Bloom Day--first anniversary edition!

I popped a bottle of bubbly and sipped mimosas while picking pictures for this month's special Bloom Day! Not really! But that would have been nice!

In fact, I was waiting for the coffee to brew. I would have stayed in bed another hour but Guy reminded me my car was parked in the street cleaning zone and needed to be moved immediately. Because that's a $40 ticket I don't need right now.

But back to Bloom Day! It's been a year already! Amazing. I was just gaining confidence as a gardener when Bloom Day premiered this month last year. We've come so far together since then. I've been on board every month. Participating is one of garden blogging's finest pleasures imo. At this point, if I ever anticipate being out of town on the 15th, I will plan to make arrangements for a friend to visit the garden and make the Bloom Day post so at least the garden and the blog will participate even if I am not able to be there myself.

Okay, on to this month's blooms...

Hardenbergia violacea
, still going. This could be its final Bloom Day appearance in 2008, but never say never. (I'm sorry, was that a non sequitur?) You can see in this picture some of the proximal flowers have fallen off the raceme. But the vine is so florific, just by sheer numbers there could still be extant flowers in March.


This vine debuted on Bloom Day last December and I applaud it for getting me through the winter. I recently discovered the pale pink-flowering version of this plant at my nursery. That would actually be nicer than this purple because I have so much purple in my garden already.


Debuting on Bloom Day this month, Cobaea scandens (premier on the blog here). This is its second flower. Flowers appear 12 feet above the ground and I had to hang my camera over the deck railing to snap this picture. Soon the vine will cover the railing with flowers that I will enjoy while relaxing in the deck chair, sipping mimosas. Or coffee.


Down in the garden, muscari blooms in a pot of mixed muscari and daffodil.


The daffodils are taking their sweet time, and it seems entirely possible the tulips will show first this year.





That's kind of funny, because I bought two pots worth of tulip bulbs as an afterthought long after all the other fall bulbs were in the ground. These bulbs were moldy remnants on sale for 50% in the 'last call' section of my local nursery last November.

Hyacinths are making good progress. Some weeks ago a garden pest came along and rasped the top of an emerging bud, deforming it badly. But I don't care. These are 'Gypsy Queen's, from Old House Gardens' fall bulb sampler.


You'd think I'd know better than to show buds. If you're a newbie to Garden Blogger Bloom Day, take a bit of advice from a wizened elder. Never, ever, under any circumstances, show buds of what you expect to have in bloom next month. The surest way to have no flowers for Bloom Day is to promise them the month before. I've been promising orchid blooms since December. Ha!


And last month I intimated there would be Ceanothus flowers by now. Not so fast, mister!


Instead, we have to rely on the stand-bys. These plants I practically forget about because they're always flowering. Abutilon and Tibouchina.



Everything else has just a single flower or striking buds.

Verbena lilacina buds look like little raspberries at the ends of long stems.


This could be one of those times when Bloom Day happens, and then five days later, everything flowers for real.


I have these Ipheion uniflora tucked in the ground here and there all over the garden. I only found one flower this morning.


A Cerinthe major who volunteered in a large potted rose.


The bees love its flowers, and this plant will be covered with them when it enters full bloom.


Salvia spathacea, a rugged, somewhat unattractive native that works better in gardens at the back of the border. In my garden, it's in yo face next to the birdbath. Hummingbirds come for the flowers and humans appreciate the intensely fragrant foliage (kinda fruity).



Arctostaphylos pajaroensis 'Lester Rountree' still has a few clusters of urseolate flowers. Urseolate, and resembling huckleberries, because they're in the same family: Ericaceae. Although so are rhododendrons and those flowers don't look anything like these, so whatever. Soon the flowers will be gone and replaced by clusters of green-to-red fruit that look like little apples. Hence the common name, manzanita. Manzana is Spanish for apple.


Here and there a tattered primrose.


Bid adieu to this Cyclamen. The spreading Salvia uliginosa is about to smother it, perhaps forever.


And say bonjour to the Tiarella. These form a carpet of flowers that can be appreciated en masse. But when there's just a few flowers, better to enjoy them close up.


Anemone for fritillary?


The most visual excitement in the garden continues to come from the foliage of Echium wildprettii.


Words for this plant's foliar drama: raucous, writhing, tempestuous.


Can you see the flower buds forming in the leaf axils as the single trunk stretches upward?



I'm trying to remember use the "Bloom Day" tag so I don't have to link to them one by one anymore.

Thank you for coming by and Happy Bloom Day!


Anonymous said...

Fabulous! How I love, love, love your blog. My fave for this post is the Echium wildprettii!

Frances, said...

Love the salvia, anemone, echium. I know what you mean about waiting for the orchids to bloom, they can stay in bud for months, but it will be worth it when they finally open up. I like the mimosa vision as you gaze out upon the garden loveliness.
Frances at Faire Garden

Carol Michel said...

I feel just darn right deprived of flowers now, after seeing all that you have in bloom. No matter how often I visit your blog, I'm still amazed at all the plants you grow that I've never heard of. At least this month you have some buds of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths and I KNOW what those are.

Now, I know you don't want me to say thanks but it wouldn't be polite of me not to mention that I am very appreciative of your kind words about bloom day and your faithfulness in participating each month!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your anniversary, Chuck! It *is* cool how much significance the 15th has now, isn't it? After seeing your amazing offerings, I'm at a loss to choose one favorite. But wow, that echium is truly stunning.

kate said...

It was great to see a Cobaea Scandens vine flowering at this time of year. I love that vine.

I hope you post a photograph of your anemone when it opens. The colour of it is gorgeous.

The Echium is gorgeous. It will look incredibe in bloom.

Annie in Austin said...

Pam/Digging will have to wipe drool off her keyboard after she sees your Echium wildprettii. It's amazing. I like the blue of the Ipheon, too, Chuck.

You always seem like a seasoned plantsman...reading that you were just gaining confidence as a gardener one year ago is mind-boggling.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

[You're very good at telling us the names of all these unusual plants... but I'm not good at remembering them, so thank you for your patience in labeling them over and over. Tibouchina -that one's starting to stick!]

Christopher C. NC said...

The Echium wildprettii is very reminiscent of the Haleakala Silversword, but it is in a different family. Wonder what its natural habitat is like? If they are similar high altitude adaptations.

chuck b. said...

Christopher, the E. wildpret comes from the Canary Islands. I've seen pictures of it in very dry-looking rocky soils. Not sure if those pictures were taken in the native range, or whether it comes from altitude.

Annie, yep I only started gardening in 2004. I credit blog-reading, three hort classes at City College, and volunteering at the Botanic Garden for my somewhat accelerated learning.

Kate, oh there will definitely be pictures of the anenome when it flowers. Looks like it should happen soon, I guess..?

Nan, yes the 15th is very significant, and it is really amazing. Carol started something very cool. But it takes everyone else's participation to make it so special.

Carol, you're welcome and thank you again and again and again.

Frances, you come to San Francisco and I'll mix mimosas.

Anonymous, I'm glad you enjoy the blog; thank you for participating.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd just finished mopping the drool off my chin and was scrolling through your comments when I saw Annie's. She is right on the money. I was going to say that you could just show the Echium and the Hardenbergia violacea vine, and I would be perfectly content. The rest are good too, but those are show-stoppers.

Unknown said...

"Writhing." I love that. More plants should writhe. So should more people, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, you are such a fabulous plant collector! The number of interesting, beautiful plants you grow in your little garden is astounding! and they all look so happy - my hat is off to you, pal - if I was wearing a hat right now, that is.
I too, am a huge fan of your Echium wildprettii - I have to find a source so I can have that in my garden, too.
Thanks for the beauty!

Grandma Ann said...

Hi Chuck B.,

I just found the comment you left on my blog and thought I'd come over here and take a look at yours. Great photos!

mmw said...

Is that Cymbidium in a container? I bought some cut flowers last week, stared at them a little too long, and spent most of the weekend looking at very expensive orchids online. I managed not to do anything stupid, but I am going to have to try some soon.

chuck b. said...

Yep, I divided the cymbidium from a parent plant a couple years ago and planted clusters of three pseudobulbs in regular 1-gallon pots. Then I sank the pots in the ground.

Grandma Ann, I really enjoyed visiting your blog, especially all the astronomy posts!

Germi, my garden is sooo overplanted. I'm curious to see how it's all going to turn out. ;)