It started off mid-Saturday morning May 1 at Ray and Netty’s plant sale at their home in Atwater Village. There in the driveway was a 3-gallon plant beckoning me with the intriguing tag “mystery euphorbia.” Ray Valentine really knows how to get a plant collector’s attention.
I was on the hunt for textural drama for pots. And with that agenda in mind, it was a very good day!
Here’s one of the mystery euphorbias I brought home, cuttings from the tree pictured in the top photo, potted up and placed on a high stool to keep it out of the reach of an inquisitive puppy. I’ve no intention of letting it grow to tree size in the ground. As far as identification, Euphorbia drupifera seems the closest fit I’ve found so far. The plant has a pachypodium vibe, with thorny stems ending in lush leaves at the tips. Netty said it is extremely cold sensitive and will drop all its leaves when cold-challenged. E. drupifera is a Zone 11 plant, so that fits the description as well.
Another mystery euphorbia from the Valentines’ sale, one I’ve yet to identify. I was attracted to the rhipsalis-like habit of growth, hoping for another lush-appearing but dry-tolerant plant to spill out of a hanging pot. Then Netty showed me the mother plant — another enormous tree! Still, in the short term, I’ll probably grow it from a hanging pot to drape over the sides.
In the Valentines’ back garden the size of the specimen plants seems even larger now that they have cleared out most of the smaller understory succulents for ease of maintenance. All the Aloe camperi I was recently enthusing about in the front garden have been likewise cleared out and the parkway graveled over. Netty said the debris on the succulents was becoming too much maintenance, and I admitted that I took out the succulents under the Pearl Acacia in my front garden for the same reason. We both agreed that trees are priority number one, for shade, for cooling, for cleansing the air, for wildlife.
These huge specimens were the source of the plants available at the sale.
After the Valentines’ sale, I made a quick stop at Potted, about fives minutes from the Valentines, for a yellow pot, then headed to Worldwide Exotics in Lakeview Terrace, which is now only open on Saturdays. There were many mystery plants here too, which is no surprise since the nursery was started by plant explorer Gary Hammer, who passed away 10 years ago. At these extensive growing grounds, the plants are unlabeled. After you make your selections, you bring your swag to Shelley Jennings for ID and payment. Shelley consults her three-ring binder and provides names for all selections, like this Homalocladium platycladum, Ribbon Bush. The Ribbon Bush too has potential to become a large shrub, but it’ll stay in a pot for the short term.
And at Worldwide Exotics I found this treasure, which Shelley identified as Hechtia tillandsiodes, a barbless hechtia! Swoon….
I flagged down Shelley’s husband Ken after seeing this medusa-like, oddball bromeliad and asked if there were any small plants for sale. He pointed to a group of four hanging just behind me.
Silvery slim leaves spill forth studded with nubby blooms that give it the common name Pinecone Bromeliad, Acanthostachys strobilacea.
However, this fern needed no introduction. Pyrrosia lingua is epiphytic, so rather than plant it in a very crowded garden where it would be swamped, I used an old orchid box which I lined with some beech bark that I peeled off some firewood, mossed the gaps, and hung it on the east patio (Pandemic Garden Project.)
I’ll get around to more photos of WE’s growing grounds later this week. Just an incredibly fun place for a good plant prowl.