April 9, 2015

Extra strength

From strength to extra strength, California. Terra cotta pipe is from Stephen Penn.

Turns out that industrial salvage may be what transforms a ragtag collection of potted succulents into a garden. Who knew? Anyhow, what a blast I had last Friday over at Stephen Penn's Art Garden. (Huge thanks to Reuben of Rancho Reubidoux for encouraging me to visit.) Stephen, Raul and the crew were busy preparing to move the Vintage Garden-Industrial-Architectural Salvage operation to a new home, but Stephen spent over an hour showing me around and uncovering all sorts of rusty treasures. He was incredibly generous with his time and his collection, and I can't wait to go back. (The new location is closer to me, yay! I'll post more details as I get them.)

I brought home a truckload of wonderful things, including some fabulous rocks, industrial tools, some pipes, a cart, a metal box to put on the cart, some sturdy blue metal shelves, a manhole cover, a surveyor's marker (I think), and a few smaller items for DIY projects. I'm still figuring out what to do with everything. 

Stephen added this black iron pipe thing to the stack o' purchases before I left. I put it on an old plant stand, and now it makes me think of a dressmaker's form from the 1800s:

In other news, I located my old Canon point-and-shoot. Don't adjust your screens — the blurry photo below was the first non-iPhone shot I've taken in over a year :~/

(How do I work this thing again?)

OK, that's a little better. Aloe erinacea, from the UCR sale.

"Hey, you!"

"Yeah, you. You talkin' to me?" Hummingbirds are feistier than ever.

Opuntia (santa-rita?), new growth.

Agave titanota. I love titanotas, and this may be my favorite of the eight or ten here.

Aloe suprafoliata at dusk and out of focus, but oh, that blue. Plant was acquired as a rescue by my local cactus and succulent club.

Finally, I am now a member of the 35% siblinghood. Conserve every drop of water you can, people, and pray/hope/meditate/hold good thoughts for rain. I'll get by all right with my rock lawn and my backyard that is nine-tenths patio, but when I look at photos of Hoov B's garden I could weep. Read this post, and the comments, over at Piece of Eden, for more on the drought and the mandate to cut water use. I thought of Tom Stoppard's play when I read the comments. Et in Arcadia ego: "Even in Arcadia, there am I." 


  1. So many treasures, and beautiful plants. 35%...wow.

    1. I'm so worried for our forests :~((( El Niño may bring some rain (and hotter temps, oy) later this year: Link.

  2. I can't wait to see photos of your new treasures. So many creative things can be done with what others consider junk.

    1. Wish I had Reuben's great eye for design! And meanwhile, the rocks are looking pretty good. LOVE our native rock, and brought a ton (felt like a ton, anyway) home from Stephen's place.

  3. Yes, post more details of the new location! I'm still opuntial-less, but photos I'm seeing on FB and elsewhere of the bright red new growth on Santa Rita just may convert me. And that is a fine titanota, very different and probably superior to mine.

    1. I love my opuntias -- beautiful flowers, too.

      Talked with Stephen last week, just a few words on the phone: Riverside, open in forty days[?]. Will keep checking, like the noodge I am.

      I got a similar little gnarly-spined titanota at the Huntington, but the one pictured above is from Granite Hill Nursery in Jurupa. Just adore this variety, which is sometimes called Sierra Mixteca Agave, Agave FO-076, or Agave 'Felipe Otero.' Excellent size for a small garden like mine!


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