Showing posts from December, 2023

This and that, final edition of 2023

Every now and then, I collect random photos and put them into a “This and That” post. This is the last one for 2023. One reliable December bloomer is Veltheimia capensis , the Cape lily, a summer-deciduous bulb from South Africa. What you see below started out as one bulb, which I bought in 2011 from Nick Wilkinson Grow Nursery in Cambria). This year, there are six bulbs/flowers. There would be more, but I’ve given away a few over the years. December may be a quiet time of year for most plants, but it’s when dudleyas kick into high gear. I’ve been trialing a number of different species ; the jury is still out on some of them, but it’s safe to say that hybrids are among the top performers. The clump below is an unnamed hybrid I bought at Lowe’s: Aechmea fasciata is a fairly common houseplant, usually called the silver vase or urn plant. I’ve had a clump growing outside in a hanging basket, and it’s braved all the vagaries the elements have thrown at it. Its flowers last six months or

Found another one!

In a recent post , I mentioned that I found an Agave simplex hidden under a Euphorbia misera shrub – lost to both sunlight and memory (mine). In a garden as small as ours, something like that couldn’t possibly happen more than once. At least that’s what I thought. And I was wrong. A week after rediscovering Agave simplex , I uncovered yet another buried plant. Two, actually: one fully buried and one half buried. Take a look at the flowering Salvia ‘Marine Blue’ below: Focus on the areas indicated by the red squares: After moving some of the salvia stems aside, this is what I found: Juvenile  Aloe ‘Erik the Red’ at top left Aloe dhufarensis × secundiflora at center right (the plant at the bottom is Aloe karasbergensis ) Aloe dhufarensis × secundiflora is an oddball hybrid I picked up at Rancho Soledad Nursery on my February 2023 San Diego trip . It hasn’t flowered yet, and I have no clue whether it’s even a garden-worthy plant. The potential is there, but time will tell. Even thou

Happy holidays ☮️🕯️❤️

W e have several Christmas light projectors, but for reasons I can’t quite remember, we didn’t use them in previous years. It must have been simple inertia, because all you need to do is plug them in and turn them on. This year, though, I felt motivated and set up them in the front yard. It’s nothing like the Garden of D’Lights at the Ruth Bancroft Garden , which I saw a couple of weeks ago, but it’s our very own laser light show, and we can enjoy it every night without leaving home. It’s impossible to fully capture the experience, but thanks to the magic of technology these photos and videos are a good approximation. ➤ As you enter the front yard... ➤ Next to the front door... ➤ On the edge of the front porch ... ➤ Succulent mound #1... On that note, I want to wish all of you H appy Holidays – whatever holiday you might be celebrating – and a H appy New Year. No matter what 2024 may bring, our gardens will be there for us, giving us peace and tranquility whenever we need it. ☮

Look what I got at a succulent gift exchange!

On Tuesday, I attended the Solstice Party of the San Francisco Cactus & Succulent Society (SFCSS). It’s one the year’s biggest events, with plenty of great food and great company. One of the highlights is the gift exchange. It’s different from a traditional White Elephant exchange where each gift is wrapped and the identity of the bringer is unknown. Here, the gifts (mostly plants) are left unwrapped and labeled with the name of the person who brought them. The member whose gift is voted to be the most desirable overall gets to go first. The gift they pick determines who goes next, and so on. This encourages participants to bring “nicer” gifts so they’re called early. I brought a ×Mangave ‘Praying Hands’, which was chosen reasonably early. I knew what I wanted: this Euphorbia ammak ‘Variegata’ cutting: Paul McGregor, the member who brought this Euphorbia ammak ‘Variegata’ cutting , told me that he had taken it that morning from his 15 ft. plant. I’d wanted a Euphorbia ammak ‘V

Giant sea squill has a baby

In the photo below, take a look at the plant on the right: Several neighbors walking by have asked me recently what it was, thinking it might be a succulent. It may not be, depending on your definition of succulents (more on that below), but it fits right in, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s a giant sea squill ( Drimia maritima ), a large bulb native to rocky coastal habitat of the Mediterranean Basin. In response to the area’s summer dry/winter wet climate (just like ours), it’s in leaf in the winter and spring, goes dormant in the summer, and produces flowers in the fall. Our Drimia maritima is about 20 years old and has been solitary. Until now. Take a look at what’s peeking out between the mother plant on the right and the Agave nuusaviorum on the left: It’s a baby sea squill. I suppose I should (re)move that rock to the left of it to make room for the baby to grow! I originally bought my bulb in September 2013 at the Home Depot (i.e. 10 years ago) for $15.98. It was an impressive size