January 16, 2011

January 2011 Bloom Day

It's a drizzly cold day in San Antonio, but surprisingly I have quite a few blooms to share on the first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day of 2011.

The broccoli has bolted. We have been so busy lately that we haven't actively managed the veggie beds since Thanksgiving.

We noticed the heads starting to turn a few weeks ago and decided to let them flower. They look like bouquets, a gift to the bees.

This month is the best bloom period I've seen for the salvia greggii. The plant is in a nook where it's hard to get good pictures, but trust me, every stem has blooms.

Shrimp Plant
New blooms are continuing to open on the shrimp plants, but the plants aren't anywhere near as prolific as the greggi are right now.

The shrimp plants are very valuable to me because they bloom where and when few other plants do: in the shade, in the winter. They are hardy in zones 9 and warmer. I'm in zone 8b, right on the edge of their comfort zone. I desperately want these plants to thrive and spread in the shady part of the front yard so I've been covering them every time we have a freeze. I've been using old sheets to protect them, but I need to get some N-sulate since the sheets are a little heavy and sometimes positioning them causes shrimpy's segmented stems to snap.

The potted petunias and pansies are pinch hitting for the perennials. They're doing a great job providing a colorful relief during the off season.

Nandina gives me a guilty conscience. It's an invasive species, but its foliage and berries are so beautiful right now. My five nandina and three variegated privet are the plants that keep me from applying for designation as a Certified Texas Wildscape. I know I should dig them out and plant something noninvasive, but they grow so well in part shade. [Agonized sigh]

After a month of rest, the sweet olives are back in bloom. Still, I have yet to catch a whiff of their signature fragrance.

Aloe Vera Bloom
My recently repotted aloe vera has sent up its annual bloom spike. A few weeks ago the spike was yellow. Today it's peach. In a few more weeks, it will be orange.

Excuse the blurry picture. These esperanza blooms were tucked around a corner and I could barely balance myself on one foot to take a picture. Last year my esperanza froze to the ground so I'm surprised to see it blooming in January.

If you're curious what else is in bloom across the globe this month, check out the the other bloom day posts listed on Carol's May Dreams blog.


  1. Know the feeling re: Nandina - I too am sticking with them for now. They have such great winter color, evergreen leaves, and even grow in the shade. Hard to give 'em up.

  2. RB I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one feeling guilty yet pleased with my nandina. I'm willing to part with the privets, but the nandina I don't think I'll be giving up my nandina unless I can find something equally as functional and pretty to replace them.
    Speaking of shady shrubs, have you tried cleyera japonica? I have two and they are growing very slowly.

  3. Mac my favorite part about flowering broccoli is the bees. They don't have as many options for pollen this time of year so they show up en masse to the broccoli. It's neat to see a little so much activity in an otherwise still winter garden.