Its early afternoon and 84 degrees in my zone 9 garden in Bakersfield, a reminder of the crazy weather we’re currently having all over the country. This week, I’ve been gardening in shorts, slathering on sunscreen, and wiping sweat on my gloves, while my friends on the east coast have been hunkered down with a blizzard and more than a foot of new snow.
My garden — along with California’s lengthy drought, rising ocean levels, and shrinking populations of wildlife around the world — remind me daily that climate change keeps moving forward. For many years, my paper-white Narcissus reliably bloomed in January. This winter, they were in their full glory on Thanksgiving, while my family had our holiday dinner on the deck, enjoying the warm weather.
Daffodils have always been early bloomers in my garden, arriving in mid to late February and blooming until late March. This year, the daffodils jumped up in January, and last week’s hot spell wiped out all but a hearty few.
I love this time of year for so many reasons: the cold days of winter are definitely behind us here in the desert, Daylight Savings Time has begun, we’re enjoying the last of the winter veggies and picking salad greens daily, the spring/summer vegetable garden is mostly planted, the herb garden is lush, the roses are coming into bloom, and I get to spend hours outside every day enjoying all of it and working on this year’s projects.
Here’s more of what’s blooming today. Please say hello at the end of the post, so I’ll know you stopped by, and don’t forget to leave your blog or Instagram address if you’d like me to visit your garden.
In The Back Yard Gardens
Iceland Poppies, pansies, Nemesia, and more
The seagull and the miscellaneous pots came from my neighbor’s home, where they were destined for the landfill. Wear, tear, and chippy-ness perfectly suit my casual cottage garden style.
Traditional Japanese design and gardening embraces the concept of “shakkei” or borrowed scenery, which takes into consideration elements outside the property that are incorporated into the view. My neighbor’s flowering pear tree soars above my back wall, is lovely in bloom, and showers my asparagus bed with tiny white petals.
I grow more than a dozen different varieties of salvia, providing habitat for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. With multiple micro-climates in different parts of my yard, many of the salvias bloom year-round. This salvia microphylla is called Wild Watermelon.
Many salvias have flowers shaped like miniature snapdragons, which catch and hold water.
Sweet alyssum reminds me of my grandmother’s garden, and I love its spicy scent. Its a reliable self-seeder that grows year-round, and just needs an occasional trim when it starts getting leggy.
Gerbera daisies that over-wintered in the nursery bed in our veggie garden.
Last year, hubs Ray added small flower plants at the end of several raised veggie beds near the deck. By the time the pansies and violets die back from the heat, the perennial gallardia (blanket flower) and salvia will be in full bloom.
In The Front Yard Gardens
I love my Dutch irises this year! I planted these from inexpensive grocery store bulbs 3 years ago. The first 2 years, they were between 12″ and 18″ tall … this year, most are around 30″ and some are more than 3 feet tall! These are in the herb garden.
In the sidewalk flowerbed, outside the picket fence.
I waited until early February to cut back my roses, because they never stopped blooming. I stripped the leaves from most of the hybrid teas to deter blackspot, removed dead branches and crossed canes, and left most of the plants around 3 feet tall. The reason most people prune their roses so short is because they need to mulch them to protect them from ice and snow, which are not a problem where I live.
Lavender, marguerites, and petunias in the perennial garden. Petunias are annuals in most zones, but they last several years in my yard and do best in the cooler months.
Two varieties of euphorbia in the perennial garden I started last year. The one is front is called Tiny Tim, and it is near it’s mature size of approx. 12″ x 12″. I don’t recall the name of the one in the back, but I’ve seen this variety grow more than 10 feet tall locally. Euphorbia are part of the spurge family, and are very drought tolerant.
My white iceberg roses really pop against their dark green leaves, and the neighbor’s photinia hedge is a dramatic backdrop at this time of year, when its new leaves are red. Another good example of “borrowed landscaping.”
What’s happening in your garden this month? Are you already planting, or are you patiently planning and waiting for spring?
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. I’m always happy 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.
Wondering how my gardens have evolved over the past year? Click here to see my Bloom Day post from March 2016.
Are you new to my blog? 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 30+ years, have been through many changes, and we’re always working on something new.
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!