Friday, February 13, 2015

Sunny Yellow

Berlandiera lyrata
I looked down this morning to find an unexpected flower.  Berlandiera lyrata, the so-called Chocolate Flower, was just opening its first bloom.  I knew that the plant had been looking happy and healthy but hadn't realized it was ready to start springtime.  But there it was!

B. lyrata gains its name from its fragrance.  It is said to smell like chocolate - on hot, still days.  Obviously, the fragrance isn't overpowering!  I certainly smelled nothing this morning, when we had strong, cool winds blowing.

Scent aside, the plant is native to the Chihuahua Desert of New Mexico, so should be a good choice in a desert garden, particularly here since it is tolerant of clay.  Also, the flowers are said to dry well so I hope to use future blooms in my Monday vases.

Having discovered this chunky little bloom, I looked around to see the other yellow daisy-type flowers in bloom.  Tetraneuris acaulis has started flowering again.  Forgive the washed-out condition of these photos, please!  The sun was very bright when I grabbed my camera.
tetraneuris acaulis
Then there is the marguerite (Argyranthemum frutescens), with its long bloom stems carrying daisies all round the still-tiny plant.  This is certainly a floriferous selection!
Argyranthemum frutescens, marguerite daisy
Another bit of yellow - but not a daisy - comes from the slender trumpets of Eremophila "Outback Sunrise".  I showed a cut stem blooming in last Monday's vase, but now the flowers are opening all along the branches in the garden.  This is a much quieter yellow, a hue with a green tint which makes the blooms blend with the bright green foliage.  The plant is more graceful than I thought it would be when I first bought it.  It needs a tree planted above it to fill out the effect, probably it had better be a tree that doesn't cast too much shade!  This, of course, is one of the Australian natives that seem to grow particularly well here.
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", emu bush
I found the following link, sent me by a friend in Australia, to be quite interesting so I'll add it here:   It reminds me how recently some wonderful plants have been brought into cultivation - and with how much effort by dedicated plantsmen.  Thanks for the link, Elizabeth!

"Outback Sunrise" has a completely different growth habit from "Valentine", the other Eremophila I am growing.  "Outback Sunrise" is a variety of E. prostrata, and its habit can be deduced from the name.  It is so far low-growing, with arching branches spreading outward; leaves are lightly serrated and glossy green - an unmistakable, strong green, not always seen in desert-adapted plants with their tendency to muted, grey hues.  I am not sure just how far it will reach; various sizes are quoted for this plant.  It has been very drought-tolerant, but I've started giving it a bit of extra water as temperatures warm up and the plant goes into full bloom.

There are still lots of unopened buds!
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", emu bush
One more bit of yellow?

The little viola flowers blooming beside the path down from the patio...
There are all sorts of yellow in the garden right now!
Eremophila "Outback Sunrise", emu bush


  1. Gosh Amy, what a lot is going on in your garden!That little viola is just gorgeous - such a lovely clear yellow.

    1. That viola is a smile maker :) I'm wishing I'd gotten a mix with more yellow... Spring has certainly arrived here after what I am told was an unusually warm winter...

  2. It looks as though spring has arrived!

    1. Spring is definitely here, Kris - bird songs and new flowers... I have a hunch that there is wide variation here in terms of season length and severity.