Tuesday, November 24, 2015

You Can Observe A Lot By Just Watching

 "You can observe a lot by just watching"  -- Yogi Berra

Watching and thus observing at the San Diego Botanical Garden today.  This Aloe 'Hercules' branches at knee-height.  Mine has branched at 10'--what determines the height at which it branches?  

 Aloe dawei
 A smallish Aloe with an interesting open and vertical growth habit.
 Aloe arborescens, as it begins to flower.
 At this, my favorite moment in the process, the flowers display a fetching blue tip. 
 A garden sculpture frames an Agave shawii bloom stalk.
 Aloe shawii cluster
 Agave horrida, possibly, beginning to send up its flower stalk
 Ferns in the foreground, a sculpture in the middle, a Quercus suber behind. 
 What a pure crimson this bromeliad displays!
 Cordyline, sunlit.
 I don't know what this besides Calathea lancifolia, totally cool. (Thanks to mr_subjunctive for the ID)
 Bromeliads do not require brilliant crimson color to dazzle.
 Opuntia helleri, native to the Galapagos Islands.  The fruits feed the giant tortoises of those islands.
 Strelitzia reginae
 From a different angle, the flower looks quite different.
 Aloe ferox is flowering early here.  The ones at the Huntington were not showing any signs of flowers a couple of weeks ago.
 Didn't see the label for this Aloe
 This Agave shawii is a lot different than the huge clump earlier.  This one is solitary and huge, shoulder-high.  Perhaps it has its own personal sprinkler at the roots, to make it so fat and happy.
There were a group of sculptures for sale throughout the garden.  Some of them (like this one) were quite nice, but they were also quite expensive.  This one was $19,000, plus tax.
 Plants are cheaper, and not without sculptural form.  A Restio: 
 Haemanthus albiflos
 Dioon foliage + sunlight
 Acacia covenyi, flowers just forming. 
 Sky.  No one can charge for that. 
 Nice hair, dude.
 Gerbera jamesonii 'Everlast'
 Watch, and you may observe. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Is That...Autumn Color?!?

Sort of.  The real Autumn color of here is brown, but early morning light and an actual touch of turn to the Japanese Maple provide a brief hint of it.
It was a tough year for the Japanese Maples.  A terrible heat wave in March, just as they leafed out, scorched the emerging foliage.  The lack of much winter rain left the soil too dry, and the cut back in irrigation made matters worse.  I hope a wet winter brings them back to health. 
The most reliable mix of classic Autumn is found in the koi pond. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fall Project 2015

Above: the "anchor" of the space is an Aloe 'Hercules'.
I've been removing and moving roses.  I want to make this area look more...I don't know...something with agaves and aloes instead of roses.  The roses in this area looked dreary most of this year.  Too many heat waves.   Or it is just time for a change.

Maybe something like this, sort of--the desert garden at the Newport Beach civic center. 

A lot of Aloes need a home in the ground:  suzannae,  'Always Red', betsileensis, claviflora, tomentosa, aculeata, alooides, pilansii, harlana, petricola, capitata var quartzicola...
Agaves, too.  A dozen 'Joe Hoak' offsets, for example. 
Hopefully I can come up with a design of some sort by the time I pull out/move all the roses in this section.  It feels like it's time for a change. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mobbed (It Continues)

It's not as though there are not tons of flowers for them to feed from as well, and they are at the flowers, also. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Pretty

Above, thready Euphorbia foliage at the Huntington Desert Garden

It's Bloom Day, but I didn't feel like doing blooms today.  Instead, for a Sunday, a small meditation on the beauty of the plant world. 
Huntington Desert Garden
 Shadows cast by the Ginko tree near the Huntington Palm Garden:
 Scaevola and Sedum:
 Aloe suprafoliata will soon have its first flowers.  After that the leaves will begin to spiral. 
 Aloe 'Roikoppie'
 Aloe 'Roikoppie' clusters with Agave 'Joe Hoak':
Aloe capitata foliage is nearly the same color as Aloe 'Roikoppie' flowers:
 Gasteria acinacifolia flowers.  This is the largest Gasteria species and grows happily in the ground in Southern California, given part shade and quick drainage.  The flower stems can reach 2' or more, and are beloved by hummingbirds.  
 The beauty of the plant world must stand as defiance to the ugliness and stupidity that seems this morning too prevalent in the human species.  Vive la France.