Thursday, March 19, 2009

Plants I'm growing: First Blooms-- California Poppy (2009)

The first California poppy (Escholzia californica) of the season opened in the garden today. These have been  blooming around town for at least two weeks now, but ours have been laggards. Looking at the center of the photo, it is easy to see why the bees and bumblebees love the poppies. They are a rich source of pollen early in the season.

The "Julia Phelps" Ceanothus is in full bloom at the moment. The tightly packed, fragrant, blue flowers that cover the Bush attract an extraordinary variety of insects, including native bees, bumblebees, and honeybees.  Another great source of early-season  pollen. Notice the packed pollen baskets on the legs of the bee in the photograph.

I also note here that the "Ray Hartman" Ceanothus has been in bloom for more than a week, but I missed the first blooms.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Plants I'm growing: First Blooms--Scabiosa

The first Scabiosa blossom in the yard opened today. This one is a rather subjective call. The flower has been gradually opening over the past few days. When is it open completely? I'm not sure, but today it looked more like a blossom than not, so it bloomed today for the purposes of my botanical calendar. This is your garden variety Scabiosa. I can't remember the name of the variety. Also included in this post is a new shot of the Dwarf Nectarine, now in full bloom.

Birds I'm Watching: Allen's Hummingbird

Watched a male Allen's hummingbird for a while this afternoon. It was flitting from blossom to blossom on the large "Tuscan Blue" rosemary bush on the deck side of the house. We normally see the Anna's hummingbird here. It's always refreshing to see something different. Since living in Santa Rosa, I've seen a rufous hummingbird once. I typically see the Allen's once or twice a year. The Anna's is present more or less every day of the year.    
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