Tag Archives: Sedum nussbaumerianum

Bloom Day February 2015

Bloom Day — you know the drill.
(And if you don’t and somehow stumbled here unwittingly, just calm down and see May Dreams Gardens for some helpful background by Carol.)

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I bought this Banksia ericifolia from a newish nursery in Hollywood several months ago with one bloom already fully open and several promising if smallish buds.
I ain’t superstitious, but taking photos of rare, newly acquired plants in bloom just seems an invitation for a jinx on their health and longevity.
So I’ve waited a few months before posting photos of these stunning bronze candles that seem made of chenille.

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I bumped into the nursery while in search of some craigslist planters and failed to record its name, but it’s fairly close to Sunset Boulevard and Gardner.
I should be able to find it again, since those are my old stomping grounds. I used to live basically on top of the intersection of Sunset and Gardner, about a half block away.
(The best way to get into Hollywood? Follow Bette Davis’ advice, “Take Fountain!” A little local, show-biz humor…)
The banksia is in a large wooden container that is in the semi-rapid process of falling apart, so it will have to be moved at some point. Gulp…beauty in peril!

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Old faithful, Pelargonium echinatum. Scalloped and felty grey-green leaves with firework bursts of flowers suspended mid-air.
Looks a lot like the cultivar ‘Miss Stapleton’ which is a suspected cross of two species. Summer dormant.

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The related Erodium pelargoniflorum, a spring annual here, isn’t reseeding as extravagantly in the drought, which is fine with me.

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The unnamed aloe along the driveway is looking more and more like Aloe ‘Moonglow’ — which I recently bought again for the back garden, label intact.
There was more peachy color to it in previous years, when it wasn’t smothered under the Acacia podalyrifolia.
I limbed up the offending acacia last week and promise to try harder for a less blurry photo next time.

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Abutilon venosum, found at Tropico in West Hollywood, crazy in bloom this February

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Veltheimia bracteata, a South African summer-dormant bulb. Really the easiest thing to grow, if a bit slow to bulk up and get going.
The emergence of the leaves in fall are a reminder to start watering again.

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The flower today, a bit more filled out.

I find some of the summer-dormant stuff easier to deal with in containers, which is where the veltheimia has been growing for over five years.
Unless I failed to record an earlier bloom, this would be its first year to flower.

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Aloe ‘Always Red.’ Seeing its first bloom, I did a photo search to double-check possible mislabeling. You call that red?
Yes, apparently they do. Supposedly a ferociously long-blooming aloe.

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Sometimes a succulent’s flowers can be an annoyance (hello, Senecio mandraliscae), but not with Sedum nussbaumerianum, which are nice complement to the overall plant.

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Only one plant was allowed to mature this spring from the hundreds of self-sown Nicotiana ‘Ondra’s Brown Mix’

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Ah, those fleeting moments when everything is in balance, before one thing outgrows its spot and stifles another. Balance usually lasts about six months in my garden.

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Still waiting for the deep red color to form on the leaves of Aloe cameronii. A continued regimen of full sun, dryish soil should do the trick.

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A species canna from Tropico in West Hollywood

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Buds forming on Leucadendron ‘Safari Goldstrike’

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The ‘Little Jean’ kangaroo paws again, with phlomis, cistus, and euphorbias, self-sown poppies filling in. Maybe there’ll be poppies for March.

driveby agave garden details

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Some details from Jud’s garden.
It was this beet red crassula and Coppertone Stonecrop (Sedum nussbaumerianum) that first drew my attention to this bit of detailed planting.
The crassula looks like C. pubescens ssp. radicans.

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The longer I looked, the more apparent the garden maker’s intentions became. A golden barrel cactus picks up the gleam of the Coppertone Stonecrop.
This is also a fine example of how rocks are simultaneously used to create flow through the garden and also to highlight specific plants.

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Playing with texture and color, the garden maker starts a dialogue with the viewer. When you begin to hear it, as if by magic the vignette enlarges, expands, and ripples outward.
Sedum, barrel cactus, and now playing along, I noted the biscuit-colored blooms of the crassula. Nearby are the saw-toothed, lance-shaped bursts of deep green Agave lophantha.

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I trace the lines of another pale-colored cactus arching over the Agave lophantha

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Whose long arms playfully frame shifting views.

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A coral-colored aloe comes into focus.

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Step back, and the details become the whole.

ghosts of gardens past

Cleaning out old photo albums releases lots of ghosts of gardens past. Do I feel guilty and as greedy as Scrooge over all the plants that have come and gone? Not a bit.
I do notice that I’ve become more of a climate realist, following the rainfall patterns, with less emphasis on masses of summer-blooming plants during what is typically our dry season.

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Some of the ghosts are huge and come armed with hooks. The only time I bother to find some gloves and wear them is preparing to do battle with an agave. (That’s a knife in my hand.)
I doubt I’d wrestle with a monster this size again. The only way to release the kraken was to break the pot. Actually, this agave is still alive and kicking, but in my neighbor’s garden.

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The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
— T.S. Eliot was absolutely right.

The garden has lots of kitty ghosts too. Jones, our tabby, as of about a month ago, is no more. Also known as Joseph, aka Professor Joe B. Tiger.
aka Beaner. We think he made it to over 20 years’ old at least. What a cantankerous beast he was.

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More ghosts of plants past, like the beautiful but invasive feather grass, Stipa tenuissima, which has been systematically expunged from the garden.
The cats particularly loved this grass — to sleep on, to hide behind, to play in like their own personal Serengeti.

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The yucca is one of the few plants still around today. With anthemis and the ‘Bill Wallis’ geranium.

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Yucca, coronilla, agastache. I need to find that pig-ear cotyledon again.

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I probably have a tenth of the containers I once kept. Holy mole…

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A dwarf form of Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea,’ the golden-leaved Persicaria amplexicaulis, fuchsias, plectranthus, pelargoniums, etc., etc., all ghosts now.

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At some point things started getting shrubbier and grassier, more structural, but always planting so densely that the intention became buried. Did a love of plants spoil the design? Oh, heavens, yes, absolutely. There will always be other gardens to visit and admire for their strong design. I still need the plants. In the background are two “golfball” pittosporums that were clipped into spheres, a shape that they seemed to outgrow weekly. Clipped structure is such high maintenance. Definitely not for me. The dark-leaved shrubs in the foreground are Lophomyrtus x ralphii ‘Red Dragon.’

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Better view of the golfball pitts. They always stubbornly inclined more to a light bulb shape than spherical.

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The yucca engulfed by Geranium ‘Dragon Heart.’

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The summer I let white valerian take over.

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The tawny, strawberry-blonde tresses of Stipa arundinacea (Anemanthele lessoniana) have been a long-time favorite.
Sedum nussbaumerianum pushes these colors even harder.

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This grass and anything burgundy, like amaranthus or ricinus. Yum.

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Same color as the stipa but now in Libertia peregrinans. What a good year 2011 was for Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain.’

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Alstroemeria ‘The Third Harmonic,’ wonderful in vases, atrocious in the garden. Tall and unsteady, needing sturdy support (high maintenance)

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I can’t even remember the names of some of the many succulents that passed through the garden. This pom pom was rampageous.

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the many adventures in moss

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I miss the scent of the roses almost as much as their flowers. Chromatella’s was deep and complex, with notes of tobacco.

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Some things never change. The garden is as overstuffed as it ever was. 2013 will be remembered as the year the eryngiums bloomed well. Onward to 2014!

succulents make us do the strangest things

I had to laugh when I saw Reuben’s latest project on this post, planting the frame to an old television monitor, which I think is incredibly classy and wish he’d sell to me. (Look at those aeonium knobs!) I completely understand the impulse. Where we differ is, I suspect Reuben starts with the concept first. Most of my projects start with a desperate need to thin out overcrowded plantings.

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The mind and eye wander into the garage, the garden shed, rummaging for something, anything to contain the prodigious amount of offsets these plants produce. I don’t want every pot I own filled with thinnings of Aeonium ‘Kiwi.’ Something with a broad, shallow surface is needed to absorb their numbers — like the base to this old wrought iron table. At first I resisted, because I really wanted to make a functional table of it again, with a usable surface, but the tyranny of the procreating abilities of these plants won the argument. At least I haven’t started planting old boots…yet.

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The table was planted in early summer and was kept in light shade until strong roots formed. Prior to planting, a lot of these thinnings had been dumped into buckets, destined for the compost pile, which had the beneficial effect of drying out the ends to form a callus. Callusing is often recommended and probably the safest practice to prevent the stem from rotting away. But when the planting frenzy started, I also grabbed fresh cuttings from the garden, and these did fine as well.

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In the design equivalent of convergent evolution, the materials and method used were pretty much identical to what Reuben details in his post; stretching and affixing wire mesh hardware cloth, lining it with moss, filling in with potting soil. I moved the table into full sun just yesterday while we’re being graced with an amazing stretch of mild weather in the mid-70s. The sun will bring out the strongest coloring, but I’ll move it back into light shade when high temperatures return. Aeoniums, dark red and ‘Kiwi,’ Echeveria glauca, Sedum nussbaumerianum, Graptopetalum paraguayense. The planting depth is thinnest at the exposed table edges, which should be covered in another couple weeks as the plants enlarge and mature. The mossed screen might be 4 inches at its greatest depth.

Following Reuben’s example, I’m going to try starting with the concept first. Now I’m on the lookout for old tv monitors to accommodate an elaborate staging of the visual pun “Watching grass grow.” But I doubt I’ll have the discipline to see it through and use something as pedestrian as turf. I’d much rather plant it with a bright green screen of sedum. Or maybe I could plant the Indian Head Test Pattern in succulents? (I’m joking…I think.) But the possibilities rival the number of channels on cable. Thanks for pointing the way, Reuben.

the buzz on plants

Got home from work yesterday and was still in the process of dropping all my gear off in the office, when the first person to greet me did so briefly then in quick order uttered those anxiety-making words: “I’ve got to talk to you about a plant.” Usually those words are the bare introduction to an ensuing narration about some human/plant interaction gone awry, in which the plant always ends up the loser. Or a proclamation that such-and-such plant is ruining everyone’s lives for such-and-such reason — in which case the plant always ends up the loser as well.

I braced myself and followed him. He led me to this plant. (Ein is always in on the drama.)


Euphorbia rigida


What a plant! To my eye, nothing gets the cones and rods dancing like chartreuse green and slate blue.


Such an improvement on Euphorbia myrsinites, which snakes along the ground, its stems more often naked than leafed out, flowering sporadically. Euphorbia rigida is always presentable, upright, and most of the year plain stunning. Pam in Austin, Texas, grows it and loves it, as does Loree in Portland, Oregon. Euphorbia rigida has scope (zones 7-11.) It’s one of those sociable plants that plays well with others. See how the orange/russet colors of Sedum nussbaumerianum only intensify the blue/grey. I’ve just noticed some light reseeding of the euphorb this spring.


My first guilty thought was someone had tripped. The walkway has narrowed slightly, I suppose. But everything seemed fine.


No evidence of a human/plant altercation here.


Just lots of bees gorging on the early spring blooms.


Eye witness: “This plant was covered in bees.”
Me: “Yes, I do see lots of bees here. So glad they like this euphorb!”
Eye witness: “No, you don’t understand. I mean, this plant was covered in bees. You couldn’t see the blooms, there were so many bees. I was heading to the garage fridge for some milk when I heard this roaring sound I couldn’t place. I looked down at my feet, and this plant was covered in bees.”

Of course, the phrase covered in bees will forever be linked at our house to Eddie Izzard’s monologue on beekeeping, so I couldn’t tell at first if the eye witness just liked having an opportunity to use the phrase, or if there was truly a midday garden event where a fantastic amount of bees descended on Euphorbia rigida. The eye witness seemed quite moved by what he had seen, so I’m inclined to believe him. And as I write this, it is to the thrumming backdrop of a steady hum emanating from the garden outside my office door. We’ll see if another epic bee event occurs later today involving Euphorbia rigida. With all the bad news on bees lately, it’s nice to find some thriving.

snapshot of August 2012

August is always a truth-telling time in the life of a garden and a good month to take a snapshot of it. The hoses have been deployed this week to deep water the trees and soak the now bone-dry soil. Most irrigating up to this point has focused on containers and new plantings, but the mature plants can’t be ignored any longer. As far as the actual layout, it can be tricky to get lay-of-the-land photos in such close quarters, which is why I rarely perform this photo exercise. But some minor changes are planned for fall, so now’s the only time to make a journal of the garden as it exists this summer.

Agaves and succulents at the back porch are easy on supplemental irrigation

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. First some context and lay-of-the-land descriptions and photos to get oriented for the August snapshot, hopefully not repeating too much from previous posts. There is no lawn or foundation plantings, in the back garden or the front. Though the garden is close to the house because the lot is small, we don’t grow plants up against this wooden bungalow. There’s trouble enough with termites and wood rot as it is. The plantings are mainly on the north and south sides of the house, and to a lesser extent the east side, which is currently getting the gate and hardscape cleaned up and is mainly dominated by a Chinese fringe tree. On the west beyond the garden gate is the business end, the driveway mess of cars, trash cans, tool sheds. The lot size is 5,750 square feet.

These photos are all of the back garden. I always describe photos at the top of the photo, which can get confusing, or so I’ve been told. From the garage and looking east at the back porch and pergola. The pergola attaches to the back of the house and also supports a roof over the back porch. A small “lookout” deck is atop the shed which houses the washer and dryer. Cushions on the lookout are just visible. We do favor a bit of multi-use, Swiss Family Robinson spirit in our projects. Amicia zygomeris in the foreground with Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline,’ a dominant presence in the garden this summer.


From the opposite side, looking roughly southwest. Ladder leads to the lookout.
Canopies of smoke tree ‘Grace’ and Caribbean Copper Plant, Euphorbia cotinifolia, nearly touch by August.

Crithmum maritimum and aeoniums with a potted bay.

The little bath house on the east side of the house, which now doubles as an aviary, potted bay in front.
A parakeet showed up exhausted and hungry in July.
More Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’ at this end too.

The wayward parakeet has been tentatively named “Wingnut. So far, no reports of a missing parakeet in the neighborhood.
Wingnut does have a cage, but the wide-spaced bars give him free range of the bath house.
The fringe tree, Chionanthus retusus, can be seen just under the shade.

The narrow east side is mainly for tables and chairs. And pots too, natch.


Hello, kitty

The iron trough at the east boundary, which is the blue-stained fence. The Verberna bonariensis was neglected and died while I was away and has been replaced with some variegated pampas grass, red-leaved Hibiscus acetosella, and a chocolate salpiglossis from Annie’s Annuals, never an easy annual to grow, for me at least.

Salpiglossis likes rich soil but seems really sensitive to overwatering (and high temps — collapsed 8/13/12)
When I’m feeling brave I grow them, but just a few and only in pots.
Annie’s Annuals carries this dark selection ‘Chocolate Royal.’
Chartreuse background is from one of the three Monterey cypresses planted at the eastern boundary.

Looking to the west under the pergola, with the office door and garage wall visible. The huge burgundy grass blocking a view of the office doorway is again the Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline,’ which just had a much-needed thinning. It badly needs splitting later this fall, at which point a blog give-away may be in order. (Hoov, Dustin, any interest?) Stipa arundinacea in the foreground with a glimpse of tetrapanax.
The pot-bellied pig corgi Ein seems to have found an errant morsel of kitty kibble, an important part of his daily to-do list.


More of the tetrapanax. Just visible is the creeping fig-covered southern boundary wall and glimpse of neighbor’s roof beyond.
The burgundy bromeliad nestled under a tetrapanax leaf seems airborne because it’s part of a mossed basket on a tripod whose legs are buried in that Stipa arundinacea.
A grapevine threads through the top of the pergola.

Again looking west. The agave sits in a tall wrought iron plant stand that was probably made in Tijuana.

Lepismium cruciforme coloring up nicely in the sun.

Looking east under the pergola from a photo taken in June, but it still looks pretty much the same, if a bit fuller.
The kangaroo paws, fresh in the June photo, have been thinned out as they age and topple over.
Plantings in the foreground are just in front of the back porch and along the walkway.

In front of the porch looking west to the garage. Agave ‘Blue Flame.’
Flowers of the kangaroo paws have lost their clean June outline by August.

Behind the anigozanthos can be seen the Australian mintbush, Prostanthera ovalifolia ‘Variegata’

Slim, leaning trunk belongs to the tapioca, Manihot grahamii, in a large pot with Sedum confusum.
The intervals of yearly growth can be seen at the bends and angles to its trunk.
Wonder what happens if I cut it back hard next spring.

So many pots here under the pergola, a few hanging, but I never count.

The variegated grass is new to me this year, Pennisetum ‘Skyrocket,’ shown here with Xanthosoma ‘Lime Zinger’

By August, plantings near the porch are starting to crowd the walkway that runs against the house.

Feather grass, centranthus, Sedum nussbaumeranium, Senecio anteuphorbium.

And this unnamed, Chrysanthemoides incana, a trailing, silvery succulent that spills onto the pavement in fascinating patterns.
A gift from garden designer Dustin Gimbel.

This Cotyledon orbiculata has really gained size this summer and also bulges onto the walkway.
The burgundy flowers of Lotus jacobaeus are threading through the Australian mintbush. Office/garage in background.

Euphorbia rigida is happy here as well.

White Centranthus ruber reseeds along the walkway too. I love the surge of plants at my feet, not to everyone’s taste, I know.

The walkway along the house heading west leads to a gate to the driveway or turns south into the patio in front of the garage/office.

This summer, in the border behind the agave in the beehive pot, grows canna, castor bean, ornamental corn, Helenium puberulum.
(Teucrium hircanicum bloomed here earlier, mostly bloomed out now. Very glad to have made this teucrium’s acquaintance this year. It’s already started to reseed into the brick patio.)

And Lysmachia ephemerum, a couple blooms its first year. Uncertain whether it will thrive here in zone 10. Scabiosa ochroleuca in the background.

Potted agaves on the office patio, house now in the background.

Burnished result from mistreating a potted jade plant.

It can be difficult to distinguish what’s growing in pots and what’s in the ground here, a feature of the garden in August.
Pots are for flexibility in changing things up. There are no hardiness issues with any of these plants.

This aeonium is in the ground. Though it came unnamed, by its furry leaves I’m guessing it’s A. canariense.

Swooping branches are Senecio anteuphorbium. Blue succulent is the Mexican Snowball, Echeveria elegans.

Sonchus and Agave attenuata ‘Kara’s Stripes,’ a pup from the front garden.

The pathway off the office patio ends abruptly now, but used to run east/west through the entire length of the border behind the pergola. I needed the space for more plants, and there’s still a bricked access path against the southern boundary wall to reach the compost bins.
Who needs redundant paths, anyway?

Self-sown Mirabilis jalapa ‘Limelight’ loves August


Looking west at the garage/office wall from deep in the border that curves around behind the pergola, through Persicaria amplexicaulis to the potted agaves on the small brick patio in front of the office. Slim trunk is the Caribbean Copper Plant, Euphorbia cotinifolia, a 15-foot tree here.
On hot summer days, you can hear the crackle of its seeds exploding, a sound I heard quite a bit last week.


Looking east through the persicaria at the trunks of the smoke tree ‘Grace’

As I’ve mentioned many times, this knotweed is an amazingly good perennial for zone 10, which puts it at the top of a very short list. Never complains when the border gets too dry, as it invariably does by July. Reliably returns every spring. The bees are all over it. Doesn’t get knocked down by summer rain because we never get any, which means I’d be able to grow the new Belgium varieties whose spectacularly dark flowers are so full and brushy they are considered fit only for cut flowers — if and when they finally make it to the States.

Looking east from the border behind the pergola and its grapevine.

Still in the border behind the pergola, looking west, sideritis in the foreground. This one may be Sideritis oroteneriffae.
I’m trying out quite a few of these Canary Island shrubs. From Annie’s Annuals & Perennials.
A nearby 6-foot Salvia canariensis and some other stuff was removed late July, and a barked access path was temporarily reinstalled to assist in the removal of the smoke tree ‘Grace.’ Either removal or a severe pruning.

Looking west past a yucca to the enormous girth of Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’

Which completes, more or less, the snapshot of the back garden in August 2012. I know I’ll be glad that I did this sometime in January 2013.

the spell of the present

Though we may occasionally argue about what a garden is, I think we can all agree that what a garden does is cast a “spell of the present.”

I loved this eminently quotable piece from Diane Ackerman a couple days ago in The New York Times entitled “Are We Living in Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?”

The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.”


One solution is to spend a few minutes every day just paying close attention to some facet of nature….for whole moments one may see nothing but the flaky trunk of a paper-birch tree with its papyrus-like bark. Or, indoors, watch how a vase full of tulips, whose genes have traveled eons and silk roads, arch their spumoni-colored ruffles and nod gently by an open window.”


And the killer opening to the last paragraph:

On the periodic table of the heart, somewhere between wonderon and unattainium, lies presence…”


Ms. Ackerman’s book, “A Natural History of the Senses,” sounds like it’s right up my alley.

Wrapping Up the Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012

The Venice Garden & Home Tour is an annual fundraising event, benefiting the children of the Neighborhood Youth Association’s (NYA) Las Doradas Children’s Center in Venice, CA. This self-guided walking tour showcases the unique homes and gardens of the creative Venice Beach community, with original homeowner style as well as the designs of renowned architects and landscapers. The Tour was conceived by Venice landscape designer Jay Griffith and Venice community leaders Linda Lucks and Jan Brilliot. NYA was founded in 1906, and has served thousands of “at risk” children and families in its 106 years.”

The last of the posts on this year’s abbreviated tour, having seen just a handful of the 32 homes and gardens. Maybe it was the food trucks that slowed us down this year, the scent of Korean BBQ and Indian curry wafting through the streets, seducing us to spend at least a full hour for lunch, unlike the forced marches of prior tours. This garden was originally designed by Jay Griffith, redesigned by Russ Cleta, so I’m not sure which designer deserves the award for largest agaves in a small garden setting. (The tour is a little Hollywoodish, after all.) These heroic agaves were such a force to be reckoned with that lemons were stuck on some of the spines near high-traffic areas for the tour.


Continue reading Wrapping Up the Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012

Bloom Day February 2012

February is a very exciting month. So much to take note of, I rarely make it through a hot cup of coffee on a February morning. The anigozanthos is growing in leaps, now almost chin-high. This is ‘Yellow Gem.’


Tulips started to bloom over the past couple days. But tulips don’t impress Evie; birds impress Evie.


Love having the pots of tulips sited next to Sedum nussbaumerianum, now blooming too, with pearly white broccoli florets.


The six-pack of linaria was a solid winter investment. Ditto Pelargonium echinatum for intense pink.
Not as much of a craving for pink in summer as in winter, though.


Red-flower Russelia equisetiformis continues in bloom, though a yellow variety took the winter off.


Lots of other odds and ends in bloom, including aeoniums, euphorbias, salvias, S. macrophylla, chiapensis, karwinskii, wagneriana. This silvery-leaved Lotus jacobaeus from Annie’s Annuals & Perennials continues to impress. Its cascading habit would be seen to great advantage draped over a retaining wall. Here it leans on an aeonium.


For spring bulbs, snowdrops and crocuses, camellias, and who knows what else this warmish winter, check Bloom Day’s host site, Carol’s blog May Dreams Gardens, for a peek at what February brings to gardens all over the world. The new hardiness map should make this Bloom Day interesting, as more gardens are carved off into alphabetical subgroups. Over and out from zone 10b.

Plug & Play

I briefly escaped the desk yesterday and checked out a couple local nurseries. Fall is when some interesting plants start to appear again in Southern California nurseries, for planting in the cooler temps, to be settled in by winter rains. (Fingers crossed, oh, please, please, winter rains, do come!) Surprised the heck out of me to bump into Teucrium hyrcanicum ‘Purple Tails’ locally, a plant I’ve killed once but have been meaning to attempt to get off on a better footing with in the future. This native of Iran is spelled both hircanicum and hyrcanicum. Someone needs to pick a spelling and stick with it.

The teucrium had only been available via mail order previously. The local teucrium were in full growth, filled with bloom spikes. Instant garden gratification. (The fly on the sporobolus bloom is an unwelcome reminder of the abysmal outdoor meal we had a few weeks back, where hordes of his kin flew in past a phalanx of citronella candles. Our guests were not amused. I think it was the lobster that attracted them in such numbers.)


As always, some reshuffling was in order first. A mossed basket of succulents had been moved into the proposed spot for the teucrium just a few days ago. Senecio anteuphorbium was breaking summer dormancy, so I helped it along by soaking the thoroughly dried-out basket in a basin for a day. Then instead of hanging it up again, to be neglected and forgotten as it had been all summer, I plopped the entire basket in the garden outside my office. Wonderful effect. Instant garden gratification. Compound, silvery leaves in the foreground are from the umbellifer Seseli gummiferum. The seedheads to the right are from Patersonia drummondii, which can be seen in bloom last April here.


But now I needed this sunny spot for the teucrium, so the basket was moved again, this time among some Libertia peregrinans, a surprisingly nice match for the yolk-colored Sedum nussbaumerianum.


The tall, naked stems are the summer-dormant Senecio anteuphorbium, showing fresh growth at the tips. I first became acquainted with this senecio as the center bulge growing in a local “living wall,” blogged about in this post. Garden designer Dustin Gimbel made the ID, bless his nomenclature-filled brain. Rosettes are silvery Echeveria elegans, red-edged Echeveria pulidonis, golden Sedum nussbaumeranium, some graptopetalum and creeping sedum.

The moss blends in unobtrusively with the surrounding plants. The basket is a half basket with a flat back to hang against a wall, the sides curving to a point at the bottom, so after excavating a slight depression, it sits upright beautifully. The elevated height will keep the succulents drier than the surrounding plants and really makes their shapes pop. The perfect solution, since I’m sick to death of trying to keep these mossed baskets moist.


More instant garden gratification, the best kind, considering it’s a Tuesday in mid-September.

On the West Coast, Digging Dog Nursery carries Teucrium hyrcanicum.