favorite plants and an end-of-week nursery browse 5/29/15

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All the new and interesting dry garden shrubs on the smallish side seem to be coming from Annie’s Annuals & Perennials. Gnidia polystacha from South Africa is a light-limbed shrub with needle-like leaves that readily give away its Thymelaeaceae family heritage. It’s new in my garden this year and just building size. To see more fawned-over favorites, plant-luster Loree collects them the last Friday of the month.

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I love having favorite nurseries stashed all over town, available for a quick liaison if I’m in the area. One such regular stop is Lincoln Avenue Nursery in Pasadena, which was in fine form this morning. Their retail plant display chops are crisp and clear, and there’s always new plants to discover, like Tradescantia cerinthoides ‘Greenlee’ aka the Thick-Leaved Wandering Jew (a “compact perennial” 10 inches X 2 feet, full sun/bright shade, hardy 20-25 F, from San Marcos Growers). Those dark, swarthy leaves might suck in light like a foliar black hole unless paired with something bright. The nursery chose a variegated Silene uniflora.

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Coincidentally, this nursery also carries Annie’s Annuals & Perennials stock, and I was able to nab some lime green and orange zinnias to grow for vases in the veg garden. And I found more Emilia javanica, seen above from July 2014. Don’t let this little annual’s delicate looks fool you. It was the longest-blooming plant bar none last year. The butterflies and I are completely smitten. There were so many volunteer seedlings this spring, I thought I’d never be without it again. But, oops, I did manage to weed them all out.

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Hot color for sun/light shade from a California native, the monkey flower.

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I’d grow it in a container to concentrate that molten color, but I’ve cut back on anything new but succulents for containers this year.

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No name tag on this volcanic mimulus variety, but Yerba Buena Nursery has a mimulus ID page here.

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Plectranthus always get my attention for their great leaves and good looks that go on and on, and these tight grey leaves drew me in for a name check. The hummingbird-attracting blue flowers last for months, sometimes year-round in frost-free climates. Perfect for dryish gardens. This one, the Ethiopian Spur Flower, Plectranthus coerulescens, is described as a compact subshrub. Don’t ask me why I left it on the bench this time, because there is no rational answer.

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The best thing ever, a lipstick red “monopot” of multiple young ponytail palms, Beaucarnia recurvata.

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I don’t know — what do you think? If price makes a difference, leave a comment and I’ll tell you how much.

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The mature cacti and euphorbia selection is one of the best in town.

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I love the soft-leaved Beschorneria yuccoides. That multiples-in-rows thing nurseries do gets me every time.

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All the familiar bad boys are here

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I remember when it used to be so hard to find Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

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This beauty was labeled ‘Moonshine.’ I wonder who the proud parents are. The white markings remind me of Agave impressa.

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Whole lotta trunking going on. I think this is the Spanish Bayonet, a variegated Yucca aloifolia

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I just stripped the lower leaves from my Dasylirion wheeleri at home, but it’s nowhere as clean as this trunk yet. Lots more work to do. After blooming last year it became shaggier, more disheveled, and some grooming seemed in order. The clean trunk does help.

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Well, hello, sexy. Don’t be shy.

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Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Medio Picta.’ This was available in a gallon, but where am I going to put another potential 5-footer?

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You can have complete faith in any nursery that trains a Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ over an office doorway.

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Did you see Debra Lee Baldwin’s piece on echeverias for Pacific Horticulture?
One of the photos shows a mass planting of Echeveria pallida, in that light shade of green I find irresistible. I found an unlabeled echeveria with that similar light green to the leaf but with a red edge, so I’m not sure if it’s E. pallida. Maybe it’s E. subrigida?
The color can be off when they’re brand-new out of the greenhouse. The small-sized succulent selection at Lincoln is like a living plant encyclopedia. It’s that good. A nearby shopper kept muttering to herself over and over, “It’s overwhelming…”

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The leaf color seemed a bit pale on Aloe deltoideodonta ‘Sparkler’ too, but they had my favorite size, a 4-inch pot. Available in gallons too.

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For some light weekend reading, how about a comprehensive list of plants for Mediterranean gardens? Great for planning a new garden and just fun to go through and see how many you’ve grown (and killed). And The New Yorker wrote a really smart review of The New York Botanical Garden’s new exhibit on Frida Kahlo’s garden “Art Garden Life.” I could read all weekend, but this one will be the last opportunity to get the wheels out to celebrate National Bike Month. I haven’t been on mine in ages. This weekend is also the Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society Annual Drought Tolerant Plant Festival.

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10 Responses to favorite plants and an end-of-week nursery browse 5/29/15

  1. Emily says:

    The strappy iron pot thingie–I think it’s fabulous, but I wouldn’t buy it because I can’t work out quite how to use it. Moss-line it? Use it for candles/crystals, somehow? Hang airplants in it?

  2. Alison says:

    Those Beschorneria do look good massed like that. I think of them as specimen plants, I only need or have room for one. Oh, look at all those ‘Joe Hoak’ Agaves. I’m crying over not getting to any nurseries while I was there. I might get a do-over next year!

  3. Luisa says:

    OMG, your photos of Lincoln Avenue Nursery are just killing me. Beautiful! I really want that molten monkey flower. The Agave ‘Moonshine’ does look like A. impressa… and A. attenuata, maybe? Waterwise Botanicals sells an agave by that name, with no info at its website on origin: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100601595@N02/9566136836/

    Pity salmianas get so ginormous :~(

    I like the interesting iron… er, strawberry pot. Is there glass inside? ¿Hecho en México? (Because it makes me want to do a south-of-the-border shopping run.) I’m guessing that it’s smaller than one might imagine, and more expensive than it would be down south. A candle would look good, I think.

  4. I am swooning over that ‘Moonshine’…and, well, basically everything! Great photos. As for the metal strawberry pot, I kind of like it as sculpture. Yes, I really wrote that.

  5. hoov says:

    Oh my, must go visit that one–another place to buy plants! Wheee!

    I’ll bite–how much was that strawberry pot?

  6. So many great finds. I’m glad to know that Annie’s plants are available in Southern California. If they carried larger sizes (say, 1 gallon) that show off plants better than their 4-inch pots, their business would go through the roof. They have so many unusual selections!

    I curbed the urge to go nursery shopping this weekend. Went to see San Andreas at the movies instead. Los Angeles and San Francisco both got obliterate. No more worrying about the drought, yeah!

  7. Kris P says:

    I hate driving through LA to Pasadena but you may have just convinced me to do so. I don’t know how I’ve missed that Gnidia as I peruse Annie’s inventory regularly but I just added it to my wish list (now that I have a gift card in my pocket waiting to be spent). As for ‘Moonshine’, she looks remarkably like my impressa.

  8. Denise says:

    @Emily, maybe bromeliads for the iron strawberry pot?
    @Luisa, the nursery was really in rare form. I would like to do a shopping trip south, but last I heard TJ isn’t as welcoming to tourists as it used to be…
    @Loree, just when you think the agave thing is under control, there’s a new one that throws you for a loop.
    @Hoov, yes, when you go to the Huntington stop by. The strawberry pot was $70.
    @Gerhard, I know of 3 nurseries that sell Annie’s plants, including this one. They actually had one I just mail-ordered (tiger lily).
    @Kris, I drop off work in Glendale at least once a week, so it’s easy to swing by Pasadena. I doubt I’d go up often otherwise because it can be a nasty drive.

  9. Amy says:

    Some real beauties there, you’re very fortunate to have so many agaves to choose from.

  10. Denise says:

    Amy, it goes in cycles, feast or famine, with agave availability. I think big batches of tissue-culture agaves get released from time to time.

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