Tag Archives: Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’

Bloom Day May 2017 (and assorted garden projects)

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Photo taken last night, when I still hoped I could squeak this post in under the Bloom Day deadline, the 15th of every month, and be righteously on time, but it was not to be. Flash of red is from the ladybird poppies, P. commutatum, mostly over but left in situ for reseeding.

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Never loads of flowers but always plenty of rosettes.

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Still, if you look closely, the plants are procreating. Like the little echeverias that began to bloom while I was away.

Continue reading Bloom Day May 2017 (and assorted garden projects)

Wednesday clippings 1/6/16


One storm down, five more or so to go. For the first time in a long while, the air smells incredibly fresh.

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January is always the perfect time for the shocking pink blooms on Pelargonium echinatum to arrive.

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A “Sundiascia” I planted in early December, found at Sunset Boulevard Nursery. I expected it to immediately stop blooming, as most things planted out in December do.
Dating myself now, but I remember in the 1980s traveling eight hours up the coast to Western Hills to check out their new diascias, euphorbias, salvias, anything and everything.
And doing that at least twice a year. And now diascia hybrids are sold everywhere in the bedding sections of nurseries.
(Speaking of Western Hills, they are beginning garden docent training January 28th. It is a six-week training on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Call (707) 872-5463 or email Stacie at stacie@westernhillsgarden.com to sign up
.)

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Rainy day Agave ‘Blue Glow’

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First blooms on Acacia podalyrifolia. With the air sweetened by rain and now this fragrant acacia in bloom, the front garden is a little slice of heaven.
After it’s finished blooming, it will be cut back hard. Lots of complaints about its encroachment on the driveway.

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Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ enjoying a good soaking.

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Linking up with Flutter & Hum’s icy Wednesday vignette.

sunday clippings 7/6/14

I think the conversation left off with brillantaisia, the salvia look-alike I stumbled upon at the local city college. Except it’s not really a salvia but a member of the acanthaceae family. I did go back for photos and also had an odd encounter with a woman on a bike, who pedaled up to me and matter-of-factly imparted an account while I snapped photos about three youths who were chasing her, trying to steal her bike. Concerned and alarmed, I turned fully toward her and away from the gaping flowers of brillantaisia, whose tall stems were blowing in the twilight sky at my back, and anxiously scanned the campus, which was empty except for me, the woman calmly straddling the bike, and Marty & Ein waiting a small distance away in his VW bus. Did she live close by? Yes. Could we load her and the bike in the bus and take her home? No. Did she need an escort home? No. Confused by her flat demeanor, which didn’t square at all with the account of attempted theft, I repeated the questions again, trying a different order, but she declined all offers of help, never letting up that steady, slightly unnerving gaze she had first fixed on me. I studied her face, too, and could gather about as much information from her inscrutable expression as I could from the brillantaisia, which somehow came to be growing on this chain-link fence behind me and this mysterious woman on the bike. The woman and what she really wanted from me will forever remain a mystery, but it was easy enough to find out some information on the Giant Salvia:

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Brillantaisia subulugurica (or possibly b. ulugurica) on a chain-link fence at Long Beach City College.

From the Flora of Zimbabwe:

Soft-wooded aromatic shrub or even rarely a small tree, up to 5 m tall. Leaves opposite, more or less broadly ovate, sometimes purple-tinged, 10-40 cm long, often cordate at the base but lamina running back down into a winged petiole; margin coarsely toothed with small and large teeth. Flowers in a more or less open, branched purplish inflorescence, 10-40 cm long. Corolla pale to bright blue, mauve, violet or purple, 2 lipped; upper lip 25-52 mm long, covered with purplish glandular hairs; lower lip 17-40 mm long, 3-lobed. Capsule 25-45 mm long, glandular-hairy. Worldwide distribution: Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe.”

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Cuttings have already rooted, and I’ll probably trial the plants in large trash bins like these.

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They can be had cheap from the big box stores to hold big shrubby stuff like Salvia ‘Amistad.’
It dawned on me just a few weeks ago that I had no salvias for the hummingbirds this fall, and these large pails were perfect for a last-minute course correction.

Everyone has probably seen these articles shared on Facebook by the time I mention them the old-fashioned way on a blog, but it’s always worth linking to anything Michael Tortorello writes. His recent piece for The New York Times, Botany’s New Boys, held a particular interest because I keep bumping into these young botany boys at the community garden. Last week one of them regaled me with his enthusiasm for fungi and visions of cash-crop success with shitaki mushrooms grown in a month’s time. Where will he get the spores? I asked.
You guessed it, a TED talk is the answer: Paul Stamet’s “6 ways mushrooms can save the world.” (Transcript here.)
I always fantasize about airbnb’ing our house when the TED talks roll into town about a mile away every spring.

Even with the recent news that Facebook has conducted covert psychology experiments on unwitting subscribers, it seems foolish not to get on board when there’s such a wealth of garden-related stuff being shared. I was introduced to Carolyn Mullet’s page when she asked permission to use a few photos, and found she has a knack for sourcing gardens that I never see via other sites like Pinterest.

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Carolyn asks on her Facebook page how are California gardens faring in this miserable drought. Lots of choices among tough aromatic herbs and small shrubs, succulents, grasses.

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Sometimes being in a tight spot can inspire new ideas. This mother of a drought makes invention a necessity.

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I’ve been half-heartedly (six months now) cleaning up my FB account and streamlining it more for garden-related stuff. Maybe I’ll finish that project one day, and then I’ll link stuff like this:
“Sowing a Garden One Knit Flower at a Time,” Smithsonian article on artist Tatyana Yanishevsky

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What’s sowing and growing in my garden is Mina lobata, the Spanish flag vine. I love it when treasures like this self-seed.

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From the recent CSSA sale, Aloe cameronii has found a home.
Confined mostly to the front garden and containers, succulents are increasingly sneaking into the back garden, which means it’s slowly developing into a drier garden too.

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Also from the sale, variegated Agave x leopoldii will cool his heels in a container for a while. Tag says “choice hybrid of A. schidigera?”

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Lots of those containers find their way under the flea market display pipe stand, which I still can’t bring myself to dismantle.

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There’s always something new and full of potential to fasten to it which would otherwise be forgotten and tucked away in a drawer.
I think I’m allowing this indulgence because, otherwise, we’ve really been clearing stuff out. Really.

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Some of those containers have been migrating to the east patio, which is more dappled sun.

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I clocked our “June gloom” lasting until 2 p.m. last week. But June has unfortunately been well-trained not to spread that lovely grey morning quilt into July.
In July it simply disappears, and like a switch has been flipped, those 70 days become 90 days.

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For those 90-degree days, the golden-leaved tansy ‘Isla Gold.’

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So good with the melianthus.

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The Miscanthus ‘Cabaret’ in the metal tank loves the 90 days too, which have pushed it to the top of the pergola.


I’ll be clearing my desk to get away to Portland for the garden blogger meetup later in the week, so there may not be any more non-stories about women on bikes and whatnot until I move this mountain of work out of the way. But I’ll be needing occasional distractions, so please keep documenting July in your gardens and I promise to do the same as soon as I can.

so cold that plants are turning purple

The cold weather is coaxing some fine seasonal coloration out of plants, especially those whose names hint to a destiny with the color purple anyway.


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Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’

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deeply plummy mid ribs on the leaves of Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’

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Yucca aloifolia ‘Purpurea’

I hope your gardens are faring as well as possible in this seriously cold December, and that you’ve protected and saved from the freeze that’s blasted North America’s west coast what you could and/or become resigned to bouts of intense plant shopping in spring. In the meantime, there will always be catalogues to browse in winter, like England’s Crug Farm Plants. Though they’re mostly untried (and unavailable) in Southern California, I’m thinking hardy scheffleras like S. alpina and macrophylla might be just the thing for containers kept on the moist side next summer.

tuesday clippings 3/26/13

Nothing too thematic, just some odds and ends.

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To prove I left the plant sale tables briefly and did a lap in the show room at the recent Orange County CSSA show, here’s a Dyckia ‘Brittle Star’ hybrid that won an award. My own big clump of dyckia is starting to throw up bloom stalks, which the snails munch like asparagus spears. The slimy gourmands ate every bloom last year, and they’re on their way to doing it again this year. Some of that biodegradable snail bait was dispensed this morning, possibly too little too late.

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In the back garden, between the poppies and the anthemis, there’s scarcely any bare soil showing and it’s not even April.
I’ve started thinning out the poppies more aggressively. Diascia personata is the not-yet-blooming swathe of green behind the Agave americana var. striata in the tall green pot.

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Starting to bloom this week, though the event could easily pass unnoticed, is the Australian mintbush, Prostranthera ovalifolia ‘Variegata,’ a shimmering, aromatic shrub of medium size. I’m keeping it pruned to approximately 4 X 4 feet. Tiny, luminous, evergreen leaves, a loose, open form with contrasting dark stems. Tolerates dry but can handle regular garden irrigation. Not a specimen plant, its attractions are subtle. It brings pattern and light, not weight, to the garden. Some might find it a little nondescript. I wish I had room for more than one. In bloom its branches become studded with tiny lilac-colored bells. Not very long-lived, this is a shrub I replant over and over.

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Leaving subtle behind, I’m so excited to see some blooms on the Canary Island Foxglove, Isoplexis canariensis. These shrubby foxglove relatives may save me the trouble of throwing more money at trialing more of the rusty-colored digitalis species like ferruginea and trojana, which have yet to make it through winter. They just melt away, leaving me scratching the soil where they were planted searching for signs of life.
Not enough rainfall maybe.

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Another look at the isoplexis, a big sturdy plant. Nothing seems to bother it, knock wood.

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Geranium maderense ‘Alba’ opened some of its pure, laundry white blooms this morning.

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The back garden viewing gallery, the bricks freshly cleaned and weeded by Marty.
I think he’s got the attention to detail necessary to win prizes at plant shows. Good thing one of us does.
I insisted he leave a few poppies that had self-sown into the bricks.
I used to keep a small table here too, until I planted that Eryngium padanifolium too close. But what a stunning plant it is.

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Around the corner on the east side of the house, the pittosporum is turning into quite the tillandsia outpost.
A neighbor brought over a basketful last week. I love it when neighbors have your number.

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The battle of the compound leaves, melianthus vs. tetrapanax. The purple wash on the melianthus’ leaves is about as strong as it gets. I think it recedes a bit in summer. What an amazingly beautiful compact selection ‘Purple Haze’ is. Fantastic improvement on the species for small gardens.


Foliage Follow-Up September 2011

I just noticed today that seedpods had formed on the little manihot tree. M. grahamii is hardier (zone 7b-10) than M. esculenta, which is grown for its starchy, edible tubers, with a possible future in biofuel.

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The Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ is gaining size, but hopefully not too much. I want to believe its reputation for relative compactness. As luck would have it, the only available spot for this honeybush was adjacent to the golden-leaved plumbago, and the two play very well together. I’m sure I bought the plumbago under the cultivar name ‘My Love.’ (Or was it ‘Palmgold’?) In any case, I’ve incorrectly identified it on the blog as Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, when it is in fact Ceratostigma willmottianum.

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Grevillea ‘Superb’ was cut back fairly hard midsummer to keep its sprawl off a sideritis. It seems to be responding to this coaching with more cooperative, upright growth.

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Canna ‘Intrigue.’ Slatey grey/eggplant purple tones against the redder leaves of Euphorbia cotinifolia tree in the background.

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It’s good to see the trailing Crassula sarmentosa stretching out again and blooming in the cooler fall temps.

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Pelargonium ‘Splendide’ is just about bloomed about, but its leaves are…well, simply splendid, in and of themselves.

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Pam at Digging hosts the Foliage Follow-Up the 16th of every month, the day after the hortgasm that is Bloom Day. Grab your camera and document the extraordinary beauty in leaves.

Journal July 6, 2011

The garden saw some frenetic activity over the long holiday weekend. Over the long, extremely hot holiday weekend.
Not since Nixon has a face dripped such copious amounts of sweat. Under these sticky, squalid conditions, one reverts to a feral state of being and savagely pushes on until the next cleansing shower rinse, emerging cooled and civilized once again, ready to attend holiday soirees. (For about five minutes.) Checking a weather map indicates that a good portion of the U.S. was taking frequent showers too this past weekend. I don’t know how plants manage to keep looking so cool.

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The big ‘Hawkshead’ fuchsia had to go. A Dan Hinkley introduction for Monrovia, a selection of the shrubby Fuchsia magellanica, it has proven to be nonresistant to the fuchsia mite and was getting the typical leaf deformation. Flowering doesn’t seem to be affected. I’d highly recommend this fuchsia to any mite-free fuchsia gardens.

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The 8-foot Coprosma ‘Beatson’s Gold,’ I decided Saturday, also had to go. My love for this shrub was blinding me to how big and out of scale to the rest of the garden it had grown despite increasingly frequent pruning interventions. Arguments against removal included evergreen “winter interest” and as a support for the winter-blooming Clematis cirrhosa ‘Wisley Cream.’ To hell with winter interest. Time to realize this idea has grown stale, that waiting for the clematis to decide to bloom has become a tiresome winter ritual of disappointment, i.e., in spite of rampant growth, it’s never bloomed and has decided its sole purpose in life is to thwart my desire for its mid-winter blooms. A ‘New Zealand Purple’ castor bean plant was also removed. Taking out that beauty really hurt, but what’s the point of throwing kniphofias into the mix if there’s no room for them to grow and bloom? A seedling from this ricinus thrives elsewhere in the garden.

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For a brief moment the entire area vacated by the coprosma and ricinus was simply left mulched, the bone-dry soil watered in, and I contemplated its serene emptiness, leaning toward resting the soil until fall. When I snapped to from this novel and unfamiliar state of being, a Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ was being hauled out from elsewhere in the garden and planted to replace the coprosma, which has already been turned to mulch, and shade rigging erected over the honeybush. The melianthus can stay if it grows no taller than 6 feet. Loree’s (Danger Garden) generous gift of variegated London’s Pride, Saxifraga umbrosa, was moved here too.

Potted agaves were depupped, pots shuffled and reshuffled, begonias seared by afternoon sun dug up and moved to shade.
Tables and chairs were moved into the shade. Under the punishing sun, everything with means of locomotion moved to the shade.
But amidst all the demolition, the mud, the blood, and the beer, summer still works its magic.

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A forgotten verbascum, started from seed in 2009, pushed up its candelabra of buds about to bloom. Eucomis are blooming.

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After the jump, I’ve updated the garden journal of February, mainly for my own record-keeping purposes.

Continue reading Journal July 6, 2011

Journal February 1, 2011

February is about the time of year when the little reminder notes really start to pile up, when sending a barrage of e-mails to myself seems an inefficient system compared to the search capabilities on my blog, a feature I use constantly. So just a warning that any future posts labeled “Journal” will most likely be scattershot to-do lists, seed orders, and garden musings of a very narrow range, applicable to my little zone 10 garden. Planting ideas I’m working out, etc. Of course, any and all input is more than welcome.

Ready, Evie?

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1. Ongoing investigation, no verdict yet, on pairing cannas with the big, winter-blooming salvias, like S. iodantha, wagneriana. The idea is cannas for summer, cut back in fall, when the salvias will take over for late winter/spring. Water, compost, and light needs similar. Looks like S. iodantha just might bloom in February before the Bengal Tiger canna takes off, fingers crossed. It’d be better if these two were further apart, something to consider if the salvia doesn’t bloom. (First salvia bloom noted 2/5/11.)

2. Keep an eye on interplanting kangaroo paws with sedums, grasses, and slim, tap-rooted eryngiums. Not sure if anigozanthos wants to get this chummy. Moved a couple Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’ from too much shade to this sunny spot this morning. Interplanted small cuttings of tansy ‘Isla Gold.’ No more plants here.

2a. Remove some bricks and pavers under pergola for more planting space?

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3. Planted Gloriosa rothschildiana at base of grapevine yesterday. Grapevine may be too vigorous. Watch for snails.

4. Dicentra scandens climbing up fatshedera — flowers too subtle for impact here?

5. Water garden research. Would still like to corral summer tropicals in one tank. Get to Echo Park for lotus bloom this year/onion soup at Taix. (‘Michael O’Brien, landscape architect and certified arborist, says that the lotus of Echo Park Lake are not the same as the Egyptian plants and are not water lilies. “Nelumbo nucifera,” he says, “is native to South Asia to Australia and is grown in tropical climates around the world.”)

6. Bulbs from McClure & Zimmerman:
Iris versicolor var. Gerald Darby (thank you, Nan/Hayefield!) Maybe for the water garden?
Gloriosa lily ‘Wine & Red’
Tropaelum tuberosum ‘Ken Aslet’

7. Still need seeds for Ammi visagna. J. L. HUDSON carries it and Atriplex Magenta Magic and Purple Savoyed.
(Ebay has sellers for both too). No self-sown orach coming up yet.
Also need seeds for Celosia argentea. Why does one source never carry all desired seeds?

8. More agapanthus research, maybe ‘Graskop’?

9. Start seeds of Mina lobata. Will it really climb through Verbena bonariensis here and not just for the magicians at Great Dixter?
9a. Geranium harveyi under tetrapanax? — something needed under rice plant’s skirts.

10. Watch germination of Crambe maritima sown 1/30/11.

11. Planted Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ yesterday deep in the back of the border among the cannas and grasses. Selection of Roger Raiche/Planet Horticulture, the leaves do have a lavender wash to them. Said to be more compact than the species, lower growing.

12. Clean/rake out feather grass in parkway.

13. Both Cotinus coggyria and ‘Grace’ already leafing out. Scilla peruviana under ‘Grace’ in bud by early March last year.

14. Zillions and zillions of Helleborus argutifolius seedlings coming up and not a bit of room left for another plant. In old age, make a garden of this hellebore for winter, agaves/aloes, perovskia and grasses for summer.

15. Dormant tropicals showing growth, tipped pots up and watered lightly yesterday.

16. Tulips almost here!

17. Interplant Aster divaricatus with Scilla peruviana (added 2/5/11)

18. Interplant Allium cernuum with golden carex (added 2/5/11)

19. Belamcanda or Blackberry lily (Growing With Plants 2/5/11)

20. Alliums and wood aster available from Barry Glick/Sunshine Farm & Gardens (ordered 2/12/11)

21. Iris x robusta ‘Dark Aura’ (Plant Delights/Iris City Gardens) – similar to ‘Gerald Darby.’ Best of the xrobustas with dark leaves.

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Laughter in the Distance

Not a title to a pulpy romance novel but a snippet of Hinkley’s hilarious prose from his infamous Heronswood nursery catalogues. (The nursery was opened in 1987, bought by Burpee in 2000 and closed by them in 2006.) The catalogues unfortunately haven’t survived office purges, but the context I remember for the quote is that he’s awaiting dinner party guests at Heronswood, working frantically in the garden around twilight, when he hears guests arrive. As the sounds of laughter and tinkling glasses begin to waft over the garden, he becomes morosely suspended in that moment before he leaves the garden and joins the guests. He lingers at his garden tasks, brooding over the distant merriment, and stuck in that moment as pure but isolated observer he writes, “I hate the sound of laughter in the distance.” I could be entirely wrong about the context, of course. But that was the magic of Hinkley’s writing, how it transported one to states of being and places beyond plant catalogues.

Hinkley’s talk, “The Dry Lush,” was sponsored by Roger’s Gardens of Orange County, held in the Newport Coast Community Center on 5/28/10. I had heard Hinkley joined forces with Monrovia as a venue for introducing worthy plants discovered on his plant-hunting trips, and I assumed this talk would be highlighting some of these new plant introductions. Not so at all. Most of the plants he spoke of during the hour talk and accompanying slide show were old friends. (The link to Hinkley’s website provides a plant list from a talk he gave under the title “The Dry Lush” in Utah recently, and the plant list for our talk varied slightly but has the same general outline.)

While Heronswood was a thirsty shade garden, Hinkley’s new garden, Windcliff on the Kitsap Peninsula, is an open, sunny 5 acres frequently strafed by roaring winds, which he says keeps the crowns of plants dry. Rainfall is under 40 inches a year. Summer is overcast but not rainy, as many people assume is the case for the Pacific Northwest. There was a mad scramble for pens and paper when he stated that upon arrival at Windcliff, weed removal was accomplished by spraying undiluted, distilled vinegar. Temperatures have to exceed 75 degrees for this method to be effective, and applications may have to be repeated, but with diligence vinegar will remove even bermuda grass, and is especially good for graveled areas.

Some gleanings from the talk. The plants he profiled for drought-tolerant plantings are many familiar structural beauties: opuntia, yucca, agave, aloe, nolina, beschorneria. He warmly recommended Aloe striatula for its bloom both in spring and fall. Shrubs discussed included acacia, genista, members of the proteacea. Grevillea victoriae blooms nearly year-round at Windcliff, for which hummingbirds give grateful thanks, nectar being just as sweet whether sipped from native or non-native plants. Ceanothus thrysiflorus var. griseus ‘Kurt Zadnik,’ a rich indigo blue, selected by Roger Raiche and passed from hand to eager hand for years, will soon be introduced by Monrovia. Grasses were difficult at shady Heronswood but are a natural for the new windy site, such as Stipa gigantea.

No one in the U.S. ever mentions the New Zealand daisy bushes, the olearias, so it was gratifying to see them profiled in his talk. Olearia x mollis seems to be Hinkley’s favorite. (Mine repeatedly succumbed to scale.)

Olearia ‘Henry Travers’ from the UK’s Garden Cottage Nursery:

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Readers of his catalogue will remember his enthusiasm for restios, which still get him excited. The huge, frothy Rhodocoma capensis is a giant restio he particularly admires. I can testify to the restios’ many virtues. Thamnochortus insignis puts up with much abuse in the front gravel garden, not only droughty conditions but the effusive summer bloom of a lespedeza, and does it in typical restio style. Nothing fazes them. And if you don’t crowd them and allow them to display their graceful, fountain-like shape year-round, so much the better.

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Hinkley seemed almost abashed to bring up agapanthus in a room crowded with zone 10 gardeners who see them daily in municipal plantings, but he strongly admires their toughness and late summer bloom and has amassed 65 species at Windcliff. I’ve never grown agapanthus myself but admit to recognizing their potential. That shape, for one, like a giant allium. I’ve been keeping an eye out for cultivars and species that do something a little different, and Hinkley has found the drooping petals of A. inapertus particularly exciting. The dark cultivars are more alluring than the familiar washy lilac blues, but I remain uncommitted. Once a plant acquires a civic/municipal identity, it’s difficult to overcome that bias.

Yet this year I’ve selected this reliable roadside grower and moved it from ubiquitous status to prime pot status, Limonium perezii, vigorous waste area colonizer, so why limonium and not agapanthus? Just find the statice more interesting, I suppose, and less thirsty in a pot. So sometimes the mundane does deserve a closer look. But then I daydream about taking the mundane statice and engineering an even wavier, possibly chartreuse leaf and deeper blue flower. The agapanthus I’d want to make more purple and allium-esque, only because the allium is the difficult rarity in my garden. What an exasperatingly conflicted group gardeners can be.

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Hinkley asked, Who grows dierama? My hand stayed clamped at my side. Raising it would surely jinx blooms this year. He then teased the zone 10 audience that there was a plant he grew that we could not, Embothrium. (He may have been referring to Embothrium coccineum, the Chilean Fire Bush, but didn’t give a species.) Moving along to his next plant, Hinkley was interrupted by a hand rising up from the audience, and a possibly slightly petulant voice asked, “Excuse me. Why can’t we grow embothrium?” Too much zone 10 summer, apparently.

I now have Hinkley’s word of honor that Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ will stay a dwarf, saints be praised, to 2 feet for him so at least double that for me. But with the species looming 12 feet and higher, that’s great news. This is a large, cut-back shrub for me, and lately I’ve felt unequal to the task of growing this monster and haven’t done so for a few years. Next year’s plant list grows longer and longer, and it’s still early June.

Naturally, I began a mental inventory of what Heronswood plants remain in my garden. Practically none. Perhaps a single beschorneria. This Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ just waking up in June was probably bought from Plant Delights.

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And then I remembered the perpetual rebuke that comes in the form of Clematis recta ‘Purpurea,’ the selection ‘Lime Close,’ sulking just on the other side of this Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain.’ There is very little to show of the clematis other than a crispy, very green leaf.

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Since I’ve owned it, it’s undergone a name change to ‘Seriously Black.’ Whatever its name, it’s having a very long sulk of, oh, about eight years or so, during which time it was moved at least once, so you figure allow three years to recover from that insult. At this point, I can’t be bothered to care anymore, and it’d be too much trouble to dig out. (Did you hear that, C. recta of the seriously black leaf? I just don’t care!!) I would say it’s obviously not a zone 10 candidate, but many gardeners get good results from clematis in this zone, so my experience is by no means definitive.

Hinkley relayed an anecdote similar to Vita Sackville West’s experience with garden visitors gushing over robust plants: “How lucky you are to have these old walls; you can grow anything against them!” The point being, unless one lives in a tent, we all have walls. Many of Hinkley’s woody lilies are grown protected from excessive wet under eaves, and/or on a south-facing aspect, and visitors will often comment on how fortunate Hinkley is to have this prime southern exposure. (Again, unless one lives in a tent, we all have south-facing exposures, even if they have to be exhumed from under overgrown shrubs.)

The love of plants is transformative, a truism exemplified by a community college teacher from Michigan who became the creator of a world-famous rare plant nursery, then morphed again into plant explorer and lecturer, and it can bring a world seemingly without walls…if occasionally some irksome laughter in the distance.