I hate being sick.

As if being unemployed wasn't depressing enough, it would at least be nice to go to the Flower and Garden Show...

All the best lectures are happening today in the Tamalpais Room: Garden Bones (C. Colston Burrell), Alnwick Garden (Duchess of Northumberland), Small Gardens (David Stevens), Elements of Mediterranean Gardens (Kathy Brenzel), Versatile Vines for Small Gardens (Linda Beutler), Secret Gardens of Ireland (Dermot O'Neill)...

I would very much like to attend all of these discussions.

But no. I'm coughing like a dying smoker. My nose runs like the river wild. My head spins like...usual.

I don't think the other attendees would appreciate my presence seated in the chair next to them very much.

At this point, I'm riding out the tail end of illness. I can actually mobilize around the house a little bit. Maybe do some housecleaning for a change.

Perchance a short visit to the garden..?

It rained last night. The rain gauge says 0.11 inch.


That makes 11.11 inches in my backyard since January 1, 2008 when I started to keep track.

The rain's pushed everything down.


These daffodils were supposed to be white and pink. Instead they're white and...butterscotch?


And the freesia was supposed to be plain old white. Instead they're this color.


Whatever. No big deal.

I scored a $1.99 bag of 'Queen of Sheba'...


Thinking they'd make a nice pair with Hyacinth 'Gypsy Queen'.


But that's the only still-blooming bloom left of the hyacinths. Most of them look like this now.


Who was I to think I could coordinate bulb blooms like that? From now on I'll leave that to the masters at Filoli.

Also reaching seasonal exhaustion, the Hardenbergia.


One last glance until December?


While we're on the deck, a better picture of Cotyledon orbiculatum v. longfolium. Now imagine it with flowers. I need to clean that pot.


Down in the garden, Heracleum lanatum is reaching shrub-like stature. It's about six feet tall, and growing. It's invading the Ceanothus and pushing its way into the Fuchsia. I'm fascinated by the bulgy globes that precede the leaves and flowers. This one's like a heart of romaine or something.


With a young leaf bursting out of it, like the monsters in the Alien movies.


And flower buds on the Fuchsia boliviana v. 'Alba' are really proliferating. I'm so proud. But if these take as long to open as the orchid, I'm going to be verrry dis-a-point-ed...


The wildflowers I grew are starting to bloom in dribs and drabs. That's about right. If you follow the wildflower updates at Yerba Buena Nursery, a little bit south of me, they don't even start to pay attention until April.

This is a bud on Phacelia campanularia.


And this is what the flower looks like open, cupping a drop of last night's rainwater.


These snowdrops or snowflakes or whatever were kind of funny for me--stumpy little things for several weeks, then shooting up right away and going to seed. This turned out to be the plant garden bloggers everywhere had in their gardens this year, didn't it? Even me.


Peaking in to the growing tip of Echium wildpretii (which I chronically misspell with two t's), this is what you call an indeterminate inflorescence!


The cymbidim inflorescence on the other hand--quite determinate. Frances, if you're reading this, you were right--the flowers opened fully just a couple days after they began to open at all.


I've never grown blueberries before. Is it usual for the flowers to bloom before the plant has any leaves? I wasn't expecting that. This is a little 2' dwarf named 'Tophat'.


Here's a bit of wisdom you can bet on. You know those bags of mixed bulbs they sell at the nurseries with a picture of three or four different colored flowers? They are invariably bulbs of ONE COLOR ONLY. Or very nearly one. It's deceptive advertising. It's a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. I don't know why I still fall for it.


Despite the presence of those fluffy blue Ceanothus flowers in my garden right now, this little bee can't tear himself away from Cerinthe major.


Meanwhile, something else can't tear itself away from my Fremontodendron. Any ideas?


Blooming in the deepest shade of my garden, Omphalodes carpodocica--and Asarum caudatum...the little ruddy-colored flower on the ground in the lower left. I'll have to get a picture of it for Bloom Day.


Finally, while sitting on a bottom step, letting the sunshine nurture my sick body, and enjoying the fragrance of the rose geranium, I noticed the little five-part stigma. Cute!



Anonymous said...

Wow, that phacelia is intense. I saw one of those perennial shrubby echiums about to bloom in a median today and thought of you.

Frances, said...

Oh Chuck, I'm so sorry you're sick. Being outside taking photos of your lovely flowers helped your distress hopefully. Yippee about the cymbidium, it will make great bloom day pix. It looks like you've got lots. But too bad about missing all that great stuff at the flower show. :-<

Christopher C. NC said...

Sorry to hear you are feeling icky.

Your bulbs are way ahead of mine now. It was 62 degrees today and sunny so things are really moving along. Amazingly we keep discovering more clumps of bulbs coming up through the leaf litter.

Anonymous said...

Is this your Bloom Day post? It's fabulous. I still adore that Echium and WANT one. And yes, it was definitely the year of the snowflake bulb. Mine didn't last long either.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

I especially like the Omphalodes carpodocica, with the blue flowers and nice star-shaped leaves? calyces? below. I'm not familiar with this.

Take care.

chuck b. said...

Gardener, it's a borage family plant. I'm not sure why it's not more common. It takes awhile, but eventually spreads to 2 feet. I bought five for my client--only $5.99 in a 1-g pot.

Pam, ha! This might very well end up being my Bloom Day post--the forecast says thunderstorms on the 15th. If it's true, I'll be indoors, under a blanket.

Christopher, it's so weird--all the bulbs just *popped*. Meanwhile, the wildflowers seem to be lagging. I can't control these things.

Frances, thank you for sympathy. I'm such a man when I'm sick. Waah, waah, waah.

mmw, oh no--blooming in a medium--really? Now I have to rip it out.

Frances, said...

I forgot to mention that we started some cerinthe from seed, they came up so fast and are big seedlings. How big of a plant do they get? I am sure they are annual here, will they flower in one season? Love that blue. Hope you are better.

Unknown said...

Oh man, Chuck... that echium growing tip is fascinating! Is it as soft as it looks in the picture? (I'm imagining that it feels like one of the softer, less-rubbery koosh (sp?) balls.) I can't wait to see where cerinthe pops up in my garden this year, too.

Oh by the way... hope you're feeling better already!

Tira said...

Hope you get better soon and that’s a bummer missing the show. But you did a lovely post, I like to see the sculptural plants you have, like the Cotyledon orbiculatum v. longfolium.and Heracleum lanatum Even the flower buds on the Fuchsia are architectural. You an Pam always give me great ideas. Soon I’ll be gearing up for my SF visit in 3 weeks when I intend to do some plant collecting!

chuck b. said...

Nicole, the final spring storms are starting to roll through... i hope they're gone when you get here. Where are you going to go collecting?

Kim, the new growth is esp. soft and felty. The older leaves are felty too, but they're also kind of irritating. Hard to describe. After the flower fades the whole things gets very prickly and hard to be around.

Frances, The cerinthe is a hardy annual here. In warm weather it will start to flower a couple months after it germinates. In my garden, plants get 2-3 feet all around. Expect rangy, gangly growth when it's young, that eventually fills out. You can prune it if you need to, but I only do that if I absolutely have to (e.g., it's blocking foot traffic or something). It looks bad for awhile after pruning, but eventually recovers.

It drops an incredible amount of seed, even when the parent plant is still going strong. Seedlings are easy to transplant.

All the Cerinthe in my garden right now (I think there are six) are third-, and fourth-generation descendants from three plants I had last year. Yet more were composted, or given away.

chuck b. said...

"Blooming in a medium"? Jeebus. Median. I should not be posting or commenting or communicating with the world in my present sorry state.

Anonymous said...

As long as we're correcting typos, it's Omphalodes cappadocica, being from Cappadocia and all.

Tira said...

Thanks, Chuck-I hope the storms are gone by then, too!
I ordered a few succulents from a CA nursery to collect on SF, plus I'll dig around for cuttings etc. at my friends, I don't know if we'll get to any nurseries etc.-do you have any suggestions? I can only take home small plants and cuttings.

chuck b. said...

I don't have many suggestions for small plants and cuttings...

Cactus jungle in Berkeley maybe: http://www.cactusjungle.com/index.html

Also the San Francisco Botanical Garden has a sale on April 5, featuring epiphyllums. Not sure if that's in your time frame, but it's easy to propagate epiphyllums from cuttings.

Annie in Austin said...

No wonder you had to split up the blooms into two posts - they're beautiful and impressive, Chuck - from the little Phacelia to the bursting out Heracleum.

Wish some of my anemone turned out blue - I also bought mixed bags and so far all are either fuchsia pink or pure red.

I hope you get lucky with both health and employment,

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

Great stuff, Chuck! I love the raindrops clinging to everything...very refreshing. I was surprised to see you say you want to clean the pot that your Cotyledon is in...people spray their terra cotta pots with yogurt or milk to TRY to make that kind of lovely patina! Eyes of the beholder, I guess.