Friday, August 28, 2009


This unnamed succulent, in a pot, resides on the wall of the Spanish oak garden. Some of the stems are a little scorched this year but the flowers appeared this week. I love these little flowers for their color and their shape. This is a plant that asks little and gives much. It would look perfect growing from a Medusa head pot as the stems drape down like dreadlocks. When they break off I stick them in a pot and in no time I have a new plant.
Late press- The plant is Huernia schneideriane, red dragon flower, of the Asclepiadaceae family.

I walked around to the garden to take a look at the tree trimming work D had done the previous day. The main feature of this garden has been the clump of Spanish oak which overhang the garden and have provided shade below.

Despite our best efforts to keep the trees alive, each year new branches have been dying. This year the die back has become very serious and there is a real threat that a storm will bring down those branches onto the roof. So, D got out there on the roof, and with ropes and the long pull saw cut off all the dead branches. In the end the whole tree will probably have to be removed but for now we will try to keep it alive.

It doesn't look really pretty but at least it should be a lot safer for the house.


  1. That succulent is so unusual--just stunning! I could look at those photos every day. Keeping my fingers crossed for your tree(s).

    Although they're not showing severe stress, I've been worried about our 65-year-old, 50-ft-tall sycamore and american elm but have watered them and am hoping for the best.

  2. Ooh-- I love the flowers. You were kind enough to give me some cuttings of the succulent in spring, and they are doing great. That is a really cool plant, whatever it is!

  3. Iris- I hope your trees will be OK too. It is so sad to lose a large tree. I see lots of trees all over town that have succumbed to the terrible heat and drought.
    Sue- I hope you get some flowers soon. They always seem to flower late in the year. This plant is tender so must be kept inside during the winter. let me know if you ever find out what it is. In fact I will take a stem down to the Cactus and Succulent Show over the Labor day weekend. What is your blog name Sue, your profile is disabled?

  4. I love Mexican tithonia, too! Sadly, I'm not watering mine enough, but I hope they'll come on coming for the migrating hummingbirds.

    Your friends in England will flip at the melting plastic!

    To identify your wonderful succulent, contact Cindy & Jay at Desert to Tropics. Wonderful couple, and they'll definitely know.

  5. Do the flowers on the little cactus smell, uh, not so good. The reason I ask is it looks like a variety of Dead Meat Catus. The blooms actually smell bad to draw the flies that pollinate it. I've had several varieties through the years, some with blooms 6" across and some as little as 1" across.

  6. Yesterday I had an email from someone who said it was a stapelia so I think you are on the right track Bob. The flowers are rather small so I have never detected smell, but then I have never got up close enough to smell. I did find someone selling this plant but only identified as stapelia- no specific name. In my search I also came across a website with hundreds of stapelia blooms- none of which looked like mine. So
    Linda- I will contact Desert Tropics Linda. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. I have been looking in the wrong family. it is a member of the Asclepiadaceae, Huernia schneideriana.

  8. Hi Jenny, what a lovely blog you have! So sad about the tree, it does look like it will have to be replaced. Have you thought about what you are going to plant there? The greenhouse in your friend's English garden is amazing! Now that induces some serious greenhouse envy. Love the bright tithonia, but the melting plastic bin is too scary. Hope your weather has moderated now. :-)

  9. So sad about your tree. It's always a bit mysterious when something like that happens. I hope it makes it a little while longer. We have a pecan tree in our backyard that we're worried is not long for this world. So we planted a nice big red oak in front of it that'll be its replacement when the time comes. Oh, neat looking succulent!

  10. I'm sorry that the trees aren't doing so well. If the dieback is due to drought then the removal of branches is good for the tree as well as your house. Hoping they get some rain!

  11. Your garden is so tidy and lovely. It must be a wonderful stroll during the summer days.

    You sure could have some of my rain. It has rained a lot here. We can always use it. lol. But it is a lot!
    [a rootdigger from sunnyside]

  12. Heartbreaking! I have been watching our trees anxiously. The oldest ones seem OK, but we have lost a number of 4 year old trees that we planted when we first moved in.