Of course, I have added a good many plants during the intervening months. I have also focused more on learning to use annuals through the cooler months here, and the results are fairly good so far.
I am not going to give a complete overview for GBBD this March. I would rather look at some specific elements that are making a big difference in filling out the garden just now. And I will note the more seasonal bloomers for this time of year.
AnnualsFirst, a look at the annuals. Dianthus has been in bloom ever since I purchased a six-pack last autumn. Only six plants, but what a difference they have made, accenting the lower corners of the Central Bed! They are thick and bushy now. The photo certainly does not do them justice, but it gives a hint of how nicely they combine, in this case with Penstemon pseudospectabilis, of which more later!
Recently into bloom is Cerinthe major "purpurescens". This is the first time I have grown it, and I want to thank those of you who encouraged me to try it! Its foliage alone is worth a good spot in the garden, and the almost iridescent purple of the bracts is wonderful.
ShrubsAt the other end of the spectrum, structurally speaking, are the shrubs. I have added some new ones over the last few months and am enjoying bloom from Alyogyne huegelii, the so-called Blue Hibiscus...
The last flowering shrub for today's post is Leucophyllum frutescens (probably "Green Cloud", not "Compacta" as I had earlier thought). While this can flower at almost any time of year, it is worth noting that it has greened up well after looking wan and worn in late winter. A sudden small burst of bloom is a wonderful bonus.
LavenderFor the first time, all my lavenders are blooming simultaneously. Three Lavendula stoechas varieties and the dentata hybrid "Goodwin's Creek Gray" are proving how well suited lavenders can be to desert growing. This was something I had promised myself for this garden: a whole lot of lavender and collecting various kinds. The first goal I have begun, but the latter has proven more elusive and I must try a bit harder!
Two of the L. stoechas varieties are "Madrid" and "Blueberry Ruffles". The former has so far been much the more vigorous, but as BR finally comes into its own, I can admire the slightly bluer hues of the "ears". It is looking good now, and I am glad I did not toss it out last year as I repeatedly thought of doing! It is still a smaller, looser plant than "Madrid", but that is fine.
|Lavendula stoechas "Blueberry Ruffles"|
|Close-up of the tuft on top|
|Lavender "Goodwin's Creek Gray"|
PerennialsSalvia greggii varieties tend to bloom nearly year-round here; and I would not mention them in this post, except that I must gloat over "Autumn Moon". A vigorous but gradual cutting back has returned it to its former glory, much of which had faded into a non-descript mass of flopping stems, yellowish foliage and stunted flowers. So much so that I took some cuttings in an attempt to ensure I didn't lose the variety, which I have not seen available since I purchased this plant. But the parent plant has certainly come back into its own! Amusingly, this dainty cream and pink variety is favored by our female hummingbird, while the crimson "Flame" (also blooming well) is preferred by the male.
Another plant in full stride is Oenothera pallida "Innocence" and its seedlings. Like other Oenotheras, it does self-seed; besides which, it has grown quite large, perhaps 24 to 36 inches high and wide (about .7 to 1 m). I intend to begin transferring seedlings to the white garden, where its vigorous habit will be a definite advantage. For now, I am enjoying its large pure white flowers and delicious fragrance while trying to keep it from smothering nearby plants.
PenstemonsAnd it would not be spring here without the desert native penstemons. P. parryi has grown taller this year and bloomed even more heavily than last. The hummingbirds love it, but I have not had much luck getting pictures of them on it. This is about the best so far.
Bulbs, Corms, and SuchFinally, spring is the season for flowering bulbs and their kin. The best showing at the moment still comes from Ranunculus.
Well, I am finishing this post days after I began it. I've been busy with this and that -- including the garden -- and unable to complete this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post till now. Of course, in the meantime, a number of new plants have bloomed so I have been going around with the camera playing catch-up! However, the post is going up now with a minimum of new photos (only the Hippeastrum, really) since this is supposed to represent what was actually blooming on the 15th of the month. Time flies!
And, happily, rose "Graham Thomas" had already sent out its first bloom of the year!
Weather Diary: Sunny and fair; High: 88 F (31 C)/Low: 50 F (10 C)