Friday, January 29, 2016

Some favorite plants, for January 2016

Most of this month's favorites share a very important feature. They're planted right by the front door so I see them regularly, even without venturing outside into the non-stop rain fest that our winter has been (that not really an exaggeration by the way, we've had over 21" of rain since December 1st, our avg annual precipitation is around 39").

I'll start with what I'd declared was my last attempt at growing Yucca gloriosa 'Bright Star'. I love this plant but every year about this time it's attractive leaves would begin to be covered by yuccacne, gross brown spots. The spots would get bigger and then the entire leaf would be brown and beg to be amputated. Then I saw one growing in a hanging container and thought maybe the added air circulation would be just the thing. Well, yes, it works!

And yes I took these photos from inside the house, hence the spots you can see on our not-so-clean door (classy!). Over the summer the Yucca was facing out, toward the street, but the weight of the saturated soil has twisted the wires somehow and now it refuses to face any direction but in. Of course I'm not complaining because it's all the better to see the beautiful Yucca (Hardy in Zones 7a-11 ).

Another plant I've really enjoyed the last month is this Saxifraga taygetea 'Rotundifolia'. I noticed after I bought it that it was labeled as hardy to USDA Zone 10. Lame. I put it in the ground anyway and look! It's survived 24 F, below freezing temperatures continually for over 48 hours and being covered with snow and ice. Definitely not Zone 10! There is very little information about this plant online, so I really don't know if it was mislabeled or just not enough is known and the grower guessed at it's hardiness.

The Daphne x houtteana took a bit of a beating during the snow and ice adventure but I do love how it's leaves and the leaves of the Saxifraga look together.

Next up, Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'...

These went in back when I planted for the Ornamental Cabbage & Kale Challenge and I've enjoyed them ever since. Their bright cheerful coloring has been appreciated during our abnormally grey winter.

One of the nice things about this Euphorbia is that it stays relatively compact, growing to only a couple of feet tall and wide, unlike other spurges that can become good sized monsters. Hardy in Zones 5a-9b it can make do with sun, part sun, to part shade conditions...

However as this plant growing in shade in another section of my garden shows you will get different colors depending on the amount of sun it gets.

I'm tossing in another Euphorbia, just for fun. E. amygdaloides ‘Ruby Glow’. Usually dark leaved Euphorbias disappoint me. I picked this one up on a whim, figuring I had nothing to lose, but so far it's done really well. The folks at Digging Dog nursery seem to like it too: "A gorgeous medley of deep burgundy, bronzy maroon and ruby red suffuses this Euphorbia's head turning foliage. Cresting a well-groomed base defined by plush evergreen leaves and sturdy stems, plentiful ebullient chartreuse blooms provide vivid contrast. Compact, hardy and downright irresistible ‘Ruby Glow’ can be nestled near the front of the border, along a pathway or showcased in a patio container. Blooms March–May. Size: 12"–18" high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6."

Finally, this knock out...Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'.

It was gift from a kind reader who didn't have a place for it. I picked it up right before our snow and ice hit so it spent a week or so in the (unheated) garage, it couldn't have cared less. Oh and I almost forgot, this special plant came with a name, Mrs. Bailey...(!!!)

I was out doing a check over on the shade pavilion greenhouse prisoners and noticed how wonderfully the light was hitting the new purple growth. I went a little overboard taking photos...

Folks say this one is hard to Zone 7, but I've heard stories that it isn't even safe in our Zone 8. Thus it will probably stay in a container.

Isn't that color to die for?

So those are my January fav's...what are yours? Please, tell us about them...

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

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An afternoon at UCLA

After our visit to The Plant Provocateur we set off for the UCLA campus and the Fowler Museum.

The Fowler was having an exhibition, Disguise: Masks & Global African Art, that Andrew wanted to see. It was a good one, and the museum has free admission, gotta love that. This is the courtyard at the Fowler. Since I tend to move through art museums faster than he does it was nice to be able to step outside and get some fresh air and sunshine.

This piece, The Invisible Man by Zina Saro-Wiwa, was used in advertisements for the exhibition. Thus I'd seen it around town prior to seeing it in person, I must say I absolutely loved it...

"The Invisible Man is a neo-Ogoni mask created by Zina Saro-Wiwa. Inspired by the newer “Ogele style” masquerade masks that have started appearing in Ogoniland in the late 1980s, the mask is one that depicts the men that have disappeared in Zina’s life through death or through their own design. Brother, father, lovers and illusive Ogele dancers feature on the Janus-faced mask. The black and white face representing the sadness of loss, the lined pink face the anger associated with abandonment. Worn by women only." (source)

Another part of the show featured these Sowei masks...

And then there was this...

Finished at the Fowler we walked back across campus to something we'd spotted on the way in.

Oh ya!...who knew? There's a botanical garden at UCLA!

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is a "living museum, having special collections designed to assist the undergraduate teaching mission at UCLA and to augment the capability for research on campus. MEMBG serves as a long-term repository for unusual plants, a refugium for biodiversity. This facility offers its educational content to the campus community, residents of Los Angeles, and visitors from around the world to enhance learning about plants and promote greater appreciation for relevance of plants to society." Mildred herself sounds like quite the force, read about her here.

I wonder why you never see Eucalyptus blooms sold as cut flowers? Perhaps they don't last? They're certainly beautiful.


December in Los Angeles, what an experience.

One would I gladly give up snow and Christmas trees for.

That street below is the one we'd traveled earlier, when we spotted the garden.

Admission into the garden was also free. I am impressed UCLA!

Over on the garden's website there's a list of campus plants, ones found on the "400 acre UCLA campus outside the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden."

And lest you forget you're in L.A. there's a view of the buildings on Wilshire Boulevard, just a few blocks away (at least I think that's what we're looking at!).

I've wandered into off-limits growing areas plenty of times, so I was interested to see what was going to happen to Andrew as he causally strolled back there, unaware...

Yep, before hopping on his cute get-away-cart this fellow told Andrew to leave "this area is not open to the public" and then locked the gate behind him.


Copiapoa, "a genus of cacti from the dry coastal deserts, particularly the Atacama Desert, of northern Chile." (source)

What's eating the small cactus?

Enlarged, for your viewing pleasure.
This (Callistemon? Dunno) Calothamnus (thanks Evan) doesn't even have to bloom to be colorful.

Agave filifera

We wandered back through the rest of the garden, which we sadly weren't able to spend much time in, on our way out.

Doryanthes excelsa, Globe Spear Lily. They look a little ragged here, but in person they were fabulous.

What a wonderful, unexpected treat to have discovered this garden.

But not be the ones to have discovered the bees...

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