It’s almost a month into spring time now and as the weather slowly warms it is wonderful to see an array of flowers bloom. One flower that looks absolutely stunning in my garden at the moment is the Ceanothus plant – or California Lilac! We have several of these plants in our garden and they are all covered in the most amazing blue flowers. While most flowering plants look stunning when they are in full bloom, there is just something special about a plant with blue flowers!
When we first moved to this house there was just one California Lilac plant in our back garden. After several years of admiring the wonderful spring flowers we decided that we just had to share the colour with the neighbours! So now we have several wonderful plants with beautiful blue flowers in the front, back and side gardens.
They are such a hardy plant too. Where we live in southern Australia we get moderate frosts (down to -3 °C) in winter and very hot dry days (up to 40 °C) in summer. These wonderful plants however, never miss a beat and come spring they are dazzling us again with their masses of blue flowers. The only advice that I have is that you plant them in a well-drained position because they don’t like to get wet feet. Unfortunately we lost one of our plants because it got too wet.
Each year at the end of spring, when the plants are finished flowering, I give them a gentle prune. It is only necessary to take them back far enough to remove all of the spent flowers and generally I prune lightly to shape.
Most Ceanothus plants come from western areas of North America and the common name California Lilac comes from the species that are found in California. The California Lilacs that we have in our garden are growing into large shrubs now; the largest is about 1.5m tall by 1.5m wide. So you can imagine how wonderful the blue flowers look on a bush that big.
Funnily enough each plant comes into full bloom at a slightly different time to the others. So we currently have a beautiful mass of blue flowers to one side of our house while the front bush is just about ready to burst out! I can’t resist admiring these wonderful shrubs as I walk up the drive and I have noticed that the bees find it pretty hard to resist them too.
Here are a couple of links that provide a bit more information about these wonderful plants.
I hope that I have inspired you to think about including some blue flowers in your garden. I can certainly vouch for the Ceanothus plant, once it is established in your garden it will delight you every year with its beautiful colour!