late for Bloom Day 11/15/20


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.

A golden petal of the horned poppy caught by a leaf of Aloe capitata var. quartziticola, showing a bud, backed by the frizz of the double form of Euphorbia hypericifolia
glaucium, the guilty petal dropper
The tall Lady’s Slippers are some of my favorite succulents. I brought home a silver pedilanthus from Worldwide Exotics last Saturday, the one day of the week this nursery in Lakeview Terrace is open.

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.

Without checking records, I think this is the first time Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’ has bloomed
The fatshedera has a bloom too. A lot of the bromeliads from the base of the cypresses ended up in the northern exposure at the base of the triangle palm. And there’s more rocks of that Catalina ironstone we failed to notice when building the spur, used here to keep the hose off the plants.
Celosia ‘Cramer’s Amazon,’ the weaker of the two planted late summer
Pelargonium echinatum breaking dormancy and stirring to life, my resurrection plant

Veering slightly away from bloom day reports to other news…

Sonchus palmensis is emerging from the summer doldrums and throwing out a fresh mane of leaves. I ordered a ridiculous amount of lily bulbs last August, and the base of summer-dormant sonchus seemed like a great spot for several of them (a half dozen ‘Eurydice’ and ‘Bell Tower’)
The rock spur has seen a bit more planting, mostly echeverias collected from elsewhere in the garden
Euphorbia cotinifolia with potted silver pedilanthus

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!

The jacks are to remind me not to step on the newly planted echeverias

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.)

This entry was posted in agaves, woody lilies, Bloom Day, journal, pots and containers, succulents. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to late for Bloom Day 11/15/20

  1. Elaine says:

    Lots still happening in your garden. Wonder if the Mina lobata is late due to the several heat waves you experienced? Love the use of jacks. Are they the regular sized ones? They look quite large. Makes a neat ‘art piece’.

  2. Denise says:

    @Elaine, I do think the heat may have inhibited the vine. And yet it’s sensitive to day length, so shortening days is what it needs to bloom but not the heat! Yes, those jacks are large, at east 4 inches. Whenever I see one at the flea market I grab it since they’re great visual reminders for where not to place your feet — works for humans and pets!

  3. Kris P says:

    I love both the silver Pedilanthus and the Euphorbia cotinifolia. I had the latter in a large pot at one time but I can’t recall what happened to it. I don’t remember mine having color that vivid, though. I had a dahlia that played a trick on me similar to your experience with Mina lobata – in my case, I suspect I missed an important window in getting it in the ground.

  4. Denise says:

    @Kris, it’s those “windows” that are driving me crazy. Zone 10 would seemingly have a lot of latitude, no pun intended!, with windows and growing seasons, but certain plants want what they want! The E. cotinifolia reseeds like crazy which might be a problem on a big garden like yours.

  5. Oh!!! That last photo is wonderful. Shades of Prospect Cottage…

  6. ks says:

    My E. cotinifolia was gifted to me by Cynthia when we were all in PA prior to Capitol fling. Reseeding will not be an issue here-I have to bring it into the house or the garage for winter. I do recall the removal of your previous plant. I have never seen this in any nursery up here. I’m enjoying the planting of you newly opened areas-I have much the same thing going on here.

  7. hb says:

    Excellent idea on the bracteosa placement.

    Your ‘Spider’s Web’ looks fantastic. Is it planted in the ground? Mine’s in a pot and Unhappy.

  8. Denise says:

    @So true, Loree — there’s a little Jarman in all of us!
    @Kathy, when I decided on the copper tree for screening, I headed out to the local easement nursery that seemed most likely to have one in November, a very improbable chance — and found one 3-gallon. Got lucky this time!
    @Hoov, the SW is in the ground and doing much better than when potted here too. Must like heavy soil 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *