Retail Therapy Time
Leucospermum 'Sunrise'. Color like this is sugar for the eyes. Note blogger in habitat fleetingly caught, Sasquatch-like, at the top right of the photo.
Yes, it's time for some retail therapy--we took a drive to Village in Huntington Beach.
All photos in this post are courtesy of Beloved, because your blogger was too busy with "therapy".On our arrival we discovered they were fully restocked with fresh plants for spring. Oh, the horror!
The sign implied you should be worried for your shoes, but plant lovers know they need be worried for their wallet.
Blogger in habitat, looking for Callistemon 'Slim'. I have spaces for more Callistemon 'Slim's. I was there for that plant alone. No succumbing to temptation. Discipline! Focus!
Lots of annual color to enjoy. I love Ranunculus, but other bulbs like Hippeastrum hybrids, Brodiaea laxa “Queen Fabiola”, and "Dutch" Iris are a better value, coming back reliably year after year.
"I don't care if they'll all be dead by Memorial Day!" cried the lady in front of us at the cash register, her wagon full of Ranunculus. "I love them. I want them anyway!"
Easy not to buy (for some):
Under the power lines are standard places for growing grounds in Southern California.
Camellias are still a very common plant in Southern California. There were a lot for sale. They struggle in my garden's strong Santa Ana wind conditions; along the coast they do much better.
A classic foundation shrub for the east and north sides of Southern California houses for a century. Camellias can go all summer unwatered if the root system is heavily shaded and long established, but not only is the water disappearing here--so is the space for a garden. The front yard of new homes is about the size of a sofa; the back yard is all concrete, the side yard is a sidewalk and a fence.
Camellias were once the premier winter color for SoCal, but Aloes and Grevilleas feed far more bees. Still, beautiful.
There's the 'Slim's! Good.
I don't do Phormiums anymore, either. The Phormium mealy bug has become an established pest and kills off the plant by massing unseen at the leaf bases and sucking the crown dry. Regular pesticide spraying of the base would take care of that, but I'd rather not spray. Watch for this mealy bug on Cordylines, too.
This was a painfully wonderful aisle to look though: many, many, many different Leucospermums and Grevilleas, all fresh stock. Temptations galore.
Best to admire spring ephemerals and "annual color" and stick to the objective: Callistemon 'Slim'.
But a thriller of a Leucospermum was before me: 'Rainbow'.
A new introduction? The price was crazy. All of the others were half this price or less.
Sugar-hit for the eyes.
This Aloe was labelled 'Conejo Flame', but it didn't look like 'Conejo Flame', which looks more like this, and there was an Aloe adjacent with a gall mite infection (indicated by purple arrow):
This looks more like 'Conejo Flame', but it also looks like plain old arborescens, and I didn't check the label.
Leucospermum 'Spider Hybrid'. I unintentionally killed mine last year--still not sure why. Either not enough water or too much.
Grevillea 'Poorinda Blondie' was a looker, too.
Another look at Leucospermum 'Sunrise' in the sunshine
Grow-houses full of plants.
Three 'Slim's did come home with us, but so did a small 'Kings Fire' Grevillea at a great price, along with an Aloe, A. rubroviolacea. My strict policy of never buying Aloes at Village because so many of them are infected with gall mite failed in the face of a large, apparently clean A. rubroviolacea. It was from San Marcos, a more reliably clean source than whoever their other suppliers are. I'll blast it with systemic anyway. Temptation happens.
Special thanks to Beloved for the photos, and for everything else.