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March showers bring April flowers

Some say it’s April showers that get the flowers going, but here in sunny, rainfall-challenged California, things pop out about a month (or more) earlier. Even though March had its typical paucity of precipitation, the single hailstorm — complete with rain and wind — had occurred right at the peak of apricot blossoms. (Indeed, I feared this year’s apricot harvest would be a loss. Mais non! Since last week I’ve seen eetsy fruitlets on the tree. Whew. For a visual example, check out my 2007 entry.)

But the point of today’s post is to record the first results of the wildflower seeds Simon sowed in the backyard at the end of December. I had went wild and bought several annual mixes from Larner Seeds, who specialize in native Californian plants.

So just a few days ago, I saw some quarter sized blue things bobbing in the wind: Baby Blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii)!

baby blue-eyes flower.jpg

Today, I saw a cousin of the Baby Blue-eyes, the Fivespot (Nemophila maculata). I’ve occasionally seen these while hiking in the hills, but never had luck — except one specimen in the parking strip several years ago — growing them at home. Perhaps they prefer the backyard over the frontyard; then again, I’ve seen only one plant so far.

fivespot flower

Both of these Nemophila have been recently relegated to the Hydrophylloideae subfamily of the large Boraginaceae (borage) family, rather than the former Hydrophyllaceae. I’ve labeled the photo album containing bigger images in the old way, because it helps me remember that these small geranium-like plants are not geraniums (nor borage).

Returning to the fruit trees, I finally photographed the apple blossoms. Well, one of them, the Braeburn, which has such lovely red-tipped buds. Open flowers certainly are useful (for the bees and other arthropod friends), but I’m so very impartial towards the demurely tight-lipped state of closed buds. The first three photos in this album show them in greater detail.

apple braeburn blossom buds

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