I've been keeping an eye out for a Phylica pubescens since October 2014, when I saw the famous $400 specimen at Seaside Gardens in Carpenteria. The general thought is that they priced the famous specimen at $400 because they got very tired of saying, "No, it's not for sale!", and they wanted customers to quit asking to buy it.
$400 should silence everyone:
A garden club member graciously gave me a seedling last June, but sadly despite care it's now...smaller than it was last June.
New foliage, though...maybe it's growing roots?
Late To The Garden Party mentioned finding a Phylica recently, so the hunt intensified, and after some enthusiastic cajoling on the beauties of Phylica, and Beloved shrewdly pulling up some photos on his phone, a local supplier (Village) ordered a few, called me when they arrived, and I was able to get a beautiful plant.
The foliage is as silky as a kitten.
Nice, eh? Phylica pubescens is native to the Cape peninsula of South Africa. A bit of good information on it here. I have a spot for it in the ground--not sure which spot, though. This plant is so breathtaking backlit, it needs to be placed where the sun will light it up and explain why I was looking for it for so long.
You life up my light!
Another new plant, Leucophyta (formerly Calocephalus) brownii 'Silver Stone'. Native to Australia. I bought it in six-pack form not realizing it was a dwarf selection of the species which I've grown several times. Short-lived, but stunning. 'Silver Stone' grows to about a foot (30 cm) tall and wide, the species to 3 feet tall and wide. However a dwarf should work perfectly where I placed it. I noticed its already grown in the week since planting--so, good. It will provide some interest until the Kalanchoe orgyalis grows large enough to fit the space, and then it will die though I wish it wouldn't. The Kalanchoe leaf backsides will silver up with summer heat.
Noted with red arrow. Hey those 'Joe Hoak's are finally growing!
I bought some hybrid Watsonia bulbs at 50% off a few months ago, and finally, a flower stem appeared. They are like small Gladiolas that don't need staking. Like Phylica, from South Africa. They can form quite a formidable clump, so may not be here for long.
An impulse purchase but with a purpose--a very prominent spot had a wimpy own-root rose that looked simply dreadful--I potted the poor thing up in hope of saving it, and replaced it with a potted rose, 'Drop Dead Red'. No idea how this rose will perform, but it looks miraculously better than what it replaced.
In the not-new-but-new category is one unexpectedly back from the dead. I got Agapanthus 'Sandringham' at Joy Creek on the Portland Fling back in 2014. It vanished soon after I planted it, so I assumed it died. Uh, no. It's a deciduous Agapanthus and another South African native. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a deciduous Agapanthus. It didn't appear last spring, but here it is...so...whatever. Welcome back!
Lastly another new/old plant, a volunteer
Cute. One is lankier than the other. Kind of odd with Agaves and Aloes, which is where they appeared, but...cute. Plants. They do what they do.
Just don't you dare die, little Miss Phylica!