Tag Archives: Senecio rowleyanus

Bloom Day January 2012

Bloom Day brought the rain back. A solid month of dry weather and blue skies was getting very tedious.
Thank you, Carol! And congratulations on five years of hosting Bloom Days at May Dreams Gardens.

Much of what was blooming in December still holds. The cloud forest salvias from Mexico like S. chiapensis flower well in a zone 10 winter. And there’s a handful of plants of Helleborus argutifolius now in bloom. (The fancy hybrids still scare me. I imagine a very expensive, painfully slow trial period with them, at the end of which I’ll inevitably conclude that they prefer more winter chill than I can give them.)

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Although its leaves aren’t much to look at for the moment, Cotyledon macrantha’s flowers are doing their part to promote Pantone’s color of the year for 2012, Tangerine Tango. The new flowers on a kangaroo paw, Anigozanthos ‘Gold Velvet,’ are brushed in Tangerine Tango too. In fact, orange is old news to this garden.

Sophisticated, dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenalin rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

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January is the month for peering in close at odd and subtle means of pollination, like the flowers on the String of Pearls, Senecio rowleyanus. In June I doubt they’d get a second look. And I’m wondering if the inflorescence on Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’ will consistently arrive this late once the grass settles in after a year or so.

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Begonia luxurians in flower this Bloom Day, just as it was in 2011. Euphorbias are budding up, including E. rigida.

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Centratherum punctatum, Brazilian Buttons, is always willing to bloom in January, usually overwilling. Just one plant was spared and allowed to grow. Some years the brick pathways are overrun by it. Nice, fruity smell to the leaves too.

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The Gerbera ‘Drakensberg Carmine’ hasn’t mushed out or fainted in the heavy, cold soil of December and January but instead seems to be thriving, pushing out more blooms daily. I’m impressed, even though the blooms swivel in several directions like distracted geese.

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Echeveria agavoides with twin antennae bloom spikes, annual linaria in the background.

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And closing out Bloom Day January 2012 with broad bands of lantana and Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ from a local municipal planting.

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Succulent Sunday

The nice man who I gave all my cash to, talking about a miniature agave from Japan he called ‘Shoji.’
(Unlike many of the Japanese A. potatorum hybrids, this one supposedly grows not much bigger than a poker chip.)

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Cleaned out, and I hadn’t been at the show five minutes. His was the first table I stopped by at the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society Plant Show and Sale held this Sunday, June 12, lured in by his variegated sport of Kalanchoe beharensis and this Aeonium smithii.

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I couldn’t leave Kalanchoe synsepala on his table either.

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Like Vegas, you have to develop a plan to stretch whatever resources you came with for the duration. But I don’t see how this is possible at plant shows.
There’s just too many fascinating, smooth-talking characters with backyard hybridization stories to part you from your money, like a John Laroche behind every plant sale table, right out of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. And by that reference, I’m not implying any chicanery, just lifelong, obsessional love for plants.

I was later tempted by a small $7 Agave ‘Creme Brulee,’ but did no further shopping and just basked in the show atmosphere.

Unnamed bromeliad hybrids in bloom.

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Though I did harass at least three people to find the correct name of this bromeliad, which was mislabeled on the show table. None were for sale.
It was difficult to get a clear photo without moving other show plants. And at a plant show, you do not touch the plants.

Billbergia sanderiana is officially on the Future Plant Purchases list.
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And since I was up in the Valley anyway for the show, I checked out the succulent and cactus nursery California Nursery Specialists a few minutes away in Reseda. They are commercial growers open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. The experience was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

Endless vistas of Echeveria subrigida

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Narrow walkways, hanging pots overhead. Dark red leaves are Crassula marginalis with string of pearls, Senecio rowleyanus.

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And nursery houses after nursery house, each suffocatingly hot, although outside temps were mild, in the 70’s.

The heat, the shapes, the colors. (There was a table loaded with the ‘Pink Butterflies’ kalanchoe I blogged about yesterday.)

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I bought a couple Echeveria ‘Metallica’ and a small Agave angustifolia ‘Marginata.’ Reasonable prices, overwhelming selection.

Succulents In Your Face

Now that their former stigma as strictly hobbyists’ plants has been exploded by proselytizers like Thomas Hobbs and Debra Lee Baldwin, the moment for succulents is undeniably now. If tulips and bulbs are the lipsticks of the garden, succulents are the jewelry. Kitschy containers, modernist minimalism, lush landscapes, succulents can do it all. And though I don’t know from personal experience, I presume some must be fairly easy to winter over in frosty climates, at least size-wise.

It’s way too easy to become a devotee of these drought-adaptive plants. Easy to become smitten with echeverias.

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And then there’s the endless iterations of graptoverias, graptosedums, graptopetalums.

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Personally, I’ve been a little unhinged by crassulas lately. And let’s not even get started on aeoniums. I think eye level is a great vantage point to fully appreciate the many complex colorings and shapes, and apparently so do a lot of other people, judging by the continuing momentum of living walls. Another benefit of keeping succulents airborne is the distance it imposes between these plants and their earth-bound enemies, snails and slugs. (They’re not called succulent for nothing.) My little experiments have to do with what matrix will hold them aloft and contain the soil, with gravity continually trying to assert its rights. Obviously, far greater minds than mine are figuring this out with scientific precision for green walls that do the important work of carbon sequestration, water runoff absorption, and cooling of buildings, but I’m talking using stuff lying around at home for small-scale experiments.

Coir, coconut fiber used as hanging basket liners, was an early experiment that still holds together but is really difficult to wet.
These plants are tough and can tolerate a lax watering regimen, but they do need watering to stay plump, and the coir just seems to wick water away from the roots. I’ve been tempted many times to dismantle this one, but the growth has become extremely tight. When knocked to the ground by high winds recently, it bounced like a beach ball. The dripping beads are Senecio rowleyanus.

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Hollow concrete chimney flues unearthed from the fireplace, planted back in January with Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina,’ recyclable shopping bags used to hold the soil. Holding up surprisingly well with just an occasional absented-minded spritz of the hose.

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I think these are car jack stands. I found them stacked in the garage. I’m sure nobody will miss them.

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The succulent above, which has a thyme or sedum-like quailty, was labeled Crassula expansa, but don’t quote me. Online searches don’t corroborate this name.
I used old window screens to hold the soil for this one. So far it’s been easy to keep moist.

I love taking succulents to the next level. Eye level.

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June 2010 Bloom Day

A 2-year-old mossed basket with sedums, agave, and oregano ‘Kent Beauty.’ I was surprised to see the oregano return this year. Life in a mossed basket can be rough.

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The urns of arctoctis. Hopefully, the next time I replant the urns will be the day after Thanksgiving, to fill them with tulips. July is not too early to get a tulip order in for the best bulbs!

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Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ and Libertia peregrinans. This libertia actually is in bloom, tiny and white, but it’s the tawny leaves I’m after.

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Crocosmia just budding up, different kinds of forgotten names. Running in ribbons throughout, not in big clumps. I’m always amazed they find their way up and through at all in June.

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Continue reading June 2010 Bloom Day