blogger meetup at the Huntington

I should have talked less and picked up the camera more at the meetup this past Saturday at the Huntington Botanical Garden, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun as our nonstop gabfest. The occasion for the meetup was Gerhard (Succulents & More) visiting Los Angeles at the end of a week-long winter sabbatical — a plant-centric sabbatical, of course, which he will be blogging about forthwith. Gail (Piece of Eden), Gail’s husband Alan, Luisa (Crow & Raven), and I were the Southern California welcoming committee.


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Also part of Gerhard’s welcoming committee were the winter-blooming aloes.

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With so many aloes in bloom, the desert garden absorbed all our time and attention.

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Aloe sinkatana

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Aloe rubroviolacea

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We’re all pretty fond of agaves too.

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And hechtias.

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In fact, there’s very little about the desert garden that we’re not all crazy in love with.
I hope Luisa does a post on her beloved opuntias. Alan admirably fulfilled documentary duties.


The desert garden is always jaw-droppingly amazing, but this time I wish I had more photos to substantiate my enthusiasm for the plantings in the new entrance garden. I grabbed a couple photos as I left in the early afternoon, which just hint at the large swathes of the landscape made predominantly of muhly grasses interspersed with kniphofia and aloes. The grasses carry the scene nearly year-round and are especially stunning fall and winter, at their shimmering best in the low angled light. The Huntington’s own hybrid Kniphofia ‘Christmas Cheer’ is in bloom now, and then the torch will be handed over to Aloe ‘David Verity.’ Very minimalist but strategically smart succession planting on a waterwise budget, with washes of blue supplied by the mallee shrub Eucalyptus ‘Moon Lagoon’ The grasses are Muhlenbergia dubia, Muhlenbergia rigens, and Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails.’ There was also a small massed planting of Hesperaloe ‘Brakelights,’ and lots of other things like verbascum and glaucium, but the overall mood of the landscape is governed by swaying, glittering sweeps of grass.

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More like a quick watercolor sketch than a photo, but the general idea is conveyed.
The blue wash is from Eucalyptus ‘Moon Lagoon.’ Kniphofia ‘Christmas Cheer’ is in bloom, like little signal fires dotted amongst the grasses.
After the kniphofia fires die down, Aloe ‘David Verity’ will light up the Muhlenbergia dubia. Really smart, gorgeously simple planting.

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Kniphofia ‘Christmas Cheer’ is a hybrid of Kniphofia rooperi that emerged from the Huntington in the 1970s.
From San Marcos Growers website:
John MacGregor, long-time horticulturist at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, noted that this plant is one of the best winter hummingbird plants he knew of for mild climates.”

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The new entrance garden warrants another, much more comprehensive visit.
And without my blogger friends, there’ll be less talk and more photos. But not nearly as much fun.

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8 Responses to blogger meetup at the Huntington

  1. ks says:

    I’m trying not to be unattractively envious of this event.

  2. Gerhard Bock says:

    It was a gabfest indeed–the best kind. I learned a lot because everybody was so knowledgeable about so many different groups of plants, not just succulents.

    I loved the entrance garden although I found it challenging to photograph.

    I want a ‘Moon Lagoon’ on the west way now!

  3. rusty duck says:

    Fabulous shots Denise, the third one down especially. If I could have a garden like that I’d move to the desert.

  4. Denise says:

    @Kathy, you really need to see the new entrance garden. Road trip!
    @Jessica, not after all that work you’ve been doing! I used to think if I could only have 30 inches of rain a year, anywhere, I’d be good. But now I think the desert would be just fine too.

  5. Denise says:

    @Gerhard, I noticed that the Hunt. had cut back some of their Moon Lagoon, just nipped them back lightly. I’d cut mine back some for a wreath for the holidays, but when I got home Saturday I finished the job, so it was a good reminder to get the job done before the rains.

  6. Scott Weber says:

    LOVE the Muhlenbergia…especially massed that way.

  7. Luisa says:

    Great company, best time ever, learned a ton (and saw some cool birds). What a wonderful morning! Denise, your photos are beautiful. Those agaves!

    My yard/pot ghetto was dusted with snow this morning. Good thing I have about a square mile of frost cloth :~/

  8. Pam/Digging says:

    I’ve enjoyed each of your posts about the blogger excursion and wish that I could have been there with you all. And seeing the aloes in bloom would be the icing on the cake.

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