Although I don’t really like Valentine’s Day, I do like the fact that spring starts here in San Diego County in February. So to celebrate the day and the season, I thought I’d post photos of some new blooms that I took after our brief… and all too rare… rainstorm today.
This cyclamen had been a gift from my good friend Eileen several years ago, and every year it never fails to glow.
These bright gold beauties are left overs from seed mixtures I planted at the end of last summer. Borage is the big-leafed plant behind, also in bloom.
Over my thirteen years at this house I’ve collected heirloom bulbs and heirloom roses, even during the years when I really couldn’t afford to spend twenty dollars on something frivolous. Heirloom plants make me happy, and make me feel as if I’m contributing to the conservation of forgotten plants.
I buy all my heirloom bulbs from Old House Gardens (www.oldhousegardens.com). Visit them online, order a print catalog and indulge in the humor, the history and the sheer beauty of what this small company offers.
I have, as you might have guessed, a great fondness for daffodils. That includes jonquils and narcissus, of course. They are such happy, homely flowers; beautiful in their unusual form, and such a bright harbinger of spring! I’ve planted cheaper, non-heirloom daffs all around trees throughout my gardens and along my driveway. The heirloom ones I have separated in my front yard.
We don’t have many native bulbs in Southern California. That is logical, since we don’t have severe winters and plants never had to store their resources underground, protected from snow and ice. Many of our flower seeds, such as those of California poppies, need light to germinate and are best sown right on the ground. So bulbs such as my lovely daffodils don’t quite fit into a native garden, but instead remind me of colder climates. Also, gophers won’t eat the poisonous daffodil bulbs!
Several trees are breaking out in bloom; the crabapples around the pond, several apple trees, a plum, and this California redbud. I’m not thrilled about redbuds, but they do offer spring flower color, nice summer foliage, and fall color. What I like best about them is that they are nitrogen fixers, and improve the soil all around their roots.
Far too early for Easter, this Calla Lily appeared this week and made me remember my mother, who always bought them for spring. Mom’s favorite color was white, and although not her favorite flower (which was the orchid), the Calla lily seems the most like her: clean lines, unique shape and the glowing whiteness of sophistication.
Freesia is one of my favorite flower scents. It is fresh and not cloying or heavy. My other very favorite scents are yellow primrose (only the yellow ones have a fragrance!) and sweet violets (my favorite flower). And, of course, roses. The form that the freesia flower stalk takes, almost serpentile, adds so much to a garden’s shape. I like the yellow freesia the best, and they are also the most fragrant.
Growing up, I used to hate geraniums. Martha Washington and ivy geraniums covered the embankment of the backyard of the tract house we lived in in Carlsbad, CA. Every time a ball was lost in it, or one of our Shelties ran through them, the obnoxious smell of the geranium leaves was overwhelming to me. As I matured, however, I found out what a reliable friend geraniums can be. They take so much abuse and yet bloom all year ’round. The bright and dark reds are stunning and add just the right touch to other color combinations. I still prefer the less smelly vining ivy geraniums over the big-leaved Martha Washington varieties, and I let them clamber over my chain link fence, turning an eyesore into a trellis for beauty.
I hope my bouquet of flowers makes you happy. Happy Valentine’s Day!