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...