Six on Saturday: Origins

Most of what comes to recover in the nursery here was originally from the landscapes at work. Some needed to be removed because it was deteriorating. Some was obstructive to another project. Some of what is here grows from seed that was found in the landscapes. Several plants here came from more unusual and unexpected sources. A few plants grew from seed or cuttings that I found while out and about elsewhere, merely because I took interest in them. Such procurement would not be such a bad habit if more of such plants were actually useful to the landscapes here. Vines require too much maintenance. Cacti, palms and tropical foliage are not sufficiently compliant with the style of our landscapes.

1. Salvia elegans, pineapple sage is the most likely of this Six to be useful to landscapes at work. I grew cuttings from a stem that was obstructive to my use of an ATM machine.

2. Distictis riversii (or Distictis ‘Rivers’), royal trumpet vine grew from cuttings of a wiry and stray stem that encroached far enough into a public parking space to annoy Carson.

3. Washingtonia filifera, California fan palm, or desert fan palm, is the only palm that is native to California, but is rare locally. I took seed when I got the chance, but now what?

4. Musa basjoo, Japanese banana is one of four pups that I was quite pleased to acquire from an established specimen within a private garden. It now has three additional pups!

5. Opuntia microdasys, bunny ears cactus was originally a component of a prefabricated ‘terrarium’ of small tropical plants that need regular water. It was removed and left here.

6. Carnegiea gigantea, saguaro cactus arrived with assorted potted succulents that were left by a relocating neighbor family. Actually though, I have no idea what species this is.

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Six on Saturday: Craigslist

Craigslist is becoming a bad habit for me. It was the source of the overly abundant canna that I featured earlier, as well as seven Mexican fan palms. Last Wednesday, I procured a big pile of surplus purple bearded iris and African iris, free of charge. The bearded iris are ideal for a new ‘iris bed’ that formerly lacked occupancy. The African iris were heeled in and canned for later installation into another landscape that is not yet developed. The acquisition was very fortuitous, but also necessitated a bit of effort to process all the iris. After I either canned or heeled in all of the African iris, I installed all of the bearded iris, fortunately, by yesterday evening.

1. African iris, Morea iridioides, (which is also fortnight lily, Dietes iridioides and Dietes vegeta), could have potentially been divided into more than a hundred individual pups!

2. A few small clumps of pups were either already separated from the primary colony, or were dug from elsewhere in the same garden, so were divided and processed separately.

3. The few divided and processed pups were then heeled into two #5 cans for installation directly into a landscape, preferably prior to resuming foliar growth at the end of winter.

4. The bulky primary colony was merely groomed and divided into four big clumps, and canned into #5 cans, likely to be divided as pups or smaller clumps for later installation.

5. Bearded iris generated more than a hundred rhizomes, which is enough for more than fifty linear feet if installed half a foot apart, and now occupies nearly half of the ‘iris bed’.

6. They might not look like much yet, but after settling in through winter, should bloom well for spring, grow through summer, and bloom spectacularly for the following spring.

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Six on Saturday: Lily Of Denial

‘Lily’ is such a vague designation. So many of the popular flowers that are known as ‘lily’ are not even remotely related to real lilies, which are of the genus Lilium. It is no wonder that many of them are confused about their obligations to the gardens that they inhabit. Some bloom unseasonably. Some develop unusual floral or foliar color. Their confusion can be contagious to flowers that are not even classified as lilies, such as #3 of these Six. Fortunately, the weird behavior of these flowers that live in denial of their true identities has been harmlessly and undeniably delightful. Such aberration is how new cultivars are sometimes discovered.

1. Lily of the Nile is in denial of its bloom season. After all others have been deadheaded, this one continues to bloom. It should be copied if its delayed bloom schedule is genetic.

2. Belladonna lily, or naked lady, followed its lead. Mr. Stephens of Garden Ruminations explained that it may be another variety or species. Other naked ladies have gone seedy.

3. Dahlia is the one of these Six that does not try to be a lily. However, it is trying to be a new color. It was simply yellow last year. Perhaps it got this idea from ‘Cleopatra’ canna.

4. Canna lily, or canna, is trying an unexpected foliar color. Its parent is a bronze Canna musifolia, like the other seedling at the top of the picture. I anticipated genetic stability.

5. ‘Cleopatra’ canna generally, although not always, displays weirdly random red stripes on spotty yellow blooms. It seems to have shared much of its red with the yellow dahlia.

6. ‘Wyoming’ canna bloomed exclusively orange until this richly orangish red appeared. Perhaps ‘Cleopatra’ of the Nile was seedier than naked ladies with more than the dahlia.

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Six on Saturday: White Trash III+

White is my favorite color, which is why I have featured exclusively white flowers for Six on Saturday at least twice already. I recycled the title of the older posts for this new post because it is less objectionable than the title of another post that expresses my proclivity for white. The first three of these six are from the exclusively white garden of El Catedral De Santa Clara De Los Gatos, which is actually the Mount Hermon Memorial Chapel, or simply the Chapel. For these first three, the direct sunlight was not conducive to pictures of good quality. The other three are from a small garden of mixed colors across the road. Incidentally, the garden adjacent to the exclusively white garden includes various colors, including various Pacific Coast iris, but any new plants there will bloom exclusively blue.

1. Catharanthus roseus, Madagascar periwinkle, was hastily installed to replace petunia that desiccated as redwood roots sneaked in from below to abscond with their moisture.

2. Pelargonium X hortorum, zonal geranium, was likewise hastily installed for its quick white bloom, but a few years earlier, and performed well enough to propagate and share.

3. Brugmansia candida, angel’s trumpet, is a copy of an old specimen at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, which inhabited my mother’s garden, but then needed to be removed

4. Verbena X hybrida (or Glandularia X hybrida), garden verbena, was installed with a mix of color in a garden across the road from the exclusively white garden of the Chapel.

5. Lobularia maritima, sweet alyssum, inhabits the same garden, where it should ideally cascade over the low stone retaining wall, but never grows big enough through summer.

6. Phlox paniculata, garden phlox, mysteriously appeared in the background within this same garden, and was appealing enough to stay, and even got divided for other gardens.

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Six on Saturday: Canna Diss

Searching online for information regarding Canna can get discouraging for anyone who objects to the idolatry of Cannabis. It does not help that Canna indica is one of the more common species of Canna. Search engines seem to believe that they know more of what I want information about than I do. Well, I happen to enjoy my ten or so Canna. In fact, I grow way too many of them.  Three cultivars are particularly numerous here, even after giving most of them away to friends and neighbors. If installed directly into a landscape, rather than canned, there would be enough for a row almost exactly a hundred feet long! That would be with one foot spacing!

1. Gophers ate almost all of three of the four original Canna here. I canned the surviving rhizomes within only ten #1 cans. All three cultivars are now generating vigorous shoots.

2. Canna rhizomes are so extremely discounted at the end of their season that I violated my rule that forbids the purchase of new plants. It is very late, but they are growing well.

3. ‘Red King Humbert’ rhizomes cost less than a dollar each. Three got canned into each of ten #5 cans. They only need to grow enough before autumn to survive through winter.

4. Canna flaccida, or what I hope might be Canna flaccida, was dug and recycled after it had started growing last spring. New foliage emerged through its damaged older foliage.

5. ‘Wyoming’ was recycled from the same landscape, and at the same inconvenient time. Like the others, it will recover prior to winter dormancy, and then be ready for next year.

6. Canna bloom is about as appealing as the foliage is. Ours bloom bright yellow, orange or red. Others bloom with pastel yellow, pastel orange, pink or very pale yellowish white.

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Six on Saturday: No Rhody

Rhody is again absent from my Six on Saturday for this week. Within such an odd mix of six unrelated pictures, I suppose that I should have added at least one picture of Rhody. After all, Rhody is who you are here to see. Well, I thought that some of these, especially #5, are interesting. Both #1 and #2 are Canna, so they are actually not totally unrelated. There might be more of Brent’s pointless pictures for next week; but perhaps one picture will be of Rhody.

1. ‘Wyoming’ canna provided this foliar picture that was too artsy to discard unused, but not compliant enough for my Six on Saturday of last week. All of those six were closeups.

2. ‘Australia’ canna likewise provided this picture that is interesting, but not compatible with the earlier Six on Saturday. It lives in a pond. That is duckweed in the background.

3. Blue elderberry is native here. Unfortunately, some of the most productive specimens are in awkward situations. I canned a few wild seedlings to install into better situations.

4. Poinciana has a complicated explanation. I told Brent that ‘Crazy Green Thumbs’ sent me seed of poinciana and esperanza. What I consider to be poinciana is actually pride of Barbados. After remembering the difference from what Brent considers to be poinciana, I still felt obligated to grow a poinciana tree for Brent, so actually purchased seed online!

5. Esperanza is real! It is not easy to grow though. Only a few seed germinated, and only a few seedlings survive. At this rate, they will still be dinky and need shelter for autumn.

6. Memorial Tree in Felton Covered Bridge Park seems to be happy, but has grown a bit slower than it did by July 12 last year. I have not posted an update for it since December.

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Six on Saturday: Canna flaccida?!

Canna have been so extensively hybridized that very few modern cultivars are identified by species. They are known merely by their generic designation of Canna with a cultivar name. Canna flaccida is an ancestor of many hybrids, and the only species that is native north of the Rio Grande, but seems to be rare here. I want it! NOW! I should be satisfied with flashier modern cultivars, but I prefer simpler species, especially one from Florida.

Well, it may be here already. Late last spring, at the worst time to dig Canna, I dug a big colony of it from a site that was about to be landscaped. Even after most were recycled to other gardens, the remnants were canned into two dozen #5 cans. One dozen contained three rhizomes each of ‘Wyoming’. The other dozen cans contained five rhizomes each of an unidentified cultivar with narrower green leaves and yellow bloom. That is enough to plant thirty-six linear feet of ‘Wyoming’ and sixty linear feet of the yellow sort! Now that they are blooming, the unidentified yellow sort seems to be the rare Canna flaccida. I do not know for certain, but it keys out accordingly. If so, it is much more than I hoped for!

Two other Canna that live here were omitted from these pictures because there are only Six on Saturday rather than eight. Without its billowy red bloom, the foliage of a cultivar that remains unidentified is indistinguishable from #1 anyway. ‘Cleopatra’ is normally a hot mess of color, but is sharing only green foliage at the moment. Its foliage is typically randomly striped with broad and narrow bands of green like #1 and dark bronze like #2. Its weird bloom is randomly blotched with bright red and bright yellow, like condiments that squirt out the far side of a hamburger, or Pikachu on the grill of a Buick.

1. ‘Edulis’ was a gift from a neighbor. I wanted it for its fat rhizomes, which are like small potatoes. The slender flowers are red. (‘Edulis’ is a group of many cultivars and hybrids.)

2. ‘Australia’ is one of very few plants that I actually purchased. It cost nearly six dollars! A neighbor of my downtown planter box requested bronzed foliage; but I still feel guilty.

3. ‘Musifolia’ may have inhabited one of our landscapes since its construction in 1968. It gets so tall that I bend it down for deadheading. It and ‘Edulis’ produce viable seed. The slender flowers are peachy orange. (‘Musifolia’ is a group of many cultivars and hybrids.)

4. ‘Pretoria’ lived with ‘Musifolia’, but in spring, was dug and canned for protection from gophers. Only four #1 cans of its rhizomes survive. The billowy flowers are vivid orange.

5. ‘Wyoming’ is recovering from relocation while actively growing last spring. Most went directly to new homes. The billowy and vivid orange flowers resemble those of ‘Pretoria’.

6. Canna flaccida remains unidentified. It arrived with ‘Wyoming’, so is also recovering from untimely relocation. The elongated foliage is simple light green. Flowers are mildly fragrant at night. Apparently, only one other extremely rare species of Canna is fragrant.

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Six on Saturday: Bad Habit

Growing horticultural commodities can be a very rewarding occupation, even if not very lucrative. Growing random plants merely because they are available may be a bad habit. Sometimes, I procure propagation stock intentionally because I want to grow copies of a particular plant. Perhaps more often, I grow something merely because I can not bear to discard good propagation stock or actual plants. That is why there are so many homeless cannas here now! After I prune zonal geraniums, I feel obligated to process all the scraps into cuttings rather than simply discard them into the compost.

1. Opuntia (of unidentified species or hybrid), prickly pear lives at a clinic in Santa Cruz. Someone with a weed whacker busted off a few pads. It is good for both nopal and tuna. It is shabby and canned because someone with a weed whacker here kept cutting it also.

2. Clivia miniata, Natal lily was pulled from a trailside prior to weed whacking. I do not know if it is feral from seed or a cultivar from landscape debris. They have not bloomed.

3. Iris pseudacorus, yellow flag is naturalized in a roadside ditch in Ben Lomond. It is an invasive species in some regions. Therefore, it must be contained and deadheaded here.

4. Platanus racemosa, California sycamore was a sucker on one of the big trees at work. It pulled off with roots attached, so got canned. Its trunk died, so is now replacing itself.

5. Washingtonia robusta, Mexican fan palm needed to be removed from a yard in Santa Clara. Many were in pavement. Someone else got most that were salvageable. I got eight.

6. Cinnamomum camphora, camphor tree seedlings grew out sidewalk expansion joints at a job in San Jose. I pulled some out. A few came out with roots, and grew up like this.

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Six on Saturday: Agave Surprise

Several species of Agave inhabit the landscapes here. Only a few are identified. Some of those that are unidentified could likely be identified if their identities were important to us. For some, identification would be as simple as researching our records. I know what Agave attenuata is only because there is nothing else like it. #3 is likely a variegated and dwarf cultivar of Agave americana. #6 is the surprise of these Six. It is a familiar species that was formerly identified as another genus. Although its relation to the Family should be obvious in regard to physiology, it is not visually similar to others of the Agave genus. I still know it by its older and perhaps less accurate designation. It works for me.

1. Pups of an unidentified agave that was removed last year are a concern because others just like this continue to develop where the agave was relocated from a few years earlier!

2. The parent agave got removed and dumped next to a greenwaste pile after gophers ate its base, but somehow survived. It fell over only recently. Maybe other gophers found it.

3. Gophers also ate the base of this other unidentified agave, which, like the other agave, seems to have survived somehow. Fortunately, it did not leave undesirable pups behind.

4. Agave attenuata arrived as a big cutting with a long stem, and by odd circumstances. The severed stem generated a big secondary rosette, which is now generating four pups.

5. The pup to the lower right of this unidentified agave indicates that its primary rosette may be about bolt and bloom. Although most agaves are monocarpic, their pups survive.

6. Surprise! Fresh from 1985, tuberose, which was formerly Polianthes tuberosa, is now Agave amica. We just installed three, with two more still canned. I hope for many pups.

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Six on Saturday: BIG News II!

Yes, this is a sequel to the BIG News of my previous Six on Saturday, which could qualify as a sequel to other Six on Saturday posts that were in regard to the original topic of the Gladiolus papilio. Well, at least there are fewer sequels about this topic than there are in regard to Rocky. No, not ‘that’ Rocky; although he has too many sequels also. Rocky is a raccoon. Actually, he or she is not a specific raccoon, but is any raccoon who necessitates relocation, and is unlikely the same more than once. Rocky likely return from relocation, but avoid areas in which they were trapped.

1. Rocky VI, or VII, or maybe VIII or more. I can not count them all. Heck, I do not know when we started counting. They might have been quite fashionable nearly a century ago.

2. African daisy may not seem special, but to me, they seem to be atypically colorful. The color range was limited to white and eerie shades of purple while we were still in school.

3. Phlox arrived in one of the more colorful landscapes just a few years ago, and politely proliferated. No one knows how it got here. It is perfectly white, and alluringly fragrant.

4. Bulbine caulescens, which lacks a common name, may seem to be no more interesting than African daisy, but is very special to me, because of who procured it a few years ago.

5. Gladiolus papilio from Tangly Cottage Gardening is, of course, the BIG news for these Six on Saturday. I noticed well budded floral spikes a week ago. They are now blooming!

6. Only a single new floral spike was observed last week. I should have investigated more thoroughly. There are actually several! A few are in full bloom like this. They are so rad!

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