Friday, January 30, 2015

My favorite plants in the garden, for January 2015

It's that time again, the end of the month (January is over!!!) and a wrap-up post of my favorite plants in the garden...

This beauty, Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea', took my breath away while I was working in the shade pavilion greenhouse (written about yesterday). Those leaves, those tiny yellow pom-pom blooms.

In fact the only thing I don't love about this plant is that it's not hardy in the ground here in Portland, so it has to live in a container.

Native to Australia this small tree is rumored to be hardy to USDA Zone 7 but I'm not going to experiment, it's too hard to find. I think the 20-25F quoted by San Marcos Growers is a little more realistic, although in their written description they then say 15-20F (nurseries never can agree it seems!). New growth in the late spring/summer has a purple cast, hence the name.

In the ground it will eventually reach 20-30 ft tall and wide, and of course likes full sun.

It's a keeper.

The week before this yucca caught my eye...

That one there, up against the neighbor's garage.

I got it from a friend, who (if I remember right) called it Yucca aloifolia 'Variegata'. I planted it where I did so that it would be a focal plant as you entered the back garden. Of course (once again) I failed to consider that it would be buried behind the Melianthus major 'Antonow's Blue' several months of the year (I just cut back the melianthus, which is why the yucca is now shining bright).

Hardy to USDA Zone 7a this yucca can eventually reach 7 ft tall and 3 ft wide. It likes the usual things, sun and well draining soil. It's a winner!

Unlike this wimp of a plant (Yucca 'Bright Star' aka Yucca gloriosa 'Walbristar') who I am officially done with. Who needs a plant that looks like this until July when it finally grows out of it?

So those are my January favorites, along with the Mahonia gracilipes I wrote about back on January 16th. I know you must have a favorite or five in your garden, even in January! Please tell us about them...

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mid-winter check in (with the prisoners)...

The sun was shining, the temperatures were mild, it was finally time. Time for the mid-winter check in. Time to take enough of those prisoners out of the shade pavilion that I could actually get in there and see how everyone is doing. Heck maybe even give them a little drink?

This is the view that greets you as you try to enter. That charming (custom!) cement pedestal is where the heater sits if it's needed, it hasn't been needed much this season so the surface is currently covered in plants.

And there are plants spilling out of the door too, of course.

But wait! There is actually some room in there, once you get the cement out of the way. Of course on the cold nights when the heater is on that space is stuffed full of things, things that were out of frame in the first few shots. In case you're wondering 21F is the lowest my garden has seen this winter, and we've had 3 events (one each in November, December, and January) where temps have been in the 20's at night.

I still haven't upgraded from the super chic cement and wood shelving. I doubt I will, it's just too easy (and free).

Looking good!

This is curious. A desiccated worm perhaps?

Thankfully I didn't find any unexpected guests (an infestation) or death. The Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' still looks good. Fingers crossed that continues, these can be notoriously tricky and in fact I've lost one previously.

The Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' I picked up at the Ruth Bancroft Garden during the 2013 Garden Blogger's Fling is still looking good, as is the Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ (visible in the 5th photo from the top).

I have heard tell that leucadendrons can be very difficult to overwinter in a climate where they're not hardy. In fact I've had two just up and die for no apparent reason what so ever, most recently the L. 'Safari Sunset' I brought back from Flowerland last fall. So naturally I brought one back from San Deigo at Christmas time! (I guess I like a challenge) Leucadendron salignum 'Winter Red'...

The brugmansia is done flowering and thankfully has retained some of its leaves.

So that's it for inside the "greenhouse," but since I was out with the camera I thought we'd take a look at the Agave ovatifolia and A.lophantha 'Splendida' which have spent winter (most days) under the PVC hut (written about here)...

Looking good!

Oops! My camera has strayed. Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' - I'm so glad it survived the move to this new location where it can go crazy (and it is)...

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl', I wonder if it's fixing to bloom this spring?

So as turns out I was on a roll, why not tackle the indoor plants too?

Things have been pretty much ignored since I brought them inside back in October.

Time to go through and look each one of them over, and like outside, offer up a little water.

I do laundry once a week, and the machines are just a few feet to the side, so I do frequently look at these plants. Just not up close and personal. Doing a close check-over like this I'm always a little concerned about what I might find. This one (below) is a mystery. One of the Agave desmettiana has this darker splotches all over it's leaves. No insects, no signs of real damage. I'd say it was freeze damage except it's been in the basement where the temperature hasn't dropped much below 60. Any guesses?

The Greenovia aurea 'Gran Canaria Form' is telling me it's a little thirsty.

Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor', looking brilliant.

Oxalis, oh how I wish ye gone from my garden, and my containers...

Interesting pattern on these leaves.

Soon to be flowers on my Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis...

Finally! I've never been successful with leaf propagation of succulents. No doubt this one worked becase I didn't even know it was happening.

Healthy little bugger.

This is interesting. I give you Aloe dorotheae, exhibit A

Aloe dorotheae, exhibit B

Aloe dorotheae, exhibit C...all three growing just inches apart from each other, under the same conditions since October. Bizarre coloration eh?

This is interesting too, although not in a "neato" way, more of an "oh damn" way...this is my largest Agave 'Joe Hoak'...

And this is what I found on the lower leaves.

Mealybugs, a form of scale.

At first I thought maybe it was cochineal, because when I smashed them (as I did with my gloved fingers) they released a red fluid. Further research pointed to mealybugs. Thankfully I can only find them on this one plant, which I'm treating with the same solution that Gerhard wrote about on his blog.

And I'm watching little Joey to make sure he doesn't follow in his big brother's footsteps. Gardening, it ain't all fun and games...

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A surprise at the big box...

As you may remember, when traveling I like to drop in the orange big box store (or similar) to take the gardening pulse of the area. To find out what the average (non-nursery and plant crazed), home owner might see and decide to take home. Last September, while in Oakland, I had a little time to kill before picking Andrew up (from a bookstore of course) and remembered seeing a Home Depot near the freeway. What I wasn't expecting was to find more of this...

The work of Mark Bulwinkle, the artist I mentioned yesterday in my post about The Dry Garden.

Of course I then needed to spend a little time online, finding out more about this guy and what his artwork is doing in a Home Depot parking lot. I spent a lot of time on his website, and found this page with pictures of the artwork at the plaza, seems I missed a few!

I also missed the dedication plaque which reads "In 1992 the American artist, Mark Bulwinkle, created the steel sculptures you see here and throughout the parking lots of The East Bay Bridge Shopping Center. To all the children who lived on his block in Oakland, Mr. Bulwinkle dedicated these sculptures. Peace and Happiness."

If you followed the link above you may have also ended up on the page with the artists comments on the shopping center project, worth the read, I think.

So eventually I made it over to the big box store...

Where I saw "#1 Backyard Cactus Asstd"...I wonder why it has to go in the backyard?

Agave celsii, not nearly as sexy as yesterday's Agave celsii var. albicans...

I kind of liked the branding.

Yes these Echinocactus grusonii were also only $5.98. Damn.

Furcraea gigantea 'Striata'

I can't find a whole lot of information backing up that name, but I bought one.

Agave vilmoriniana. I almost bought one of these too, but as usual with the big box plants they looked pretty roughed up.

Of course there were these. It was fall after all. Don't people demand them?

This garden (the garden of snakes) was nearby, I wonder if anyone has driven by it and then felt the need to buy several of these?

Crinum x 'purple dream' - I had two, last winter wasn't nice to them.

When finished with the plants I walked to the end of the parking lot to photograph the rest of these.

Before I go I'll share one more link: Flowerland, a little story cut from steel it's fun.

The End.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.