Sunday, February 13, 2011

Yes, I'm a Manzanita Freak, and the blooming continues...

Yes, I confess. I am indeed a manzanita freak. Through trial and error, I've managed to install over 40+ manzanita varieties on the property in the 4 1/2 years we've lived here. Why? No other reason other than the fact that I just love manzanitas. And they seem to take more than well to our soil, which is mostly decomposed granite. Their incredibly beautiful reddish bark, adorable urn-shaped flowers, and generally pleasing form make them a standout both in nature and in the Cal native gardenscape.

I've been posting pix of the manzanita blooms in my garden as they've appeared throughout the season. Here are some of the more recent manifestations:

2/13/11 Mexican/Pointleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens).

2/13/11 'Harmony' Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora).

2/13/11 Mexican Manzanita & Laguna Manzanita at the top of the pond. Both are in full bloom.

2/7/11 Laguna Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. adamsii).

2/13/11 'Dark Star' Ceanothus.

2/13/11 Hairy Leaf Ceanothus (Ceanothus oliganthus var. oliganthus).

2/13/11 Pink-Flowered Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum).

2/13/11 In the desert garden, Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) just starting to bloom.

2/13/11 Five Spot (Nemophila maculata). A lovely annual that reseeded from last year's crop in the wildflower bed.

2/13/11 California Thrasher, rooting under one of the birdfeeders.

2/13/11 Western Scrub Jay.

2/13/11 Pine Siskin.

2/12/11 And the duckies are back! A pair of mallards in the pond, late afternoon around 5:30pm.

2/13/11 'Royal' Apricot. 

2/13/11 'Dorsett Golden' Apple.


  1. Fun blog. I also like wildflower gardening and birding. Our flora and fauna are quite different though here on the tundra, from sunny California. :)

  2. I love this post and your blog, mainly because you show what's currently blooming/active where you live.

  3. Everything is looking so good after your frosts. I especially love that ceanothus and the five spot. I used to grow the five spot from seed but I didn't think mine had such a vibrant spot as yours.

    In answer to your question - yes that is the witchhazel that used in european witchhazel ointments though the USA has it's own witchhazel plant which I think blooms earlier than ours.

  4. The five spot is gorgeous, but my favorite native is the scrub jay. I've just got a thing for them.

  5. Beautiful. You forgot to love the leaves - I'm sure you do. Someone said they look like fox ears, very alert. Loved your pics - I really like our local thrashers - they have such an incredibly varied song, and they are less shy than our other chaparral birds.

  6. Amazing! I so agree with you, manzanitas are such a joy as the days finally start to get longer. Happy bloom day!

  7. You've convinced me, I really need to plant some Manzanita here. I'm a little surprised we don't have any here, but I think this year, after we're done prepping bee hives for spring, I need to remedy our lack of Manzanitas. They'd bloom before much else here does, the bees would like them, and I'd rather have Manzanita than oodles of invasive hedge parsley growing on the sunny slope above our vegetable garden. I might not make it to 40+ varieties, but I should at least try 2 or 3!

    How is it your apples are blooming already? Ours are still very much dormant! Not that the return of winter weather is helping on that front! Your Dorsett apple looks so spring-like!

  8. troutbirder, thanks for stopping by again - I must check out your blog as "tundra" sounds intriguing!

    Thanks, Katie - I think we share many common interests. I've enjoyed traveling up along the coast through Big Sur and northward up to Monterey over the years and really enjoy the spectacular views and beautiful wildflowers in your neck of the woods.

    Rosie, it always amazes me to hear that you're familiar with and have even grown a number of our native wildflowers over in Scotland.

    altadena hiker, those scrub jays are the life of the avian party. You just can't miss their raucous call and flashy blue plumage as they descend on the bird feeders.

    Country Mouse, what a cute description of manzanita leaves! They sure do look like perky foxes' ears! The male thrashers generallly like to show off their musical repertoire while perched on top of a rock, shrub, tree, etc. I enjoy their songs more than that of their mockingbird cousins.

    Town mouse, a happy belated bloom day to you, too!

    Clare, the great thing about most manzanitas is that, once they are established, they need very little water or maintenance. Not only will the bees like them, but the hummingbirds will flock to them with gusto. As for the apples, we had a couple weeks of unseasonably warm (70s-80s) weather in January & February and that seemed to have triggered blooms in a couple of our apple trees, the apricot, pluots, and peaches. As I'm typing this, however, the rain is coming down in buckets and our overnight lows the past couple days have been down in the low 30s with frost. How that will affect the blooms on the fruit trees, I don't yet know.

  9. You're a badass bitch... Great blog. Love manzanita trees. Also, just had a nice Dorsett Golden Apple today.

    1. Why, thank you! I take that as a compliment! ;)