Weekend Wrapup (WeWu) for 8/26/18: a pineappled agave and a real pineapple

Another week has gone by in a hurry so time for another Weekend Wrapup (WeWu). Remember this is a completely random collection of vignettes—things that caught my eye or that I worked on during the week (and weekend).

Everytime to go to Woodland, I drive by a clump of Agave americana in front of one of the ranchettes along the rural road I take. I posted about it before, in February 2011. The clump is much smaller now but it's still there. Right now, this rather strange looking specimen is flowering:

Not only has this Agave americana been pineappled to within an inch of its life, they also chopped off the flower stalk as it was emerging. Not that it stopped it, but it's much shorter than it would otherwise be.

On Saturday I visited three gardens in the Walnut Creek area as part of the 2018 Local Garden Tour organized by the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I'll have separate posts about the gardens soon but I want to show you some interesting things I spotted on the way there.

How about an Airstream trailer hidden behind a prickly pear hedge?

There's even some bamboo!

Or this 1970s ranch-style house with a small desert garden and a beautiful Agave weberi?

Or an Agave americana taller than a mail truck?

Even though it was a busy week at work, I got a few small projects done in the garden. This poor Agave 'Royal Spine' (Agave macroacantha × victoriae-reginae), which sits on top of the front yard fence, definitely needed a larger pot. See the pup coming out the drainhole? 

Unfortunately, I had to sacrifice the drainhole pup to get the rest out of the pot (I didn't want to break the pot). Here's the mother plant in its larger home:

And here are the four pups I pulled off:

Agave × leopoldii 'Hammer Time' (Agave filifera × Agave schidigera) had been living in the same small pot for years, baking in the heat on top of the front yard fence. While that might have stunted its growth, it brought out a range of pinks and reds that I really like:

But it was time for a change, so I planted it in the larger of the two succulent mounds in the front yard:

Here's a wider view:

I also moved Mangave 'Kaleidoscope' into a spot where it gets more sun to bring out its purplish stress colors. It's planted in a Susan Aach container that I brought home from the 2018 Succulent Celebration at Waterwise Botanicals in San Diego.

Three new aloes, courtesy of my friend and fellow plant addict Brian Pyle:

Front: Aloe falcata and Aloe claviflora (both seed-grown). Back: Aloe verdoorniae.

And a large cutting from a "real" aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis), received as a freebie at one of the gardens I visited in Walnut Creek on Saturday:

It's funny, I have so many different aloe species, but this is the first time I've ever had the common aloe vera

While digging holes for new plants earlier in the summer, I severed two soaker hoses in the backyard. No wonder some plants were beginning to look thirsty! I decided to try sprinkler hoses; they emit a fine spray every 6 inches. I'm hoping this will cover a wider area than the soaker hoses did. I'll let you know in a future post.

Below are some snaps from Home Depot where I picked up these sprinkler hoses. (Home Depot was the only place that had sprinker hoses in a neutral color—who wants bright blue or green?)

This is the first time I've seen this do-it-yourself raised bed design: concrete blocks, rebar, and wooden sides.

I had to laugh when I saw these octopus agaves (Agave vilmoriniana). Folks, I'll give you handful of bulbils for free!

Another agave that keeps on giving: Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor'. Each of these had at least a dozen pups already.
Here's an agave species you don't often see in nurseries: Agave scrabra, now called Agave asperrima

Labeled Agave americana, but I've never seen green americana before so I doubt that's what it really is

I'd call this Opuntia santa-rita, but the label says Opuntia 'Sapphire Wave'. Creative license, I guess. Or maybe it really is a new cultivar.

I'm a big fan of succulent mixes like these. It's a reasonably cheap way to get a whole bunch of different plants all at once. Break them apart, plant them individually, and soon you'll have entire clumps.

A dwarf  pineapple (Ananas comosus) spotted in the houseplant section. I was tempted but I don't need yet another plant that needs heat and humidity to thrive—and needs to be brought inside in the winter.

My Home Depot purchase, Bougainvillea 'Raspberry Ice'. I was looking for a climbing variegated bougainvillea with white "flowers". This is the closest I got: mounding and reddish purple bracts. On the plus side, 'Raspberry Ice' is one of the hardiest bougainvillea cultivars: according to the label, down to 20°F (which I personally doubt).

I planted 'Raspberry Ice' next to the orange tree in the backyard in a spot that is in desperate need of a facelift. If I ever find a white-flowering climbing bougainvillea, it'll go to the left of it. My goal is to cover the ugly fence with something, well, less ugly.

You'll see more photos of this corner of the backyard in the weeks and months to come since that's where I'm focusing my energy at the moment.

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  1. I enjoyed your weekend wrap-up! That poor Agave americana...it seems that someone is out to get it.
    The airstream looked so at home with the opuntia and I enjoyed your shopping trip!

  2. So, you went to the two EIchlers, but I’m wondering which of the other two you visited? I’m guessing the one on Talisman Way, which is the one I enjoyed the most. However, the Pleaant Hill home featured a great collection of plants; but then I’m always most impressed by owner designed and executed gardens. Can’t wait to see your write up.

  3. Gerhard, can that sprinkler hose be curved ? I have been looking for alternatives to those I am using-the original Moisture Master soaker hoses soaked and sprinkled but MM is no more and knock off from Gilmour, Dramm etc only soak.

  4. Lots of fun stuff in this post. Poor Agave americana! I also have 'Raspberry Ice' but it stays in the greenhouse during the winter. Your Home Depot gets lots more agaves than ours!

  5. I love your stressed Agave 'Hammer Time'. The sprinkler hose is interesting and I'll be curious to hear what you think of its usefulness.

  6. Yep - your Home Depot is much better than ours - I've been watching the same, sad, aloe mite infested 'Erik the Red' plants for a few months now. I suppose I should tell a staff member there before they go home with an unsuspecting customer - but somehow I doubt they'd do anything.

  7. Interesting miscellany. Our local HD rarely if ever has Agaves for sale. I've never owned an Aloe 'Vera', either.


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