How Is Grapoveria 'Fred Ives' Doing This Spring?

 Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' loves this garden.  

With Grevillea and Dymondia...
...and Agaves, Kalanchoe, Gaillardia...
...with Geranium 'Rozanne', even.
...and all by itself, newly planted.
In a basket with sedum and a stuffed monkey
Growing from fallen leaves, in deep shade.  The scars on the oldest leaves are from our hail storm of a few months ago.  Fred grew new leaves.  Soon the old ones will be hidden by the new.    
 Rose 'Bolero' drops petals on 'Fred', but 'Fred' doesn't mind.
 This spot is very hot and very dry.  'Fred' is stressed, but growing and blooming anyway..
 These 'Fred's are in full shade except at noon, when they get one hour of blazing sun.  Note the difference from the foliage color above, and that the plant is blooming here, too.
 No 'Fred's in here...uh...except that little plant pointed to by the white arrow. 
'Fred' even crests his way through the fence.
  It takes some years before it becomes apparent which plants are worthy of being planted all over the garden, bringing, besides oft-recommended visual unity and continuity,  the virtue of reliability.  Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' loves this garden.  This gardener loves Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'.  

What are your unifiers?

Comments


  1. Fred is a handsome fellow and performs very well in your garden! In my garden chaos seems to be the only unifier. Although Taraxacum officinale grows in a variety of positions with vigor and lends a feeling of continuity.

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    1. Ha ha, good one! Now I know the botanical name.

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  2. I love Fred too! I've been trying to track down a Fred or two for my chartreuse circle pot, but he's proving elusive. I'll eventually find one...

    My unifiers, it's a question I was just thinking about yesterday and had to look back on one of my plant lust blog posts to read what I'd wrote...http://plantlust.com/blog/2016/06/the-unifiers/

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    1. Hakone and Yuccas, now those are choice unifiers. Size of garden is certainly a factor. Up to a point repetition is good, then it becomes...repetitive.

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  3. The conditions in front and back vary so much, but if there's one plant in my garden that appears most often, it's probably that tart Sedum Angelina. Columbine certainly gets about too. It's interesting how different Fred looks in your garden depending on the conditions.

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    1. Angelina gets around here, too, though oddly she and Fred have never met. Columbine is lovely--they are brief and annual here.

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  4. Fred is quite the mediator...seems to get along with everyone. My unifiers are Ajuga 'Black Scallop' and Stachys 'Helen Von Stein'. They, like Fred, thrive wherever I put them and make their neighbors look better than ever.

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    1. Fred does play well with others--yet another of his virtues.

      I tried Stachys here several times, and it hated my garden every time.

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  5. That's one lovable plant.

    :: What are your unifiers? :: Excellent question.

    Like a lot of plant enthusiasts, I'd heard and dismissed a formula for improving the design of most borders: take out half the plants and multiply the remaining ones. I had no more intention of following it than of flying to the moon. Where would the cool new plants go if I did that?

    But then I turned away from the garden for almost a decade, and the plants themselves applied the formula. Quite a few vanished, but others multiplied to the garden's benefit; violets and nd asters especially. Some creeping sedums and bulbs expanded to make a real effect. Also a population of fine-textured annuals began to self-sow regularly -- Erigeron /fleabane, various spurges. Most of these are natives, and reading about the fauna they support has made me appreciate them for their function in the food web as well as for their contribution to the look of the garden.

    Speaking of food web - This year the rabbits are eating the fleabane, but just the tops, so I imagine it'll bloom later (and shorter and fuller). The garden is in its first season in 15 years without a dog, so more munching may lie ahead...

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    1. No dog?!?! :^(

      After gardening a while. appreciating what birds the garden can attract has become more and more important. It's fun to see them, and important to support them as habitat continues to vanish.

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    2. Yeah, big dog-shaped hole in our lives and hearts. We're not quite ready for another one (or two). But soon.

      Meanwhile, rabbits ate one of the Sedum 'Frosty Morn's to the ground yesterday, while baby groundhogs nipped two tomato plants off neatly *at the base*. Grrrrrr.

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  6. I'm also very fond of Fred, although Aeonium arboreum has been my go-to plant for filling the odd, empty spot. Aeonium 'Kiwi' is another. I've been trying cuttings of Agave attenuata here and there too but it's a much slower grower. Oh, and then there's my great unifier: creeping thyme...

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    1. 'Kiwi' has been good, too. I have one small patch of Thyme that refuses to die, but otherwise that plant was a failure here. It must like your gravel.

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  7. Hello Hoover Boo,
    I love your Fred too!! Impossible to grow in my garden.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. We can't grow everything, no matter how we want to! :)

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  8. Love it in the monkey basket! Somehow I thought a plant like this would need full sun. It is quite lovely. I especially like the purple leaves with their tints of blueish green.

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    1. Since it is very dry here, full sun is not necessary. The range of foliage colors changes over the seasons and according to location. Sometimes there is a lot of pink, sometimes violet. It's fun to watch.

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  9. Fred is a great plant for me too, and he valiantly survived one of the most snail infested winters and springs in many a year. Both my in-ground Freds were close to ruin.Next winter I will prepare in advance ; it took me by surprise since they had shown no interest in Fred in previous winters.

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    1. Your winter rains last year were decent while our drought continued, now I wonder based on your experience this winter, if we'll have a bad snail season next winter (if we get a winter). The drought here was devastating to the snail population. I found exactly one in my garden, on an Agave, which was quickly dispatched. There were quite a few snails at the local park every morning walk in April that I enjoyed crushing. Crunch, crunch! All hail your Fred that survived! He'll be back in beauty soon, if he isn't already.

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  10. thinking about that as I read other choices - my garden has slid into accepting Plectranthus neochilus. A tough succulent groundcover. Grows in full sun, or shade. Grows from the cuttings I dump as mulch. Grows knee high. Grows across the path. But it is bursting into flower now and if the garden welcomes it, I can enjoy it too.

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    1. I've seen P. neochilus around here also; yes indeedy spectacular in bloom. Many interesting Plectranthus--I had P. argentatus and P. 'Mona Lavender' for quite a while.

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    2. Fred is back in my garden again, after picking up a six-pack at Roger's when the three of us visited a few months back. My unifier for summer has become grasses. Even though they may be different species with some sedges thrown in, to my eye they really calm things down.

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