Blushing Blooms for the New Year!

| December 31, 2013 | 3 Replies

Blushing blooms for the New Year abound in our Southern California neighborhoods! Because half my garden is taken up with edible plants, at first glance there doesn’t seem to be much color at the end of December. I have the staples that bloom all year, like Princess Flower and non-native yarrow, but I thought I would have a good look around and see what’s blooming on New Year’s. Here are my totally subjective Top Ten New Year’s Blooms! As the firecrackers pop in the distance, we shall start with the corals, pinks and purples.

1) Sugar Magnolia Purple Sweet Pea

I’ve only grown sweet peas with white blossoms, so this is a special treat. Slightly smaller blooms than a Sugar Snap Pea, the Sugar Magnolia Purple Pea has very delicate petals and many-pronged tendrils. And this red violet color is one of my favorites and why I chose to grow these peas from Redwood Seeds, to add color to the garden. I can’t wait to see the purple pea pods!

Blushing Blooms - Magnolia

Sugar Magnolia Purple Pea Blossom

2) Kalanchoe marnieriana

This grey-leafed succulent requires so little attention and still produces lots of mass on very minimal roots. And the bell-shaped coral blooms are astonishing.

Blushing Blooms - Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe marnieriana blooms

3) Cyclamen persicum

When you can keep cyclamen happy, in just the right pot, with just enough light, water and food, the delicate, vivid blooms, which seem to melt within days of opening, are captivating.

Blushing Blooms-cyclamen

Cyclamen persicum

4) Camellia japonica

This hearty camellia bush produces hundreds of blooms every winter, so much so that one can take it for granted. But, the first bloom of the season, drenched in the deepest pink, demands respect and attention.

Blushing Blooms-camelia

First Camellia Blossom of the Season

5) Raphiolepis indica ‘Rosalinda’ /Rosalinda Indian Hawthorn

Another fixture of our garden are the Indian Hawthorns, which make a great border. I have two large bushes which bloom practically all winter, then come dark blue berries. I heartily ignore it while focusing most of my attention on edibles, and they don’t seem to mind. Six feet tall, and quite thick without pruning, their blooms are bee magnets.

Blushing Blooms-berry bush

Indian Hawthorn

Now for a couple of yellows.

6) Marigold

There are so many variations of yellow/orange/red marigolds it will make your head spin, and nearly as many reasons to grow them in your garden, not the least of which is to keep mosquitos away. In Southern California, it seems if you keep feeding your marigolds, they will thank you with bright blooms year-round.

Blushing Blooms-marigolds


7) Golden Currant

My California native, Golden Currant, is blooming for the first time in the Late Bloomer garden. I purchased this rather delicate-branched, small-leafed bush from Grow Native Nursery last summer and planted it by the house in the shade. I think it got too much water (the soil is clay), and it dropped all its leaves. Even though I was told that native plants don’t like to be moved, I did anyway, to a spot in my native meadow and trimmed the branches by half. A month later, buds appeared at the ends of each branch and now there are dozens of clusters of these delicate yellow blooms, tinged with red orange.

Blushing Blooms-currant

California Native Golden Currant

Finally, some whites.

8) Sugar Snap Pea

The sensuousness of sweet pea blossoms is rather unfathomable, and their impatient launch from the earth to reach for the sun is a mission from God. From the tendrils that unfurl to grasp any support available, including one of their own, to the delicately-veined, near-erotic petals in shades of white, their beauty belies their strength. The near hollow stems can be easily crimped, halting the rush of water and sugars to the forming pods. Is there any vegetable with a blossom more winning?

Blushing Blooms-sweet pea

Sugar Snap Pea Blossom

9) Meyer Lemon

My lemon tree is a hummingbird draw. They have done their job, and the tree is loaded with green lemons (with a long way to go), and there are more blossoms coming. This is the third winter in the ground for this little tree and finally I am seeing some of the promise “Ever-bearing.” An added bonus is the tinge of purple, my favorite color!

Blushing Blooms-lemon

Meyer Lemon Tree Blossom

10) Heuchera “Old La Rochette”

Another of my California native favorites is the perennial Heuchera. “Old La Rochette” blooms are white, tinged with pink. There are several varieties, and I also have “Wendy” which has solid medium-pink blooms. Tiny and delicate, the blooms project up two feet on thin shafts from the bed of leaves. This is another native that does well in shade/partial shade, and I have two in the ground and one in a pot and all are blooming and doing well.

Blushing Blooms-Heuchera

Heuchera “Old La Rochette” Bloom

All of these photos were shot in the soft light after the sun had set upon 2013. Here’s to a blooming 2014!

Happy New Year, and thank you for your support! – Kaye


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Category: Flowers

Comments (3)

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  1. MaryNell says:

    Hi Kaye! I am jealous of your beautiful flowers! And your weather! Thanks for the motivation.


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