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A New Leaf: Updated

April 9, 2011

African milk tree

Spring has had a positive effect here at the Rancho, and just in time for the garden tour Saturday. Displaying new foliage where two weeks ago there were none, plants that I had given up on have literally sprung to leafy life. My African milk tree was denuded for months, then last week began sprouting new fleshy crimson leaves at the ends of its scarred branches. This plant appeals to me because when it’s in full leaf it looks like an attractive ‘regular’ shrub. However, touching the leaves reveals an odd rubbery texture  … (Note: A euphorbia, this plant produces an irritating milky sap, which should be avoided at all costs. I love this plant but approach it with caution. Click here for an earlier post on these attractive, but toxic, plants.) Let’s turn over more new leaves …

Ocotillo twist

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to decide if I should forget about my snaky ocotillo: It looked like a completely dead, and desiccated, tangle of thorns. Then suddenly, it took on a greenish cast; a close look revealed that tiny oval leaves were sprouting between the thorns. Click twice on this picture to get a good look at these leafy miracles.

Honeyed locust

Even though we were told at purchase that our honey locust tree was deciduous, we were so alarmed by its complete loss of foliage in the fall that we called the nursery. All through the winter months it was completely, and utterly, bare. We were really afraid that we’d made a mistake buying this tree … then, around two weeks ago, little bitty yellow buds began to appear along its dark branches. And, those buds haven’t stopped growing since, turning into what Paul calls ‘ostrich plumes’ that flutter attractively in the breeze. This honeyed foliage is so intensely colorful it almost seems lit from within, and it’s grown so much that we can now see its intense yellow top from the backyard. It’s a true standout!

'Impromptu Mask'

This last leafy offering is a painting I did titled ‘Impromptu Mask’. It’s not new, having been painted in 2005, but I’m offering this painting as a signed giclée print — 20″ x 20″, suitable for framing — to a commenter drawn at random from this blog post. Leave a comment of any sort here, and on Sunday after the garden tour is ended, I’ll put the names of all commenters in a hat and Paul will draw the winner’s name. Winner will be contacted, and the print will be sent to them via US Postal Service.  This impromptu contest is a way for me to say thanks to all RR readers as I celebrate my 35,000th hit — I appreciate you all!

UPDATE: We’ve had our drawing, and with each commenter on this post having a 50/50 chance of winning, Dustin of non-secateur blog is the winner of the signed print of my painting. Congrats, Dustin, I’ll make arrangements for you to receive it.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Guida Quon permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:53 am

    Have a wonderful day tomorrow.
    Love the Honeyed Locust tree and seeing your front yard and some of the homes around you. And so cool to see the Ocotillo twist up close. Thanks

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 10, 2011 12:25 am

      Thanks, Guida… the first day of the tour was great! but exhausting… everyone loved our Rancho!

  2. April 11, 2011 12:11 am

    Wow. How great it was to see RR in person! And such gracious hosts. Hope to repeat next weekend. Please say hi to Paul for me.

    Awesome garden, hoorah!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 11, 2011 4:23 am

      Paul and I both enjoyed meeting you, too, Dustin… and congrats: you just won a prize!

  3. April 11, 2011 2:34 pm

    WoW – Amazing!! I felt like I was in Disneyland for the gardener! I got so many ideas! Your yard is truly a wonderland for the senses. I have recently discovered the joys of succulents and cacti and your wonderful art and sense of color & contrast is inspiring to say the least.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 11, 2011 2:39 pm

      Judy, thanks so much, I’m happy you enjoyed it!

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