Bloom Day February 2016

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This warm weather (90 again today!) is pushing an early spring. The first bloom of the many reseeded Papaver setigerum obligingly opened this morning for Bloom Day.

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Meanwhile, the winter-blooming aloes aren’t ready to yield the spotlight yet. Aloe ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is building up into its ladder-rung bloom formation.

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Aloe cameronii just this week started opening lower buds on its bloom truss, immediately setting off territorial hummingbird disputes. You can make out the rosettes of reseeding poppies threading their way around a leucadendron. I’ve been thinning poppies like mad. Editing the spring garden, leaving in poppies for punctuation, pulling out excess for clarity, is becoming a welcome recurring spring ritual. The umbellifer Orlaya grandiflora resows, too, and is always at least a month later than this poppy. Tragically, I haven’t seen any orlaya seedlings at all this year.

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This year’s salvia will be Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara,’ a dwarfish variety with all-purple flowers and bracts. It’s a widely grown salvia here. Left to its own devices, it quickly becomes overgrown and bare-legged. Pruning it down to the base late winter keeps it manageable. It blooms so well here that it’s worth growing as an annual and restarting woody, overgrown plants frequently from cuttings. An experiment this year with grass Leymus ‘Canyon Prince,’ to see how they match in size and vigor. More poppies visible to the left, with white flowers of Melampodium leucanthum.

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Lots of yellow this February, from acacias, from the pyramidal-shaped blooms of aeoniums.

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More yellow from the Feathery Cassia, Senna artemisioides

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from Sedum dendroideum and other succulents

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Little golden trumpets from Eremophila glabra ‘Kalgoorlie,’ its first year in the garden. I really, really admire this little shrub so far and can’t wait to see it bulk up into an even bigger, silvery, gold-flecked presence.

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Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’

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There’s been pink, too, from this anisodontea from Annie’s Annuals, ‘Strybing Beauty.’ It’s been blooming lightly all winter, despite being planted a couple feet from the back wall, in the band of shade that is now rapidly disappearing from the garden. Each day sunlight spreads over more and more of the garden like an incoming tide.

That disappearing band of shade is my cue to get the Dates to Remember back up and running. (The Venice Home & Garden Tour is back this year!)

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6 Responses to Bloom Day February 2016

  1. Alan @ It's Not Work, It's Gardening! says:

    90s! Most of my time in CA in the early 2000s was spent in the Venice area — would love to see some of the gardens and homes up close instead of just from the public areas. Don’t think it will be possible this year though, so at least I have the photos of your garden to partially satisfy me. 🙂

  2. ks says:

    Yeah for the poppies ! I had 1 single seed germinate last year , no doubt the lack of rain was the culprit. This year I have many, all Laurens Grape, seeds sprinkled out in December from the lone ranger.

  3. hoov says:

    So many beauties. The Eremophila glabra ‘Kalgoorlie’ is very appealing. Poppies I tried a couple of times, but in weather like we had the past couple days–they quickly shrivel like old lettuce. Your garden isn’t quite as arid, I think.

  4. As I was googling Eremophila glabra ‘Kalgoorlie I was saying a prayer that it would be hardy here in Zone 8. No such luck. Please keep posting pictures of it!

  5. Renee says:

    I got an Eremophila glabra ‘Kalgoorlie’ from the Huntington a few years ago, and its golden flowers and silver foliage is one of my favorites. Happy bloom day!

  6. Your garden, small as it may be, always provides inspiration. Now I have to look for Eremophila glabra ‘Kalgoorlie’.

    I love Salvia leucantha but I struggle with its unruly habit and bulk every year. You’re right, starting from scratch on a regular basis may be the answer. I did try the ‘Santa Barbara’ dwarf twice but it failed to thrived in my garden when the regular S. leucantha has no such problems.

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