When I left for a two-week vacation on Valentine's day, things looked grim in the garden. With just 2 inches of rain for the rainfall year, or, really since January 2013, even my native plants did not luck their winter best.
When I returned on March 2, a blessed 2 inches of rain had fallen and things had changed. Yes, 4 inches is about 1/3 of normal - but that's better than 1/6. Suddenly, the red monkey flower (Mimulus puniceus, above) started show happy new green leaves.
The native bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa) was showing off lush feathery green and dainty pink flowers.
The manzanitas had actually had a fairly good year despite the drought - some fellow native plant gardeners had remarked that they were coping better than most plants. But seeing the leaves washed clean made such a difference.
The fruit tress fairly exploded out of dormancy - the plum tree started a few days after I left and was already almost done the day I returned. The nectarine, shown below, started a little later and the fresh green was such a delight.
I usually don't feature the non-native plants in the garden - but the Camelias this year are beyond abundant - a little garish, maybe, but why not?
A surprise were the very early blooms of Salvia brandegii - I've espaliered this very tough shrub along a fence and was so happy to see the first pollinators of the season enjoy these early blossoms.
The native current, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum, was also quite prolific, and I was especially surprised to find so many green leaves already.
I had bought a cultivar ('Claremont'), known for its large blossoms last year and I'm growing it in a pot for now. The resulting flower was quite spectacular, but now I'm nervous. Will Claremont be as tough as the straight species, or am I asking for trouble?
I'll leave you with one of my favorite spring blooms, Sidalcea malvaeflora (checkerbloom). The exciting thing about this plant is that it goes completely dormant in June, then comes back suddenly in January or February, with blooms in March through May. Seeing the beautiful pink flowers, I know that it's spring again (now, if we could just get another inch of rain!).
And because it happens to be so close to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, I'm going to link this post to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol faithfully continues to post blooms every month, and lets us all share the joy of gardening (When I got to the blog, I initially saw her post of the Garden Fairies Selfies, which is very enjoyable as well...)