All The Way Back Home

I choose to miss interesting garden events due to a preference for actual gardening over driving, driving, driving through traffic to interesting garden events.  A Thursday seminar on Aloe hybridizing at the Huntington managed to tempt me.  There was also to be a post-seminar plant sale.  
 The motivation to attend was partially interest in the subject, partially knowledge that the weather--a nasty hot windy heat wave--would cancel Thursday gardening.  
 I went, accompanied by Lady GPS, who provided a kind of companionship, along with strange travel directions in a friendly but commanding monotone.  "Follow.  The Road. For. Sev. En. Miles."  The way there led though the hinterlands of El Monte and Rosemead, on side streets full of pot holes, past postwar ranch houses, pastrami and Thai take-out joints, and vacant factories that once produced shoes, electric fans, pillows.
On Huntington arrival, of course a mandatory walk through the Desert Garden before the seminar started.  It was hot.  Many photos were taken while sitting on a shady bench.  One shaded bench had a view of blooming Aloe rupestris and a few other plants:
Cactus flowers were fully open, bright sunlight bouncing off their silk petals.  
Pelargoniums surrounded by Golden Barrels like baby musk ox surrounded by the adults.  
It was almost time for the seminar.  On the walk there, a different shaded bench offered a view of the subtropical trees on the slope in front of the Huntington mansion. 
  Hey big guy, thanks for the shade!
I was becoming distracted by plants.  Onward, to the seminar:
Ms. Zimmerman spoke briefly about Aloe species frequently used in hybridizing (mostly smaller, bumpier species), paid homage to other Aloe hybridizers, including Kelly Griffin, Dick Wright, and Brian Kemble,  mentioned some aspects of Aloes that hybridizers like to experiment with (teeth, bumps, stripes, coloration), hybridizing tools ("To have sex with plants, use your finger!") and then focused on the many hybrids she has created and the parents of those hybrids. 
No, no hybrid Aloes here:
Ms. Zimmerman spoke with enthusiasm and cheerful good humor and provided food for thought:  what features of an Aloe do you like best?  The foliage color, the teeth, the form?  I myself briefly imagined a fantasy Aloe--the white stripes of A. deltoideodontea...
 photo AloSharp3369.jpg
 paired with the coconut flake teeth of Aloe erinacea...
 photo sdshow7292_zpsj6pswgsw.jpg
Might be cool.  
 
Though overall, I'm not a fanatic for most hybrid Aloes ('Hercules' excepted).  The window-sill-sized hybrids with lumpy bumpy pimply pustuleooly toothy textures are too small for the size of my garden, and the year-round-flowers-but-the-foliage-is-generic-arborescens hybrids, are just--okay.      
Preferring a larger scale...

Preferring non-generic foliage...
The real surprise of the seminar was the plant sale.  I was expecting a modest table of window-sill Aloes at the back of the lecture hall.  What we got was an escort down to the growing greenhouses, behind the "Staff Only" signs.  The huge, vast growing greenhouses filled with plants for sale.  You could buy anything that was for sale, not just hybrid Aloes.  I was floored.  
My camera lens was not wide-angle enough.  Feast your plant-greedy eyes far beyond those two Cypress...
Then there was the shade house of Succulents:
 The big, filled up full shade house of succulents
 Overwhelmed, and floored, and it was hot, and I was thinking about the upcoming brutal trudge through forty miles of traffic to two dogs with rapidly filling bladders desperate to get outside.  
How could I have left behind a big strong healthy Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' for $15?!?  And Banksias!  Grevilleas!  Roses!  

 Why did I leave behind the Agave guiengola 'Moto Sierra', which would eventually look like this?  
Agave 'Chainsaw'? photo 2-8-3448_zps0ef9dbde.jpg
Overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed.  Interesting garden events get to me too much--I need to get back out to the garden to calm down.
I did bring home a single plant--a souvenir of the day, and yes, a hybrid--Aloe 'Hellskloof Bells'.  
De gustibus non est disputandum!
The traffic was terrible, all the way back home, but the garden was wonderful when I got there.   

Comments

  1. That takes plants sales post seminar on a whole new level Gail! With all that stimulation plus the hot weather no wonder you felt overwhelmed. It's great you have the calmness of your garden to go home to.

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  2. Some lovely plants there but it is always good to return to the sanctity of one's own garden. I do love going to garden centres and plant nurseries but find them a little overwhelming as I see so many beautiful plants I would like to buy but know I cannot afford them. I always come home with something but never seem to be able to find the plant I was originally looking to purchase.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Plant shopping is fun, but it shouldn't be the most important aspect of gardening. If it is, then it is just shopping.

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  3. OMG...I would have been overwhelmed too. But the opportunity! I am jealous.

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    1. I was so surprised I could not take advantage of the opportunity! But it's not like I don't have too many plants as it is.

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed shouting "Gail!" at the top of my lungs in the overcrowded aisles of that greenhouse. What a madhouse! I nearly fled that mob scene but steeled myself in my best plant sale armor...and grabbed 'Moto Sierra' among other cool stuff. I was floored too at what was for sale. I think we basically scooped the big spring plant sale. POTUS' visit on Jimmy Kimmel had the freeways crazier than usual that day.

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    1. It was fun to hear the shout. "Mob scene"--that describes it. Yes it was scooping the plant sale! I couldn't believe it was happening. I hope you got some good stuff.

      I didn't think the POTUS visit would affect traffic outside of West LA, but it probably did.

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  5. It sounds like a great outing in spite of the heat and the traffic--two constants in metropolitan California. The plant sale looks incredible. Like you, I would have gotten completely overwhelmed.

    Funny you should mention that Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'. Another friend of mine who went, Luisa Serrano, mentioned it, too, when she was mine in a recent post on my blog.

    I have a 'Hellskloof Bells' and it's done well in the garden. It sailed through its first winter in the ground and is twice as tall as it was last summer (it started out the same size as yours). It hasn't flowered yet.

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    1. I've never braved the main, major Huntington plant sale in April, which brings thousands of shoppers--the 50 or 75 that were there Thursday though all polite and patient has convinced me I'm not up to the April battle of thousands.

      That size Leucadendron is usually at least $30 if not $40 at garden centers here.

      Thanks for the info on Hellskloof Bells, we'll see how it likes So Cal.

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  6. Oh, Hoov... your photos are so beautiful...! I had an appointment in town late that morning and had to choose between a quick-ish visit to the Cactus Center or a dash through the Huntington Desert Garden before the talk, and the garden deserves more time, so... Cactus Center it was. Think I'll visit the Huntington again next week, and early, to avoid another endless schlep home.

    (In the upper right corner behind that tempting 'Safari Sunset' is a Grevillea 'Long John' -- there were two, and I brought one home. (It's almost five feet tall! $35!!!) And I brought a 'Moto Sierra' home as well. What a sale! "Overwhelming" sums it up very well.)

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    1. It wasn't just me then? Thank goodness. You lugged that 'Long John' all the way back to the parking lot? That is dedication--it must have been a tough hike in the heat.

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    2. They had wonderful volunteers in electric carts -- my new plants and I got a lift from the check-out table to my truck door. Shoulda bought that 'Safari Sunset' [kicks self]. Oh, and the grevillea was actually $37.50. (My bad for not double-checking before I commented. Still a steal!)

      Be interesting to see what's at the sale in April.

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  7. Wonderful desert plants, I love the cactus flowers. I was amazed about the shadehouse of Succulents. In our country we have to give succulents full sun and have shade houses for ferns and hostas. Is n't that funny, so we can see that you live in the lovely warm side of the world and we in a cold frog country.

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    1. The small seedling succulents need protection from the sun in inland California. It gets very hot, here where at best Hostas are an annual.

      Where it is very hot most of the time, cold and fog sound good!

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  8. All I can say is, "Wow!" Just, "Wow!"

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    1. That's what I said, when I saw all those plants for sale!

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  9. It's always a quandary: being torn between working in the garden and attending some promising event. Nice memento plant that came home with you.

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    1. It was a pretty great day, all in all.

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  10. I felt overwhelmed just reading your post. As I absolutely hate driving through downtown LA, I miss out on these events except on the odd occasions I can coerce my spouse to chauffeur me. (Chauffeurs are also useful for carrying the stuff I couldn't manage on my own.) Next time, you need to bring your own cart!

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    1. See Luisa's comment above--there were nice people with electric carts happy to help with purchases.

      I know what you mean--it's hard to get myself motivated to battle traffic. I'm glad I was able to go, though. The fun outweighed the traffic, in the end.

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  11. What a great opportunity. I am surprised you didn't fill the car. We refer to our GPS as Phyllis, it makes her a little more human.

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    1. Phyllis: good name! I think I'd like a man voice, to be named either "Hal" or "Stephen Hawking".

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