The distinctive measured pace of a garden this time of year, compared to the frenetic pace outside my front gate, is what I find so compelling: the syncopated intervals between birdcalls, the varying rhythms of arrival and departure of hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. Incidents on the wing gently drift in and out…but this weekend it’s all against a background roar of engines. (It’s Grand Prix time in Long Beach again.) Bloom Day falls on the 15th, hosted by May Dreams Gardens. Foliage Followup is hosted by Digging on the 16th, so I’m straddling memes today.
The ballota is just now enlongating with bobbles of chenille-like blooms. The largish green-leaved plant on the right is a Teucrium betonicum I found seeded in the gravel in the front garden this winter.
Strangely enough, the mother plant was grown way back in 2012.
In the back garden, I’m loving the low scrubbiness of it all, with occasional verticals and undulating agaves piercing through the hummocks of greys and greens. And the proportions are, at this moment, just what I’ve been trying to accomplish for the past couple years. New stuff I’ve been planting will no doubt change the shape by next year, so it’s a fleeting effect that I’ve come to appreciate just because it is so transitory. Stepping out the back door this morning from a quiet house into a garden humming and buzzing and flitting with life — well, just add coffee for a perfect Saturday morning. Even the Grand Prix can’t ruin that. Thankfully, the city has restricted the number of days racecars can “practice” before the big event, so it’s squeezed into mainly a weekend now.
A fair compromise between the businesses that flourish during race time and the residents that mostly suffer through it.
I’ll spare you repeat photos of poppies, grevilleas, salvias and whatnot. Tanacetum niveum is new to both Bloom Day and the garden this year. I’ve always loved the simple clean blooms of plants like chamomile. This daisy is no ground-hugger like chamomile, but billows up and out, with finely cut grey leaves. It can become shrub-like in size given enough room to develop. It’s constrained by the tight quarters here. Purported to reseed, fingers crossed. Looks like I trialed it/killed it back in 2010.
Marrubium supinum’s blooms are similar in structure to ballota, but with a slight wash of color.
I wouldn’t mind several more clumps of Kniphofia thompsonii dotted throughout.
Plectranthus neochilus still obligingly covers the stump of Cotinus ‘Grace,’ buried under there somewhere and quietly decomposing.
Some find the strong scent/stink/skunkiness offputting. I don’t scent it on the air, just on contact, when clipping it back.
Gerberas at the base of the plectranthus stump.
Other daises elsewhere in bloom include orange arctotis and maroon osteospermum.
I planted the Eriogonum crocatum a little too far from the paths for photos, so this one gives just the basic outline of the blooms which start out chartreuse and age to brown. I can’t wait for it to bulk up some more. I really do try to stick to the never-walk-on-the-garden rule, especially with clay like mine that compacts so easily.
The potted camellia on the front porch hasn’t gotten much play on Bloom Day though it’s been in bloom a few months.
Erodium pelargoniflorum reseeds into the gravel amongst the agaves in the front of the house. If kept watered, it would probably bloom into summer. I say embrace the ephemeral!
Anisodontea ‘Strybing Beauty’ is growing into quite a graceful presence, loose and open. Last year the mallows were represented by Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral,’ a wonderful plant for a much bigger garden than mine.
Potted Glory of Texas, a thelocactus just opening its blooms.
I tossed some ixia into the garden this winter, in a few colors, ordered off ebay.
Finishing up with the odd blooms of slipper spurge, Pedilanthus bracteatus, another one I keep forgetting to include on Bloom Days.
Some stunning combinations! Really love the colour pallette you’ve put together around the Kniphofia. I’m fairly new to your blog, and I’m getting such joy out of the photos and descriptions – thanks for writing!
I planted the same Tanacetum but mine is taking its time preparing to bloom – it seems to be getting closer each day but never quite there. Two of the Ballota you gave me a year ago are still sitting in the middle of the back border, nominally bigger now but nowhere near the size yours appear to be – I wonder if they don’t like my soil?
Denise, I’m just swooning over your images. That Kniphofia with the tall verbena in the background is my favorite. Am I to understand that a grand prix race is happening just outside your garden? How bizarre! Is it safe?
Beautiful! appreciating the transitory is to me one of the joys of gardening. You capture it so well…
Erodium pelargoniflorum Is so pretty. How wonderful that it self seeds!
@Jen, thanks for leaving such a nice comment. Knowing there’s readers out there always adds zest to blogging!
@Kris, so amazing how micro-regional our gardens are! Your being up on the hill, on a former quarry site, must bring pretty special conditions. The proteaceae sure love you tho!
@Pam, I guess you caught me in an exaggeration along the lines of “I grew up under the rollercoaster at Coney Island.” The race is about a mile away but sounds like it’s in the front garden!
@Renee, it is amazing how plugged in plant people are to time, seasons, how we obsess over it!
@Jessica, oh, does it ever! Carpets of it.
I’ll be watching the LBGP on TV. We used to live in the 600 E. Ocean building. I LOVED the excitement of the race and all the preparation leading up to it. Many in our building didn’t, though and rented their units to corporate guests. 🙁
Emily, you definitely had front-row seats at that address! I imagine there’s a lot of temporary rentals going on this weekend in LB. Thanks for for that bit of your history.
Despite a disappointing El Nino, your garden is still full of beauty. Hope you got through all that engine noise unscathed.