Monday, May 23, 2011

Rapture Day at Rare Plant Research

Only this Rapture comes not once in a lifetime, but once a year. Last Saturday was the first day of the annual Rare Plant Research Open House Weekend, when the public is invited to step inside the greenhouses at Rare Plant Research (normally only wholesale). Where better to spend the last day of life as we know it on earth than walking among the Agaves, Aloes and Dasylirion? I feared that I would be feeling a little jaded this time around after all I’ve been to this open house 6 years in a row now…but not to worry the plants and the atmosphere worked it’s magic on me once again. Here are many (hopefully not too many) pictures from the day, names noted whenever known. Unknown Kniphofia, I think I take this same picture every single year. I just love the regal-ness of this blooming clump, I wish I could transport it to my garden just like this! Agave attenuata (left) and Agave americana 'Variegata' (right) Bromeliad assortment A group of Cordyline terminalis Manihot esculenta 'Variegata' This year Burl (the RPR owner) tried something different and had garden designers there to help people incorporate their plant purchases into their gardens, plus a lot of containers available for purchase on the spot. I can’t help but think these moves, as well as the continued popularity of succulents, helped this be a successful and worthwhile event for him, at least I hope so.

These beauties are Furcraea. Mother of Thousands, or Kalanchoe daigremontiana. These leaves not only have jagged spurs on the edges but on the bottom underside of the leaves (danger!) This one was in the greenhouse where most of the plants are not for sale, and there was no tag. It sure looks Schefflera-like. Next up are the ones that stole my heart, but sadly stayed behind. These large Dasylirion wheeleri were only $39.50. This plant is pretty hard to find in these parts and I’ve never seen ones this big for sale. Irrationally (because I already have three of this same plant) I wanted them all. Huge Ensete maurelii for only $29.50! Any other year I would have snatched up one of these super fast! But thanks to encouragement from Joseph at Greensparrow Gardens I successfully over-wintered my three plants from last year. Of course they look pretty sickly right now but I have hope for them. Oh, and since I wasn’t buying one for myself I successfully talked two other people into buying them.

This one is my big *want* from the sale. I think it’s a nice mature Yucca ‘linearifolia' and it was only $140. I know. I should have figured out a way to buy it. This is one I’m going to be regretting for a long long time. I hope it found a good home.

This one I tried to buy, but I wasn’t allowed. That’s one of the fun quirks of this sale, some things are pets, or like this one, plants in “trial.” I asked, I almost begged (especially when he went on to describe the mature foliage as being “agave-like”) but Burl explained that this plant was grown from seed brought back from South Africa. He's still testing it out for hardiness before selling it. Had I been a quick thinker I would have pointed out the advantage of testing plants in multiple gardens and volunteered to let the plant have a spot in my garden.

So here’s my haul (in the white cardboard flat)…the Aeonium ‘Salad Bowl’ (lower left) I picked up for a friend who couldn’t make it. Cordyline terminalis 'Lilinoe’ Araeococeus flagellifolius, "an unusual bromeliad that looks like a maroon-orange grass with blue flowers" Senecio mandraliscae (for only $4 I had to grab a couple). Aloe dorotheae, "Native to east Africa, this aloe only grows to about 8" wide and turns a translucent orange when grown in full sun." And lastly a Dyckia hybrid. During the open house visitors are free to roam around the grounds of the owner's (Burl and Cindy Mostul) home, just a short walk up the hill behind the nursery. I am always curious to see what they’ve got growing up there and think it’s well worth the walk. So if you’re a local reader I’d love to hear if you made it to the sale and what you bought …especially if you bought “my” Yucca ‘linearifolia!'


  1. A lot of interesting plants here. I have that Kalanchoe!!

  2. Burl really needs to trial that amazing anonymous plant in zone 10. What a great annual event, Loree. And nice haul!

  3. Looks like a great time, I have not been to the new place. Wish I had the time off, but always have to work that day. I did make it to the Elk Rock sale before work instead......

  4. It's that Manihot that trips my trigger. Still, you got some great shots here. What a great way to spend the day. Being enraptured while waiting to be raptured. :)

  5. We went to the Rhododendron seminar at Joy Creek instead. Next year I need to find an enthusiastic companion to make that trip south.

  6. Oh..I so nearly went. It was so cold and gray I couldn't get myself going...
    Next year , for sure!

  7. What cool plants, many look like something you would see under the sea. I clicked to enlarge one of the shots and that gave me a better look at the house, and wow, it is just as cool as the plants.

  8. Darla, I would too if it would have been for sale!

    Denise, I'll let him know!

    Beech Street, I wish I could have seen the old place. The few pictures that I have seen make it look charming.

    Grace, I was excited when I first saw it (the Manihot) but then decided it was just TOO busy.

    ricki, ya gotta go!!!

    linda, it was perfect inside the greenhouses. When it's actually sunny out it gets too hot in there.

    Les, it's pretty over the top huh? They are enclosing a courtyard too where they can keep all the big exotic tender plants up at the jealous.

  9. Looks slightly similar to a Bulbine latifolia, which is agave-rosette-like, without the spines. Or Bulbinella?

    Must have been a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. The variegated manihot is very cool. I've grown the green version but not this one. As to the "sheffleria" without a name, I wonder if it might be one of the other Manihot species in their all-green form.

    Very cool place, with cool plants.

  11. HI LOREE! It was good to see you at the sale and meet your husband! My favorite find was the Euphorbia Continifolia. Since we had a nice sunny day today, it was stunning in all its redness when it was backlit......

    FYI..the white flower photo is Hymenocallis Narcissifolia lovely!

  12. I actually saw a knif almost exactly like that yesterday at...are you ready for this?...Means.

  13. If there's a heaven, it would look like this :-)

  14. AnonymousMay 11, 2012

    I know this is an old blog, but I've been searching for the name of the plant that is photo 16 on this page. Do you know what it is?


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!