Tuesday, March 8, 2011
While time ticks by slowly for most garden plants through the remaining months of Winter, California natives have emerged ready for Spring. Ribes sanguineum, Pink Currant, I'll admit looks rather lackluster at the end of Summer. Leaves turn rust-colored and sparse. But come February the garden becomes a fairyland of hanging pink ornaments. Delicate little earring droplets drip off the edges of branches while hummingbirds rush to visit each one. Instant enchantment!
Violets and Douglas Iris sit at the Queen's feet, adding splashes of lavender to the scene. I'll be honest and admit that I can't remember what variety this is. I'll venture a guess at 'Claremont.'
This lighter variety grows happily in a large container planted just over the Summer. I love how lady-like this one is with her pink gloves on for tea!
Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry, has been going strong since January. The outgoing, wild sister of sanguineum, this spined, arching shrub shoves out seemingly millions of these racy red drops. The Summer months find these flowers transformed into fuzzy orange balls, slightly transparent and filled with black seeds. To call them berries does not do them justice- more like special gifts from space aliens. I can attest, however that they are sweet and quite tasty, although the seed to fruit ratio is about equal. The perfect plant for a low-traffic part-sun area of the garden in need of color. I imagine its brambles could deter roving bands of cats from entering through that hole in the fence you've been meaning to repair. Or if I've totally lost you there, plant one for hummingbirds who have been known to nest in these. It's a win-win!