Monday, September 11, 2006

Impulse control

Now that I'm working in the garden again I couldn't resist a visit (or two) to the garden store this weekend. First I stopped in at the Great Outdoors (conveniently located within 5 minutes of our house). I have sort of hit-or-miss luck with the place but on Saturday I bought an agave I'd been wanting for a while, an agave bracteosa or squid agave. Its leaves are fleshy and pale green, with no spines on the edges or tips. And supposedly, unlike most agaves, it doesn't die after it blooms. I planted it in one of my favorite pots, empty since I left an aloe "Blue Elf" out in one of last winter's freezes (and it was just about to bloom; I was completely bummed).

I also bought a one-gallon Laura Bush petunia, just to put in a pot for some more color (I'm a sucker for that fuschia color on any plant; check out the salvia greggii in the background).

Then on Sunday D and I ran out to Barton Springs Nursery to pick up some cotton burr compost for the extension of the far back bed and to use as mulch and, even with him there as a moderating force, I couldn't resist a manfreda called "Macho Mocha" that I'd read about on the Yucca Do website (Barton Springs has a huge one in a pot up on a pedestal just at the east edge of the main barn, if you want to check it out). The one I bought is small and the leaves are all green but supposedly in sun it will develop a purplish color with brown spots. And then in the spring it's supposed to send up a huge, tall bloom stalk. I've had a manfreda (I think it's manfreda maculosa) of a more sedate nature in a pot for several years trying to find a spot for it in the ground. It actually does fine in a pot so I think I'll put the new one in a big pot as well for now.

At Barton Springs I also bought a couple of odd little succulents; one I'm sure is an aloe of some kind but with a strange pyramidal growth habit I've never seen before; the other one looks a bit like the echevarria "Jelly Beans" I got last week, but in miniature form. I also bought, mostly because D admired it, a dark blue plumbago. The flowers aren't really all that dark blue but they are darker than a plumbago I had years ago. I'm not sure where it will go. It's not really a color I have anywhere in the garden but I'm sure it will work in somewhere.

I also bought another purple fountain grass, a gallon this time. I think I'll dig up the two small fountain grasses I bought a week or so ago and put them into a pot to stick somewhere else sunnier than the spot I've got them in now. Then I'll put the bigger new one (which is already blooming) in the place of one of them at the top of the new stairs, next to the stand with the succulent in a pot. It will be next to the eggplant-painted steel columns on the new porch and should blend together with the zexmenia that's blooming there. I think that spot gets enough sun to keep the grass happy.

I did resist the lure of a bougainvillea and another one of the salmon-flowered globe mallow plants that I already have in the far back bed, as well as a couple of other plants that were calling my name (has anyone tried a plant called melochia tomentosa? I saw it at both Great Outdoors and Barton Springs; supposedly it's a native but I don't remember seeing it before. It's also called pyramid plant and Yucca Do has something similar listed as melochia pyramidata or anglepod.) And then there were all those beautiful roses. Oh well, there's always next time.


Annie in Austin said...

Those are some interesting choices. I like that squid agave, and it would go with Pam's Whale's tongue agave. What wet names for such dryland plants! The dark blue Plumbago sounds very cool, too.

My Hill Country wildflower book gives "Broom-Wood" as a common name for the Melochia, says dry and rocky ground, with flowers May to October. It also says "extreme Southern edge of the Hill Country", meaning that Broom-Wood could make it through winter in South Austin, but perhaps not up here.

My only recent purchase was a couple of native Skullcaps/Scutellaria. I already have some pink ones, but these were a sort of lavender blue and I had to buy them.


Susan said...

Annie --

Funny you should mention the whales' tongue agave. The woman at Great Outdoors was trying to sell me one of those as well as the squid. It's another agave I've admired (including the pictures on Pam's site) but it was $40!! so I just said no. Probably for the best, I suppose. Although it is a pretty cool plant.

Pam/Digging said...

I believe I found my Whale's Tongue for $19.99 at Barton Springs Nursery. That was a year ago. Might be worth checking.

M Sinclair Stevens (Austin) said...

Floribunda (on Lamar just north of Oltorf) has expanded their selection of cactus and succulents. Annie in Austin and I were there the other day checking them out. I was disappointed that they were out of tomatoes and didn't carry bulbs. But I love dropping by because they do the coolest garden designs--quite a few of the new houses in the Bouldin neighborhood sport them.

Glad you turned comments on. Now if you get your rss feed working, I'll be able to add you to Bloglines.

Susan said...

M. Sinclair --

I just turned on the "allow site feed" option. Thanks for mentioning it.

Just yesterday I decided I was checking way too many blogs every day and was whining about it to my husband, a blog-reading guy if there ever was one. He's used Bloglines for a long time and tried to get me to use it a while back but it didn't make sense to me. Anyway, I set it up yesterday, including a feed from your site, and used it for the first time this morning.

And I love Floribunda. I feel quite lucky to be equidistant from Big Red Sun, Floribunda and Great Outdoors.

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