Some quick odds and ends. This is an old photo from the Theodore Payne tour a couple months back, of Artemisia ‘David’s Choice’ and clarkia, one of those fleeting moments in spring that indelibly sears the visual cortex.
Last weekend this silky, cobalt blue iroid at the Sherman Gardens in Newport Beach, California, got the rods and cones firing. A floaty, winged performance entirely new to me.
I’m guessing *Neomarica caerulea, which I’ve always associated with Roger Raiche, extraordinary plantsman and former horticulturalist at the Berkeley Botanic Garden, who has grown neomarica for many years. I suppose I just assumed that even though neomarica is from Brazil, it must be partial to Northern California/Bay Area’s cloud forest-like conditions, not Los Angeles. Coastal Newport Beach seems to suit it fine, so maybe Long Beach will too. The entire plant had great elegance and body, unlike the stiff spring performance of, say, Dutch iris. Annie’s Annuals occasionally carries it, and I need to keep track of when it’s next on offer. Making first-time, in-person acquaintance of desirable plants never gets old, especially ones as legendary as this.
Another uncommon plant, this **lobelia looked as at home as any Jerusalem sage. It’s so exciting to see a rare plant that didn’t get the memo on how rare things are supposed to behave, i.e., struggling, weak growth, sunburnt leaves, suffering from mysterious soil ailments. I’m guessing that this is **Lobelia aguana. (Edited 7/1/17: It’s Lobelia excelsa.) Judging from this healthy, happy, floriferous performance, it looks like a sure bet for coastal SoCal. In my own garden at home I’m growing a lush, big-leaved lobelia new to me, L. fistulosa, and although yet to bloom, it’s also seemingly enjoying life and not agonizing over whether to live or die (talking about you, Lobelia tupa).
Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ is undeniably thrilling. I had one good summer with it a few years back, but it didn’t return and didn’t reseed. Finis.
The Sherman Gardens also has one of the best specimens of Leucadendron ‘Jester” I’ve seen, big and bushy, without the usual awkward or patchy growth.
No visit to the Sherman Gardens is complete without paying homage to the spiral aloes in the succulent garden designed by Matt Maggio.
Since visiting Denver Botanic Gardens, I’ve developed a new appreciation for crevice gardens. I confess when I first saw this work by Matt Maggio, I thought it was mostly stylistic, not necessarily intended as a recreation of habitat. The Third International Rock Garden Conference was held this past May in the Czech Republic, the birthplace of crevice gardens. (You can read Kenton J. Seth’s impressions of the conference on his blog, I Need A Cup of Tea.)
My use of rocks in the garden thus far has been limited to placing them to protect small plants from wayward paws and feet. But there’s no denying the strong affinity of rock and plant.
Blue stones for blue echeverias. Fun for a public garden, but not something I’d want to do at home.
I found this pup of Aechmea bromeliifolia var. rubra at the Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society show and sale in Encino last weekend, along with a small pot of the long-sought Aloe tomentosa, a summer-blooming aloe with white flowers. The event was really well attended, another indication that succulents are still having their moment, with cactus in particular catching everyone’s fancy. (See “Looking sharp! How the cactus became the world’s most-wanted plant,” The Guardian, May 31, 2017.)
*Edited 6/19/17 Reader Rachel Dunn says she has bought neomarica from a seller on eBay, and I did find a source for a large 3-gallon neomarica at International Garden Center here in Los Angeles. The IGC is also currently carrying Lobelia aguana under Annie’s Annuals & Perennials label, and the leaves appear to be too slim for a match.
**Edited 7/1/17 This lobelia has been identified as L. excelsa.
What an absolutely fabulous set of odds and ends! That looks like a great Bromeliad there in the last photo. Love that shot of the red Bromeliads with the rivers of colorful succulents in front as well.
Hmmm, that’s a stunning Bromeliad. And I do hope to get to the Sherman Gardens someday…
Wow..my socks are kind of knocked off. Rocks and those plants together = very satisfying results, and I agree with you that the blue with the blue is great but wouldn’t be something I would try at home. Great photos, thanks for the tour!
I REALLY need to make another trip to Sherman Gardens – I haven’t visited since I worked down that way over a decade ago. Your posts always put new plants on my list. I’ve added both the Neomarica and the Lobelia to my Annie’s wish list – the latter looks like a more well-behaved version of my Lobelia laxiflora.
Wow. These are gorgeous photos of some wonderful plants. That Neomarica has a dreamy elegance in photos; I’ll take your word that it’s great in person as well.
I had the same experience with Lysimachia ‘Beaujolais’ in my garden last year: great plant with amazing, glaucous foliage and unique flower heads that bloomed, died and disappeared even before winter set in, with no sign of seed or return…..
Beautiful photos! I need to get back to Sherman Gardens–it has been a while.
Delicious pictures. Thanks for the eye candy and for the introduction to some exciting new plants. You see some of the most interesting stuff!
:: Aloe tomentosa, a summer-blooming aloe with white flowers ::
You’ve said the magic woids — white flowers! Off to see if this is something conceivably grown in a container that could overwinter in a greenhouse…
As Kris P said, your posts always put new plants on the wish list. Thank you for the tour and yes – Lobelia Tupa, it breaks your heart every time.
Heart Touching Images.! Great collection of photos.
Matt is an extremely talented guy. Love his work. Wish I could do rock work like him.
You’re giving me renewed appreciation for rock gardens and that rock / plant relationship. Seeing all those recent crevice gardens in Denver on some recent trips, including the amazingly good DBG, also played a role.
The Neomarica caerulea is also available from Suncrest Wholesale Nursery, but is super easy to propagate by division, seed or potting up the viviperous plantlets that form on the stalks. It is surprisingly cold hardy, I’ve planted it in a chilly Novato garden that regularly drops down to 25°F in winter, and it still thrives. It can get 6 foot tall foliage when we’ll established.
Smgrowers.com is a another source for the Neomarica.