Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Late Bloom Day Post

I missed Bloom Day on May 15th and I'll probably miss the June Bloom Day also, but here is what is in bloom in my garden at the moment.

It's easy to see why this plant has the sub-species name, Firecracker. It's a Galvezia speciosa or Island Bush-snapdragon. It is native to the bluffs and rocky canyons of Santa Catalina, San Clemente, and Guadalupe islands off the coast of Southern California. I got mine as a cutting from my friend Kathy under false pretenses. She said it was a California fuschia (Zauschneria) and then realized that it wasn't but couldn't remember what it was. Now I have a hard time remembering what it's true name is, too. This year I have had more blooms on it than ever before. I must be doing something right.

It sits right below this beauty, Lavatera maritima, a most satisfactory plant beloved by birds of all kinds. The hummingbirds go from flower to flower sipping nectar, the Bushtits comb the leaves and branches for bugs, and the migrating warblers do the same. Ground birds like the Hermit Thrush and White-crowned Sparrows like to hunt and peck in the leaf mat that collects underneath. The bush has grown very large and the small birds can hide from predators in the tangle of leaves and branches inside. The branches cannot hold the weight of the squirrels and cats, so the birds are relatively safe. I cut it way back last fall and it seems to have enjoyed the rest. Otherwise, it grows and blooms constantly.

The Lion's Tail, Leonotis leonurus, has started to bloom again and the hummingbirds are very happy about that. This is another bush that I cut back drastically in the winter.

I'll bet you don't recognize this plant on the right as the Mickey Mouse plant, Ochna serrulata, that I blogged about last March. The yellow flowers have dropped leaving the sepals to turn bright red. The berries which are green right now will turn black and as soon as they do, the mockingbirds will be by to gobble them up. That's probably how this plant got started in the first place.

And then there is my lovely bougainvillea. This plant started out in a pot, a hanging pot no less, that I bought at the nursery. When the plant looked like it was done for, I moved it to the side of the house just outside my bedroom window. That was a stroke of luck because, as frequently happens, it liked this new spot much better and started putting roots down into the ground. Before I knew it, I had a huge, beautiful plant with lovely blooms to look at through the window. Apparently, this variety with purple-colored flowers, Bougainvillea glabra, prefers more shade than the usual bright red kind.

All of these plants are drought tolerant and are also well-established in my yard. So when Los Angeles starts water rationing, which they are threatening to do, I'll be ready.

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