Monday, 31 December 2007

Crassula dubia

Here are the odd white flower bunches this guy produces. They arrived about six weeks ago and are only now starting to fade—clumps of these strange white buds that I kept expecting to open but never did.

Crassula dubia

I've always wondered why this chap is called "dubia". Were they not sure? Or does it mean something in Latin that would make sense to a taxonomist?

Anyway; this is a little guy (10cm clumps) with pale grey-green leaves and a rather unique if messy growth habit. His leaves are slightly furry, and arranged haphazardly. Grows in full sun. Produces long-lasting white flowers. He's not going to win any beauty contests...

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Crassula ovata

Merry Christmas! He just looked so Christmassy I couldn't resist putting him up here. This was a gift today from my sister-in-law, along with a pure green variant. They are huge tree-like things (but in miniature like bonsai). I'm going to need more pots...

Monday, 24 December 2007

Best hiding spot in the world...

This is Cotyledon undulata, a fascinating succulent with weirdly twisting silver leaves. I was photographing the Aeonium haworthii and looked up to see the little spider nestled in the folded-over leaf. What a great spot for a spidey-hole!

Aeonium haworthii

This is one of the plants my aunt gave me, and I'm not entirely sure about the classification, but haworthii is the only one I can find with red fringing like this. I'll know for sure when he gets a bit bigger. He has beautiful gradations on his leaves—pale green to mid green, with those lovely red fringes on the tips.

My aunt got this plant in Broken Hill, while she was stuck there with her horses during the flu scare. A well travelled little guy!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Echeveria pulvinata

One of my saintly aunts saw this blog and passed on a whole tray full of succulents to me. Such is the vast array of succulent species that of the 13 plants, only three were already in my garden!

This is a cute little guy, with dark green leaves covered in white fur. Despite being such a young plant, he's produced two flower stems already!

Echeveria pulvinata

The Echeverias in my garden all have the same shape of flower, though some hang them pendulously while others thrust them upwards. They all produce at least one stem per rosette once they're of an age, and the larger plants go the whole hog, sending out three or four stems laden with multiple strands of bells.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Hylotelephium spectabile 'autumn joy'

Also known as Sedum spectabile or Sedum 'Autumn Joy'. This was a birthday present from my mother-in-law, so I haven't had him very long and have yet to see the rather spectacular flowers shown on the tag. A trio of little green caterpillars settled on this plant last week, and were growing fat and luscious on his leaves, but we've staged a pogram and hopefully they won't come back. I squished my refugees. Andrew carefully carried his to the fruit tree.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Sempervivum arachnoideum

I'm pretty sure I got this one from Mum... This is a lovely succulent, good as a ground cover and very effective hanging over the edges of pots. He forms tiny rosettes, about 5cms across, with delicate spider-threads between the leaves. He mats and clumps and is not only fast-growing but also extremely easy to propagate. Grows in full sun to part shade, though the more sun he gets, the fewer threads he produces. I suspect mine aren't growing in enough sun to flower.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Titanopsis calcarea

Cute little guy, isn't he? This is a very recent edition, so I really can't say how big he gets or where he likes to grow. His leaves look like dinosaur skin, all nubbly and calcerous. His common name is Jewel Plant, for obvious reasons.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Graptopetalum superbum

This plant produced buds a month ago—two separate branches each about 20cms long. They stayed buds for a very long time, and I was stunned when they finally opened into these gorgeous yellow flowers with their red freckles and velvety red tips. The flowers are still going strong after two weeks.

Graptopetalum superbum

Yes, that's really it's name...

This a fairly new addition, bought because of its striking colouration. Beautiful lavender leaves in very flat rosettes. Seems to be rather slow-growing. It has a very interesting stalk—the trunk is pale lavender like the leaves, with dark red whorls where the old leaves have fallen off.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Aeonium manriqueorum 'Zwartkop'

A magnificent showy plant, this one. The colour in this photo hasn't been touched up—he really does have dark purple leaves. My husband bought me this plant a few years ago, because it was tall and stately and so remarkably different to any of my existing plants. He's now a good two feet tall, with delicate branches displaying bunches of those gorgeous black rosettes. Each leaf is fringed with fine hairs like a feather.

He likes lots of light, but doesn't like the cold much. In my garden he grows in a pot close to the wall where he's safe from frost, but still gets lots of sunshine. Apparently these plants go green if they don't get enough light.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Sempervivum tectorum

This is another succulent I've had for ages, but I can't remember where I got him. He's extremely hardy (I should just take that as read, really) and produces pups at a rate of knots. He stays quite compact like this when grown in semi-shade to full sun, and goes all lanky and long-fingered when grown in the shade. His rosettes get up to 15cms across, though it takes them a few years to get to that size.

I'm not totally convinced that I have the species right, here—tectorum seems to have several subspecies, one of which is this one. I just can't figure out which.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Bryophyllum daigremontianum

He's pretty, isn't he? This, now that I've actually researched the plant, is a poster child for "do not buy from anybody who isn't an actual garden shop".

He's also known as Kalanchoe daigremontianum, or Mother of Thousands. He's an official weed, poisonous to stock, and incidentally to anything else silly enough to ingest its leaves or flowers. It gets about 3 feet tall, and propagates by vivipary (thank you wikipedia), which means it forms tiny babies on the edges of its leaves (those pale grey 'flowers' you can see in this image). Here is his entry in Weeds Australia.

I have a second one of these guys which came from Sydney, from a plant that was indeed a good three feet tall, but with slightly smaller leaves (since identified as Bryophyllum tubiflorum or Mother of Millions, which is also on the weeds list). I'm going to have to eliminate both, alas.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Aptenia cordifolia

This is Jeffrey. I don't know why he's called Jeffrey. That's what my mother-in-law calls him. She gave me a cutting from the masses that are overrunning her back yard. He is a very hardy, fast-growing ground cover, producing red flowers in Summer (he's just starting to bud now). I think it's a telling indictment of the harsh conditions in our garden that when told "it grows like a weed and you'll never get rid of it", our reaction was "excellent".

Friday, 30 November 2007

Aloe aristata

This one clump has produced eight flower spikes this year—candy-coloured things shading from red and orange through yellow to green. The spikes in this shot are really still buds—they haven't opened out yet, but I was so taken by the neatness and colour riot of them that I couldn't resist.

Aloe aristata

I've had this one forever, grown from a cutting I got from Mum, from a plant that I think originally belonged to my great-aunt. He's not very fast-growing, but he's extremely hardy (aloes are like that) and he produces absolutely masses of flowers. My main succulent bed looks like a flower show at the moment—I shall have to post a photo of it. He grows in ever-larger rosettes, clumping into mounds as the plant ages. This one is about 15cms tall now, and has been growing for five years. The rosettes are so tightly packed it can be hard to pull off pups for cuttings—I always feel a little bit bad for mutilating that painstakingly grown clump.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'

He flowers a lot, this chap. Masses of small yellow flowers appear in mid Spring through to Summer (he's still budding now).

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'

I've had this guy for many years, growing happily underneath my lilac bush. He has delicately coloured petals that shade from grey-blue at the centre out to pale purple. He's very leggy, growing on stalks up to 20cms long. As you can see from this photo, he's still sporting the wounds from Canberra's big hail storm last year, which stripped off many of his leaves and badly bruised the rest.

Full sun to part shade, hardy and easy to grow from cuttings. He also lends himself to being standardised—that is, growing long straight bare stalks with leaves at the top.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Echeveria imbricata

These are the flowers this guy produces. Usually the plant will produce three to four flower spikes per full-grown rosette, with the younger rosettes only producing one. He flowers from late Spring through Summer, and the flowers last for weeks.

Echeveria imbricata

This has always been one of my favourites. He's huge, with rosettes up to 30cms across, and he's quite prolific. In good sun he produces masses of pink and yellow flowers and adds one or two baby rosettes a year. Very easy to grow, and hardy enough to put up with shade to full sun. He gets a bit knocked by frost, losing the bottom-most leaves to the cold, but otherwise survives Canberra's weather quite well.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sedum nussbaumerianum

This guy grows on the edge of a garden bed, where he frequently gets knocked around by passing cats, careless walkers, and the lawnmower. When damaged, he goes into overdrive, covering his naked stalk with masses of miniature purple florets.

Sedum nussbaumerianum

I'm not sure where this guy originally came from—he's probably another one of Ans' plants. He grows in full sun with very little attention, and copes well with frost, although it does knock him back a little. He did very poorly out of the hail storm we had last year, but bounced back with typical aplomb. He produces small white flowers in Spring, which are only just now dying off.

His lovely bone-coloured leaves make him a good point of difference in a mass planting, and he spreads well if given the opportunity. He grows about 10-15cms high, with leaves up to 6cms in length.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Haworthia fasciata

The flower spike this little plant puts off is impressive—nearly 40cms in length and strung with these tiny white, green-throated lily-like flowers.

Haworthia fasciata

I've had this little guy less than six months, and he's already starting to make pups (which is a good thing, because my mother is lusting after one of her very own).

Seems very hardy, growing in full sun with little water. He's only a little guy, though—barely 5cms tall.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Delosperma lehmannii

This is another ancient succulent, lovingly carried from house to house. I distinctly remember this one growing in huge pots at my great-aunt's house—she had quite a collection of succulents, many of which she gave me cuttings of.

This guy has lovely dark grey foliage and forms a dense mat about 8cms high. It grows in full sun and semi-shade, and doesn't suffer from snails (although that might be because there are tastier things growing near it). It handles frost quite well, and unlike some of the fleshier succulents doesn't 'burn' during Winter. When happy, he's plump like this; when he needs watering his leaves get wrinkled like elephant skin.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Sedum rubrotinctum

This is one of the flower heads this plant produces. Interestingly, it doesn't seem to produce flower heads at all unless grown in full sun.

Sedum rubrotinctum

This is one of my oldest succulents, and was probably the first in my collection. I've ferried cuttings of it from six or seven gardens as I've moved from house to house. It's quite prolific here in Canberra, growing easily from cuttings (anything from individual leaves to rooted offshoots). It doesn't seem to mind the frost, and is happy in semi-shade to full sun. In full sun its normally glossy green leaves take on a redder hue as they age. It's a fantastic ground cover, but don't plant it too near edges as it's quite brittle. Grows about 10cms high and spreads as far as you'll let it. In Summer it produces masses of tiny yellow flowers.

My mother has always called it "Lady's Fingers". I think it's one of several cuttings that originally came from my great-aunt Ans in Sydney.