Monday, April 11, 2016

Fearful symmetry! (#2)

Mixed sempervivums at Laporte Avenue Nursery (dot com!)
 Once before I wrote a blog about "fearful symmetry" (a very different one!)--but the rosulate form is surely a fine example. And few who live in cold climates have fully utilized the ultimate rosette: the sempervivum. These are a few pictures I took yesterday at Laporte Avenue Nursery--one of America's great mail order sources of all manner of superb wildflowers and alpine plants: but they grow succulents as well--and have an especially good assortment of these gems.

The scrumptious reds
 Everyone loves the red ones best---and they have lots of them...

MORE semps at Laporte Avenue Nursery (dot com!)
 Love the contrasts!

Orostachys spinosa--an honorary semp.
 Actually more closely related to sedums, but this has to be in your collection too!
Wonderful contrasts

And more...

More stunning contrasts!

Sempervivum ciliosum
 This is one of the very best--not only for the wonderfully ciliate leaves, but bright yellow flowers in early summer!

Various cvs. of Sempervivum arachnoideum
 The cobweb houseleeks are must haves--not just kids are dazzled by the very authentic looking cobwebs in each rosette--but these too have gorgeous pink flowers in early summer....
Austrocactus patagonicus...sneaking in...
 Young rooted cuttings of a rare South American cactus that has never before been offered--this is one of the hardiest south Americans. And Laporte has a corner on the market!

A tiny taste of the other alpines there...
 I will soon post pictures of the masses of color in their various greenhouses--the alpines are all coming into bloom!--but here's just a taste...

Austrocactus patagonicus
 Back to the Austrocactus: I can't wait to see mine bloom--they are very variable in color and habit...

Austrocactus patagonicus
 A close closeup: if you need one of these, just check their website and place an order!

Euphorbia clavarioides ssp. truncata
 And here is another choice succulent they're responsible for establishing in cultivation--this one from South Africa.

Cuttings of daphnes rooting
 The daphne cuttings are rooting nicely! They're a great source for daphnes too...

Kirk Fieseler with beloved dwarf conifers
Kirk--half of the team who own this nursery. The land is Kirk's and Kirk is the force behind the wonderful line of dwarf conifers (and he does the peonies and a good deal more.) Kirk was the force behind Spring Creek's fantastic rock garden as well--which was in pretty fine form this week as well. You can see Karen in other blogs I've done about this nursery: which I consider to be a national treasure. Order NOW! Order often, and you won't be disappointed! If you follow all those hyperlinks you'll be busy all spring (and won't regret it!)...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

California Dreamin' (the Ultimate Succulent nursery)


I have been very lucky over the last few years (thanks in large part to Woody Minnich--Cactus guru extraordinaire) to gain access and befriend many of the great nurseries of Southern California. I first met Peter Walkowiak and Inacia Matteus several years ago when I spoke to the San Diego chapter of the Cactus and Succulent Society: I was charmed by the hilltop setting of their home and nursery--and blown away by the plants in their collections and the superb plants Peter propagates to sell. The light was perfect for photography during my last stay at their home at the end of February and I took many pictures, most of which are below (and which are largely self-explanatory). They are mostly of Peter's vast collection of superbly grown and exhibited plants: I don't think there's a public garden in America that has better collections of both cacti and other succulents--grown to such large sizes and looking so healthy. Do linger a bit over these and realize that each of these thousands of plants has a history--botanical and personal...


The Ariocarpus were to die for!


I'm not going to even try to name names: a few faves may pop out now and again. If you're desperate to know--just go to any of the dozens of shows staged throughout the US by CSSA groups: they're all superb. And Peter exhibits in many (as well as having his garden and nursery on tour regularly)...

Mounds this size do not grow overnight...


I was especially pleased to see this terrific mounded Echinocereus trig. 'Inermis' which is endemic to Western Colorado (and perhaps a short ways into Utah)...




Just one small part of the production area: Peter only grows what others don't. They're all the best....


Aloinopsis malherbei


I love this picture with both of them absorbed, and the blooming euphorbs!




One of the seedframes brimming with new treasures!


A whopper of Sinningia leucotricha

With a smart phone for scale



Avonia quinaria subs. alstonii
I still want to call these Anacampseros. Not only are they great specimens, but the pots they're in are perfect.


You didn't see this one!

The euphorbias are out of this world,





One of the biggest Geraniaceae ever! And I'm not talking about Inacia!

I never dreamed the Medusoid euphorbias could be so variable before meeting Peter.



Wrong setting to catch the hummingbird


Peter putting plants back from after a meeting of the Palomar club
In addition to being the ultimate connoisseurs of growing, showing succulents, Peter and Inacia are deeply involved in their communities: Peter has been a leader in two of the largest Cactus clubs in the very epicenter of the art of growing these. He has volunteered at the San Diego Zoo's amazing Safari Park (I think their botanical exhibits are more interesting than the animals!). And he is a designer who's worked with many local gardeners creating exquisite gardens. Inacia loves the succulents and has her own collection, and has many other interests including being self described "Diva" of the local running clubs. I feel privileged to call these two my friends.