first signs of autumn and what's blooming now

M. Gastil-Buhl
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 09:35:29 PDT
Here in Santa Barbara, autumn can be one of the hottest, driest times  
of year and we are having a heat wave currently, reaching into the  
90's mid-day and not going below 60 at night. There are not many  
bulbous plants blooming now in my garden. This is a natural low  
because most bulbs I grow are summer-dry winter and spring blooming.  
But there are a few. The last of the pink Amaryllis belladonna have  
gone to seed, most of them weeks ago. The first of the white A.  
belladonna emerged a bloom spike 2 days ago and is already 6 inches  
tall. Three bulbs of a white Amaryllis-related flower are in peak  
bloom now. These differ in that their inflorescence is radial, not all  
flopped over to one side. And two of the three have a fascinating  
oddity: some co-joined twin flowers.…

One large bright yellow Dahlia has been blooming for a couple months.  
This is its 8th year in the same spot. And some pink Alstroemeria,  
some hybrid I assume, have been blooming all summer. All the  
Agapanthus are finished and are setting ample seed. The tiny pot of  
Nerine filifolia has one bud. A cute pink/lavender Oxalis  
zeekoevleyensis emerged from its dry pot on the dormant pots shelf and  
bloomed two cheerful flowers to surprise me on August 29th and remind  
me to check all the dormant pots! These are from BX 314 #14, one of  
those BX's like this most recent one, with so many tempting Oxalis to  
choose from. The photo also shows my near-failure in labeling. It  
looks like I filled in just a few faded letters and now those are the  
only ones visible. There is a second, buried label that did not fade.  
Isn't it amazing how those Oxalis sent up leaves and flowers from an  
air-dry pot?!…

I am seeing the first signs of autumn. Some Watsonia have green leaf  
spikes emerging. The first Oxalis pes-caprae leaves have emerged,  
although I was purposefully soaking that patch of garden to encourage  
them to grow early so I can zap them. A fall-blooming crocus has sent  
up two buds, before any leaves, in a pot that was accidentally watered  
about 3 weeks ago when the drip system sprung a geyser. The Muscari  
ameniacum leaves are emerging in response to watering in other parts  
of the garden; where it is still dry they have not emerged.

I plan to withhold water from most bulb pots until this hot weather  
has past. Then, I wonder how soon to begin watering, and whether to do  
one thorough soak and then nothing until leaves emerge or to start  
regular watering. Most of these species I have only had for one year  
so have no experience with them re-awakening. My guess is I should  
wait until night temperatures are lower.

- Gastil
Santa Barbara, CA

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