Tulips are March’s plant of the moment. They can be seen in their annual glory in the courtyard and will be coming soon to the backyard. Tulips get special treatment here at Rancho Los Cerritos: in order to get a proper chill on these bulbs in our temperate climate, they spend several weeks in our freezer! The Orange County Register has a great article about growing bulbs in Southern California, if you’d like more information.
A quintessential spring flower, our tulips started blooming in February and should carry on throughout March. At press time, the Courtyard “Kingsblood” tulips are in full bloom; the “Mrs. J. T. Scheepers” and “Maureens” are just starting; the “Cum Laudes” have yet to show color; and the “Prinses Irenes” do not yet have buds. Off the central brick path in the backyard, the “Ballades” have buds, but no color yet.
Other plants in bloom in our Long Beach garden this month include:
Roldana petasitis, also known as velvet groundsel, a sprawling evergreen that puts out gorgeous yellow flowers in spring.
Ceanothus Ray Hartman, a species of wild lilac.
Cantua buxifolia, commonly known as Flower of the Inca. Hummingbirds love this vivid flower.
The sculptural Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) a South African native that loves our temperate climate.
Our wisteria arbor is not yet in bloom, but the many buds let us know a stunning show is just around the corner. Fun fact: in the 1800s, the Rancho had two arbors, each of which were planted with grapes. When Llewellyn Bixby, Sr., bought and restored the Rancho in 1930, he planted wisteria in the arbor (the other arbor was removed to make way for automobile parking). Even though he chose note to replant grapes, he honored the site’s history by planting wisteria, whose blossoms hang in clusters of purple — an image reminiscent of the fruit.
You can see all the color our gardens have to offer by taking a garden tour. The free, one-hour tours are available every Saturday and Sunday, and on weekdays by request.