Odds and ends, late June 2024

Quite a few of the photos I take in our garden never make it into any of my posts because they don’t fit a particular theme. But that doesn’t mean they’re not pretty / useful / interesting. Here’s a late June 2024 collection of some of these odds and ends.

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I’ve shown you a lot of blooming cacti in recent weeks, but those weren’t the only flowers in June. Here are a few others – even a green one.

Gasterias are South African succulents closely related to aloes (they’re able to cross-breed). The genus name comes from the Greek word for stomach, because the flowers are shaped like tiny stomachs. The flower below is from a Gasteria acinacifolia.

Gasteria acinacifolia

Our Eucalyptus macrocarpa has been a shy bloomer, but it finally produced one of its spectacular flowers. I wish there were more, but it’s a beautiful plant even without flowers. Just look at these leaves!

Eucalyptus macrocarpa

There are two basic types of eucalyptus: gum trees (single-stemmed and massive) and mallees (essentially multi-stemmed shrubs). Eucalyptus macrocarpa is a mallee. It’s known to produce stems that grow every which way, often resulting in a somewhat unkempt look. I don’t really mind that, but I do prune it as needed to prevent it from going totally wild.

Alyogyne ‘Ruth Bancroft’ is a spontaneous hybrid between Alyogyne huegelii and Alyogyne hakeifolia, two hibiscus relatives from the southern part of Australia. As the cultivar name suggests, this hybrid was first discovered at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. The main bloom is in spring, but it flowers on and off into fall. The flowers are the very definition of ethereal.

Alyogyne 'Ruth Bancroft'

Alyogyne 'Ruth Bancroft'

The chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) towering above the sidewalk bed is in full bloom and abuzz with bees. The bluish purple flowers harmonize beautifully with this Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’.

Vitex agnus-castus and Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'

Most aloes flower in the cooler seasons, but there are a few summer bloomers, like this Aloe tomentosa. The species name means “covered in hairs” – an apt description for the flowers.

Aloe tomentosa

When we think of flowers, we don’t typically think of the color green. In reality, green flowers are quite common in nature (there are thousands of grasses with green flowers), but because they don’t stick out much, we don’t notice them. The green flower below (Deuterocohnia abstrusa × longipetela) does stick out – both literally and figuratively.

Deuterocohnia abstrusa × longipetela

I’m always on the lookout for small groundcovers that go well with succulents, both visually and in terms of watering needs. Here’s one I’ve been trialing for a few months, Artemisia pedemontana, native to Southern Europe. It’s done very well, and it has stayed low to the ground.

Artemisia pedemontana

I have many hechtias in the garden, both in containers and in the ground. Armed with ferocious teeth, they’re not exactly user-friendly plants, but they’re oh so beautiful. Here are a few recent standouts.

Hechtia lanata × myriantha, a Ray Lemieux/Tropiflora hybrid

Hechtia roseana ‘Mr. Freckles’, an Andy Siekkinen selection

Hechtia ‘Wildfire’, an Andy Siekkinen hybrid

Speaking of teeth: Very few genera do teeth as well as agaves:

Agave ‘Lion’s Mane’ (either a cultivar of A. titanota or A. oteroi, or a hybrid)

Agave (isthmensis × potatorum ‘Spawn’) × shawii, a Jeremy Spath hybrid

Agave titanota × ‘Blue Glow’, another Jeremy Spath hybrid

Agave nuusaviorum, closely related to A. potatorum

Agave impressa

Bud imprints, Agave ‘Baccarat’, now thought to be a natural intergrade between Agave gentryi and Agave montana

It’s been a while since I’ve featured mangaves. Here are a few in the garden.

×Mangave ‘Praying Hands’

×Mangave ‘Pineapple Punch’

×Mangave ‘Foxy Lady’

×Mangave ‘Lavender Lady’

Many cycads produce new flushes of leaves in the summer. Here are two recent examples:

Encephalartos friderici-guilielmi

Cycas revoluta, the common sago palm

I’ve been doing a long-term trial of dudleyas since 2021. I really need to write an update, but in the meantime here’s one that has done exceptionally well, a hybrid called Dudleya ‘Frank Reinelt’. I’ve seen it for sale in several mainstream nurseries in Southern California.

Dudleya ‘Frank Reinelt’

And finally an update on the Kosmik Kolor succulent I rescued from the clearance rack at Lowe’s last November, a NOID haworthia or haworthiopsis painted a garish blue. It looked like this when I brought it home:

November 2023

Now it looks like this:
In another six months or so, it will have shed all the painted leaves. Fingers crossed!


© Gerhard Bock, 2024. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.

Comments

  1. Lovely array--E. macrocarpa has such magnificent flowers, let alone the powder white foliage. If a plantsman or plantswoman discovers a dwarf seedling with a more orderly growing habit--I'd be first in line to buy one.

    Typo--Aloe titanota instead of tomentosa (haha Agaves on the brain!). My tomentosa still has never flowered, grrrrr!

    Beautiful Dudleya--will have to look for it.

    Cheering for the "Kosmic" plant liberating itself from its blue latex prison!

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    1. Like you, I hope somebody somewhere will discover a dwarf form of Eucalpytus macrocarpa.

      Thanks for pointing out the typo - fixed now.

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  2. All photos worth sharing! I admire that Alyogyne every time you show it; however, the photo of the chaste tree elicited a deep sigh. I planted a 4-inch plant Vitex agnus-castus in 2017 and it's still no taller than a foot and of course has never bloomed. The Yucca rostrata I bought by mail order from the same source in 2019, also in a 4-inch pot, has done a little better but it's still on the dinky side. I think I need to go bigger with my purchases! The Artemisia is a nice find.

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    1. Wow, the slow growth on your chaste tree really surprises me. They usually grow very quickly. Maybe a lack of heat?

      Yucca rostrata is very slow initially, but it does pick up speed as it gets bigger. Is yours in the ground?

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  3. These are lovely, I'm glad you went back and shared them. I really like Artemisia, so soft looking.That Eucalyptus macrocarpa, I'm so jealous. I've killed a few Eucalyptus. I would give it one more try for that white foliage. The agaves are stupendous!

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    1. My Eucalyptus macrocarpa is from Troy. It's listed as out of stock on his website, but maybe contact him directly?

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  4. I love these type posts and really enjoy seeing all your exceptional plants! I have a small xMangave 'Praying Hands' but it is in the shade for now here in Phoenix and, of course, it is not curving inward. Such a dilemma here to try to keep plants from burning but get in enough sun to do what they are supposed to do! I am so sad about another plant, my Aloe tormentosa, that grew big and bloomed beautifully until we got record heat and I water it and it died in no time. I got another one but it will be many years before it ever blooms ... too long for me to see it! Well, that's enough of my sad story!

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    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed this post. I never know whether people will be interested in these odds and ends.

      'Praying Hands': I've seen Agave ocahui in full sun at the Desert Botanical Garden. Maybe put your 'Praying Hands' in morning sun?

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    2. I’ll try it and really watch for damage!

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  5. Lots of fun to see a random assortment of plants and their parts that have caught your eye. I have a lemon eucalyptus planted out this year. Incredible scent. Will definitely try to overwinter this one. It will never be large like yours but a fun novelty. I am glad to see the little Haworthia is outgrowing it's hideous blue paint.

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    1. I didn't have high hopes for that hideously painted haworthia, but apparently the paint doesn't stop photosynthesis entirely. That's good news for the thousands of painted succulents out there. I hope people won't toss them when they shed the painted leaves.

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  6. Your blue punk rock friend is most likely Gasteraloe. It's a weird extremely common plant sold in the zillions usually without any id. I've seen it actually identified once or twice, but can never remember what it is. However, it's not Haworthiopsis. I collect Gasteria, Gasteraloe, but mostly Haworthia/Tulista/Haworthiopsis. I have haws in the hundreds and probably 40ish Gast/Gasteraloe (including this one) along with about the same number of aloes and maybe 10 very small agaves (space constraints, must be in greenhouse/house in winter and wrong conditions/no space in ground.)
    Not Haworthia.

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    1. Thank you so much for your explanation. I was hoping that an expert like you would chime in. I'll change the ID to Gasteraloe.

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  7. "Addict" might be a better description than "expert" 😆. Still learning, lots to master as far as ID within the Haworthia family due to many reclassifications. However, I did some double-checking. This one is definitely Gasteraloe. The most common id for this is Gasteraloe 'Flow'.

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    1. Haha, we're all addicts. Gasteraloe 'Flow', I've heard that name before, but didn't really know what it looked like.

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