I have Hairy Balls…
…in my garden. Actually, more precisely, it’s milkweed – Asclepias Physocarpus to be exact.
I was shopping at the Navy Exchange garden shop and saw this plants but I recognized them for their white flowers. I had one of these in my garden last year, having purchased it at the Master Gardener Spring Seminar,where I was told that it was called “Family Jewels” which I thought was because of the dainty white flowers. Between getting eaten down by the caterpillars, and the aphids that took over, the poor plant finally died. I liked the plant for it’s white flowers but didn’t understand why it was named “Family Jewels.” Mystery solved!
Native to Southeast Africa, Hairy Balls Milkweed grows 48″-60″ high. Plant in full sun and treat as an annual. Asclepias physocarpa, aka Gomphocarpus physocarpus, goes by many common names: Swan Plant, Balloon Plant, Cotton-bush, Oscar, Family Jewels, Devil’s Balls, and of course, Hairy Balls, my personal favorite and soooo unlady-like.
The weather has been incredible and I know I’m getting spring fever!
It’s time!!! Start planning your spring vegetable garden
Some more vertical gardening: Gutter gardening
This is pretty and looks easy enough to make: DIY Succulent Table
I live in Zone 10b: The New Plant Hardiness Zones
We can all relate - new Gardening Shows we’d like to see!
Happy Monday! Have a great week…..
In my ongoing stress testing of plants in the yard (translation – lazy and inattentive!), I’ve ended up with a couple of toughies that are worth sharing. This Aeonium ‘Cyclops’ has been sitting on a shelf out in my garden for at least six months. The floret is looking pretty good, don’t you think?
This Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ was used in a succulent floral arrangement that I entered in the Coronado Flower Show last April. The arrangement was supported with sand so this piece has had no water for about eight months. It’s not at its “peak of perfection” but considering how much it has been handled it’s looking pretty good.
Here are the two aeoniums that have rooted. Look at the roots on both of these plants. While it’s tempting to stick the whole piece in the ground with roots intact, that’s not the best recipe for success. Check out this past post on succulent propagation for proper cutting for better results.
Time to get these two stalks planted.
The San Diego Audubon Society is hosting a Native Gardening Workshop on Saturday, February 4th, 11th and 18th from 10 am – 2 pm.
Learn how to design a water saving, bird friendly garden in your own yard. Work on projects that you can take home. Learn from experts that work with native plants and garden design. Experience hands on activities to develop your skills and knowledge. The workshop is free.
Participants should come in clothes if you don’t mind them getting dirty, sturdy shoes and wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. We will provide work gloves, tools, snacks and water.
Please RSVP to Beckywilbanks@cox.netor 760-295-1548. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian.
Can’t make it Sat.? The Anstine-Audubon nature preserve is looking for tour leaders. We need a volunteer or two to help Public relations and marketing! There are other opportunities as well! Please contact Becky Wilbanks at 760-295-1548
The Anstine-Audubon nature preserve is located at 2437 Hutchison Street in Vista, CA 92084.
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown
Here is another succulent putting on a great show now. This is in my neighbor’s front yard and it’s been a work in progress for a few months. It looked like a giant asparagus when the spike started reaching for the sky.
This is what the flowers look like before they bloom. This clump is known as a cyme.
Here’s the agave in all its glory. Like other succulent blooms, the flowers start opening at the bottom and work their way up. Bees were buzzing all over the flowers. These are soooo cool!
This bloom spike is about 12 feet tall. The plant will die back when the stalk is done blooming, but it will send shoots out from the base and repopulate itself.
When most of our gardens are resting and not looking their best, succulents are putting on a great show. I’ve got a little clump of aloe arborscens planted around my jacaranda tree in the front yard. This year I’m having a good show of aloe blooms: tall, deep orange, and reaching for the sky.
The plants were cuttings taken from a friend’s garden. It’s taken two years, but the plants are filling in nicely and are finally mature enough to put out blooms.
Here’s a tight flower bud that appeared when the bloom spikes first came up early in December.
Now the aloes are in perfect form. It’s a beautiful sight when I drive up to the house.