tea roses and noisettes. Spring and fall are the seasons I miss these roses the most.


The Moroccan toadflax, Linaria maroccana, was added the last couple weeks to bloom fall/winter.
Apart from this Hakonechloa macra ‘Emerald Glow,’ very few grasses bloomed this year.
I’ve never grown Japanese forest grass before, assuming it preferred much moister soil than mine, but it did surprisingly OK.


With a rack rivaling Bullwinkle, the inflorescence on the tetrapanax must be 4 feet across, reaching for this aerial basket of succulents and bromeliads, including the trailing Crassula sarmentosa, its starry white flowers now in bloom.


A Thunbergia alata vine planted at the base of the tripod holding the basket of succulents has made its way to the top of the basket. The golden-leaved bromeliad is Aechmea recurvata ‘Aztec Gold,’ the darker green Vriesea gigantea.


Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts the monthly Bloom Days, providing a look at what’s in bloom all over the world.


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12 Responses to Bloom Day November 2011

  1. Kermit says:

    Add to the list (of pink, Winter blooming Salvias):

    S. purpurea;
    S. iodantha and iodantha ‘Lousi Sanso’;
    S. involucrata ‘Bethellii’;
    S. ionvolucrata ‘Haspen’;
    S. involucrata x `Mulberry Jam’;
    S. dorisiana, whose smell makes my knees weak;
    Big ‘ol S. gravida. Gravid with what?;
    and the ultra-wonderful S. wagneriana ‘White Bract’ – every bit as temptingly slow to open as the pink bract form.

    There are more, but I’ll stop now.

    Love those pink Salvias.

  2. Barry Parker says:

    This long mild Spring seems to suit the Salvia. I have a beautiful S. leucantha blooming at the moment and more surprisingly, another Mexican, Amicia zygomeris has had time to flower! All this in zone 6b ( admittedly the banana belt of southern Ontario !)

  3. ks says:

    Love your photos denise..such a conglomeration of stuff, and somehow it works splendidly.I missed bloomday this go round, a 6 day work-week interfered with real life..happy to let you carry the Salvia banner as this is all I seem to have going right now after a few light frosts.

  4. James Golden says:

    Okay, here I go. I will try to grow tetrapanax next year, in the Brooklyn garden, where it should survive a zone 7 winter. Your other winter surprises would croak, I’m sure.

  5. Town Mouse says:

    Ah well, even the summer-blooming salvias can get big, and bigger. I finally took out two S. melliflera and wacked back S. leucophylla… Love all the photos, some very interesting plants here!

  6. Scott says:

    Lovely post, as always, Denise! I love that little Euphorbia…such a great filler plant…especially love how it’s softness contrasts with the strong linear qualities of the Yucca. I’ve never really cared for Passion Flowers (found them a bit garish), but that little one is adorable! I wonder if it’s hardy in our zone…hmmm…time for some research 😉

  7. Denise says:

    Barry, so you grow amicia too! I’ve cut back all the tall summer growth (7-8 ft!) but new growth is constantly in bloom. Very odd but beautiful plant.
    Kathy, it is a conglomeration for sure. It’s been an awful workweek here too. Hope you get to play again soon.
    James, the tetrapanax would be so great in your NYC garden. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to there.
    TM, I can’t keep the herbaceous salvias going for very long and for much bloom, so I settle for these monsters. Lots of whacking back!
    Scott, that little euphorb is really starting to pop up everywhere. I must be moving bits of its roots around inadvertently. Yes, the passionflowers are garish, attracting me and the butterflies!

  8. Rose says:

    How nice to have salvia blooming in the winter! Not to mention succulents growing outside. I brought back two tiny succulents from a visit to Arizona last week, but they will definitely be residing indoors here. Thanks for visiting me, and a Happy Bloom Day!

  9. I’m outright jealous at the idea of winter-blooming salvias, and then guffawing at your moose allusion in describing that Tetrapanax “flower”. Is a blooming Tetra impossible in zone 8? A quick search leaves me a little wistful (answer: Of course.) I will happily settle for those big-ass leaves, but …

  10. hoov says:

    Lovely mix of so many different plants from so many different places. Very California.

  11. Les says:

    I wish my native Passiflora (P. lutea) was as nice looking as the one you have shown. Then I wouldn’t be so quick to pull it.

  12. Denise says:

    Rose, it was a pleasure visiting your blog this Bloom Day.
    Jane, the rack on the tetrapanax collapsed in the rain. And it attracts a godawful amount of flies for some reason, so a tetrapanax without bloom is not such a bad deal.
    Hoov, thank you!
    Les, that passiflora comes from Annie’s Annuals. It is a fine one!

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