Thread-leaf Agave

25 10 2011

Originally from Mexico, Thread-leaf Agave (Agave filifera) is an evergreen perennial succulent. The name “filifera” means “carrying threads.” It thrives in dry and hot climates and is drought-tolerant and low maintenance. It prefers full sun to light shade and needs regular watering in summer, but must be kept dry in winter.

Tequila is made from the leaves and rope, food, soap and other products are made from the fibers and pulp (pretty industrious plant, I’d say!). Agave filifera rarely flowers, but when it does, greenish flowers bloom on a 6-foot tall spike. Some can bloom annually, while others only bloom every 30-40 years (As a gardener obsessed, I’ve developed a store of patience—contrary to what my family and friends might say!—but I doubt I’d have the patience to wait for that show!) The flowers turn maroon as they age.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Echeveria setosa

25 10 2011

Echeveria setosa, a member of the Stonecrop family (Crassulaceae), is native to Mexico and is commonly known as the Mexican fire cracker or firecracker plant. It blooms from early to late April with bright red and yellow flowers. Echeverias are my favorite type of succulent and these on display in large glazed pots at the U.S. Botanic Garden are stunning! Photographed in the First Ladies’ Water Garden, part of the National Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Flower power

6 05 2009

Unidentified succulent or sedum ground cover in the beautiful rock garden at Green Spring Gardens…once I figure out what this plant is, I’m squeezing it into my garden!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Bluer than blue

2 02 2009

Remember that 1978 hit song, Bluer than Blue, by Michael Johnson? Check out the video on youtube. Kinda low budget video, isn’t it? Ah, well, it’s the song that matters, right? Another song of his that I love is, “The Moon is Still Over Her Shoulder.”

Let’s see—I’ve received three requests in response to my “what color collage next” question. One requested a collage showing variegation. One was a request for the color teal. Uh…thanks for the challenge, gals! And the third one was for blue, which just happened to be the color I was working on! (Jan and I were on the same wavelength.) I’ll work on those first two (more challenging) requests, but in the interim, here’s a collage of nothin’ but blue! Blue isn’t a really common color in the garden, yet I was surprised I had enough images in that color to create this collage. I would love to be able to grow the extra-heat-sensitive-needs-cool-rainy-summers (which we don’t have in Northern Virginia) lovely sky-blue Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia), a native of southeastern Tibet.

Other blue flowers include:

Statice
Sea holly (Eryngium-–which I grow in my garden—and it is a beauty)
Hydrangea
Delphiniums
Chicory (shown below)
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella—shown below)
Cornflower
‘Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory (shown below)
Forget-me-not
Bearded iris
Himalayan blue poppy (there are other shades of blue poppies as well)
Scabiosa (beautiful pale blue; I’ve grown them but they flop over too soon!)
Scilla
Veronica Speedwell
Globe thistle (Echinops)—I have several of these in my front garden
Muscari (grape hyacinth—some varieties lean more toward blue than deep purple)
Pride of Madeira (leans toward purple-blue—unbelievably beautiful plant—wish it would grow in our area)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Kreepy kacti and kuddly kritters

2 12 2008

(Hey, if the Kactus Korral can take liberties on the spelling of their name, I should be able to do the same!)

Creepy cacti and sumptious succulents weren’t the only photographic subjects on our visit to the Kactus Korral. (See my previous posting here.) As soon as we entered the greenhouse, a small and elusive black cat appeared. We later discovered she was checking on her three tiny, six-week-old kittens. I discovered the kittens under a table and fell instantly in love! One was a calico and the other two were torties—one with a neat yin & yang stripe down its nose.

Plants and kittens…do I have to choose?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Kactus Korral revisited

2 12 2008

On this trip to Texas, we stopped at the Kactus Korral in Harwood, Texas, before heading to our final destination—San Antonio. Usually we stop at the Kactus Korral on the way back to Virginia (after leaving space in the car to fill with plants, of course). We learned from Molly (our friendly plant expert/cashier pictured in the last photo below) that the Kactus Korral will probably be closed by January 2009.

Saddened by that news, I bought more plants than usual, knowing I wouldn’t get a chance to see this many gorgeous plants in so many varieties again. I picked up some that I don’t ever see in our local nurseries, such as two variations of the otherworldly “Ghost Cactus” (Euphorbia trigona ‘Ghost’), which is native to Mexico. Once again, we scored bargains. Essentially everything was 50% off—the plants I picked out ranged from less than $2 for the smallest size to under $6 for the largest. After gathering my bounty, I photographed my favorite plant heaven one last time while Molly calculated the (minor) damage to my cash-on-hand. Many of the plants were in bloom, so I got to see what one of my favorite plants—Lithops or “living stones”—might look like when they finally bloom. This time around, I bought 4″ pots with large “colonies” of these amazing little brainy-looking plants rather than the small single specimens. Many of them were already blooming with pink, yellow, and white fringe-like flowers. (See my posting last year on the Kactus Korral here.)

If you’re in the San Antonio/Austin area, you might want to check out the Kactus Korral before it closes. The selection is overwhelming, the plants are very healthy, and the prices (plants are 50% off, pots are 60% off) are amazing. I just wish I had the money (and the space) to offer to buy their inventory! Michael and I pondered that insane idea, thinking we could start a cacti/succulent nursery in Virginia—since no one in our area offers such an incredible variety of cacti and succulents. My only problem would be letting go of the inventory!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Echeveria in bloom

28 02 2008

Speaking of succulents, check out this really beautiful “succulent homage to Monet” on Sunset magazine’s website below. Looks like an easy project that mimics a lily pond without the real water. I know what my next garden project is going to be this season!

http://www.sunset.com/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1130614,00.html

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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