Tag Archives: Agave gypsophila

Dustin’s June 14 Plant Fair

Coming this Saturday at Dustin’s house and garden.

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Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. or thereabouts
1750 Sherman Place
Long Beach, CA 90804

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Nicely coinciding with the bloom of the giant Dutchman’s pipe vine, Aristolochia gigantea.

Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. or thereabouts
1750 Sherman Place
Long Beach, CA 90804

I would love to see the plant sale become a June institution like Dustin’s Cross-Pollination parties, where the most botanically interesting cocktails are dreamed up.
(My favorite last Saturday was a concoction of St. Germain, rosemary, lemons…and was it rum?) If you can’t make it, maybe some of your Facebook friends can, so pass it on.

Cross-Pollination July 2013

Garden designer Dustin Gimbel hosted another of those fabulous mid-summer rave-ups that he calls “Cross-Pollination” at his home and garden, where “hikers, nursery professionals, beekeepers, home brewers, crazy plant people, artists, architects and designers” gather for food and conversation, slipping away occasionally from the outdoor tables for periodic forays into the surrounding garden that nourishes as much as the food and conversation. A trifecta of sensory input. Think a slightly more design-centric Roman bacchanalia and you’ve got the basic idea. (And in case there’s any doubt, I fall into the “crazy plant people” category on the invitation.)

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photo by Dustin Gimbel


Maybe another attendee will post photos of the tables groaning under bowl after bowl of fresh, summery food and the friendly group that assembled to partake of the potlucked largesse.* This will be my typically monomaniacal plant reportage. For me one of the stars of the party was the Aristolochia gigantea vine in full, jaw-dropping bloom against the mauve wall of the garage. Various parts of the human anatomy were offered up as visual analogies for these bizarre, fleshily gorgeous flowers. (A non-profane example would be lungs.) The colors here in this corner of the back garden make up a tangily delicious concoction. The golden, feathery shrub is Coleonema pulchellum ‘Sunset Gold.’ On the left is Dodonaea viscosa. Euphorbia cotinifolia is directly behind the central variegated number, which is either a ponytail palm or a cordyline. Or something else entirely. In Dustin’s garden, always expect to be confounded and surprised.

This is Dustin’s photo and description: “Giant dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia gigantea) is reveling in heat AND humidity. Usually if it gets hot and dry these comically large blooms get seared by the heat and often don’t even open, burnt crisp by the sun.”

A horticultural event of immense drama — but then that pretty much describes Dustin’s garden any time you visit.


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Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ and Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’

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Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ with Dustin’s hand-made totem towers

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Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii with mattress vine

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Peachy Russellia equisetiformis and a golden Agave attenuata, possibly ‘Raea’s Gold,” with I think Sedum rubrotinctum

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Dustin was way too busy hosting the soiree to be coralled into extended plant ID sessions like I normally do. So I’m hazarding that the shaggy beast in the far left container is Acacia cognata ‘Cousin Itt,’ with firesticks, Euphorbia tirucalli, and bowls of echeveria. A visit to Dustin’s garden always reminds one to go large. No itty-bitty gestures, please.

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The Acacia pendula arbor over the main diagonal path in the front garden, seen from the front porch, to which the path runs roughly parallel.
The golden, glowing strip in the background lining another path to the back gate is variegated St. Augustine grass. Dustin recently pulled out assorted plants here to go for a bigger impact with this grass. A wise man, that Dustin.

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Silvery ribbons of tillandsias and Spanish moss have been tied to delicately drape from the rebar arch.

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The Acacia pendula, an Agave ‘Blue Glow’ surrounded by Frankenia thymifolia, a walkable ground cover Dustin uses to such good effect in creating quiet pools of visual rest. Possibly Leucadendron argenteum and burgundy dyckias in the background. The privet hedges enclosing the front garden are maturing and filling in, screening the garden from the busy street.

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I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about the Gainey ceramic pots on pipes when I first saw them, but with the simplified planting underneath of Myer’s asparagus fern and variegated St. Augustine grass, I’ve become an enthusiastic convert.

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The Crested Ligularia, Farfugium japonicum ‘Crispatum,’ and an equally crested ivy, pairing the frilly with the frillier.

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Agave gypsophila and the Woolly Bush, Adenanthos sericeus. The silver trailer might be Lessingia filanginifolia.

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Bocconia and Frankenia thymifolia engulfing circular stepping stones

Thanks to Dustin, after such a magical evening one can’t help but leave feeling…well, pollinated and fertile with new-found energy and ideas. And just a little hung over the next morning.

*And Annette’s marvelous post can be read on Potted’s blog.

March evening/April morning

Walking off Easter dinner, what caught my eye last evening was a petite bloom on the melianthus, the first I’ve seen on this cultivar ‘Purple Haze.’


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I’m really starting to believe now it is the holy grail, a dwarf melianthus, since even the flower is diminutive.

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Last evening poppies were catching the tail-end breezes of Sunday’s rainstorm as it passed us by. Somebody else got our rain once again. I hope they put it to good use, saved some in barrels and kept it from running uselessly into the streets.

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Argemone munita lengthening and forming flower buds was probably my favorite sight the last day of March.

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Lovely Easter colors, robin’s egg blue, on the Pilocereus azureus.
(The first cactus I’ve ever purchased. No idea what this means for the garden or what the future holds now.
H&H on Lakewood Blvd. has more in small pots and a few large specimens.)

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Sunset colors on Linaria ‘Licilia Peach,’ such a good cool-season, winter-spring annual, this color range a nice change from the typical Moroccan souk colors available, the kinds I usually crave during color-drained winter.

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I grabbed the only six-pack I found locally of this peachy kind and planted them in the tulip pots when they were finished.
Tall, see-through, catch the wind, thrive in pots, they tick off a lot of boxes. Good cut flowers for small vases too.

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All buttoned up last night, this April morning the shape-shifting poppies with their burlesque petals were in various stages of tempting disarray.

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On the plant acquisition front, on Saturday March 30 I stood in front of this Agave gypsophila in Buck and Yvonne Hemenway’s garden in Riverside.

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The photo doesn’t begin to do its wavy frilly twisting blueness justice. Note the bloom stalk, which soared upward into the full-sun, noonday sky, and the relatively petite size at maturity, which sealed the deal. I quickly grabbed the gallon with the baby agave sitting on the rocks and felt alternately relieved and guilty when other hopefuls stopped to admire it and see if any more were offered for sale. Also bought my first gasteria at this sale, which is a succulent that can put up with some shade and has surprisingly lovely, beschorneria-esque blooms, and found two Euphorbia mauritanica, which garden designer Dustin Gimbel uses to such beautiful effect. (This gasteria goes by the charming name of ‘Little Warty.’) The prices at this sale are unbeatable. If you go next year, you will be treated to the cognitively dissonant experience of driving through the arid landscapes of Riverside County, turning into the entrance of Buck and Yvonne’s neighborhood, which is bounded by the lush green fairways of the Indian Hills Golf Course, and driving past houses which zealously maintain deep green front lawns. And then there’s Buck and Yvonne’s amazing garden. No need to check for house numbers at this point.