Arctostaphylos densiflora Howard McMinn

Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn” is another California tree. This one is shorter than yesterday’s Catalina Ironwood, topping out at below 10ft., vs. the 40ft. tall Ironwood.

Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn”

California Native
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 7ft.h. x 10ft.w.

Large evergreen mounding shrub with clusters of small flowers, white to light pink, in winter through spring. Berries are favored by native birds. Dark red trunk.


A. “Howard McMinn” is a nectar source for the Monarch Butterfly and the California Dogface Butterfly

Blue Germander

Teucrium fruticans Azurea

Teucrium fruticans “Azurea”

Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low, Good drainage
Size: 4ft. tall x 5ft. wide

This Mediterranean evergreen shrub grows well in the Bay Area. Silvery gray foliage. Deep blue flowers cover the plant most of the year – spring thru fall. Hardy to 20F.

Jerusalem Sage

phlomis lanata

Phlomis lanata is a prolific yellow flowering fuzzy leafed shrub so you would think I could catch it with the yellow flowers in bloom, but not today. Today I wanted to capture the fuzzy leaves.

phlomis lanata2

That’s another shot, which I like better.

Phlomis lanata
Native to Eastern Mediterranean
Semi-deciduous Shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 2 to 3 feet

A bold grey shrub for a warm, sunny border. A great Mediterranean climate plant – beautiful pale-yellow flower whorls in summer. Cold tolerant to 20°.

Yellow Emu

eremophila maculata aurea

Eremophila maculata “Aurea” is a yellow flowering cultivar from Australia, hence the Emu name.

These are generally a very leafy shrub in the 4 to 6 ft. range, height and width. They’re hardy to the mid-20s. They get covered in the bell-shaped yellow flowers in the spring, but will bloom year-round.

Generally we like full sun close to the coast, but further inland it can handle a lot of shade.

So here’s the deal. It’s not the prettiest plant around – after all what do you expect from a plant call Emu? But it’s very hardy and drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant and flexible for sun conditions and it blooms year-round too. So it turns out its a pretty good plant after all.

Succulent Wall Panels


We plant these succulent wall panels 2 to 3 months in advance. We used succulent cuttings in a bed of moss within the wood frame. These were planted in September.

Then we set them flat for 2 months to make sure they’re fully rooted. Which they are! Then the plants start growing. Which they have! These plants are huge in these frames right now.

Then I photograph them in full color and full sun. Nice!

The final step is to use various and sundry photo filters to get just the right effect to increase your enjoyment to 11. Finally I apply the b/w filter, and… Huzzah! You take the last of the 3 final steps and place your daily succulent enjoyment in my capable hands.

Pretty Flowers


Pretty flowers are on the way, soon enough with this lovely tree Aloe.

Aloe speciosa is also known as the Tilt-head Aloe. It’s from the southern parts of South Africa. It’s generally found in groups, ie Aloe forests. The Red buds will turn pure white when they open. And of course like all aloes the hummingbirds go crazy girl them, checking back every day for more open blooms.

They are a tree Aloe, getting as tall as 20ft. and pretty quick too for a thick trunked succulent.

Aloes in Bud


Aloe africana


Aloe plicatilis


Aloe variegata


And in bloom, Aloe “Yellow Torch”

Moist Succulents

Yesterday’s stormy rain left us with moist succulents.







Last Minute Terrariums

rainy day at the nursery

It may be a very rainy day today, but we’re here for you. Today and tomorrow we are staying open all the way to 5pm. Because we care.

airplant terrarium1

airplant terrarium2

airplant terrarium3

Emeryville Natives

Apparently the town next to Berkeley, Emeryville, is no longer part of California.

Hah, I’m just joking.


Here we see someone at the local mall who thinks that California native plants include spurges. They don’t!


And here we see that the entire garden is filled with non-natives – not a native to be seen. Shall we list them out?

Euphorbia from Europe, Senecio from South Africa, Chondropetalum from South Africa, Aeoniums from the Canary Islands, Sedums from Asia.

Actually, it’s a pretty nice drought-tolerant Mediterranean style garden, so I shouldn’t complain that they put out one or two silly native signs.

Mixed Succulent Pots

Everyone loves making the mixed succulent pots.

mixed succulent pots1

These are just a few special succulents in hand-made artist pots by Carey Cherney.

mixed succulent pots2

Lavender Scallops

That is an unfortunate common name for this lovely little plant from Madagascar that has naturalized itself in many places around the world. It is easy to grow, but frost sensitive. We can grow it, but in years when it gets below about 30F then we lose a bunch of it. What is it? It’s this one:

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi

That was the highly edited photo to highlight only the best parts of the plant. Here’s an unedited photo:

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi

Actually that was also an edited photo, just a little more lightly edited.

Which photo do you like better?

My Christmas Cactus is About to Bloom

We have lots of blooming christmas cactuses at the nursery, but this little guy has been at the house a few years now and there are 5 buds, the most it’s had!

More Terrariums! More Airplants!

Continuing yesterdays theme, here are 2 more terrariums with airplants for your consideration.

Tillandsia fuchsii v. gracilis and I see we have a little bit of Reindeer Moss and some lovely rocks. Plus is that a shell i see? It is!

Tillandsia neglecta in a bit of a washed-out photo. Plus some white gravel as a base. And a couple fancy shells. We love shells! To be honest, we found a really good deal on shells last year but that meant to meet their minimum order we had to buy a LOT of shells. Shells for everyone!

Airplants and Terrariums

We are really full up with airplants and terrariums of all kinds.

Tillandsia bulbosa

Tillandsia xerographica

Tillandsia xerographica x brachycaulis

Tillandsia tenuifolia “Blue”

Tillandsia stricta “Pink-Bronze”

Tillandsia ionantha “Mex”

Tillandsia butzii

Old Man Cacti from South America

These are some high altitude plants with the hairy thing going on.

Cleistocactus straussii  is from Southern Bolivia, ranging into Northern Argentina. There’s some harsh terrain there. We see these individual branches grow to about 10ft. tall and live for about 10 years.

Espostoa lanata is a tree like cactus from Southern Ecuador and into Peru. The woolly hairs have been used as pillow stuffing traditionally in Peru. We see these get 10ft. tall and some say they can reach 20 feet, but I’ve never seen that.

Chopped Succulent


Our friends had a 50th birthday and the floral bouquets included cut Aeonium rosettes. I have nothing to add.

Christmas Cactus Season

It is that time of year when the Christmas Cactus are in bloom. I thought I should post a photo of one today. Winter blooming cactus are all the rage.

Succulent Wreaths

I haven’t posted any pictures of our Succulent Wreaths yet this year. I take new succulent wreath pictures every year and I have been remiss this year. What was I thinking?

This is a less “posed” picture than I usually take, but then the succulent wreaths don’t seem to mind.

In case you were wondering, those are links to our succulent wreath page on our regular website, and to the succulent wreath page on our online shop. I’m not saying you should click those links, just letting you knwo what they are there for.


More Terrariums

We’ve have been so busy making terrariums for everyone. Remember that Terrarium Wall I posted? There’s more.

That’s a Kalanchoe in there. Is there enough soil for the plant to survive? Yes! There is enough. And a little bit of charcoal at the bottom too. But be careful not to overwater.

Check out our ad in the Sunday SF Chronicle tomorrow with even more terrariums. I suspect it’s in the garden section, but then you never know with the chronicle.

Tillandsias are the easiest way to go for sure, and the airplants are very reliable too.

That’s a nice one. It has a frog! And not just any frog but a red tree frog, Litoria rubella.

In case you haven’t figured it out, we are the one stop shop for all things terrariums.

Moth Orchids

We have a new flat of small Phalaenopsis in. Just in time for Thanksgiving! I wonder what varieties these are? I have no idea. Here’s a good place to look them up. I’ll wait while you go look them up.

That’s a lot of hybrids!

More California Canyon Plants

Here are a couple really nice desert plants from the same Tahquitz Canyon Trail in Palm Springs as the cacti below.

But they’re not cacti! Not even succulent. How do they survive?

Honey Mesquite – Prosopsis glandulosa

Chuparosa! (Justica californica) I love that name! And winter bloomers in the desert are especially welcome. It’s in the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae) along with such popular plants as Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis) and Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes). Hey – we just got some Hypoestes in for the houseplant room for winter. Nice!


Prickly Pear Fruit, Palm Springs

Two Palm Springs posts in a row? I must have recently visited that lovely desert city in the desert.

Did you know it’s in the Sonoran Desert? And it borders on Joshua Tree NP? Do you wonder if I made it into the park?

June 2023

US Constitution


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