Monday, February 1, 2010

February flowers

Here's an assortment of what's in bloom this February in Topanga. All photos were taken along my morning walk in my neighborhood.

Acacia dealbata, or silver wattle, is native to Southern Australia. That may be why this tree grows in front of the home of one of my neighbors, a once-famous Australian pop star. Or maybe not, since there are many of these beautiful trees growing in Topanga, their bright yellow flower clusters like little silken balls of passementerie.

Hardenbergia violacea is a shrubby vine - or a viney shrub - that, like many of our tender-zone ornamental plants, is another native of Australia. It has drooping racemes of delicate pea-like flowers smaller than a button - they look like wee orchids on a stem. Its common name is Happy Wanderer. This one grows on my neighbor's fence, and contrasts gaudily with the orange of a hummingbird vine behind.

Centrathus ruber - also known as red valerian - is a European perennial that has escaped from gardens and naturalized throughout the U.S. It's very common in the Santa Monica Mountains, including here where it grows on the side of a steep rocky hill.

Abutilon megapotamicum is a native of Brazil, Argentina and Uraguay. It's a tender ornamental shrub, with somewhat lax and leggy growth - which makes it perfect to train against a dark wood fence where the pretty golden flowers with their lipstick-colored calyxes shine like little lanterns. The genus is called "flowering maple" for the shape of their leaves, although they aren't related to maples at all.

Calliandra haematocephala is a Bolivian ornamental shrub that blooms November - April. Calliandra species have these marvelous infloresences, bursting with bright bristly stamens, each tipped with a tiny pollen-dusted anther. They're nicknamed powder puff flowers or fairy-duster flowers.



This one grows in my front yard, in a location with dappled shade from oaks and high eucalyptus, and gets no supplemental watering at all. The plant is a bit lanky and awkward, but its scarlet bristles are cheerful and give us a pretty bit of color in February.

13 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Beautiful!

The only thing blooming around here is frost bite.

I did pass a huge flock of sparrows on the way through German Village on Saturday (high temp: 23 degrees, wind: plenty of it).

They were all chirping their heads off while sitting on some bushes. No doubt, telling each other just how cold they were, and how it was colder in 2003, and such as.
~

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

You are so lucky! I really wish I lived somewhere that flowers bloomed all year!

Sue

Blondie's Journal said...

Beautiful blooms!! Nothing here, real or imagined.

xoxo
Jane

MAYBELLINE said...

Powder puff?
I never heard that before. I've always know them as Bottle Brush.
You can check out how things grow in my garden.
http://maybellinesgarden.blogspot.com/

Who was your neighbor?

cactus petunia said...

That's what I miss about California...the flowers are spectacular in winter!

Your canyon must be gorgeous right now. I guess all that rain was good for something, eh?

cactus petunia said...

That's what I miss about California...the flowers are spectacular in winter!

Your canyon must be gorgeous right now. I guess all that rain was good for something, eh?

Gilly said...

I love Red Valerian - its common inthe SW of England, as a garden escape, and usually grows in, or at the foot of old walls, or anywhere really! Up here its too damp and cold, it really likes warmth, though we did have some in a sheltered spot for a while.

But how lovely to have flowers blooming in winter like that!

mo.stoneskin said...

Beautiful beautiful photos. Pity about the once-famous Australian pop star. Huge fall from the dizzy heights huh?!

Anonymous said...
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kcinnova said...

So very lovely to see color and consider the smell of fresh sage! We have snow and ice from Saturday with more on the way this weekend.

Von said...

Interesting to see the things that grow on my land as indigenous plants, thriving with you.Not in flower now of course, they've already done their thing.
So who was the Australian pop star?

seo company said...
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Anonymous said...

oh wow. thanks for posting the names of all these lovely plants. i stumbled across your blog trying to figure out the red puffy flowers that grow everywhere. i thought they are albizia/mimosa. are they related? anyways. i hope you keep sharing all your knowledge of the local plants. i would love to be able to recognize them. love