Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Succulent Shopping

Two weeks ago, before summer officially began and prior to the June's first heatwave, a friend and I attended the Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society's Drought Tolerant Plant Festival at the Sepulveda Garden Center, a community garden run by the City of Los Angeles.  We arrived early under gray skies and and enjoyed blessedly cool temperatures, which isn't something you can generally count on in June in the San Fernando Valley.  I know as I grew up in that inland valley.



I took my time to scope out the plants.  There were some beautiful specimens that were too expensive for my blood.

Left to right: Agave sebastiana, Agave 'Snow Glow' and crested Euphorbia kibwezensis


There were few real deals but, in retrospect, there were many I should have considered more seriously.

Left to right: divisions of Agave 'Blue Flame' (for $5 - why didn't I bring one home?!), variegated Agave gypsophila, and Agave 'Royal Spine'

A nice variety of reasonably priced succulent selections in mostly 4-inch pots from Hannah's Succulents


Other than cactus, succulents and bromeliads, there weren't many other drought tolerant plants but there were a surprising number of pot sellers.  No, California hasn't legalized recreational pot (at least not yet).  I'm talking about clay pots.



Another surprise was an exhibit by the California Turtle & Tortoise Club.

This is "Speedbump," so named because he was run over by a car.  You can see the work performed by the vet to repair his shell when he was rescued by the society.

Succulent guru Debra Lee Baldwin was scheduled to speak so, after making our purchases, we killed time before her talk looking at some of the community gardens.

Most were very neatly maintained

Some focused on ornamental plants more than edibles

This one was very exuberant

This was the most whimsical one I saw


We came upon a plant that intrigued us both but neither of us could identify.

Can anyone tell me what it is?


The Matilija poppies (Romneya coulteri) were blooming too.

My own Romneya coulteri, planted in early spring, didn't bloom this year but at least it's still alive on the back slope where little else is in respectable shape


I didn't go home with a lot but I did make two purchases.

I found a well-priced Agave 'Mr. Ripple', now in place in my dry southeast side garden, where it has plenty of room to spread out.  I also picked up an embellished pot from Hearts of Jade, which operates a succulent art and gift shop in Moorpark. 


If the event had followed our recent heat apocalypse rather than preceding it, maybe I would have purchased more plants but there's always the Inter-City Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale.  I may be able to entice my husband to go if August isn't blazingly hot (ha!).


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the ID, Jane! I don't think we'd ever have identified it without help.

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  2. Jane beat me to it. :o) Chicory grows wild here. I'm so glad your heat wave is over. I'm really surprised those veggie gardens aren't mulched. It would keep the soil moister.

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    1. I didn't process the fact that the community garden beds weren't mulched when I snapped the photos, Tammy. It is odd, especially given how hot it gets out that way.

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  3. Those embellished pots are pretty cool. I was going to also say the plant you were wondering about was Chicory. I haven't seen it growing here in the PNW, but it grows everywhere wild at the side of the road in Massachusetts.

    Totally unrelated to your post, I also wanted to let you know that the current issue of Garden Design has a feature article about the gardens at Disneyland, which you've expressed interest in while commenting on some of my blog posts.

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    1. I subscribe to Garden Design, although I haven't gotten around to reading the current issue so I'll uncover it and have a closer look. I doubt my husband will see the gardens as sufficient reason to take me to Disneyland (which he's done only once in our many years together) but I may take a stab at encouraging that.

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  4. I just haven't been keeping up with the shows/sales much, so I'm glad you could attend. I agree with the chicory ID and also wonder about the no-mulch. At my community garden, my plot stands out as one of the most heavily mulched. And there's huge piles of free mulch around for the taking, yet I see lots of baked earth. What's up with that? And if you really want some, I'll get you some Blue Flame pups gratis.

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    1. I hate to think what would have happened to my garden in the horrific heatwave if I hadn't mulched it back in April, but I don't often see people mulching their gardens in my neighborhood either - and there's free mulch piled up all over the area here. I may take you up on the 'Blue Flame' pups - with the climate trend being what it is, I think I'm going to be adding more succulents and Mediterranean plants to my garden this fall.

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  5. You know you had my attention with the cactus sofa...

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    1. It's cute, isn't it? However, I was disappointed that it was constructed out of plastic rather than real cactus and succulents.

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  6. That cactus sofa looks so cool!! Ripple will do so well in your garden!

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    1. I hope 'Mr. Ripple' likes his new spot - it's hot, dry and well-drained!

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    2. In my garden Mr. R was very touchy when small. Needed regular water. My neighbor's (huge) is still a bit touchy for a mature Agave. Keep your eye on it.

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    3. Oh dear. 'Mr Ripple' is planted in an area where heretofore nothing has survived. Thanks for the warning.

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  7. Glad others could identify the chicory, I couldn't but it is attractive. The cactus sofa is sinister and hysterical at the same time.

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    1. The couch provides a good opportunity for photos, not that either my friend or I thought to plop down on it. However, Debra Lee Baldwin posted a couple of photos sitting on it on her own blog page.

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  8. do, do sit down. That must have been a mission to build!

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    1. It would have been more fun if the couch had been made of real cactus and succulents but I expect the LACSS finds the plastic version much easier to take care of!

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    2. Yep! If you look at Debra Lee Baldwin's blog (click the link included in my post), you'll see that she posed sitting on the couch.

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  9. Really good post, thanks. Their community garden is lovely. I thought about going but it's a nasty long drive from here. The Huntington show is Saturday and Sunday...I "need" pots.

    You made me gasp--piles of mulch for the taking around your neighborhood?!?!

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    1. It's not high quality mulch, mind you. City workers regularly cut back and cull out dead and dying trees and other foliage along the public roads, mini-parks and walking trail areas here. They grind the stuff up on site and leave it there in large piles to break down. Whatever people in the area don't retrieve for themselves, the city guys spread as mulch months later. We've hauled some here but, when I mulch the garden in spring, I have a truck deliver a huge batch of more finally ground stuff from a local provider.

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