Right around my birthday, about a month ago, I decided to treat myself to my first-ever order from Annie's Annuals. Several items from my wishlist were available, so I thought, "Why not?"
The people at Annie's obviously know what they're doing. Nice sturdy box...
And a well-designed system that keeps things from shifting about in transit. Anyone who has ordered plants by mail knows that the carrier isn't always that careful.
On to the plants! First up is Sempervivum 'Plum Fuzzy'. Not very plum at the moment, though certainly fuzzy. I'm guessing it was either growing out of direct sunlight at the nursery or it lost its color in the dark box. I was hoping the color would return fairly quickly after it got some sun, but nearly two weeks after unpacking it and planting it in the ramp bed, it still only has the bits of purple under the leaf tips you can see in this picture. After looking again at the pictures on the Annie's website, it's not as purple as I thought. Still, time, growth, and some harsher treatment in my garden should result in better color, though perhaps not until next summer.
After finally adding Lupinus albifrons to my garden earlier this summer, I found this species, Lupinus sericatus. While the leaves are over twice the size of my L. albifrons, it grows into a much lower, more compact plant. The thick leaves are almost succulent, and so silver as to defy belief. After hearing Loree (Danger Garden) lost this in her Portland Garden, I'm a bit worried about my new little treasure. Hardiness ratings vary widely, from zone 3 to zone 9. Digging around the internet, I found a sufficient number of sources claiming zone 8 or lower that I'm going to practice a little optimism and hope for the best, with a good dose of prudence should a sudden hard freeze come in this winter and I have to cover certain things. I did plant it in the best-draining soil I have, along the west side of the house, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens this winter.
This one is destined to spend winter in the greenhouse. Psoralea pinnata is a broom that can grow into a 12-foot shrub or small tree, and is fast-growing, but anything can be kept in a container for awhile, right? Especially a tough, drought-tolerant broom? The common name, Kool-Aid bush, arises from the grape-scented, purple and white flowers. Since this is becoming one of my favorite floral scents, I simply couldn't resist. Though now, Annie's is listing an even more fragrant, weeping version, Psoralea fleta. I may have ordered too soon, but I'll see what Psoralea pinnata does, first.
Another plant not hardy in my zone, Crassula alba var. parvisepala has a fantastic mottling of red across its green leaves. Again, how could I resist?
A couple of the brittle leaves broke off either during packing or in transport. What's a compulsive propagator to do?
Many years ago (more than 10, at least), at Fred Meyers I saw a variety of thyme labelled "spicy orange." It's been in the back of my mind ever since. Not enough that I really researched it, but enough that I usually look for it at the herb section of nurseries. That's why I was thrilled to find Thymus fragrantissima, also known as orange-scented thyme. I'm not sure it's exactly the same as the one I saw all those years ago at FD, but it's close. Now, if I had any sense, I would have realized it's the same thyme carried at Cistus, and I could have picked one up at my leisure. But I didn't pay much attention to the scientific name on Annie's website, and had forgotten sighting the herb at work while looking for the next plant to demolish for cuttings. Ah well, what's done is done.
Perhaps my favorite plant in this order (that is, if I had to choose one) is Cussonia transvaalensis, the grey cabbage tree. Just look at those leaves! They may not be very grey at the moment, but that shape!
And look! It already has a little swollen caudex!
Reaching to 16 feet high in the ground, at least in zones 9-11, the grey cabbage tree can be kept in a container for many years, and is a popular bonsai subject (though I don't recall seeing it mentioned in any of my half dozen bonsai books). I struggled a bit to decide on a container for it, but finally went with this round, studded bonsai container.
The crassula went into another wide, shallow container, along with a couple pieces of Kleinia stapeliiformis (formerly a senecio). Both plants have great foliage (or stems) with cool flowers as a bonus. I didn't notice until I looked at this picture for this post, but the plants in the pot sort of echo the design on the outside.
I spent the weekend doing more planting, though I'm still waiting for some real rain in the forecast before I do any major moving of established plants. I'm going to be spending most of each week in Portland from now on, coming home to garden on the weekends, and the days are getting short enough that both my parents leave in the dark and come home almost in the dark, so they won't be able to water during the week, either. Perhaps Mother Nature will humor me with rain during the week and sunny weekends...
No, I don't think that will happen, either.
By the way, I also finally took a look at my blog on a mobile device. It happened to be my GBBD and Foliage Follow-up post and because of the layout the pictures are not arranged the way they are on the full version, making the text a bit confusing. For anyone who tried to figure out which plant was which in that post on a mobile device, I'm sorry. I'll try to be more conscious of that in the future.