Sweet Hydrangea Alabama

 Leucospermum 'Scarlet Ribbon'

It seemed good to place two more re-blooming Hydrangeas in the re-worked bed transitioning from full sun to dappled shade courtesy of Baby the Oak.  

In our region, new shrubs are best planted at the start of the rainy season, but we do what we can do when we can do it.   

 And this is a remarkable rainy season:

Hydrangeas for sale were not to be found locally, since they are sold in flower, because people buy plants in flower.  A big-box home improvement store offered 'Bloomstruck', with free shipping, at a good price.  I was curious as to what a big-box mail order plant would be like.

They arrived during our Wednesday rain storm, and got planted during our Wednesday rain storm: 

The shipping label indicated they originated in Loxley, Alabama.  Extensive growing fields right along I-10, the main highway from east to Southern California.  Interesting. 

That being The South, there's a Waffle House a few hundred yards away:

Tired from their long journey down I-10, but not bad:


What the big box will be selling in our local store in six or eight weeks.  Mine won't be sitting on hot asphalt drying out. 

As rain fell, I watered them in with fresh collected rain water, and we got yet more rain overnight. 

The wire cylinder protects the tiny rooted Hydrangea cutting that eventually may be the bed's Hydrangea #4:

More Hellebores await transplantation into the bed.  The pot of Aeoniums needs to move when it dries out and becomes light enough to move.  Then for the next year or two, we can see how these plants will work in this location.  

 The theory is:  Hellebores offer interest in winter and early spring when Hydrangeas are dormant or leafing out, and that Hydrangeas offer interest in late spring, summer, and autumn, when Hellebores are fine green foliage clumps but less eye-catching. 

Elsewhere in the garden, before the rain arrived Tuesday night, I moved a few more small plants around and planted a new Salvia and the six packs of Verbena 'Imagination' and Marigolds.  They will provide color after the Dutch Iris finish for the year.  

A garden buddy also gave me some Verbena bonariensis seedlings, which I want for the goldfinches.  V. bonariensis is a rampant re-seeder, but--goldfinch food!  Got those in, too. 

Marigolds hopefully to flower after the Iris, simultaneous with deep blue Agapanthus in June, and for the rest of summer: 

Five more Marigold plants here.  The Lavender will eventually grow to fill the space, but this year Marigolds will add color:

What's to look at in the garden at the moment?

Leucospermum 'Pom Pom'.  I kept thinking--this plant reminds me of another plant--which one?  I realized yesterday it reminds me of "Saucer" Magnolias--Magnolia x soulangeana. 

This is the first of the two 'Carnival' Leucospermums purchased last year. 'Carnival Sunrise', maybe? 
The Matthiolas are lovely thanks to cool weather and rain.  Their fragrance is heavenly:

Then, an unexpected thrill, entirely due to the marvelous amount of rain we got this year.  What's so thrilling?

Those red tips are new shoots emerging from the Itoh Peony 'Misaka'.  'Bartzella' has some, too.  I am so happy to see those!!!!!!!!!   

The rain did this.  Rain is magic:

There's the new Salvia,  S. nemorosa 'Blue Marvel'.  'East Friesland' and 'Blue Hill' have been excellent here, even though S. nemorosa is classified for USDA 3-8, and this garden is in 10.  Perhaps they like the light soil and sharp drainage? 

Young Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' is starting to impress:

TB Iris, probably 'Cobra's Eye', dripping rain:
Forgot--bought some tomato plants, too. Grown here, a few miles away, not in Alabama: 


  1. They look pretty healthy, and they'll be happy in your garden, I'm sure. Lots of great blooms...and future tomatoes...yay!

    1. Well, I admit my tomatoes have not been successful in recent years. I'm going to put more effort into them this year--especially the pinching out of the side branches. Too much green growth!

  2. One of my favorite sights in spring is Peony buds pushing up. One more reason to love this plant.

    1. Here lacking winter chill we can't grow the gorgeous herbaceous type. I am still trying to figure out how to enable the kind we can grow (Itohs) to really, really thrive. 23" of rain almost double our historic average seems to be part of the solution. Seeing those pink tips emerge from the soil was truly a thrill, even though the rain did it, not me.

  3. You've made excellent use of our rainy weather. I topped 21 inches of rain for the season-to-date today! And I brought home another Leucospermum - L. cordifolium 'California Sunshine' - last weekend and got it into the ground in between the last 2 storms, along with all but one of my road trip purchases. No sign of bearded Iris blooms here, though :(

    1. Ooooh! 21"+ and a new Leucospermum! It doesn't get better than that.

      K got a very healthy and well-branched specimen of 'Rainbow' at Armstrong's a couple weeks back. They had two others and I was sorely tempted, but simply don't have a spot for one right now.

      Some of my TBI's have no flowers yet--depends on the variety. Soon, surely, you will. 21"+ will make it happen.

  4. It's odd to see "wet" photos of your garden... for a moment it feels like your garden is just around the corner :-D
    The bed where you planted the new hydrangea I spotted a plant I hadn't seen before: the outmost bottom of the photo, looking like fireworks of green w/red margins... what is that???
    I remember the heavenly scent of Matthiola. It was rather thuggish in my garden.

    1. I was wondering if anyone would notice that. You did! Aeonium 'Mardi Gras'.

      It's odd getting rain here--which is why California gardeners are mostly all obsessing about it.

      Matthiola incana thuggish??!?!

  5. I like your bloom plan with the hydrangeas coming in after the hellebores. Planning interest throughout the seasons is an area I could improve upon! Gorgeous iris & salvias. You are going to be a mess of blooms there in no time. I usually start tomato seedlings indoors, but didn't this year. I need to get my hands on some plants.

    1. "Interest throughout the seasons" is what I've been working on the past couple of years--a project in progress--it takes time, trial, and error.

  6. You're right 'Pom pom' does look like a little magnolia. I love all of your Leucospermum. So colourful with such unusual flowers. Rain is magical especially when you don't traditionally get much of it.

    1. We're very lucky to be able to grow Leucospermums. Magical, yes yes. The plants are crazy-happy this year--my normally 18" tall Iris are 42" this year.

  7. I'd love to learn more about how you keep track of your rainfall like that. I'm doing it the old fashioned way with a rain gauge that I have to record the data by hand and empty every morning.

    That is an incredible stark difference in greenness between your place and the waffle house.

    1. We gave ourselves as our Christmas gift the Davis Instruments Vantage Pro 2 weather station. Very pleased with it!

      The waffle house area was commercial ornamental plant production so the land was cleared--if you look around the area via google street view, there's lots of vegetation.

    2. Thanks! Going to have to look into that.


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.