January 2022 Blooms

Aloe 'Moonglow'

The highlights of January are Aloes, but other plants are showing off, too.  

Leucadendron 'Bells Sunrise' (aka Wilson's Wonder'

The maturing Leucadendrons look great.  'Wilson's Wonder' above,  'Reverse Polarity' below.  I now get why they called it 'Reverse Polarity'--red on the outside of the bracts, yellow on the inside.  It has never looked so good. 

The blooms are actually tiny, on cones surrounded by the colorful pollinator-luring bracts:

There are 'Wilson's Wonder' cones: 

 'Reverse Polarity':

I also get how the petite Leucadendron 'Harlequin' got its name:  the previous year's bracts have and remain reddened, while this year's are ivory, a dramatically contrasting effect, like a Harlequin's costume:

We had a quite cold (for us) December and first week of January.  December also gave us generous rainfall.  January unfortunately has been completely dry.  

First Freesia buds appearing.  The flowers will be opening next month:

The Hellebores awaken and will be another February highlight.  The foliage on this one is as attractive as the flowers:

 The roses should not be overlooked.  They almost always bloom well in December and January, smaller in quantity than the rest of the year, but higher in quality:  larger, with more petals, richer colors, and no Thrips damage.  

No wonder I can't give them up:

More pink gully roses.  Extra lovely at a time of year when their foliage is disheveled.

The Rhodanthemum hosmariense seedling found last year, carefully transplanted and cared for, is full of flower buds:

The species has yellow centers.

 Rhodanthemum 'Casablanca' flowers display a golden crown in dark centers.  The flowers are slightly larger than the species, but both are excellent plants.

 For some reason this patch of Leucanthemum flowers in winter.  The rest here flower in spring:

Another volunteer seedling from last year was a  Lavender.  Pinched back multiple times, it has formed a full, rounded plant.  Most of the other seedlings did not survive the summer.  This one, left where it sprouted, has done well.  Last years' dry, dry winter may have contributed to the failure of the seedlings I moved. 

A Fuchsia here and there.  The rain did it.   These look like parachutes floating down to land on the Hellebore leaf. 

Echeveria coccinea:
Kalanchoe beharensis, flowers not quite open.  That chunk of concrete keeps the plant from falling over:
Albutilon 'Victor Reiter'
Agave 'Joe Hoak'.  In the background the neighbor's Viburnum tinus hedge with its clusters of small white blooms: 

Grevilleas. 'Moonlight', and 'Peaches and Cream':

Salvias.  'Pavement Series Purple' , 'Waverly' , 'Ember Wishes':


I was going to hold off and do an All-Aloe-Flowers post, but maybe I'll do that as a retrospective in late May.  Here are what has opened (or is getting close) so far: 

'David Verity' (arborescens x (ferox x arborescens): 

ferox (white version)


ferox (orange version):

 the other ferox (white version), looking stressed:

candelabrum (formerly classified as a form of ferox):


A. hardyi (recovering from being covered up by an Agave and then a move):
The original rosette is badly battered, but healthy new rosettes have grown below the original on the stem, not visible in the photo:

rubroviolacea (young plant):
 rubroviolacea (mature plant):

capitata hybrid grown from seed from a plant in the garden:

capitata quartziticola:



All together now...
Looking good, thanks to that December rain. 


  1. I'm a fan of orange in the garden so I find the vibrant blooms of Ferox candelabrum particularly fantastic! I'll remember your opening photo (the stunning A. 'Moonglow' against the darker background) and colorful ending shot as inspiration later today, when I slosh around my muddy garden in rubber boots ;-D

    1. Muddy. Slosh. Something for me to envy! Getting dry here yet again.

      Yellow and orange seem to thrive here. More delicate colors bleach out quickly.

  2. Amazing to find the different varieties of leucadendron are not just marketing ploys, that there's such a range of personalities e.g. 'Reverse Polarity'! Beautiful group shot of the aloes, and a vaseful of roses in January too!

  3. So many amazing aloes! I love them, especially 'Moonglow' that you started with. Another moon, Grevillea 'Moonlight' also steals the show for me.

    1. Lots of 'moon' in plant names. Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' is another.

  4. Leucadendron 'Reverse Polarity' looks a lot like what I planted as 'Blush', although your "flowers" appear to be larger. I've yet to see any buds on my Freesias or my Rhodanthemum/Pyrethropsis. I went back to the WFO Plant List in an effort to determine which is the accepted name for Moroccan daisies and came out of the experience more confused than ever. The new version of "The Plant List" lists both classifications as accepted but neither cross references the other. Rhodanthemum at least lists the old names of Leucanthemum and Chrysanthemum as an synonyms, while Pyrethropsis lists neither. Ugh! There's probably a way to take a deeper dive but I'm avoiding that rabbit hole...San Marcos Growers references the inconsistency so I'm not alone.

    I love your roses (even if I'm close to giving up my own) and your Aloes never cease to impress. We got 0.01/inch of unexpected rain this morning - and a tsunami warning due to an undersea volcanic eruption off of Tonga!

    1. I have 'Blush' as well--it is a smaller scale plant at least in this garden. 'Reverse Polarity' is more 'Safari Sunset' sized.

      I decided Rhodanthemum was easier to spell correctly, so I went with that one, and also the "likely the authors intended name of Rhodanthemum hosmariense is correct" phrase on the San Marcos site.

      As a very amateur gardener, I'll leave the controversy to the Botanical Nomenclature PhDs.

      There's that Aloidendron/Aloe thing, too...

      We got 0.01 here also. Better than nothing!

  5. Those Leucadendrons are just amazing. Smashing photo of all the aloes together - so very beautiful...

    1. Thank you! The Leucadendrons are quite wonderful plants. So lucky to be able to grow them here.

  6. Your Aloe 'Moonglow' flower color is interesting. Mine is yellow.

    1. Climate difference? Mine are a pale yellow, then as the flowers get close to opening they get a hint of orange, then when they open they get very pale yellow. Yours are yellow-yellow?

  7. Wow. Everything is looking fantastic. How many aloes do you have in the garden? Must be quite a show when you can see them in situ.

    1. I think about 70 different species and cultivars in my garden. Yikes! How did that happen?!?!??

      They don't all flower at this time of year. I think there is an Aloe flowering here almost year round, though the big show is winter.

  8. Oh my goodness! Fabulous! I remember how amazing the Leucadendrons were out your way when we've visited in the past. 'Reverse Polarity' is particularly stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wonderful plants, the Leucadendrons. Rabbits ignore them. Pests ignore them. Lucky to be able to grow them!

  9. My kind of post! Your plants are at least two weeks ahead of mine! Happy to see your Aloe candelabrum in flower! First time?

    You're the first person I know to actually have planted a Leucadendron 'Reverse Polarity'. What's your experience?

    I also have both forms of Rhodanthemum, but I much prefer the darker centers of 'Casablanca'. What a great and criminally underused plant!

    1. Yes, first time for candelabrum. :)

      'Reverse Polarity' is similar to the also-excellent 'Safari Sunset', perhaps a bit wider in growth habit.

      I looked EVERYWHERE last year for more Rhodanthemums. No one had it. Discovering a seedling sprouted on the west slope was a thrill. 'Casablanca' seems to have a longer flowering season. Mine bloomed and bloomed for months.

      Agree, an outstanding plant here in CA.


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