December 2007 Garden Blogger Bloom Day

The forecast calls for rain next week, but it's sunny today.


The main Bloom Day story in my garden right now comes from the so-called Lilac Vine, Hardenbergia violacea.


I hope you don't mind a lot of pictures of it.


Lilac vine is a bit of a misnomer; Hardenbergia is scentless. Too bad!


I don't know if people grow this Australian vine where you are, but it's a relatively common sight in Bay Area gardens. I bought mine in a 1-gallon pot at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum last year. It's climbed a good 15 feet in my garden, and it's still growing.


The inflorescence is a raceme common in the Fabaceae--like wisteria. But unlike wisteria, Hardenbergia's vigorous growth probably won't tear your house apart if you let it go.


I have not let mine go. I prune it lightly all the time--at least once a month--to keep it thin and untangled on the trellis (which is really the cable railing for my deck). This plant will cover a fence or building with thick, heavy growth if you let it.


It needs some help twining so I've tied some twine around the deck post. Once the vine gets established in a coil around the post and trained on to the railing/trellis above, I'll cut away the twine.


It gets woody at the base, but it doesn't seem to bow the cable railing. Which is good, because I wouldn't want that.


The color purple is way over-represented in my garden.


And so is white.

White salvia.


White abutilon.


White tree dahlia.


White leaf margins.


White flecks on this cala


which has a bud (whose flower spathe is white).


Some other colors... I liked this pink Lewisia so much more when I bought it last summer. In December, this pink seems so...insincere. It's almost tacky.


And then I have a bunch of plants with one or two little flowers.

Little pictures of little flowers.

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It warmed up a little bit by the time I finished getting my pictures together.


Link to last month's Bloom Day.
Link to May Dreams Gardens, a.k.a. Bloom Day Central.


rusty in miami said...

I never seen the Lilac vine here in Florida the flowers are beautiful.

Frances said...

Love your post as always. Your purple vine was a gift purchased for some friends several years ago on a visit to San Francisco. On a religious journey to the original Smith and Hawkin in Mills Valley, I bought a pot of the beautiful vine flowering in January to give as a present to our California hosts. It had no tag and neither of us knew its name. Now we know! It grew very large on their wire fence. What a lovely plant. Nothing stays the same, however. Smith and Hawken has changed completely, for the worse, and my friends have moved to Tennessee, a good thing.

gintoino said...

I had never seen the Lilac vine. It's a beautiful plant, but I don't think people grow it here in Portugal.

Christopher C. NC said...

The vine is quite fetching. It sounds like you will have to be a pruning master to keep it under control and from turning into a solid wall. It may be that you need to get a few main stems up to the top if that's where you want it and kind of prune it like a grape vine with a few strong main stems from which you allow the green and flowering to sprout.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I love purple, so, in a sunny garden, there's never such a thing as too much. That vine is beautiful. I strongly suspect that it is not going to hardy here in Zone 5.

chuck b. said...

Thank you everyone!

Carol said...

So its true! Not every place is covered with snow right now. Gardeners do have blooms outside in December, apparently at lot of blooms. I didn't mind all the picture of the purple flowers at all. Quite nice!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Molly said...

I love all the purple. And your garden thermometer is awesome.

Phillip said...

Chuck, you are such a tease with that purple vine. It is absolutely beautiful. I'm not even going to look it up because I know it wouldn't survive here. I don't think you can have too much purple. I like that thermometer too - how does it work exactly?

chuck b. said...

It's a Galileo thermometer, and, happily, you can read all about it at Wikipedia. Link! (Is the Internet awesome, or what? How did we live before the Internet? I could never go back.)

Ahem. Slight digression there.

Anyhoo, they are widely available. Mine was a Christmas gift... And I'm very happy with it. I love the colors. It hangs at the bottom of the stairs leading down from my deck so it's the first thing I see when I enter the garden.

Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

Chuck, I was prepared to skim through quite a few GBBD posts just to get caught up, but your lilac vine! It's stunning. I wonder if it would thrive in Austin? I've never seen it here, which leads me to think it wouldn't take the heat.

Your white garden is lovely. And I too have a few "insincere" pinks in my garden. And yet they remain (for now) because they perform so darn well . . .

Bonnie said...

The lilac vine is gorgeous- what an amazing number of flowers. And I love the pink being called "insincere". Funny how some colors just seem so wrong at certain times.
Thanks for the post.

Salix Tree said...

Love the lilac vine, they almost look like little orchid flowers.
Neat thermometer gadget!

lisa said...

I really like that vine-amazing it doesn't smell good. Happy Bloom Day!