Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Spring in South Africa, courtesy of UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

In my previous post I showed you a selection of seasonal standouts in the Australian Garden at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum—plants that looked particularly good when I was there on April 13, 2019.

This post essentially does the same for the South African Garden. While most conebushes (genus Leucadendron) and sugarbushes (genus Protea) were a few months past their prime, many pincushions (genus Leucospermum) were in full flower.

It's easy to fall in love with pincushions, but unless you have the right environment, they're not easy to grow—at least in my experience (current kill count: 4). I think Davis is just a tad too hot in the summer for their liking. In contrast, leucadendrons have an easier time here.

Fortunately, I can always drive to Santa Cruz to get my Leucospermum fill. It's a little over two hours by car if the traffic gods are in a good mood—so a quick one-day outing is doable. A weekend getaway would be even better, of course, except I never manage to plan that far ahead.

But enough yakking already. Time to let the plants shine!

Leucospermum gueinzii

Most pincushions used in landscaping seem to be hybrids, no doubt because of the wider range of flower sizes and colors available. In contrast, most leucospermums at the UCSC Arboretum are species, some of which quite rare in cultivation.

Leucospermum gueinzii

Leucospermum gueinzii

Leucospermum gueinzii

Leucospermum grandiflorum

Leucospermum conocarpodendron

Leucospermum conocarpodendron

Leucospermum glabrum next to Jason Fann's Spirit Nest

Leucospermum glabrum

Leucospermum glabrum

Leucospermum glabrum

Leucospermum glabrum
  
Leucospermum reflexum var. luteum

Leucospermum reflexum var. luteum

Leucospermum reflexum var. luteum

Leucospermum reflexum var. luteum

Leucospermum 'Tango' (L. lineare × L. glabrum)

Leucospermum 'Tango' (L. lineare × L. glabrum)
  
Leucospermum cordifolium

Leucospermum cordifolium

Leucospermum cordifolium

Leucospermum 'Spider' (L. tottum × L. formosum)

Leucospermum 'Spider' (L. tottum × L. formosum)

Leucospermum 'Spider' (L. tottum × L. formosum)

While conebushes (genus Leucadendron) are typically at their most colorful in the winter, I found some that were peaking now.

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron discolor

Leucadendron strobilinum

Leucadendron strobilinum

Leucadendron strobilinum

Leucadendron strobilinum

Leucadendron strobilinum
  
Leucadendron tinctum, actually nowhere near its peak but looking cool already


I don't know what species of Leucadendron this is, but it contrasts beautifully with a large clump of Rhodocoma gigantea

Leucadendron 'Jester', one of my favorite conebushes because it looks great all year round

A few more bloomers of note:

Protea obtusifolia

Protea obtusifolia

Greyia sutherlandii, a deciduous shrub rarely seen in Northern California

The flowers of Greyia sutherlandii are outlandishly bright

Greyia sutherlandii

Erica cerinthoides 'Scarlet Santa Cruz', one of literally dozens of Cape heath species at the Arboretum

Erica baueri. This Pacific Horticulture article from July 2000 describes the major species growing at the UCSC Arboretum.

If you're ever in the San Francisco/San Jose/Monterey area, the UCSC Arboretum should be at the very top of your must-see list. It really is that special.


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4 comments:

  1. Don't give up on growing Leucospermums, Gerhard. I'd also killed at least 3 but the fact that there were a couple growing in my own neighborhood, one of which is easily 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide, proved they could survive here. I've got 5 now 2 of these in large pots.

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  2. Very interesting to see the species, as for sale here all are hybrids or selections. The white P. obtusifolia is very striking.

    The Leucadendrons are better the closer to the coast they get (cool, moist air?), and in the soil here they are not at all xeric. Ditto for Leucospermums.

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  3. Normally I prefer the saturated colour of the Greyia (fabulous plant) but the creamy white of the Leucadendron discolor is something very special. If hardy I would grow both of them in a heartbeat.

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