Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This Week In Dead Plants And Virulent Pests

Adenanthos sericea ssp sericea died in the last heat wave.  Insufficient water--the roots were all dried out.  The top growth had quadrupled in size since purchase, but the root system had not.
Just a month ago, it was fine:
 Last week's field trip to the Eichler neighborhood forced a stop at a nearby nursery, so another Leucophyllum candidum 'Thunder Cloud' got the Adenanthos spot.  I dug up the soil in a large area, bringing up some of the decomposed sandstone from below.  Sharp drainage!
Good luck, kid.  
  The two out front are doing beautifully.

First flower from the Japanese Anenome, distributed as a freebie at the Portland Fling.  The plant has wandered a bit, coming up here and there and dying off where it had been the previous year.  
It looks like it has Chilli Thrips damage.  Chilli Thrips is a nasty new pest that has appeared in Southern California.  It's ruined most of my roses the past couple of months.  Damaged plant tissue is puckered, browned, and shrunken.

And I thought the drought was bad.  I'm meditating on what to do about this.  I avoid all pesticides except in dire cases.  Is this dire?  

At least the Leucadendrons are not affected.  Oh, such a red as this!
It takes my mind off the roses. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More Eichler Landscapes

Just about a year ago, I blogged about some front yard landscapes in a neighborhood of Eichler homes.  There are a couple of neighborhoods of these iconic Mid Century Modern homes nearby.  It was finally time to visit the other nearby Eichler neighborhood and see what sort of front yards they had to offer.  

This first home had been recently redone and was really a gem.  Note the facing brick that makes a splendid addition to low walls.  Though it is new, it is perfectly in the spirit of the original home. 
The hybrid desert tree, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' has been the It tree the past year or two in Southern California.  Every new landscape seems to have it.   Joining 'Desert Museum' in this garden are Agave attenuata 'Nova', Anigozanthos, Dasylirion, a bronze Cordyline, Furcrea macdougalii.  Along the front of the house, an unexpectedly poor choice of three Aloe barbarae--a wonderful plant, but its eventual size is too large for the space selected.  Did they not know that?  A flaw in a gem of design.  

 They cut the concrete pavers to follow the angle of the driveway.  That's an elegant, subtle detail. 
Too bad about the Aloe placement, but otherwise beautifully, beautifully done.

This home was a door or two down.  Also a well crafted project, though not quite as good as the first.  Again, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' is the tree, this time a pair of them, along with Aloe 'Vera' and burgundy Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'.  The colors in the burgundy grass were perfectly matched to some of the paint colors on the house.  Well done!

 Yes, it happened to be garbage day. 
 Here's another home, with yet another 'Desert Museum' on the far right, a few Agaves, a pair of Euphorbia turucallii ("Sticks on Fire"), and some small clumps of dead blue Fescue 'Elija Blue'.  It needed a little maintenance. The structure that cast those diagonal shadows was present on several homes in the neighborhood, so it is an orginal feature.  Adding shadows as a visual accent to a home is not all that common in home building;  it gives you an idea of the wonderful thought-through visual style of these homes. 
 Yet another xeric landscape.  I love how the color of the Echinocereus grusonii cactus is echoed in the color of the front door. 

 Another, this one with a planter of Cor-ten steel and five blue Agave Americanas.  There were a trio of Euphorbia milli (or topped Ocotillos?) against the house, some tufts of painfully thirsty grass, and that was it for plants.  The blue of the Agaves was echoed in the blue door. 

 Another home nearby went with three massive Agave americana (and their offsets), around a trio of palms on gravel hills. 

Another.  This older landscape would not have been nearly so effective without that globe of a pot and its Aloe topper placed exactly where it needed to be.  The elements would not have been balanced without the pot.  Amazing how one minor feature could make the composition click.

 Next, another older landscape, with cloud-pruned shrubs. 
The somewhat flatted round shapes of the cloud-pruned shrubs make perfect accents to the long horizontal and vertical lines of the home:
 This addition of roses and a Cycad to a succulent/gravel design is out of place with Euphorbias, Agaves, and Cistanthe.  The Phoenix roebelenii on the far left works well;  its a classic companion to succulents, but the roses...no.  And yes, I love roses.  Just not here.
 Only lawn.  However, the Cypress and Podocarpus behind the home add a perfect back drop, and even the power lines echo the wide low horizontal quality of the home.  
 Let's add to a lawn a palm, perhaps Mediterranean Fan.  That's almost enough.  Why distract too much from such stylish design? 

 This garden mixes a cloud-pruned olive tree with silvery ground cover and blue Agave americana.  Again the blue door to echo the plants, and the shadows.  The touch of orange in the fire hydrant is somewhat good!  A touch of orange somewhere on the house may knit the hydrant in--acknowledging its presence.  Wouldn't that be cool?

There are three styles that really seem to agree with these Eichler homes--the minimalist xeric style, (several examples of which previously shown),  a cloud-pruned shrubbery, and a lusher tropical-with-palms.  
Here's an Eichler with the tropical look.  The stone-faced wall isn't nearly as memorable as the texture on the very first home, but the lush happy palms and cycads look great. 
 Even a Caryota, looking very happy.
Another "tropical" look, with palms, cycads, Strelitzia nicolai, Philodendron, and Musa (banana).    It works.  
  The splash of orange in the door is the only non-green color, and it's enough.  And you know exactly where the front door is. 
 Grass, hedge, a single palm, and two pots of Sanseveria.  The shadows again.  It's all this house needs.  The simplicity works. 
 And the garbage cans match the front door!
We were so enjoying wandering this neighborhood.  There were ideas to admire, analyze, and enjoy.
 Note the diagonal line of shadow.  How simple, and how beautiful.

  Then, walking in a dreamy haze of admiration, we unfortunately spotted this: 

  Oy!  Oy!  Oy!!!

Steady, steady now.  Take a deep, deep breath.  Think back to that ultra-cool wall just down the street...and take a deep, deep breath.
 Whew.  That's better. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Inter-City Show 2016

 Above:  this trophy winning Tephrocactus geometricus has been winning at shows since at least 2011--if you google image on 'Tephrocactus geometricus', numerous photos of this specimen appear, growing steadily larger and ever more impressive.

Below:  Best Dyckia, 'Tina Wallace':

Best...something.  Astrophytum?  Gorgeous.
 Another Trophy Table gem, (Best Euphorbia?) was this flawlessly grown Euphorbia abdelkuri, native to no where on earth except one small island off the coast of Yemen.  In person, close up, it looked like it was cast from concrete.  
A huge Euphorbia bupleurifolia.  No trophy or ribbon, but impressive nonetheless.
I have no clue, and no comment:

A Gibbaeum.  I could not figure out the container--is it some sort of old scrub brush?  Nifty, what ever it is. 
The Gibbaeum group:
A Haworthia collection:
 I dunno, but it's cool:
Aluaudia dumosa.  It grows no leaves, rather it photosynthesizes with its branches:
A very silvery selection of Andromischus alstonii 

An Astrophytum, perhaps A. asterias 'Super Kabuto'.  Originally native to the Rio Grande valley of Texas and some areas of northern Mexico,  Astrophytum is sadly now very rare in the wild due to habitat loss, invasive plants, and poaching, though the genus is thriving in little pots in many fancier's collections. 

A Beaucarnea recurvata base rotted and seemingly dead, but sprouting new growth. 

Sesamothamnus lugardii on the left.  Endemic to southern Namibia, eastern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, and parts of the Transvaal of South Africa.

The trophy table:
Pot whimsy

Mammillaria plumosa.  The pot was wisely chosen, because the grey makes the white of the plant whiter.  A white pot would have made the plant look greyer. 
 Opuntia of some sort, simply staged and beautifully grown.   
We came home with a couple of new pots and a new Echinopsis denudatum 'Fuzzy Navel".  
 The fuzzy bits:
 A pot handmade by Mark Muradian.  The plant is Echeveria 'Red Knight', bought a few weeks ago at a local nursery.
How could I resist paw prints? 

A faux-bois style pot by Peety Pots.
It is the new home for a little Agave:
  So, that was the show, a show of strange and wonderful things.