Podocarpus 'Icee Blue' Five Year Growth And Speaking Ofs

 Above, Podocarpus 'Icee Blue' waiting to be planted in 2018

Planted in the ground April 2018.  The wall behind it is 4'/1.2m tall:

Yesterday.  It's about 12' /3.6 m tall:

It's no Eucalyptus rocketing skyward, but it's been faster than expected.

And endlessly gorgeous: 

Speaking of Eucalyptus, August's tropical storm Hilary may have contributed to this burst of new growth from E. 'Moon Lagoon:

Is it time to chop off the two large trunks hanging over the driveway?  And then stake this new stem so that 'Moon Lagoon' grows vertically rather than at a 45 degree angle?  

Silver-blue,  ooooh!

Perhaps stake the new, future trunk for a while to make sure it can grow vertically first.  Then remove the other two trunks.   That sounds good. 

Speaking of gorgeous blue foliage...

Time and experience shows me Agave mitis 'Nova' is better in this garden than similar, also beautiful Agave 'Blue Flame'.  'Nova' is bluer and easier to manage because of its smaller size.   

The oldest 'Blue Flame' in the garden (foreground) is even bigger than 'Mr. Ripple' (behind and left of 'Blue Flame'):  

 A. mitis (celsii) 'Nova' is a bit fussy compared to 'Blue Flame', but as Agaves go, hardly fussy.  

Speaking of fussy...at least in this garden, A. mitis (celsii) var. albidior is just as happy to rot as it is to grow.  My first rotted, but produced three tiny offsets before it did.  One offset rotted, and the other two struggled in various locations until replanted finally in spots where they survived if not thrived.  

This one needs to be moved into more sun.  You can tell by the leaves flattening out, trying to maximize what light exposure they get.   The rose started shading the Agave because the rabbits stopped eating the rose because I screened the rabbits out. 

Well grown and happy, this is a gorgeous Agave.  I hope to get at least one to that state--eventually.

Getting there:

Agave pablocarolli 'Ivory Curls' is unfortunately another beautiful Agave that has issues.  It burns in sun too hot for its liking.

The brown edges on the lower leaves of the largest A. 'Ivory Curls' is a chronic flaw in excessive hot sun:

The above group of Agave pablocarolli 'Ivory Curls', Rhodanthemum hosmarensis, Aloe striata, and Lotus hirstutus is the junior varsity "blue crew".  The varsity "silver squad" is:

Clockwise from top center, Leucadendron 'More Silver', Didelta 'Silver Strand' , Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie', A. 'Blue Glow', two A. titanota 'White Ice', Aloe dhufarensis, A. parrasana sending up a flower stalk, and A. titanota grown from seed.  That one is preparing to flower also and it will be difficult to remove, being crowed in with other plants. 

Speaking of removal difficulty, when a Polystichum fern sprouted in the top of the pond shower, I left it.  It became massive, so massive its weight knocked the shower over during a Santa Ana wind event in 2018.  Removing it was as difficult as digging out a tree stump.  It took something like two weeks.

Speaking of ferns in the pond shower, this year an offspring of a fern growing nearby appeared in the pond shower...

Pteris cretica, I think.  Growing in full sun without a problem since aerated water continuously runs over its roots:

...then lately, another, unidentified fern...

Thankfully not a sword fern as far I can tell.  Who are you?

There was also a Trachelium and tropical Milkweed seedling in the shower, which I pulled.  I think I should pull that unidentified fern, just in case.  

Speaking of unidentified, I was gobsmacked cutting out some dead branches in Grevillea 'Peaches n Cream' when I spotted something that had sprouted from seed but has been hidden by the Grevillea for potentially years.   What. Is. This?

No.  Couldn't be...could it?  I've purchased and killed three of these, none of them cheap.  I did plant a few seeds one of them produced before it died.   

The biggest mistake a gardener makes is believing she is in control.  


  1. I like that Podocarpus a lot but can't decide where I could put it. The local botanic garden planted several of them in a row in the entrance area about 2 years ago and they're doing well. Agave 'Blue Flame' has produced a ridiculous number of pups here, all of which have grown quickly. I just got my husband to take out 2 of the now massive "pups" as they were once again growing into the street. Much as I love the color and shape of that agave, I think I'm going to trade them out (eventually). They've been prone to tip burn in some locations here too.

    Is the plant previously hidden by Grevillea "Peaches and Cream' pubescens?! I wish Hilary had brought one or more of mine back from the dead!

    1. I would plant more 'Icee Blue's myself if I had places. Talked a neighbor into planting some so I can look at them as soon as they grow a little taller (but also because I thought they would work in their garden).

      I didn't think 'Blue Flame' would get as big as they have. Too big.

      That's my guess, Phylica pubescens, but I can't believe it! It couldn't be--could it?!?!!

  2. So what is that mystery plant in the last two photos?
    I love your Podocarpus 'Icee Blue'... endlessly gorgeous is a good way to describe it.

    1. My guess is Phylica pubescens, but I can't believe it would come up from seed.

  3. Oooh, Icee Blue is stunning. The blue is more pronounced than when it was young. Your blues are all looking so strong! I've managed to rot a few agaves sadly - all the rain last year and then a few cold nights was all it took. I vowed not to plant any this year, and put at least 3 or 4 in the ground, hahaha. The Pteris is so pretty, will you pull it?

    1. Yes it got much bluer planted in the ground. Thrilled with it.

      All that rain--I thought some of my Agaves might rot, but they decided they could flower--so they'll die that way instead. Oh well!

      For the moment, the Pteris is staying where it is. I could be wrong but it doesn't seem as aggressive as the sword fern was.

  4. Seeing so many blues together, especially with the contrasting forms, is a great look. I was a little worried that I just planted a bunch of blue/gray leaved plants together this fall (in my case, shrubs and herbaceous perennials) and that would be too much and not go well together. Your experience with the agaves and other blue/silver plants makes me think it might be just fine. Always fun to have pleasant surprises when a new plant pops up and it is something you actually want. I would guess your Pteris cretica wouldn't be as vigorous as a Polystichum, but with all that water it's hard to tell. At least now you know to keep an eye on it.

    1. A lot of blue/gray or blue/silver creates a definite, unexpectedly powerful mood. Worth playing around with that combo to see what happens.

      I have a Pteris in a pot in the ground--it's been well behaved--but given the sword fern disaster, yes I must be careful.

  5. The eucalyptus foliage is stunning. I can see why you are thrilled by it. Don't you love little surprises? Hope it continues to grow and thrive.

    1. Yes a garden has a life of its own, beyond our efforts. Cool! :)

  6. Gorgeous blues all around, those agave shots are just dreamy! Congrats on the Phylica pubescens!

  7. Great to see the progress on your podocarpus. A friend of mine planted three this summer; he'll be interested to see how fast they grow (fast, of course, being relative, but still faster than expected).

    I agree with you 100% about Agave mitis 'Nova'. It's much prettier, bluer, and smaller than 'Blue Flame'.

    Have you tried Agave 'Blue Wave' (colorata x mitis)? It pops up now and then in regular nurseries (it's TC'ed by Rancho Tissue). It's been doing great in my garden and promises to stay compact.

    1. Have not seen 'Blue Wave'--off to look that up. I tried the beautiful colorata--it died. Seems like it is a bit fussy, but I can't imagine why.

  8. I see Phylica! Enjoy. Perhaps I should try again, they look quite happy on the mountain.


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