How Are The Baby Banksias? And Miscellany

The heat and humidity stimulated fallen leaves of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' (above) to sprout roots and plantlets in just a few days.  

After a hot few days, again, some cooler ones.  It was great to get outside again and look around.  

How are the Banksias doing?  Two, Banksia marginata 'Mini Marge' and Banksia ericifolia, were purchased last October on our Central Coast vacation;  two, B. prionotes and B. victoriae, purchased locally this Spring.

B. ericifolia looks not completely happy.  New growth, but it lost its lower leaves, making me guess it needs more water than it is getting to establish itself.  This species is from southeastern Australia, which (generally) gets more rainfall than western Australia, which again a guess, indicates a need for more water to get established.  It has a single dripper at this time. 
In addition B. ericifolia was engulfed by Limonium perezii and California poppies.  I cleared those out and gave the Banksia room.  It will get regular deep soaks for a while now, to see if that improves it.  

'Mini Marge' is okay, a little bigger.  I had a rabbit guard around it, removed it, and no damage occurred, so my guess is they are not rabbit candy when other plant material is available.  No dripper;  it gets water only when via hand watering.   This has not been a problem because the blue Podocarpus and one of the 'Springfire' Metrosideros are nearby, which never get ignored. 
 B. victoriae has grown just a little, but looks healthy.  One leaf tip is a bit toasted is all.  It must like what it is getting. 
B. prionotes--whoa!  Grown a whole lot.  Needs to be in the ground ASAP.  It's still in the pot, in a location where it gets sun and irrigation, but the root system in its pot is shaded by the plants around it.  Apparently it likes that situation.  

The foliage is cool.  Will be excellent in vase arrangements, if it gets large enough to harvest from, and if I do better with arrangements. 
Speaking of arrangements...I tried an arrangement of dried up Aloe flower stems ('Rooikappie' and thraskii) with Dahlia  and and out-of-season Amaryllis flowers, Grevillea and Leucadendron foliage. 
 No.  Yecch. No.  No Instagram stardom for moi. Can only futz about three minutes on floral arrangements--zero patience for this art--well not zero, but three minutes won't do it.   
Grow, yes. Arrange, no.  Work harder at it!  Three minutes at a time if you must!  Walk away prior to screaming, and try again.  
 It's finally fig time, time to fight the birds and rodents for the strange, sweet fruit.  
The geodes of the fruit world? 
 Most of the 'Bright Star' Yuccas quickly shot up flower stalks while I was hiding from the heat indoors.  Turn your back on a plant for three or four days, and this happens. 
 Flower stalk on Aloe reitzii, finally.  It's another plant blooming later than usual this year.  When reitzii's flower stalk emerges it looks dried out and damaged--but it isn't.  This species has a quirk that way. 
 Crowned Sparrow (I think) at the urn for a change, instead of the usual half-dozen Goldfinches.  Crowned Sparrows have a sweet song. 
 The baby Quercus put on at least a couple of feet this spring and summer.   During the early morning hours, there is now shade on the driveway, something we've never had before.  On a sunny summer day shade is most welcome, even at 7 a.m.  
 And the fiercely hot front slope now gets shade from the oak in late afternoon--also something new.  Still more than enough sun for desert plants, though.  
I can stand and look at the slope and not faint from the heat
 While the heat kept us indoors, I tried various paint samples in the kitchen.  The previous orange worked remarkably well with the cabinets and the stone flooring, but it's time for a change.  Tried Behr Calcium, which was too pale, then Calcium at 140% (still too pale), then Calcium at 200% (double the colorant, in other words).  Also tried SW Shitake (Beloved said, "Please, no brown."), and Behr Melting Moment (nice blue-green, but it seemed too much).  

I sort of liked the patchwork of sample colors, but maybe it was just the heat making me woozy.  
 The winner was Calcium 200%, the pale green at top left:
That's what's up this week:  not much.  It's still too far from autumn to do much in the garden besides spot water, or wander/enjoy, during the coolest parts of the day.  What are you up to in the garden on the cusp of autumn?  I gotta go paint now.  


  1. You have a white-crowned sparrow! It's very early. Lucky you. They do have the sweetest song. plus they sing in winter.

    1. The urn fountain overlooked by an oak--seems irresistible to all the birds. :^)

  2. Funny that we're both trying to grow banksias. Who will have the better results I wonder, you in dry heat, me in wet cold. I'm not betting on me.
    Definitely agree with the Calcium 200%. It goes beautifully with the wood.

    1. Well you got a grown-from-seed Strelitzia to bloom(!!) in Devon. That's quite an achievement, so why not a Banksia?

  3. I love the banksia foliage, but too scared to try one myself. What type of fig is that? I have violette de bordeaux in a pot. Love that I can keep it small. As for chores, pulling out the poppy deadwood, painting the wrought iron fencing, prepping for fall planting, my favorite!

    1. I think it might be harder to find a Banksia for sale around here than it is to grow one!

      The fig is 'Brown Turkey'. It grew quite a lot from that wonderful rainy winter. It's going to get cut back hard this coming January. Prepping for fall is pretty fun, as long as it is not too hot. Enjoy!

  4. Your garden doesn't appear to have been bothered much by last week's toasting. Your baby oak has gained impressive height and girth in a relatively short time and I've no doubt that you're enjoying the added shade. I was surprised to a few rain lilies blooming next to your Banksia prionotes as there's no sign of life from mine to this point. My own Yucca 'Bright Star', in the ground for 5.5 years now, have yet to produce bloom stalks - what's up with that?!

    Best wishes with the painting! We passed our second inspection today and the drywall is at last set to go up in the kitchen tomorrow. If my husband gets his way, the kitchen walls should get a coat of paint before the cabinets arrive next week (!!!). If he doesn't get his way, I suspect he and I will be doing at least some of that painting for ourselves this coming weekend...

    1. No, didn't have trouble with any plants. It wasn't that hot here, 89F was as hot as it got.

      The rain lilys need a good soak for a round of flowers.

      Really you are better off if Bright Star doesn't flower. The flower ruins their symmetry. Mine took quite a long time to flower, more than 5 years, for sure.

      Thanks. I did the first coat today and whew..tired out.

      Happy your project is moving forward again after that roof issue. Walls are not too difficult especially if there's nothing else in the room. Good luck!

  5. Isn't it maddening when you 'see' something in your mind and when you try to put it into a vase it looks horrid. Better luck next time. You will figure out what went wrong. Your Banksias will be nice when they get established.
    Good luck with the painting. It is difficult to choose paint. The green will be soothing what with all your heat.
    Here I am just awaiting shorter cooler days to get into the garden to do much. I have been shuffling potted plants around the garden. Filling holes and wondering what I could plant in those holes for a more permanent solution. Is anything permanent in the garden? Nah.

    1. I'll work at them a little more. I think practice would help.

      Yes cool soothing colors are what we need here. And yes not much is permanent in the garden, except the constant appearance of weeds!

  6. Yep, calcium 200% is a winner! I rather like your arrangement, you've got talent.

    1. Got the first coat of paint on. Taking a break today. It was tiring and hotter than I expected.

      I need to practice more on arrangements. That wold help


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