Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show at the LA Arboretum

Spiral blur:
Spiral blur

We went Saturday.  Not quite as spectacular as last year, but then last year's was particularly spectacular.  Still, at the champion's table, the best of the best, I saw the Holy Grail: what appeared to be a white sport of  Echeveria 'Afterglow'.  I was amazed.  Too amazed to get a good photograph.  You must take it from me--it was breathtaking.  An incandescent 200-watt light bulb in the shape of an Echeveria.  I leaned as close as I could to discover the name, but it was difficult to read---something like "Echeveria Danica" or "Canica"-- neither of which turns up anything relevant on The Google.   Update 7/4/11;  It might have been E. cante.

Holy Grail, succulent version:
Ghostly Echeveria
But that is the nature of the true Grail--it is only for the purest, tireless spirit.  My spirit was wilting from the inland heat and the crowd.  Lots of people, most of them yakking, a few wielding strollers as weapons.  The plants luckily were ready to defend themselves--the "Please Do Not Touch" signs were rather amusing when placed under something like this:

Please do not touch the plants:
Please Don't Touch

I realize this is insane, but one thing I adore about show succulents is how clean the plants are.  Not an errant dried leaf or spiderweb in sight, nor a single water spot.  I guess it takes canned air, tweezers, and something (what?) to remove water spots, or are show succulents always kept immaculate?  Amidst all the handmade pottery exactly matched to the character of each plant, this white plastic pot, this dirty white plastic pot stood out.  The plant, however, was immaculate.

A touch of gardening reality sneaks into a show:
Honest Pot

The Agave table with species more familiar to me than the exotic caudiciforms, was a comforting bit of calm in the noise and human hurly-burly.  They were apparently too mundane to attract the crowd. 

The  Agave  table

We enjoyed the show, but eventually were forced to flee.  The show area and sale area had no sense of peace, with a line to buy plants as long and grim as the ladies' bathroom line at a football game.  While the show area was jammed, the Arboretum itself was nearly deserted and blessedly quiet, the exact reason I visit gardens in the first place.  On the way to the  Arboretum Agaves we passed through the circle of cypress.  Last year its hub was a trio of 'Swanes Golden' Cypress.  This year, they were gone, replaced by a crowd of Agaves, A. vilimoriana, perhaps.  Hopefully they moved the cypress rather than digging them out.  On down the path to a half-dozen large 'Blue Glow'.

Agave  'Blue Glow':
Agave  'Blue Glow'

There were two mature clumps of A. guiengola.  I planted my own tiny version imposter last weekend, and realized it will need extra room.  The largest rosette was over five feet across, and a magnificent, heavy presence.  Update 7/4/11 it turned out to be a tequiliana.  I finally got my guiengola yesterday. 

Agave guiengola:
Agave  guiengola

 Thence to a representation, a wonderful one, of a Madagascar thorn forest.  Alluadias besides A. procera, and Pachypodiums ten feet tall and blooming.  A balm to the soul after the madding crowd, despite the large  sign announcing that the thorn forests of Madagascar are being turned into cooking charcoal.  Beside the Pachypodiums, a dead plant that wasn't dead, sporting tiny white  flowers  for the  observant.

Dead, but blooming

No tag, and it was too hot for coastal dwellers to linger.  We escaped the heat.  The usual Arboretum Peacock, wisely huddled  in the shade, served as gatekeeper and fare-thee-well.   



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