Alex was in a bike race in San Diego on Sunday so we went down a couple days early to hang out. On Saturday we went to Balboa Park to check out the gardens. The Botanical House was fun because it was full of plants that I've never grown. It was shady and cool inside.
There were a few extreme verigated plants like this Ficus aspera, or Clown Fig.
The internet describes it as a house plant but this one is about 20 feet tall. It's fruit were like little striped beach balls and the leaves were a really sharp white and green.
Another was this Monstera deliciosa. I've never seen a varigated form of this plant but I've always loved the big leaves with their splits and perforations. I also love how it climbs walls and gets huge. Seeing these plants made me fantasize about a conservatory attached to the house where I could grow more tropical plants.
There was also a Begonia show going on. I don't know anything about Begonias but it was interesting to see that the patterning on the leaves extends down to the stems.
There is a nice desert garden that has some well established specimens. I might need to find place for one of these platter shaped Opuntias. I'm not sure what kind this is but it looks pretty formidable.
I want to think that this is Agave potatorum. It's bigger than mine, but mine was in a pot.
I was also drawn to this smooth leaved agave. It was as tall as me.
I thought this plant was a yucca but there were a couple more nearby that had agave-like bloom spikes.
They even had a couple of big clumps of bulbils growing on the spike. I thought maybe I could break off a couple to try to propagate them at home. I wouldn't normally do this without permission, but all of the bulbils on the more advanced spike were brown and withered, so it seemed unlikely that any caretakers were going to harvest the green ones. I figured taking one or two wouldn't hurt.
Unfortunately the whole clump broke off (um, whoops).
We also went to Point Loma near where Alex used to be stationed. It has a little museum about the first lighthouse that was built there.
The lighthouse was cute and all, but I was more interested in the agaves that were growing on the sandy cliffs. There were large clumps formed of almost columnar plants that radiated out of a common center.
They had really robust, short fat bloom spikes. This one was 4 or 5 inches in diameter.
It only took a quick search of "Point Loma Agave" to learn that it is called Shaw's Agave. San Marcos Growers says that it is endangered and rare in Southern California but more common further south.
Just by coincidence, I went to the Theodore Payne Fall sale this weekend. They had one Agave shawii left. It's rare that I have my wishes fulfilled so immediately.