Thursday, July 9, 2020

Plants help keep me sane

One week ends and another begins, but both seem the same. It's that sameness that's beginning to get to me. The near term is completely murky, and visibility isn't much better three or four months out. It's impossible to make travel plans, not just for the summer but also for the fall. Some people have started referring to 2020 as the “Lost Year.” That's not all that far-fetched!

Everybody deals with uncertainty differently. I think it's easier for us gardeners because we have something in our lives that brings us joy. The fact that our plants need us, even marginally, also helps. Let's face it, we all need to feel needed.

You know what else helps? Buying new plants. Believe me, I have a lot of experience in that department! Here are three new additions to our garden:

×Mangave 'Tooth Fairy' (Agave macroacantha and Agave shawii crossed with a purple-spotted Manfreda)

Puya coerulea var. coerulea, the truly silver clone from San Marcos Growers

Centaurea ragusina, a rarely seen knapweed from Croatia. I actually like the dandelion-like flowers.

Beyond these new purchases, there's plenty of existing beauty in the garden. On some days, I have to force myself to see it, but it's always there. 

Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' and Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'

Yellow-flowering kangaroo paw (NOID Anigozanthos) in front of Agave 'Crazy Horse' (Agave cupreata × asperrima)

Agave parrasana, acting like it might be getting ready to flower, in front of Agave parrasana × colorata

One of three Baja fairy dusters (Calliandra californica) along the sidewalk; all three are flower-producing power houses. The aloe on the right is a hybrid between Aloe spectabilis and Aloe vaombe. It should get fairly sizable over time.

As we continue to navigate uncharted waters, it'll become even more important to focus on the things that keep us sane. For me, our garden will play a big role even if, at times, I have to push myself to really see what's there.


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14 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous Mangave! And the Puya too. Great that you have it up and out of the way, so there will be no bloody shins. Plant therapy is an excellent way to deal with the ongoing uncertainty. It is hard not to lose hope that we will see the other side of this by year's end. 2020, a very strange and yes, lost year.

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    1. Buying new plants means believing in the future, right?

      I already had a Mangave 'Tooth Fairy' but it was much smaller. I find it to be very slow growing, so I jumped at the chance of buying a larger plant in a 2-gallon container for a great price.

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  2. Plants need us and we need them too. I love that Puya placement; it's very elegant.
    I read somewhere a funny definition of an optimist: a 90 year old gardner who plants two oak tree seedlings, and then looks through a catalog for a hammock...

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    1. You're right, that's the ultimate expression of optimism! We can all draw inspiration from that!

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  3. It's great to see what my 'Tooth Fairy' might look like when she grows up! I too find my garden the saving grace inside of the hellish mess that shows no sign of ending. I have a no summer planting rule with the only official exception being succulents. I routinely break that rule but this year I'm effectively ignoring it. I received a Mountain Crest order yesterday (4 Mangaves + one Haworthia) and I received the first of two Annie's orders earlier this afternoon. The second is due next week. I've also made a couple of visits to my local garden center within the past 2 weeks...Sanity comes at a price after all.

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    1. It's only money, ha ha. And sanity is priceless, as that old Visa commercial used to say :-)

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  4. Because I am working from home this spring and summer , I feel more connected to my garden than ever. It has offset the lack of travel a bit. There has been much plant mail order , but I really need to dial that back, it's just getting too hot to install new plants. Way to much heat this spring and summer for my taste.

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    1. I've been defying the heat and planting new plants, but they require way more TLC than I'm used to giving. Time to accept the fact that the planting window has closed until the fall.

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  5. "the lost year"... that's certainly how it feels. Everybody take a time-out! Thank god for our gardens and the fact nurseries have been "essential" here since the beginning.

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    1. The upswing in business for nurseries has been one of the very few bright spots of 2020. They really deserve the extra revenue, esp. the smaller independent nurseries.

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  6. I feel very low at times but the garden never fails to cheer me up. I'd be a mess--even more of a mess--without it.

    All of your plants are beauties. The Mangave is a great architectural shape. I've grown a Centaurea ragusina for a couple of years and wish I could find a couple more to buy. It's a favorite. It stays low, but gets pretty wide. The flowers don't seem to produce seed.

    Keep gardening! It helps.

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    1. Good to hear about your experience with Centaurea ragusina. I got mine from San Marcos Growers (via a landscaper friend), and they're sold out now.

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  7. I know the feeling. "This too shall pass"

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    1. It has to! Fortunately, time seems to be going by pretty quickly!

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