Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Plants!

Fall is widely regarded as the best time to plant in Southern California, although you wouldn't necessarily realize that scanning the stock available in local nurseries and garden centers.  Daytime temperatures are generally cooler and there's a promise of winter rain, both of which help plants get established.  I admit that I go a little crazy with plant shopping at this time of year and, despite periodic spates of ridiculously hot fall weather here and gloomy forecasts of low winter rainfall, this year has been no exception.  I've already featured the results of some of my plant shopping expeditions (see here and here) but there have been more so I thought I'd give you a peek at some of my other recent purchases.

I'd mentioned that I was considering a smoke bush for a difficult area on the south side of the garden, partially shaded by a large Arbutus 'Marina'.  I found one last month.  Although it wasn't in perfect condition when I bought it, it seems to be settling into its spot just fine so far.

Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' is planted in the bed formerly occupied by a very large Eucalyptus (removed in 2013).  The debris around the plant consists of small prickly bits left over from a light pruning I gave our citrus trees, which I've strewn here in another possibly futile effort to deter the raccoons from digging.


I also picked up a Duranta erecta for the partial sun area behind the street-side hedge.

The tag on Duranta erecta 'Lime' (aka 'Gold Mound') says it won't grow taller or wider than 2 feet.  Of course, I believed a similar tag on the specimen on the right.  Planted several years ago, it's now close to 6 feet tall.


The Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' I added to my dry garden last year has done well so I decided to add 2 more plants.

I could only find 'Scarlet Sprite' in large (3-gallon) containers but eventually caved and bought them anyway.  At least the 2 new plants shouldn't take too long to catch up in size with the the original plant (shown in the rear of the photo on the right).


The local botanic garden held another of its special fall plant sales, which a friend and I attended the weekend before last.  She left empty-handed but I did not.

I picked up an unusual trailing Salvia, S. cacaliifolia (aka Guatemalan Leaf Sage).  It has ivy-like leaves, no odor, and isn't sticky.  It also needs regular water so it went into a large pot to be watered by hand.

I also picked up this Agave 'Kissho Kan' at a very reasonable price.  The variegation isn't as pronounced as most I've seen but it's still a handsome agave.

On our way home, my friend and I stopped in at a clearance sale held at a small local nursery and I came away with yet another agave.

This agave wasn't labeled and 2 larger specimens of what appeared to be the same species had different labels.  The nursery owner thought it is Agave angustifolia 'Marginata' but I think it may be the variegated form of Agave tequiliana, in which case it'll get too big for its current spot in my garden.  


Late last week, I made a trip to a nursery in Huntington Beach in search of a Mahonia for the vacant spot in the area recently cleared of a dying hedge.  I left with the Mahonia and 2 other plants.

I've wanted a dwarf Jacaranda 'Blue Bonsai' since the plant became widely available last year but I waited to see if the price would come down.  It didn't but I caved.  I didn't get it planted before Sunday's rain but hope to get it in place next weekend.

I picked up this Leucadendron salignum 'Summer Red' to add some height and softer texture to the succulent garden on the south side of the house.

And here's Mahonia x media 'Charity'.  I'd scoured the nursery in a fruitless search for Mahonias, only to have a huge display of these plants set up in the front parking lot pointed out to me as I was checking out with my other purchases.   They were on sale for half-price too.


Is that all, you ask?  Nope.  Plants also arrived by mail!  The first delivery was a complete surprise.

I received a box containing 8 bulbils from Pam Penick's famous Moby, a massive Agave ovatifolia that bloomed earlier this year.  Six of these tiny plants will be passed along to other local bloggers at a meet-up we have planned in early December and 2 will be planted out in my garden when they gain some size.  Moby's progeny have been widely distributed - he's taking over the country, one garden at a time.


I received advance notice of the second delivery.  Loree of danger garden contacted me on election night to say she had a Tetrapanax papyrifer seedling if I wanted it.  The offer, which I gratefully accepted, was the only bright spot in what proved to be a very depressing evening.  Her package arrived this week.

Loree packaged the seedling with expert care and it arrived in perfect condition.  I've tucked the seedling into a pot out of the wind that can buffet plants here while it gains some size.


So, is that it?  No, but this post is long enough so it will do for now.  For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!


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

26 comments:

  1. I love your new additions! I'm rather envious of that dwarf jacaranda. How I'd love to have one of those. I hope all your newbies settle in and do well for you.

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    1. I've always adored Jacarandas and tried growing a full-sized one in our old garden but the space was too small and too shady for it. It's much sunnier here and the dwarf size should be easier to manage so I have high hopes for success this time round.

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  2. Hope your new plants thrive! I'm going to be looking for a new Cotinus in the spring. The one I have is wonderfully drought-tolerant, which was a surprise to me. So I want more.

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    1. I remember that you reported on the drought tolerance of the Cotinus, Alison. You comment on that and Evan's comment on its acceptance of a degree of shade helped to push me toward a "buy" decision.

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  3. I love all your new plants, especially for the wonderful foliage. We just got really cold here, almost overnight, and winter is on its way. I will live vicariously through your post!

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    1. I'd tell you that it's suddenly gotten cold here too, Lee, but I realize that your definition of "cold" and mine are probably miles apart. If it gets down below 60F here, the heater comes on, blankets and sweaters come out, and we start to whine.

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  4. You got some wonderful new plants--good shopping! It will be interesting to see how the dwarf Jacaranda does for you. I had S. cacaliifolia, it spread widely in the ground--keeping it in a pot might be a good idea.

    Went to Armstrong's today, but just to look. They had lots of Christmas stuff, but also fresh stock of most shrubs. Quite a few temptations.

    Be careful if the Agave turns out to be augustifolia. It makes a massive clump.

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    1. Holiday decorations do tend to take up a lot of space in garden centers during this time of year. Re the agave that might be angustifolia or tequiliana, I probably should have attended to the fact that the nursery had so many pups in pots...If the plant goes crazy, maybe it'll find a spot on the back slope where more severe water restrictions could keep it under better control.

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  5. I just bought a Mahonia 'Charity' too! Love that plant! Good luck with all your babies - how nice of Pam and Loree! Gardeners are the nicest people!

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    1. This is my first Mahonia! I hope it'll be happy here.

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  6. I love all your new acquisitions, you've been busy. I pray that tiny little Tetrapanax grows well for you. They do well with remarkably little summer water once larger, but you should probably spoil it while it's small.

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    1. The tiny Tetrapanax was drooping a little this morning, which I hope is just a response to the dry air connected with the Santa Ana winds that arrived today. I gave it some of my rainwater and my fingers are crossed that it adjusts. Cooler temperatures are expected tomorrow and rain on Saturday so maybe it'll feel at home again then.

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  7. Happy Thanksgiving Kris; it gives me great pleasure to read about your new purchases. I'll be interested to hear how the Mahonia grows in your conditions. I have one that is smaller now than when I bought it 3 years ago! But it hasn't died and is flowering so I suppose I should just be hopeful that it will grow in future and perhaps I'll have to help it along with some extra water in summer.

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    1. According to the grower, 'Charity' is drought tolerant once established but we'll see. I've no prior experience with Mahonias of any species.

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  8. Oh what fun you have had. I loved reading about all your lovely purchases. The Duranta is new to me, what beautiful leaves. The only plants which are hardy here are the Cotinus and the Mahonia. I have several huge Charity which are just coming into bloom. They cheer up gloomy November here.Yours look as if it has finished. When does it bloom there?

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    1. According to the grower, the Mahonia blooms in winter but as these plants came to the nursery straight from the grower, I expect they may have been prompted into early bloom to be more appealing to retail customers. No one here seems willing to buy plants out of bloom.

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  9. As it spits rain/sleet outside, it is nice to see you gearing up for your growing season. I can feel your excitement! While the new additions are all beautiful, the jacaranda and the leucadendron are my favorites.
    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I for one ate way too much, nothing new there! ;)

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    1. We had our Thanksgiving meal early so, luckily for me, I've had a little time to walk/work off the heavy meal. Sorry to hear about the sleet but then the cold weather seems more appropriate to the holiday than our 76F temperature, albeit not as comfortable ;) - SoCal does have its pluses!

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  10. Lucky you with the dwarf jacaranda! I saw it for the first time a few months ago, had sticker shock as it was a large specimen, and put a different plant in the slated spot instead... I'll look forward to seeing yours grow ;-) So glad to see you were able to put the Cotinus in too!

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    1. The price on the Jacaranda is still ridiculously high and, if it comes in a container smaller than 5 gallons, I haven't seen it. I'd planned to wait until the price fell but heck, fall is prime planting season. If my past experience with expensive new introductions is any indication, the price will come down now ;(

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  11. Oh to be able to grow Jacaranda here. Hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as you are! Love all of your new plants.

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    1. Thanks for the nice holiday wish, Peter! The Jacaranda was a major splurge but I've wanted one for the longest time and at least a dwarf won't tick off any neighbors.

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  12. Yeah, posts about new plant purchases are among my favorites!

    Can't wait to see how your cotinus will do. I've tried three and by the end of the summer they all turned sickly green in our hot climate when closer to the coast they retain their beautiful purple.

    Your mystery agave looks an awful lot like A. angustifolia 'Marginata' (or, more correctly, A. vivipara according to the latest taxonomical findings). It's a beautiful plant but a prolific suckerer.

    I bought a Jacaranda 'Blue Bonsai' a few years ago and it's thrived in a large concrete pot. If I had to do it over again, I would put it in the ground. It's just a tad too large for a container, even a large one.

    Glad to see you got some of Pam's Moby offspring, too. In a year or two we should do a synchronized post on how Moby's babies are faring in their new homes all over the country.

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    1. I thought you might recognize that unlabeled agave. If prolific pupping is a key attribute, that probably seals the identity of this plant. The nursery had an unusually large number of pups, like mine, in pots and even my fairly small specimen produced 2 viable pups.

      I think you idea for a celebration of the Moby offspring is a great one. I'm sure Pam would be pleased to see it.

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  13. I'm way behind on blog-reading, fortunately a factor of a holiday, time off work and a friend in town. I love all of your new plants. So much texture and fun color. Although I am not jealous of your low rainfall, I continue to be jealous of Agave in the ground, especially A. ovatifolia! And a descendent of a famous Agave to boot!!

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    1. I expect I'd have a lot fewer agaves and other succulents if I had to haul them under cover each winter, Tim. I have 2 "young adult" Agave ovatifolia but having 2 of Moby's babies is an honor.

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