tuesday clippings 3/26/13

Nothing too thematic, just some odds and ends.

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To prove I left the plant sale tables briefly and did a lap in the show room at the recent Orange County CSSA show, here’s a Dyckia ‘Brittle Star’ hybrid that won an award. My own big clump of dyckia is starting to throw up bloom stalks, which the snails munch like asparagus spears. The slimy gourmands ate every bloom last year, and they’re on their way to doing it again this year. Some of that biodegradable snail bait was dispensed this morning, possibly too little too late.

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In the back garden, between the poppies and the anthemis, there’s scarcely any bare soil showing and it’s not even April. I’ve started thinning out the poppies more aggressively. Diascia personata is the not-yet-blooming swathe of green behind the Agave americana var. striata in the tall green pot.

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Starting to bloom this week, though the event could easily pass unnoticed, is the Australian mintbush, Prostranthera ovalifolia ‘Variegata,’ a shimmering, aromatic shrub of medium size. I’m keeping it pruned to approximately 4 X 4 feet. Tiny, luminous, evergreen leaves, a loose, open form with contrasting dark stems. Tolerates dry but can handle regular garden irrigation. Not a specimen plant, its attractions are subtle. It brings pattern and light, not weight, to the garden. Some might find it a little nondescript. I wish I had room for more than one. In bloom its branches become studded with tiny lilac-colored bells. Not very long-lived, this is a shrub I replant over and over.

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Leaving subtle behind, I’m so excited to see some blooms on the Canary Island Foxglove, Isoplexis canariensis. These shrubby foxglove relatives may save me the trouble of throwing more money at trialing more of the rusty-colored digitalis species like ferruginea and trojana, which have yet to make it through winter. They just melt away, leaving me scratching the soil where they were planted searching for signs of life. Not enough rainfall maybe.

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Another look at the isoplexis, a big sturdy plant. Nothing seems to bother it, knock wood.

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Geranium maderense ‘Alba’ opened some of its pure, laundry white blooms this morning.

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The back garden viewing gallery, the bricks freshly cleaned and weeded by Marty. I think he’s got the attention to detail necessary to win prizes at plant shows. Good thing one of us does. I insisted he leave a few poppies that had self-sown into the bricks. I used to keep a small table here too, until I planted that Eryngium padanifolium too close. But what a stunning plant it is.

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Around the corner on the east side of the house, the pittosporum is turning into quite the tillandsia outpost. A neighbor brought over a basketful last week. I love it when neighbors have your number.

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The battle of the compound leaves, melianthus vs. tetrapanax. The purple wash on the melianthus’ leaves is about as strong as it gets. I think it recedes a bit in summer. What an amazingly beautiful compact selection ‘Purple Haze’ is. Fantastic improvement on the species for small gardens.

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8 Responses to tuesday clippings 3/26/13

  1. Sue says:

    Sure, flaunt your Melianthus and Tetrapanax while being ever so stingy with the wide angle views of your fabulous garden! By the look of that viewing area, you are tour ready.

  2. Hoov says:

    I’m trying Digitalis parviflora, it survived the winter. Getting an actual flower will be the next challenge.

  3. Denise says:

    Sue, I’ve had a 4-inch potted tetrapanax growing all winter with your name on it. If you still need one, look no further. Just let me know when to ship.
    Hoov, I think the isoplexis might be the answer for me. I lost one last year after I took the smoke tree down last summer and dappled shade turned to full sun overnight. This one should have time to toughen up to full summer sun.

  4. Scott Weber says:

    OMG…the fuzzy Geranium stems are fabulous!

  5. wow. your photographies are always fabulous. You should be photographer !

  6. Sue says:

    Denise, I just ordered one from Plant Delights last week! Maybe I play better the odds and try for a grove.

  7. gardenbug says:

    Not a Canadian garden…but my how wonderful! Lots to lust after…

  8. Kaveh says:

    Now that I am seeing your Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ I wish I had sought that selection out instead of going with the straight species. Oh well. Next garden. Love your garden views. I need to add more bold and strappy leaved plants to my yard.

    I’ve been wanting an Isoplexis for a while now. I had one in a container on my balcony in Santa Monica and it lived long enough to bloom but I really didn’t have it in a big enough pot. I saw some at Seaside Gardens a few weeks ago and regret passing them up. I’ve had the same luck with the Digitalis I have tried so far. They do fine for a while and then just wither away.

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