What's Up At The Huntington At May's End?

Above, Agave 'Ivory Curls'
Heavy overcast on Sunday made for a cool, comfortable visit on the cusp of summer.  The Entry Garden looked fabulous.  Plenty of flowers still in the Desert Garden, though at this time of year, other plants have mostly taken over the show from Aloes.  The Rose Garden, while not in spectacular spring flush, had many flowers. 
I like how the leaning Kalanchoe in the far left pot is balanced out with a minor eruption of Senecio:
 Hey, they've got a Phylica, too!
 Hesperaloe 'Brake Lights' makes a broad swath of red:
 Pensetemon by the rill.
 Golden grasses with blue, yellow, and purple accents
 Yellow and purple, light greens and dark

 More and more lush.  Summer heat will change it soon.  The blue yucca foliage and red Anigozanthos flowers echo the Hesperaloe colors we saw previously, though its not a particularly harmonious combination, is it?

 We enter the Desert Garden now.  A striated Agave americana with yellow Anigozanthos behind it.  Smallish A. appalanta 'Cream Spike' to americana's lower right.
 Two different plants from the same cross, (A. sinkatana x A. harlana), Aloe 'Kujo' (orange flowers) and Aloe 'Evil Twin' (yellow).
 Aloe porphyrostachys is closely related to A. pseudorubroviolacea, the flowers that curve inward as they open are similar in habit and color, from the same furnace-hot region of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

 Fuzzy-flowered Aloe tomentosa
 Fouquieria flowers add orange touchs to the bubbling carpet of golden barrel cacti.
 Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue'
 Puya alpestris, of the unreal metallic blue-green flowers.

If you look closely, there's a bee's bum just visible in one of the flowers
 An enormous Agave parryi truncata, at least a meter across.  The center is shortening, so the plant is preparing to flower.
 This appeared to be a Yucca rather than an Agave, but I didn't look closely--too busy admiring the s-curve filaments.
 Another Puya of unreal floral and stem color, with a bee, legs bulked up with pollen, partaking.
 A juvenile male hummingbird, recently fledged by the awkwardness of his flying maneuvers, also feeding from Puya flowers.  He'll be strong and feisty soon enough. 
 Agave 'Blue Flame' when young and small is middling-attractive.  When large, it's quite a bit more thrilling.  This one was chest-high:
Agave attenuata 'Nova' foreground right, in a tableau vivant of texture. 
 We left the xerics to walk through the pond area to the Australian Garden, passing Agapanthus beginning their late spring show.
Panoramic photo by Beloved
 A few more plants in the Australian garden--they are working on it, slowly.  Grevillea 'Fire Sprite'
 Red Eucalyptus, E. ficifolia
 Anigozanthos 'Harmony'
 Melaleuca nesophila is not uncommon in Southern California.  It forms a large shrub, 20' tall, 12' wide and produces lavender pink pompom flowers from late spring to fall. 
 Callistemon flavovirens.
 Grevillea 'Long John'.  This one was about 7' tall and 10' wide.

 This is a more representative specimen of Anigozanthos 'Harmony' in Southern California.  Fussy plants, sometimes often. 
 The rose garden looked excellent, if not in peak bloom.
 'About Face' with the rich color May-Grey enables
 'Distant Drums'
 On to the Shakespeare Garden, to admire the artichokes.
 An Echium with white-margined foliage
 We were getting tired of walking.  A sit down under a grape covered pergola, then on the way home...
 Past golden grasses accented with Cycads, Aloes...
 ...Eucalyptus, and Agaves. 
Long lovely walk, now time to go home. 


  1. Well that was a lovely holiday morning surprise, thank you!

  2. Wonderful photos, loved them all, but most special are the flowers of the Puya alpestris, I really never have seen such metallic blue flowers.

    1. The P. alpestris flowers look imitation, as if they are made from plastic or metal--the surface of the petals has a strange shine.

      Happy you liked the pictures!

  3. I'm so happy that you visit the Huntington often. I experience it vicariously through your words and photos. We (your readers) should chip in towards your Huntington membership, LOL.

    One comment re: anigozanthos being difficult to grow. Same experience here. I wonder why that is. What's the big secret??? I suspect we don't give it enough water.

    1. Happy the visits are still interesting. This is a good page on Anigozanthos, perhaps I will try one more time. http://www.smgrowers.com/info/anigozanthosTalk.asp

      I give up on Acacia 'Cousin Itt', though. Maybe.

  4. I find myself doing the same thing with your photos as I do at the Huntington -- moving through every section quickly except the desert and entrance gardens. That rill gives up so many rich planting opportunities, and they seem to be having a blast exploiting as many as possible. Amazing photos and esp. of that puya -- wow!

    1. Yes, they are playing around with the entrance garden--must have budget for it. It's a little different every time we go, and it gets better and better.

  5. :: blue yucca foliage and red Anigozanthos flowers echo the Hesperaloe colors we saw previously, though its not a particularly harmonious combination, is it? ::

    That aqua blue and just-off-red-to-the-brown-side together evoke 1930s-1950s printed cotton tablecloths and kitchen decor. Can be kind of cool in the right setting. But I love much more the yellow-with-yellow in the image above it.

    And those barrel cactuses slay me every time. My garden club did visits to two members' gardens last weekend, and a stunning accent in one of the gardens is something totally unseen here -- a barrel cactus in a container. She got fired up about them on a visit to Santa Fe and then saw one for sale here -- at a Lowe's !? It's in a container so she can haul it under cover during extended rainy periods. Which we've been in for a month or so now. Not that I'm complaining; I have no cactus to schlep.

    Thanks so much today (and on so many days) for the transporting images.

    1. I adore blue foliage, but the wrong companions make me cringe. Blue is a neutral, why should it clash? Must be my eyes.

      Heavy plants best on a wheeled platform--roll instead of schlep. I love those things.

  6. My husband and I were at the Huntington yesterday as well. I half-wondered if we might run into you but I know you generally go early and, by the time we arrived at 11am, the gardens were already crowded. The overcast sky made for a very pleasant visit. I took photos of some of the same things (that turquoise Puya!) but we spent a lot of time in the Japanese and Chinese gardens this visit - I haven't visited the latter garden in years and was impressed at how far it's come.

    1. Awww...so sorry we missed you! It would have been fun to visit with you. We left just as the crowds started pouring in, and they were pouring, weren't they? It was indeed a wonderful day for walking around, cool, light breeze...the sun didn't come out here until 5 pm.

      I agree, the Chinese garden has developed faster than I expected, and there is more to come. It's very impressive. Were any Lotus blooming yet? Dear Husband was saying why do we never see the lotus in bloom? Because, dear, we never go in August when it's 105F.

  7. That Puya alpestris! Wut? It's not only that not-found-in-many-gardens color, but the texture that makes them look manufactured, made from stiff satin (or metal) and artificially attached to the plant...

    1. They look just as fake in person as in a picture. The texture looks totally artificial, except...it's not.

  8. Simply stunning. agave blue flame, chest high! Think I may have to rethink the pot size for that one, no idea where i would keep it. Mind you if 20% of my plants get to even half their potential size then I will be overrun, so guess best not to dwell.

    1. They are not super fast growers, so you have time. Judging by the growth of the happy plants in your area in front of the pale blue wall, not an endless amount of time. Yes, maybe best not to dwell!

  9. Beautiful images of a wonderful plant place! Was particularly taken by that photo of vases though, hmmm...

    1. Thanks! Perhaps the vases give you some new creative ideas?

      And thanks again for your great photos of Chelsea Garden Show. Always a treat.


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