Upside down in Dry Shade

At our home, we have a very wide overhang which never sees any moisture, so we were looking for plants that would stay low, ideally evergreen, and would tolerate seriously dry shade. The answer was Echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’. These patches of the Northern Mexican succulent, with blue-green foliage, have absolutely thrived here. While they probably wouldn’t be happy in deep shade, they love this high canopy with good light, but no sun. These were planted in 2018. We’d rate these as Zone 7b/8a if kept dry in winter.

Hot as Ice

Here are more delospermas (ice plants) looking great at JLBG this week. The first two are the most moisture tolerant, Delosperma cooperi (purple), and Delosperma ‘Kelaidis’ (peach). At the bottom is Delosperma sutherlandii, which is a species that we’ve never been able to keep alive in our wet summers prior to building the crevice garden.

Delosperma cooperi (purple), Delosperma ‘Kelaidis’ (peach)
Delosperma sutherlandii

Take a Look at Our Fall Bloomers!

For many, fall is the best time of year to garden. The heat of summer has finally broken and the crisp autumn air is a delight to work in. Fall perennials take over for the summer flowers and keep the garden showy as the days get shorter.

Here are some fall bloomers from the garden this week. Be sure to check out all of our fall blooming plants during the Fall Open Nursery & Garden Days, September 18-20 & 25-27, 2020.

Hardy Cactus…thoughts

We’ve got a thing for hardy cactus in the garden, but haven’t propagated many to offer yet. One of our many favorites is Notocactus apricus.  Above is our 17 year old clump in the garden, which is 4″ tall x 15″ wide.  We’ve grown a few from seed, but are curious how many folks might consider purchasing one?  We’ve only been to 7F since 2000, so we don’t know if it will take colder temperatures or not.  

Visitors to our spring Open Nursery and Garden this year got to see the amazing Trichocereus ‘Irridescent Watermelon’ (bred by local cacti specialist, Mike Papay) in full flower (hardy so far to 7 degrees F).  Offsets are almost non-existent, so we decided to grow some from seed. Each plant will be different, but all should be quite nice.  So, if we offered these as a seed strain, would you purchase some, knowing each will be slightly different?

Agave Mountain Man – the big moment

We posted this a few weeks ago as our Agave ‘Mountain Man’ (A. gentryi x montana) prepared to open. We’ll, the big moment is here…below are a few shot from today.

The seed were wild-collected in Mexico in the late 1990s by our friends at Yucca Do, and our seedling was planted in May 2000, so it took 17 years to flower.  Fingers crossed for good seed set, and fortunately we have many more agaves in flower (and a tall ladder) to help the process. 

Ark, Ark…is that rain we hear?

In a matter of two days, most of our region went from abnormally dry to saturated, when an unusual weather system tracked across our area.  Not to worry…we’ve loaded two each of every plant on the green arc for safe keeping.

We tallied 5.5″ of rain at the nursery, while areas a few miles away registered almost 9 inches.  As you’ve no doubt seen on the news, areas in and around creeks and rivers are underwater.  Fortunately, we’re fine as all our time spent on water management preparation paid dividends.  

The gardens looks absolutely fabulous, so we hope to see you at our 2017 Spring Open Nursery and Garden which starts today (Friday).  We’ve prepared a special display of the new xMangaves (agave x manfreda hybrids) on the deck area, so we hope you’ll stop by and check out this amazing new category of drought-tolerant succulents for both containers and the garden.  See you soon!

A View from the top – Agave flowering soon

Look what showed up in the garden.  Our specimen of Agave ‘Mountain Man’…a hybrid of Agave montana and Agave gentryi decidied to flower for our spring open nursery and garden.  This unusual hybrid starts its flower spike in the fall, which stops for the coldest part of winter, then starts growing again in spring.  The spike showed no damage despite a winter low of 13 degrees F.  Be sure to check this out when you visit…located just behind the welcome tent. 

The Marvels of Nature!

So what do you get when you cross Manfreda and an Agave?

Wait!!  Is that even possible?

It is!!  And, voila… we present… x Mangave!

x Mangave is an intergeneric hybrid combining the leaf spotting and perennial flowering nature of Manfreda and the leaf spines and evergreen nature (above freezing) of Agave. Like both parents, x Mangave is drought tolerant and has an aversion to winter moisture. In areas where x Mangave is not winter hardy, it makes a great container specimen.

picture of x Mangave Pineapple Express-garden

x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ in the garden

x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ is a 2016 introduction from Walters Gardens with fleshy, olive green leaves heavily spotted with purple. Pineapple Express will form a rosette 18″ tall x 24″ wide. Above is Pineapple Express in the garden and below is Pineapple Express in our sales house.

We have an exciting array on new varieties of x Mangaves in production with varying leaf shapes and variegation patterns, so be sure to look for them in the future. If you are not already growing x Mangave be sure to check out these horticultural gems.

picture of x Mangave Pineapple Express-sales

x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ for sale in our sales house

Agaves and Mangaves

Agave victoriae-reginae PDN018 winter before flowering

We are very excited to see that we have at least 9 agaves so far that will be flowering in 2016.  Above is a recent photo of Agave victoriae-reginae where you can see the bud forming in the center where the leaves have become reduced in size.  While we lose the agaves after flowering, we are able to make crosses and create more new and unqiue agaves.  We also share pollen with plant breeder Hans Hansen, who crosses them with manfredas to create some amazing mangaves as pictured below, which we are pleased to introduce for 2016

x Mangave Kaleidoscope - Jaguar with cream edge WG285-9 at Walters(64484)

Mangave ‘Kaleidoscope’ makes a superb container plant where it isn’t hardy in the ground.  It should be fine outdoors from Zone 7b south.

xMangave Moonglow (M. Bloodspot x M. Choc Chip x )(Walters)(64486)

Mangave ‘Moonglow‘ with its large dark purple spots is the smallest of the three. The foliage of all is incredible pliable unlike most agaves.

xMangave Pineapple Express at Walters4(64487)A third introduction for 2016 is Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’…the fastest growing of these three.  These will fill out a container in no time and are great for summer patio containers.

 

 

 

Bluebell Giants – Our new agave hybrids

Agave x protoamericana 45-79 in spike

Agave x protoamericana

 

Agave Belleville3

 

Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Bellville’

One of the fun projects our JLBG research division has been working on for several years is breeding for winter hardy century plants. One of our latest crosses is between the two plants pictured above, Agave x protoamericana (blue) and Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Bellville’ (green).  These are the two largest agaves that are winter hardy for us, and we were able to cross them in 2014.  We are offering seed grown offspring while they last under the name Agave ‘Bluebell Giants’.  In most cases, our other hybrid agaves are larger and more vigorous than the parents, which in this cases could be HUGE!   These seed-grown plants have now filled our 1 qt pots and we’ll be planting our first plants in the garden in spring.  If you like giant agave and love to experiment along with us, don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.