Tag Archives: ‘ Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost

Bloom Day November 2016

Daylight Saving Time and the electoral college. I think we can agree that these are two areas worthy of further study.
May Dreams Gardens collects Bloom Day reports the 15th of every month.
My excuse for posting on the 16th? The DST ate my report. I don’t know how you all manage with these shortened days.

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For November we’ll begin with N, for nerines, truly a miracle bulb. I get it that all bulbs are miraculous, but they are not, unlike my nerines, kill-proof.
But go ahead and forget nerines in a dry bowl all summer long (like I do a lot of other plants, come to think of it).

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In the case of nerines, you will be rewarded, not punished. They require that dry summer dormancy. Think of nerines as bulbs that actually encourage bad behavior.

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Okay, nobody gets excited by the drab composite flowers of a senecio, but I do like how the blooms extend the leaf-stacked lines of the stems. And November is not a bad month for a shot of yellow. (Senecio medley-woodi)

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More November yellow from Tagetes lemmonnii, the Copper Canyon Daisy. What a great common name, right out of a John Ford western. Some plants get stuck with unfortunate names like “lungwort.” Maybe I’m weird (ya think?) but I actually like the smell of the leaves.

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Bocconia is sending forth those frothy bloom panicles. Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea,’ the blue wash in the background, is also budded up with bloom. The acacia just underwent an intervention and had some Tanglefoot smeared around its trunk to stop the ants from massing cottony cushiony scale along its branches. As difficult as it is to imagine winners where climate change is concerned, there will be those who come out victorious, and I’m certain they will be bugs. Each one of those cottony, pillowy encrustations on my acacia holds over 600 eggs.

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I’m loving this tawny, oatsy look the garden has taken on in November. ‘Fairy Tails’ pennisetum in the foreground, oatsy-colored bloom trusses of tetrapanax in the background.

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One clump of melinus, the Ruby Grass, is still sending out rich-colored blooms. The other two clumps have only faded stalks. More oatsy theme.

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Once the grevilleas reach blooming size, look out. It’s just another ‘Moonlight’ mile, as far as continuity of blooms. It really does take on a lunar glow around sunrise.

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Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ backed by the claret tones of ‘Hallelujah’ bilbergia. And since Dustin Gimbel burst into Mr. Cohen’s immortal song when he gave me these pups, that’s the gorgeous earworm I’m stuck with in their company. (I have to admit my earworm is sung by Jeff Buckley, though. I can’t help it — that’s where I heard the song first.)

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I don’t think I’ve given a shout-out to Plectranthus neochilus all summer. Ever stinky of leaf, but a sturdy friend to hummingbirds. The stump of the smoke tree ‘Grace,’ that improbably grew branches as thick and far-flung as a sycamore, still lies underneath. A little more decomposition of the stump, and I can dig it up and plant something more exciting. I know the hummers are going to hate me, though.

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And yet another entry in the category “Every Bloom Counts in November,” the little euphorbia that took containers by storm 5 or 6 years ago, now greeted mostly with yawns. Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is perennial here and doesn’t get into much trouble. Nothing eats it and hot, dry summers don’t faze it.

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Another view of it wrapping around the other side of the containers, with another survivor, a climbing kalanchoe. The euphorbia loves that root run between garden and bricks.

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Berkheya’s feeble attempt at a weak-necked bloom this November highlights why it’s equally appreciated for those great, serrated leaves.

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Aloe “Kujo’ is just about spent, but the red-tipped aloe to the left, cameronii, was discovered to have two buds still tucked in close to the leaves this morning. (Woot!) The other aloe to the right is allegedly elgonica. I’ve searched the blog and find no reference to a bloom yet.

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And the little passiflora ‘Flying V’ is still displaying all those fine qualities, unstoppable, indomitable, etc. this November, on the day after Bloom Day.

Bloom Day August 2016

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It must be August, because the Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is billowing. This tender perennial becomes activated by the heat of August.
I pull it out by the handfuls when it gets too rambunctious but always leave a few roots. Any plant that likes this weather deserves a place at the table.
And I like what it’s doing with this potted agave. Remember when this euphorbia was the “it” plant several years ago?
It had a brief moment in the spotlight as a go-to annual for containers. Here it’s colonized the soil where the bricks meet the garden.

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Otherwise, it’s the grasslands of August and not much change since July Bloom Day. Same cast of characters.
Most of what’s in flower are oddball blooms only a bug would love, no real classic garden plants, so I’ll spare you the closeups. (And I got home too late.)
I’ve been cutting back, thinning the gomphrena, cutting Anthemis ‘Susanna Mitchell’ to the base, so more more buttery daisies this summer.
I’ve even cut back the brown eryngium flowers and Rudbeckia maxima seedheads. Everything looks fresh again.
I wanted to get some air circulation going in the jungle and deep water shrubs and stuff to get the garden through August and September and ready for winter-blooming aloes.
At least I hope there’ll be a good show from some youngish aloes this year. And there’ll be room to add the irises, which shipped today.
I think I’m cured of trialing big blue agastaches like ‘Blue Blazes.’ Coarse leaves, not bad from a distance, but not so welcome in a small garden..
Easy, stemmy, swaying bog sage, seen in the background, suits this garden fine and provides a film of blue all summer.

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One of the most startling blues in the garden comes from this Eragrostis elliottii ‘Tallahassee Sunset’ I just planted mid-summer.
Can you tell I’m seriously smitten with grasses lately? Plants’ leaves may age and yellow throughout summer, but grasses always manage to look impeccable.

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Buddleia ‘Cranrazz’ enjoying life in a deep container (trash can)

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All grevilleas are in bloom, this ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Robyn Gordon.’ An ‘Austraflora Fanfare’ bloomed lightly earlier this summer but is still a youngster.
Seen in the background, little aloe hybrids are sending out flares of orange flowers throughout the garden.
That’s the abbreviated Bloom Day report for August. More thorough chronicles can be found at Carol’s site May Dreams Gardens.

Bloom Day August 2015

There’s not much difference between July and August, or even June Bloom Day posts, but I suppose it’s useful to see what has survived, who’s stalwart and who’s a wimp.
And I have been dropping some new stuff into the garden all summer.

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New to me is this Begonia ‘Unstoppable Upright Big Fire.’ Sounds like the title to a U2 album. I was looking local for Begonia boliviensis but it was unavailable.
This UUBF hybrid has dark leaves and large, non-pendulous flowers. I’m not convinced that’s an improvement over boliviensis, which has such an elegant, cascading habit.

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Begonia ‘Unbelievable Lucky Strike,’ another boliviensis hybrid. I guess we’re way beyond the peaches-and-cream kind of names now.

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In light bloom all summer and now having a good bloom flush is Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon,’ an old cultivar dating back to 1968, from Grevillea banksii and G. bipinnatifida.

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Obviously crushing on Agave ‘Blue Flame.’ Me too.

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The potted Abutilon venosum is enjoying dappled morning sun after emergency transport to this more protected spot due to the current protracted heat wave.

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Lotus jacobaeus is a lot tougher than it looks, very long blooming. It seems to prefer container life to the garden.

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Here it rests against an adjacent potted agave.

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Crassula ovata, probably ‘Hummel’s Sunset,’ in a low bowl on a table, where it makes this great draping effect.

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I dropped these Bulbine ‘Athena Compact Orange’ into the garden sometime in July.

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Bog sage, Salvia uliginosa, is never too venturesome in my heavy clay, dryish soil. The rugose, crinkly leaves are always clean from disease or insect damage.
These are mid-summer additions from gallon sizes.

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Crocosmia ‘Solfatare’ is about as shy a spreader as a crocosmia can be. Slow to build into a sizeable clump.

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Not a bloom but Tradescantia ‘Greenlee,’ new this summer. It already seems destined to be one of those plants that knits together beautifully with its neighbors.
Shown here with Plectranthus zuluensis. I have a bloom to show of that.

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Plectranthus zuluensis loves the dappled sun under the tetrapanax.
By July I usually cut back Melianthus ‘Purple Haze,’ in full sun just behind, and the plectranthus does a nice job of filling the gap while the melianthus bulks up again.

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Not a flower but one of my favorite colors in the garden, Euphorbia ammak. It’s almost doubled in size this summer.
Behind the row of pots are two clumps of Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket,’ the mother plants of the other, bigger clumps in the garden.
These are much smaller, having to deal with competing roots from the lemon cypresses.
Everything else in front of the grasses is in containers, including the Leycesteria “Jealousy’ and some taros out of frame at the far end.

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Glaucium grandiflorum is still sending up bloom trusses.

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Eryngium pandanifolium has never attained the height it did the first season in the garden. This one was grown from seed of the original plant from Plant Delights.

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Dark brown nicotiana seeded into a pot of yellow Russelia equisetiformis

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Gomphrena ‘Balboa’ in its first summer here. It lets you know when it’s thirsty so you have to keep an eye on it, but still a fairly tough plant for full sun.

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I’m already a big fan of Peruvian Feather Grass, Stipa ichu, after just one season in the garden. Nicely upright, columnar habit.

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The Bloom Day summer mainstay, Gomphrena ‘Fireworks,’ with Pennisetum ‘Sky Rocket.’ Not surprisingly, this grass grows into a much bigger clump than the two in front of the cypresses.

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The Desert Mallow, Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral, has also won me over in its first summer in the garden.

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A nameless gift aloe.

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Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ always wakes up in the heat of August. I’ve pulled out handfuls but a few roots always remain.

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I’m assuming this is Asarina scandens, a self-sown seedling of the mother plant grown in 2011.

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The furry leaves are always in good shape, and nothing seems to bother it or chew on it. From Mexico.
I’m not in love with the light pink flowers, but it’s healthy and robust, and all that counts heavily in a drought.
Excitement is building as the predictions of a wet El Nino winter look more and more solid. Visit May Dreams Gardens for more August Bloom Day reports.

Bloom Day November 2011

It can’t be November already. But the winter-blooming salvias don’t lie.
Rosebud-like blooms are forming on Salvia wagneriana, and the slender wands of Salvia littae from Oaxaca, Mexico are budding up.
The latter’s tall, lanky growth habit is very reminiscent of Salvia uliginosa, but in pink and without the crinkly, rugose leaves or funky cat-pee smell. I’m checking S. wagneriana’s buds daily, but it seems to take an agonizingly long time for the complex structure of flower, bracts and calyces to elongate and reveal itself. (A watched flower never blooms?)
The third pink salvia is S. chiapensis.


Many of the so-called late-blooming, tender salvias collide with early frosts outside of zones 9 and 10. Here in zone 10, these salvias are not so much late fall-bloomers as early winter-bloomers, when they will bloom from November to March. Of course, a gardener’s perception of the timeliness or tardiness of a plant’s blooms arises out of a narrow range of aesthetic considerations. From a plant’s point of view, it is always exquisitely on time.

Salvia madrensis started bloom late summer and gets continued support from castor bean plants. It needs it.
These winter-blooming salvias are nothing like the herbaceous salvias’ tidy, vertical forms, but huge, sprawling shrubs that need cutting back after bloom, and then even again mid-summer to keep them to a manageable size. I can fit in only a few kinds, or there’d be no room left for a proper summer garden.


Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ continues its intricate weaving act, oblivious that most other summer performers have left the stage.


The Passiflora sanguinolenta is fulfilling its reputation as a dainty (maxing at 10 feet), prolifically blooming passion vine. I didn’t think it was possible, but now I’ve seen ever-blooming proof. Alongside is ‘Bouquet d’Or,’ the lone survivor of a one-time 30-plus collection of old tea roses and noisettes. Spring and fall are the seasons I miss these roses the most.


The Moroccan toadflax, Linaria maroccana, was added the last couple weeks to bloom fall/winter.
Apart from this Hakonechloa macra ‘Emerald Glow,’ very few grasses bloomed this year.
I’ve never grown Japanese forest grass before, assuming it preferred much moister soil than mine, but it did surprisingly OK.


With a rack rivaling Bullwinkle, the inflorescence on the tetrapanax must be 4 feet across, reaching for this aerial basket of succulents and bromeliads, including the trailing Crassula sarmentosa, its starry white flowers now in bloom.


A Thunbergia alata vine planted at the base of the tripod holding the basket of succulents has made its way to the top of the basket. The golden-leaved bromeliad is Aechmea recurvata ‘Aztec Gold,’ the darker green Vriesea gigantea.


Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts the monthly Bloom Days, providing a look at what’s in bloom all over the world.


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.’


Continue reading Foliage Follow-Up August 2011

A Year of Euphorbias

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is capable of an exceptionally long season in zone 10, basically year-round.
And not just spitting out a few blooms, but flourishing.


A cultivar of E. hypericifolia, it is a true perennial here in zone 10. Extremely drought tolerant and handles my heavy clay soil well. In colder zones, it has become a go-to component of summer container schemes, quite an amazing step up for a common U.S. weed known by such names as Black Purslane, Milk Purslane, Eye-Bright. (I can’t imagine how any euphorbia with its irritating sap could earn a moniker like “Eye-Bright.” unless red eyes are considered bright.)

Not much to look at up close, EDF is all about supporting the team. It has never self-sown in my garden. In fact, there is very little information available on starting it from seed. As far as I can tell, unless gardeners in colder zones take cuttings, new plants must be purchased each year (the perfect trademark plant!) Last year I trialed a new cultivar with bronzy leaves, ‘Breathless Blush, a complete nonstarter, in my garden at least.


While EDF froths and foams year-round, Euphorbia rigida is on the typical euphorbia calendar, beginning bloom late winter/early spring in zone 10.


In summer EDF’s growth is more dense, more floriferous,, but the open ground of winter provides enough elbow room for this little euphorbia to cleverly hike itself up amongst these plants to grab its share of winter sunshine. (Amicia zygomeris, phlomis, salvia, and prostrantherum.) I admire plants that show initiative like that.


Euphorbia Love

Euphorbia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Perennial, shrub and tree.

You give a frost-free garden dappled shade and ruby tints high overhead. Euphorbia cotinifolia, about 15 feet, max.
I’ve been entertained by the sound of your ballistically exploding seeds as the temperature reached into the 90’s.


As fresh in August as in spring. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’


Outdoing all other claims on green. Euphorbia mellifera.


Safe to say your reputation is sound enough for some minor quibbling. There’s this small problem with scale you allow to congregate on E. characias. In fact, here in zone 10, E. characias never makes the large shrubs it does in zone 8. E. x martinii does much better, a natural hybrid of E. amygdaloides and E. characias. And I’ve heard E. myrsinites is tough, but apparently not tough enough for the gravel garden, so I’ve abused your good nature in that regard. E. lambii appears to be struggling in the gravel garden as well, yet I know you can pull it off — I’ve seen E. lambii grown xeric at the Huntington cactus garden. More water while you are getting established would be appreciated, wouldn’t it?

Back to your many fine qualities. Your ubiquitous cheeriness in Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost,’ perennial in zone 10, returning amongst the crush of plants I squeeze in around you, always forgetting you were there first.


You never complain but only find ever more ingenious ways to outmaneuver the throng. Like climbing up the grapevine.


And I’ve read you earn your keep just about everywhere you are planted, even if only for one summer. You’re getting quite the reputation for containers too, but it’s straight into the garden for you here.
(You are so good that buying the new, darker-leaved ‘Breathless Blush’ seemed a safe bet. How is it possible to create such a weakling from you?!)


I’ve also read that some of your tribe are considered weedy. (E. dulcis ‘Chameleon,’ you may see yourself in this description. I’ve read about your antics elsewhere, although you despise zone 10.)
None are weedy for me, not even E. characias. Just a few seedlings I’m always grateful to have.

Euphorbia seguieriana ssp. niciciana, Siberian Spurge, has colonized bare spots in the gravel garden but never infiltrates into other plants. But I can’t remember when you last flowered. Have you ever flowered? Definitely not a euphorbia to be let loose in good garden conditions, but I appreciate the lushness you bring to the spiky growers around you.


I know how euphorbias will shine all winter with hellebores and grasses, so I’ve been quietly slipping you in amidst the waning summer party. Euphorbia ‘Silver Swan.’
(Your kin, the ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ was no tiger in my garden.)


Your bracts decorate the garden for ages, stippling patterns amongst leaves like the nubby textures from beads on plain 50’s sweaters.



My love always swells for euphorbia in late summer and winter. Spring and summer too. Nonstop euphorbia love.