Monkey Business

The monkey flower planted into the ground has clambered up into the arms of a potted helichrysum.


I like promoting such intimate relationships between the grounded and the potted. The mimulus thrives in the slightly heavy clay of the garden. Pot life would suit it fine as well, but it’d want a lot more water. The Helichrysum petiolare is a dwarf and is getting a bit woody, so may have to be restarted soon from cuttings, but I prefer the dwarf’s light tracery of branches to the engulfing growth of the species. Living in the pot year-round with the helichrysum are some aeoniums and a little manihot tree, unseen in the photo, whose leaves sprout comically at the end of its very slender 4-foot trunk. The manihot is nothing but a stick to look at all winter, so I probably won’t plant it into the garden. But what fantastic shadow play its leaves will make in summer with just a bit more heat to bring on growth. Just a few blooms of the mimulus really livens things up. Later on in the season a red iochroma will be in bloom behind the pot, the big leaves to the left. I really enjoy these small, incremental changes summer brings. In a long growing season, summer doesn’t have to be about masses of blooming annuals, especially not with our current water restrictions.


A photo of the aeoniums and helichrysum taken earlier in January this year shows a much greener aeonium.


The dark red mimulus is probably a hybrid of our native Mimulus aurantiacus.

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2 Responses to Monkey Business

  1. Megan says:

    So many wonderful textures and colors. I love the succulents mixed in the non-succulents. Great pics!

  2. I’m surprised you don’t get enough heat for Manihots, they do great in San Jose (my biggest is about 15′ tall) BUT you’re right, they do melt pretty quick in winter. They’re a great ‘instant tree’ for summer shade though! Love your pictures…

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