Before and After Frost

We had very bad frost after an extremely warm spring. It got down to -2,5°C.
Some plants are set back drastically. Others got through without a wince.

I was very excited when my Rhaphithamnus spinosus flowered for the first time. It got beaten badly by the frost. There will definitely be no lilac-colored berries this year. Also, it is really only marginally hardy. The top half of the plant always freezes off in my location.

Ceanothus gloriosus x masonii ‚Blue Jeans‘ is an other matter altogether. It came through winter and this late frost perfectly and is still flowering. I love this plant!

The foliage of Morus alba looks very delicate, and it is. It’s all gone now.

Zanthoxylum simulans got hurt badly.

Schisandra chinensis before frost. It got frosted, but I think the flowers are okay.

Crispy Diospyros kaki ‚Chocolate‘

Akebia trifoliata flowered! Maybe I will get fruit. The frost only killed the newest growth.

Aronia melanocarpa ‚Viking‘ was totally unfazed. No damage at all.

Aristotelia chilensis was partially damaged.

Many ferns like Cyrtomium fortunei lost their new fronds.

Freeze-dried Decaisnea fargesii.

Tuesday Garden Tour

We have summer-like, very dry weather with temperatures sometimes above 20°C.

Epimedium rubrum in full flower.

Tasmannia lanceolata ‚Red Spice‘ survived our overly cold January and is blooming now.

This was sold to me as Rhamnus californica, but it looks like your plain old Rhamnus frangula aka Frangula alnus. Though this one is definitely different than our native species because it’s (semi-)evergreen. We will probably find out this year, there are flower buds, the berries will tell.

Aristotelia chilensis is sprouting back. First at the base, later on on the rest of plant. The wood was unprotected during winter, yet there is only minimal die-back.

Olearia virgata lineata is surprisingly hardy. It’s coming back fine.

Rhaphithamnus spinosus on the other hand doesn’t seem to be very hardy. Everything above ground-level dies back and the plant doesn’t want to be a ground-cover! Though it is flowering for the first time.

Another slender plant from New Zealand that came back unscathed like Olearia is Hoheria angustifolia. This one was only covered at the base, so it was withstanding th full force of our minimum temp of -11°C.

For some reason I’m collecting Ribes species. Probably because they’re so easy to grow. This one is Ribes cynosbati.

And here we have Ribes sachalinense. Both species are deciduous.

End of March Update

After the coldest January mean temperature for over 30 years we had an overly warm February and the second warmest March ever. At least, the plants are happy.

Sorbus rosea from the Western Himalyas looks great in spring. But it doesn’t perform well the rest of the year, for me. The leaves brown early. Last year it had berries for th first time, they tasted disgusting.

Just your regular old Bellis perennis. They’re flowering since the end of winter.

Polystichum polyblepharum has hairy fronds. A lovely, easy fern.

I don’t think Pseudowintera colorata is a zone 9 plant. It survived this winter protected with mulch perfectly and is even flowering now.

Aronia melanocarpa ‚Viking‘ flower buds. This plant fruits even as a tiny shrub.

Flower buds of Elaeagnus umbellata.

Argyrocytisus battandieri ‚Yellow Tail‘ lost most of it leaves, but is now comingback strong.

Ligularia fischeri var. megalorhiza ‚Cheju Charmer‘ will get huge. In the front, Carex morrowii ‚Variegata‘ is poking out.

Epimedium rubrum flower buds.

I thought this Erica arborea was developing flower buds, but looking at the photo again, it seems it’s just growing new leaves.

This weedy Plantago lanceolata looks awesome right now.

The foliage of Erythronium tuolumnense x californicum ‚Pagoda‘ looks honestly nicer than its pale yellow flowers.

Even though the flowers of Ribes malvaceum don’t pop like those of Ribes sanguineum, they have this irresistible scent like its foliage.

Ribes sanguineum.

This is a tiny Berberis darwinii and it already wants to put blooms out. smh.

Out of focus seedlings of Bulbine bulbosa. I may be able to grow this Australian bulb as a self-sowing annual.

I love the combination of Coprosma acerosa var. brunnea and Muehlenbeckia axillaris. They’re small and visually engaging.

It hink those are flowers on my Distylium myricoides. Cool!

Those are definitely flowers. Peach grown from seed.

Veronica persica is a weed, but managable and lovely at the moment.


Akebia trifoliata. This year all my Akebias have flower buds, so maybe I will get fruit for the first time. They need a partner for pollination that isn’t the same clone.

My small Amelanchier (I think it’s Amelanchier lamarckii) will flower for the first time. I’m excited!

Ceanothus gloriosus x masonii ‚Blue Jeans‘ with flower buds.

Chiliotrichum diffusum ‚Siska‘ is regenerating fine after the winter.

The scent of the foliage of Ribes malvaceum is stronger when it’s raining. It smells so good!

The emerging foliage of Staphylea pinnata looks interesting.

March Update

The weather has been really nice this last couple of weeks, with lots of sun and enough rain. We also didn’t have much frost since February. The plants are developing accordingly really fast.

Abeliophyllum distichum is flowering, finally, with a lovely scent. The normal Forsythia , which it is closely related to, is just a week behind, so I think the Abeliophyllum may be a bit late.

Comparing the two Aristotelia species I have in my garden, one difference is showing particularly well in winter: A. chilensis has strikingly reddish stems, almost like a Cornus sanguinea. The branches of A. serrata on the other hand, go from red into a deep black. Both are doing fine, even though they lost their leaves (like last year).

Brachyglottis greyi ‚Sunshine‘ came through the harsh winter pretty much unscathed.

The bright yellow flowers of Cornus mas ‚Kazanlak‘ will soon turn into tasty fruit. This cultivar has bigger, pear-shaped fruit.

I don’t know how this Eucalyptus gunnii will handle my winters. It probably won’t look like this after our winter cold, because I planted this one only recently.

Iris reticulata ‚Harmony‚ is already done with its show for this year. But luckily I was able to capture its short-lived beauty.

Ribes sanguineum looks quite similar to R. malvaceum, but the latter seems to be blooming a bit earlier. Another difference is the smell of its leaves. R. malvaceum smells intoxicating.

February Blooms

Some flowers like Abeliophyllum distichum are just about to open but not quite ready. Here are those that are:

Hamamelis doing its thing. Sadly this cultivar has no fragrance…

Flowering maybe a bit far stretched with this Bergenia.

Corylus avellana ‚Webbs Preisnuss‘ making people with allergies miserable.

This bumblebee on the other hand doesn’t mind the pollen from the Helleborus.

Neither does this early bee. Hellebores grow as a weed here,

Speaking of weeds, Veronica persica flowers almost year-round.

This yellow-leafed form of Valerianella locusta looks almost like a flower.