Friday, March 4, 2016

What our wet winter wrought...

It's time to share how things are doing after record winter rainfall (over 27" since the beginning of December) and a snow and freezing rain event back in early January. By "things" I mean the ones that were experiments, technically USDA Zone 9-ish plants left out and/or my Agaves and other succulents that are planted out in the ground. The very wet ground. And this is gonna be a long post. I let the camera finger get a little carried away!

Let's start in the back garden. Last year I had two orange blooming Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw) in containers on the patio. Since they were small I went ahead and tucked them into the SPGreenhouse, what the heck. The heater was on when it got down to 24F outside and look, they're still alive! (they're the green strappy-leaved things)

The Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' planted out in the ground is still alive too...and obviously I need to get started on clean up! (pine-cones everywhere...)

The Grevillea 'Superb' – well it's not exactly dead (yet)...

Leucadendron 'Silvan Red' is looking good. A few leaves have turned brown though, I hope I'm not jinxing it!

You might recall there was an Echium candicans 'Variegata' I had hopes for, but it's a gonner and already composted. The E. fastuosum got hit hard by the cold/ice...

But there is new growth popping up all along the stems, so that's cool!

Salvia apiana is not looking good.

Grevillea 'Ivanhoe', of the three plants in my garden this one looks the best – but they're all still alive.

I meant to dig these little Agave pups and the Opuntia before winter – they're not planted in particularly well drained soil – but forgot. It doesn't look to be bothering them much though, perhaps the palm is taking up most of the water.

The smaller pups on the far right in this photo are basically rotting away, thankfully the larger guys seem to be fine, only minor damage on their lower leaves.

Agave bracteosa continues to be a super-star...

And Agave 'Mateo' is showing off the coping skills of it's one known parent, A. bracteosa

Agave striata is looking like a champ.

The Agave parryi 'JC Raulston' pup has some rot, as does Echeveria secunda...but...unless things get worse (like a really wet and cool could happen, but I am praying that it doesn't) they should make it...yay!

Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ has a tumor, or two.

But overall looks really good. That's Agave gracilipes at about 12:00 and another 'JC Raulston' pup just under it. Grevillea x gaudichaudii is creeping in from below.

Grevillea x gaudichaudii has some foliage damage, but other branches (see above) look fine.

Unlike what used to be a cute little Agave parryi trio. They're not going to pull through...

The trio of Agave parryi dish planters however, no problem!

Here's where I admit I've lost track of what some of these Agaves are. I believe this one came from the Agave rescue, but maybe not.

This one did for sure, and as you can see it's really unhappy. It was knocked back hard the winter of 2013/14 and had made a valiant recovery. I don't know if it's up for doing it again.

On the left Dyckia choristaminea 'Frazzle Dazzle' joined by another Agave without a name. I divided a huge 'Frazzle Dazzle' last spring and planted out a few pieces. This one doesn't look like it's going to make it.

This one has a chance...

When last we saw this Opuntia polyacantha it was bent over in half and covered with ice. I like this version better.

Let's move out to the driveway where the humongous Agave weberi is holding court.

He's got some bad spots, which indicate future arm amputations, but all in all he's looking grand.

Ditto for his friends next door who've spent all winter out in the wet – except for the period with the snow and ice, I managed to grab them before that hit, the only thing I did to prepare.

Now we're out in the front garden and here's the big (for me) surprise...four of my seven Echium wildpretii are still going strong!

When these guys were encased in ice I figured that was the end, but they pushed on's to summer blooms! (fingers crossed)

This Agave americana (yes, that's really what it is) has already gone through surgery.

It lost a few arms. As you can see in the photo above there's another one that's got the crud. I'll leave it until it gets worse and we (hopefully) have a dry spell forecasted.

This little Echinocereus triglochidiatus v. gonacanthus keeps on keeping on!

And Agave 'Silver Surfer' is spotless (although not terribly silver, is he?)

Agave americana var. protoamericana, another "rescue" who came back from the brink a couple years back. Can he do it again?

Agave parryi 'JC Raulston', with a dusting of Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' flowers...

All the A. parryi 'JC Raulston' look great.

I love this plant!

Agave ocahui has some ugly damage to it's older leaves, but the center still looks good.


Agave ovatifolia, this one started life here has a tiny little's doing well, but will be loosing an arm.

Ditto for this one.

The leaning Opuntia is a lasting result of the cold and ice, I keep hoping it will upright itself (like they often do) but I'm beginning to think I'll need to prop it up.

The Agave americana it seems to be protecting is doing fine.

The Ochagavia carnea has been in the ground since spring of 2014 and is starting to clump up. No issues with the cold, wet, or ice.

This little Agave lophantha 'Splendida' pup didn't fare so well. I wonder if a larger plant would have done better?

I planted this pair (Agave americana and Agave americana var. protoamericana) last fall as part of the OCK planting. Normally I wouldn't dream of planting Agaves so late in the season, but I was feeling daring. The A. americana has had some issues (you can see the amputation scars) but overall I think it's going to be okay.

Agave utahensis, doing well.

Saxifraga taygetea 'Rotundifolia', is also fine – despite its USDA Zone 10 label (which must have been an error). I regret that I didn't visit Sky Nursery when I was in Seattle a couple weeks ago and buy a few more! (what was I thinking?)

*Sigh* so beautiful! I was shocked when I looked back at an old post (2013) and saw how small this Agave ovatifolia was when I planted it. Completely unscathed by winter, yay!

The ugly puncture wound you may have noticed came from when we got our windows replaced last spring, the dots all around it from a hail storm.

But I have no idea when this big slice occurred, thankfully they're both on lower arms and can be removed later if need be.

This is the second A. ovatifolia planted in that same general area, and congrats! With that you've reached the end of a very long post...(kind of like our very long wet winter). Here's to warming, drying, weather...soon!

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


  1. I thought this was going to be a long post? ;) So much doing so well!

    I know you're a bit ahead of me weather calendar wise, but I fear doing these sorts of checks too early. As you said a cold, wet spring can cause some last-minute havoc. Hoping you get the warm and dry (but not too dry) spring you want!

    1. I agree Alan, I kept wondering if I wasn't getting ahead of myself, especially with the Proteacous plants (that can up and die without a moments notice) and the succulents which of course will react poorly to a wet cool spring. We shall see...

  2. We had a good growing year in 2015. Snow is about to melt again with unseasonably high temps next week. That is a problem because I can't believe Spring is really here. Climate change seems to mean that none of us know what to expect regardless of season. Whatever weather you last time at this season don't expect to see it again. Loved your Agave pruning. I never knew what they looked like if they were having problems. Rather slimey!

    1. I was looking back over photos from last spring and it really is amazing how much everything grew last year. Here it was the sun and heat along with my generous watering (because of being open for tour in August), I will not be so generous this year!

  3. Things are looking really good considering all of the rain we've had this winter. Maybe the mostly mild temperatures helped. Come on warmer, drier weather!

  4. I think the only plant that didn't survive winter in my gravel garden was a variegated Opuntia, which I didn't expect to live anyway. Fortunately, I have two more in the greenhouse. I'm really pleased that my 'Mateo' is in great shape.

  5. Some pretty amazing successes, so far. I've been meaning to do another winter evaluation post, but I've been too obsessed planning and propagating.

    1. Planting and propagating sounds like a great way to spend your time.

  6. What Peter said. Considering the MASSIVE amount of rain you had, not to mention snow and ice, your garden breezed through the winter. I was so relieved to see that death and destruction were very limited.

  7. Looks awesome and hopeful to me! I left some Agave havardiana pups outside, planted in gravel against the south side of the house. After our excessively mild winter, having only reached 3 degrees as opposed to -19 last year, they look as fresh as summer!

    1. Only 3 degrees. Gawd I can't imagine. Glad they're looking good!

  8. Overall, you made out surprisingly well, which is not to say that I don't recognize that each loss hurts. We obviously don't have a problem with cold but something - perhaps excessive sun exposure - has done a number on my variegated Furcraea. I probably should have left well enough alone and let it stay in its shady spot in a large pot rather than relocating it to a sunnier spot in the back garden. I haven't given up on it entirely but it may get moved back into a pot to recover - or not.

    1. Those variegated Furcraea! When they look good they are amazing, but so often they just don't look good.

  9. It's great that so many of your plants made it through your wet winter! Hopefully, some of your spring rain comes our direction, and your garden will sail through spring as well.

  10. I think your plants did remarkably well considering the amount of rain and cold. Your drainage must be exceptional. I have experienced worse damage over here with less rain.


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