Is it bloom day yet?



For the new year, I hope to learn more about photography, and today I spent a little time outside with my camera trying to use the Macro feature. Blossoms seemed the logical choice, so here's a selection of the photos that came out all right. I'll show the photo first so you can see whether you know the names.

Above are blossoms of my Australian tea tree, Leptospermum. Beloved by birds and, surprisingly, hummers, this beautiful tall bush has a few blooms year round and is covered in blossoms in April/May.



Also beloved by hummers, my Abutilon is actually struggling a bit because I didn't fertilize it enough, but it looks like it's making a come-back after blooming continuously for a few years, then just becoming exhausted. Sorry Abby.



One of the blooming natives is Siyirichium bellum, Blue-eyed grass. It's interesting what that macro functionality can do with a flower that's 1/2 inch across and sits in a plant that's a little the worse for wear as well. I did some additional zooming using my photo-editing software, and here we are...


The one picture that's not a close-up are the leaves of the Ribes sanguineum glutinosum.  I just could not resist, the colors were so lovely, with the fern peeking through in the background.

 

While R. sanguineum is not yet in bloom, Ribes malvaceum (Chaparral current) was just opening its first bud for December bloom day, and may be all done by January bloom day. But it's been delightful to watch it during the holidays, and the bees (yes, bees) and hummers agree it's a winner.




Eriogonum fasciculatum (narrow-leaf buckwheat) is locally native and seems to have a few blossoms almost all of the year. While some of the plants have been hard to establish (I lost 2 last year), the ones that make it seem to survive and thrive.




I now have three Galvezia speciosa  (Island snapdragon), but only one is blooming, and only at the edge that gets a bit of sun. I'm still a bit on the fence about this plant. It's green all year, and I love the small red blossoms. But it's a bit frost tender (last year, I lost half the plant) and seems to bloom mainly when getting just the right amount of sun. Then again, I find many natives grow into their own three or four years after planting, so it might just be a question of time....



Speaking of frost tender, I did manage yet again to neglect to cover up the jade plant during a night when it would have needed it. Half the blossoms are gone, quite a few of the leaves as well. I hope I'll know when to cover the next time. It takes so little to protect the plant, but also so little to get it nipped at. Fortunately, they come back. And back. And back. 



The joy of the macro lens is that you can get an impressive picture when there really isn't much to see. Above, a lonely blossom of Loropetalum chinese, an exotic from China, inherited from the previous owners. I hope to replace it with a manzanita one day, but for now, it's really a good plant for its spot, and gets by with fairly little water and neglect. 
 


Last but not least, my one ripe Meyer Lemon growing in a pot outside the sunroom. Fun to watch, fragrant, and with very tasty fruit, I hope it won't freeze and give me more lemons in the years to come. 

And here ends the macro tour of the garden on this New Year's Day. No, it's not bloom day yet, but we can have bloom day any day we like...

Comments

Gail said…
Macro is so much fun! I love your captures~~especially blue eyed grass...It's such a tiny jewel of a beauty and macro does it up beautifully. I hope your holiday week has been fun! gail
Rosey Pollen said…
Hi,
I wish I had some blooms like these to practice my macro photog. on . Marvelous shots, and I hope you have a happy new year!
Rosey
Chari + Matt said…
hooray! I was debating about mentioning that little button, but am so glad you found it on your own! Fantastic focusing job! Love the blue-eyed grass, can't believe yours is blooming already. Will have to go check ours.
--matt
Brent said…
" Galvezia speciosa ... I'm still a bit on the fence about this plant. It's green all year, and I love the small red blossoms. But it's a bit frost tender (last year, I lost half the plant) and seems to bloom mainly when getting just the right amount of sun"

I've had mixed performance from this too. I think it's been in my garden for 3 years and the first year it bloomed profusely. After that, not so much. In fact, I've been wondering what I've been doing wrong. Though I don't generally have to worry about frost, I would like more than a few blooms.
Pam/Digging said…
Your macros look great. Such lovely flowers would chase any winter blues away. Not that we're having any winter blues here in Austin either. ;-)
fairegarden said…
Your macro practice has paid off well! It is so true that the macro focus makes a sad little plant appear vibrant and wonderful. Blue eye is a native here and evergreen, but far from blooming. The buckwheat always intrigues me, it might be tried here, even if just as an annual.
Frances
Macro is a lot of fun. I adore blue-eyed grass and it's perennial here in Michigan, too. Love the Australian tea tree, too!
Nell Jean said…
While not a huge fan of macro -- I want to see the big picture -- I did enjoy your pics.

Sisyrinchium is dormant in my garden right now. I was glad to see a blossom. The coming cold will take out the last of the loropetalum fringes, too.

Looking forward to bloom day.
Christine said…
Hooray for flower mode! (my phrase for macro since my camera has a little flower icon and mountain icon). The question is, though- what are you going to do with that gorgeous lemon?!
susie said…
Great job with the camera...I love all the photos...I can just taste that Meyer....my sis is supposed to bring me a load from her tree tomorrow. Lovin winter in CA!
Brad said…
I guessed all but 3 correctly. Great pics and I love playing around with the macro option. One of my blue-eyed grasses just put out its first flower for the winter, but my galvezia seems done for the season. Hearing that it is frost sensitive makes me glad I planted it on a berm.
Isn't macro photography amazing in how different the world looks? I'm surprised your blue-eyed grass is blooming--mine are barely waking up for the winter. I have 3 galvezia clones, including 2 of speciosa, and none are what I'd call big bloomers. But a friend who lives inland a ways says hers have a fair number of flowers. Hers are also several years ahead of any of mine.
Liz said…
Lovely photos, and I'm sure you've guessed Macro is move love, my light, my life! :D

It must be so nice to still have so much going on in your garden, I await spring with little patience and wish our cold spell - from siberia would stop already!!!
Country Mouse said…
Lovely! I also was taking pictures in the garden - lots suddenly in bloom here - ceanothus in full swing, ribes of all sorts, some monkey flower, manzanita, even coffee berry though it's not that noticeable. Not the blue-eyed grass though. It isn't happy where I've planted it and I'm not sure why.
rebecca sweet said…
Nice photos!! I got a new camera for Christmas (Nikon D3000) and am also having so much fun playing with it, but I'm not sure I've got quite the close-up lens that you do...you must re-post this again Jan. 15th...they're just so darn beautiful!