the August urge for going

Gardeners are by definition rooted and bound to their gardens. Leaving home can mean missing out, and we don’t want to miss a thing, especially in summer.

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Like this Puya mirabilis’ first bloom in my garden.

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Why, hello, you beautiful, lime-green trumpets, all flaring scrollwork and dangling clappers.

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In fact, aside from Puya laxa’s tiny, navy blue flowers, which would be underwhelming to anyone but a hummingbird, this is the first puya to ever bloom in my garden. In a genus notorious for taking its sweet time to bloom, (as much as a decade for some species), Puya mirabilis is a standout for accomplishing that feat in a year or so after planting. I would hate to miss that.

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Aloe elgonica had its first bloom too. I’d hate to miss that as well. (Pardon the jungle — I have been cutting back a bit since this photo was taken last week. Ahem, moving on…)

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But like clockwork, August always fires up a relatively contented, stay-at-home temperament with the burning itch to travel, an urge to go, leave, vámonos. Which explains why I feel strongly compelled to immediately book a flight to Madrid to see its spectacular Desert City. Could I find such a sight fairly local here in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs? Of course. But it’s August, so of course I’m daydreaming about Madrid.

Designed by local firm GarciaGerman Arquitectos, Desert City is a biotechnology nursery that celebrates all things xerophytic (plants that require little water to survive) through educational, cultural, and commercial events in an expansive complex that includes a greenhouse, garden, exhibition space, a restaurant, shop, and offices.” (photo and quoted material from Curbed.)

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54,000 feet celebrating cacti and succulents! Madrid’s winters are supposedly colder than the norm for Spain (43F for the low in January), but its mediterranean climate would seemingly support a huge variety of North American cacti, along with other succulents like euphorbias and aloes from other parts of the world.

Prefabricated elements, along with sustainable solutions like photovoltaic glass, geothermal power, and water recovery systems combine to create a dynamic center that not only exhibits, grows, and breeds cacti, but also offers the public a range of activities.” (photo from inhabitat, quoted material from Curbed.)

There’s also the International Meeting of the Landscape and Garden in Bergamo, Italy, September 22-23, 2017 (simultaneous translation provided). And I’d love to attend the Perennial Plant Conference in Pennsylvania at Swarthmore College this October 20th, to hear plantsperson extraordinaire Derry Watkins speak, jog over to Longwood Gardens, and possibly make it over to Chanticleer too.

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Not that there aren’t distractions enough here at home. I found this blushing Tillandsia capitata ‘Roja’ at Rainforest Flora when attending the South Bay Bromeliad Associates Show & Sale last weekend (see Piece of Eden’s post here.)

But it’s August, and my passport is freshly renewed and ready to go. I think I love that feeling of infinite possibilities almost as much as the going. For the short term, though, I’ll be heading to the InterCity Cactus Show & Sale this Saturday at the LA Arboretum.

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8 Responses to the August urge for going

  1. ks says:

    and I’m taking an August visit to Maine. My garden is typically a mess in August so leaving it is easy. My least favorite month. It has always interested me how crappy August is here and how verdant and beautiful it is in New England.

  2. Kris P says:

    That Puya bloom is almost heartbreakingly beautiful. Now I feel I have to go rescue my one and only Puya (P. berteroniana), which is currently stuck below a leaf of an Agave desmettiana. Thanks for the virtual international tour teasers too. And your new Tillandsia was definitely worth waiting for – I’m glad the Rainforest Flora folks were able to hunt it down for you.

  3. Denise says:

    @Kathy, if I didn’t have weddings and parties to plan this month, I’d crash your August trip! My August urge to go usually ends up in planning for fall travels.
    @Kris, this tillandsia came on a tray of small-flowered T. tenuifolia I had asked about, that it took a while for them to bring out from deep in the warehouse. When they brought out the tray, of course I wanted this one too. RFF wasn’t sure of the name, and it’s def. not the xerographica cross from the show, but he said let’s just call it capitata ‘Roja.’ I said fine as long as you call it sold!

  4. Alison says:

    I almost never get wanderlust any more. Intellectually I would love to travel. But I know it’s just not something my personality quirks deal well with. It would be nice right now to see something other than my own garden, which is in a state of ugly decline. I hope you see something that excites you at the Cactus Show.

  5. Denise says:

    @Alison, I always enjoy these bouts of wanderlust, even if I can’t act on them. There’s been a lot of barriers over the years, economics being just one. I got my first passport right out of high school and never used it until mid 30s. Do you get seasick? Maybe we can design a garden-themed cruise for you, with great speakers, a plant bazaar, etc., maybe around the Mediterranean or with Oudolfian gardens in the Netherlands as a destination….dream on, right?

  6. hb says:

    Your “jungle’ looks might-t-fine, and congrats on the Puya bloom. Ten years on still waiting for something from mine. Maybe next year. I always say that about travel, too.

  7. Nell says:

    International travel’s only an idle dream for me, but southeast Pennsylvania, that’s something else again! Would you be open to company on a Longwood or Chanticleer visit if you end up going to the perennial event at Swarthmore? Email me.

    That Madrid dry garden is alluring, particularly on a day of grey steam typical for August here. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Denise says:

    Nell, I’ll def. let you know if I make that trip.

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