Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Of course I came back from Arizona, after my visit to the Wallace Desert Garden, besotted with agave and cactus. Which would have worn off somewhat if I had not dropped by a big box store yesterday and found their agaves and succulents on sale. 30% off and most of them were not even expensive to start with.

Could I resist? Well, no of course not. Here they are. Some may have to stay in pots because they are probably not hardy in my garden. They say hardy cactus but I see plants labelled as such in even the best nurseries. Probably most are hardy to 20 degrees but Austin, on occasion, will drop well below that.

I have been planning for some time to reduce the plantings in the garden and to have more in the way of structural plants. Yesterday I concentrated on one area above the sunken garden which was over run with mealy blue sage, ruellia, Savia gregii and all manner of other seedy plants. I amended the soil with pumice and gravel and planted the first of my finds Agave bracteosa. Also known as the octopus or squid agave, it is hardy to 18 degrees. It has soft leaves which are spineless. There seems to be confusion as to whether this plant dies after flowering. One reliable source says it does not. I planted this specimen this morning and plan to grow blackfoot daisies and skull caps around the base. These are two of the lower growing plants.

I can see already that this next spring is going to have a bumper crop of wildflowers. In the gravel covered front garden Wright's skull cap, Scutellaria wrighii has seeded in abundance.

Damianita has also made a surprise appearance as this has only happened once before. I recognize the narrow leaves and the characteristic smell of the foliage.

There are hundreds of blackfoot daisy seedlings. Of course the weeds are there too. I will have to remove most of these seedlings.

The cooler days have brought the yellow ice plant, Delosperma nubigenum, back into flower alongside the purple alyssum. .

Pink crystals ruby grass, Melinis nerviglumis, is flowering for the second time this year. I would not be without this annual grass which never grows above 2' The foliage kept its color throughout the heat of our terrible summer.
Stay tuned for my visit to the Wallace Desert Garden.


  1. Lovely pictures, great cactus and succulent finds, and I can't wait to see your post about the Wallace garden.

  2. Yeah--what Pam said! Plus I love that yellow ice plant with the purple alyssum. Very pretty.

  3. Oh my stars! What wonderful abundance on the way in the form of seedlings. Not to mention the great buys on succulents and cacti. I have structure envy...

    The color shots are captivating - really nice work and I'll third eagerly looking forward to a Wallace garden post. Next best thing to being there....

  4. I have never seen a yellow ice plant. I have only seen the palest of pink or lavender. The yellow is so cheerful.

  5. I have serious succulent envy right now.

  6. Your Cactus and Succulents are lovely! I see that Barrel Cactus hiding in the background - gorgeous!

  7. I love the Pink crystals ruby grass. I haven't seen that before, it's beautiful.

  8. Lancashire Rose - I got some of those Agaves and Yuccas, too! They must have a new buyer. I have some similar plans for just outside the back fence - things that will grow without irrigation. I love all those little seedlings - seems sad you are going to have to remove most of them - and a lot of work! I separated my Ruby Crystals into two baby clumps and they are both doing great. Can't wait to see them bloom some day. Thanks again.

  9. Hi RR.

    I have just been catching up with all of your posts after my excursion to the land of zero connectivity, and I must say, your garden looks amazing! The previous post illustrating multiple views of your garden had me studying each picture in detail...beautiful!


  10. Very thoughtfull post . It should be very much helpfull

    Karim - Positive thinking