I am continuing with a walk around my garden. The first part of the tour can be found here.
I fell in love with Jacob's Ladder (polemonium pulcherrimum) at a nursery because it reminded me of Forget-me-nots which do not grow well here. I like the simple cheerful flowers in light blue and yellow set against ferny foliage. My plants are not doing so well probably because I placed them in a spot that's too hot and dry, but one is blooming nonetheless.
The beautiful lilac vine (hardenbergia violacea) brightens up my winters year after year with a profusion of violet sweet pea-like flowers from late winter to early spring.
We spent two years living in Dallas before coming to California, and I got used to huge and happy fuchsias there. I bought a few on a whim right after we moved into our house, even though I suspected that dry heat would not be to their liking. They all met with a quick demise, of course, except for this one, fuchsia tryphilla, which is not only more tolerant of my climate, but blooms year-round too.
The picture below is of an African Iris (dietes iridioides). I don't grow them but they are popular in the neighborhood, so I "borrowed" their blooms from a neighbor...
I do grow plenty of Heavenly Bamboo (nandina domestica), solely for winter berries, so bright, cheerful and long-lasting.
There are lots of rosemary shrubs in my garden, mostly the trailing kind (rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus') because I have long retaining walls. They have just started to bloom...
...and the profuse pale-blue flowers are alive with bees.
Growing through my winter daphne is a shrimp plant (justicia brandegeeana) with showy spikes of bracts that look like shrimp tails. It provides color when daphne is out of bloom (it blooms pretty much year-round here) and attracts hummingbirds.
My strawberry tree (arbutus unedo) is in full bloom.
I love the cheerfulness of evergreen candytuft (iberis sempervirens). It blooms from mid-winter until early summer and is very showy at its peak in spring.
I have a flowering maple (abutilon) growing through one of my camellias (I really do plant everything pretty tightly). Mine blooms year-round and all I do is cut it back when it enroaches into the path.
I grow several fringeflower (loropetalum chinense) shrubs because they are graceful, provide a useful evergreen screen, and don't need much maintenance. I like the species loropetalum best because of the striking contrast of snow-white flowers with lime-green foliage, and because very few people seem to be aware of its existence.
Most garden varieties have greenish purple foliage and pink to purple flowers, which start out as little rolled "fists":
... and then unfurl their narrow twisted petals. Each flower has only four petals and what you see are actually clusters of four to eight flowers at each branch end.
This concludes my winter garden tour. I will be sure to do one in spring too, with roses and lots of other flowering shrubs and perennials.