Published on November 14 2022

We're already in the middle of November – almost winter now... Luckily, we haven't had any frosts yet in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b), and looking back, autumn was relatively mild. We had plenty of rain with temperatures staying somewhere between 5C-15C (40F-60F).
Without frost there are still various plants blooming in my garden. Let's take a look at them.
Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

The Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic' looks marvelous right now. It has never bloomed more and has never been healthier than now. Obviously it loved the hot, dry summer.

Linaria purpurea has been growing on this allotment even before I took over. It is relatively well behaved, so I let it grow here and there and I even try to select nicer looking forms. This particular plant has been very floriferous this autumn.

The Grevilleas provide some nice splashes of color during the cold season. I love how the blooms look like little sea creatures. Grevillea victoriae on the left, Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance' on the right.

Phygelius 'Passionate' is the last Phygelius in my garden with blooms on it. The black foliage looks spectacular (though it greens up to an inky green during summer).

Mahonia x media brings a lot of color into the winter garden: Mahonia x media 'Charity' on the left, is flowering in its first year in my garden. My big Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' (right), looks better with every year.

Berberis darwinii doesn't bloom as heavy right now as it does in spring, but I still very much appreciate those glowing flower clusters.

This Erodium (no I.D.) has been blooming for months as Erodiums tend to do. They are lovely, but for me they are short-lived, dying sometimes in summer for no apparent reason.

Cerinthe major var. purpurascens emerged very late in summer from self-sown seed.

Two winter-flowering Viburnums: Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' (left) and Viburnum tinus (right).

Out of season blooms on a male Aristotelia fruticosa. They're tiny.

It's the first year I'm growing Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate', and I'm still undecided if I want to keep it. It doesn't die back gracefully, imo, but the emerging foliage in spring is wonderful.

I bought this one as Hebe 'Champion' (which it is not). I'm guessing it's the similarly named, but very different looking Hebe 'Champagne'.

I'm very excited to see some blooms developing on Arctostaphylos manzanita, for the first time. This species seems tolerant of my climate and gardening conditions, with occasional summer rain and non-acidic soil. But it is slow growing for me, probably missing the summer heat of California. As I'm very much inspired by the PNW gardeners, and I always wanted to grow a shrubby Arctostaphylos, I got the plants very expensive from a specialized nursery in France three years ago and they've done fine so far, even through the very wet, cool summer last year.

The blooms of Zauschneria californica 'Olbrich Silver' are closed on cold, wet days.

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Published on October 15 2022

Autumn this year continued to be cool and relatively wet here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b). It was like someone had turned a switch: summer was gone very quickly in September and didn't return. After a dry summer many plants appreciated the rain. There's still lots of interest in the garden and quite a few blooms. So let's take a look with this month' Bloom Day.
Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

The Osmanthus x fortunei 'San Jose' has been wonderful, perfuming the air around it. It gets better every year and is always a highlight in autumn. I love working (even weeding) around the shrub when it’s in bloom. A hybrid between Osmanthus fragrans and O. heterophyllus, smelling like apricots and mandarines.

The Cape Fuchsias are still blooming strongly. Phygelius 'Lemon Teardrops' (left) with pale flowers (the silvery foliage belongs to Zauschneria). Phygelius 'Passionate' (right) with dark, inky foliage and bright red flowers.

Delosperma 'Orange Wonder' blooming between the fallen leaves of Chamaebatiaria with cheery orange-yellow blooms. This is a continuously blooming cultivar.

Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' is just starting, while the deciduous foliage is already turning.

These pictures side by side show perfectly the different foliage color of the Zauschnerias. 
Zauschneria latifolia has grayish, light-green foliage, while Zauschneria californica 'Olbrich Silver' tends towards a bright silver-white.

Grevillea victoriae is opening the first few flowers and will keep on blooming over the winter into spring.

Some Heucheras are still blooming. Heuchera 'Rex Dark Amber' (left) with fuzzy, white blooms (growing with purple/blue flowering Linaria). The foliage burnt quite a bit during summer. Pink blooms against yellow-green foliage on Heuchera 'Champagne' (right).

The pink flower clusters of Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' are aging into brown. I will cut them off soon...

This male Aristotelia fruticosa is having a second flush of blooms after its regular flowering time in late spring. This is a New Zealand shrub with tiny flowers. The female plants produce white berries that look a lot like the fruit of Pernettya/Gaultheria mucronata. The strappy foliage belongs to a Kniphofia seedling.

The South American Berberis have produced a few flowers: Berberis darwinii (left), which flowers regularly in early winter, and Berberis x stenophylla 'Claret Cascade' (right), a hybrid of B. darwinii.

It seems there is a blooming Mahonia for every season: After the summer-blooming Mahonia nitens 'Cabaret' (see Bloom Day in August), autumn-blooming Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' (left) and Mahonia eurybracteata 'Sweet Winter' (right) are following. Soon the Mahonia x media will continue the show and bloom through winter.

Seed-grown Morina afghanica produced an ugly bloom in summer and is now blooming again. The only difference I can tell between this supposedly different species to Morina longifolia: plain white blooms instead of those of M. longifolia which turn from white to pink after being pollinated.

Not a bloom, but very colorful: the fruit of Akebia trifoliata 'Big Fruit'. This cultivar from the famous Crûg Farm Nursery looks very nice (bright purple, sometimes more grayish like granite) and tastes better than the straight species. This odd-looking Japanese fruit has a sweet pulp that tastes a bit like cotton candy or watermelon.

The ericaceous blooms of Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic'. The plant seems healthier after I removed a nearby tree in January that was shading it. Still not spotless.

The fruit of Podocarpus 'Young Rusty' look very much like those of yew (Taxus), until you notice that the seed is on top of the fruit, not inside it. IIt's actually edible and not at all slimy like yew fruit.

Long-flowering Sphaeralcea 'Childerley' (left) and Sphaeralcea incana (right).

Pale purple daisy flowers provided by Berkheya purpurea from South Africa.

Verbena bonariensis.

A lovely evergreen, winter-flowering Viburnum: Viburnum tinus.

I don't grow many deciduous plants, so there isn't much "autumn color" in my garden. I don't really care for it (leaves change color quite fast around here and the end result – dead, brown leaves and bare trees – stay ugly for too long in my opinion) but two plants caught my eye: Asimina triloba aka pawpaw (left) and Punica granatum (right).

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Published on September 15 2022

With the beginning of September the weather in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b) switched to cooler temperatures and finally, we had some rain. Summer has been long, hot and dry this year. To be honest, I loved it. But as it was once again one of the hottest summers of all time, another worrying sign of things to come in a changing climate. For now, the hot weather is gone, the rain has refreshed the garden. Most blooms of August are still going. So let's take a look with this month' Bloom Day.
Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

The globe mallows have been blooming forever, it seems. On the left the exquisite Sphaeralcea 'Childerley', on the right Sphaeralcea munroana.

I planted this Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' in spring, and it's still a tiny plant, but it has been true to its name and has been almost constantly in bloom. The fragrance is wonderful!

I grew this New Zealand plant from seed, but I had completely forgotten that I sowed it. At first I thought it was a Hebe crossed with a weedy Veronica (that would have been awesome), but when it started to bloom it became clear that wasn't the case. I remembered vaguely that I sowed some Haloragis erecta into my seed box a couple of years ago. The flowers are insignificant, but the foliage is quite neat.

Fall-blooming anemones. I've not planted them (must have been the people who gardened here before me) and I don't think I would have. They're pretty, but they're almost impossible to get rid of once established.

The Heucheras have impressed me with their long blooming season. Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie' on the left, Heuchera 'Champagne' on the right.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' is turning to a nice, deep pink.

Berkheya purpurea re-blooming again after a break during the middle of summer. A beautiful, tough thistle relative from South Africa.

Linaria purpurea is one of the few wild plants aka weeds I'm allowing to grow intentionally. It gives height and long-lasting color, and is quite well-behaved.

The flowers of Muehlenbeckia astonii are not much to look at, but the tiny white fruit look pretty.

I whish I could grow Delosperma in my garden. I planted quite a few cultivars last year, but the snails and slugs ate most of them over winter. These two are left: Magenta-blooming Delosperma cooperi and Delosperma 'Orange Wonder'.

Origanum dictamnus growing well in a raised bed.

Even though I didn't see any open flowers on Osmanthus x fortunei 'San Jose' I could aready smell their delicious fragrance. The scent reminds of peaches and mandarines.

Andean daisy, Haplopappus glutinosus.

On the left is a seedling of the dark-leaved Phygelius 'Passionate'. In just a few month it germinated, grew considerably and is now flowering. It looks pretty much like the parent plant.
On the right, Phygelius 'Cherry Ripe', the most consistently blooming Phygelius, always producing more flower heads.

Phygelius 'Lemon Teardrops' looks very different with a much more subtle color: pale yellow flushed with a hint of red. The darker, reddish stems are also a nice detail on this cultivar. Not quite as impactful from afar as the red-blooming Phygelius, but definitely a keeper for me.

Viburnum tinus is starting to bloom.

Viola walteri 'Silver Gem', a lovely violet with tiny flowers.

Zauschneria 'Olbrich Silver' never blooms much. But this year it responded to the hot summer well, with more and earlier blooms.

The last blooms on Chamaebatiaria millefolium.

With Eryngium yuccifolium I wrap up this month' Bloom Day.

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Published on August 15 2022

This summer has been very hot and dry so far here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b). We had many days with temperatures above 30C/86F, and a few highs up to 35C/95F. Rain storms have been few and far between, so I really hope the rain in this week's forecast will manifest. The lawns have been browing, I've seen shrubs wilting, and there have been a few losses in my garden. But this post is all about the flowering and flourishing in the garden, not the dying and wilting. So let's get on with this month' Bloom Day. 
Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

Starting with the otherworldly blooms of Eryngiums: Spherical Eryngium yuccifolium and star-like Eryngium variifolium.

Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance' (left) is still on a roll, putting out blooms all summer. Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Valley Queen' on the other hand is starting to bud up, getting ready for flowering in winter. The grass in front ot G. 'Poorinda Constance' is Carex buchananii 'Firefox'.

Multiple Heucheras have been blooming since spring; like this rosy-peachy Heuchera 'Georgia Peach' (with the blueish Heuchera 'Shanghai' in the background).

Reliable summer bloomers: Hibiscus syriacus 'Hamabo' and Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise'.

If you hadn't noticed, I love Kniphofias:) White-ish Kniphofia 'Ice Queen' and perfectly orange Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'. The two yellow ones on the bottom row could not be more different from each other: Kniphofia 'Wrexham Buttercup' produces huge flower heads, while Kniphofia 'Bressingham Yellow' is much more diminutive.

Mahonia nitens 'Cabaret' is blooming really early (or late?) compared to other Mahonias. The flower color is also very different: Burgundy buds opening to soft orange and yellow flowers.

Last blooms on Olearia x haastii, the daisy bush from New Zealand.

Origanum dictamnus, the Cretan dittany, spilling over a raised bed. It seems to love our hot and dry summer this year. A fascinating medicinal herb.

The blue flowers of Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' are a stark contrast to the gray, variegated foliage.

Chamaebatiaria millefolium, or fernbush, is winding down. I actually like the spent flowers, they look a bit like burnt popcorn to me.

Gomphostigma virgatum, a South African Buddleja relative with silvery foliage on slender stems.

Two plants that will bloom non-stop until late fall: Pink Gaura lindheimeri (seedling of 'Gaudi Rose') and orange-yellow Haplopappus glutinosus.

The cape fuchsias are also very long flowering: The red Phygelius 'Cherry Ripe' and the new to me Phygelius 'Lemon Teardrops', pale yellow flushed with red. 

Sphaeralcea 'Childerley', blooming on and on.

Verbena bonariensis, a very popular garden plant, and rightly so.

I noticed some tiny flowers on Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'. Obviously I grow this plant for the foliage:)

Zauschneria 'Olbrich Silver' on the left is an almost aggressively spreading ground-cover with only a few flowers inbetween, though the silvery-white foliage makes up for it. The other Zauschneria (bought as Zauschneria latifolia, but I doubt it) is much more well-behaved and floriferous.

Only one small flower head has developed on Eucomis bicolor. It's appreciated, of course, but it doesn't compare to last year's spectacular show with multiple big heads popping up.

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Published on July 15 2022

What a difference to last year! Last year, right on Bloom Day in July, a devastating hail storm hit my garden, mowing off all the blooms and causing lasting damage to many shrubs (if you examine the bark of the shrubs you can still see the scars...). The weather this year has been more peaceful, and warmer. It seems like we are getting a hot and dry summer, with temperature highs above 30°C/86°F up to 35°C/95°C. The garden doesn't look tired yet, there's still plenty of blooms to show this Bloom Day. Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

First up is Berkheya purpurea with impressive bloom spikes and gorgeous pale, mauve flowers. Grown from seed, not all my plants made it through this year's wet winter, but long-lived once established.

Dozens of star-like flowers on Eryngium variifolium, looking very architectural.

The blooms of these Eryngiums are less impressive, but still very attractive to pollinators (and I love the foliage!). Eryngium yuccifolium (left) and Eryngium agavifolium (right) with a Map butterfly (Araschnia levana, summer form).

A seedling of Gaura lindheimeri 'Gaudi Rose'.

Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance' is really floriferous. I planted it this spring, when it was already blooming. It has been steadily opening flowers since and it‘s still covered in buds.

Lovely orange-yellow blooms on Haplopappus glutinosus. This cheerful Andean daisy blooms from early summer into November. The foliage is evergreen and looks quite nice (even in winter), though it can get mildew later in the season.

Many Heucheras are still producing new flower spikes (since May), like this Heuchera 'Pinot Gris', one of my favorites. This cultivar has silvery, lime-green foliage with rose tones.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Vanille Fraise' is just starting. No fraise (strawberry) colors yet, just vanilla.

The cultivar Kniphofias are now coming into their own. Kniphofia 'Moonstone' with buttery, creamy tones is a stand-out (but it is not a repeat-flowerer).

Kniphofia 'Redhot Popsicle' (left) with soft coral colored blooms (not a "redhot" color in my opinion) and the bright orange-to-yellow blooms of Kniphofia 'Rich Echoes' (right).

I'm trialling two Monardas in my garden, but I'm not entirely impressed: Monarda 'Oudolf's Charm' on the left is not very charming in my eyes. It is a strong bloomer, but the spent, brown blooms hang on, making the color ugly. Monarda 'Balance' (right) has a much better color, neon pink, but it's struggling with its placement with too much shade (and ants, I think).

This is apparently Morina afghanica, which I grew from seed, but it looks identical to the more widely available Morina longifolia.

Olearia x haastii smells like summer to me, like eating ice cream at a crowded swimming pool. A mix of candy, sunscreen and musk. This daisy bush from New Zealand is just covered in blooms right now, obscuring the handsome foliage almost completely. The pollinators like the Map butterfly (Araschnia levana) love it. (There are other butterflies in my garden, but this species seems to be really patient for photographing😊)

Olearia 'Waikariensis' is a new addition to my garden this year, and already flowering. The blooms look similiar to the Olearia above, but the foliage is very different.

Crassula sarcocaulis, this hardy shrubby South African succulent is covered with tiny pink stars.

The large candelabra-like inflorescences of Phygelius 'Passionate' are definitely eye-catching! Wasps and various small bees are all over the plant trying to steal nectar from the blooms by biting holes into them. Cheeky! We don’t have bird pollinators, so at least someone gets the nectar which the plant produces in copious amounts.

Potentilla nepalensis 'Miss Willmott'.

I'm not a fan of Santolinas with silvery foliage and bright yellow blooms. This Santolina 'Edward Bowles' has pale, creamy blooms. Much, much better!

Sisyrinchium pearcei from Chile. I've tried many Sisyrinchiums in my garden and most failed... Hopefully this turns out to be a keeper.

The peachy pink Sphaeralcea 'Childerley' (left) produces masses of lovely blooms. Sphaeralcea munroana with orange-red blooms on the right is a bit less impressive.

Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' is the only Ajuga I know that blooms consistently more than once a year.

Asclepias tuberosa.

I was quite the fan of Zauschneria a few years back, but by now I prefer Phygelius, which has very similar blooms and an equally long blooming-period, and it performs better in my climate. Especially last year with a cool summer, the Zauschnerias were really disappointing, with lots of dieback. Also, the deciduous foliage looks horrible in winter, while Phygelius stays evergreen. The only flowering Zauschneria right now is Zauschneria latifolia, but I'm not sure about the I.D., because it looks the same as my other Zauschnerias.

I'll end this Bloom Day post with Chamaebatiaria millefolium, which just about opened its first blooms of the season.

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Published on June 15 2022

It has been a wonderful late spring/early summer here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b). We had lots of sunshine and warmth, but also some rain showers inbetween, so no drought yet. The temperatures are starting to reach the 30°C mark (86F), but the nights are still nice with temps below 20°C (68F). The garden is doing well, with many flowers to show this Bloom Day.
Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day is a monthly blogging series, with people from all over the world featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

Sphaeralcea 'Childerley' is a gorgeous plant, with amazing foliage and lovely soft red, apricot flowers. It got quite big since last year.

Callistemon sieberi 'Widdicombe Gem' got a few of these creamy, buttery bottlebrush blooms.

This is the first time the Dierama 'Dwarf Pink' is blooming. I was considering taking the plant out, because it has really ugly, messy grass-like foliage: But then a flowering stem developed, and I let it bloom. I'm still on the fence about keeping it, but if it stays it needs a different spot, somewhere where the foliage is more hidden...

The soft yellow blooms of Eremurus stenophyllus are a magnet for pollinators.

There's always a Grevillea flowering in my garden: Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance'.

Haplopappus glutinosus is starting to flower. This Andean daisy has lovely orange-yellow blooms, that keep going until the first frosts.

Hebes! Definitely one of my favorite genera, they come in so many different shapes and forms and colors… It’s amazing! On the left: Hebe pimeleoides with light blue-purple flowers and glaucous foliage. On the right: Hebe 'Dave' which blooms now and a second time in winter. Now, the flowers are very light, but with the cold they‘ll turn neon pink.

Hebe albicans (right) is a magnet for the butterfly Aglais urticae. I‘ve seen four of them at once on my small plant! Hebe 'Jimmy' (left) has similiar white blooms, but the foliage much better. It's actually blooming for the first time after I planted it five years ago.

Houttuynia cordata 'Chamaeleon' is one of the few variegated plants in my garden. It grows below the dark-leaved Phygelius 'Passionate'.

The first flush of Kniphofia blooms is almost over, but there are still some left.

This plant smells amazing! When in bloom, Ozothamnus ledifolius has a deep, dark honey smell. The whole plant is fragrant all year round, exuding a resinous smell, noticeable from a distance. A small, slow growing shrub native to Tasmania, with dark-green leaves and golden stems.

Ceanothus 'Victoria' with bright blue blooms.

Phygelius 'Cherry Ripe' is starting its very long blooming period. It sneaks through other plantings and spills over the edge of the raised bed, producing wonderful bursts of color.

I'm very impressed with Pimelea prostrata. This NZ groundcover has been blooming for over a month! It peaked last Bloom Day, but it is still covered in blooms.

Saxifraga x urbium has also been blooming since last Bloom Day. Behind it is the big growing Heuchera 'Rex Dark Amber', a great Heuchera cultivar.

Cornus kousa var. chinensis. I really like the pink blotches on the petals/sepals.

There are all kinds of Sedums blooming in my garden at the moment.

I really love the color of this South African Senecio macrocephalus. The color looks always a bit different depending on light.

Euphorbia characias started to bloom in April and it's still going!

Close-up of Potentilla nepalensis 'Miss Willmott'.

If I'm being honest, I really don't like much about this Escallonia 'Red Elf'. The flowers are a dull red with a prominent green stigma in the middle (horrible combination), the foliage is not very interesting and the growth habit is lanky. I will probably remove the plant at some point, even though it's doing fine. It just doesn't spark joy...

Intense blue flowers on Triteleia laxa 'Corrina'. The foliage behind is Ozothamnus ledifolius.

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Published on May 15 2022

It feels like an early summer here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b)! It's sunny, hot, but not too dry yet. The temperatures reach above 25C/77F, but the nights are still cool and nice (no frosts anymore, luckily). The plants generally love it, everything grows and blooms! My only worry are the newly planted ones and the germinating seeds, which might dry out.
May is one of the most floriferous months in my garden, so brace yourself for a long Bloom Day post! With Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day, a monthly blogging series, people from all over the world are featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

I planted Baptisia 'Lemon Meringue' just a couple weeks ago, and I love it! Normally I don't like purely yellow flowers, but in contrast with the charcoal buds and stems it looks great. I already ordered a few additional Baptisias.

The South American Berberis were wonderful just a week or two ago, but now they're more or less over. These are some older pictures of them. On the left Berberis x stenophylla 'Claret Cascade', and on the right Berberis darwinii, which looked absolutely phenomenal.

Berberis triacanthophora 'Cally Rose' on the left produces very unusual blooms for a Berberis. The ruby and cream colored blooms don't make much of an impact, but are lovely up close. Berberis subacuminata features more of the traditional yellow blooms. It's native to high-altitude Vietnam and completely hardy, which makes it pretty special in my eyes.

With Ceanothus gloriosus 'Emily Brown' it’s all about the foliage! But the deep blue flower clusters are definitely a very nice bonus. (Cytisus blooms in the background.)

Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' (on both pictures) seems to get better every year! It’s big and bold and wonderfully fragrant (smells a bit like Play-Doh to me). The pollinators love it, especially beetles are really drawn to it.

My other Choisyas are not as impactful yet as 'Aztec Pearl', they're still beautiful: Choisya 'White Dazzler' (left) and the similar Choisya arizonica 'Whetstone' with lighter green foliage (right).

My Cytisus plants look spectacular right now! (Though the blooms got bleached from the bright sun the last couple of days.) Cytisus 'Apricot Gem' in hot yellow-apricot and Cytisus 'Zeelandia' with the interesting color combination: pink and orange. Both cultivars seem to be sterile.

Blooming Erodium (no i.d.). Erodiums bloom for a very long time, but they seem to be short lived for me. The foliage at the top belongs to Hebe macrantha

Euphorbia characias makes a huge plant with huge, long-lasting blooms.

The new cultivars of this former "weed" look so pretty, but I noticed the blooms of Geum get sun-bleached like Cytisus. Geum 'Mango Lassi' (left) and Geum 'Wet Kiss' (right).

The white-blooming Grevillea australis is almost done. Only a few blooms left. I underplanted it with the yellow Sedum 'Angelina' which makes the foliage more interesting. The red-blooming Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance' is a new addition the garden. There are still more blooms to come on that one.

Hakea microcarpa just started to open a few blooms. The relation to the Grevilleas is obvious, especially if you compare it with Grevillea australis.

The other Hakeas in my garden are blooming too. Hakea lissosperma on the left is blooming for the first time. It's similar to Hakea microcarpa, but grows more upright. Hakea epiglottis (right) looks very different from both. It blooms earlier and more sparsely with yellow flowers. The needle-like leaves are much softer and sea-green. New stems are glowing orange. A gorgeous foliage plant!

Hebe macrantha (left) and Hebe ochracea (rigth) are just starting to flower. Only a few flowers on Hebe ochracea this year, but the foliage is always worth showing.

More Hebes (and relatives) to look at! On the left Hebe 'Baby Marie' with masses of unusual rounded blooms. On the right the small Parahebe lyallii x decora just starting to open.

Various Heucheras are flowering or starting to flower, but I didn't get many good pictures. So I'm just showing two of them: Heuchera 'Shanghai' with dark, blueish leaves and glowing soft yellow flowers (I really need to weed around it), and Heuchera 'Grape Soda' with rose-purple leaves and pink flowers.

Ajuga has become one of my go-to groundcovers. They're evergreen, native, and not difficult to get rid of (in case I need to). They have also very attractive flowers in spring. This first one is one of my own, favorite seedlings.

The blue-flowering Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' against the lime-green foliage of Cornus 'Norman Hadden'. Soft pink-flowering Ajuga reptans 'Rosea' together with Pulmonaria 'Shrimps on the Barbie' (love that name!).

Mahonia/Berberis trifolia is blooming for the first time. It is native to the very high-altitude mountains around Mexico City – very exotic, but it seems to be completely hardy here.

Glowing pink flowers on Armeria maritima 'Rubrifolia'.

Pimelea prostrata looks absolutely stunning this year! Masses of white flowers cover this ground-hugging plant. They're a bit stinky, but nothing too bad. This Pimelea looks very much like a Hebe, both coming from New Zealand, but Pimelea is actually in the Daphne family.

My other Pimelea species that I'm growing, Pimelea traversii, looks more modest. Still a lovely alpine.

Saxifraga x urbium with delicate little flowers.

And to conclude this post I give you some of the most inconspicuous flowers ever that only a plant geek would notice: On the left, Coprosma brunnea 'Blue Beauty'. The white worm-like things are the female flowers (this species is dioecious). On the right, Helichrysum depressum with tiny Senecio-like flowers.

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Published on April 15 2022

After a very dry March, April started with a cold snap here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b), bringing much-needed rain, a bit of snow and temperatures as low as -2.5C/27.5F. Luckily the cold lasted only for a short time, afterwards the weather was milder. At the moment, we're having almost summer-like weather above 20C/68F, people walk around in t-shirts and shorts, it's quite nice. The freezing cold did damage a few plants in my garden, but nothing too bad. The Akebia got zapped a bit and the Decaisnea tree lost all the new growth (so sensitive!), not much else. The blooms got away undamaged for the most part. Let's have a look at them.
With Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day, a monthly blogging series, people from all over the world are featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

First up is Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans', which has started blooming with its wonderful little clouds of blue-lilac flowers.

Looking like tiny fairy laterns: Epimedium 'Amber Queen'. The flowering shoots got bent a little by the recent snow.

Euphorbia characias is an impressive plant, it gets quite large. Soon, the acid-green blooms will make it look even more spectacular, but for now they are just warming up.

Euphorbia myrsinites is flowering earlier than the other one above. Another great Euphorbia. 

These Geums, which I planted last year, are starting to bloom. I think it's a bit early, but I don't have much experience with them. Left: Geum 'Bell Bank'. Right: I thought Geum 'Mango Lassi', but the color looks wrong. The blue flowers in the back are weedy Veronicas.

Creamy, curly flowers on Grevillea australis. Light honey scent. The plant grows like a ground-cover shrub.

Newly planted Grevillea 'Poorinda Constance'. I'm always on the look-out for any hardy Grevilleas that I can get my hands on.

No blooms, just buds, but very promising: Berberis darwinii. It tried to flower in winter, but the frosts killed the buds. All forgotten now, just look at it!

Berberis 'Claret Cascade' is hybrid between Berberis darwinii x empetrifolia. I really love those South American Berberis...

The Japanese apricots are still blooming, but are almost done. These picture are from a week or two ago. This pink one, Prunus mume 'Peggy Clarke', did absolutely amazing this year. Even though it's still just a small plant, it perfumed the whole area around my allotment shed beautifully! So good!

This white Prunus mume (no cultivar) was much less impactful this year. Japanese apricots are sadly not an ideal plant for my climate, because they're not healthy here (leaf curl disease). But I just love their scent...

Splendid flowers on Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'. I'm not sure I want to keep them in my garden. I was intrigued by them, because I read they were an early blooming, evergreen ground-cover. But in reality they look rather awful in winter, and there are other, better evergreen ground-covers, I think.

The Ribes look wonderful right now. Those above are seedlings from the same mother plant, Ribes sanguineum 'Atrorubens'. One has long racemes in light pink, the other looks more like the original, compact with darker blooms.

This is more for my own record-keeping: On the left is a plant I bought as Ribes malvaceum. It doesn't look like the real deal looking pretty much the same as Ribes sanguineum, but it smells very different. I crossed the plant with Ribes sanguineum 'Atrorubens'. On the right is a 2-year old seedling from this cross, the earliest to bloom. (The blooms look different because the plant is not mature yet.) It will be interesting to see if the F2-generation from this seedling will produce anything good.

Akebia trifoliata, with a lovely scent smiliar to lily-of-the-valley. Hard to photograph because the blooms are so dark. The big flowers are female and will develop into fruit, the smaller male ones carry pollen.

Just starting: Clematis montana 'Warwickshire Rose'. I'm hoping the dark-leaved Clematis will soon cover this ugly white wall.

Tetraneuris scaposa is reliably blooming every year and the clump is slowly getting bigger.

The Ajugas are starting to bloom. This one is Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' –, another Ajuga reptans 'Rosea' is also blooming (it even tried to bloom in winter).

Almost blooming, and the earliest Choisya to try: Choisya 'White Dazzler'. The thicket on the right is Muehlenbeckia astonii, just starting to leaf out.

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Published on March 15 2022

It has been very dry here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b) this last month, worringly dry. We had no significant rainfall since the end of February – just an endless string of sunny days. And what's even more worrisome, there's no rain predicted for the next two weeks. The soil has started to dry out, some weeds have died already...
We also had quite a few cold nights the last couple of weeks, but nothing too bad. The temperatures went down to a minimum of -5C/23F one time. Still, this winter was one of the mildest ever around here (-5C being the lowest temperature for the entire season). 
While some nights were cold, the days were always relatively warm. Which is a good thing for the flowers in my garden.
With Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day, a monthly blogging series, people from all over the world are featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

The evergreen Ribes laurifolium is now in glorious full bloom. Luckily, the freezing nights didn't cause any damage to these lovely pale-green blooms.

These are Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty' apparently. I planted them last fall and was expecting something completely different. They should have been a nice pale cream color, instead they‘re bright yellow on the inside and white on the outside. They’re definitely too brightly colored for my garden at this time of the year. People on Instagram told me, these might not be the real 'Cream Beauty'. Well, sometimes it’s a gamble with gardening. (Update: I just found out they might be the cultivar Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance'.)

Euphorbia myrsinites is starting to bloom. It does seed around the garden. And I'm fine with that (for now).

Lots of blooms on Grevillea victoriae, though a bit hard to photograph in the bright light. An awsome Aussie plant.

The flowers of Helleborus foetidus are pretty weird looking. To me, they look like small mouths with a bit of lipstick on, but like put on kinda badly:)

Corydalis cava grows wild in my garden, but only in a few spots. It doesn't really spread. 

Slowly, Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' is winding down. But there are still a bunch of blooms left. It has been blooming since November. Will it still be blooming next Bloom Day?

The Primulas are really weedy here and they're the perfect hiding place for snails and slugs. So I try to take most of them out. But I do find them pretty.

The snowdrops are more or less done for this year. Only a few are left. I noticed that the marking on this specific flower has a more yellowish tone to it, like on one of those fancy cultivars that the galanthophiles love.

A bumblebee on Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic'. The plant and the blooms don't look their best anymore at this time of the year. The pollinators don't care.

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Published on February 15 2022

It has been a very mild winter so far here in Zurich, Switzerland (hardiness zone 7b), with lots of sun and dry weather. We still get down to -3C/26.6F at night sometimes, but well above freezing during the day. The minimum temperature this winter was around -5C/23F, and if it doesn't get any lower than that it would be a record. The mild, snow-free weather means there are quite a few plants blooming in the garden.
With Garden Bloggers‘ Bloom Day, a monthly blogging series, people from all over the world are featuring the flowers in their gardens. Go over and check out the other participants‘ blooming spectacles at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

The snow drops have been poking out of the ground since January. But now they're fully out and about.

Grevillea victoriae has unusual pink and rust colored curly flowers. Native to the Australian alps.

The big witch hazel (Hamamelis) looks wonderful right now.

Hebe 'Dave' was buried under the snow last Bloom Day, but has been flowering all winter. The foliage turns wine red with the cold weather.

The blooms on Helleborus foetidus are not as showy as those from other Hellebores, but it is worth growing for the foliage alone. Plus it's actually native to Central Europe.

Far less attractive in my opinion, but with showier blooms, are the semi-wild Hellebores that have been growing in my allotment since I took over.

Mahonia 'Winter Sun' was swarming with bees, flies and other early pollinators. It’s fantastic how much color this plant brings into the winter garden. It has been flowering since November!

More modest, but equally long-flowering: Arbutus unedo 'Atlantic'.

The Primulas are literally weeds in my garden, and grow everywhere and often where I don't want them. Most are light yellow, but some like this one are more colorful.

Very different in most respects from other Ribes species: The winter-flowering, evergreen Ribes laurifolium. Also, it is dioecious, meaning that each plant is either male or female. This one is a male.

My small Hamamelis 'Rochester' is almost done with blooming. 

Sarcococca confusa smells so good on these mild, sunny days! It fills the air around it with the most delicious honey scent.

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