12/15/08

Bloom Day

December Bloom Day--already! Truly, it boggles the mind. Are you getting older, too? That's a joke. Of course you are. So am I. (Didn't say it was a funny joke.)

Anyway, a possible upside to the imminent arrival of 2009: the solstice is only 6 days away. As upsides go, that one offers cold comfort. It always takes oh-so-much longer to crawl up out of winter darkness than it does to slide down in. They say April is the cruelest month, but for me it's February.

In the meantime we have Bloom Day. I wasn't thinking about Bloom Day when I took some pictures on Saturday. But yesterday it rained and today I have to work.

Wouldn't this picture of Tithonia diversifolia be much better if the whole background was blacked out? At some point I will learn to make scans like Craig at Ellis Hollow. (Actually, I'm surprised more of us have not tried doing that.) I'm holding the camera way over my head to take this picture, and using the vari-angle LCD to frame the shot. These flowers are 6' up.

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I'm so pleased with this shrub, at least for the time being. It will require much pruning and shaping to stay in bounds, but I like that sort of challenge. The flowers are very fragrant and the foliage is groovy.

Up on the deck, the Hardenbergia violacea is starting to bloom.

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I think it was a little farther along last year at this time. Here you can see all the beady threads as a sign of things to come.

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And one more picture of it, just because December is a time of flower austerity.

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And one gratuitious shot of lingering red leaves won't hurt anybody, either.

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In the vegetable slash herb garden, the bright sun washes out the flowering spikes of Ocimum 'African Blue'. I guess I could learn how to dial down that glare a little bit.

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A passionflower on long vines dangling off the bamboo.

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If I had enormous piles of money, I would probably buy new chairs for the garden. This little spot needs something rounder, and more organic feeling. Alas, aesthetic garden seating cannot be a priority in austere times. A more suitable chair is a want not a need.

Even in times when I have nothing else to offer you, you seekers of blooms can always find this Abutilon. I weary of photographing it for Bloom Day, but it's my job and I have to do it.

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Also blooming: Two Cuphea, Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba', Cobaea scandens, and Omphalodes cappadocica (just getting started). Also, an orange Agastache blooming in a pot on the roof.

If you want to spend this dark December day looking for flowers, then you should start your search at May Dreams Gardens.

9 comments:

Carol said...

I want to get an Abutilon to keep inside, as it does seem to bloom in the winter time, when even inside not much is blooming.

And I have to say, I'd be so lost in San Francisco, horticulturally, because I rarely recognize what you have blooming. Though after all this time of reading your bloom day posts, some of the flowers are becoming more familiar!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

(By the way, did you add your name and url to the new widget on my blog that I set up to make it easier to find bloom day posts? It's at the end of the post...)

Frances said...

Hi Chuck, hooray for the first bloom day for the new camera. Your photos are bright, colorful and tell us that winter in your area is a far cry from the gray, brown and icy hues we have been seeing. I for one, am getting younger every day, in attitude anyway. :-)
Frances

Christopher C. NC said...

This is a pretty meager Bloom Day post for you, but if you just showed pictures of the Hardenbergia violacea you'ld still be up there for best post.

Les said...

I am with you on February, not only is it the cruelest, it is the longest. I love the Hardenbergia violacea, but will have to enjoy it on your blog as it will not grow for us.

sweet bay said...

Love the Tithonia diversifolia. Very nice!

lisa said...

Personally I'm not tired of your abutilon blooms (or any of the others), I may have to try one as a houseplant too. (My houseplants all seem to be "on strike" this year when it comes to blooming).

cloverann said...

Hi Chuck - I found this interesting article on using Tithonia diversifolia to improve soil: http://www.springerlink.com/content/r6u457k5561l758u/ I like this plant alot, and would love to try it here in N. Sonoma County: temp down to 24 last night - might be tough on it? How long have you had yours? I agree with others: Too many Abutilon pics? Never! Happy Holidays.

chuck b. said...

Hi cloverann, I think tithonia dies to the crown in freezing weather, but comes right back, at least if it's well-established by the time a freeze comes. This plant grows incredibly fast. I got mine in June I think.

My advice would be get it at Annie's next spring and plant it and by the time it freezes again, it will be all set for a quick recovery.

cloverann said...

Thanks, Chuck! I found some more good info on davesgardenweb. It will do fine here. I also saw it can be propagated by stem cuttings!
The botanical garden shots were great - leucodendrons? Need some of those, too..