Bloomday March 2022

To save some repetitive photos, the aloes are mostly over, the grevilleas, passiflora, and anisodontea continue, and now these shaggy brutes are making their blooming appearance this week, the tree dandelions, Sonchus palmensis. This is a plant with a big presence when its chrome yellow discs flare into bloom like a klieg light.

I forget the age of this mother plant of all the seedlings scattered throughout the garden. Over 6 feet tall, it needed staking even before the three flower heads began to bloom.
Tree dandelions in the distance, coronilla in the foreground. Pink flowers from long-blooming Anisodontea ‘Strybing Beauty’

Salvia ‘Savannah Blue’ was clipped hard, so is dense and bushy and just about to bloom, and there’s three of them massed around that brown jar. I’ll miss seeing that but am trying a few cuttings up north. Teucrium betonicum and Geranium maderense ‘Alba’ will be in bloom next week (edited to add photo from 3/17 at end of post.) There’s no telling if the Giant Fennel will bloom this year, or ever, but it’s pushing out a wedding dress’ worth of lacy leaves. The kangaroo paws will be up late April/May.

leaning over the emerging ferny leaves of the giant fennel, Ferula communis ‘Gigantea’

And the Salvia greggii hybrids are spilling more and more flowers. ‘Mesa Azure’ has a particularly uniform habit of growth, hardy to zone 7.


Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’ has exceptional depth of coloring and velvety petals, but its habit slightly sprawls despite regular clipping and cutbacks. Could be the crowded conditions at fault, not the plant.

Erodium ‘Maryla,’ planted spring 2021 from Robin Parer’s nursery Geraniaceae
tiny flowers and purple-speckled leaves of Tinantia pringlei, a ferocious spring reseeder from Mexico that dies off in summer if kept too dry

Gerberas flower so strongly here in zone 10 with just a little attentive irrigation. The Garvinea series is hardy to zone 7


Another plant purchased locally for the Oregon garden, that I ended up planting here in Long Beach, Halimium x pauanum would struggle in the rich, moist soil up north. It has better odds with the hot, dry SoCal garden.

Leucospermum ‘Tango’
Soft yellow flowers of Brassica cretica, ssp. aegaea, seed from Liberto Dario — hoping it self-sows around. I have a feeling it will be very obliging on that score. I’ve got two flats of different seedlings to bring up north, including Silene fabaria, Verbena bonariensis, coronilla, Centranthus lecoquii, sideritis, orlaya, erodium, carex, Omphalodes linifolia, etc
Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ backed by elongating blooms of Heuchera maxima
(edited to add Geranium maderense ‘Alba’ opening flowers 3/17/22)

And for some unknown but very irritating reason, I can’t get the link to work to May Dreams Gardens, Carol J. Michel’s host site for all Bloomday reports.

edited to add photo of Long Beach house, photo by MB Maher — we always miss this old creaky boat of a house!

We’re heading back up north the end of this week with a car full of stuff I’ve dug up from the Long Beach garden, the dog, the cat — what a caravan! I hope you find good things to read and see and keep you busy. More soon. Affectionately, AGO

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5 Responses to Bloomday March 2022

  1. Kris P says:

    Everything is looking great, Denise! As usual, you have some plants I’ve never heard of and will need to look into, like the Tinantia. I tried Halimium several years ago on the south end of my garden but it didn’t last long. Your post sent me off to check the status of the Sonchus seedling you gave me. Tucked into a corner next to a Melianthus and adjacent to an Arbutus, it doesn’t get a lot of water but it looks happy enough at about a foot tall – no flowers yet but perhaps that’s a good thing.

    I hope the caravan has a peaceful trip, to the extent that’s possibly with Banksy and Billie in tow. I look forward to seeing the progress of your norther garden 🙂

  2. Denise says:

    @Kris, I can get you lots of tinantia, trust me! I’ll drop some off next time I’m in town. I wonder if the sonchus will like your more exposed site — it will be an interesting experiment!

  3. Gerhard Bock says:

    So many cool plants that I’m not familiar with: Brassica cretica, Halimium x pauanum, Titantia pringlei, etc. I love it when I discover new plants I can research!

    My fennel has never bloomed either. I wonder what the secret it?

    And after seeing your Sonchus palmensis, I’m inspired to try again.

  4. hb says:

    Enjoyed your post with all the out-of-ordinary plants making up an out-of-ordinary garden. A vintage Craftsman home _is_ like a boat. My mom & dad’s house creaked with its wooden floors on a raised foundation–it felt alive. Klieg lights–now I know the name. Always called them search lights or movie-premier lights.

    Have a good and safe trip back up north. Enjoy the rain for us.

  5. Pam/Digging says:

    I love the description of your home as a creaky, beloved boat. It looks utterly charming, as does your spring garden, Denise.

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