Winter Blooms

The last few weeks I have been blessed with quite a few winter flowers. My daffodils and narcissus bloomed a lot more than last year. What is even more surprising is that I thought they only bloom during spring yet these are blooming now in my winter garden. Perhaps our Southern California weather is confusing these poor plants.

I think there are about 15 flowers in my narcissus bed now, whereas last time I had two. The yellow colors of these narcissi really stood out in my mostly green garden right now. The daffodils are beautifully colored but it has a little bit of a stinky floral fragrance as well. Below, my pink hyacinth is wedged in with the narcissus and are blooming also.

Stinky daffodils

My Queen Anne’s Lace bush is also flowering like mad in the garden. They are taller than me (5’2) and falling all over other plants in the garden. I have no idea how to stake them at this point but I had to cut some down to tidy the pathway a bit. The cut flowers turned into a beautiful, unusual bouquet something-or-other here. The flower is about 5-6 inches wide.

Another adorable plant that bloomed is my calendula “Pink Surprise” that bloomed out of season right now. This plant usually blooms in the late spring or summer but here it is now. This flower is really magnificently colored just like in the picture. It is a perfect blend of red, yellow, and orange. This makes me smile when I see it out there. It has survived ALL YEAR long in the heat and cold while all the other calendula died. What is most surprising is that it had the weakest flowering period of all the other calendulas out there. I guess it spent all its energy on sustaining itself instead of flowering last year.

Last and one of my most favorite, the chrysanthemums. These are the largest mums I have ever seen! Last week, I went to an Asian flower market fair and they had these for sale. I bought a container and I knew these mums could be split into several plants. Well, after I bought them, I split them into seven plants. I cut off the flowers to have this beautiful bouquet and planted the roots. The flower is about 4-5 inches wide. Oh, they are so beautiful. They brighten up my whole house!

Borage

A few years ago I was looking for plants with blue colored flowers and stumbled upon this herb called borage.  Borage is a plant I highly recommend growing if you are looking for a low maintenance, inexpensive plant to fill your garden.  This plant requires average water and full to partial sun.  They grow very fast and the spring is when you will see the most flowering.  However, they have been flowering this fall and winter here in Southern California too.

Borage can grow about 30” inches tall and 18” wide. If you let the flowers stay on the plant it will set seeds and appear everywhere in your yard!  I don’t mind this kind of invasive plant because it is quite pretty with blue star-like flowers. All parts of the plant are edible, except the root.  I have not tried to eat the flowers yet but the leaves taste delicious. They are hairy and spiky so you would have to be careful when you pick them.  Once they are washed, they are not too spiky.  People say they taste refreshing like cucumbers but I think they taste like something else which I have no idea what, just that it is herb-like.  Sometimes, I would pick up the leaves right off the plant and eat them (and saying “ouch, ouch” as the spiky hair pricks me!!!). The nice thing is bees and butterflies love them so it’s a great pollinating plant.  

In the picture above the borage sprouted in this hibiscus container and makes a nice decoration for my otherwise boring pot. They have really huge, green 6-7 inches long leaves. I did not plant those guys there, they just sprouted about 3-4 plants. Soon they will have nice blue flowers to go with the pink hibiscus. I can’t wait for spring to arrive!

In my garden there are a few other wonderful things happening this January as well. I discovered my narcissus, hyacinth, “Pink Surprise” calendula, and the Alyogyne huegelii “Blue Hibiscus” flowered. What a wonderful surprise for a very windy winter! Also, I have no idea what the white flowers are in this group so if anyone knows, please let me know. Happy Sunday!