Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rhododendrons in bloom!

I haven't been posting lately, what with all the excitement of the rain and transplanting native seedlings. But I have made several trips as of late to the U.C. Botanical Garden and I'm still much impressed by their rhododendrons! I'm not really much into rhododendrons one way or the other, though I do have a plant of the native R. occidentale, but these are really amazing. These Asian plants are huge shrubs and the flower clusters are also large. Their floriferous presence lends an incandescent glow of seasonal color. One can relax on the smooth rocks near the pond as the newts cavort in the water and see hints of rhodendron colors all around. The red one pictured here is actually the plant featured in the Garden's logo! In my garden it is also flower time, but of the Californian variety! I'm very much excited by the continued blooming of Fairy Lanterns and the first flowers of the white flowered Salvia spathacea! The flowers on the Salvia are actually more of a cream color, but very different than the crimson flowered one. The two are growing side by side and I'm eager to see what they'll look like together. The cluster of yellow daisies in the other picture is Lasthenia californica - California Goldfields. These lovelies are trailing down a slope near my room in cheerful native abandon! There are a couple more flowers blooming and there will soon be many more. Also the Winter-deciduous shrubs are starting to burst forth with tender new leaves of delicate Spring green. I will endeavor to keep my readers abreast with all of this seasonal excitement!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Calochortus albus!

Well, I have been busy since my last post. A trip to Annie's, a couple of Botanical Garden excursions, and lots of transplanting of native annual seedlings. And at long last my Fairy Lantern (Calochortus albus) has bloomed! This is the first time since I bought the bulb about three or four years ago. It is quite a sight bursting forth from a pot brimming over with the blue flowers of Nemophila menzsieii. I've included a picture. Also featured is a new little succulent dish from the U.C. Botanical Garden. The little Agave is so cute! I included a US nickel and Mexican 2 peso coin to show scale. John and I decided to buy it to celebrate our Lesser Eleusinia anniversary (actually John just sort of stood there, but I took the iniative to celebrate). The Garden was quite nice, full of blooming rhododenrons and magnolias. The newts were also busy in the pond! At Annie's I picked out some wonderful native annuals and perennials. I'm especially excited about Phacelia viscida, which I've never grown before. It gets blue flowers which I'm hoping will keep the native bees happy. And very happily, it's raining again!