Spring Flowers

Today is the day to start the weekend by celebrating with beautiful, colorful flowers! Below are some of my favorites for the week.

Commelina Benghalensis

Chicory flowers

Poppies

Cranberry Cosmos

Hydrangea

Purple Emperor Nasturtium

Mammoth Sunflower

Daylily

Zinnia

Chloe Clematis

Hibiscus and rose mallow

Roses

Recently I planted some really amazing new roses in my garden.   One in particular is called Koko Loco and it changes colors as it aged. It starts out a deep salmon pink color, then to cocoa, eventually fading out to an almost lavender color.  This is not your average rose! I love growing uncommon things.

Another rose that is particularly beautiful to me is the Love Song rose. It has the most perfect purple lavender color ever.

This Sparkle and Shine rose has an amazing yellow color that I like and I don’t usually like yellow flowers. It has good form and reminds me of a hibiscus and peony. It is such a cheerful color in the garden.

Another phenomenal beauty is the Plum Perfect rose, which also has a beautiful, vibrant plum. I love the double flower form of this rose.

Below are a few other favorites from years before. Oklahoma and First Prize are huge flowering roses, in full bloom they are larger than my hand as you can see from one of the pictures. Oklahoma is a deep red, very dramatic.

Below are a few other honorable mentions that are not roses I thought you might enjoy.

Geraniums
Hibiscus
Dwarf pomegranate

Anemones, Passion Flowers, and Alstroemerias

The weather has been warming up a bit in Southern California this week and I am seeing some pretty amazing flowers out in my backyard. This time I have the prettiest anemones, passion flowers, and alstroemerias in the greatest shades of purples and pinks.

Bluish purple anemones
Magenta-like shades of purple anemones in the early stage of bloom
Anemone changed to lavender colors by the next day or so.

Anemones is my new favorite flower this year. I recently discovered these delicate poppy-like flowers earlier this January. I bought the two above purple and pink anemones from my local Walmart a few weeks ago. The roots were root-bound and the leaves were yellowing from neglect but I am happy to say I was able to save those two. They seemed to be very happy and flowering. The pink is dark pink before it opens up but changed to lighter colors of purples and pinks as time goes by after it bloomed.

The passion flower plant vigorously climbing on a trellis entrance leading to my garden.

The above pictures are my purple passion flower plant. Isn’t that a magnificent and unusual flower? These pictures are from my first flower from that plant. The rest of the bulbs are coming but it has been several days and they haven’t made an appearance. I can’t wait for them all to pop out and eventually turn to fruit. I’m not quite sure how that works yet whether the flower turns to fruit later on or does it require another passion flower to pollinate. I will post later on if it ever becomes a fruit.

The above picture is my purple alstroemeria. I love this color of alstroemeria. It is truly that vibrant and stunning in the garden. This is the first time I’ve seen it flower and I’ve had it for at least one year.

I will leave you with a collection of some of my other favorite plants and flowers that did not managed to get a full post on its own.

Two beautiful hibiscus plants above: orange hibiscus and a deep red hibiscus.

Picotee amaryllis

Strawberry pot
Flower buds from my Red Baron peach tree

Pre-Spring Blooms

There are a few unique and interesting flowers that appeared this past week I wanted to share. A few were unexpected surprises because they haven’t bloomed much in the past. This year started out with some BEAUTIFUL blooms that I haven’t seen before.

The above picture is my muscari plant. They grew from tiny little bulbs and spread themselves all over my garden. I had planted them over eight years ago and each year around this time they would make an appearance. The last two years I haven’t seen much of them but I guess the weather must have been good for them this year. They are only about 6-7 inches tall but each clump has about this many flowers. I regret not getting a side view of these beauties for the blog. Their tiny bulbs have spread out over the years so I actually have over 12 clumps of these flowers in one area of my garden.

These white flowers are so darn cute and I don’t remember ever growing them. I have never seen them before (I think) and I don’t know what they are! If anyone out there recognizes them, do tell. They looked like they came from bulbs. There are several of these in my yard in a couple of places. I must have gotten them years ago because another plant that looks similar to this one appeared nearby. This pinkish red flower below is so pretty and vibrant. The flowers are only about 2 inches wide but they are so adorable and unique in my garden.

This adorable pink hibiscus below just bloomed this week. The flower is about 5 inches wide and it is a complete showstopper! I need to figure out how to get this hibiscus to bloom more because for the past three years it would only eek out two or three flowers a YEAR, one at a time! Talk about stinginess!

My aeonium Sunburst succulent also started growing new babies this winter. See them growing on the sides there? Absolutely the cutest! The mother plant is almost 2 feet tall with a face about 18 inches wide (yes, she’s a big one!). I believe she has been in the ground for about 2 years. She was only about 6 inches tall when I put here there originally.

Below is a beautiful but a little bit neglected geranium. I love these beautiful purple maroon flowers and it is so low maintenance. I grew these on a partial shade side of the house but it doesn’t have any trouble flowering as you can see. It does look a wee bit dry from lack of watering but it’s a knockout in the garden. It spreads its roots out over time and you can pluck them out to give away or plant in other places.

Lastly, these pretty bright orange and purple daisies are just screaming for attention in my garden! They are wickedly pretty! I love their bold colors!

Purples and Pinks

I must have said it many times but purples and pinks are two of my favorite colors in flowers. You can probably tell from the pictures of flowers in my garden. To me these colors signifies femininity and gentleness. I guess you could say I am a little feminine because I like beautiful flowers and jewelry too.

In this post, I wanted to share some of my favorite purple and pink flowers. Let’s start with pinks…

These are beautiful camellias in the pictures above and below. The light pink is really delicate and gentle, this is the ultimate feminine beauty. I have had such a difficult time getting this bush to bloom before but this year has been more abundant. I think the improvements came after I started watering and fertilizing it more!

Jasminum Polyanthum Pepita: beautiful pink buds turn into fragrant flowers
Rose Mallow

I love, LOVE these daisies! I love the blending of pinks and whites. There are even shades of salmon colors in this flower. I can’t wait for it to fill my backyard!

Now the purples…

Alyogyne huegelii Blue Hibiscus

This “Blue Hibiscus” really does look more blue than the picture showed. For some reason I cannot catch the blue colors on this camera, it always comes out looking this purple. It is beautiful with several blooms at a time. The location for this plant is pretty dry and clay-like so I am happy it is doing well here.

Purple statice
Purple daisy

The above flower looks almost like a Lauren’s Grape Poppy but I think it is an anemone. It has that beautiful shade of purple. It opens during the day which I don’t usually get to see but evenings come, they closed up and so I had to FORCE it open here.

Oh, I love magnolias so much. This is a pretty purple magnolia. This is the Souvlangeana variety. It start out like the first picture. The flower takes several days to open up fully but I think the color is the prettiest when it first start to bloom, after that it is mostly white.

These are all the pretty daisies in my garden. I put together this bouquet for my friend for her birthday this week. Let’s hope it brightens her desk today!

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!

Garden Transformation

I mentioned somewhere in my profile that I am one of those people who are all or nothing when it comes to hobbies. When I decide to do something, I go all in. This garden I started with such vigor and passion. Friends and family wanted to see my garden so in this post, I wanted to share the before and after pictures of my garden since I started gardening in 2018.

The before picture
The after picture

Those purple foxgloves were so abundant and beautiful, they only bloom the second year. Hopefully they will give a nice show again next year! Swiss chard was growing nicely in the black raised bed in the background. However, this spring it grew to almost 9 ft tall, as you can see in the back and it started seeding. I had to cut it down because it was too big for the raised bed.

The before picture of the right side of the yard. Plumeria my Aunt Kaye gave us on the left. Background orange flower bush is Tacoma Stans. Pinkish Brugmansia is the right front bush.

Here it is today! VERDANT! Hence, the name of my site “Verdant Garden”. I added a garden gate here with purple clematis growing on one side and scented jasmine vine on the other with Beaujolais Sweet Peas. As you can see, it’s a crowded, happy mess!

Before picture of the left side of the yard last spring. The green bush I had no idea what it was called, a friend gave to me for housewarming when we moved in, in 2001. We have always called it the “Stefani Tree”. The gardener always trimmed it down just like the picture so it never flowered. I was never able to identify it until just recently I discovered it is called a Duranta Erecta!

Here is the left side today, the addition of the trellis made it look like a secret garden entrance. The light blue flowers in the background over 8 ft tall are the Duranta Erecta. The garden path meanders through so you can see the following pictures.

Tomatoes growing in tall cages on the right. Cranberry Hibiscus in the center. Brussels sprouts and broccoli that went to seed right next to them. Pink Pentas bush in the front. There are chicken wires all over the garden to keep the dogs, raccoons, and possums out.

Purple tomato vines in the front. Queen Anne’s Lace are the tall wispy stems in the center. They are so pretty. I will post their pictures on another post. This area is a little sparse right now but hopefully next year the hibiscus and orange Alstroemeria will fill up the area. On the right are the leaves of my avocado tree from seed four years ago. I heard that will take over a million years to produce fruit, if at all without a second tree.

Chayote is growing on the vine on the right, so far, no flowers or fruiting! I grew that from the fruit I bought at the grocery store. The brownish leaves on the left are what remained after my beautiful foxgloves stopped flowering. Dead sunflowers I left standing there to feed the birds and also hoping seeds will spread for next year. Finches and other birds seem to love eating sunflower leaves. Sometimes I look outside and there would be over 30 birds in my yard.

Same area as above mentioned picture. I left a lot of dead sunflowers standing there for re-seeding.

Red Baron Peach is the little tree on the right. It was only 2 ft tall when I planted 3 months ago, it is now almost 4.5 ft tall. In the raised bed are eggplants, carrots, borage, Sweet Allysum, lemon basil, kale, strawberries, pepper, and lemongrass.

Rutabagas are the big leafy greens in the front. Roses and Dusty Miller (white plant) growing here. Nothing is looking so great because it is viciously hot right now. Someday in the spring, I will have better pictures of this area. There are two beautiful lily trees growing in this mess. The round raised bed on the right has lots of beets, some Asian herbs, and nasturtiums.

This bed has lots of good things to eat such as kale, thyme, Thai basil, parsley, and carrots.

The spiky plants in the back are remnants of my gladioli. The leaves are left there because I heard the leaves need to soak up nutrients for next year’s growth. So they will stay there until they turn brown. My rosemary bush is in the front and grew a bit unwieldy. The white plant is some beautiful unknown plant that is super drought tolerant. Some day I will find out its name.

This beautiful plumbago bush is so easy to grow. I love this plant and have always wanted it in my garden. It is very fast growing . Flowers are abundant this late spring and summer.

This small tree is the Buddha’s Hand Citron tree. My husband liked it and bought it over 10 years ago. I never took care of it all those years until last year. I watered it and fertilized it. It flowered and eventually turned to a Buddha’s hand like these here. The flower scent is intoxicating. The green hand will turn yellow like a citrus fruit. I was told Vietnamese people like to display this as it brings luck and fortune to the home. It is a very nicely fragrant fruit.

The red tree in the back is my Cranberry Hibiscus plant that turned into an 8 ft tall tree. I was not expecting that. It was supposed to be a bush. I love the red leaves and stems. The other tree next to that is my pink Brugmansia which I grew from a 2 ft cutting last year. It is now about 9 ft tall. I love Brugmansias so much.

The main garden view

So there it is…my garden. My boys like to call it a jungle but my husband says it is an English garden of sort. This garden started out as a lawn of crab grass that we dug up almost two years ago. I was an experimental gardener trying out different flowers and vegetables in various areas all over the yard to see what works for me and the plants. I also grew things from seeds and later forgot to mark what the plants were. Then, of course, when they all grew it became an overcrowding issue, which you may be able to see in some of the pictures.

All in all, I will leave you with this: the jungle and blooms you see here are a unique reflection of God’s beauty and blessings. Blessings for all of us to enjoy.