Friday I’m in Love: Tulips

If bluebells are the shy beauties of spring, tulips are the chorus girls. They are typically colourful and wildly effective en masse. Attractive enough to have caused arguably the world’s first speculative bubble and to have inspired some of the world’s most best artists.

I was late planting mine and so I’m only just seeing flowers.

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Descanso Gardens is more organised and the results are spectacular!

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Spring!

Not much time for writing this week but I wanted to share these signs of spring elsewhere in the garden…

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Got to love southern California!

Friday I’m in Love: Bluebells

Bluebells are one of my top ten favourite flowers. There is nothing more evocative of an English spring than a woodland carpeted with these fragile beauties.

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When we first moved here I planted several hundred bulbs under the liquidambar trees and azaleas as a taste of home. Despite suffering a trampling when we redid the irrigation earlier this year they are beginning to put on a show…

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…my own little patch of England!

Friday I’m in Love: Pussy Willow

“Pussy willow is a name given to many of the smaller species of the genus Salix (willows and sallows) when their furry catkins are young in early spring. Before the male catkins of these species come into full flower they are covered in fine, grayish fur, leading to a fancied likeness to tiny cats…” Wikipedia

Pussy willow is the perfect floral decoration for early spring. The leafless stems hark back to winter while the little furry buds remind me of baby rabbits or lamb’s tails. Growing up in the country we’d cut stalk from the hedgerows each spring to take home. As an adult I’d buy the cut flower version to remind myself that there are still seasons in the city. I haven’t seen them here before, though – until now.

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And suddenly I’m a child again…

Signs of Spring

After the first major rainfall of the year I’m hoping the seasons will return to a bit more like normal. It has been an unusually warm winter and many things in the garden are more advanced than I expected.

Orange blossom.

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Leaf shoots on the apple, aprium, grape and kiwi.

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Mulberry catkins.

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My first figs.

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And the first shoots on the globe artichokes.IMG_3819

February at Descanso

Technical issues and too much to do were my enemies this month but I managed to carve out some time for my favourite botanical gardens. The camellias are still going strong,

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although are being carried off…

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And I spotted this little beauty I’ve not seen before:

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Unfortunately not labelled. Can anyone identify it?

The lilacs already got a page all to themselves…

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And I love that the gardeners allow the leaves to stay on the ground so that nature can do its thing!

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Descanso In January

I only made it to Descanso Gardens once in January, but that hour was worth it. I believe I can officially call it spring! There are shoots peeping out and blossom beginning to show, even alongside reminders of winter.

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It had rained the night before so the camellias and magnolias were a little battered, but I just love their slightly artificial-looking flowers.

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One of my favourite places to visit is the small kitchen garden, Nature’s Table. There is always something to spark my interest. This month I was taken by the rainbow chard whose glossy green leaves contrast beautifully with the greyish-green of the artichoke. And the coloured stems look like fireworks!

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And I love the weathered forms they use to collect leaves. Look at the way the peas have been trained around this one. Pretty, AND practical…my kind of garden!

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The Center [sic] Circle has recently been redone as a California meadow. Although it’s tiny, it sparked the germ of an idea for the most difficult part of our garden…of which more later…

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Do you have a favourite place to take photos? Where do you go for inspiration?