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Yucca 'Bright Star' lives up to its name

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I stopped dead in my tracks the first time I saw Yucca ‘Bright Star’. It was in a private garden in the East Bay hills , which I visited as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day program in May 2013. Four Yucca ‘Bright Star’ shared a bed with Opuntia violaceae , the golden yellow of the yuccas contrasting beautifully with the blue and purple hues of the prickly pear ( see this photo ). Over the following years, I encountered Yucca ‘Bright Star’ here and there—in Morro Bay on the Central Coast, at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, and at fellow blogger Hoover Boo’s Piece of Eden —but it wasn’t until December 2017 that I obtained my own specimen. In my neck of the woods, ‘Bright Star’ was next to impossible to find in those days. Yucca ‘Bright Star’ in our front yard, September 2022 In January 2018 , I planted my newly acquired Yucca ‘Bright Star’ in the long bed next to the sidewalk. It has grown consistently but slowly, and this fall it flowered for the first time. T

November 2022 wrap-up

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It’s hard to believe November is almost over. We’ve had dry, warm days (low 60s) and nights in the high 30s or above. That’s going to change, with a major system on the way. It’s supposed to bring rain (almost an inch on Thursday) and night-time lows at or even below freezing. I will have to move some sensitive plants onto the front porch to keep them out of the elements! In the meantime, here are some garden highlights from November when frost was just an abstract five-letter word: The light has been lovely, soft and warm. I love how it illuminates the entrance to our front garden. This  Pachypodium geayi  is one of my newest purchases. It’s almost 6 ft. tall. It’ll have to be moved under cover to protect it from the rain and freezing temperatures. Pachypodium geayi  (left) and other potted favorites like  Ferocactus histrix  and  Hechtia lanata The flower stalk on Agave bovicornuta has been in a state of arrested development. I think it will do what Agave parrasana  does: wait out t

Hechtia vs. Dyckia

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My previous post on Hechtia lanata raised a common question: how do hechtias differ from dyckias? Both are terrestrial bromeliads (like pineapples), both form rosettes of remarkable beauty, often in large clusters, and both are fiercely armed with barbed teeth along the leaf margins. Visually, they’re difficult to distinguish, as the following example demonstrates: Dyckia delicata (left), Hechtia argentea (right) Some more juxtapositions of hechtias and dyckias to highlight their similarities in terms of general appearance: ↷   Hechtia ‘Wildfire’ vs. Dyckia ‘Arizona’ × ‘Brittlestar’ F2 Hechtia ‘Wildfire’ ( H. texensis × stenopetala ) Dyckia ‘Arizona’ × ‘Brittlestar’ F2 ↷   Hechtia ‘Aztec Sun’ vs. Dyckia ‘Tibor’ Hechtia ‘Aztec Sun’ Dyckia ‘Tibor’ ↷   Hechtia fosteriana vs. Dyckia pulquinensis Hechtia fosteriana Dyckia pulquinensis ↷   Hechtia lanata vs. Dyckia platyphylla Hechtia lanata (smooth-leaved form) Dyckia platyphylla (photo from dyckiabrazil.blogspot.com ) ↷   Hechti