Annuals - The Gift that Keeps On Giving

Usually, I write about California native annuals and bulbs in October, as I look through seed supplier offerings and get ready for sowing and planting. This year - why not - let's have a look at the results of the labors of the gardener.

Even though it's been a very bad year from the standpoint of California's water districts - no snow in the Sierras to replenish the water supply - two strong storms brought good amounts of water to the garden this year, and it's showing in the garden. Above, we see the colorful picture that greets the visitor. It's even better closer to the front door.

Beautiful pink Clarkia unguiculata (elegant clarkia) catches the eye immediately.

Clarkia's are fairly happy reseeders, and I'm finding then in different spots in the garden, mostly pink and some salmon-colored.

The tall purple annual is Phacelia tanacetifolia or tansy-leaved phacelia. Beloved by pollinators such as bumble bees, this pretty annual reseeds very reliably in my garden.

Some years, I even find that Phacelia spreads a little aggressively. This year, I weeded the seedlings to keep the plants primarily in the back - where 3-4 foot tall annuals belong.

The star of the show this year are Layia platyglossa or tidy tips. I initially bought a few pots from Annie's Annuals at the garden show. The next year, a few plants came back, and then a few more. This year, it's been amazing!

In the back garden, the stars of the show have been Collinsia Heterophylla or Chinese houses. Interestingly, they came up in a different spot than originally intended, but I'm not arguing. A small field of pretty annuals is welcome anywhere.

This photo shows why they're called Chinese houses - the flowers suggest little pagoda-like roofs. In the background, one of the few California poppies. For some reason, none of the poppies reseeded this year and I'm thinking of buying a packet of seeds in the fall.

Also in the back garden some Nemophila maculata or fivespot. Also reseeded in an unexpected place, I'm hoping these little beauties will spread and might collect some seeds. The photo shows them with a Triteleia, one of the bulbs in my garden. But that's for another post.


ryan said…
Your wildflowers look great. I'm jealous of the Tidy Tips and Chinese House. They faded away in my garden, I think because of slugs and snails coming from next door. I might try them again, I really like them both.

I had a surprisingly good bloom from the Meadowfoam this year. It didn't produce as much foliage and the plants were noticeably smaller, but they produced a really nice bloom. Possibly smaller flowers and maybe a little shorter period of bloom but still really nice, so I'm sure they'll be back next year. And my Cal poppies are doing well of course.
James Kempf said…
Great to see that the garden has recovered this year. Too bad I'm not there to enjoy it, but hopefully it will be back again next year.
lostlandscape said…
I love this time of year! Even from many hundreds of miles away your layia plants are pretty stunning. Wow.

This is year one for me of growing this clarkia after coveting them in everyone else's gardens. Yours look great and I'm happy mine are looking nice too. Mixed in with all the different pinks and salmons and coral flowers I found one tiny clarkia with ivory flowers. I'm letting all the plants go to seed, but I'm definitely going to collect seed from the one unusual one and watch the the seedlings carefully.
I lost a lot of native annuals to slugs and snails. I really ought to try again.