More New Plants

Newish--the second Leucospermum 'Blanche Ito' 

A just-get-out-of-the-house trip to Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano on Sunday.  Fresh Dahlia tubers available, 'Creme de Cassis' and 'Catching Fire'.

 I'll put the Dahlia tubers where I removed some roses earlier this winter.  I tried 'Creme de Cassis' a year or two ago, but none of the tubers grew.  'Catching Fire' planted a few years ago produced one weak grower with really beautiful flowers.  Trying again.  

Also Acidanthera (now Gladiolus) murielae, a species Gladiolus.  I know to plant the corms in a pot, not in the ground, with screen over the pot's drain holes.  Gladioli are annoyingly persistent even if you pull the corms--tiny new corms grow from the original and stay in the ground and grow.  It is difficult  to get rid of them.  I planted a few Gladioli for fun when we moved in to this home 20 years ago, and have been trying to get rid of them ever since.  Hopefully potted corms will produce flowers.  They'll be tossed after that, flowers or not.  Just to experiment, without the annoyance. 

Happy to find another Centaurea ragusina.  Had two, wanted one more, to form a trio among trios of Agaves out front.   A favorite plant.  Tidy. 

 There.  A triangle of Centaurea to go among the triangles of Agaves:

A small Didelta 'Silver Strand'  was planted where the Centaurea now is.  As an experiment, I moved the Didelta to the driveway planter to see how it will hold up to the extreme heat the planter endures in summer.  

The silvery Didelta may look good with the Agave 'Blue Glow's currently there.   We'll see.  Last year the planter had Leucophytum brownii paired with the Agaves, but the Leucophytum was too large for the space.  

How are those three bare root roses I planted back in January?  

'South Africa' on its own roots took off immediately.  It looks great.  It already has a flower bud:

Grafted 'Firefighter' looks...hmm...acceptable.  Unfortunately, a $&!*^%# rabbit got at it.  I gave it a better rabbit guard and the damage ceased.  Blankety-blank rabbits.  
Grafted 'Yves Piaget' has yet to break dormancy and is slowly drying up, despite daily attention to sufficient water and protection. 
So I impulse-bought one that is growing, not malingering: 

I could pot up the malingerer and see if it will wake up or not, and give the leafed-out copy that place in the ground.  Yep, I'll do that.  Here we go:

The still green-canes on the first 'Yves' are shriveled.  Bad sign.  No root growth.  Another bad sign.   I stuck it in a big container of moist potting mix, but it appears hopeless.  

  Tuesday and Tuesday night we got a total of 0.08" (2 mm)  of rain.  Just southeast of us, a few spots got nearly a half inch (12 mm) Just the luck of the terrain.  There were some strong wind gusts, too.  A large branch snapped off the largest, happiest of the 'Slim' Callistemons:

It gets extra water when I clean the pond filters.  The water is dirty with fish waste and full of nutrients.  The plant still looks great, even with a missing branch. 
Very small (knee high) Magnolia laevifolia has four flower buds!  That was a surprise.  This winter it got a very small amount of chelated iron with nitrogen because the foliage looked yellowy.  Seems to have helped. 

Despite the strong gusty winds, the plants liked the rain.  Leucadendron 'Pom Pom' is getting ready for her late winter show.  The cones will soon turn a brilliant scarlet and the surrounding bracts a lemony ivory.  

Similar Leucadendron 'Cloudbank Ginny' is doing the same.  

An Orange-crowned Warbler sipping nectar from the flowers of Aloe marlothii.  It blended in with the flowers:

The little warbler finally looked up.  There it is!
Kumara (aka Aloe) plicatilis is sending up flower stems:
 So is the cutting rooted last Spring:

The first Hippeastrum papilio flower is starting to open.  I moved the clump last year at the wrong time and got no flowers as a result. 
Spring is on the way.  I wish winter would hang on and give us some rain.  Enjoying the Freesias:

This scarlet color is very photogenic:

Remember the olden days when digital cameras were not very good at capturing red accurately?   They've gotten so much better.

'David's Red' Abutilon likes our winter, too:

So does 'Drakensberg Daisy Orange'

Winter has its good points.  Here, anyway. 


  1. Blankety-blank rabbits, for sure! Glad to see your new plants are doing so well. I just planted my Dahlia tubers indoors in pots, and I'll move them outside in May. Fun times! Happy almost spring!

    1. Dahlias like warm soil. It amazes me the difference in performance between a Dahlia in shaded soil vs. one in sunny soil.

      Happy Almost-Spring!

  2. I see Centaura ragusina is hardy to zone 7 -- might be interesting up north in containers. I've had a couple kumara in pots for donkey's years and never seen a bloom. Obviously I should get them in the ground. Rain here too! And A. marlothii is such a star, so unique, sculptural, etc, and I think the color of the blooms is special too. Glad you got out of the house!

    1. The Centaurea likes as much sun as it can get. Seems like it would work in a pot. Toughest thing is finding one to buy.

      Took quite a few years for the Kumara to flower here. It was a big surprise that the cutting did, too.

  3. Congrats on the rain - we got half of that on Tuesday but it was better than nothing...

    I admired Dahlia 'Creme de Cassis' when I saw it blooming in pots at RG last year - I love dahlias with so-called water lily forms and I hope the tubers do well for you this year. You reminded me of an order I placed in late September (!), which should be shipping soon. I confirmed that it should ship next week but confirmed that I hadn't nabbed 'Creme'.

    Your Kumara cutting looks great! A friend gave me one years ago. It still looks sad but I haven't had the heart to pull it.

    1. I think San Diego county got the best amounts. But yep, any amount is good.

      I placed an order last fall too and they emailed said delayed to March. Since the soil is still pretty cold no use planting them too early anyway.

      The performance of that cutting leads me to think they don't say no to rich soil and regular moisture, providing drainage is sharp, which is what the cutting has in that place.

  4. Here is to Didelta 'Silver Strand' thriving in the driveway planter: it will make nice accompaniment to Blue Glow. Losing a large Callistemon branch is heart breaking! I guess 'slime' creates wind vulnerability? Bummer.
    Kudos for spotting and capturing the Warbler. Sweet.

    1. I think the Callistemon was living "too high on the hog", so to speak. It's most likely better with less water, but it sure was pretty with it. It has plenty of other stems and will be fine.

      The marlothii flower usually has a bird of some kind on it. Extremely popular with anything that feeds on nectar.

  5. Somehow I missed this post earlier. Anyway... I love Centaurea ragusina. I have two, but will look for more. It's done really well in our hot Sacramento Valley summer.

    I'd also like to try another Didelta. The one I bought last year at Plant Depot died. I planted it too late in the year and didn't water it enough to get established.

    1. I read the C. ragusina is "easy from cuttings" in a UK site--wish they had explained how! Maybe I'll try one or two.

      Too bad your Didelta did not survive. Mine did need water to get going, but not much. Even spritzing just the foliage seems to keep it going.


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