It was the day of our 20th anniversary, but I COULD NOT miss the annual Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society sale at the Toronto Botanical Garden (a different account of this story appears over here). Davin entertained my desire to go — an anniversary gift of sorts and one that he has been generously giving over and over through the years. So we rented an expensive, pay-by-the-minute Smart Car and made our way well across town. We took a different route than usual and got lost. I swear, I can’t imagine how I would have learned to drive 20 some years ago without the aid of technologies such as GPS maps and smart phones. When we arrived the place was packed. We drove around in circles endlessly, mentally watching the rental fee rise before a plan was hatched that I would run inside and try to buy my plants as quickly as possible while Davin continued playing musical chairs in the parking lot.
I went all out for succulents this year and had some fun putting together a range of containers using tender plants. I live in a colder climate where tender succulents must be brought inside to overwinter, and for this reason I have tended to stick to making mixed plantings of hardy succulents only (with the exception of echeveria). While I grow many tender succulents, I often relegate them to one plant per pot to make shifting them between the outdoors and in an easy task. But not this year. This year I let my succulent love flourish!
The following photos are of one of the mixed succulent containers I planted this year.
With flat and fleshy, bluish/silver/green leaves that reach out horizontally as if the plant may take flight, Propeller Plant (Crassula perfoliata var. falcata) is an aptly named South African succulent that I think you’ll love. For those who are curious, according to “Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,” the Latin “falcata” or “falcate” means sickle-shaped and indeed they do resemble a series of sickles stacked up a stem. How’s that for a little Botanical Latin learning on a Thursday afternoon?
Last weekend I visited my friend Barry Parker, the man with the best backyard garden in Toronto. Barry recently returned from a botanical tour of South Africa (he is starting to post pictures on his blog) and we were treated to a slideshow of photos he took on the trip. So of course, I have added the Quiver Tree Forest to an ever-growing list of places I would like to visit someday.
Back to Barry’s garden. Unfortunately, I was lazy and did not bring a proper camera. As a result all of these photos were taken with my phone. Still, they may not be the best photos I have taken, but there are some wonderful things happening at Barry’s that I know you would like to see.
I probably should have waited to post this until it was doing something more exciting than simply being alive in a pot, but the fact that it is alive at all is one reason why I find this euphorbia so thrilling in the first place.
Euphorbia platyclada is a living succulent plant that looks dead, or at the very least like a zombified plant taking imperceptible micro-steps forward with its leafless arms* splayed out and fingers dangling like dead weights. It is yet another oddity in my growing collection of alien euphorbias from outer space, and was also a gift from my friend and fellow Euphorbia enthusiast Uli.