Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 Succulent Extravaganza plant porn (2 of 2)

Continuing my coverage of the 2016 Succulent Extravaganza at Succulent Gardens in Castroville, CA. If you haven’t seen part 1 yet, it’s here.

Saturday, September 24 was a hot day for Castroville. The afternoon high was 86°F, a good 10 degrees above the historical average. Inside the retail greenhouse, I’m sure it was in the low 90s. Usually people seem to focus on the plants. This year I heard a lot of complaints about the weather. California, what can I say!

By noon, I was beginning to feel hot as well but I forced myself to soldier on for the sake of my blog and you, my intrepid readers. Fortunately, that was not a difficult thing to do, considering how many stunning plants there are. No matter where you look, there’s something to ooh and aah over.

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The aeonium equivalent of “Ebony and Ivory”

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ and Aloe cameronii

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ and Aloe broomii

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ and Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

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Dudleya pulverulenta

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ and (possibly) Aloe vaombe

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

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Agave attenuata and Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’

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Aeonium ‘Sunset’ (flowers and a rosette with virtually no green)

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Not a great shot but it shows you the large clumps of aeoniums (and aloes) where many of the photos above were taken

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Agave ‘Kissho Kan’

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Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’, a much sought-after cultivar where the leaf tips turn a very dark purple in strong sunlight

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Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’

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Another Aloidendron ‘Hercules’

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Another Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’

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Plectranthus, most likely P. neochilus, unfortunately only hardy to 32°F

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This bed of Agave ‘Blue Flame’ (top) and Agave ‘Blue Glow’ (bottom) continues to delight year after year

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Agave attenuata for instant impact in your garden!

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Trunks of an Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ trio

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Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ trio with ornamental grass at its autumn best

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Aloe distans

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This planting replaces the Succulent Wave installation by Steven Sutherland (see this 2014 post). It consists of six succulent species from North America (four dudleyas and two sedums) as well as four from South Africa (two cotyledons and one crassula). The rock placement is pretty fantastic, too.

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For me, the standout plant in this area—and of the entire Extravaganza!—was this Cotyledon undulatum ‘Clam Shell’

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I had never head of Cotyledon undulatum ‘Clam Shell’ before, but it’s appropriately named. Unfortunately, Succulent Gardens didn’t have any for sale.

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Dudleya lanceolata

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Dudleya nestled between two rocks. Based on the species list posted, I think this is Dudleya brittonii × cymosa.

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Possibly Dudleya brittonii × cymosa

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Growing area behind the greenhouses. Very few people ventured back here although the area is not off limits.

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Aeonium sp.

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Agave montana and Kumara plicatilis

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Aloe sp.

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Boxed aloes, possibly Aloe thraskii

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In-ground plantings and potted sale plants mixing it up outside the retail greenhouse

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Not my style, but a great contrast to the potted succulents

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Look at that massive ruffled echeveria!

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Succulent treasure chest

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Echeveria elegans ‘Mexican Snowball’ growing out of a rock wall

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Does this succulent shopping cart qualify as shabby chic?

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People seem to love or hate these ruffled, caruncled echeverias. In previous years I wouldn’t have touched them with the proverbial 10-foot pole but I feel my resistance slipping…

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Mature fan aloe (Kumara plicatilis)

The inside of the retail greenhouse was quite toasty thanks to a surprise heat wave. I must admit I didn’t spend as much time in there as I usually do. But I was happy to see that the checkout lines were long. I hope this translated into good sales for Succulent Gardens. After all, the more successful they are as a business, the more likely it is that they will continue the Extravaganza tradition.

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Agave attenuata

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Cactus galore

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Agave ‘Blue Glow’

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Aloe barbadensis, the real aloe vera (hence the red cross sign)

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This stopped people in their tracks: Agave attenuata ‘Boutin Blue’ and Cistanthe grandiflora

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Same from the other side

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Just to give you an idea how tall some of these aloes are

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I overheard a lot of people talking about these moss containers. An intriguing idea. While I don’t typically associate moss with succulents, or vice versa, I see how this could work.

Several Succulent Extravaganzas have had a signature piece that had people talking. Remember the succulent globe from the 2013 Extravaganza? This year it was this new living mural:

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Many people were taking pictures in front of it—of friends or family or, even more frequently, of themselves. I skipped the selfies but took a few snaps of others, including friends and fellow succulent fanatics Deana Rae McMillion and Laura Balaoro:

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Deana Rae McMillion and Laura Balaoro

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Deana proudly wearing her succulent-decorated hat at Debra Lee Baldwin’s presentation on bullet-proof succulents

And my friend Noreen Fenton snapped one of me and Candy ‘Sweetstuff’s Sassy Succulents’ Suter:

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Gerhard and Candy

Expert presentations are a big part of each Succulent Extravaganza. Each day (Friday and Saturday) features five or six talks. Some are held in the speaker tent, others are walks around the growing grounds and demonstration gardens. The 2016 schedule is here if you want to take a look.

I had time for only two presentations on Saturday: Bulletproof & Beautiful Succulents for your Garden by Debra Lee Baldwin (she needs no introduction) and Companion Plants for Succulents by Ryan Penn, horticulturist at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Ryan focused heavily on California natives as well as Australian plants—one of my current obsessions. Yes, they do complement succulents phenomenally well.

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Debra Lee Baldwin holding an Echeveria ‘Mahogany’

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Ryan Penn with a Banksia blechnifolia

Since I had a 2½ hour drive ahead of me (which, as bad luck would have it, stretched to over 3 because of horrendous traffic), I decided to leave right after Ryan’s presentation ended at 2:30 pm. But before I headed to the parking lot, I snapped a few last photos of the plantings along the road.

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An entire row of agaves in bloom along Elkhorn Road. The flower stalk on Agave ‘Mr. Ripple’ is particularly tall and stout.

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Agave parryi var. truncata

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Agaves along Amaral Road: Agave montana, Agave colorata, Agave guadalajarana, Agave ‘Blue Flame’

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Agave guadalajarana, Agave attenuata ‘Kara’s Stripe’

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Bye, Succulent Gardens. See you in September 2017!

RELATED POSTS:

All Succulent Extravaganza posts

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for soldiering on through the heatwave and for fighting that traffic to collect photos of the event!

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  2. Not enough photos. No, really.

    Are those amazing Aloe polyphyllas of past extravaganzas now gone? That was always a photographic highlight, the porniest of all. The condition of the plants in that mild climate continues to amaze--I've never seen such happy Agaves and Echeverias.

    As Kris said, thanks for enduring the heat and long slog through traffic for that. I keep thinking I will get there someday, but...it's not happening.

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    1. I also noticed the lack of Aloe polyphylla. I assume they sold them all? I will try to find out what happened to them.

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  3. September 2017 eh? You know I've never been there...

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  4. That Cotyledon looks very choice, but the name is more likely to be Cotyledon orbiculata var oblonga undulata, and is also available from smgrowers.com. After seeing your photo, I need to get ahold of some, it's gorgeous!

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    1. David, Succulent Gardens had labeled them Cotyledon undulatum 'Clam Shell' but you're right, Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga 'Undulata' appears to be the correct name (although a huge mouthful). San Marcos Growers says:

      "Our original plants from the Huntington Botanic Garden (HBG 89167) as Cotyledon undulata, though this name has been combined into Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga in a recent treatment of the genus by Ernst van Jaarsveld so we currently list this plant as the cultivar 'Undulata'."

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  5. I found that clamshell cotyledon local, and I think it may have been one of the plants that taught me not to blog on new acquisitions too soon -- it promptly succumbed, probably from poor drainage/too much soil mass in a deep pot. Mine was called 'Silver Crown' (http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=34297) The Boutin Blue and cistanthe/calandrinia is an inspired centerpiece. Thanks so much for attending and documenting!

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    1. Denise, I talked to somebody during the Extravaganza who said that 'Undulata' is challenging to grow (wish I could remember who it was). Your experience isn't an isolated incident. Still, I'd give it a try if I could find a specimen or two.

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  6. Oh my goodness; Succulent Heaven! Your photos are the only way I'll get there. Thank you!

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