Bloom Day January 2014

Scrounging around the garden for something to report this first Bloom Day of 2014 made me realize that although nothing big and splashy was catching my eye, there’s still plenty to give bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators micro energy drinks throughout the day, especially the acacia and coronilla. But the star attraction for bees is hands down the Agave desmettiana in bloom. This morning Marty and I stood quietly a few inches from the bloom stalk just to listen to the thrum of activity. He was shocked that I had never cupped my hands around my ears to amplify sound before. Just another example of what a sheltered life I’ve led. If like me you haven’t done so, try it. The quiet thrum was instantly transformed into a buzzing, wing-beating roar.


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Helleborus argutifolius, whose fresh seed germinates as soon as it hits the ground, with the big rosettes of Echium simplex in front. I’m dying to see those cool white spikes rise up this summer.

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Bilbergia nutans with lots more blooms to come. How did this free-flowering bromeliad get by me for so many years?

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Nancy Ondra’s nicotiana selection is as charming as ever. Such a good plant for fall, winter and spring here, but dies off when the heat arrives. Seeds profusely.

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Acacia podalyrifolia. Until I decide what shape to prune it, shrub or tree, this acacia will continue to whack everybody in the face as they exit the driver’s side of their car. At least it smells nice.

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Unlike this really skunky plectranthus.

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Echeveria coccinea is managing to bloom in the very dry soil under the tetrapanax.

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I launched a massive plant hunt locally for Geranium ‘Ann Folkard,’ so it could weave through the skirts of Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ this summer. None was found, but instead of mail ordering ‘Ann Folkard’ I opted to try a magenta brethren, Geranium cinereum ‘Subcaulescens’ found at a nursery in El Segundo. This is one instance I would have preferred the trailing habit of AF, but the clumping G. cinereum has already distinguished itself by continually pumping out scads and scads of shocking magenta flowers. Quite the eye-rubbing sight before the first cup of coffee in the morning.

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I didn’t realize there was such variability with Pelargonium sidoides until I found this one with a larger leaf but smaller, darker flowers at Robin Parer’s booth at a plant show last year. Always has a few blooms on it.

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Coronilla valentina will go supernova, covered in bloom, by the end of the month.

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Budding up. Euphorbias, dyckias, and aloes.

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I was recently talked into a trial subscription to The Wall Street Journal, which has since been arriving dangerously close to Aloe capitata’s developing bloom stalk, its first ever. (Home delivery subscription cancelled today.)

Carol hosts this invaluable monthly record of blooms at her blog May Dreams Gardens.

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9 Responses to Bloom Day January 2014

  1. I got a little bit lost in every photo, thank you.

  2. Peter/Outlaw says:

    What a show! Loved your comment about acacia whacking everyone in the face. Don’t people like to be assaulted by fragrant blooms?

  3. commonweeder says:

    Great post. I’m glad you weren’t so afraid of the bees to get close enuogh to hear their song.

  4. Heather says:

    The thing I’ve missed the most this winter is the bees. I can’t wait to try that. Your photos are gorgeous, as usual.

  5. Kris P says:

    I always pick up some new plant options from your posts. I love Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ but, after killing 1 here and 1 in my last garden, I think maybe I should give ‘Subcaulescens’ a try. But, while I’ve tried virtually every Plectranthus available in the local market, I think the only thing that could get me to try P. neochilius would be if I learned that it deterred raccoons.

  6. Scott Weber says:

    Lovely! I bet if you come to Portland this summer I can hook you up with some ‘Anne Folkard’ 😉

  7. Denise says:

    Loree, this faithful reader thanks you!
    Peter, if I don’t prune that acacia back, I’m afraid someone else will — and I may not like the outcome.
    CW, the bees are pure pleasure. There’s a great documentary I’ve been meaning to blog on, More Than Honey. You’ll love it.
    Heather, it’s nice to know you haven’t been doing this all your life too!
    Kris, I’ve always assumed the cinereum kinds didn’t flower long, not like AF, but this one comes highly recommended for length of bloom. We’ll see!

  8. kathy says:

    There is nothing, I mean nothing going on here. Unthinkably, I am going to have to drag out the hose and do some watering this weekend-the Hellebores are drooping and bud-less. I’ve had Anne Folkard for many years, and still remember my triumph when I found it–though I’m not sure where at this point. My best guess is Cottage Gardens in Petaluma , who had a fine selection of geraniums before anyone else…

  9. Jayne says:

    Very funny about the newspaper. Was that delivery boy a bad aim?

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