Senecio glastifolius

I posted this photo Mitch took back in April 2010 under the title “Unidentified Giant Composite.”


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Garden designer Kelly Kilpatrick (Floradora Garden Design) helpfully provided its true name.
Annie’s Annuals & Perennials has been an off-and-on source for this giant South African daisy rarely offered elsewhere in the trade.

San Francisco Botanical Garden discusses this daisy’s provenance:

“At the tip of South Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, lies the floral kingdom of the Cape Province, a tiny area of land with a dazzling assortment of endemic plants (plants found nowhere else), twice as many as are found in California! The Cape’s Mediterranean climate, mild and wet winters, dry and hot summers, helps promote this marvelous diversity, together with the Province’s isolated position at the end of the continent.

Senecio glastifolius grows in a narrow stretch along the south coast, and also appears in the fynbos, areas of evergreen shrubs of varying sizes and varieties in company with proteas, heather and restios. It is a tall, semi-woody perennial with a single layer of brilliant lavender petaled ray florets surrounding a central disk of golden florets. Its leaves are lance-shaped and coarsely toothed. It grows densely to three feet or higher. In Afrikaans, it is called, “Waterdissel” (water thistle) for its water-loving habits and thistly leaves.”

Usually a display of daisies this tall and wide comes only in fall, from other members in the asteraceae family, like the New England asters. {I won’t mention any species names because they will have changed again by the time I post this.) So a sight like this in April is quite extraordinary. Plus, I like the fact that those of us in zone 9 and 10 have a big daisy to call our own. SF Botanical Garden does reference the unwanted spread of this daisy in Australia and New Zealand “if it finds water.” So just in case, I’d be careful about planting it where it might spread into native plant communities. But if you are one of the lucky ones with a garden of a size to accommodate a shrubby daisy big enough to hide a Buick, Annie’s Annuals & Perennials is offering it right now.
I’d love to try it in one of my stock tanks and pinch it back mercilessly.


Pandemonium Aviaries

Photographer MB Maher sent in some photos from a visit he paid to an exotic bird sanctuary in Northern California called Pandemonium Aviaries, which hosted a fund-raising Birdhouse Design Contest on May 6, 2012, and he described the owner’s zeal on behalf of the birds as worthy of a Werner Herzog documentary. Mitch also told me that Pandemonium Aviaries won the San Francisco Garden Show’s raffle* of the Savannah! exhibit created by John Greenlee for the recent 2012 garden show, with the grasses from the exhibit now in the process of being installed at the aviaries.


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Continue reading

things to do in the Bay Area after a garden show

or any other preposition that fits your schedule — before the show, between visits to the show.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until the next garden show in 2013 for a visit.

Building REsources, discussed before here and here, with its ever-changing selections of kaleidoscopic, polished glass mulch and salvage of infinite variety.


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Big Daddy’s new store in San Francisco, a visit to the Los Angeles store discussed here.

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Flora Grubb Gardens, discusssed here.
The last time I visited was around Valentine’s Day 2012, and the store was a mesmerizing tableau vivant of happy, busy people making themselves and their loved ones things like this. Glass, tillandsias, moss, lichens. (Magic.)

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UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, discussed here. Aloe castanea in bloom in February 2012.


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Cornerstone Sonoma. Over the Golden Gate Bridge and north into Sonoma County you’ll find this outdoor collection of shops, salvage, statuary, with gardens designed by Topher Delaney, Roger Raiche, Suzanne Biaggi.

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Annie’s Annuals & Perennials. So many of the plants I grow are from Annie Hayes, written about here, for example. For this recent, brief visit to the Bay Area, I had time for only one side trip. It had to be to Annie’s nursery.

Homoglad hybrids (Gladiolus tristis X Homoglossum watsonium)
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Annie’s geum selection…sigh. Some of the species are surviving, if not exactly flourishing, in my Los Angeles garden.
Geums are not dry garden candidates.

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Senecio glastifolius, written about here.

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Some of my favorite plants from Annie’s are the Mediterranean subshrubs like sideritis, whose ghostly white, subtle beauty is hard to capture in a photograph but is devastatingly gorgeous in a garden.

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Euphorbia characias and Eupatorium sordidum.

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Also, The Dry Garden in Berkeley, discussed here.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Restoration Hardware’s flagship store is a huge space upon which the RH fantasy is writ large. Nice little formal outdoor courtyard too.

Consider also a 25-mile side trip to the legendary Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, discussed here.

And in this horticultural mecca, that’s just for starters.