Foliage Follow-Up November 2010

Hosted by Pam at Digging, where we’re regularly treated to the best in Austin, Texas gardens.

I have to confess that it’s not just fall that brings leaves into prominence in my garden. Though I give it my best shot, flowers are increasingly incidental, verging on

Euphorbia rigida and Sedum nussbaumerianum.


I’ve photographed this sedum quite a bit, but couldn’t resist including it again today. This pair is the first thing I see entering my back gate. Arriving this morning from a before-dawn, 3-hour freeway commute, they were balm for road-tired eyes. The euphorbia was planted over the summer. The sedum is a large, established clump that acts like a traffic cone on a corner of the path from the back door to the office, guiding corgi paws along the prescribed route around the plantings and eliminating the temptation to cut corners across the garden. I have to say that this euphorbia right off the bat is a much better performer than E. myrsinites for me, which is slightly similar but has a more sprawling habit of growth. This E. rigida is now my go-to spurge, and I plan to grow lots more of it.

A couple feet away from the euphorbia and sedum, deeper into the garden bed, is this purple mizuna, a kale with heavily dissected leaves and red stems, planted just over the weekend. I asked for a volunteer taste-tester to sample it before sprinkling a few well-washed leaves into some chicken soup. “Tastes like caterpillars.” No, I didn’t ask a child’s opinion but a grown, seemingly adult man’s. (Doesn’t taste like caterpillars at all, unless they happen to be mildly peppery.)


Agave desmettiana under siege from Senecio vitalis. I like my plants grown tight, but this is getting scary. I do think the fact that this is one of my least scarred agaves is due to the physical protection it gets from the Blue Chalk Fingers, which will be trimmed away more and more as the agave gains size.


Arundo donax ‘Golden Chain,’ planted this fall.


Linnaeus help me, I’ve misplaced the name of this succulent. I’ll find it and edit it in later. A fabulous one. Must be a grapto-something.


A very elegant, lemony coprosma, a golden form of C. areolata.


Echeverias and aloes.


Graptoveria, Senecio mandraliscae, Oscularia deltoides with the little blue leaves and pink stems.


A species leptospermum from Strybing Arboretum, unlabeled, showing fresh growth.


The New Zealand leptospermums used to be such fashionable plants in Southern California, now slightly out of favor. Wonderfully sharp, peppery smell to their myrtle-like leaves. They have a romantic, windswept habit of growth that now is often meatball-pruned into submission. It is fascinating how plants dip in and out of fashion, and how when they’re out of fashion, invariably the secateurs get sharpened.

No time to explore that today, but for some wry observations on the foibles of fashion, it doesn’t get any more cutting than the Kinks’ A Dedicated Follower of Fashion.

(No idea why Harrison Ford is included in the video. “Carnabetian” refers to Carnaby Street, a London shopping district.)

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8 Responses to Foliage Follow-Up November 2010

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    Ah, I’m sighing over your subtle but dead-on color and texture combinations. Just beautiful, as always. I’m especially crazy for the Euphorbia rigida and Sedum nussbaumerianum combo. That euphorbia is one of the few regularly available in Austin, so I have lots of it.

  2. ryan says:

    I still like tea trees. It’s too bad when plants sometimes get blamed for the pruning that people do to them. They did get planted a lot, though, for a while.

  3. Denise says:

    Pam, thank you! I’ve struggled with E. myrsinites for years and had no idea the rigida would be so much easier.
    Ryan, I agree. The lepto’s were at one point popular enough to be used in street median plantings here locally.

  4. RBell says:

    Love the shot of the thorny aloe and Echeverias – what flavor of Aloe is that?

  5. Denise says:

    So many great flavors to choose from. I think that’s A. broomii.

  6. I absolutely love that first picture of the Euphorbia and Sedum. I plan to blatantly rip it off and reproduce it in my garden, although with a Sedum more appropriate to my climate.

    I LOVE the Kinks and can’t wait to watch the video…on the other computer. This one doesn’t have sound!

  7. hoover boo says:

    Everything looks beautiful!

    Maybe the Grapto-something is a X Sedeveria (Sedum x Echeveria). I have one tagged “Big Burro Tail” that looks very similar to yours.

    My A. desmetianas are with S. vitalis as well, and they get along. The Senecio have deferred to the agaves, growing around rather than into them.

  8. hahahaha… tastes like caterpillars, eh? Sounds like a seemingly adult man who thinks he’s pretty funny! (Just guessing, as I know quite a few of those myself!)

    LOVE all of your succulent combinations. I have dreams about carpeting a garden bed with blue chalksticks, but my zonal denial only goes so far.

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