December Bloom Day

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, all. I totally flaked out on posting any pix last month because nothing different was blooming since the October post. Here we are mid-December, and I went out this morning to take a slew of pix in the garden, and darned if they aren’t all just the same October plants again! Oh, well. What’s blooming is what’s blooming, right? 🙂 I did find a few newbies, though.

Morning Glory – Convolvulus mauritanicus – still tightly closed on a grey December day.

I love this ground-covering morning glory. I originally had one that my mom had bought me for a window box in my old apartment. When I moved here I planted it, and misidentified it when I got more to fill in a wall. Some plants along the wall are Convolvulus sabiatus, and some are C. mauritanicus. The main difference is the mauritanicus gets longer (trailing six feet or more) with leaves the size of nickels. The sabiatus is slower growing to three feet long, with dime-sized leaves.

Cotoneaster microphylla fruiting.

I know, it’s not a bloom. But it was, at one point. 🙂 Got this Cotoneaster microphylla at a CCSF plant sale, and put it in a small pot to keep it as a bonsai.

Incidentally, this plant is so often mispronounced. It is not “cotton-Easter”. It’s “co-tone-ee-aster”. Cuz I know you were wondering.

Variegated orange Abutilon.

We are babysitting this plant for a neighbor who has yet to open the sidewalk to make room for a street garden. Lovely Abutilons are also known as Flowering Maples because of their leaves, though they aren’t really maples.

A panicle of umbels – the inflorescence of a Fatsia japonica.

The inflorescence (presentation of flowering parts – what many might simply misname a “flower”) on this Fatsia japonica is one big ol’ girl. Bigger than my head, wearing a fez. (Yes, I made sure.)  Fatsias get to be 10-12 feet tall and 6 feet wide, with leaves bigger than dinner plates. They’ll sprout multiple trunks, and seed readily. They readily cross with Hedera helix, your classic invasive ivy, to make X Fatshedera lizeii, which is a lovely desirable garden ornamental that has the lovely clambering effects of ivy, but more trunklike from the Fatsia, and isn’t a nightmare to everything around it.

Closeup on a single umbel.

The inflorescence on this plant is a panicle of umbels. The panicle is the grape-like clustering, and the umbels are the little fireworks-explosion balls. Each stick on the ball ends at an individual actual flower (thus the reason calling the whole schmear a flower isn’t botanically correct.) Each individual flower has the nectar that attracts the pollinators.

Flowering Fatsia japonica, from below.

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