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Photos, musings, and flashes of brilliance from the staff at The Ruth Bancroft Garden

We received this aeonium under the name A. rubrolineatum. According to the Rudolf Schulz book on Aeonium, the name A. rubroliniata (with a slightly different spelling) is referable to A. arboreum var. holochrysum. Our plants under that name have yellow flowers and bloom earlier in the year, so I don’t know what to make of this summer-flowering plant except that its pinkish flowers are a treat.

-Brian

A lot of people say they prefer not to take photographs in the middle of the day because the sunlight is too harsh, but this Agave guadalajarana shows how the stark shadows of midday can be used to advantage, dramatically highlighting its formidable teeth.
-Brian

A lot of people say they prefer not to take photographs in the middle of the day because the sunlight is too harsh, but this Agave guadalajarana shows how the stark shadows of midday can be used to advantage, dramatically highlighting its formidable teeth.

-Brian

Gasterias are Aloe relatives, with most of them coming from South Africa. This one is a hybrid I named ‘Raspberry” because at certain times of the year it gets a pinkish-red tinge. Even when the red tinge is not present, its milky leaves and white rims have great appeal.
-Brian

Gasterias are Aloe relatives, with most of them coming from South Africa. This one is a hybrid I named ‘Raspberry” because at certain times of the year it gets a pinkish-red tinge. Even when the red tinge is not present, its milky leaves and white rims have great appeal.

-Brian

Mammillaria is a large genus of cacti from the southwestern U.S., Mexico and various nations around the Caribbean. Mexico has the greatest number, including M. geminispina which is pictured here. It comes from east-central Mexico, and it usually flowers at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in the fall months, but this year it began early. While quiite small, the magenta flowers show up nicely against the white spines.
-Brian

Mammillaria is a large genus of cacti from the southwestern U.S., Mexico and various nations around the Caribbean. Mexico has the greatest number, including M. geminispina which is pictured here. It comes from east-central Mexico, and it usually flowers at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in the fall months, but this year it began early. While quiite small, the magenta flowers show up nicely against the white spines.

-Brian

Aloe tomentosa is native to Yemen and adjacent Saudi Arabia, and it has remarkably wooly flowers. The name “tomentose” means hairy, and as can be seen in the photo, the hairs cover the flower stalk as well as the flowers themselves. Summer-flowering species of Aloe are in the minority, but they have a lot to offer!

-Brian

Leucophyllums, often called by the name Texas Ranger, are great drought-tolerant shrubs from Texas and northeastern Mexico. This one is L. langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’, with the name coming from the river dividing Texas from Mexico (known as the Rio Grande in the U.S., but as the Rio Bravo in Mexico). In the family Scrophulariaceae, along with other popular ornamentals such as Penstemon and foxglove.

-Brian

Dudleya cymosa has a large area of occurrence in California, and may have yellow, orange or red flowers depending on the population. This is a very nice yellow-flowered form.
-Brian

Dudleya cymosa has a large area of occurrence in California, and may have yellow, orange or red flowers depending on the population. This is a very nice yellow-flowered form.

-Brian

I love aloes when they are looking stressed and colorful at the height of the dry season. Some people are alarmed to see them turn these colors, but this is what they do in their habitats in Africa. These two are Aloe gluaca var. muricata, from north of Cape Town, and Aloe microstigma, an inland form from near Laingsburg.

-Brian

Sinningia tubiflora comes from southeastern South America (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), and it belongs to the Gesneriaceae, perhaps best known for the so-called African Violets. The fuzzy pale lavender-pink of the flower tube is wonderful.

-Brian

Swainsona formosa is in the pea family, and it is native to Western Australia. This is the first time we have had it flower at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, and what a beauty! We hope it will decide to re-seed and naturalize itself here, but time will tell.

-Brian