Despite the drought that is dragging on, I've been doing some planting and spot watering of new plants - especially Ribes, the family that includes our most lovely flowering currants. These plants brighten up winter with their delicate and showy blooms, and they feed the nectar lovers, including the hummingbirds. Our north slope where I'm planting seems to hold moisture - grass is growing there - whereas elsewhere, even the weeds are holding their breath waiting on rain.
There is one Ribes in particular, and I don't know what it is. It is popping up unbidden, and it is flowering amid the tangle of blackberry vines in the area I'm not working on yet.
Is it our local one? Or is it the chaparral ribes I planted many years ago - spread by birds? Maybe someone can recognize it.
You can see that the stem exfoliates, the leaf is smallish and roughish and the flowers are pink and pendulous. I love it - it grows, it is a snap to propagate from cuttings, and the deer leave it be. Such a welcome sight while the rest of our area looks like the middle of summer - dry and brown.
Elsewhere in the garden, still on the north side - I'm seeing fuchsia flowering gooseberry - Ribes speciosum - is starting to bloom, and it's looking nice and green. I have watered here a little - very infrequently and for maybe an hour with a sprinkler.
And in that same area - Ribes indecorum - a most beautiful and drought tolerant ribes with pendulous white blooms - always the earliest to brighten up the garden.
I didn't get a photo of the catalina currant - Ribes viburnifolium - but its tiny blooms are all over the bushes, and early berries have even started to form. Why so early? In response to the drought? I don't know.
And here is a random surprise!
This Dutchman's pipevine - Aristolochia californica - is growing up through a rambling or climbing rose in the ridge top area of the garden - where it gets a bit of water from the neighbor across the fence. Wow - it's covered in blooms!
Well, I thought I'd bring a bit of flower cheer to readers who are suffering from extremes of weather - whether drought or flood, or freezing storms. Today my Minnesota mother-in-law is flying in for a few days' respite from the 20-below temperatures in her home town!