Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

‘Fall Garden Party’ Recap: Waterwise Botanicals Throws Us Into a Sea of Succulents

If House Horticult had a sigil, it would probably be a succulent. What kind of succulent? We’re not sure yet. And after last Saturday’s visit to Waterwise Botanicals, we’re no closer to making a decision!  

We attended the more-than-a-nursery’s Fall Garden Party. (You might remember last year’s visit to the rambling Bonsall plant retailer/educator/destination!) Ryan and I crossed our arms and did a backward fall into a sea of drought-tolerant plants. These plants included fields of firesticks in blazing ombré, golden barrel cacti gleaming in the afternoon sunlight, inky Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop,’ towering euphorbia with punk-rock spikes, and a rare succulent that actually looks meadowy.  

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Talk about making an entrance. When we got to the party, this African ocotillo (Alluaudia procera) provided both good looks and bouncer-like attitude at the door.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Whole forests of Alluadia procera (African ocotillo) grow in Madagascar.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

In fact, its spines evolved to collect moisture from the fog where it grows in Madagascar.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

We gawked at this crop of Euphorbia ingens, native to arid regions of the southern African continent. Despite similarities between some species, euphorbias and cacti evolved independently of each other. (Also, euphorbias are globally distributed, while there are no cacti native to the Eastern Hemisphere.) A euphorbia like this one will be less sun-hungry than a cactus, so potentially easier to grow at home.

There were also presentations about plant arranging and plant care, and we learned a thing or two. For example, when you’re pruning your firesticks euphorbia, start from the bottom and work your way up to avoid getting dripped on by its toxic latex. And if you do get the sap on your skin, saturate it with WD-40, then remove with soap and water. (Detergent alone will only just spread the agonizing milk around.) We ate heavenly sliders with aged gouda from the Farm Girl food truck.

But mostly we fell even more in love with a category of plants we were already smitten with. So much beauty, and so apropos in this time of drought.

P.S. The aloe blossoms were ablaze! You have to see them. Below, check out our favorite moments from a day full of #succulove.

—TH

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

We’re not totally sure, but this might be an Agave bovicornuta. (Thanks, Reddit!)

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Dwarf silver sheen cholla (Opuntia whipplei).

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Shenanigans.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

We attended a couple of talks during the day—about arranging “waterwise” plants and caring for them.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Susan Rojas demonstrates how to make a succulent arrangement.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

One of Susan Rojas’s exuberant arrangements.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Susan also showed how to make inspired driftwood installations.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

A bromeliad even made a cameo!

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Today we fell in love with the thin bluish stems of Pedilanthus cymbifera (slipper plant), topped by coral inflorescences.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Echinocactus grusonii or golden barrel cactus as far as the eye could see.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

It’s November, and the Aeonium are resting after a hot summer. It is normal for Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ to limp a bit in the late summer and fall.

Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop'

(For comparison, here’s the same hill of Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ we photographed last spring.)

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

We dig the green to orange ombré on this Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Flame’ or firesticks! (Yes, my shirt is buttoned only once. I guess I’m trying something…clotheswise…)

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

This incline is thick with Aloe ciliaris ‘Firewall,’ which has the power to stop a blaze in its tracks.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Aloe ciliaris ‘Firewall’ is both heroic and lovely.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

That chartreuse stripe is a mass of Portulacaria afra (aka elephant food, elephant bush, pork bush, spekboom and dwarf jade plant).

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

The elephant food succulent is found widely in South Africa. It can be grown as ground cover, upright as a tree, even as bonsai! Bright light and excellent drainage are key.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Making a statement: Agave americana variegata ‘Matsumoto’, or painted century plant.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

An impressive spike on this Agave americana variegata ‘Matsumoto,’ street name painted century plant.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Aloe dawei, or orange flame aloe.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals founder Tom Jesch demonstrates pruning technique with the firesticks, aka Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Flame.’ Pro tip: start from the bottom to avoid getting splotched by the toxic sap.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

One of our favorite discoveries of the day: Pedilathus bracteatus ‘Tropic-Tillo.’ We love its tall, leafy look.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Pedilathus bracteatus ‘Tropic-Tillo.’

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Tree aloe.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Farm Girl provided delicious lunches (we had sliders and dragonfruit juice) against a succulent backdrop.

 

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Echeveria ‘Sahara’ was developed by Waterwise, which lauds this hybrid’s ability to prosper in the landscape. (Versus a container, which is usually the best place for an echeveria.)

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Echeveria ‘Sahara.’

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Desert boots meet desert plants.

 

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Chamaesereus sylvestri ‘Red Hot Chili Poker.’

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

What a blossom!

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Euphorbia trigona, or good luck plant.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Euphorbia caput-medusae.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Lemaireoceresu thurberii or Arizona organ pipe cactus.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Cleistocactus strausii or silver torch.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

…they almost look cuddly.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Ryan doing what he does…

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Not sure about these ones. Agave attenuata?

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Crassula argentea ‘Sunset.’ Yep, that’s an attractively golden jade.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Tom Carns played matchmaker between us and this delicate Pedilathus cymbifera, or mini lady’s slipper.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

We had another quick end-of-the-day chat with Tom Jesch.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Pilosocereus azureus ‘Wooly Blue Spikes.’

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Uhh, did we mentioned there are ROSES here too?

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Rose ‘Perfume Delight’ had a damask scent that was out of this world.

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

Pink rose hybrid tea ‘Tiffany.’

Waterwise Botanicals - Fall Garden Party

  • Tommy Ogren

    Interesting!