California’s severe drought should be a wakeup call for every babe and babette in our state to take immediate steps to reduce water usage. One of those steps is, of course, drought-tolerant gardening. There are some beautiful examples of it in our neighborhood and on our Instagram feed, which we hope to share with you here (through photos and interviews) in coming weeks. Our own garden is not starved for agave, jade, aeonium, yucca and other xerophytes, but we know we can do better, and do more, in trying to do right by our precious resources.
Yes, this is an unsexy cause. But the upside of drought-tolerant gardening is that drought-tolerant plants are just — so — dang — beautiful.
So beautiful the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society held an event, the Drought-Tolerant Plant Festival, dedicated to plump, sassy, water-saving flora. The day after we hit up Dwell on Design, we headed up to Encino (gotta love that “Encino Man cast” is the second suggestion that comes up when you Google this LA burg; good to know my brain is on the same page as the rest of the internet) to find some fleshy plants to plant in our yard.
The scene at the Sepulveda Garden Center in late May.
Just a sample of the wonders in store for us at the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society’s 15th Annual Drought-Tolerant Plant Festival.
We were not prepared. I mean…the Mammillaria genus was out in force, gorgeous and glowing with blankets of white spines and shocking yellow flowers. Remember those buttery bishop’s cap Astrophytums we sweated in Santa Barbara? We finally got one of our own, and for a relative song. But the plant in our haul that people stopped us every few feet to admire was the Euphorbia avasmontana. Picture a green candelabra drawn by Dr. Seuss. Or keep scrolling to see them all in the flesh, including pricing.
And so many more plants, taken home by fellow gardeners and xerophyte-philes, proudly displayed (even for show prizes!) by the plant lovers who cultivate them.
This Friday we bring you shots of this spiny, drought-tolerant splendor. Have a great weekend!
Well, hello. Approaching the booth of the Cactus Store in Echo Park…(Which has a very cool website.)
A booth with so many spine-tingling beauties.
Another specimen from the Cactus Store in Echo Park. Flower family, we didn’t catch the names of these species. If you know them, please do ID in comments!
And also, also: another Cactus Store prickly treat.
We grabbed a shot of someone’s haul that included Euphorbia obesa, split rock and fenestraria.
Another benefit of drought-tolerant landscaping: you could get a rebate from DWP. This LA Times story has the details, and estimates “about 2,600 Los Angeles residents have ripped out their lawns, along with nearly 60 companies.” Good on ya.
At center, the new apple of our eye: the Astrophytum grafted hybrid we purchased for $12..
Abromeitiella chlorantha is a bromeliad that grows on rocks in arid regions, drawing moisture from the air.
From Los Angeles Cactus, a reclaimed cactus display.
A cross-section of a Pachycereus weberi from Los Angeles Cactus. Check the tree rings!
Cereus peruvianus ‘Monstrosus.’
Dyckia is a bromeliad genus with over 100 species and numerous hybrids.
A mesmerizing Dyckia hybrid.
San Fernando Valley Bromeliad Society’s display of show-worthy Dyckias and Hechtias.
No matter how many times we see them, these cactus blooms never fail to astonish.
Bonjour, Juju! The day after our Dwell on Design hijinks, our friend Julian Mackler (brilliant Brooklyn-based photographer featured in Vogues round the world) joined us for the succulent celebration.
The warty and wonderful Echeveria ‘Paul Bunyan’ (we believe).
Lobivia schieliana v. quiabayensis, which is Latin for “cute host(ess) gift.”
…or “gift for ourselves.” We got it for $4.
Eye on the prize! Ryan takes a closer look at this Gasteria ‘Frosty’ ($15). Hanna’s Succulents of Lakerwood, CA, was one of our favorite vendors at the show.
Haworthia truncata. An oddball stunner thanks to its truncated-looking leaves.
More Haworthia truncatas, commonly called horse’s teeth. We took home a smaller specimen for $10.
Euphorbia kibwezensis crest at Rain Shadow Designs.
Monvillea spegazzinii cristata from Rain Shadow Designs.
Euphorbia avasmontana from Rain Shadow Designs. At $32 it was the most expensive plant in our #haul. You’ll find it growing wild in Namibia and South Africa.
We were bummed to let this Mammillaria geminispina (twin spined cactus) slip through our fingers. A painful thing literally and figuratively.
An impressive Euphorbia collection from Proven Winner Plants.
Euphorbia caput-medusae from PW Plants.
Sansevieria hallii, or baseball bat. Attention houseplant gardeners: These Old-World cousins to the agave grow well in the shade.
Best plants in each class…
Mammillaria duwii by John Matthews.
Agave victoriae-reginae by Cheryl White.
Euphorbia misera or cliff spurge.
A display of the Frailea genera.
Ay, Mammillaria: The buxom line-up.
Mammillaria plumosa by John Matthews. The genus is called what it is (and also nipple cactus) thanks to the spines that radiate from numerous areolae.
Mammillaria supertexta by John Matthews.
Mammillaria plumosa by Sandy Chase.
Another glimpse at that M. plumosa, which is absurdly cool for its cauliflower impersonation skills.
Look who followed us home. Stay tuned for shots of their new setting!