Today dawned foggy and grey, but also nice and cool–perfect for a long morning in the yard, checking new growth, raking dead clippings, and assessing what should go where in the new growing season.
Just before the holidays, Maggie connected the narrow plot (where I grow lilies) to a corner of the yard that opened up when a large philodendron fell over (fyi: It didn’t die; it spiked a separate, upward reaching trunk and the original plant continued growing sideways!) Anyway….last month I moved my favorite succulent to this “new garden.” Within a week it sent up a stalk and is now flaunting a beautiful full bloom:
I’ve been calling this plant an Agave guiengola, but it may actually be an aloe: ➡ many succulents are “look-a-likes,” with flowers the only true means of identification. So far, I haven’t found a trusted source with an accurate photo of A. guiengola in bloom, but I have inquires out, so stay tuned! 🙂 In the meantime, here’s a close-up of the beautiful orange flowers: ( Note: ID editted on 3/11/14. Scroll to addendum at the bottom)
I’ve never had great luck with Hollyhocks, which is wierd considering they’re classified as “beginner” plants. This year I bypassed the seed route completely and bought a sack of bareroot mixed Alcea at Sam’s Club. When I planted them 2wks ago, I didn’t think they’d “take”–they looked REALLY dried up and stickish, but lo and behold, today we have this:
Sam’s sells Hollyhocks in sacks of 10, so I divided the bag between two locations. The picture on the left shows plants growing to the right rear of A. guiengola; the plants in the other pic are coming up along the vinewall, on the opposite side of the yard. Both areas get 6hrs of sunlight, albeit at different times of day. It will be interesting to see which side does better.
Years before I created the vinewall, I hung several containersful of wild Emerald Fern (aka Asparagus densiflorus Sprengeri) from the fence posts. Sheer laziness left them in the original spots and gradually passiflora and mandevilla grew all around them::
This “fern” produces mounds of leaflike flattened branchlets that resemble (and function as) leaves but are actually called cladophylls. What looks like finely textured foliage is actually woody, spiny and not as fragile as appearance might indicate. Cladophyls typically grow in downward arcs, but that all changes when push comes to shove!
This branchlet travelled 1.5ft up the fence, then continued another 3ft beneath the mandevilla just to find a small open spot!
Reaching for the light: I love this metaphor and what a tiny branch reminds us about the nature of all living things ➡ Resillience and adaptability are two of life’s most helpful attributes! 🙂
Addendum, 3/11/14: Cistus Nursery identified my “agave” as a Coral Aloe, aka Aloe striata. I’ve included the email:
It looks like you have Aloe striata or Coral Aloe on your hands. Here’s the description from our catalog: A stemless aloe from South Africa with orange-red flowers on 3 ft stalks and soft, pink striped blue green leaves that beg to be petted. Grows to about 1 foot high and 2 feet wide. Full sun to part shade. With excellent drainage can withstand temperatures down to 20F or lower.
22711 NW Gillihan Rd
Portland, OR 97231
503 621 2233