Friday, January 5, 2018

Manzanita Flowers

Winter is the Southern California native garden Spring.  After two monthly sprinkles from the hose (and no noticeable precipitation), the sagebrushes are lush and leafy, the Seaside daisies are blooming (OK, they always bloom), the Laguna Bur Marigold got its leaves back, and tiny, delicate Manzanita flowers are appearing.
Paradise Manzanita has pink blooms.  

In my coastal hilltop microclimate, plants are frequently confused as to when exactly they should bloom.  Howard McMinn manzanitas in the sunny backyard bloom a month later than in the shady front yard.  Half of the Paradise Manzanita bloomed in mid-December; the other half is blooming now.  Go figure.
Howard McMinn, the most well-behaved cultivar of the Manzanitas, has white flowers, often in profusion.
Manzanita blooms only last a few weeks, but they are so darn cute!  I especially like watching hummingbirds hovering vertically to drink their nectar. (Sorry, my photography skills are not up to capturing that treat.)
The Lester Rowntree cultivar flowers look just like Paradise.  Bloom very spotty in my yard– at least it stretches out the bloom period.

Manzanitas are elegant workhorses of the native garden. But you must not overwater them!  They'll die.  They grow slowly, most of the year patiently standing with truly evergreen leaves, and eventually as they get tall, sculptural dark red branches.  But in winter they get whimsical, and put on a fairy flower show for people and hummingbirds.
Howard McMinn, blooming profusely in mostly shade.
 Plant Manzanitas.  You won't regret it!

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