What is blooming in our gardens and around Larchmont Village?
While the rest of the country is struggling with the polar vortex, we are lucky to be enjoying flowering plants, trees and fruit. It’s not the extravagant floral display of the spring, but it’s pretty amazing considering it’s winter!
Southern California’s climate makes expert gardeners out of even the most lazy of us. All you have to do is look around your neighborhood to see wonderful floral displays many of which happen year after year without much care. Just look at all the azaleas, camellias and roses blooming everywhere. This year seems like the finest display of delicate white flowers on the camellia trees in my front yard in recent years. The Huntington and Descanso Gardens are among the best places to see these rose-like beauties cultivated by expert gardeners for maximum bloom.
Sprays of delicate yellow roses are just starting to appear on our Lady Banks climbing rose. The rosemary is bursting with delicate pale blue flowers, and our sturdy rhaphiolepis, often overlooked as a work house evergreen shrub, is starting to shoot bright new leaves and pink and white flowers.
Another evergreen shrub, toyon (heteromeles arbutifolia), is loaded with red berries this time of years. Often called the Christmas berry or California holly, the toyon provides winter color for us and food for birds said Carol Bornstein, director of the nature garden at the Natural History Museum where it’s now blooming along with a host of other drought tolerant mediterranean plants like the hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea), and various varieties of goose berries. Good to know now that we are officially in a drought. Bornstein planted the NHM garden to illustrate how to plant a colorful seasonal garden filled with flowers that better suit our climate.
Flowering trees are blooming as well. The white flowering pear can be seen all over the neighborhood, a holdover from the era when gardeners were less concerned about saving water. The tabebuia tree, its pink bulb-like flowers makes a spectacular display without the distraction of any leaves. While not native, the tabebuia is a bit less thirsty than the flowering pear.
And last but not least, though they are not flowering per se, the citrus trees are in full swing and add wonderful color to the winter landscape, plus they taste good!