January In A California Garden

Above, Aloe cameronii with Yucca 'Bright Star' foliage and the long shadows of winter

Aeonium flowers: 

A few more 'Firefighter' roses before I prune:
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'

An array of foliage variation from Gasteraloe 'Green Ice'.  

A polka-dotted central racing stripe:

Potted, the foliage was uniform: white dotted green streaks in a white overlay.  In the ground the plant is doing all sorts of wonderful things:Scattered dots, stripes of dots, white dots on white overlay, dotted racing stripes...
And the flowers:
Agave either 'Kara's Choice' or 'Kara's Stripes': 
Artostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths':
Banksia prionotes, now taller than I am.  It also has its first side branch.  The first flower bud has yet to appear and much anticipated.  The long zipper-teeth leaves are fabulous in the meantime: 
'Golden Celebration':
'Bishops Castle':
The Callistemons that now hide a neighboring house very nicely, thank you.  The late morning light was so harsh as to feel like summer. 
Pruning the Hydrangeas.  This purported "dwarf" cultivar is not:
Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' in his fabulous winter colors:
'Charles Rennie Mackintosh':
Aeonium, perhaps 'Garnet':
'Queen of Elegance':

The long lax branches of Acer palmatum 'Ryusen' in winter bareness:

The internet offers various translations for 'Ryusen'  -- "flowing waters" is one--and the name 'Ryu sei' is also used for this tree, with various translations including "dragon spirit" and "falling stars".  'Ryu sei' is according to one source the actual, registered name.  

Winter everywhere expresses sadness and beauty. 
January has been painfully dry--that here is our sadness.  How does your winter express itself?  


  1. I love that Gasteria and will have to look for it. I've no roses to get excited about but my garden already has a spring-like feel. I've got more Aeonium arboreum blooms than I can recall in any prior year - some are already toppling over under their own top-heavy weight. The white-crowned sparrows eat the flowers whenever I let the feeders go empty.

    1. Interesting that the sparrows eat Aeonium flowers! I see bees occasionally on mine, but that's it.

      Several different types of birds at the Aloe flowers, though. Warblers pulling them off and flying away with them...?!?!!

      Spring, nooo! Need more winter, we do.

  2. My garden is doing very well thank you. The citrus is ripening, that is, those that rats don't eat. Plenty of lemons this year. I could use one every day so fine is their aroma. Still seeing the last of the Roger's Red Gra'e, very late this year. Aloe arborescens is finishing up while E,tiricalli is still brilliant. I'm just 30 miles north of you, and aeonium is not yet blooming although it has grown quite tall

    1. I have good citrus this year also, must set some rat traps. That is the price of citrus and avocados, sigh.

      That grape does have stunning autumn foliage--quite late, indeed!

      Not many Aeoniums flowering so far here. Almost zero last winter. I think it was '18 or '19 when they all seemed to bloom.

  3. I would have been satisfied just looking that first photo you posted, a stunning view of the blooming Aloe cameronii and Yucca 'Bright Star'.
    I don't know much (anything) bout Banksia prionotes, so off to the internet I went. OMG. I'd be on it weekly to spy for buds.
    My 'Ryusen' is growing in a large pot. Whether "flowing waters" or "falling stars", it is gorgeous specimen. I fell for it some years ago and it took a while to find in a nursery. The thrill of the find helped with the pain of the price tag.

    1. I've been taking dozens of pictures of that aloe/yucca pair just so I can sit on the wall and stare at them. They really glow in morning light.

      Got 'Ryusen'/'Ryu sei' at a small chain hardware store in 2013. It was mislabeled as palmatum dissectum but obviously wasn't. The manager of that store appeared to be a keen plant lover who was obtaining whatever he wanted to grow by ordering some for his store--I found several very, very, choice plants there for big-box prices. Then the chain got bought by a larger chain and they shut it down.

  4. Ah, I want to be there right now. Dreaming...

    1. Our winter weather can be the best of the year. Trade you for some rain!

  5. I think your garden is looking particularly beautiful right now. We have lost most of our snow cover so not much colour other than browns and dark greens from the conifers.

    1. Lost snow cover? My sister in Alaska says the winter is much brighter and more bearable with snow because it reflects what light there is up north in winter, making the world a little brighter. A concept we do not have here.

  6. Our winter is very dry here in southern Wisconsin. Very little snow and now a few warm sunny days may melt it all. We need serious winter snowfall to replenish groundwater. Hoping we catch up in Feb. or March.

    1. Dry. Sorry to hear that. Know exactly what that is like. :( Best wishes you get that snowfall soon!

  7. The colors in that first photo are just mesmerizing... I just love those hot colors set against those cool, shady blues. Gorgeous!

    How is winter expressing itself? Not sure how to answer that. It doesn't feel much like winter at all, other than a single week after Christmas where we got a little snow. I guess it's only early February, so there is still time, but so far, it's been unusually stingy with any kind of precipitation - frozen, or not.

  8. I didn't know there was an Agave 'Kara's Choice' in addition to 'Kara's Stripe'. Gotta see what the difference might be. The variegation in 'Kara's Stripe' is very subtle already...


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.