Friday, April 29, 2016

First time blooms on my favorite plants for April.

I've been in various stages of the flu for about two weeks now.  Got the flu shot, not a covered strain.  I'm recovering slowly now and when I do get a chance to go outside I've been surprised at how amazing everything in the garden looks.  The biggest surprise are blooms on plants that rarely bloom or have not bloomed before.  On the last Friday of each month Lori at Danger Garden posts her favorite plants and asks garden bloggers to do the same.  Since these rare (for my garden) blooms caught my eye this week I'm putting them together for my favorite plants for April.

First up has to be Callistemon 'Little John' or dwarf bottlebrush.  One of the first plants I put in the garden back in 2010, I had given up on it ever blooming.  A big freeze the first year knocked it back to the ground and over the years it has basically been a foliage plant.  Too much shade?  Not enough water?  Hard to say what it was, but now this....



Definitely a "bottlebrush".  I was always fascinated by these blooms,


Funny thing is that several years ago I decided I didn't want red blooms in the front garden.  Now I might change my mind since these usually look best in groups.  Nope it won't get moved.  I tried transplanting one Callistemon from here to more sun and it died so I'm glad I left this one in place.


Creeping Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys aroanium) with purple blooms.  It's the same plant shown in my blog header photo, but I never told you it had only ever looked like that once--until now.  As it grew and spread it just never bloomed.  Must be something about this year, rain with intermittent sunshine, that has brought out the blooms on this and so many others.


Another first time bloomer is Bauhinia mexicana or Mexican Orchid.  We may have had a couple of sporadic blooms last year, but this is the first time for full bloom.  It needed three years to recover from a deep freeze the same year it was planted.


Supposedly deer resistant, the deer still nibble and so it gets a cage which allows it to bloom.  I think that as it grows taller (up to 8 feet) and stronger it might be okay.  A great understory tree for our area, I wanted this one for its white blooms which I hope to enjoy in the front garden from spring to fall each year.


This was labeled Hardy Red Amaryllis though it looks more pink to me now that it's blooming.  I had kept it in a pot for several years while trying to decide on a permanent spot.  Guess it prefers to be in the ground.  I bought this before I learned that good old Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) from the big box store is hardy here.  Now all my holiday Amaryllis go outside for reblooming.


Opuntia humifusa, a groundcover prickly pear cactus covered in bright yellow blooms.  Neal had to remove a bunch of wildflowers so I could see them. Gorgeous!




It's hard to tell but this reblooming orchid has three stalks blooming at once and it's at least the third rebloom.  Best advice is to treat it like a houseplant with good light and don't fuss.


Last but not least is the silvery twist leaf yucca out by the street.  If my track record with yuccas stays intact, the center will die out but there seem to be plenty of pups on this favorite to hold down the spot for a few years.


Creamy bell-shaped blossoms are always a standout.


Those a just a few of the plants that have been cheering me up as I venture into the late spring garden.   It's a good thing I took time to get photos today as we just had a hail storm.  Not big enough to do a lot of serious damage but I imagine some of these flowers will be knocked off in the morning.   Check out Lori's favorite plants for April and come up with a few of your own for May.

24 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Those bottle brush flowers are wonderful. I'm glad they finally decided to bloom for you. I hope you feel better soon.

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  2. The bottle brush flowers are kind of magical, so sparkly-looking. Sorry you've not been feeling well. I came back from Disney World with some kind of virus, I'm just now getting over it. I'm sure I've missed plenty in my own garden.

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    1. Being around so many people from all over can do that. Get better fast so you can get out in the garden more.

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  3. Isn't it wonderful when plants bloom for the first time in your care? Pretty nice when they rebloom, too. Yes, I love your advice for the orchid. They're no harder than any other houseplant. I love that Callistemon, but it's just a bit too tender to grow reliably here.

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    1. Shirley/Rock-Oak-DeerApril 30, 2016 at 8:47 AM

      Callistemon is apparently not quite hardy here either. Farther south in town they grow and bloom all over the place.

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  4. So tickled your bottlebrush bloomed for you at last! Ours hasn't been quite so particular, but this year it really knocked itself out so as you've proposed, I'd agree something about the weather we've been having pleases it.

    Most happy to hear you haven't had too much hail damage (fingers crossed that still holds!). I watched with dismay reports of extensive damage in your area and was fearful you hadn't posted for that reason. The flu is bad enough! Have a lovely healthy May and enjoy being back in your gardens again!

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    1. We're okay here, the big hail storm two weeks ago went around our neighborhood. There was so much damage to cars that the repair people can't keep up.

      I look forward to more time in the garden for sure.

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  5. Oh you're killing me! I had one of those Callistemon 'Little John' heading into the winter. I planned to baby it and then plant it out in the spring and enjoy it for at least a year (love the foliage), but it died! And not from the cold but because I was away at Christmas and it didn't get enough water. So sad.

    Love the Opuntia flowers, hoping to see many of those in my garden soon...

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    1. I know you're a callistemon fan Lori, so you're sure to get another one! I look forward to seeing your opuntia flowers soon way up there in Oregon.

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  6. I'm enjoying the green and white slipper orchid and nerines - which have both bloomed for the first time in YEARS

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  7. Each plant you introduced was as special as the last. The dwarf Bottlebrush has a great form and foliage (and of course, the bloom!). The Creeping Germander growing out of the pot -- nice touch! Congrats on the Orchid blooms. I'm always a sucker for Cactus flowers. And I LOVE Yuccas in bloom! They bloom around here in July, and are quite common (and native) to the Central Sands region of the state. Great post!

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  8. They're all lovely, Shirley. I wish I could find Bauhinia mexicana here. I've been planting my Hippeastrums in the garden too. They naturalized readily in my former garden but they seem slower to do that in this one.

    I'm sorry to hear you've been down with the flu but I'm glad you're feeling better. I hope that nasty weather also clears up soon.

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  9. All those beautiful blooms are a good restorative after a nasty bout of flu.

    I'very been hankering for a bottlebrush but New Braunfels gets a once-a-decade low freeze that kills them off...

    Was fun to see what's blooming in your garden.

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    1. I first fell in love with bottlebrush blooms in my childhood neighborhood in Houston which is Zone 9 so it's a stretch in San Antonio though I see quite a few of large ones here. The plant did take quite a hit during those two cold winters we had a while back.

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  10. We have a Mexican orchid, too. It hasn't bloomed yet and is a slow grower. Shirley, THANK YOU to you and Melody for making a special trip to Blanco Saturday for our anniversary celebration and open garden. I was SO honored that you both came. Truly! Thank you thank you! Please come again! Warm wishes, sheryl :-)

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    1. It was our pleasure! We would love to visit again and bring gardening friends who also appreciate your love of native plant gardens.

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  11. Glad to hear you had no hail damage. But, sorry you've been ill. Get better soon.
    Having things finally bloom...and, so beautifully...should help.

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  12. I have bottlebrush envy. Has this year been a good one with the mild winter or is it always this way? Such beautiful blooms. I have also seen weeping bottlebrush trees. Also gorgeous. And the prickly pear has outdone itself with blooms. I have some that are very shy to bloom. I think your germander is Teucrium cossonii. I have both and the wall germander is more upright with stiff stems.

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    1. I'm excited to have it finally blooming. I have to check that out. I have both also and T. cossonii is more silver but I might have changed the original out over time and not remembered.

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    2. You are correct that I misidentified the germander but it's T. aroanium which has slightly smaller leaves when compared to T. cossonii (which I also have in the front garden). Teucrium chamaedrys is more upright and entirely different and I have that one in the back garden!

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  13. How do you keep the deer from noshing on your yucca blooms. I didn't see a cage around it in your photo. My Mexican orchid tree is blooming nicely too.

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    1. They have never bothered any of the yucca blooms for some reason. That's the last one this year so I may get surprised next year. They go after the hesperaloe every year.

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  14. I would love if my prickly pear cactus would bloom. I have long admired the Bottlebrush. My Uncle grew it in his garden.

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