Wideview Bloom Day April 2019

 Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito'

Instead of the usual floral portraits, a wide view survey of the garden.  The wonderful rainy winter made the garden look overall quite nice, with fresh foliage on the neighborhood trees.  We'll begin the floral survey by looking eastward, at the front slope.
 Turn in the opposite direction to walk west past the driveway.  More Agaves, Dymondia groundcover, some recently planted Leucadendrons and Leucospermums, including 'Blanche Ito'.  Up on the slope, is the 'Fuerte' avocado tree, which is full of small ivory flowers. The avocados we had this winter were oh so good.
 Climb up and stand on the wall by the 'Fuerte' and look north along the length of the slope, past an Agave marmorata.  There are four citrus trees beyond the Avocado tree.  Three of them are blooming and the fragrance is heavenly.  The trees are surrounded with Lupinus succulentus and California golden poppies.  There are also clumps of coral orange flowering Russellia spilling over the retaining wall. 
 Yucca 'Bright Star' and multiple Agave 'Blue Glow' are nestled between the annual Lupines, which will be dried up and gone by the time Spring ends. 
 Still standing on the retaining wall by the Avocado tree, one can look east to entry and driveway garden below.  Roses are beginning their spring display.  The 'Dynamite' Lagerstroemia are just leafing out, their foliage bronze when new.
 In the distance, the hills display the yellow flowers of Brassica tournefortii(?), a non-native, invasive species.  It first came to California approximately 225 years ago, via European explorers and settlers.    
I should put a bench up here.  This is a nice view.  
 The driveway garden will look better in a week or two, as more roses open.  Also better photographed when the sun is not so high, but I did what I could do. 

The entrance garden is exceptionally nice this year due to the magic of winter rain. 
Does this explain why I get so ecstatic about each and every bit of rain we get?   

 The Veggie Garden is mostly a mess.  This area is looking...okay.
 There are four or five climbing roses not in bloom yet, and not much in the way of veggies.  The sweet peas failed this year--birds pulled ALL the seedlings except two, which have not yet flowered.  That's okay--I like birds.  Next year the sweet pea seeds will be better protected.  

We've had such hot dry winters the past six years or so that I've given up growing cool-season vegetables, except for onions, which are effortless.  

One former veggie bed has been completely taken over by a seedling Leucospermum, but since it has still not bloomed (grr!!) there's not much color.  Mostly there are tiny 'Blue Glow' Agave bulbils growing large enough to be planted elsewhere, and Dahlias that have not come up yet.  The 'Cara Cara' Orange tree is on the extreme right behind the chain link former dog kennel.  The 'Cara Cara' is in bloom, and as I took photos, the air was intense with the heavenly fragrance of orange blossoms.  So this area may not look so good, but it smelled wonderful.     
In the opposite direction from the 'Cara Cara', 'Fourth of July' rose.  About a month ago, 'Fourth of July' looked so dreadful it appeared to be dying.  I cringed at the thought of digging out all those big prickly canes.  

Today, it is loaded with foliage and flower buds.  Hah!  Fooled me!  
The Metrosideros 'Springfire' on the other side of the short wall (orange flowers) is well on its way to becoming an effective screen to hide the house next door.  Feeds Hummers, too.     
Next on the tour, the adjacent Koi pond garden.  Start on the north side of the pond, looking east at the 'Oshi Beni' Japanese maple bed, with Hellebores, Alstromerias, Salvias,  Fuchsias not yet blooming, an Itoh Peony just waking up, Abutilon 'Souvenir de Bonn', and still mostly dormant Dichondra argentea.  The maple is just leafing out.  Two years ago, I hung an Oncidium flexuosum orchid in the maple.  The orchid has been happy, getting full sun in the winter and dappled sun in the heat of summer. 
 Stand directly to the right of the Acer, and see Callistemon 'Slim's lavish spring show of red flowers.  Beyond are Iris and roses, with not-fully-leafed out Parthenocissus on the stucco wall.  The Parthenocissus almost eliminates fierce reflected summer heat from the stucco.  It's also a beautiful grass green, and since we have no lawn, the Parthenocissus is a more climate-appropriate swath of that pure green so restful for the eyes.
That gate leads to the gully garden.  We'll go there next, but first we'll finish up with the koi pond garden. 
 On the south side of the pond, Salvias, Hydrangeas (not yet in flower), Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty', Kalanchoe luciae, and Aechmea 'Orangeade'.  That gate leads back to the "Veggie" garden. 
 We'll look back at the Koi Pond garden before turning away to go down the stairs to the gully garden.
 Looking down into the gully.  Salvia 'Amistad', another Metrosideros 'Springfire', waaaaay too many volunteer Nasturtiums, Mexican Tulip Poppies, pink roses, and the Mexican (Key) Lime tree. The Mexican Lime is full of flowers that have, unfortunately, no scent whatsoever.
From higher up...
 More Callistemon 'Slim' at the bottom of the gully.  Down here are Salvias, Eremophilas, and the Callistemons for the female and fledgling Hummingbirds and warblers.  The adult male Hummers constantly fight over and defend the Grevilleas out front from all other birds, apparently including their mates and offspring.  I'm glad the less aggressive hummers have access to nectar in other places in the garden.  
 Turning west to proceed up the gully, Proteana is at the top of the property.  Grevilleas, Proteas, Agaves, Aloes, and California poppies again.
 Lots of poppies.
 Now we are nearly all the way around the garden, looking back at the lupine-and-poppy-covered slope with citrus trees that we saw near the beginning of the tour.

Lots of flowers all over the garden.  The winter rains made it all look good.  Happy Bloom Day!


  1. Oh yes, I love the wideview bloomday...your garden is looking FABULOUS!

    1. Thank you Loree!

      Surely this explains why I go nuts with joy when it rains?

  2. Ah! This long trip all around your garden with wide views was quite a luxurious treat! Thank you. The winter was good to you. Happy GBBD!

  3. It's all pretty awe-inspiring, but the shots I keep going back to are the ones with Callistemon 'Slim' in full, fiery bloom balanced by the Parthenocissus* on the wall across the pathway. (*Is yours Boston ivy or Virginia creeper?)

    In Kris's bloom day post, I was similarly riveted by a mass of hot red, and a look out the window here makes it obvious why: We're in a moment of overwhelming fresh spring green as the tender beech leaves expand to join with the lawn and pasture grass and every expanding perennial and shrub -- and my eyes crave the complementary color. Must get some fiery tulips...

    1. Boston Ivy.

      The Callistemon spring bloom is the most spectacular, but they rebloom if they get some water. A touch of red here and there in the garden is the perfect accent. (Though the Callistemon provide more than "a touch".)

  4. Oh, hey, isn't that your newly extracted and planted cypress stump in the Japanese maple sector? What an excellent addition; not only attractive in itself, but also balances and echoes the Oncidium in the tree (and should be equally happy with the winter sun/summer shade conditions).

    Speaking of perfect placement, thumbs up on the orange Aechmea! Picks up on the terracotta towers across the way and the warm tones around it, and sets off the fine-textured Lomandra, which returns the favor as well as making a great transition to always-glorious Salvia 'Amistad'.

    And speaking of salvias, I just learned to my horror that rosemary has been lumped into the genus by those can't-stop-won't-stop taxonomists, who want it labeled Salvia rosmarinus. If anyone less authoritative than John Grimshaw* had delivered the news, I flat wouldn't believe it. Surely we can wait this out, in hopes the splitters will recover the upper hand. (*via his highly recommendable Instagram feed @johnmgrimshaw)

    1. 'Love and Wishes' Salvia, actually. 'Amistad' is not well-behaved enough for that smaller space.

      There was an empty spot left by the Senecio cadicans 'Angel Wings' that died (sob!) so I put the Aechmea there, and it worked! I must thank the Senecio for dying, though...sob!...I'm sorry it did.

      Salvia rosmarinus? Seriously? Good grief. Was that an executive order from Trump?

    2. LOLsob! It's the horticultural equivalent, anyway...

      Is this the first year for Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito' in your garden? What section is it in?

    3. 'Blanche Ito' is in the 3rd photo, right below the blooming Agave. Lots of buds still to open. You might be able to make out the two flowers that have opened...an orange blot on the stucco wall. Planted 'Blanche' mid-June, 2018.

  5. Thank you for the well-rounded tour, HB! It goes without saying that your garden is looking fabulous. The sight of your Callistemon 'Slim' may single-handedly cure my reservations about red-flowered bottle-brush. I thought of your avocado tree when you-know-who was threatening to close the southern border and thought I might have to come begging for fruit at your door one day. (I should probably go ahead and plant a tree anyway given how those foolish propositions seem to reappear at intervals.) Your roses are already looking great, while mine (other than 'Joseph's Coat') are just hinting about blooming.

    1. Look for a 'Carmen-Hass' avocado as they bear gradually throughout the year instead of sort of all at once. Squirrels love avocados so it is always a battle to get some before the squirrels do.

      The 'Slim's are just covered with flowers. It's quite amazing. They like rain.

  6. I lift my eyes to the quiet hills - that view across your garden lets the soul breathe ...
    For green to rest the eyes, I have to make peace with my inherited ivy walls - which I will trim, again, tomorrow.

    1. Most every tree in the neighborhood has a good crop of fresh foliage because of the excellent winter rain we got--that's been a wonderful green swath, too. They have not looked so healthy since 2011.

  7. Oh Hoov your garden just looks beautiful this spring ! By far the fragrance of Citrus blossoms is my favorite. So many memories from back in the day when orange groves were all over the place in Socal. Wishing you a little more rain before the dry season kicks in.

    1. On the news it appeared your area was getting a rain shower or two today--we won't get any. Our rainy season is over, but it sure was a good one. Today I scratched back the thick mulch in one non-irrigated bed and the soil was still beautifully moist.

      Yes the citrus fragrance is the very best. On the Sunday Drives of childhood, we could smell it for miles and miles, along with Dad's cigarette smoke and the Oldsmobile's exhaust. Long ago and far away.

  8. I love the wide shots - just beautiful. Of course your plants are fantastic but I find myself drawn to all the stonework and the walls. I love it.

    1. I like the walls, too. Thanks! It creates distinct "rooms", a concept that goes in and out of fashion, but a good concept nonetheless. Plus it helps hide the neighboring houses from view.

    2. Do your walls provide any protection from winds? I realize probably not from Santa Anas -- when they're at their worst, the air is so hot and dry that the wind speed isn't the biggest problem.

  9. Oh my gosh. Winter was certainly good to your garden this year. It is outstanding. Happy GBBD.

    1. Rain is magic! Rain did that to my garden. I hope this coming winter is rainy again...

      Happy GBBD. All your Daffodils are so lovely, like happy faces smiling.

  10. Your garden is more beautiful this year than ever. And that photo of 'Blanche Ito'! Perfection.


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