Bloom Day April 2012


April deserves a thorough Bloom Day post, but if I’m to get this in before midnight it’ll have to be brief. A big change here is that the poppies of Troy, Papaver setigerum, are over sooner than I’d like. I expect them to last at least all of April. The past two mornings countless confused bees have been aimlessly circling the air space once filled with poppies in bloom. The last rainfall was followed by ferocious winds which battered and ultimately flattened the poppies, so they’ve been pulled from the crevices in the dry-laid brick terrace in which they self-sowed, and now it’s like they were never there. Poof, and the terrace is once again just an ordinary terrace instead of a meadow of swaying, buzzing poppies. And it seems the garden has no other flowers to tempt the bees, though the hummingbirds are finding plenty to keep themselves occupied. Last pre-rainstorm photo of the poppies.


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Papaver rupifragum in the front gravel garden, in a more protected spot, was safe from wind damage. And possibly the leaner soil here may have helped them to grow a little tougher.

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One of the mainstay salvias in the garden, Salvia chiapensis, in bloom nearly year-round. I’m including yet another Bloom Day photo only because I liked this angle with the waterfall of yucca as a backdrop. In the blurry foreground is Melianthus ‘Purple Haze.’

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The last of the Dutch iris, too, this one ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ hands down my favorite. Dark, smoky, moody.

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Albuca maxima, a summer-dormant bulb from South Africa, flower stalks about 3 feet high, growing in the front gravel garden which gets little supplemental irrigation.

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Always a surprise to have a grass bloom as early as Stipa gigantea. The albuca is just a few feet away, and fall-blooming nerines grow in this part of the gravel garden too, another bulb that requires summer dormancy.

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Pelargonium ‘Splendide’ with an unidentified sedum species

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Peachy thunbergia, just a little snail-chewed.

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I prefer the clear orange of this Orange Clock Vine, Thunbergia gregorii.

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A large pot of this oversized figwort, Scrophularia calliantha, was moved to a spot with less afternoon sun yesterday in the narrow inner courtyard off the front gravel garden, where coincidentally it also drapes and displays itself to much better effect. In probably the reverse of what’s going on in many spring gardens, I’ve been busy removing the clutter of winter pots to streamline the garden for summer, keeping just a few large pots which hold moisture longer. I don’t yet have any big plans for summer containers but am always open to temptation.


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Geum magellanicum

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I’m trialing a couple new kinds of foxglove this year, Digitalis ferruginea and this one, Digitalis ‘Goldcrest,’ a sterile hybrid of D. obscura and grandiflora reputed to be extremely floriferous.

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For fans of chartreuse bracts, besides euphorbias, hellebores, and ornamental oregano, there’s sideritis.

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The color of chocolate cosmos but with silvery leaves, Lotus jacobaeus in its first season has already earned a permanent place in my affections.

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Sisyrinchium striatum ‘Variegatum’ is almost more excitement than I can handle in one plant.

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Salvia littae grows in a mad, scrambly tangle. Brittle too, so attempts to tidy it up results in broken stems. A frustrating salvia unless allowed to drape down a wall, I’d guess. Brought home from the Mendocino Botanic Garden last summer.

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Salvia macrophylla. I don’t think I’ve ever grown a salvia that clothes itself with leaves right down to the ground like this one does.

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White blooms of Aeonium ‘Kiwi’

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Tweedia caerulea, started from seed by Dustin Gimbel. I’ve crowded my plants so they’ve been slow to bulk up.

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A little past midnight so time to put this Bloom Day to rest. Thanks again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for giving Bloom Day a home.

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8 Responses to Bloom Day April 2012

  1. The Lotus jacobaeus is gorgeous! A keeper indeed. I had never heard of Sideritis, it’s a unique little thing, a little investigation of course reveals it to be a zone 9, ah well. So what’s the little blooming succulent pictured after the Sisyrinchium and planted just next to it?

  2. Dorothy says:

    What a lovely display of pretty flowers combined with such unique foliage and textures. I really like the Pelargonium ‘Splendide’ with the sedum!

  3. Denise says:

    Truly it is, Loree! The succ is Echeveria agavoides.
    Dorothy, there really are so many beautiful flowers and textures to choose from. That pelargonium comes from Robin Parer’s nursery Geraniaceae, http://geraniaceae.com/cgi-bin/welcome.py

  4. Les says:

    Thanks alot! Now I have that stupid song “Eye of the Tiger” stuck in my head.

  5. hoov says:

    You reminded me of the So Cal gardener’s spring ritual: moving pots into shade for the summer. Then the true gardening stops, and the constant watering begins. Almost time.

  6. Scott says:

    Another stunning post…but so sad about the Poppies 🙁 It seems there is something each year that gets short-changed that way. LOVE that photo of the Salvia chiapensis with the Yucca in the background…an amazing composition. I was super-excited the other day to realize my Stipa gigantea has flower spikes forming as well…can’t wait!

  7. Denise says:

    Sorry, Les — Pop in the Catherine Wheel, quick!
    Hoov, ain’t it the truth! From years of having a summer garden cluttered with pots, I’m really going in the opposite direction now. It’s getting positively spacious here!
    Scott, it’s still so worth it to plan for vignettes that only last a month. Really keeps things exciting. Congrats on your stipa bloom! What a phenomenal grass it is.

  8. Hey! save me some ( a lot) seeds of that Papaver rupifragum. I wanna do that with Cal poppies in the gravel next year. 🙂 ahem please.

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