Tag Archives: Argemone munita

some kangaroo paws

Anigozanthos is becoming as common as agapanthus in Southern California, but I’m still a fan.
Blooms for months, fine on the dry side, handles full sun, dramatically vertical. You’d think there’d be a huge selection available. But it’s pretty much orange, yellow, red, pink.
Ocasionally that amazing black one turns up in nurseries, which goes by Macropidia fuliginosa, but it’s notoriously touchy.

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‘Harmony’ anigozanthos, May 2013

For the longest time I steered clear of red kangaroo paws. Orange and yellow, yes. Red, no.
There really is no accounting for taste. Maybe there’s this fear that if we kept no rules at all, a vortex of chaos would swallow us up.
All I know is that I’m now suddenly fine with red anigozanthos. (But pink, um, no.)
The first red I brought home was, appropriately enough, ‘Big Red,’ whose first bloom in the garden will be this spring.
Then I recently brought home some petite red no-names in 4-inch pots that were a good price at the big box store.

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And then there was that momentous day I found ‘Little Jean’ (two days ago).
I immediately plucked her from a stand of mixed blooming kangaroo paws after one look at her rich interplay of colors.

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Compare the complexity of bloom on ‘Little Jean’ (red/green/black/yellow on bright red fuzzy stems) to the no-name red kangaroo paw above.

Now a new band of red anigozanthos is taking shape in the garden, snaking around the base of Yucca ‘Margaritaville.’
Interspersed with the kangaroo paws are some lomandra I’m trying out like ‘Breeze’ and ‘Lime Tuff.’
I’ve pulled out all the blue oat grass (Helicotrichon) to give lomandra, this startling green New Zealander, a try.

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Lomandra ‘Lime Tuff.’
I know at some point it will have an ugly phase, all grasses do, but wow, what bright clean beauty it’s shown all fall/winter.

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The now-departed blue oat grass, looking fine in April 2013 but always ratty in winter. The tree, Euphorbia cotinifolia, is gone too. Wind snapped its trunk.
That thug Arundo donax ‘Golden Chain,’ way in the back, has also unwillingly vacated the garden. In fact, except for the yucca, the garden has been completely changed up again.
The long-leaved carex on the left, Carex trifida ‘Rekohu Sunrise,’ has been moved to more shade. A really good carex with a big arching presence like hakonechloa, but for drier soil.
(And I really, really wish I could find another source for seed or plant of Argemone munita, the tall thistly looker with romneya-type flowers.)

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Anigozanthos ‘Yellow Harmony’

But getting back to kangaroo paws, just letting you nurseries know that some of us love seeing different kinds of them, like ‘Little Jean.’


in love with my garden

It’s Earth Day. Or the day after, to be exact. Let’s hope being a day late is not a portent of things to come.
So this morning after, I’m sending mash notes to Earth for making my little garden possible.
I want to thank photosynthesis for everything you do. I want to give special thanks to the atmosphere, to rocks, to continental drift.
Who am I forgetting? Oceans, plankton, magma. You know who you are. I couldn’t have done it without you.
You too, moon and tides. I also want to thank my latitude, nighttime pollinators.
Oh, there’s just too many to thank, and I don’t want to forget anyone. I couldn’t have done it without you.


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Earth, I owe everything I am to you.
(title inspired by “In Love With My Planet.”)

This work is not about landscapes. It is about love.”

Bloom Day April 2013

Spring is moving fast here in Southern California. I’ve already checked out some of the gardens on our host’s site for Bloom Day, Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and saw lots of traditional spring shrubs and bulbs and perennials like hellebores in amazing colors just coming into bloom. Slowly but surely spring is spreading across the land. Huzzah!

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Spring has had an unmistakably orange cast to it in my garden this year. A kniphofia in its current 50/50 bar coloration.

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Same kniphofia about a week ago.
I moved this one around and didn’t keep track of the name, but all my kniphofias come from Digging Dog, which has a great list.

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Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is just starting to bloom, and hopefully the isoplexis will hang in there a little longer.
The grass Stipa gigantea was moved here last fall and hasn’t missed a beat, showing lots of bloom stalks.

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Tweedia caerulea/Oxypetalum caerulea may be a rare baby blue in color but it is a surprisingly tough plant.
This one survived forgotten and neglected in a container throughout the mostly rainless winter.
It’s climbing up a castor bean, Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple.’

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The self-sowing annual Senecio stellata started bloom this week. Big leaves, tall, and likes it on the shady side.

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Another tall one, Albuca maxima.

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This South African bulb has been thriving in the front gravel garden, which gets very little summer water. Over 5 feet tall, it reminds me of a giant galanthus.

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More white blooms, Erodium pelargoniflorum, a prolific self-seeder in the front gravel garden.

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The fringe tree on the east side of the house, Chionanthus retusus, just about at maximum white-out.

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The fried egg on a long stalk near the Euphorbia cotinifolia tree trunk is Argemone munita. Hopefully better photos to come.
I wouldn’t mind about six more of these self-sown in the garden for next year.

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Self-sowing white valerian forming buds, with the lavender bells of the shrub prostranthera, the Australian mintbush.

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The mintbush with the succulent Senecio anteuphorbium.

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A gift pelargonium, no ID. The small details in the leaves and flowers of these simple pelargoniums get me every time.

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Closeup of the tiny flowers.

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The plant at its base is even more self-effacing, with a big name for such a quiet plant, Zaluzianskya capensis.

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Lots of self-sown nicotianas. The flowers are too small to be pure N. alata, so it probably has some langsdorfii in the mix.
Whatever its parentage, lime green flowers always work for me.

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Nicotiana ‘Ondra’s Brown Mix,’ with a potted begonia for scale. This strain of flowering tobacco has been keeping hummingbirds happy all winter.
This is the first begonia to bloom (again, no ID!), and the colocasias are just beginning to leaf out.

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The porch poppies, with lots more poppies in bloom in the garden.

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The anigozanthos might be a tad too close to the euphorbia, but I love the lime green and orange together.

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The last two photos are by MB Maher, who was in town briefly and tried to get more of the Euphorbia lambii from a higher angle.

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MB Maher’s photo of the Salvia chiapensis with a bit of purple in the center from Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP,’ planted from gallons a couple weeks ago.
I have a feeling that yucca will be in bloom for May Bloom Day. See you then!

Now that Google Reader is in the dustbin of history, I’m trying out Bloglovin for organizing blogs I want to follow.
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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.

clippings 2/26/13

Work has piled up, so there’s little time for much else. But something I can always squeeze in while under deadlines are small breaks to read catalogue descriptions of plants. And with impeccable timing, a great Australian plant nursery catalogue was introduced recently by Studio G, so I’m actually looking forward to two more days spent at my desk, stealing occasional visits to Lambley Nursery:The huge palette of rare but garden worthy plants you have featured on the DVD is food for the soul to serious gardeners...” — Simon Rickard

(a DVD?! have mercy! here comes that whooshing sound of another deadline flying by)

It’s a bit of a paradox that, while I look to new catalogues for something exciting and unknown, it’s when I find they tout a plant I already deeply admire that I feel I’m in safe hands and ready to be led anywhere they want to take me. Here’s Lambley’s take on Anthemis ‘Susanna Mitchell,’ a plant I’ve grown off and on for many years:

“This plant, a hybrid between Anthemis tinctoria and the grey leaved spring flowered A. cupaniana, combines the good points of each. Flattish mounds of greyish fern like leaves are covered in the loveliest creamy lemon daisies for months on end from mid-spring to autumn. It makes a great display in our dry garden. A drought tolerant plant growing best in full sun.” Lambley’s photo.


http://lambley.com.au/plant/anthemis-susannah-mitchell

I’ve committed to this anthemis in a big way, making five plants the mainstay of my little “meadow” outside the office.
My anthemis, just budding up now, were planted last fall and come from that excellent nursery on California’s Mendocino Coast, Digging Dog Nursery.

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Aside from plant catalogues, there’s lots to distract out in the garden now too. This thistly beauty, Argemone munita, also planted last fall, is a California native offered by Annie’s Annuals & Perennials: “Large crepey pure white blooms 3-4” across with big round central golden “buttons” (much like Matilija Poppy) appear numerously from Spring to mid-Summer on multibranching stems 2-3’ tall & wide.”

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More distractions: first blooms are opening on Salvia africana-lutea. Minutes evaporate contemplating its color. Tawny, rusty, sable-ish.

Now, where’d I put that grindstone?