This rainy season has been good news / bad news all around. The good news is that we've had a lot more rain for the rainfall year because of two large storms in late fall. The bad news is that it pretty much hasn't rained at all this calendar year.
This has had two effects on the plants: Everything is quite lush and beautiful - and everything is blooming early and might not last long - it's warm, sunny, and dry.
Today, I want to celebrate the beautiful blooms that the garden has been offering for several weeks now. Above Salvia leucophila 'Pt. Sal Spreader' looks wonderful with purple blossoms and green winter foliage.
Ceanothus 'Tilden Park' is also stunning this year. After a disappointing display last year, I'm impressed with the blossoms everywhere, and the pollinators are happy too.
And the first bulbs are also showing up - above, a dainty Tritileia.
And here's how it all looks from the street. Certainly beats the dead lawns some houses are now featuring - and my front garden does not have automatic irrigation (though I hand water just a bit in late spring).
I'm also happy with the Phacelia this year. Not sure whether they aren't quite as weedy because I pulled quite a few, or whether they self-control when it's fairly dry. But there's less danger of them choking all other plants - and the bumble bees appreciate them more than ever.
Both Phacelia and the tidy tips shown above reseed quite reliably every year. I started with, I think, two tidy tip seedlings from Annie's and I enjoy them along the walkway to the front step. They're even growing in some cracks in the driveway - I try my best not to run over them.
In the back garden, I removed 3 large Ceanothus thyrsiflorus and planted some 1-gallon Ceanothus 'Midnight' instead. I did this in part because thyrsiflorus clearly wanted more sun, and the redwoods shade the spots for quite a big part of the day. Last year, I wasn't sure whether the experiment was going to succeed, but I'm more hopeful now- and I certainly love the color of this particular Ceanothus. Nice contrast to Mimulus puniceus, the southern red monkey flower that also tolerates some shade.
I'll leave you with another reminder that we're not just planting for our own enjoyment but for the different critters that visit the garden. And the hummingbird sage above is a great plant both for pollinators and for hummingbirds. I think they're building a nest nearby, and I'm so happy I can offer some natural food for them.