Monday, October 21, 2013

Fright Night Larry

One of my favorite days of the year is fast approaching and I've gotten Larry ready to fright and delight with what I think is his best costume yet; the rest of the decorations will be going up this week.

He's pretty gruesome during the day.

But he gets even more so after dark.

Plenty of new growth is evidence that the gardens are enjoying the cooler weather as much as I am. I planted some coleus about two months ago and had pretty much given up on them, but lo and behold if they haven't finally starting to grow and in a few weeks I hope that the two hanging pots I planted them in will begin to fill out.  

The apple and rose cuttings aren't showing any signs of rooting, but the figs are. All of the cuttings are starting to leaf out, so even without roots, I'm confident that they'll survive and by Spring should be ready to plant.  

Fig (L) and Anna Apple (R)

Climbing Joseph's Coat

The petunia that has been barely hanging on throughout this summer is now producing deep, vibrant purple blooms, the zinnias I planted back in late August are about to bloom and the dwarf white Mexican petunia, Ruellia brittoniana, is blooming daily and will do so for the next several months.

This truly is the deepest purple petunia I've ever seen.

Can't wait to enjoy these in bloom, as they're in the window box outside my office.

Unlike the more common purple variety, these stay nice and compact.

'Novelty' is now putting on quite a show and it should continue for another week or two.

'Baby Toes' appears to be all bloomed out, but it looks like there may be a seed pod developing, although I'm not sure, since this is a new plant for me.  The female Euphorbia obesa has finally bloomed, and there are three more buds forming, but I'm not seeing any budding on the male plant.  Based on photos of the first one I bought, it's a female as well so I planned well when I put the male plant in between the others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Bunch of Blooms

Now that the weather is finally cooling down and 100's a just a memory, the garden is coming out of the doldrums in a burst of celebration.  Succulents are blooming, as are roses, plumerias and sunflowers, the peppers are loading up with fruit and I'm seeing some old friends at the feeders.  I'm amazed at how long the bloom on Fenestraria aurantiaca has lasted; the 1st bloom opened a week ago.

Fenestraria aurantiaca 'Baby Toes' has a 2nd bloom.

Astrophytum myriostigma bloom not yet open.

And one day later.

Euphorbia obesa female flower about to open.

Blue Moon

Climbing America


Plumeria 'Novelty'

A cheerful sunflower

Shishito peppers, a sweet Japanese variety.

I added another section of pallet decking, this time between the back porch slab and the brick walkway, so the I can get around the corner of the house without worrying about falling of the sidewalk and breaking my ankle.

This past weekend, the Desert Botanical Garden held its' Fall Plant Sale and I picked up a really nice Stapelia asterias, even though I already had one, this specimen was too nice to pass up.  I also bought my first Hoodia, but it was unmarked as to species, although my suspicion is that it's H. gordonii.

This magnificent S. asterias was $12.50 well spent.

This Hoodia was a nice find at $7.50.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Updates, Cutting and You Tube

The inflorescence on my plumeria 'Novelty' continues to grow and get closer to blooming every day and is starting to look like Mother Nature's candelabra, plus the white plumeria I purchased at Lowe's is developing an inflorescence of its' own.  I'm going to document the growth of the inflorescence daily and compile it into a video.

The inflo on 10-6-13

The inflo on 10-8-13

The Fenestraria aurantiaca 'Baby Toes' that I bought on 10-3-13 has bloomed and another bloom or two are on the way.

The Eureka lemons continue to grow and I've noticed a few more on the tree now that they're almost the size of the lemons you find in the grocery store, but these get much bigger, with some of the ones from my in-law's tree getting as big as grapefruit.

These should be ripe in December or January

The habaneros are loaded with fruit and I'm beginning to think my prediction of a total harvest of 1 pound between now and next May may be too low.

Both the red and blue (Salvia nemarosa) salvias self-sowed and are coming back; now to find a white one for a patriotic flower bed.

I have the red and blue, now I need white.

Stapelia gigantea has bloomed again, but I haven't had more than one bloom at a time, so there has been no chance of it producing seed.

I potted up the Variegated Dwarf Calamondin, Citrus mitis, in a vintage California pottery I got from my friend Julie and also potted up another rooted Mission Black Fig cutting, as the first one did not survive transplant.  This time I waited until the roots were 2"-3" long and also started another couple as a back up.  If this one survives, then I'll take the other cuttings to the Fall Swap.  I also had to prune back the Climbing America and Climbing Joseph's Coat roses as they were really scraggly looking, so I saved some of the cutting and am trying to root them as well.  The pedestal the fig is on is the base of an old bird bath that also came from Julie; the top leaked, so I removed it and painted the base.

The Variegated Dwarf Calamondin.

Mission Black Fig cutting potted up.

Starting some more fig cuttings

Rose cuttings

The pallet decking is becoming a "tropical garden" with the plumerias, the fig, the calamondin and 'Tropicana' canna all taking up residence and I think it's looking pretty darn good.  I may have to find a way to incorporate the 1950's Hudson 2-Spray garden sprayer I bought Saturday at a flea market.  I've never seen a sprayer as large as this one before, so I had to have it and at just $12, I think it was a bargain.

Hudson is still in business, but they don't make them like this anymore.

Lastly, Mr B's Garden has expanded its' web presence with its' own You Tube channel, where I have posted three videos, one of the feeding frenzy in my backyard, a montage of Larry's outfits over the past two years and a time lapse video of S. gigantea showing the development of the blooms from tiny buds to fully open flowers.  I plan to post how-to videos and video tours of my gardens in the future.  You can find the channel at

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Update on the Wheelbarrow Succulent Garden, Among Other Things

Last Spring, I got a rusty old wheelbarrow from my next door neighbor and decided to turn in into a succulent garden.  Between plants that got too big, too little water when the irrigation system broke, too much water last month when the runoff from the roof flooded the wheelbarrow after over an inch of rain and the freeze in January, only two plants remain from when it was originally planted.  Those two are Euphorbia obesa and Astrophytum myriostigma and both are thriving,  I added a couple more E. obesa in August, a male and a female, and an Aloe aristata and a Haworthia cymbiformis in the middle of last month.  Today I bought a Lithops sp. 'Stone Faces', a Pleiospilos nelii 'Split Rock' and a Fenestraria aurantiaca 'Baby Toes' to add to the succulent garden.  The aloe has sent up inflorescence and the astrophytum looks like it's getting ready to bloom as well; I can't wait to see what they look like.  On top of all the vegetative changes, the driftwood has taken a beating from the sun and partially fell apart. so it to looks different.

The revamped Wheelbarrow Succulent Garden.

Lithops sp. 'Stone Faces'.

Pleiospilos nelii 'Split Rock'.

Fenestraria aurantiaca 'Baby Toes'; note that it's going to bloom soon.

Aloe aristata with an inflorescence.

Astrophytum myriostigma 

I picked up a couple of Stapeliads today as well, an unmarked Huernia and an unmarked Stapelia, both of which are going to bloom soon.  Once they do, I should be able to identify them at the species level, although I have a suspicion that the Stapelia may be S. grandiflora.

Unknown Huernia sp.

Unknown Stapelia sp; this wasn't marked at all.

The daytime highs have finally cooled into the 90's and the flowers and veggies are responding with renewed vigor.  The cannas are setting seeds, the squash are setting fruit and the Blue Moon rose is blooming again.

Canna seed pod.

Yellow zucchini

Banana squash, a hybrid between zucchini and yellow crookneck.

Blue moon rose