Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-up - December 2014

This month's foliage follow-up post is a bit of a grab bag.  The plants I've selected to highlight have little in common but for the fact that they're all looking very good at the moment.  Some are new and some have been in place for awhile.

First up is Phormium 'Maori Queen.'  I added 3 of these to the new bed along the front walkway, created as a byproduct of the recent removal of the front lawn.  I looked for more to add on the other side of the walkway when it was finally ready for planting but I've yet to find more locally.

Phormium 'Maori Queen' looks especially good when backlit


Another variegated selection is Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum.'  This plant and the others surrounding the backyard fountain have been in place going on 3 years now.  They looked scraggly in the heat of mid-summer and I'd planned to replace them all this fall but light pruning, the cooler weather, and rain seem to have snapped them back into shape.

Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum' also makes the most of the light


I planted Melianthus major in early spring and it sat like a lump doing nothing until recently when it suddenly produced new growth.  It, too, may be responding favorably to the cooler weather and rain.  We're due for more rain today - in fact, we've already had some light rain this morning.



The hanging succulent basket by the front door I planted in late summer has begun to overflow as the individual plants grow larger, earning it the attention of passers-by.

Sedum 'Lemon Ball' is taking over, although the Kalanchoe and Senecio are holding their own

Despite receiving regular watering, the unidentified Kalanchoe has turned a delicious burgundy, mirroring the red stems of the variegated Portulacaria afra

Photo taken from above the basket showing some of the succulents almost buried behind the Sedum


But my very favorite succulent at the moment is Agave gentryi 'Jaws.'  I've seen photos of this plant elsewhere and thought it was attractive but I was unprepared for the effect it had when I saw it in person.  I scooped it up (carefully) and took it home after seeing it last week while on a shopping trip with friends.  It's currently situated in the front garden near my new Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder,' where its orange and red spines echo the Leucadendron's foliage color.  It's said to get 3-4 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide at maturity and to be suitable for placement in either sun or shade.  I hope the latter information is correct as it gets only partial sun where I've placed it, at least this time of year, but I'll keep a watch on it and move it if necessary.

Look at the size and color of those spines!  The leaf imprints are wonderful too.

The emerald green leaves show tinges of blue at the base


Pam at Digging hosts this monthly foliage follow-up.  You can find her foliage picks and links to other gardeners' selections here.


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


20 comments:

  1. I have mixed feelings for mixed succulent planting but yours hanging basket is very nice! And your Jaws, wow!

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    1. Succulents of all kinds are very happy here - I hope 'Jaws' will be as well.

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  2. That succulent basket is lovely, and has given me an idea what I could do with all my Echeverias I currently have on my nursery shelves – no space in the beds for them, they would drown among the plants so a basket like yours would be nice. Great idea!

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    1. The succulents all seem to do well in baskets, Helene, so I hope that works for you as well. The only problem I have is that birds sometimes tear up the baskets for nesting material.

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  3. Your 'Jaws' is both beautiful and scary! I killed one a couple of years ago, I think it's time to give it another try.

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    1. I was surprised by the color variations of those thorny spines, Alison. They're surprisingly pretty.

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  4. Your young 'Jaws' is exceptionally handsome. Mine suffered some leaf burn in that May heat wave. Remember that? Seems far away now, with all this cool, misty, rainy weather, which I'm thoroughly enjoying -- hope you are too!

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    1. That May heatwave was indeed a killer, Denise. In my garden it had a negative impact stretching into summer.

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  5. Wow! So glad you've added that Agave gentryi 'Jaws' to the mix. I can't wait to see how he responds to your more favorable climate.

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    1. I hope he does well - and that I don't have him in too much shade.

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  6. My oh my, Jaws is incredible! The way the teeth start as a dark red colour and go to yellow just blew me away!

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    1. The color variation in the teeth surprised me too, Amy.

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  7. Jaws is a great agave. I've pulled mine inside the greenhouse this year and it may become a permanent resident if it ever approaches the mature sizes you mentioned. That back lit phormium made me smile -- so beautiful!

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    1. I imagine that dragging a prickly agave with that kind of girth in and out of the greenhouse could become troublesome but your beautiful space would make a perfect permanent home.

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  8. Oh succulents! They are gorgeous and yet often so unpredictable. That agave is especially lovely - I'll have to keep an eye out at local nurseries because I'm pretty sure I need one. : )

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    1. I'm pretty sure you do too, Deb! The deer wouldn't nibble something like 'Jaws,' would they?

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  9. Jaws! What a great name for it. I love it. I love the effect of the succulents in your hanging basket too and the wonderful Phormium.

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    1. Thanks Chloris. I'm learning to depend more on foliage color.

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  10. Jaws is a wonderful name! It's a beautiful agave. I like your planting of sedum and succulents too. They look great together.

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    1. Thanks sweetbay. 'Jaws' is a particularly handsome fellow.

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