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.