February GBBD - The Valentine Edition

Valentine's day is always a great opportunity to express gratitude. So today's GBBD post is for all of you, dear readers. We couldn't do it without you. We appreciate the visits and the comments, and just knowing you are there!

And now, without further ado, let's have a look at this month's flowery offerings. Above, the pink double camelia we inherited from Mr. Previous Owner. Below, following the theme, a pink blooming Australian tea tree, also inherited from Mr. Previous Owner. Interestingly, the Camelia is ignored by all insects and birds. The tea tree always has some visiting critters and the hummingbird visits every day. Should I ever be tempted to remodel, I know which plant I'll keep.

We''ve also planted natives in the garden for the hummingbirds, and here's Salvia spatacea (hummingbird sage), which seems to be blooming almost non stop.

Another native sage, Salvia brandegii 'Pacific blue' is surprising me with early blooms this year. But the weather has been so weird, I can't blame the plants for not following the schedule.

Also off schedule (supposed to be blooming in spring) is Nemophila maculata (five spot). I actually took this photo last month -- when I did the out of focus edition -- and I forgot to include Nemophila m. in the GBBD post. Well, it's still blooming, so here it is. In reality, this is a dainty blossom of close to 1 inch, but we know the camera always lies.

Right on schedule with beautiful purple blossoms is one of my favorite climbers Hardenbergia violacea (Happy wanderer). Almost impossible to photograph on the trellis - the purple seems to always wash out - it's enjoyable to look at a close-up.

In contrast, the eye-popping Euphorbia I bought a few years ago is easy to catch on camera. I like this mediterranean native, which only grows to about 3 feet and is very well behaved (no pulling seedlings everywhere). I enjoy how the greyish leaves harmonize with the South African Cotyleon orbiculata, an attractive succulent that will bloom in summer.

Also surprising are the first blossoms of the native Eriogonum arborescens (channel island buckwheat). I only just finished cutting the seedheads, can it be that we're getting new blossoms already?

The stars of the late winter garden are the manzanitas. I'll do a different post on them soon, for now, I hope you enjoy this close-up of Artostaphylos St. Helena. The big shiny leaves, red stems, and brilliant white flowers have been everything I've hope for when I planted this beautiful native shrub. Different pollinators enjoy the early flowers.

Saving the best for last, here's a close-up of Aristolochia californica (California Dutchman's pipe). This year I have blossoms on three big plants, and I was amused to see tiny flies circling around the flowers on a recent warm day. We rarely think of flies as pollinators, but this plant does attract them - though thankfully, the smell the flies like is imperceptible by humans. Well, at least I can't smell it.

And now it's time to visit Carol at May Dream's Gardens and see what's blooming elsewhere in the country and the world.

Those of you who enjoy the blooms on the 15th of every month might also enjoy First Views, a collection of garden photos that Ms. Country Mouse and I put on every month in the first week of the month. We're inviting others, and this month the turn-out has been quite respectable. So, see you at Carol's, and see you in March over at our place.


Andrea said…
I like those Aristolochia the most. Here, a very beautiful butterfly is being hosted by one of these plants.
Donna said…
You have such a pretty GBBD for February. The roses look so full! Happy GBBD.
CommonWeeder said…
How beautiful! I can think about roses and order new roses, but my landscape is icy white.
Now that you mention it, I never see bees or butterflies on my Camellias, but I DO see aphids and dragon flies strangely enough.
Happy GBBD :)
Julie said…
The tea tree is so lovely! Your sage is also stunning. Truly, I don't think a garden can ever have too much sage! ;-) I'm envious of your CA zone right now! Thanks for sharing!
Such lovely blooms. I love the color of your camelia.
NellJean said…
Bees were happily buzzing my camellias today when I was out making pics. Happy Blooom Day, lots to see at your place.
James said…
For lots of gardeners the fact that no insects have anything to do with a plant would be reason enough to plant it. Maintenance free, for sure, but what do they give back to the local critters? Still, I do like my one pink camellia. I do like your Aristolochia. Who wouldn't be fascinated by plants shaped so strangely? Happy bloomday!
Country Mouse said…
What a lovely selection - I'm sitting out this month. My blooms are not that much different than last month, except I've got some lovely Dark Star ceanothus blooming, and the first of the bee's bliss salvia from the plants I put in this fall. I'll feature them somewhere along the way...
I like your blooms and how they complement Valentine's Day. My favorite is your roses...the color is beautiful.
Queer by Choice said…
Wow, I've never known a Nemophila to bloom in January! Mine have always started blooming in early March.
ryan said…
That's a nice collection. It looks like your garden is taking better advantage of our warm winter than mine. Happy bloom day.
Our hummingbird sage isn't blooming yet, but I did notice that 'Pozo Blue' is throwing up flower spikes already. I think I killed the only manzanita we have though, Dr. Hurd. His leaves went all brown and slotchy. Either too damp, or too cold perhaps, earlier in the winter. Like Country Mouse though, our Dark Star are starting to bloom. It really feels like spring at the moment. I keep having to remind myself it's only mid-February!
scottweberpdx said…
Beautiful blooms...I just love practically and Salvia, and your Salvia spatacea looks amazing...will have to look it up!