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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2016

Things are hopping in the garden this month … most of what was blooming in mid-February is still going strong, and many other plants have come into bloom. At the end of February, Ray and I took a 10 day trip to Vancouver, B.C., and our weather at home was crazy while we were away … heavy drought-healing rain on a couple of days, light snow in the high desert foothills, high winds that knocked over flats of seedlings and an arbor, and daytime temperatures that ranged from the high 50’s to the low 80’s. Thankfully, everything in the gardens survived, with some TLC from our oldest son.

 

Here’s what’s blooming in the middle of March, in my Zone 9b gardens in Bakersfield, California.

Front Yard: blooms and blossoms in the herb garden, the raised veggie beds, the sidewalk flowerbeds outside the picket fence, and the under construction beds and borders in the Cottage Garden.

Daffodils are still going strong in the herb garden, due to the fact that I plant additional bulbs every week or two beginning in late December, straight through to the end of February. I’ve had daffodils in bloom since Valentine’s Day, and should have them until at least the end of this month. There is a white ranunculous in the midst of this clump of daffs, a paperwhite Narcissus on the edge of the photo, and spicy sweet alyssum in the background.

 

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The lavender in the herb garden is covered with bees from morning till night.

 


Looking through the herb garden toward the covered porch and new raised rosebed, the background for the mixed borders currently under construction in the Cottage Garden.

 


In the flowerbeds outside the fence, Dutch Iris, late daffodils, snapdragons, and Shasta daisies are stealing the show. Dutch Iris rarely produces flowers for me after the first year, so I plant several dozen new bulbs every January, wherever there’s a bare spot in the garden.

 

In mid-February, I discovered three packages of tulip bulbs that had been chilling in the garage, so I tucked them into one of the raised mixed beds in the veggie section of the Cottage Garden. I was very excited to find them up and blooming when I got back from Canada.

 

Bright Gazanias border the outside edge of four of the Cottage Garden’s raised veggie beds. They’re drought-tolerant, prolific year-round bloomers, and they grow quickly, needing dividing every couple years. In this photo, they’re spilling over the edge of a bed that also contains arugula, green onions, a clump of chives, and Swiss Chard seedling.

 

Another bed edged with Gazanias, where I’m growing onions, trellised peas, and a mix of cut-and-come-again lettuces for daily salads.

 


Lovely light purple creeping Lantana, spreading beneath Iceberg roses.

 


This mature pink camellia plant, which began blooming in early February, is 8 to 9 feet tall and weighted down with hundreds of flowers. The rain we had at the beginning of March knocked off a lot of flowers, and caused many others to turn brown around the outer edges.

 


A mixture of miniature daffodils, alyssum, Crystal Palace lobelia, and violas in a small corner bed in the Cottage Garden. I number each of my beds and individual areas of the garden, as shown by the small wooden stake: this helps with planning and record keeping. Front yard beds are labeled “F” for front yard and “H” for herb garden. Back yard beds are labeled “B”.

 

Back Yard: current bloomers in the raised beds veggie garden, the flowerbeds, mixed planters, and the back garden behind our bedroom.


In the back garden: pink geranium, snapdragons, C. paludosum daisies, alyssum, pansies and violets, Bluebird Nemesia fruticans, Mexican sage.

 


A view of the back garden from my bedroom window: Pink geranium, snapdragons, C. paludosum daisies, sweet alyssum, pansies and violets, Bluebird Nemesia fruticans, Mexican sage, yellow/orange/red blanket flower (Gallardia), and some blooming Chrysanthemums hidden by the taller plants.

 


Closeup of Bluebird Nemesia (N. fruticans) and sweet alyssum. Nemesia is winter hardy in my garden and flowers all year. I love the tiny snapdragon-shaped flowers.

 


More Nemesia and alyssum, interplanted with Dianthus (pinks) and geraniums, which also do not die back in the cooler months in our desert climate.

 


Extra-tall yellow snapdragons in a mixed bed.

 


Many of our tomatoes began flowering at the beginning of March.

 


We’ve been eating snow peas for about a week, and the plants are loading with lovely white flowers.

 


A view of the center section of two of the 30″ tall raised veggie beds. In the foreground is B-2, with Iceland poppies, pots of snapdragons and yellow Calendula ready to be planted, and a volunteer sunflower.

The flowerpots with the wooden sticks in them are in B-3, planted about 3″ deep. There are approximately 40 of these pots, each one holding a perennial summer bulb I started last month (Veitch’s Blue Echinops, Stargazer and Triumph lilies, and Grape Magic Daylilies).  These plants are destined for the new mixed border in the front yard Cottage Garden, which I’m still designing and prepping.

There are a number of other plants for the Cottage Garden making a temporary home in B-3 (including Gallardia, Columbine, Yarrow, Coreopsis, and Curry Plant). I grew peppers in B-3 last year, so the bed is being used as a holding/nursery bed for several months, and will later be planted with summer bush beans to revitalize the soil.

 


One of my favorite plants, tall billowing Salvia with small pastel pink flowers that dance in the slightest breeze. All the pollinators — bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies — love salvia, no matter what color the flowers are.

 


Pale lilac colored Columbine reminds me of Japanese origami (paper folding).

 


Yellow Calendula (aka pot marigolds), purple stocks, snapdragons, paludosum daisies, blue violas.

 


Rich blue violas with yellow eyes, mingling with sweet alyssum, in the back garden.

Wondering how much my gardens have grown over the past month? Click here to see my Bloom Day post from February 2016.

 

If this is your first — or second — visit to my blog, you can click on the Bakersfield postcard to learn more about the evolution of our low water gardens and projects. We’ve been gardening in Bakersfield’s hot, dry, desert climate for 29 years, have been through many changes, and we’re always working on something new.

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Don’t forget to say hello … bloggers love comments, it lets us know we’re not talking to just ourselves and our nearest and dearest friends. And I’d love to answer any questions you may have about low-water gardening, and how to grow bountiful food and flower gardens that conserve water while positively impacting your diet, your lifestyle, and the planet.

If you’d like to see what’s blooming in other bloggers’ gardens, please click here for a list of links of this month’s participants. And many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting!

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Amy March 20, 2016, 9:14 am

    Envious of your green thumbs, Victoria! Love them all, but that pink camellia sure caught my eye. :)

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