Friday, April 08, 2016

G is For Gazania

Gazanias are simple but lovely flowers. Because they are so common here in California, it's easy to not notice the flowers much during the seasons when taller and more spectacular flowers are in bloom. In winter, though, they shine, and bring bright color to gloomy landscapes. That's why I've chosen it over other flowers to represent the letter "G" in this AtoZchallenge

As you see in the photo above, the bright color of the gazania attracts spiders and insects. In the photo below you see a visiting butterfly. 

There are two types of gazanias -- clumping and trailing. They will both cover the ground and they are about the same height. They both spread, but the trailing spread more quickly with their long running stems. Here's a photo where you can see some of my clumping gazanias growing under a goldenrain tree in my side yard. They are gradually spreading, but still have some space to fill. I'm hoping to get the weeds out and plant some root divisions soon. It's April, and the weeds have sprung up with the recent rains. 

Gazanias are used most often as groundcover and border plants. They are also used as fillers around new perennial shrubs until the shrubs grow enough to be attractions on their own. In the photo below, the gazanias are acting as groundcover in the space beside my driveway up to the boundary of my neighbor's yard. The kale you see on the edge spouted on its own, probably planted by the wind from the mother plant last year. 

In the photo above, you will notice that the flowers are not open. That's because today is cloudy. Gazanias only open in the sun. They close at night and when it is overcast. 

Below you see gazanias filling the space between the edge of the flower bed, surrounding the carnations, and extending almost to the rosemary in the center back. Without the gazanias, which I do need to divide now,  their space would be taken by the weeds like the ones now surrounding the irises. I hope I have time to get at those weeds soon. 

Gazanias don't need much care. They thrive in full sun and can tolerate poor soil. They don't need much water so we can consider them drought-resistant plants. What they can't handle is hard frost. One year almost all my gazanias died when we had an abnormally cold winter and the temperature got down to 12 F. This next photo shows what happened that year. The tops may die back, but most roots survive and revive the plants in warmer weather. 

If it doesn't get that cold in winter, the gazanias just bring a bit of sunshine to mostly dormant flower beds. 

Most of my gazanias have the  coloring of the ones below. Gazanias are available in many colors. I like the sunny ones. 

Sometimes gazanias spread in ways only nature understands. I have told my gardener to just mow around this one.  I just may take out the lawn and replace it with gazanias that don't need mowing or much water. I don't water the lawn anymore anyway now that brown lawns are fashionable during the drought. I will replace it with drought-resistant plants and bark chips as soon as I have the time and money. 

Are you growing gazanias yet? If not, why not pick up some seeds and get them in the ground so they can brighten your garden? Here are some of the available colors. 

If you enjoyed this post, please share it. The sharing buttons are just above the comment box at the end of this post. The photo below is especially designed for pinning. 

This is my seventh post for the 2016 AtoZchallenge, a Blogging Challenge for the month of April, 2016. My theme is plants, since this is a gardening blog.  Here are links to the other posts if you missed them.

A is for Apple Blossoms
B is for Bottlebrush
C is for Carnations
D is for Daisy

E is for Elderberry
F is for Flowers

1 comment:

Linda Jo Martin said...

Beautiful flower! These didn't grow in far-northern California where I lived... I guess our winters were too cold.

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