How is the Bismarkia Doing And Grevillea Miscellany

Above, Bismarkia noblis with Agave 'Mateo' below
 
Miscellany for a Saturday.  Days have been cool and at times overcast, perfect gardening weather.  It's time to cut back and clean up all sorts of plants--Salvias, Parthenocissus, shrubs; time to plant, repot, move, or simply ponder and admire all the rest. 

The Bismarkia offset obtained last year is doing well.  The leaves have developed pink highlights in this cooler weather.   I potted it up this summer, being careful to minimize disturbance to the roots, something this palm is very sensitive about.  Once planted in the ground it is best left where it is, so a place in the ground must be chosen with considerable thought.   
 
'Fred Ives' is growing through the fence, and oooh, there's a crested rosette on the left!
 Echeveria harmsii 'Ruby Slippers' has been a star lately.  Who needs flowers, with foliage like this?  (Although it is developing flowers again).  Left undisturbed by feet, and protected from mutilation by slugs or snails, this plant slowly forms a patch of sparking magenta with touches of silver and olive green.
To admire and ponder pink is not for everyone, but I like it.  In contrast with the intense magenta of 'Ruby Slippers', 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' is subtly, discreetly, barely pink.   
 I cut back the Iochroma by about 75% a couple of months ago.  It had grown enough to overwhelm both a large rose and the adjacent path.  Because the weather was still warm then, it grew back rapidly and never stopped blooming.  
After (yes, after) pruning and regrowth:
Iochroma is a Brugmansia relative, and shares some characteristics of that genus:  rapid and rampant growth in warm weather, constant heavy bloom, weak stems that snap in moderate to strong winds or of their own weight.   It is nearly the exact opposite of Brugmansia in other respects:  it needs vastly less water,  hummingbirds rather than bees are crazy for the much-smaller flowers,  the leaves do not yellow and drop constantly, the plant is more lax.  Mine is supported by a metal tower to keep it (with cutting back), upright, tall, and relatively narrow. 
 The Grevillea 'Medusa' planted early this year has behaved as Grevilleas do here:  after planting it did absolutely nothing for six months.  In late summer it sent out new 2' stems, thin as thread, bare of leaves.  Lately from those bare stems, flowers have emerged to catch sunlight at certain times of day, and curly foliage is beginning to sprout. 
We saw a large patch of this Grevillea, matured, at the UCSC Arboretum, on flat ground.  To be honest...it wasn't all that appealing, but if you want dense coverage, you've got it.  
 A fellow garden blogger remarked the other day that her G. lanigera selection (either 'Coastal Gem' or 'Mount Tamboritha') was not blooming as much as she had hoped.  Having thought, and looking mine over,  they've been slow to grow and develop generous flowering.  'Coastal Gem' is just about there, but 'Mount Tamboritha', with two or three years less in the ground, has a way to go. 
Grevillea lanigera 'Mount Tamboritha'
Grevillea lanigera 'Coastal Gem'
Today promises to again be cool, somewhat overcast, and perfect for long hours of gardening.  Joys await!  Joys for you all as well today--either out in the garden, or next to the fireplace, with a cat asleep on your lap and a plant catalog in your happy hands.
 

Comments

  1. Your Iochroma never ceases to impress! I planted one (a variety I can't recall off-hand) in the back border nearly 2 years ago and it's still only several inches tall - not dead but seemingly in suspended animation. I guess I should dig it up and try it somewhere else. Happy gardening!

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    1. Only several inches tall?!? Huh. Mine has a single 1 gph dripper run for 10-20 minutes a week, and that is the sum total of care (besides wacking it back). Strange. Yes, try it somewhere else, with reflected heat, perhaps.

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  2. Great post. I had always been wondering about iochromas. I almost bought one at Annie's Annuals recently but I didn't know where it would put it. It's a beautiful plant for sure, but I still wouldn't know where to put one.

    I'd also been wondering about Grevillea lanigera. I have 'Coastal Gem' and 'Mt Tamboritha' side by side, and neither one has a) grown that much in the last couple of years and b) bloomed much. But now I know there's hope as long as I'm patient.

    Rain here today, on and off. On Wednesday we're supposed to receive 1 inch (!) in a day. Virtually unheard of it in recent years. Are finally having a normal winter??? I hope you're getting some of it, too.

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    1. The Iochroma can drape nicely over a (strong) fence, or be supported by something. Otherwise it flops everywhere and takes up too much space. Heat and sun.

      Watering your G. lanigeras? They do need it--not much, but some.

      Congrats on the rain! Nothing here, but at least temperatures are cool-ish. Looks like around a 50% chance of rain late next week...that's something!

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    2. Checked back...planted 'Coastal Gem' in January 2012.

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    3. Funny, right after I posted my reply above, I noticed that the larger of the two (Mt Tamboritha, I think) is actually full of flower buds! So it's finally reached blooming age.

      It's on drip, so it gets water once a week in the summer.

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    4. It will soon be lovely. Enjoy! :)

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  3. Your Iochroma is spectacular. Here, it is more of an annual, more's the pity.

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    1. Grows crazy fast, so you'd get flowers I think even if it is an annual.

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  4. How I love your posts Hoover Boo. They always showing plants I never heard about before. I am thankfull you want to share it with us. Beautiful to see.
    Wishing you a wonderful sunday.

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    1. You are so kind, Marijke. Thank you for reading my blog!

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  5. Oh gosh, the Iochroma. I bet that would not be hardy for me, would it? It is gorgeous. I miss 'Souvenir de la Malmaisom. Although it performed kind of puny for me in my former garden, the blooms were exquisite. I have not inquired yet about its performance here.

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    1. Grown as an annual in colder regions, I think. Your summers might be too cool to get rapid growth. That was a tiny plant in 4" pot from Home Depot for $3.99. It grew 10' in 6 months. It is another flower the hummingbirds fight over.

      My SDLM on multiflora rootstock has been much bigger and stronger than the own-root SDLM. Would think it would have a great summer in your region but be brown mush the rest of the year. Is it at the Portland International Test Rose Garden? I can't remember if I saw it there or not.

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  6. My Iochroma was blooming still as of last weekend, but a frost event laid it low. Lots of flopping here for me too-- I am going to build a rebar support for it in spring assuming it comes back from the roots. Because our nights are so cool in summer it takes a long time for it to bloom,and if frost is early one may get no bloom at all. Fred Ives--he is splendid !

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    1. Interesting! Sounds like warmth is a real stimulus for Iochroma. Perhaps the reflected heat from the pale stucco walls also helps mine, keeping it warmer at night. Thanks for commenting on your experience. Mine sure does flop, the whole thing falls over every once in a while. Use extra strong rebar!

      Fred is awesome! Love Fred.

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  7. Hi....I love your blog so much! I love the frequent updates and I'm learning a lot. Thank you for your posts :)

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    1. Thank you! Happy if it has been of use!

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