Archive | Garden Plants RSS feed for this section

7 Benefits of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ – Why I Changed My Scathing Review

Several years ago I wrote an article titled ‘ Why I Won’t Plant Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia‘ again : A Love Affair Gone Awry.

It was about how I fell in love with a Golden locust some 2o plus years ago when I first saw it in London.

How I knew I was going to find a place in my garden for it at the right time and was able to do so after a major renovation.

How I was swept away by my vision of what the end result would be.

How I knew that the benefits of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia‘ would be numerous. Within a year after buying these 2-3′ tall leafless sticks from Gosslers Farms Nursery, the first 3 Robinias had become stars of the garden.

What started out as 3 Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ on the top level of my garden, within a few years grew to 6, and then 9 .

Robinia entryway Chanticleer

Robinia pseudoacacia ‘frisia’ – entryway at Chanticleer

The shortcut version of the story is that after 5 years of marveling at their early spring green ovate leaves, followed by fragrant white pea like flowers, the chartreuse/yellow foliage in summer, then a vibrant yellow into the fall before dropping their leaves, the Golden locusts had become problematic.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 7 }

Succulent Leaf Propagation: How to Make New Plants from Old

If leaves pop off a succulent readily, that’s a clue that those leaves probably are capable of generating roots and new little plants. Like these of Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’.

IMG_3404

Notice how the original leaf has wrinkled as its life-giving fluids have gone into leaf and root production? I love the beadlike quality of the new little leaves, and the way the original leaf contains everything needed to create life. Interesting, too, that where the leaf was attached to the stem, the cellular tissue can form both leaves and roots. Continue Reading →

Comments { 11 }

Jewels of the Cactus and Succulent Show

Succulent enthusiasts flock to the annual Cactus & Succulent Society Show at the Los Angeles Arboretum mid-August. It’s the largest of its kind in the US. Judges award ribbons and trophies based on how well a specimen is grown, its rarity, and how well it’s “staged” in its pot. Pots aren’t merely containers, they’re works of art, and may be more valuable than the plant. Below are what caught my eye and photographed well, but represent only a fraction of the unusual and beautiful succulents on display.

Agave victoriae-reginae

Above: Agave victoriae-reginae, named after England’s Queen Victoria. Continue Reading →

Comments { 12 }

Succulent Plant-Pot Pairings

What comes first for you, the plant or the pot? For me it’s usually the pot. When a friend presents me with a special pot, it’s a given that I’ll plant it with succulents. But I don’t always know what will look good in it. So I ask the pot what it wants. I take it to the nursery, and walk the aisles with it, trying on plants. What I look for are  good scale and proportion; repetitions of shapes, colors or patterns; and (sometimes) an element of whimsy.

IMG_3308

Above: This was a gift from potter Don Hunt, whose work I collect, and who sells at San Diego’s Cactus & Succulent Society shows. Dots in the glaze, and the fact that the pot seemed to be asking for a trailing plant, inspired the selection of string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus). I added beads for bling. Continue Reading →

Comments { 28 }

Summer Shadows

Shadows are as much a part of a Southern California summer as sunshine itself. These play with the imagination like a midsummer day’s dream.

Euphorbia shadow_JFR

Above: Flowers of a columnar euphorbia.

IMG_2762

Above: Aloe flower and stair rail. Continue Reading →

Comments { 16 }