It was a warm winter here in Bakersfield, no doubt due to global warming and the ongoing drought. We had tomatoes and fresh herbs until our first hard frost, a few days before Christmas. As always, I waited until mid to late January to plant my spring bulbs. If I plant them during the autumn heat, the majority will rot in the ground. Those that don’t rot will generally produce foliage only — no blossoms — due to the ground not providing an adequate chill time.
You’ll notice a lot of daisies (Chrysanthemum paludosum) in the photos. We have bushels of these compact daisy plants (6″ to 12″ tall) right now, all volunteer offspring of half a dozen small plants placed along one end of two raised veggie beds early last spring, to add a little color until the veggies filled in. They self-seeded prolifically, carried by wind and birds to most of the veggie beds, as well as the compost pile, the flower beds, and between stepping stones and gravel in the garden paths. I love plants that come back year after year, and have made liberal use of them throughout the front and back yards.
Here’s what was in bloom on March 15th at our Bakersfield, California home, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9b, Sunset Climate Zone 8.
Front Yard – The herb garden, raised beds, and sidewalk flowerbeds
Urn in center of herb garden – Paludosum Daisy and Pansies
Dianthus (pinks) at the base of the herb garden urn, with flowering thyme to the right. Dianthus have always been an annual in my back yard, but they spread and grew wonderfully throughout the winter in the herb garden … many of these are nearly a foot tall.
Since most of our front yard beds are less than a year old, the flowering plants there are mainly bulbs, perennial herbs, some fill-in-the-spots garden center flowers, and a few annuals in the herb garden that somehow came through the winter unscathed, including petunias and alyssum. The petunias are particularly amusing, since I have terrible luck with petunias and generally can’t keep them alive during our hot summers.
Petunias and alyssum.
Potted Shasta daisies and pink geraniums dug out of other beds, waiting to be replanted. The clump of lavender is three plants purchased last summer in 4″ pots, now approx. 18″ high, and bushy enough that the winter pansies are hidden.
There are dozens of bees on the lavender all day long.
Johnny-Jump-Up violas. The tall grassy-looking blades are garlic chives.
Yellow Iceland poppy.
Orange Iceland Poppy.
Potted purple Lantana, will be transplanted into a new flowerbed.
First bloom on roses planted in mid-February.
I love these Gazanias, the flowers are 4″ wide and look like sunflowers!
Orange Gazanias – a bit smaller than the yellow ones, and a lovely contrast. Gazanias outline the U-shaped raised bed on the northwest side of the front yard, which is planted with tomatoes.
Tomato blossoms – I have 8 determinate and patio-sized tomato plants in the large sunny raised bed that’s edged with gazanias. These will be our early summer tomato crop … with this warm weather, we should have cherry tomatoes around the end of April.
We have a huge Rosemary shrub that’s in bloom in another part of the front yard that will be completely replanted sometime this year.
Miniature Iris in one of the sidewalk flowerbeds, outside the picket fence.
Iris, daffodils, and daisies.
Back Yard – Garden Beds & Flowerbeds
Yellow ranunculus, pink geranium – my favorite back yard flowerbed, visible from the bathroom window.
English daisy (Bellis perennis) – the strappy-looking blades are mini-Irises that came up by the dozen, but didn’t have flowers … this bed is against a 7′ cinder block wall, and the soil must have been too warm for the bulbs to make flowers. The same thing happened with the daffodils in this part of the yard.
Calibrachoa, another trailing ground cover planted last spring, in the same super-hot bed as the English daisy and the Lithodora. Hardy in zones 9 to 11, though I did lose several of these to the summer/fall heat.
Lithodara Carrasquilla (L. diffusa), a perennial trailing ground cover I planted last spring. The flowers are about the same size as purple Lobelia, but a wee bit bluer. It did well in the heat against the block wall.
Tall yellow snapdragons – another surprise from another flower that traditionally has done very poorly for me. I planted a dozen or so of these in January 2014 (yes, last year!) and they not only survived a the long hot desert summer, but they also made it through the winter and are now more than a year old. This particular plant is sharing it’s home with a self-seeded neon yellow Swiss Chard that’s approx. 2 1/2 feet tall. It’s a great color combo!
Thanks for visiting my garden! This is my first post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, which is officially on the 15th of each month. A lot has changed in the herb garden is the past few days, and I will be posting updated photos to celebrate the beginning of spring, along with some terrific springtime recipes.
To visit other gardener’s blooming posts for March, click here … there are nearly 100 happy gardeners who would love to show you around. Many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting.
Please say hello so I’ll know you stopped by … and tell me where you garden.