Friday, April 18, 2008

April's Garden Blogger Bloom Day

This hedge of Bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidus or is it Callistemon viminalis, the weeping variety) has really come into it's own this spring! If I was a hummingbird, this is where I'd want to hang out - and they are! One gallon pots were planted just four years ago. And since I was anxious for a hedge, I made the mistake of planting them a litte too thick - but it's working for now! I wrote this post yesterday at work and rushed home to get a shot of our stunning bottlebrush hedge - you can imagine how disappointed I was to find that our near hurricane force winds (don't know if they were - but they sure felt like it to me!) had blown the blooms out! These pictures are from the more protected side - but they still look a bit weather-weary. Happily there were buff-belly and ruby throated hummingbirds galore!
Just when I thought my Yucca or Spanish Dagger, Yucca treculeana, would never bloom, it came through! It has been a full month since I've notice the Yucca all around the Rio Grande Valley in bloom. Yucca is native to the area and not too picky about it's surroundings. It grows in full sun or partial shade and is happy in any type soil - as long as it is well drained. Mine is in a wetter area than it prefers, but it was growing there when we built our home and I'll bet it's there when we're gone . . . If you plant one in your landscape, remember that with water, it will spread into a pretty large specimen. Mine has got to be 8-10 feet from side to side. This is the mockingbirds favorite place to perch and serenade us!

I cut off one of the blooms for the picnic table. Although it looks very delicate, it each petal is pretty thick and waxy. There are very pale greens and yellows that are too pretty for words. I have always thought that the yucca bloom was edible - but upon reading a little bit more, I think maybe it's the yucca fruit that is eaten. But that's for another post. We're all about blooms today!

My small bed of daylilies have begun blooming! Since we have to transplant them in a week or two, I'm thrilled that we get to enjoy their beauty for a while.

We call this Pato de Chiva or Clavo de Chiva. The name means goat's foot or goat's hoof. For a few years now, I've tried to see a goat's hoof in this bloom. Can you see where I should have been looking? Right! The leaves! A perfect little goat's hoof.

This is a bushy tree that can be trimmed up to a more definite tree form. I've been letting mine do what it wants lately and the bees and butterflies both are glad to have the extra blooms. There is a pinkish tinge in the blooms that my picture didn't capture very well. This is not native to the Valley but is well naturalized here. It's a wonderful butterfly and hummingbird attractant.


Priscilla George said...

Got to love Bottlebrush. They get so large and I've never seen the weeping variety. Many people ask for the little john variety at work. Great Yucca bloom! The pato de chiva is so cute. That's funny that the hoof shape was in the leaves the whole time.

tina said...

Better late than never is okay! You must be like me-shall we say I am a wee bit unorganized? Or maybe priority challenged? I can't choose which priority comes first so accomplish nothing!

Amy said...

Your hedge is absolutely fabulous. I bet you'll get hordes of hummingbirds over the years. I just discovered that I can grow "Adams Needle" yuccas where I live. Now I just have to find someone here who actually sells them :)

Anonymous said...

The daylily is one of my favorite plants and yours is so pretty. I love the goat's foot. The leaves are unusual & the flowers are so delicate.

Jan Always Growing

Aiyana said...

Does the Yucca treculeana flower stalk have a nice scent? We have the Soap Tree Yucca here that has the most heavenly scent. They don't bloom every year, but when they do, I think the fragrance is as wonderful as orange blossoms!

Mary Beth said...

Vanillalotus - Even though my bottlebrush were all bought at the same time from the same grower, I think most of them are the weeping variety with a few upright ones scattered in for good measure! Pato de Chiva can get really large (20' tall). Does it grow in your area?

Amy - We spent last evening outside and the hummingbirds were buzzing by like little jet fighters - I have many more than my neighbor and it's got to be the bottlebrush!

Tina - I like to think of it as not living with restrictions! (but my mom used to refer to it as "a day late and a dollar short")

Jan - I'm very inexperienced with daylily - maybe you can help educate me.

Ariyana - When I cut down the yucca bloom, I expected a really exotic aroma. How disappointing that I smelled nothing! but it could be my "smeller" - it's not what it used to be.

Katarina said...

That hedge of Bottlebrush looks so great! fascinating flower!

Dan said...

Your hedge could be a Callistemon rigidus or a Callistemon viminalis. Whatever the case it is a beautiful hedge!

Mary Beth said...

Dan - I can't make up my mind which variety it is! Thanks for including the links to your info on both bottlebrush varieties.

Katarina - That hedge had never looked better than last week - I hope that's a good sign for the garden!

Carol Michel said...

I'm still out here finding some wonderful bloom day posts! I really like those bottlebrush flowers. Thanks for joining in.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Anonymous said...

I bought some bottlebrush (upright) today for a hedge/border. How close did you plant yours? I love the look and it is actually what I am trying to achieve.

Mary Beth said...

Re: the planting of the bottlebrush. The plants in our hedge are spaced at 3 feet apart. It looks great now, but in a few years, I think it will be too close - if I had it to do again, I'd plant them at 4 or 5 feet apart. Today was sunny and warm - makes me feel like it's spring - and this hedge will be one of the first things to explode in color.

Tanya Boracay said...

They beautiful. it brings you a wonderful morning.

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