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porpoising (sunday clippings 11/18/12)

Surfacing briefly, like the porpoises I watched slicing the surface of the ocean on the ferry boat crossing to Catalina Island Friday.


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A visit mostly all business*, the pleasure coming mainly from the 30-minute walk to the conference room at a resort not far out of town where I would be working in the afternoon. The pleasure of walking in a small town decorated in Catalina Tile.

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An island with water scarcity issues far worse than the mainland, slightly alleviated recently by desalinization plants.
Translation: Succulents are everywhere.

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Bougainvillea lines the roads on which tourists zip around in rented golf carts, which gives the island a Jurassic Park feel.
We hitched a lift on one of the golf carts the last steep 500 feet or so to the resort.

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Back on the mainland in my own garden, Aloe capitata var. quartzicola promises to reveal its first bloom this week.
That is, if the snails don’t get it first.

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Not to be outdone by a winter-blooming aloe, Verbascum ‘Clementine’ made the ridiculous decision to send up a bloom in November.
I’m hoping this doesn’t mean she’ll be too exhausted to bloom in spring.

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I mentioned recently the salvaged tank where the Hibiscus acetosella is growing.
The leaning inflorescence crashing in on the tank belongs to the tetrapanax. Beautiful, no?

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Such beauty bears a price. Come closer:

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Closer still:

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There were a couple bees, the odd hoverfly, and the occasional wasp, but mostly just hundreds and hundreds of flies.
Sorry, but I just had to share.

(If Linda is reading, tonight’s viewing will be Ken Burn’s The Dust Bowl.)

*One day I swear to pay a visit to the Wrigley Botanical Garden.

11 comments to porpoising (sunday clippings 11/18/12)

  • Oh Denise how funny, I have worked more days in a row than I care to mention, but had a few moments in the front garden tonite and beheld a bloom spike on one of my Versbascum…nooooo too soon !

  • Denise

    Kathy, so you’ve been buried in work too! Thanks for letting me know my verbascum isn’t the only mutant. But I tell you these flies are freaking me out. I should get an audio clip of the buzz they make when I walk by.

  • My Tetrapanax is in the early stages of thinking about maybe possibly working itself into a bloom fest like you’ve got. I hope it happens before a freeze wipes it all out. If only for the flies.

    Beautiful photos from Catalina! Now I’m off to see if my Aloe capitata shows any signs of a bloom. Doubtful….

  • Les

    I am glad to see the blooms of Tetrapanax, they are not what I thought they would look like. I have buds, but they most likely will not bloom. Fingers will be crossed though.

  • Denise

    @Loree, I didn’t notice the hordes of flies last year. Maybe you won’t get any. I’m determined to go back to the island in 2012 and see that botanic garden!
    @Les, fingers crossed here too. I wonder what winged buzzing creature spectacle you’ll see if it does.

  • Ewww, flies. I got them on Euonymous ‘Chollipo’ flowers last year, this year I meticulously snipped off every last flower before it opened.

    The ocean influence on Catalina makes for gorgeous succulent specimens, doesn’t it? Love the tiles, too. The botanical garden is worth the long uphill walk. Those golf carts cost a fortune to rent!

  • The tetrapanax is amazing! Not something we have around here.

  • Sue

    An island of succulents and a blooming Tetrapanax-who can beat that?

  • Denise

    @Hoov, it’s like the gates of hell opened up in the garden…exaggerating only slightly. Marty says we have to cut the bloom down before guests arrive on Thanksgiving. Not sure I can do that!
    @Jason, the bloom has a similar structure to a fatsia, the common houseplant, if you’ve seen one of those bloom.
    @Sue, I’m not sure how you’re feeling about unleashing tetrapanax in your garden, but I’ve been potting up runners just in case you decide to try it. Let me know in spring.

  • I had a few bees but mostly flies all over my Fatsia Japonica blooms too. What is happening out there?

  • It’s painful to read your blog from WI. I love Aloe season. Makes me check out Craigslist for places to live in CA. Awesome pics, missing gardening in garden heaven.