Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dot and Spot Live in Pots

Please forgive this hurriedly taken set of out-of-focus photos. It was raining, but I wanted to get a blog post together, documenting this year's front porch display. A couple of weeks ago Nigel and I spent most of Sunday moving all the plants outside that had spent the winter crammed willy-nilly into the greenhouse, and I spent this past weekend transplanting many of them from nursery pots into more decorative pots, also collected over the winter.

The focus this year is less on mixed pots of annuals, and more on tropical perennials.
 I took the color scheme for the pots from the Talavera that I've started collecting, with its mix of dark blue, aquamarine (or turquoise), orange, yellow, and red.

Ponytail palm, Agave 'Baccarat,' and Begonia luxurians

You may be wondering who Dot and Spot are. They're two of my three 'Bright Star' Yuccas. I planned at first to only dig up and pot two of them, and I named them Dot and Spot because of their cases of fungal "Yuccacne." Like my buddy Peter The Outlaw Gardener, I thought maybe potting and overwintering them in the shelter of my front porch might lead to a lessening of their disfigurement. Ultimately, I decided to pot up all three. I've named the third one Joe, and I'll tell you why in a minute.

Sharp-eyed readers might notice that I didn't pot them up into the spray-painted pots that I wrote about here. I recently found my car swerving to enter the parking lot of the local Marshall's, which often has nice pots on sale for good prices. What luck! I found three low, wide bright orange pots perfect for the Yuccas, for only $16.99 each. They don't have drainage holes, but that won't be a problem, since they'll be living on the porch out of the rain.

The orange pots, like the one on the lower right holding Joe, were also a good match to the many other orange pots I had collected over the winter.

One other unexpected benefit of digging and repotting -- the stress has caused them to color up beautifully.

Joe, a multiple amputee with only four undisfigured limbs, is named after the central character of Dalton Trumbo's anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun. Yes, I have an inappropriate sense of humor.

Not all three have colored up so nicely, just Joe and Spot. (Or is it Dot?) It may have been a side effect of treating them...ahem...rather roughly when digging. In fact, I thought for a while that I might lose Spot's entire central core, it was rather waggly and weak. It has since firmed up again, leading me to wonder if the great stress-related color on 'Bright Star' is actually a kind of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Many gardeners have complained that Yucca 'Bright Star' always loses the great colors it often has when bought at the nursery. What kind of abuse are growers subjecting these poor plants to?

Four of my Talavera pots are now housing four of my Aloes

My moss-lined window box used to hold tender succulents, but this year I've decided to try some hardier hens and chicks

Variegated orange-flowered Abutilon

A second Abutilon's flowers start out pink and fade to orange, with a great red calyx

Two Cordylines intertwined in a dance -- 'Cha Cha' and 'Pink Passion'

'Cha Cha' Cordyline's muted shades of bronze and pink are all in the center

I steal ideas from the best! I first saw a gnome trapped in a cage in Peter's greenhouse. The mosaic skull wearing Mickey Mouse ears is my own idea, however.

Face planter with Mardi Gras mask and Rhipsalis hair

Lest you think these plants on the front porch were all that lived in my "Clown Car" greenhouse over the winter...

There was this collection of begonias and ferns

These Bromeliads

This bunch

And these


And these

And these

This little collection waiting to be planted in this mixed pot

This bunch of plants still in their nursery pots

And these still in the greenhouse waiting to be potted

Not to mention four enormous Brugmansias!