Am I Helleboring You?

Helleboredom?  The fancy double-flowered ones I've not yet tried.  Mine are quite plain.  

But not without charm
Helleborderline?  'Pink Frost' and 'Penny's Pink' survived their first summer to bloom again--they are about as fancy as I've gotten with Hellebores. 
What fresh hellebore is this?

Hellecopter?  H. argutifolia does fine here, and gets 3' tall.
 Not all Hellebores will do well--some apparently need a touch of winter chill--but others with Mediterranean species in their background have, though they are not that commonly grown here.  Perhaps I'll mail-order a fancy double or two one day--they don't require that much water.

Gazanias-- now those are common.  
As are Aloes.  Both of the 'Fire Ranch' are pushing out flower stems.  The flower stems are dainty compared to the relative heft of the plant itself.  I didn't realize it can have a tree-like growth habit. 

Leucadendrons have become popular and more common among hard-core gardeners in coastal California.  They began here imported from South Africa as cut flowers produced by specialty growers, and recently began appearing in gardens.
Not plain
What is crazy-popular with hummingbirds and becoming so with gardeners are Grevilleas.

A goldfinch was watching the hummers fight over 'Superb'...
...until the hawks began to circle.  The finch hid. 
 Too small to be hawk-food,  some hummingbirds lurk inside the shrubs, waiting to chase off other hummingbirds:
 Or perch, highly visible, to give chase.
I double dare ya!
 A female sneaks a sip of nectar while the current Grevillea Guardian chases off a male bird.  
 The juveniles just learning to fly, less feisty males, and the adult females feed from other nectar plants.  This bird figured out the Leucospermum offers nectar and has the unguarded plant to itself.
 Watching them zip around is no bore. 

Comments

  1. I love watching the hummers fly around my garden! They're fascinating. I never get shots as good as yours, though. You should definitely try at least one fancier Hellebore. Right now our nurseries are inundated with them.

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    1. I sat on the driveway and got all those pictures within about a minute. That tells you the activity around that Grevillea. It's amazing.

      Not a popular plant in nurseries here. The Hellebores on the PNW and UK blogs are all so gorgeous...

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  2. I'll be honest: If it was a regular thing here in early March to have blooming Grevilleas and Leucospermums with hummingbirds enjoying them, nobody would look twice at hellebores. As it is, they help gardeners through a pretty tough time of year.

    And they've come such a long way forward in real garden interest in the last several decades in the way of clearer colors, color on the outside of the sepals, and some nice patterning: spotted, veined, picotee edges. I'm a lot less drawn to doubles and extra-petal effects, but not as aghast as I usually am. As a blogger somewhere said, there's something truly rose-like about many of the new Lenten roses.

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    1. I dunno, I like them. The foliage is nice, and they take some shade. Not every plant can be a Grevillea, after all. ;^)

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  3. Fascinating to see your tiny cute nectar eater appreciating Australian natives. Our nectar eating birds are huge in comparison. I love all your photos, HB, and your fun word game. I think I need to get into aloes. I've never used them before but I like them now and they seem very suitable for our very similar climates. Of all the hellebores I find argutifolia the toughest able to survive heat and drought as long as it's in a reasonable shady spot.

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    1. Aloes are wonderful plants, so I recommend them with enthusiasm. Argutifolia is the toughest one here, too. It's Mediterranean in origin, so that's probably why.

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  4. I would never bore of anything you have shown here. My hellebores are the common (old) varieties too. That doesn't make them any less pretty and appealing. Just ask any bee. Just like I would never tire of looking at aloes, agaves etc that you can grow and I can not. I have tried them in pots but I don't have enough winter sun to keep them in shape for the next season. I just look on blogs of people that can grow them and admire them. How could anyone get bored watching birds? Certainly not I.

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    1. Since I added the urn fountain out front the bird population in the garden has jumped...it was worth it! You are right, birds are fascinating to watch.

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  5. My hummingbirds have such dull flowers to drink from, compared to yours.

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    1. But they have food--that's a great thing you are doing for them!

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  6. I wish I had as much success catching photos of the hummingbirds as you do. My brother says I just need patience...

    I hope you're getting more rain than we are here. We've picked up only 0.03/inch so far with this storm. Ugh!

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    1. Not. A. Single. Raindrop! ARRRGGGGGHHH!!!!

      (Sorry for the scream.)

      Maybe you just need another 'Superb'. Mine are constantly mobbed. I got all those photos and more I didn't post in one minute.

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    2. Ah, finally, the rain starts!

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    3. Yep, we got some real rain (not just drizzle) for awhile starting sometime after 4:30pm. So far, we've tallied 0.18/inch for this storm and the forecast now shows the rain carrying into tomorrow, which is great news for us (and hopefully not bad news for the burn areas). AccuWeather has pushed out it's forecast for the next storm, though. I do need to break my addiction to reading the extended forecasts every day. though - the people publishing them ARE sadists.

      Re the hummingbirds, maybe I just need to spend more time hanging out around my largest 'Superb'! I've got 2 others in the backyard border but they're still relatively small.

      Best wishes for a wet Saturday.

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    4. Can't read the forecasts unless prediction is over 70%. Too upsetting when rain doesn't arrive. Looks like we got about .25" overnight, and about .2" from earlier in the week, so nearly a half inch for the week. Better than a heat wave!

      I find if I sit quietly still in an area all sorts of birds start to appear--they fly off when we walk by...

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  7. When Marty clipped the creeping fig back a couple weeks ago, he pulled out the ginormous Corsican hellebore that seeded into bricks and was growing up against the fence. I had to admit it was really in the way for keeping the wall trimmed. Today I noticed new shoots....don't tell Marty! I am amazed at the hummers darting all day among grevillea, aloes, kalanchoes, and now nesting in that wall. They let me pass them on the paths just a couple feet away. It's like they're pets now!

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    1. Well Marty won't have to trim the wall again until next year, right? So in the meantime...

      There was a nest in a Syzygium right next to where I walked every day--I think the birds thought I could not see them.

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  8. I wonder if there's anything half as attractive to them which would grow up here in the (snowy) north. I never see as many, they seem to fight more, maybe because they're anxious to breed and keep a territory.

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    1. I guess Hellebores are hardy to zone 6. No doubt there are good alternatives to them for colder climates. Snow? I've seen it on TV, but...???...tough to garden in??? ;^)

      Hummers are very territorial, yes. I have planted so many hummer-feeding plants they go crazy trying to defend them all. Here they will nest as early as January. With a lavish winter food supply, they get it done early.

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  9. We had two sunbirds fighting in the garden today. Such a heated argument that one of them crashed into the fascia board. Then got back to the serious business of yelling at each other!

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