Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden Blogger Bloom Day March 2009

Viola pedunculata

This is a rather tough perennial wild violet that grows on sparsely vegetated slopes. It goes dormant in our summer droughts (normal weather), withering down to its tough roots and then regrowing when the rains return. There's a nice sprinkling of them across the hillside above my vegetable garden. Two petals have maroon splotches on the back which you can see in the photo below.

Volunteer from Rosemary "Santa Barbara Blue"

The mother plant was planted years ago. I dug up a volunteer seedling that was growing nearby and put it into a pot. That potted plant moved with me to my last garden where it sat in its pot for four years. It then made one more move to my current garden where it finally found a place to spread its roots in the ground. I'm not sure that it came true to seed, but it seems quite close. "Santa Barbara Blue" is an upright grower to about 5 feet with fine needles and lovely blue flowers. I've found this rosemary to have a good flavor.

Rosemary "Arp"

According to my Sunset Western Garden Book, "Arp" (from Arp, Texas) is the hardiest rosemary, surviving temperatures as low as -10F. It grows to about 4 feet tall with an open habit. The foliage has a grayish tinge to it and the flowers are a very pale blue. I picked up my plant at the farmers market last year and am still figuring out where it will be planted out. I've not tried this rosemary in the kitchen yet.

Fava Superaguadulce Morocco Strain blossoms

Here's how the seed seller describes this fava bean: Mid to late season fava bean, with a bright green pod. A premium Moroccan strain of this wonderful variety that combines the large size of the 'super' varieties with exceptional flavor and sweetness. I've grown Superaguadulce favas before and really liked them so it will be interesting to see if this strain is different.

Crimson Flowering Fava

Another photo of this variety just because it is so pretty. You can see a faint splash of crimson at the base of the Sugeraguadulce fava blossoms.

Alyssum and Golden Corn Salad

I like the purple flowers of the alyssum alongside the yellow-green foliage of the Golden Corn Salad. Both are volunteers that popped up in my gravel patio.

Echeveria species?

"Necta Zee" Nectarine blossoms

Ceanothus, an unknown variety.

Grevillea, another unknown variety.

This is a BIG shrubby Grevillea that was planted by a previous owner. The hummingbirds love this plant.


  1. The Viola douglasii photo is stunning I can imagine a hillside full of them. The fava and Nectarine blossoms are also sweet. To be in a grove of those Nectarines in full bloom...nice.

  2. great photos. thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh you have made me happy and not just because I got to look at all your beautiful flowers. I'm in zone 6 and have tried overwintering Hill Hardy rosemary in the past. I always fail. Now I must find some Arp rosemary. Maybe it will survive.

  4. Love that Fava! I know you had it in an earlier post, loved it then. Who knew edibles could have such beautiful flowers?

  5. Lovely - especially the edible ones! I must look out for the crimson flowered fava, it's beautiful. The Santa Barbara rosemary has a lovely dark flower. We have one with a similar flower and it was covered with bees today.

  6. Very lovely flowers. I haven't seen a rosemary so blue as the Santa Barbara Blue. That little violet is sweet. I let the violas reseed in my garden. They are easy and fun. Favas- both- are interesting too. It is fun to see plants that we don't have on the east coast. Thanks for an interesting post.

  7. Lovely and unusual blooms...for a southeastern gardener! The fava blooms are stellar! gail

  8. Oh, okay, wow, major CA envy. What a bevy of gorgeous blooms! Love the echeveria, or whatever it is. Those always look like alien plants to me. Hooray for your traveling rosemary, and Arp sounds like a good one for our ever-colder winters up here. Happy Bloom Day!

  9. I think the Rosemary we get here is probably Arp, it grows all over the place and is really tough and hardy. We've used it in cooking, and also as kebab sticks for the bbq.

  10. Hi Michelle what a lovely collection of blooms you have there. I really love the viola and the nectarine blossoms.

  11. Randy, the viola doesn't put on a big show, but it is a sweet little thing to see. And it would be lovely to be in a grove of nectarines in full bloom! Too bad the Necta Zee isn't very tasty, I'm thinking of replacing it with something else.

    flowrgirl1, thanks!

    Daphne, I hope the Arp works for you, I'll be interested to see if it does. My Sunset Garden book says that Hill Hardy is good to 0F so maybe that extra 10 degrees of hardiness will make the difference.

    Town Mouse, I love that fava too, it's probably not the last time this season that I post a photo of it. Can't wait to see it it's as tasty as it is lovely.

    Chaiselongue, I imagine you should be able to find the crimson flowered fava, it is originally from the UK. The bees adore all the rosemary varieties in my garden, always a wonderful sight!

    Hi Janet, that little viola seems to favor the wild parts of the hillsides around here. I do let the Johnny-Jump-Ups volunteer around my garden though, they're such fun. Isn't that a great thing about blogging, getting to peek into gardens all over the world!

    Gail, thanks!

    Karen, oh I do love weird looking succulents, but I have huge problems with aphids and ants. That one open flower is already hosting both - yech. I never realized the problems that cold climate gardeners have with rosemary, it's almost weedlike around here. Hope that Arp works for you.

    Jan and Steve, the rosemary kebab sticks are a great idea! I throw rosemary on the barbeque when I'm roasting poultry or pork - it's great for smoking both.

    Hi Prue, thanks. The violas are cheery aren't they?

    Thanks everyone for stopping by a commenting! Happy Garden Blogger Bloom Day.

  12. Lovely post, Michelle. Love the broad bean flowers especially those crimson ones, and the rosemary too – it's such a fragrant plant just to be near. And I'm glad your hummingbirds like our Aussie grevillea – all our honeyeaters love them too, of course.


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