December: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – My First Installment!
December 15th, 2008
My bougainvillea’s lipstick-pink bracts look almost iridescent in Southern California’s December sunshine
Dateline: Thousand Oaks, California
USDA Zone: 10
The journalist-observer in me couldn’t help but notice that when the 15th of each month rolled around, many of my favorite fellow bloggers wrote about this phenom called “Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.” They even included images of that day’s blooms in their own garden.
The instigator behind this movement is Carol of May Dreams Gardens, and somehow I thought I had to be invited by that select inner circle of garden bloggers to participate. Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening recently set me straight on that assumption and assured me that all I have to do is post photos of my flowers. She sent me an email with “No Rules for Bloom Day” in the subject line and a link to May Dreams Gardens with the “rules,” of which there really are none:
All you need to do to participate in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is post about what is blooming in your garden on the 15th of the month, or thereabouts, depending on your personal schedule. Then leave a comment on my bloom day post so we can find your blog and check out what is blooming in your garden.
I sort of cheated because I took these photos yesterday, Dec. 14th. I’m glad I did, though because today, Dec. 15th, we experienced a rare occurrence: RAINFALL. Don’t worry – I managed to spend plenty of time outside soaking up the raindrops while letting my dog, Zanny, run around and play catch with her favorite (now muddy) yellow tennis ball. It was a glorious day and everything is refreshed – in the garden and in our spirits. All the air pollution and dust has been washed off of the foliage and the soil looks wet and dark brown. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Here’s what I have to contribute:
Bougainvillea, seen here and above. It was inherited from the previous owner when we moved here in 2006. The first time I really noticed a bougainvillea was in 1999, when my sweet husband took me to Palm Springs for a surprise 40th birthday weekend. We were staying at the former Merv Griffin Resort and Givenchy Spa (how mid-century!) and there was an entire wall covered with the raspberry-colored display of bougainvillea. Little did I know then that I’d live in Southern California some day and actually have one in my garden. I’m trying to train it up to the the patio-covering arbor.
Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black’, also called pincushion flower – and also called ‘Ace of Spades’. This perennial (for me) has a delicious, dark-plum bloom. It’s a favorite of butterflies because they can use it as a landing pad while doing their thing. I purchased this plant in 2007 on a “garden gals’ field trip” to Annie’s Annuals (we actually took a road trip from SoCal to the Bay Area for the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show and Annie’s was a side trip). The scabiosa thrives and re-blooms so often I can’t keep up with the job of cutting back the old growth. So pretty as a cut flower, especially when combined with anything chartreuse.
Mystery rose, another “gift” from the former owner of our property.
I really like the delicate form of its single flowers, the crimson petals and the yellow centers. This rose, which is taller than me, has thrived despite little or no water in the area outside my dining room window. I have plans to renovate this bed, but first I have to hand-dig and remove the red lava rock “mulch” out of the bed, which may explain why this to-do remains on my list!
Echeveria hybrid in bloom. This is a close-up of the beautiful, costume-jewelry-like flowers, the stem of which emerges from the center of an echeveria. I have a wonderful display of echeverias, crassulas, sedums and other succulents in my kids’ old red wagon. It was once planted with spring bulbs or summer annuals (back in Seattle), but here, it is a perfect, low-maintenance container for a wagon-full of succulents. According to Lorraine Schulz and Attila Kapitany in “Echeveria Cultivars” (Schulz Publishing, Australia) the cut blooms of echeverias alway outlast more conventional flowers when brought indoors for an arrangement.
Well, that was fun! I’m happy I could join the Bloom Day party!