Leucadendrons in Morro Bay

Morro Bay has the perfect cool coastal conditions for growing Proteaceae.  I would say that they are almost as popular here as Rhododendrons and Hosta back in my native northern New Jersey. I’ve been wanting to go around town and take pictures of all of them but just haven’t had the time.

There is one house in particular right in the middle of Morro Bay Heights that has such an amazing display of Leucadendrons that it was worth stopping the car and taking a few pictures. I believe they are the fairly common cultivars ‘Safari Goldstrike’, ‘Safari Sunset’, and ‘Wilson’s Wonder’ and from these photos you will see what makes them so popular.

Leucadendron ‘Safari Goldstrike’

Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’

Leucadendron ‘Wilson’s Wonder’



Paeonia cambessedesii

Last March I was lucky enough to get a Paeonia cambessedesii from Annie’s Annuals. When I received an email that they were available I knew I had to act fast so I placed an order immediately. I was surprised to find out the next day that Annie had sold out of them in just 14 hours, or something crazy like that, but happily I got in my order in time.

Most herbaceous peonies need winter chill to bloom but this one is from Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea. I potted it up into a one gallon pot and put it on a drip line in my plant ghetto and mostly forgot about it. Every once in a while I would check it out to make sure it was OK.

A few weeks ago I noticed that new purple-red leaves were pushing their way up and I had three flower buds! A bit of a surprise and even more of a surprise is they started opening when the plants were less than six inches tall. I’m hoping that is just because of the weird dry and hot weather we have had so far this winter, or the fact that it is being grown in a container, and once the plant is older and I find a nice home for it in the ground, it will get at least a foot taller.

But for now I am enjoying the beautiful magenta flowers. Much nicer fragrance than typical herbaceous peonies too in my opinion (I find them nice in small doses but otherwise a bit overwhelming and headache inducing).

Do you think I should let them fruit and go to seed or should I let the young plant build up more strength?

Does anyone else who was lucky enough to get one of these peonies have blooms yet? And if you like what you see be sure to put this one on your Annie’s wish list and order it the moment it becomes available! Don’t dawdle or you will miss your chance.

Monarch Chrysalis

Back at the start of November I made a post about wildlife in the garden and shared some pictures of monarch butterfly caterpillars.

I was in NYC visiting my family for Thanksgiving and when I got back most of them were gone. I did find a beautiful monarch chrysalis on the driveway (probably dropped there while I was weeding the garden. I forgot to check all the weeds I pulled before I threw them in the green waste bin).

So pretty. They look like they have been splashed with little bits of gold leaf. I gently placed the chrysalis on an Erica in my plant ghetto hoping it would be safe there.

And then I went home again for Christmas. I checked this morning and was happy to see that the Chrysalis is still there and is nearing the end of its transformation.

The butterflies wings are now clearly visible and soon it will be fully transformed. Pretty cool stuff.