Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plant of the Week Echeveria Raindrops

As a lot of you know I have a certain fondness for Echeveria's.  I don't know if it is the shape or what but they are my favorites in the succulent world and I actually dedicated a whole bed to them.  So with this in mind I am going to dedicate my first Plant of the Week to an Echeveria.  Echeveria raindrops to be exact.

I am following in the footsteps of many other gardeners in featuring a plant of the week.  A couple of years ago Loree Bohl from Danger Garden started doing this.  And more recently my friend Gerhard Bock of Succulents and More has also decided to join in the fun.  So I thought, I don't want to be left out either.  So this is the first of many to come.

Echeveria raindrops 3

Now isn't she a stunner!  I found this beauty (believe it or not) at Home Depot or Lowe's earlier this year.  It was quite a bit smaller but I knew immediately what it was and snatched it up as a hungry dog snatches up a bone.  I couldn't believe my eyes because I had seen this on Facebook and Pinterest but never knew anyone that had one or sold one.  I figured it would be many years before I would get one.  So you just never know.

Until recently this was in it's original container just sitting on my back patio.  Waiting patiently for me to pay attention to it.  And growing, growing.  It must be about 6 inches across by now.  Supposedly that is as big as it will get.  We will see.

Echeveria raindrops 1

I looked through all my pots to find one that would do it justice.  Then I came upon this pot.  I wanted to plant it alone.  Sometimes I just want to show off the plant.

San Marcos Growers says:  Echeveria 'Raindrops' A solitary plant that reaches at most 6 inches across with pale green rounded leaves with pale reddish margins and a single globular blue-green bump in the middle of each leaf toward the tip that develops with age - young plants often do not exhibit this trait but it appears as the plant ages. These bumps, similar to a water droplet, are what give this unique plant its name.

I sure hope this guy makes some babies.  Then I can see the progression of the bumps.

I have been giving it morning light and afternoon shade or filtered light.  I have watered when the soil is completely dry.  As the nights get cooler this definitely will be a plant that goes in my gazebo/greenhouse.  The internet says it will take temps down to 30F but I don't want to take a chance.

Echeveria raindrops 4

Here's a close up!

Echeveria raindrops 2

And a shot from up above.  It's interesting that there are just a few leaves that don't have the bumps or caruncles on them.  I wonder why that is.

By the way this Dick Wright hybrid is thought to be the smallest of the bumpy-leafed cultivars.  Very cool!

So hope you enjoyed!  Have a great week!

Until later:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Front Yard Rock Garden

Today my neighbor said, "I read your article in the Sacramento Bee."  "It was great.".  It's nice to know that people are reading what you are writing.  Since I had been working on my front yard project for most of the summer I decided the November article needed to be about it.

I have been bugging my husband for years to give up some grass in the front yard.  He dug in his heels up until Mother’s Day of this year.  When I opened my card grass fell out.  I didn’t quite understand until I saw a Facebook photo of the front side yard posted by my husband.  It said Happy Mother’s Day to Candy.  Of course I jumped up and down in happiness!

First thing we did was stop watering the lawn and let it die. There are many other ways to do this but this is what we chose.


Now this is some dry, dry grass.  When you stepped on it your foot made a crunching sound.


We had a fellow come in and tear out the dead yard and take it all away.  This is what we were left with.  It was a tough job and took him quite a few hours.  But it was money well spent.

Then I went to a couple of home improvement stores looking for ways to build the berms I wanted.  I really wanted a couple of raised areas in my front yard project.  I was going to use these key stone and I probably would have been happy with them.  But I went to the Succulent Extravaganza and my eyes were opened.  I wanted to build rock walls using moss rocks and incorporate pots as in Julia Bells design.  Thank you so much for the idea!


After Stan roto tilled the area I had a couple of yards of dirt brought in.  I chose baseball dirt mixed with organic mulch.  The baseball mix has a lot of red lava fines in it so it will be very good for drainage.


We went over and over on how I was going to do the drip system.  We decided on a loop system.  We got a drip converter and connected a T to it.  We will connect a large roll of drip line and snake it all around the planting.  The other end will go on the other side of the T.  Once I get the smaller lines in, it should work just fine.

Oh and I still chose clay (I don't know what to call them), to keep the neighbors grass away.


Thank goodness I have such a strong man for a husband.  This was a lot of work.  He spread a bunch of the soil everywhere then had to make my two berms.


Scout just had to be part of the action.


Now that the mounds were made it was time to lay the large drip line.  We looped it around the base of the larger berm then headed towards the second.


This is the second mound or berm.  I want plants to eventually run into the bed against the fence that is already established.


Little by little I drove to the rock yard and brought home moss rock.  I built the small rock wall first.  It really was like putting together a Jigsaw  puzzle.  I would take a rock and put it this way and that until it fit or I would grab another.  Really fun!


The larger rock wall was actually a bit easier.


As you can see I incorporated two pots in the larger wall and one is the smaller one in the back.  I got these filled with succulents at a home improvement store.  I also decided to add a tree.  I picked a Palo Verde 'Desert Museum'.  It will be absolutely great.  I had to plant it close to the divide between our two yards because of underground gas and power lines.  I called a PG&E phone number to ask them where I could and couldn't dig.  They in turn called cable, electric and telephone.  Within 3 days I had different colored lines and flags everywhere.  Thank goodness to because I was going to plant the tree right where the lines were.  It would have been awful and very costly.

You are probably wondering how I am going to keep the dirt from seeping out the tiny cracks and holes in the walls.  Ah ha!  I took landscaping cloth and laid it in an L shape on the back side of the walls.  Then I pushed the dirt up against it and trimmed off the excess.  I think this will do just fine.


Next I placed all the plants and moved them around until I was pleased with the arrangement.


So we decided to lay landscaping cloth to keep the weeds out.  It's not covering the berms though because I'm mostly afraid of any remaining grass coming back alive in the areas with less new dirt.

Now the fun begins.  Planting the plants.  I have been saving a bunch that I got from Waterwise Botanicals at the Succulent Celebration.  Plus I relocated others in different areas of my garden where they had overgrown.  I found the golden barrels at a home improvement store for a crazy awesome price.


Now this is where we made our big mistake.  I should had added the small drip lines to each plant.  I didn't do it.  We had this California gold rock delivered and we wanted to get it off the driveway and on the ground.  So now I will be moving rock and laying lines after the fact.  Grrrr!


Here is a shot looking at one of the pots in the larger berm.  On top of each berm and around each plant we put the smaller rock.  Everywhere we laid the larger.


Lower area!


This Agave Blue Glow is in the center of the larger berm.  And it should be the star of the show.


Here it is before we got the tree in the ground and the large pouring pot on the right filled.  I sure hope all the plants live.


A shot of the tree planted.  Gerhard Bock from Succulents and More had told me to untie it from the stake to make the tree stronger.  But it is not ready yet.  So after this photo I tied it back up.  The Agave vilmoriniana 'Octopus Agave' that he gave me is on the bottom right of photo.  Also to the left is Agave Joe Hoak and to the left of the rock in the center is a small Agave Blue Wave.  I gave it lot's of room to grow.

Thank you so much Gerhard for the contributions to this project.  Hope you all like it!

Until later:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Crash And a Little of This

In the last post I show'd you how to make Succulent pumpkins.  And it was really fun being on Good Day Sacramento.  My week started off great but then bang.  And I mean bang!  I was on my way to my back doctor.  I had just gotten an iced tea from McDonalds and was waiting to pull out on a main street.  All of a sudden I felt like a rag doll whipped back and forward.  Someone in a truck had come behind me and his foot slipped off the brake and hit the gas.  I was rear ended!

I took photos with my phone and we exchanged information.  He kept saying how sorry he was.  Really, he was such a nice man.  And I understand how accidents can happen.  But I can't help from from being (sorry to say) pissed off.  I drove home, called the insurance company and then my son came to get me and take me to Urgent Care.  Thank goodness my front yard project is 90% finished.  Because I will be laid up for a while.

Just had to let you all know what was happening.  I went out and took a couple of shots here and there.  I am working on a big post about my front yard re-do.  But wanted to say hi!

Agave lophantha v. quadricolor 3

This is one of two large Agave lophantha v. quadricolor that are in my new bed!  Don't you love these.  When I took this one out of it's pot it had 17 babies.  I will be planting these all over as I love the color they add.

Little vignette

A little vignette in my new front planter.  This is an experiment.

Euphorbia mauritanica

I have a couple of these planted now and they do great in the hot sun.  We will see how they handle the cold.  It's Euphorbia mauritanica.  Also called the Pencil Milk bush.  Dave's Garden says it's good in my area!

Pots in my rock wall

I was really inspired by Julia Bell at the Succulent Extravaganza.  There are 3 of these pots built into rock walls I built.

Graptoveria Fred Ives

The nights are getting colder and some succulents are getting great stress colors.  Like this Graptoveria Fred Ives.

Echeveria Mahogany Rose

This Echeveria Mahogany Rose is duplicating like crazy!  I love it and it loves my garden.

Echeveria Coral Glow

This Echeveria Coral Glow is right next to the Mahogany Rose.  They really like each other's company.  Don't you love the variation on the leave color.

Cylindropuntia spp. Mini Cholla 3

I transplanted this Cylindropuntia spp. Mini Cholla from a location near a walkway.  I don't know what I was thinking in the first place putting it there.  But now it is out of the way.

Aloe Viper

Now I'm going to share some cool new aloes with you.  This is Aloe Viper.  It is a Kelly Griffin hybrid.  Love the texture of the leaves.  And the bumps are a different color.

Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem' bloom

I was feeling artistic when I took this photo of the bloom of Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem'.

Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem' 2

Here is the whole plant.  Aloe rudikope hyb. 'Little Gem' is a happy plant.  I have three of these and got them at Waterwise Botanicals.  They multiply, stay smallish and flower a lot.

Aloe Coral Fire 1

Here is another Kelly Griffin hybrid called Aloe Coral Fire.  Isn't she gorgeous!  Check out the leaf edges.

Aloe Coral Fire 3

Coral Fire has a bloom.  Can't wait to see how it develops.

Okey dokey.  Hope everyone is well.  I'm going to start working on my next post.  Details of the front yard redo.

Until then:

It's Another Beautiful Day!