Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’

I’ve been passing this echeveria around all over town (Gail, Kris), so it’s a good time to discuss what it is and what it isn’t.

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It is not one of those tight, amazingly concentric echeverias like imbricata that draw you in as though the birth of a galaxy is unfolding before your very eyes.
It is quite the opposite, asymmetrical and awkward, and it grows into a huge, gangly thing. But there is something compelling about the sheer fleshiness of this succulent.

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The original plant, grown into a 2X2 shrub.

In November I broke up the trunked shrub it had become into about a dozen pieces and planted the cuttings out along a path in the garden.
That strip of the garden had once been a brick-on-sand path, so the soil was still mostly the sand base used for the bricks.
The cuttings loved these conditions, rooted quickly over winter, and grew fat in the slightly rainy days back then.

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Cuttings in ruddy winter coloring

I moved some Stipa barbata into their spot, so I dug up all those rooted cuttings and planted them in this bowl.
Color-wise, ‘Opal Moon’ shares the grey-pink tones of Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’

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An old photo, ‘Opal Moon’ forming flower buds.

There’s not much information available on this echeveria.
It really is an anomaly among echeverias, and I wish I knew its provenance. Possibly some E. gigantea in the mix?
I never see it offered for sale. Maybe its large size and unusual growth habits make it less desirable than the smaller echeverias that multiply into dizzying, patterned carpets.
I just want to be up front that that’s not what this echeveria is going to do.


Bloom Day September 2013

After an interminably hot August, I couldn’t wait to start some fall planting as soon as it cooled down a bit, which means there aren’t exactly buckets of blooms to share.

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There was a whisper campaign afoot that a local nursery had Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ relatively cheap, so I grabbed one and redesigned a (relatively) large chunk of the back garden around it.

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Behind the lime-green pelargonium grew a big swath of Persicaria amplexicaulis, now home to the leucadendron. A couple Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ were included while the shrub makes size.

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Little Pelargonium crispum ‘Variegatum’ has held onto its looks all summer, a nice small-scale shrub.

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The succulent in the foreground is Echeveria ‘Opal Moon,’ which is maturing into a surprisingly effective landscape succulent.

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As far as new flowers, the only other big news comes from Japanese anemones, seen here with macleaya and Xanthosoma ‘Lime Zinger.’ The first time I’ve ever grown the fall-blooming anemones. True story.

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In the border just outside the office, behind the ‘Zwartkop’ aeonium, gomphrenas, gaillardias, and castor bean plants emerged from the heat of August unscathed.

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Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’ and an unidentified furcraea.

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Orange gomphrena and gaillardia

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Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple’

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Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket,’ russelia, and a young, potted Yucca rostrata. Agave ‘Dragon Toes’ was planted in the ground this year.

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Salvia chiapensis, still one of the all-time champion salvias in my garden, though I’m hearing great things about the newcomer, blue-flowered Salvia ‘Amistad.’

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Agastache ‘Black Adder’ is off to a good start this summer. I think its size should help see it through until spring. Something about my winter clay eats agastaches, even in low rainfall winters.

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This silvery little daisy looks promising, Lessingia filaginifolia, in a pot with Pelargonium ‘Crocodile’

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Solanum pyracanthum

Thanks as always to Carol for hosting the monthly Bloom Day reports.

favorite plant of the week: Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’

Loree at Danger Garden has been faithfully reporting on her favorite plant in the garden every week and has asked others to join in when so inspired. So many succulents dangle or trail their blooms, but these blooms are hoisted high on the elongating thick stalks of this echeveria, making it worthy of inclusion as a favorite plant. To be honest, the mauvey color of its leaves is a color I usually avoid in succulents, and one of the reasons I rid the garden of the excellent but similarly tinted Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives.’ ‘Opal Moon’ complicates the color with some grey, some blue, a blush of caramel, but it’s mainly the fleshy size of this one that makes it such a hubba-hubba attraction.


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Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’

I brought home Loree’s favorite plant this week, Alstroemeria isabellana, from Far Reaches Farm last summer, but it vanished during my zone 10 winter. It may prefer the rainier winters of Portland, Oregon. I am nursing along one of its relatives, a bomarea, in a container that’s never allowed to dry out. Maybe I’ll be able to report on it in an upcoming “favorite plants” post, fingers crossed.

Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’

I always check the succulent tables at plant nurseries for something new and/or bizarre, but the offerings have been much the same so far this year. Once the eye has been well-trained on the familiar, whenever something unfamiliar pops up, like this Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’ did a year or so ago, it really stands out in the crowd. This echeveria made great size over the winter, so I slipped it out of its pot and planted it in the garden over the weekend. A pot of Echeveria secunda was thinned to add a few at the base, which gives an idea of scale. ‘Opal Moon’ has some faint breaks and streaking in the overall greyish-pink color of its leaves, a color very similar to that of Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives.’ (I’ve always called this color “puce,” but checking the dictionary I see that I’m mistaken.) I have to admit this greyish-pink color is not my first preference, but I can tolerate it if the succulent is a good one. Is ‘Opal Moon’ a good one? Still not sure. The irregular-shaped, loose rosettes build up higher and higher, and it’s formed about a 3-inch trunk, so it would be of no use tucked into nooks and crannies, making it more a specimen. It lacks the severe geometry of many echeverias, for instance, the E. secunda at its base, but I suppose that extreme fleshiness counts as a feature in its own right. It is an odd one. And wouldn’t you know, the snails never found it in its pot, but were nosing around among its leaves this morning, so this just might be the last photo in its pristine state. The snail hunt kit, a peanut butter jar, was produced and the mollusks were dispatched to the freezer and the Big Sleep.

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Echeveria ‘Opal Moon’

Occasional Daily Weather Report 1/6/13



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Nighttime temps haven’t dipped into the 30s yet, still the calamintha was somehow dusted with ice crystals yesterday morning

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Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) always looks chilly

The daytime temps, anyway, make for perfect biking weather. My Christmas present to Marty was a bike bell, and his present to me was…a bike bell. The whole town seems to have bikes on the brain this year. Walking to a local coffee shop this morning, we found a confab of vintage bikes.

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I highly approve of the containers outside the shop too, which were planted with shrubby stuff, a direction I’ve been drifting in also.

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Not just for vines, this hand-made iron tuteur can also support lax shrubs like this knife-leaf acacia, A. pravissima

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Mixed containers with Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’, Purple-leafed Hop-bush, variegated eleagnus and ginger/hedychium

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From the garden, a NOID begonia, Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty,’ Papaver commutatum, Echeveria ‘Opal Moon,’ Pelargonium ‘Crocodile,’ and that little dickens Ein.


Foliage Follow-Up August 2011

Thank goodness Pam at Digging hosts a Foliage Follow-Up to May Dreams Gardens Bloom Day. The blooming lineup in my July Bloom Day post can stand in with very little revision for August. Holding down the fort and keeping the hummingbirds and insects happy in August is the same bunch of long-blooming salvias, gaura, knautia, echium, verbascum, euphorbia, Persicaria amplexicaule, kangaroo paws, valerian in bloom since early summer. I throttled back on annuals, so not much new is erupting into blossom this August. Gardens for me are still all about the eruptions, not the staid, unchanging formalities, but this year August looks a lot like July and even June. Would I take a couple lines of track from the High Line, including every last grass and perennial, and plunk it down in my garden? Oh, hell, yeah. I’m a wannabe prairie garden companion. But that would leave me with nine months in a very small garden staring at nubby perennial crowns when there can be evergreen grevilleas in bloom in winter. (Why must the garden be such a heavy-handed teacher of compromise? Work with what you’ve got. Bloom where you live. Know thyself. I get it already!) With the last rainfall over four months ago, arid zone 10 can sometimes turn planning for flowering herbaceous plants in August into a dogged military campaign, but planning for gorgeous leaves is a walk in the park.

Arundo donax ‘Golden Chain,’ Phormium ‘Alison Black,’ Aralia cordata ‘Sun King.’

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