Torrey Pines Landscape Company

Torrey Pines Landscape Company
As featured in Ranch & Coast Magazine ( design by )

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aeoniums (pronounced A-oh-knee-ums) are a genus of about 35 species, native to the Canary Islands, North Africa and other parts of the Mediterranean. The name comes from the ancient Greek word 'aionos' meaning immortal. This genus is part of the Crassula family. (A quick lesson in classification from the broadest to the most specific goes as follows: Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species.) Most of the species of Aeoniums form rosettes on basal stems and bloom in the spring or summer. The centers of the rosettes are the new growth and as they age, the oldest (outer) leaves wither and fall off. The stem heights varies with species along with the structural density. They are dormant in the summer and grow in the winter. One of the great features of these succulents is how easy they are to propagate: simply snap off a rosette along with an inch or so of stem and plant it. There's an expected period of droopiness which passes when the new cutting develops roots. This succulent likes a bit more water and shade than others. The general rule of thumb is that the darker the leaves of the species the greater the sun tolerance.

Aeonium arboreum varieties grow to about a 2-3' in height. The key to highlighting these garden gems is to keep contrast in mind. We use the Aeonium a. 'Zwartkop' in full sun with a backdrop of contrasting brightness. The shiny deep magenta leaves appear almost black (schwarzer kopf literally means black head in German).
Aeonium 'Cylops' has a larger rosette size, reddish-bronze outer leaves with pale green new growth at the centers. The floral stalk which is actually an elongated rosette, produces immense conical clusters of yellow flowers.
Aeonium "Sunburst' is another stunning variety with a large rosette size. The leaves are boldly variegated white, lemon and green with pink leaf margins.
Aeonium 'Kiwi' have smaller rosettes on shorter stems providing a bank of low growing beauty. I was so inspired by the yellow and green leaves rimmed with brilliant red that I featured a photo I had shot in Balboa Park's desert garden in an ad we ran in the Ranch and Coast magazine.
There are some species that break away from the traditional pin wheel rosette shape like the Aeonium tabuliforme which grow nearly flat hence their common name of 'Lily Pad Aeonium". Because they grow so closely to the ground, they are vulnerable to absorbing too much moisture and rotting. Their dramatic 15" wide floating heads are dramatic and well worth the added effort to provide them with well-drained soil and circulation.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Succulents in San Diego - Echeverias

Echeveria 'Blue Curls'

There are so many reasons to explore the world of succulents that are available for your San Diego gardens. Because of their durability, variety and drought tolerance succulents offer the potential for design that is imaginative as well as environmentally sensitive. A succulent is any plant that stores water in juicy tissues in order to survive drought. Because most species originate from parts of the world with harsh growing conditions, succulents need less maintenance and water than other typical landscape plantings. They come in an unbelievable, sometimes other-worldly, variety of colors, forms and textures. San Diego's nurseries and garden centers now offer a great selection to choose from since the demand for these eye catching and low-maintenance plants has increased. For those of you with a bit of a gardener in you, succulents are easy to propagate. You can take cuttings or start seeds and produce your own supply of accent plantings. Since the hot weather has finally arrived in San Diego, we at Torrey Pines Landscape Co., Inc., would like to highlight some of the genus, species and varieties that have inspired us.

Echeveria 'Doris Taylor'

Today's blog: Echeverias

This large genus of succulents is in the Crassulaceae famil. They are native to Texas, Mexico and Central and South America. They are named after the 18th century Mexican botanical artists and naturalist Atanasio Echevarria Codoy who was one of the expedition to compile an inventory of Mexico's flora and fauna.
Most species can grow in some shade and can take some frost (hybrids tend to be less hardy). Although they are drought resistant, they really thrive with regular deep watering and fertilizing. Most species lose their lower leaves in the winter. It's better to remove the lower leaves regularly because it protects the plant from moisture and fungus which may wick-up. This is a plant easily propagated. You simply re-root the main rosette and use the bottoms for growing new plants. In the spring and summer they produce bloom spikes a foot or longer that gracefully curl with flowers in a wide variety of colors.

I was so enthralled with a photo of a blooming Echeveria elegant hyrid that I took at Mirmar Wholesale nursery that I featured it in an ad we ran in the San Diego Home and Garden Magazine.

-garden girl

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

San Diego Landscape August Tips

#1 Tip : Go outside and enjoy your garden!

#2 Tip : Watering Guidelines for the month. We are experiencing a cooler than average August this year. The clouds that have blocked the sun are not bringing any measurable rain, so watering is still on the to do list. It is also a good time to check your irrigation systems for its efficiency. Check for leaks, broken sprinklers, malfunctioning drip emitters and the charge level on the back-up battery in the irrigation timer. Renewing the berms on watering basins that have eroded over the year will ensure efficient watering in the hotter months ahead. Water garden plants and trees according to their individual needs.

#3 Tip: Pest & Disease Control Guidelines. We advocate prevention….a healthy plant that has been regularly & accurately watered and fertilized has a better chance of surviving problems. With that said, there are issues that can arise that need addressing immediately: Nematodes, Fungus, Fireblight, Aphids, Leaf Scorch and Scales. Each problem has its own pathology and solution.

#4 Tip: Fire Protection. It’s time to do what you can to minimize risk, especially if your home is next to native brush or chaparral. Think of protection in terms of rings. Closest to the home – remove highly flammable plants that are close to your home and replace with plants that discourage a fire from spreading. Next ring- a buffer zone of well watered low-growing plants that act as a fire break and are known for their ability to withstand fire. Last ring- remove the choking fuel load of dead leaves, twigs and branches that build up inside the native brush or chaparral around the outside of your property.

#5 Tip: General Garden Maintenance: Potted plants, especially in terra cotta, dry out easily. Consider waterproofing the insides & add perlite to help the loss of moisture. Roses, which are usually conserving energy for a big burst of blooms in the fall, need a light pruning by removing the dead twigs, spent flowers, suckers, lanky growth and hips. Clean up Daylilies and Agapanthus by removing the stems that have bloomed. Now is a good time to control crabgrass in the lawn because it has not set seed yet. Remember that lawn care is determined by the type of lawn that you have. Warm-season lawns (Bermuda, Zoysia & St. Augustine)are growing at their fastest now and need deep but infrequent watering, monthly feeding and should be mowed as short as possible. Cool-season lawns (perennial Ryegrass, Bluegrass and Fescue) are growing slowly now, so the directions for care are loosely the opposite: shallow and frequent watering, no fertilization, and mowed tall.