Sunday, October 24, 2010

Plant of the week: Muehlenbeckia complexa

Is it a vine? A ground cover? A hanging plant? It looks like a cross between boxwood and a maidenhair fern.  What is it? Muehlenbeckia complexa,  a little vining, scrambling plant from New Zealand.  I love the way it fills in here and there. Shade or part sun is the plant's preferred home but it will grow in full sun with extra water.  I'm using it partially clothe the cliff part of Whiskey Creek.

OK so this week's plant of the week is a short one.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Plant of the week: Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'

Being a grass-o-phile I am always on the look out for lance linear foliage.  And in recent years I have tried to branch out (pun intended) to non-grass,  non-sedge plants that bloom to give a different effect in the garden.  Bulbine has a lot of the characteristics I like; it's succulent, tough, nearly everblooming with orange or yellow flowers.   But overall I find the texture a little bit messy.  So the search contiuned.

Then I found Aloe 'Grassy Lassie' and Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'.  These two Aloes are small and clumping and don't scream succulent.  I had high hopes for A. 'Grassy Lassie' since it had a little coarser and darker foliage and was thinking that A. 'Johnson's Hybrid' would be a cool filler plant. I planted them out in 4" size in the dry portion of "Whiskey Creek" to watch them perform. It's been about five months now since I originally planted them so I've had some time to evaluate them.  In all these months the A.'Grassy Lassie' has not bloomed nor has it bulked up.  Meanwhile A. 'Johnson's Hybrid' has bulked up a lot,  perhaps 3-4 times the size of when it was planted.  This little doer has not stopped blooming, it has had at least one bloom spike the whole time, and now that they have bulked up there are 4-6 spikes per clump. Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid' has foliage to about 10" tall and with flower spikes to about 18".

I did notice the other day that a couple of the A. 'Grassy Lassie' clumps were forming some spikes. So, it will be interesting to see how they will perform as we head into the cooler months.  But it will also be interesting to see how the A. 'Johnson's Hybrid'  does as well.

Of course as is the case with all the Aloes, the hummingbirds are always around.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has had a different experience.  My soil is silty sandy by the way.

Aloe 'Johnson's Hybrid'

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tweedia saga contiunes

The Tweedia propagation disease continues. No one knows when it will stop.  But I have a deep need to plant every seed that these little plants make!  LOL  Gardeners where born to share.

Previous post:

Here is a baby photo.

Plant of the week: Colocasia 'Diamond Head'

Being a fan for many years of Colocasia 'Black Knight' I was very skeptical of a new black taro cultivar, especially since it didn't look that different. And so many times nurseries are just remarketing old cultivars. During one of my many late night net searches I found C. 'Diamond Head'  and the thing that caught my attention was that it was running, which C. 'Black Night' is not. This would mean that you would certainly get more bang for your buck.  And it would be easy to propagate and share.

When I saw it in a nursery this spring in the flesh and blood, I grabbed it immediately, actually a few.  But once in my possession and I realized that C. 'Diamond Head'  (by the way, why didn't they call it Black Diamond, so much more descriptive) was very different.  Instead of having a dull matte finish it is shiny sort of like an oil slick with that oily rainbow of color.

I have them growing in two situations, one at the edge of a pond (in the water) and one in a pot, both in full sun.  The one at the edge of Whiskey Creek is doing best though the potted specimen is no slouch.  It would also be great in a bog pot.  An excellent addition to a garden noir!

Now I wait to see how it will do or what it will do this winter.

Over and out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

For everything there is a season

No one said the nursery business was easy.  

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a friend who works at a specialty nursery.  She wondered if I had heard that Cottage Nursery Gardens had closed.   I hadn't but of course being friendly with Jamie and Stacie I wanted to find out what had happened.  Through the grapevine and a bit of detective work it was determined that Jamie and Stacie were focusing on their fairy gardens and had closed shop in Westminster.  At least that is what I think has happened.

It seems unfortunate that there was no note or sign left to tell those of us who liked the nursery that it was over.  If not for the tight knit gardening/design/nursery community, I would have had to stumble onto the the scenes that you will see below.

I guess it's time to look on the bright side and to the future,  perhaps someone else will wade hip deep into the rough nursery business waters.   I do hope a garden and nursery will grow there again.  Time to spiff up the old chinchilla hut once more.

Best wishes to Jamie and Stacie.  Happy gardening as ever.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Building on a theme

OK,  I'll admit it...  I get obsessed with things. You know like discovering a black fruited form of pomegranate (Punica 'Eight Ball') and then finding out that it is only available by mail order and tiny.  Well, many things in the garden are like this, propagation, pruning etc.   Last summer I was in the Pacific Northwest when this last obsession was spawned. I had heard of a beach where you could find perfectly round stones, and had seen them for myself at a friends' house in a beautiful display.  I will save the long story and all the trouble and distance I went through to get the concretions, but it was a bit of work to get them.   I packed about twenty pounds of the orbs in my luggage, schlepping them all the way home. When I started to make the garden at the house,  I fantasized about collecting thousands of the concretions to adorn my garden. Of course that would be totally ridiculous.   But then I came up with an acceptable work-around.  I began the work (with a good friend)  of making hundreds of concrete balls, placing them in drifts in the garden.  Mostly they line the edges of "Whiskey Creek", the rain garden, or arroyito.   But then I started to daydream... so many ways to enjoy my knock off Whiskey Creek Beach stones...

See for yourself,  first the inspiration and then the emulation/experimentation.