Mina lobata is late too. The Spanish Flag vine was sown at least by June — okay, I just checked the seed packet and it was sown 6/25/20. So what’s up with waiting to bloom until November? The questions never go away, do they? Why are you behaving like this? Why couldn’t you think about blooming in September so we could have a few autumnal months together? You don’t look particularly happy about choosing to bloom in November, so who wins? Questions, questions. And yet, on the other hand, I’m thrilled that there will always be mysteries to keep me in the game…and blooms in November.
My biggest clump of Lady’s Slipper (Pedilanthus bracteatus) did a face plant due to high winds last weekend. Completely fell over and splayed onto the bricks. But what a rubbery, resilient beast. Marty and I wrestled it upright again, minding the sap (euphorbia family!), propping it up with a wrought iron bird bath stand that is never used for bird baths but is excellent for staking plants. We nervously hovered, expecting it to stubbornly pitch forward again, as most plants do once they’ve lost the habit of verticality. But it has remained upright, although some of its branches now lean into the walkway and graze my hair as I pass by. I should cut the offenders off at the base and probably will after it’s done blooming.
Veering slightly away from bloom day reports to other news…
Recently Marty and I were discussing eastern screening options again, and he said Why don’t you bring in a smoke tree…? I don’t think I let him finish the sentence before objecting I was done with smoke trees forever. The species aren’t happy at all in zone 10, whereas the hybrid vigor of ‘Grace’ was terrifying. No, no, he protested, that one we used to grow by the office. Oh, Euphorbia cotinifolia, the Caribbean Copper Tree!? Interesting suggestion. But it’s very short-lived and brittle, I reminded him. Remember how its trunk snapped in high winds? As I elucidated its shortcomings, I realized these were actually strengths that argued in its favor. Nobody would inherit a problematic house-eater, and we’d get a temporary screen of 12-15 feet. Sold!
I cleaned out the mess of squid agave, Agave bracteosa, remnants of the succulent garden next to the driveway that was thriving before I planted a Pearl Acacia smack in the middle. Predictably, the debris and shade from the tree proceeded to smother out the succulents, yet the squid agave never gave up, the tips of its flailing arms increasingly less and less visible under the onslaught of tree debris. A drowning squid agave. After removal and cleaned of debris, I had to admire the undulating carcasses but wondered if there was a way to grow a squid agave that really showcased its peculiar, writhing ways, because in the ground that form is lost. I bet it’s a cliff-dweller. (Yes! San Marcos Growers: “Comes from the Coahuilan Desert where it grows on limestone cliffs between 3,000 and 5,500 feet.”) There’s usually a spare clay pipe around here somewhere for just such an experiment, and so it was found and planted. Although not as optimal as cliff dwelling, a little height was gained for dramatic spillage. And now it can writhe and twist and furiously pup to its heart’s content in the pipe, because plants exploding out of a pipe is always a good look, imho.
Hope your week is calm and holiday plans coming together, in whatever size, shape or form.
(Bloom Day is hosted by May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month.)