Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Winter Cheer

Happy holidays, dear friends, fellow gardeners and rose lovers! May your flowers bloom and your weeds shrivel, may all chores become easy and may you find joy and peace in your garden and in your life.

A bee on a banksia, an Australian native in the Proteaceae family

I won't even try to offer any more excuses for another long absence :)



Here is a recap of a recent trip we took to the Santa Cruz Arboretum.



 I hope these sunny pictures cheer you up a bit and offer a little warmth to those of you facing a cold winter.

 A leucadendron?

 We are desperate for rain here, but at least the sunshine makes for an enjoyable excursion :)


We started, as before, with a patch of African heathers.


Their narrow tubular flowers are a big attraction to hummingbirds.


There were almost no other visitors on the day we went; hummingbirds, on the other hand, were everywhere.





Then we moved on to proteaceae, spectacular Southern Hemisphere natives. Some of them, proteas especially, have large and showy flowers used in cut flower trade.


Most specimens are very well grown and spectacular in or out of bloom, but this year, many were frost damaged: we saw several with burned cane tips or buds. Some plants looked entirely dried and dead...

A leucadendron

Only every now and then did I catch a glimpse of a perfect bud.



Then we moved on to the collection of banksiae.

Banksia "Birthday Candles"

Banksiae, Australian shrubs and trees, are close relatives of proteas and have the same majestic beauty.

Banksia grandis with "cones" (old inflorescences which lost their flower parts). The smooth "cones" are the ones that did not set seed. 

All have striking flower spikes that sometimes come in dazzling colors.



They contain hundreds of flowers arranged in a dense spiral about a woody stem.

Banksia victoriae

Banksiae are an important source of nectar for bees at a time when few other flowers are blooming.



Most plants were in bloom, and didn't seem to mind our recent cold spells as much as the proteas.

Banksia menziesii

There were so many spectacular shapes and colors, it was a treat to walk among these beauties rarely seen in the Western world.



I hope you have enjoyed this virtual trip. Have a wonderful new year.



10 comments:

  1. Hi Masha, Happy New Year to you and your family! I have never made it to the Santa Cruz Arboretum when I was still living in your area, so I even more enjoy virtually visiting there through your blog. You have taken fantastic photos again, thanks for sharing!
    Christina

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  2. O my gosh, your photography is STUNNING.

    Have a wonderful 2014 ~ FlowerLady

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  3. Feliz año.
    Hermosas plantas.
    Un saludo

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  4. Podróż była cudowna i było co oglądać i podziwiać.
    Życzę wspaniałego 2014 roku tak w życiu, jak i w ogrodzie !
    The trip was wonderful and it was something to watch and admire.
    I wish you a wonderful 2014 years both in life and in the garden!

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  5. Masha, happy New Year! This Arboretum is beautiful!

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  6. Hi Christina, your photos are gorgeus as always but these flowers and plants are spectacular. I have never seen them before.I wish you only good things for the new year and have fun in your garden!

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  7. Your photos are gorgeous and really a joy during those grey winter days!
    Have a happy, colorful, healthy, rosy, cheerful, tearless and just great 2014!
    Take care
    Alex

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  8. Stunning photos - I just love all the hummers and insects! They look so happy and warm (unlike me). Thanks, your pictures have warmed my winter soul.

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  9. Glorious series of captures! Happy New Year and greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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  10. I love the hummers! They glow! Yes, this post cheered me up, as it is below 0 degrees here this morning!

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I am so glad you have stopped by!