S'up? Not Blogging.


Above: after-Christmas discounted "Amaryllis" (Hippeastrum) bulb finally flowered.  That color!  Worth the wait?  Oh, yeah!
 
I've been gardening more than garden blogging, moving plants, cutting back plants, and planting potted ones in the ground, and...just looking around out there.  
Out there:
 In Southern California, with our lack of winter chill, tulips are annuals, and nearly every year they emerge just as a heat wave arrives to fry the flowers.  

However the vivid, saturated colors of "Amaryllis" (Hippeastrum) hybrids offset our inability to easily grow tulips.  These bulbs are happy with a dry summer, perfect for our climate. They wake up with winter rains and are ready for a summer sleep in dry soil.  The flowers are two or three times larger than tulip flowers.  They last two or three times longer.  They give four or six or eight flowers per bulb, not one or two.  They come back to bloom year after year and form clumps in time without spreading rampantly.

In the soil here when established, they usually bloom in late March or early April. 
Without the poster board background:
Out there, looking around, I discovered the dark foliage of Aeonium 'Zwartzkop' is echoed in the dark foliage of Cordyline 'Festival Grass'.  The colors are not quite the same, but at the distance apart they are, close enough.  To be filed in the inadvertent unintentional good idea drawer.
 I love dark foliage that is also glossy--the gloss provides a sparkle that prevents dark from being dull.  New plant, the very dark and glossy Cordyline 'Rampage'  'Renegade'. (thanks kp!) Not dull!  An improvement on Phormiums--not so huge, and no reversion to plain green, which so often happens with the most interesting Phormiums. 
Best foliage color with morning sun, afternoon shade:
 The two new Callistemon 'Slim' went here, in front of a wall.  Eventually 10' tall, they will screen a part of the neighbor's house from this angle and provide yet more hummingbird food. Because you can never have too much hummingbird food in your garden. 
These roses moved to make way for the Callistemon...you can just see the little Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' at upper left of the photo.  M. stellata is a very slow growing small tree, so the roses will have years of sun yet.  
 Not slow at all, because of our rainy winter, the Clematis are already shooting upwards.  This is 'Viola'.  For years and years it had a terrible undersized inadequate support.  A few days ago I thought:  "Hmm.  For years and years Viola has had a terrible undersized inadequate support.  That's stupid."   And gave it this one instead.  Much better. 
And the Sweet Peas begin.  I can't remember what variety I bought, and it doesn't matter--it's all about the fragrance.  I like blue-purple better, though.  
 The roses are all foliage, with a first few flowers opening. 
Gruss an Aachen, with some rain-induced foliar disease, but I'd rather have the rain than perfect foliage:
 Orange 'Wildfire' has one flower and a bud showing color:
 A rich yellow bloom on 'Molineux', which suffered horribly from Chili Thrips last summer.  So thrilling to see it looking this good:
 More rich yellow in the foliage of Abelia 'Kalaidescope'.  I know not about the rest of the world, but here a well-established Abelia can be cut to the ground, to grow back perfectly fresh and beautiful again.  I chopped it a couple of months ago.  The spot is a little small for its mature size.  Silly me:  I went by the dimensions on the plant label. 
 Yellow again--the first flowers, too, on Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird'.  The show will be impressive this year.  Yellow is by far not my favorite color, but lately it seems the plants that really thrive have yellow flowers or foliage.  What's with that?
Kind of fabulous in any color.  The Lagerstroemia on the left is just beginning to wake up.
As a part of the slope...nice!
Aloe greatheadii has large flower stems this spring because of all the rain.  Silver, burgundy, orange...
It's good to see the lizards again.  They've been half asleep through the winter.  Awake now.
 Last year I bought, at 90% off, one of those sad tiny bagged rooted Clematis cuttings the big box stores sell.  It was still alive.  I couldn't bear not giving it a chance to live.  I've done this in the past and failed, but this time it may survive, after having been nurtured and protected in a pot on the patio all of last summer.  Now it's large enough to take its chances in the ground.  Good luck, kid. 
And the flowers won't be yellow: 
So that's what I've been doing, more gardening than garden blogging, while the weather holds cool.  

Comments

  1. Beautiful post Hoover Boo. You are so lucky having so many flowers in this time of the year.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Thank you Marijke. I hope your day is wonderful also. Soon your garden will be full of flowers as well.

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  2. Looks like you have been fairly busy working in the garden! That red Amaryllis bloom is simply stunning! I picked up three white Amaryllis bulbs at a big box store just a few days ago. Yeah, I know that is very late, but I hope that even if they don't bloom this year anymore they will survive and flower next year.
    I love, love, love, that Cordyline 'Rampage'! What a beautiful plant! I didn't think about it, but your really have point about the glossy foliage.
    Since last year I have rosa 'Gruss an Aachen' as an own-root rose. From the newbies it is the rose with with most diseased foliage. Hope it will get better once the rain has subsided. Is this rose in general healthy in your garden?
    Glad you used the cool days for gardening. Tomorrow our first heat wave will set in here in San Diego.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Your Amarylllis can still grow and produce flowers this year. Enjoy! White, I need a white one also. The color is so pure.

      In general 'Gruss an Aachen' is the healthiest rose of them all! Once yours settles in it will be one of your favorites. A truly great rose, always flowers and never grows too big. Very good on its own roots.

      Yes, heat wave here, too. :(

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    2. Uuups, I just remembered that I asked you a question about rosa 'Gruss an Aachen' and I am so glad that you answered it. So that gives me a lot of hope regarding this rose. Even my baby band has set a lot of flowers by now, but the leaves are pretty diseased which some dark black fungus. Looks a little different than the usual black spot, though.
      It would be nice to have a rose of mannerly size in the garden! Some of the David Austin roses have really become unexpected monsters...

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    3. I hope it recovers and does as well for you as it has done here.

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  3. I've been doing neither gardening nor blogging, nor a lot of photo-taking. I go out occasionally and wander around the garden and take note of what needs doing, and then despair. Amaryllis instead of tulips? That's a trade-off I'd take in a heartbeat. Your roses are looking good, I bet they love the rain you've been getting.

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    1. It's so green here. Not PNW green, but green for us. The roses are very happy.

      Since you recently came up with one of the most memorable blog post titles ever, I think you are using your time wisely. Soon it will be time for you to garden like crazy. Have fun "out there".

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  4. I'm not at all surprised that you've taken advantage of the nice weather we've had in your garden. It's looking great but that's not surprising either given all the love and care you give it. I have to find a Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird' of my own but - exciting news - my 'Brandi' has buds! Cordyline 'Rampage' looks a lot like the C. 'Renegade' I once grew - I'll be interested to hear how it holds up as 'Renegade'burned out in the sun here (although it performed better when I had it in part shade in a pot). After today's round of errands, I'll be back in the garden myself - I had 3 cubic yards of mulch delivered yesterday.

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    1. Oopsie it is 'Renegade'. I mixed up two angry-type R words. I will fix, thanks. I'm going to give it considerable shade now based on your experience.

      Congrats on 'Brandi'! I look forward to the photos.

      I too am getting ready for the mulch ordeal, trying to time delivery between heat waves. They're baaaaack. :( Sure didn't miss them.

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  5. It's weird thinking of Hippeastrum as something that actually grows in the ground. (Mine is just starting to flower btw -- I always put it to sleep too late and wake it up too late too, but maybe I'm actually doing it right?)

    Love when you show a "new" part of the garden with the small plants and I think "not too much different from our early spring garden" and then you switch to a mature section and I have to say "oh, nevermind". :)

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    1. Hey, it's weird here, too. How could they be so stunning just in the ground with no care? The garden needs a few more. I think they are flexible as to bloom and growth, so if they are doing well for you then you are doing it right.

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  6. You've been busy! I'd certainly trade tulips for hardy hippeastrum any day. So much gorgeous stuff happening in your garden right now!

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    1. I remember your beautiful Hippeastrum you posted at Christmastime. Aren't they the best bulbs? The red is my favorite.

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  7. Wow, how fabulous. Quite envious. I can't imagine growing Amaryllis outside. In the UK we buy them as a single bulb in a box that comes with a pot and soil in the Autumn and 'try' and grow them into a flower in the spring. I fail miserably everytime!!!!
    Aeonium 'Zwartzkop in large clumps in your garden, mine are in pots which have to put in the greenhouse every year!!! Sweetpeas, now that is a plant I can grow with ease, I like the purple/blue too!

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    1. Hi Libby! Here in the US that is how they are sold also, supposedly to bloom at Christmas (but usually late) and in the house. We are lucky here in So Cal to be able to grow them in the ground as they want no frost, a wettish winter and completely dry summer, exactly our climate. So we buy them at the after-Christmas clearance sale for 50-75% discount and plant in the garden.

      I'm sure your Sweetpeas are much better than here. We get one spring heatwave and they shrivel.

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  8. I remember being amazed to see Hippeastrum growing in the ground in Australia. Of course, why not in warm California? And not being a tulip grower (except the tiny species tulips) I'd take that hit of red any day. That image of your slop is swoon-worthy; what a sucess of color, texture form and just plain beauty!

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    1. Some of the species tulips supposedly grow well here--might look into those (if I can't fill the soil with Hippeastrums). Your Australian trip must have been an adventure!

      The slope looks good at this time of year. Spring has certain virtues. :)

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  9. I can't feel a bit sorry for your lack of tulips (not that you were asking for sympathy) with all that other gorgeous stuff surrounding you.

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    1. Sympathy needed this summer when it's 95F and everything is crisping...but for tulip-lack, not needed.

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  10. Yeah, although I love them, I wouldn't be too bothered by an inability to grow tulips if I could watch Amaryllis/Hippeastrum multiply in the ground. And, for the record, I would rather be gardening than blogging, too. Right now, I'm doing neither...

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    1. Too cold still where you are? Well, there is planning for spring, right? Not long now!

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