'Bartzella' Peony Bloomed, And Other Spring Things


Opening a gate, I saw the first open 'Bartzella' flower.   The flowers are impressive at nearly 7" in diameter.  It wasn't actually a surprise, since the buds have been appearing and swelling for days, but, you know, spring. 
At night they close up a bit.  Did you know that? 
 Eustoma aka Liatris, grown here for the first time last year,  not knowing how big it would get, its habits or desires.   I scattered them about in various locations--all day sun, afternoon shade, mostly shade, dry, moist.  They were not wholly successful, though the flowers were a delight.  The ones found for sale are usually hybrids of some sort, originally for the cut-flower trade.  (They are excellent in the vase).   Mostly grown as annuals, they will do well for two or three years here, if they overwinter successfully. 

Several of last year's plants survived in places to their liking.  Cutting out last year's dying growth as new shoots developed from the base created plants more substantial than last year's six-pack seedlings.  We'll see how they do this year. 
Their excellence as a cut flower inspired me to turn the neglected and mostly unused vegetable garden into a cut-flower garden for this year.  Many new Eustoma...
...and Dahlias.
The kennel bed was retained for tomatoes.  I'll try harder with them this year, but my heart just isn't in this kind of gardening.  
 This pair of Aeoniums grows more and more amazing, as its habit creates a perfect globe.  It appears to have been meticulously shaped, but that's completely natural--I've never touched it.  I almost pulled them out last August during their summer dormancy, when they look dreadful.  Should have taken photos, to show how they come back in winter.  They might be Aeonium haworthii.  The original bits came from broken pieces I picked up on the road during a dog walk. 
The bloomed-out Agave 'Blue Glow's could come out, but waiting  to see if the stems produce a bulbil or two is wise.  There are a few seed pods as well. 
Ahah!  See? 
Free replacements!  These grow readily.  The going price for a one gallon size 'Blue Glow' is $20 to $30, so it's worth waiting and looking for these.  If they were more irrigated I speculate they would produce more bulbils. 
As to the 'Blue Glow' seed pods,  I did try planting some seeds quite a few years ago--five?  Seven?  Anyway, seedlings appeared, but I left them where they were, in deep dry shade, never bothering with them.  I've finally gotten around to bringing them into the light and giving them water.  Time will tell what they look like.  They have the blue color and red edges of the parent, though the leaves are narrower so far. 
This mystery plant too was a seed planted, a seed I popped off a plant at a nursery.  I can't remember what it was, and it isn't apparent what it is, either.  I moved it to sun and irrigation.  The mystery can continue a while.  Carissa, maybe?
So that's the past few days in Spring, here.  Some plants are fully engulfed with flowers, and others are still leafing out. 


Comments

  1. Lookin' good, especially all the yellow stuff. You've made good selections. How 'bout this heat? I think your plants will withstand it better than I will! Topped out yesterday at 97 here. Today is forecast to be 88. Not betting on that. Already very warm.

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    1. Heat. Hate it! Dreading summer. (Sounds like part of a Haiku, doesn't it?)

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  2. Your 'Bartzella' pic sent me outdoors to see if there was any evidence of buds on my pink-flower Itoh. Nada. However, the foliage has fleshed out dramatically since I gave it some protection from potential bunny nibbling so hope remains. I'll give it some compost and fertilizer later today to encourage it. As always, your Leucospermum never ceases to impress. I hope your garden withstood yesterday's heat blast - it reached 95F here, if only briefly.

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    1. Dreading summer heat
      Sun is a fever burning
      Flower browns and dies

      There's my Summer Haiku!

      No Itoh flowers
      Garden beauty missing when
      Itoh missing pink

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  3. 'Bartzella' looks amazing - I am surprised peonies do well in California! I recently saw this peony at Home Depot for $29 and should have bought one but I didn't. Love the photo of the roses with the shadows on the wall - perfection!

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    1. It's an Itoh Peony which is a cross between herbaceous species and tree peonies. They do okay here. Pushing zone just a little. Probably 100 miles north of here they are even better, probably would be excellent for you.

      Oh, you noticed the shadows! Cool! Thanks!

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  4. HB, that peony is a real beauty, I love peonies , they rank among my favorite plants. I've been trying to find Itoh Peonies here but nobody seems to know them, nurseries only offer lactiflora and suffruticosa varieties and none of them grow well here, but I won't lose hope, I found David Austin roses this year maybe I'll find Itoh peonies one day.

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    1. Keep an eye open, they may arrive eventually. It took quite a long time here. In the meantime, enjoy the David Austins!

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  5. Wow, those 'Bartzella' blooms are really knockouts. May you have many more; looks like the plant is establishing happily.

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  6. Your tales of accident and thrift are among the most thrilling things about your garden. The pair of Aeoniums would make excellent subs for box balls in a formal dry-garden scheme, if it weren't for the summer withdrawal.

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    1. Boy are they unbelievably ugly in summer. I'll have to take some pics this August for everyone's enjoyment.

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  7. Love that tiny aeonium and how it shapes nicely in the summer. I find it hard to overwinter here unfortunately so have to keep getting it every spring. Great bloom!

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    1. Hard to overwinter? Too cold maybe? Well you can grow so much else, it leaves you a little more room in the garden.

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  8. The bulbils might multiply as the bloom ages and you have plenty of replacements. Isn't it a wonder how they reproduce?!! Love the peony. I have tried to grow this and failed. Seeing how pretty yours is make me want to try again. You have so much color and blooms in your garden now. Lovely.

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    1. Spring can be wonderful here even after a very disappointing rainy season. I hope yours is going to be a good one also.

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  9. OOOOhhh how beautiful to see all your flowers. Your peonies are stunning.
    'Have a wonderful day Hoover Boo.
    Rosehugs Marijke

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    1. Thank you so much Marijke. I hope your springtime is here and is beautiful.

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  10. Your garden wears spring beautifully. ("Okay, your garden looks great in every season" he said with no small amount of envy.) Your success with a peony in your climate is impressive. Sad to see the "Blue Glow" flowering but it's great that you have free replacements.

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    1. No, not in every season. I just don't take the pictures of the ugly bits.

      Sad to see the 'Blue Glow's bloom even though there are replacements. Just an extremely beautiful plant!

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  11. Hi,

    I am a fellow Californian and have been following your posts for a while. I am very, curious and even more so, since this peony post as to what climate zone you live in. I am in Southern California, climate zone 9-10, near the LA Co Arboretum. I have tried many times over the years to grow a peony with absolutely no luck. I have never heard of Bartzella peony, but if you think there is any chance of success I would try one. I do grow most of the other plants that you do.

    Thank you.

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    1. 'Bartzella' is an Itoh peony which are interspecies hybrids. They do reasonably well here. The herbaceous ones won't bloom here and the tree peonies are marginal. Itohs are probably actually a little better in your area since your winters are very slightly colder than here, especially at night.

      Lowe's had some Itohs for sale a couple of months ago--that is where 'Bartzella' came from. Monrovia markets them so you might find one at a Monrovia supplied garden center. Warning: they ain't cheap. Tip: 'Bartzella' is said to be the very best performer, so hold out for that one.

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    2. Try morning sun/afternoon shade for 'Bartzella'--enough sun to produce flowers but enough shade because inland summer heat.

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  12. Mystery plant with a trifoliate leaf looks like a Searsia.
    crenata maybe.
    The fruit is berries about the size and shape of lentils.
    Dune crowberry.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. That would be a rare exotic here! It looks like a good tough screening shrub, something analogous to one of our native Rhus, say R. ovatifolia or R. integrifolia.

      Alas, it's some very common thing, just can't remember what. Gives me motivation to grow it well to find out what prompted me to pop off a few seeds and plant.

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