Out for a walk at the beach with the corgi today, these imposingly tall jars of succulents on a porch caught my eye across four lanes of traffic.
(There’s always ample opportunity to survey the surrounding area when walking Ein, whose outings we jokingly liken to walking a sack of rocks.)
The jars were simply planted with just a few kinds of succulents, mostly aeoniums, echeveria, and the “elephant food” Portulacaria afra “Aurea.’
But all dramatically spilling Senecio radicans, the fish-hook scenecio.
Sometimes the mesmerizing geometry of succulents inspires fussy, complex arrangements, but with a good eye for the play of shapes and contrasting forms, they handle the bold gesture equally well.
The monkey flower planted into the ground has clambered up into the arms of a potted helichrysum.
I like promoting such intimate relationships between the grounded and the potted. The mimulus thrives in the slightly heavy clay of the garden. Pot life would suit it fine as well, but it’d want a lot more water. The Helichrysum petiolare is a dwarf and is getting a bit woody, so may have to be restarted soon from cuttings, but I prefer the dwarf’s light tracery of branches to the engulfing growth of the species. Living in the pot year-round with the helichrysum are some aeoniums and a little manihot tree, unseen in the photo, whose leaves sprout comically at the end of its very slender 4-foot trunk. The manihot is nothing but a stick to look at all winter, so I probably won’t plant it into the garden. But what fantastic shadow play its leaves will make in summer with just a bit more heat to bring on growth. Just a few blooms of the mimulus really livens things up. Later on in the season a red iochroma will be in bloom behind the pot, the big leaves to the left. I really enjoy these small, incremental changes summer brings. In a long growing season, summer doesn’t have to be about masses of blooming annuals, especially not with our current water restrictions.
A photo of the aeoniums and helichrysum taken earlier in January this year shows a much greener aeonium.
The dark red mimulus is probably a hybrid of our native Mimulus aurantiacus.
Not an elegant title, bordering on the indelicate, but that’s about all I can manage on Wednesday, just some shots from the past few days.
Begonia ‘Bonfire’ and aeoniums. I was thrilled to carry this begonia over the winter, the pot turned on its side outdoors to keep it dry and dormant through the winter rains.
The solanums are leaping into growth and flower, even under our typical “June gloom” skies. Love the gloom. It’s not Meyerowitz’s Cape Light, it’s not the Pacific Northwest’s famous pearly light, but it is a respite from the impending four months of unremitting sunshine, or Life in a Toaster Oven.
Solanum rantonnetiii ‘Variegata’
The ‘Waverly’ salvia has been blooming since at least February, and now its dusky bracts look especially purply against the bronze fennel.
A pot of succulent cuttings running amok. Odds and ends get stuck in here as they inadvertently break off from their mother plants.
The green aeonium is A. balsamiferum. Red-tipped echeveria is E. agavoides.