Photo Essay

Spring in a Southern California Garden


One of the real benefits of living in Southern California is that Spring comes early! In fact it was here in February this year. I wanted to take an opportunity to share some of my favorite blooms of spring. This is just the short list since space is limited. All of these blooms are from plants grown either in the ground or in pots in my yard in Orange County. And most of these are spring blooming bulbs.

The cluster of soft yellow flowers belongs to the Yellow African Lily (Clivia miniata). This tropical perennial gets larger each year and gets better each spring.

I love 'hot spots' in my garden. I've always enjoyed the intense colors of reds and oranges and warmth they provide. I think my favorites are the Red Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii). These were one of those 'pass along' plants that I got from my mom many years back. They reseed themselves and provide a constant show of daisy-like flowers on 18" high, wire-like stalks. And they are not just red; they come in a soft pink and a buff color too. These incredible perennials have been show-stoppers in my yard for years.

The intense orange of the Harlequin flower (Sparaxis tricolor), one of many spring bulbs, seeds freely and surprises with these wonderful little 'hot spots' of color volunteering throughout the yard. And with 'hot spots' in mind there are the incredibly vibrant California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica). This annual self-sows to guarantee an intense show of orange petals that are like satin to the touch, year after year.

Another one of my favorite spring bulbs is the Spring Star Flower (Ipheion uniflorum). The soft, sky blue petals contrast so well against the narrow, green leaves. The Chinese Ground Orchid (Bletilla striata) is one of the more uncommon bulbs in my yard. As the name implies, they grow right in the ground. The pink, orchid blossoms allow me to grow orchids in my yard without all of the effort required to grow so many other orchids.

Some of my other favorites are the Forest Lily (Veltheimia bracteata). This has been one of the best spring flowering bulbs that I have, and the intense pink of the many tubular flowers that form those large pyramidal flower clusters are a magnet for humming birds. The blues and whites of the Dutch Irises are also very hard to beat for a good show each spring.

Cactus blossoms can also provide such a wonderful display. They mirror the softness and delicacy of the flowers of a Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) but can be so misleading.

And for a little more of the tropical for my friends in the north and east, there's the Canna Lily (Canna hybrids). These make a beautiful display from the early spring all the way through the fall.

I've enjoyed gardening since I was a youngster. Who knew it would turn into what it has. It's been a real gift in my life and has provided endless hours of pleasure, and weeding too.

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6 responses

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (22 Apr 2009):

    Fantastic show!! Thank you so much for this very beautiful and very informative essay!

  • Kathleen DesHotel

    Kathleen DesHotel   gave props (22 Apr 2009):

    Got my vote with splashes and slaps of colors! Gorgeous.

  • Rob Roy

    Rob Roy (Deleted) gave props (27 Apr 2009):

    Great essay... words AND pix, Ron!!

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (2 May 2009):

    Excellent essay and photos!

  • Judy Wanamaker

    Judy Wanamaker (Deleted) gave props (19 Aug 2009):

    Such a beautiful collection of colorful flower shots to go with this informative text. voting.

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (20 Jul 2012):

    One more vote!

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