The dwarf statice, Limonium minutum, are new this June. Planted along the spine of rocks laid down last November, their tight cushions send out slender stems that branch upward to hold aloft sparkling clouds of everlasting blooms, creating a gauzy mist over surrounding succulents. Hardy to at least zone 5 too. I love the effervescence they add from a small footprint, bringing a see-through performance that doesn’t smother other plants. So far, unless they’re terribly intrusive reseeders, we’re good.
Very new this June, as in just planted yesterday, are two rectangular planters filled with Anigozanthos ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ Leymus condensatus ‘Canyon Prince,’ Teucrium azureum, and Cuphea micropetala. The leymus grasses will most likely be moved into the parkway in fall. I used this grass in the no-water hellstrip for a local pocket park, and its flourishing icy blueness is one of my favorite sights when walking Billie to the park. So I may break my “never planting our hell strip again, oh, hell no” rule and use it in our own parkway, where it just might be able to outcompete car doors and careless shoes and trash where other plants failed.
‘Tequila Sunrise’ is possibly my favorite paw of all, and I may add it to existing clumps in the garden in fall, replacing the red ‘Regal Velvet’ — a good grower but I dislike the way the color ages. ‘Regal Velvet’ might be good if separated from the orange paws and moved against the grey east fence.
The cuphea, aka Giant Mexican Cigar Plant, should be able to handle summer in a container. It’s too much of a sprawler to squeeze into an already packed garden, but I knew my hummingbirds would be furious if I didn’t bring it home. (I rarely see this cuphea for sale locally but found it at Village in Huntington Beach.) The back planter holds the kangaroo paws and a leymus, giving the paws sun and light at their crowns; the front planter got another leymus and the big spreaders like the cuphea and teucrium, so they can spill onto the bricks and not on the paws.
Even though I haven’t had much luck with the parrot’s beak plant, Lotus berthelotii, in the past, I added a couple among the new plantings along the rock spine, and it seems happy here, along with Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ and Marrubium bourgaei ‘All Hallows Green’ (formerly a ballota).
Planted a couple months ago from a 4-inch pot mail-ordered from Dancing Oaks Nursery, Bupleurum fruticosum surprised me with throwing a bloom. Which was intense instant gratification to see the umbels for which this evergreen shrub is justly famous and the reason why I’ve repeatedly tried to make it happy in my garden.
I’ve been reading nothing but good reports on Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ and found three small plants locally. E. ‘Dean’s Hybrid’ is another one I’d like to try.
I was crazy happy to find this unlabeled herbaceous euphorbia locally at Green Touch Nursery. I splurged on the 3-gallon, about 3-feet tall, but gallons were available too and I’m debating whether to go back and grab a couple more.
It’s not mellifera, lambii or stygiana, all of which I have grown. Those red petioles are an insanely brilliant touch. It reminds me of Euphorbia ceratocarpa, a plant I grew and lost many years ago. It was Oscar’s day off when I found it, so I need to call him and see if he has an ID for it.
The bloom on bromeliad Alcantarea odorata is taller than me, and I’m 5’8″ — the growth seems to be slowing and the buds are fattening, so maybe flowering is imminent.
For someone who loves to change up the garden, for once that’s not the case — I’m really going to miss this big bromeliad under the tetrapanax.
At Upland Nursery in Orange I found Vriesea ‘Nova,’ which may get the alcantarea’s spot once it’s done blooming. When the alcantarea’s pups make size, though, I’d love to see that silvery rosette sidled up against the tetrapanax again.
On the northeast side of the house I finally planted my long-suffering Cussonia paniculata after seeing how well Max’s are doing in the ground in Oakland (check his Instagram feed here). Mine has been so slow, countless years, in building a rounded canopy. It will actually get good morning sun here, and some late afternoon sun as well. Adjacent Cussonia spicata, still potted, has the same problem — spindly leaf growth but atop a much longer trunk.
Deeper in the shade against the house, Sansevieria cylindrica was recently added for some height and line to balance all the big leaves.
The new scheffleras are starting to come in to local nurseries. I think I found this Schefflera taiwaniana at H&H in Los Angeles. The sheltered, northeast exposure is my best guess for giving it a decent chance. The new mystery euphorbia has a very similar foliar effect, but for sun.
I’ve had such a hankering for the palm-leaf begonia this summer and have been looking everywhere for it. Village Nursery in Huntington Beach is where to find them locally — and nowhere else because, believe me, I’ve looked.
Malabaila aurea is one of those plants in the category of you’ve got to grow it for yourself to believe it. Tiny, insignificant yellow umbels transform into the most extraordinary seedheads. A few plants are flowering, and if I want more plants next year I’ll have to resist saving the dried seedheads for vases and leave them to self-sow. Just wow.
Grevillea ‘Poorinda Blondie’ is hanging in there its first summer, which so far has been very mild and nothing to complain about here in coastal Southern California. My heart goes out to all of you currently coping with extreme weather events. And if you are considering celebrating with fireworks this upcoming holiday, please reconsider — they don’t mix well with the extreme drought conditions out West.
Billie now has many friends that stop by our gate when walking their dogs throughout the day, and everyone comments on how comically looong she’s gotten, and also how skinny! She’s definitely in a growth spurt, corgi style!