3/31/12 Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus). A riparianish shrub in the rose family with distinctive layered bark and lovely white flowers in the spring. This one's growing under the shade of a sycamore. First time it's flowered since I planted it in 2010.
We had some weird weather here in SoCal this past winter season: a bit of rain in fall, no rain at all from December to January, cold days followed by hot days followed by cold days followed by hot days, then there were a couple of really good downpours in March & April. What the freakin' frack? Anyhoo, I was bracing myself for a disappointing season in the garden, native and otherwise, but au contraire!! I've never seen so many blooms and so early, too. Most of our fruit trees are laden with flowers and/or fruit, especially the apricots, peaches, nectarines, pluots, Dorsett Golden apple, mulberries, champagne loquat, Arbequina olive, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, avocados, and the wine & table grapes. And, I'm not sure what's up with the natives - the manzanitas, salvias, and ceanothus have been extremely floriferous this year. So thank you Mutha Nature, even if I don't always quite get ya...
3/31/12 Ceanothus 'Concha.' Like the Ninebark, first time it's flowered since its original planting a couple years ago.
3/16/12 'Sierra Star.' A Calliandra hybrid I bought at the RSABG fall sale last November. What a stunner! Like all Calliandras, super drought tolerant and ever-blooming almost year round.
3/16/12 White Desert Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) in the desert garden. This super fragrant desert primrose is growing in sandy/gravelly soil, amended with cactus soil mix. Seems like a short-lived perennial, but several little offshoots are appearing next to the mother plant.
2/27/12 Pink-flowered Currant (Ribes Sanguineum glutinosum). A reliable late winter/early spring bloomer. Likes some shade and moderate water, and is winter deciduous. This one is growing on the shadier side of our house just outside the laundry room. So far, it's not been phased yet by the periodic blasts of warm, Bounce-scented air emanating from the dryer vent.
2/27/12 Beautiful Rockcress (Arabis pulchra gracilis). A rock garden plant that needs good drainage. I'm not sure why I put it in the meadow planter, but it seems to be doing ok so far with the occasional extra H2O.
3/16/12 Woolly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum). Native to our South Coast ranges. Love the fuzzy purple cuteness of the blooms. Just sayin.' This was one of the first natives (purchased from the nursery at Theodore Payne) I planted on the property in 2006.
3/16/12 'Allen Chickering' Sage (Salvia clevelandii x S. leucophylla).
3/16/12 Yellow Rockrose (Halymium calycinum). A drought tolerant mediterranean shrub, purchased at the 2010 fall plant sale at U.C. Riverside Botanic Garden.
3/16/12 Chaparral Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus). The blooms look so sweet, but this sprawling bush is now bent over and looking unruly after some strong winds and our recent rain storms.
3/16/12 Nevin's Barberry (Mahonia nevinii). A Southern California endemic, this shrub is state and federally listed. My Nevin's is a bit slow growing - I bought it in Oct. of 2007 at the UCR fall plant sale and it's only grown to about 3' tall. But, it's studded with flowers this year. Go figure.
3/30/12 Sticky Phacelia (Phacelia viscida). A gorgeous Cal native annual. Purchased from Annie's Annuals in Richmond, CA.
3/30/12 Seep Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus). From seeds sown in November of 2011.
3/16/12 'Blue Springs' Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus).
3/30/12 Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). Wasn't sure if the Redbuds would bloom this year with our erratic winter temps, but here they are in their full pink splendor.
4/14/12 Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis), leafing out.
3/31/12 A foggy day, but the rockroses are in full bloom, along with the San Gabriel Fremontodendron to the left.
4/11/12 Otay Mountain Lotus (Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis). Native to Otay Mountain in San Diego County. Grew this one from seed. Best to scarify, i.e., loosen or break up, the seed hard seed coat before planting. I do this by soaking the seeds in warmish tap water overnight.
4/11/12 Red-skinned onion (Allium haematochiton). This allium is native to to SoCal, including the Santa Rosa Plateau. Seems to grow well here in our decomposed granite. Red-skinned refers to the covering around the bulbs.
4/14/12 Left to right: 'Dara's Gold' Fremontia, 'Cynthia Postan' Ceanothus, Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina,' Blanket flower, Interior Goldenbush, Howard McMinn Manzanita.
4/14/12 'Frosty Blue' Ceanothus.
4/14/12 Clockwise from bottom left: Margarita BOP penstemon, Conejo Monkeyflower, Rockroses, 'San Gabriel' Fremontodentron, 'Canyon Prince' Giant Wild Rye (Leymus condensatus).
4/14/12 Sidalcea malviflora 'Palustre.' A garden selection of our native checkerbloom.
4/14/12 Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii). One of my fav native annual wildflowers. Sown from seed.
4/12/12 Meadowfoam (Limnanthes douglasii). Sown from seed.
4/14/12 Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla). Another beautiful Cal native wildflower.
4/14/12 'Santa Rosa' Alumroot (Heuchera hirsutissima).
4/14/12 Wallace's Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia fragrans). Native to Southern California's coastal mountains. This pitcher sage has done well on the property with good drainage, a little shade and occasional watering. The scent of this plant is to die for if you're a chaparral fanatic, like me.
4/14/12 Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).
4/14/12 Woolley Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), Prickly Phlox (Leptodactylon californicum), and Showy Penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis).
4/14/12 San Diego Sunflower (Viguiera laciniata) and Paradise Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis), with their trademark spring flush of reddish-hued new leaves.
4/14/12 'Mountain Haze' Ceanothus and 'Anacapa Pink' Island Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia).
4/14/12 Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) in full bloom and Desert Wild Grape (Vitis girdiana) along the fence.
And, of course, I can't omit some of our recent avian visitors:
4/8/12 One of our first Hooded Orioles this year. Put out the oriole feeder stat after I saw a couple of them perched precariously on the hummingbird feeders in early April. Ratio of water to sugar for orioles is 1:6. Hummers like it 1:4, and I use that for all the nectar feeders. The orioles aren't complaining.
3/2/12 A covey of California Quail, dining on the bird seed under one of our bird feeders.
3/30/12 A plucky boy Quail.
3/30/12 Scrub Jay .
3/29/12 Mallards at the pond. I think they're the same pair that flies in every afternoon. I named them Donald & Ivana . Yeah, I know, they're exes in real life, but Donald & Daisy just seemed kinda boring...
3/30/12 Donald & Ivana, strutting their stuff. Donald has a tell-tale feather sticking up from his back - kinda like the human Donald's signature unruly hairdo.
3/30/12 Ivana, fluffing her feathers.
And then there's Maybelline. Maybelline is not a bird, but rather a baby bunny that used to regularly visit our back patio from late March up until about a week ago. Why Maybelline? Well, when we first moved out here to La Cresta, we saw a bunny every morning at the corner of Calle Centro and Avenida La Cresta on our way to work, and we named 'her' Mabel. So it seemed natural to dub this little one 'Maybelline.' Of course, my sis just had to ask if we we were planning to name other future visiting bunnies Revlon, Almay and Cover Girl...
I haven't seen Maybelline for about a week now - hope Mountain Bob didn't get her and that she's living the good life with Mabel up in the highlands.
3/30/12 Maybelline browsing on Spanish Lavender. Yuck.
4/5/12 Maybelline eating bird seed.