Monday, October 24, 2016

On my Front Door and in a Vase, on a Monday...

With a stormy weekend on the way I gathered a favorite twig wreath...

Foraged leaves and berries while out on the last dry dog walk...

Pulled together some crafty papers and tools...

And set to work trying to be all warm and fuzzy about the season. Then the wind started howling, the trees were bending...and the power went out. That's why there aren't any process shots. It was still light enough outside I could see to work by the windows, but just barely. Certainly not light enough to take photos while I created.

Since Andrew was watching me work I handed him some paper, and scissors, and asked for bats — he did well.

I wanted to make black flowers for Halloween but I'm still not sure I did the right thing by putting them on this wreath. Maybe just a touch too crafty for me to be 100% comfortable with...

I do love the leaves and berries though.

What do you think? Would it be better with out the flowers?

Actually once you step back and see the bats the flowers do make more sense, the "Halloween theme" comes through...or am I just rationalizing?

Since the contents of last week's vase were looking rather sad, I went ahead and filled it up with freshly cut bits.

At the back a yellowed Tetrapanax leaf and toward the front colored-up Cotinus cuttings...

Mixed in is the rest of my purple basil, a couple of Darlingtonia californica that were smashed down by a falling branch, pieces of last week's Amsonia hubrichtii and some dried up fern fronds.

It positively reeks of autumn! (but actually smells really good because of the basil).

So, as you probably know by now, Rambling in the Garden is the place to go for links to all the bloggers with vase creations to share this Monday...

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens

Let's go back to Santa Barbara shall we? It was July, and we'd walked up to Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden. Andrew found it on the map and it looked promising. Across the street was this gorgeous church surrounded by palms of every size (small, medium and large).

No fishing? No swimming?

No skateboards? No bicycles? No alcoholic beverages? No adult soccer? What kind of a park is this anyway???

Ah, one with great plants! It's also a water-wise demonstration garden with plant lists available for the taking (an online version here) and brochures about how to reduce water use in home gardens. Check out those bloom-spikes!...(bloom-droops?)...I believe this is a Brahea armata (Blue Hesper Palm).

Somehow swimming wasn't the first thing that came to mind when I saw the pond. That color doesn't exactly say "jump in" does it?

Although this little guy appears to be enjoying himself.


It was a very lively place, that pond.

Ceiba speciosa or maybe C. insignis.

And a ginormous Brugmansia.

The delicate blooms on this patch-o-Cannas were quite fabulous.

But we eventually swung back around by the pond...

And the turtles!

So many turtles.

The waterlilies were nice too...

It's a sea of snakes! Or Foxtail Fern aka Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'. I love this dense planting, especially with the Erythrina flowers peaking in on the left.

This tree! It was (and is) beautiful...

I believe it's Eucalyptus (Corymbia) ficifolia.

I searched the ground for fallen seed pods but found none.

Ah! The succulent section...

This garden unfolded with one impressive planting after another...

I read various accounts of how the garden came to be, but basically after a fire destroyed the existing buildings, the block was slated for high-rise development (to much opposition from the community which effectively killed the project). Various other uses were proposed, including one by the Santa Barbara Art Museum, but none worked out. So "in December 1975, affluent resident Alice Keck Park purchased the property and donated it to the City of Santa Barbara" (source)... by some accounts the donation was done on the condition of anonymity until after her death.

How do they keep this Dyckia so clean!? (I believe it's D. 'Jim's Red')

Aloe plicatilis, now Kumara plicatilis

I wanted to give these poor Agave parryi a nice big drink!

Maybe Aloe brevifolia (blooming)

So did you notice this bad boy in one of the earlier photos? I'd seen it from a distance and wondered what it was, then when I got closer and saw the trunk, well I had to go "off path" and get even closer.

This is why! There are little pups all over it...

It looks like an Agave, but the trunk? Only a few Agaves form trunks, what could it be? I consulted the plant list but didn't find any Agaves on the list that were contenders.

An internet search turned up this post from my friend Gerhard, turns out he'd spotted this same plant when driving by which had him pulling over. He captioned his photo "Variegated Agave sisalana or tequilana? I can’t tell, but it was HUGE!"...(it didn't look to be pup-covered when he saw it)...

This is when things get interesting for me (I'll try to keep it short). While I was in Phoenix last week I went plant shopping with my brother. He and my sister-in-law picked out a plant that wasn't labeled but I thought was a Furcraea. I took to Facebook asking for answers only find more questions, people were fairly confident it was an Agave though. Finally I decided to email Gerhard and he identified it as Agave sisalana ‘Variegata’ — an ID that I think is correct — so indeed my brother's plant was an Agave after-all, not a Furcraea.

BUT this searching to ID it, and pouring back over the plant list, I noticed the name Furcraea selloa var marginata. An internet search sent me to the San Marcos Growers website where I saw a photo of a very similar looking plant (here). I'm going with F. selloa var marginata as the ID...

A Furcraea, whaddaya know? So I wonder, did it bloom and now it's producing these pups by the million? I saw no indication of a bloom, but it was quite a bit taller than me, so had the spike been removed carefully I may not have seen it. Perhaps something else is causing it to go into reproductive over-drive?

Anyway, I thought it very interesting. Oh and here's a trio of another Furcraea, these F. macdougallii.

I'll end this visit with a look at a gorgeous Parkinsonia aculeata...

Oh Santa Barbara, why must you be such an expensive place to live!!! Don't you know I belong there?

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.