Monday, January 31, 2011

Promises, Promises

It's still officially winter, but there are many blooming plants in my landscape, and the promise of more to come. We had a couple of days of below freezing temperatures earlier in the month, so I have lots of dead plant material left unpruned. It is acting as an insulator in case we have more frost. It doesn't look so hot in my garden right now, but with the extra rain we received earlier in the month, spring should bring lots of wildflowers. And weeds!

Cape Honeysuckle

Today I spotted a male Costa's hummingbird (Calypte costae) with its beautiful iridescent purple head and breast and iridescent green back. As it was retrieving nectar from this heavily blooming Cape Honeysuckle, I rushed in to get my camera but when I got back, the bird was gone and didn't return. This is the first time I've seen this particular hummingbird in my garden. I hope more return. Check here for a great photo of the Costa's hummingbird.

Aloe sinkatana

Desert Marigold

Feathery Cassia

Volunteer Nasturtium
I'm really surprised that I have so many volunteer Nasturtium plants showing up in various containers around my garden. Sometimes my husband mixes old potting soil in with the new stuff, and I think this may be how this is happening. I asked him why he always retrieved the potting soil I throw out, and he said it seems like such a waste, so he mixes it with the new soil. After getting odd plants coming in here and there, I think he's now convinced this isn't such a good idea.

Mexican Bird of Paradise

Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violacea)

This vine is really loaded with little buds, so in a couple of weeks, this plant will have a spectacular display. The vine has grown quite a lot in the past year, and now covers about eight feet of one of my block walls. Wish I would have planted several more. It was a good choice! It is an Australian native and is well suited to our area, but not yet in common use here. It seems impervious to frost and extreme heat. It is a twining vine so it needs a trellis for support. I use vine wires on the block wall and that works well. Since it can be easily propagated with softwood cuttings this time of year, I may try that to get more of these to cover another section of block wall. The vine looks great year round, even when not in bloom.

   Valentine Emu is loading up for its February show. Sometimes there are so many flowers that the plant can't stay upright. This is one plant that improves with pruning and shaping after the blooming period. This is another Australian native.

Yellow Emu


Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Very, very pretty! Can't wait for spring.

SiestaSister said...

Beautiful plants....the hummingbird you saw is amazing. I live in southwest Florida. We have been in this house for almost 3 years and I have yet to see a hummingbird. I have a Cape Honeysuckly (grown from cuttings from a neighbor's plant and I have many firecracker plants so I am hoping to draw some hummingbirds sooner or later (hopefully sooner).