Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Falling off the wagon (again)

No, I don't have a drinking problem but I have to accept that I am a plantaholic.  After our early heatwaves and notice of the new water restrictions to take effect in June, I told myself that I needed to forego any new planting until fall.  Then a friend and I arranged a trip to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in early May.  The botanic garden has a native plant nursery on-site so I picked up a few things.  I told myself I was just doing my part to support the botanic garden.  However, on our way to lunch afterwards, we stopped off at the Terra Sol Garden Center.



My friend swears that she and I've been there before but I've no recollection of this whatsoever.  It's not a huge place but it was full of succulents, pottery and spring bloomers.

Some of the succulents and cacti on display

I have a soft spot for gargoyles, as well as cats and pigs, but I didn't feel compelled to buy any pottery

I didn't buy any bronze Gazania, even though they came with free bees


Maybe it was that I was lightheaded because we hadn't yet had lunch.  Maybe it was the unseasonably cool weather, or the fact that we'd had some rain and had reason to believe more might be more on the way.  Maybe it was that I'd already slipped up with my purchases at the botanic garden, or that I was surrounded by eager plant buyers.  In any case, when I saw the huge flowers on Gazania 'Sunbathers Otomi,' my will-power slipped away entirely.

Gazania hybrid 'Sunbathers Otomi,' which I featured as a favorite plant earlier this month


I left the garden center with 3 Gazania 'Sunbathers Otomi,' 3 Agastache 'Sunset,' and a Cuphea.  There may have been more.  It's all a blur.

We stopped for lunch in Carpinteria on our way back south.  Then my friend asked if I wanted to drop in at Seaside Gardens given that it was only a stone's throw away.  On this occasion, I didn't stroll Seaside's wonderful demonstration garden.  I didn't even take out my camera.  I shopped the sale tables.  They had Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin,' which I've never found anywhere else.  The plants I'd over-wintered from the prior year had been hit hard by our March heatwaves so it seemed a good idea to pick up a few more.  Why I also picked up a Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light' I'm not sure.  There may have been a couple more things - I'm afraid I don't have a clear recollection.

As we neared my friend's home, we felt we had to stop at Sperling Nursery.  After all, the property is for sale.  It could be my last opportunity to take advantage of their excellent selection of plants.  My friend picked up a Salvia leucantha with gray foliage and bright pink flowers we'd never seen before, labeled 'Danielle's Dream.'  There was one more on the table, not yet blooming, but how could I leave it behind?  Yes, of course, I picked up a few more things - after all, I already had a cart to carry 'Danielle.'

My local botanic garden hosted a show and sale by the South Coast Geranium Society the following weekend.  My friend had been looking for some Geranium 'Rozanne' so I felt I should stop by on her behalf as the botanic garden is so close.  They didn't have 'Rozanne' (or any true geraniums) but they had some interesting Pelargoniums at very reasonable prices.  And Pelargoniums are drought tolerant.  I brought a few home.

Last weekend, I decided to stop by Roger's Garden in Orange County to hear a presentation on Mediterranean plants.  Roger's is easily a 2-hour round trip for me so it just made good sense to have a thorough look around while I was there.

This is the updated succulent demonstration bed near the front of the property, which you can contrast with the garden as it appeared in February below

For reference: My photos of the same demonstration bed in February

There were lots of other succulents on display too

Massed planting of Aeonium on view in the back parking lot


This passionflower vine wasn't for sale but it was worth admiring

From the left: Monrovia's new dwarf Jacaranda 'Blue Bonsai,' too pricey for my blood at $99, Mahonia 'Lionel Fortescue,' and purple Cotinus

Left to right: Roger's offering of plants grown by Annie's Annuals & Perennials, a vertical garden constructed using wooly pockets, and decorative pots


As some of the plants in my front beds were struggling, I thought I'd look for Artemisia to replace them, since those should be able to handle whatever summer throws at them.  I also thought I'd look for Eustoma grandiflorum 'Borealis Blue' as the plants I'd over-wintered weren't doing as well as I'd like and I hadn't found double-flowered blue Eustoma anywhere else this spring.  I found both.  You'd be amazed if I'd stopped with those purchases, wouldn't you?  I didn't.  My birthday is coming up, and birthdays are a good excuse to break one's rules.  No, I didn't take a photo of the trunk of my car as I've done in the past.  That would only have made me feel guilty.  But here are pictures of a selection of my new acquisitions from the various sources I've described.

Clockwise from top left: Gazania 'Sunbathers Otomi,' Agastache 'Summer Glow,' Aloe dorotheae, Anagallis 'Wildcat Mandarin,' Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot,' Geum quellyon 'Blazing Sunset,' Pelargonium 'Rembrandt,' and Salvia vasquezii

Left to right: Astelia 'Silver Shadow,' Salvia leucantha 'Danielle's Dream,' and Vaccinium ovatum, a California native


In my defense, I bought a lot of plants in inexpensive 6-packs, including those shown below:

I added small rooted segments of Aeonium 'Kiwi' in the dry garden to extend the massed planting of this Aeonium I've already established.  The plants on the right, Calecephalus brownii (top) and Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi variegata 'Tricolor' (bottom) are new to me.


I've also been planting a lot of cuttings this season.

I've added Aeonium cuttings to an area left bare after the sudden demise of a large section of my Ceanothus hedge (with a goal of creating a mass of Aeoniums akin to those I saw at Roger's) and variegated Aptenia cordifolia cuttings to another area bordering my vegetable garden


I even have seedlings that have, thus far, survived the scourge of raccoons which continue to visit me on a regular basis.

Sprouted sunflower seeds and the first flowers on my Nasturtium seedlings


Yes, I admit I have a problem but I really think I've just about got it under control...


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

29 comments:

  1. Hah! Under control... Not me. I want that Aloe polyphylla.

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    1. That particular plant was VERY large and exceptionally expensive. I was tempted by a smaller one (still relatively expensive) I saw at another garden center but the plant's temperamental reputation put me off (not that that always has an effect, as demonstrated by my recent loss of a 3rd Leucospermum).

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  2. Control is such an ugly word. There are far worse addictions. Plus your new purchases are mostly in the ground already. How you passed up the bronze Gazania, especially with the matching bee so perfectly placed, is beyond me. So many gorgeous succulents!

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    1. I did experience a twinge about leaving those bronze Gazania behind when I reviewed my photos...

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  3. No need to control it Kris, embrace it! It's great to be a plantaholic :))

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    1. After reviewing our credit card bills, I think my husband is convinced I have embraced my addiction...

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  4. wouldnt mind some of those gorgeous blue pots!

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    1. The pot was very tempting but it also would have taken up most of the available space in my car, leaving no room for plants (which wouldn't have done at all).

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  5. You know that all of us understand and are only going to enable this addiction right? You go girl! (love those photos from Rogers)

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    1. Yes! I need supporters to help assuage my guilt!

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  6. This post is almost too much to take! I can't believe how many nurseries you managed to visit. You showed remarkable restraint, given the abundance of goodies on display in the photos you posted.

    Would love to find Calecephalus brownii in a 6-pack. Rare here. And what's that about a dwarf jacaranda? Gotta head over to the Monrovia web site to find out more. As if I really need a jacaranda, LOL.

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    1. I've been waiting for that dwarf Jacaranda to show up in the garden centers since seeing it on Monrovia's website months ago. I was afraid that, like the Itoh peonies, it was going to be pricey, however, and it is.

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  7. Kris, you fell off the wagon so hard I could feel the shock wave from Long Beach...way to go! And I see Terra Sol has my agave...and wouldn't I love the chance to stress out another spiral aloe. Any new plantings are getting shower water here. It's a daily bucket brigade now.

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    1. Shower water and water from the rain barrels are going to my new additions too. (We're going to need a summer shower to keep me in rainwater!) Between the shower, rain barrel and kitchen sink buckets, I do feel a little as though I've slipped into another era.

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  8. What fun and what great nurseries. Obviously you found a lot of plants you really needed. You have it under control do you? Hmmm. Don' t worry Kris, you are speaking to people who suffer from the same complaint. It is incurable I' m afraid, but better than being an alcoholic. At least we don' t fall about and sing in public. We indulge our cravings nice and quietly and stow the evidence away discreetly in the car.

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    1. I've tried singing for rain - apparently Mother Nature is relatively unimpressed thus far.

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  9. Dear Kris, you made some great plant choices! I think my favorite is the astelia 'Silver Shadow'. I don't know why, but since last year I have fallen madly in love with pelargoniums, so my second favorite your Pelargonium 'Rembrandt'. I think that is a particular lovely variety.
    It is funny, but in the moment I am pretty restrained when it comes to new plant purchases. The reason is that my pot ghetto has gotten humongous and now I am really trying hard to get all the plants into the ground, since I lost some last year in the summer due the heat.
    Wishing you much joy with your new purchases!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. The Astelia might be a nice complement to your white garden, Christina, although 'Silver Shadow' needs some shade during the hottest part of the day.

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  10. Strike while the iron is hot I say. Or at least while the rain in falling.

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    1. The May rains were a major surprise - we don't normally get rain after March or, at best, early April. There are bets that we're headed into a wet El Nino weather condition this winter, though, as Matt (Railway Parade) mentions below.

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  11. If you simply bought plants and then neglected them some way perhaps an eyebrow might go up. As you are rather placing them brilliantly in various beds that you manage to coax into ongoing beauty despite all sorts of insults and outrageous weather? Well, I'd say you aren't so much addicted as you are really REALLY good at what you do. And you've got the photos to prove it!

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    1. I always tell myself that I mustn't buy more than I can get planted within a day or 2 of purchase. I managed that with my last trip to Roger's but I'm not always so well disciplined ;)

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  12. I wouldn't have been able to restrain myself with the G. 'Sunbathers Otomi' either. It really is delightful. I rarely step into a nursery unless I have a lot of unwanted cash to part with - which is rare :-)
    The latest news from Australia is that a strong El Nino has formed over the last couple of months and continues to strengthen (Australia uses tougher indicators than the US before calling an El Nino). If that's the case, it will be good news for California as whenever Eastern Australia slips into drought with these weather patterns, Western USA gets very wet weather - not good news for us, but I think you guys deserve a bit of rainfall after such a long drought.

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    1. In recent weeks, the US weather monitoring agency has dramatically increased its estimate of the probability that the current El Nino will lead to a wet winter in Southern California later this year. It's too bad, though, that the extra rain for us has such negative consequences on Australia and other areas of the world. It also isn't expected to end our drought as that's dependent upon rebuilding the snowpack in Northern California.

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  13. It looks like you had a heck of a lot of fun! The Gazania is my favorite. And the Aloe. And the Astelia. Haven't been to Roger's for, like, days.

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    1. It's a lucky thing I don't live closer to Roger's. Things were bad enough when I worked close by.

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  14. Oh, Kris, you are in denial. You definitely have a problem. I know all about your rationale and excuses. I told my husband a few days ago that we cannot plant another thing till fall, because summer has arrived with high humidity and heat. Only a crazy person plants in the summer here. Then yesterday I came home with a new hydrangea. The day before that I surreptitiously tucked a new fuchsia into the woodland garden. That is not so bad, but my garden juices start flowing just looking at your photos. I wonder what is happening at my favorite nursery only a couple of miles from my home. It wouldn't hurt to look...

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  15. Plant acquisitiveness runs rampant this time of year, Deb, rather like allergies...

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  16. How can you NOT want new plants when you visit a nursery like this? Wowzers. I want that variegated Agave attenuata. (sp?) I am going nursery hopping on Friday with a friend. It's inevitable that I'll come home with something. I'm weak.

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