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!'