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Rose Parade

June 25, 2010

Angelic, in pink

By design, plants on the Rancho are either succulents or cacti. Two exceptions (not counting trees) are the Pride of Madeira and Angel’s Trumpet. We’ve had great success with the former, but not much luck with the latter (almost yanking it after it lost all its leaves and began resembling so many dead stems). At least, not until recently. In the last couple of months our Angel’s Trumpet has really come into its own and Gabriel would have no trouble picking a suitable instrument from our shrub now. At over 7 feet-tall, and full of pendulous buds and trumpet-like blooms, it’s really healthy and lush. The turnaround was brought about by the deeply-drenching rains of both Winter and Spring, and by Paul’s diligence keeping this small portion of the yard well-watered. I was expectant when he first pointed out the new yellow-tinged buds and couldn’t wait for them to open fully to see the gold-colored trumpets the nursery had promised. So, I was truly surprised when the buds did open in the last couple of days and they weren’t golden at all, but a delicate pink. Well, pink at the end, fading to white, with subtle green veining at the stem-end. Marveling at these new shell-pink additions to the garden, I noticed there were other pink-hued additions to have showed up lately. I don’t know how long this pink streak will continue but suddenly Summer’s looking a lot more rosy …

Salmon bells

In the last week a nearby cotyledon has sent up tall flower stalks that end with drooping, flip-edged bells. The pink-salmon bells, with their gold-tipped stamens protruding, look like an art nouveau decorative border come to life. The cool green of this succulent’s stems, and its fleshy leaves tipped in deep red, make a perfect complementary color palette.

Appropriately coral

In the same vicinity a euphorbia lactea, that until now has been a cool blue-green, also jumped on the rosy-tinged bandwagon. It’s still got the same undersea coral reef vibe about it, but it just looks a little bit less threatening with its new coral-colored cresting. Still, gloves are required when moving its pot — those spikes can be sharp!

Explosive display

A red yucca explodes from a nearby corner, its flower stalks boasting dark pink blooms that sway saucily in the breeze. Almost too full of the bright pink blossoms to stand upright, seed pods are adding to the stem’s burden as well. Soon the pods will take over entirely and the snips will need to be employed to remove the stalk. Don’t worry, both bloom and pod will reappear in due time.

Ruffled cabbages

Very near the Trumpets, the ol’ washing machine drum is full of knobby, gnarly echeverias that are dressed for the pink party in every shade of that color — from pale blush to hottest fuchsia. Also making an appearance are amazing shades of blue, purple, turquoise and green. Looking like the fleshy mutant offspring of cabbages and the ruffles on a particularly festive tuxedo shirt, these succulents never stop amazing me. And, they feel like rubber or plastic, not like something that should be alive at all; I love them for that!

Hark, trumpeters!

Here’s a full view of the Trumpets: The green of the foliage, the upward thrust of the branches, the beautiful, scented blooms, all make for a spectacular addition to the back wall of Paul’s office. The flower’s scent, like a lily, but quieter, seems somehow seductive. Learning more about them, I’m not surprised to find out that they, and really every part of the plant, can be poisonous if ingested by humans and pets. Poisonous, or hallucinogenic; some Amazonian tribal shamans ingest the plant for a kind of spiritual intoxication, however its dosage is hard to determine and could be fatal. Hmmm… Frito and Inky do love a leafy snack, I just hope they don’t target this one for noshing. They seem to prefer our agaves with spikes on them for nibbling, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them and make sure all lower leaf growth is removed …

Beginning the Summer in pink? Okay. But, can red’s demure cousin stand up to the season when it gets really hot? We’ll see … that seems more of a job for orange, right?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2010 10:18 pm

    I’ve been rethinking brugs and just brought home one home from a road trip. They can look really crappy or gorgeous (and I’ve grown plenty of the former.) Your photo gives me hope! The color on your hesperaloe is beautiful — mine is a more orangey-red which I like but I didn’t know they came hot pink! And the exposure you’re giving those echeverias must be perfect to bring out such subtle tints and no sunburnt leaves. Love it all.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 27, 2010 10:35 pm

      Thanks, Denise… and I feel really lucky about the echeverias… for a while they looked pretty bad, though never as bad as the brugmansia… and now they both look fantastic!

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