Sunday, August 22, 2010

TNLA 2010

Neat little 'Gator Aloe' in an arrangement of cute little succulents

Matt's company went to the annual Texas Nurseryman and Landscaper's Association in San Antonio, and kindly allowed me to tag along.

It's always fun to see the hort industry showing off a little (this time, there were, among other things, two fountains--one a giant dolphin and the other a giant seahorse--standing about 18 feet apart and spitting great, arching streams of water into one anothers' basins. It was really... something. As Matt pointed out with an excitement that might not have been entirely genuine, People could get married under there.) Seahorses aside though, it wasn't quite as fun as last year. I couldn't decide if this was because I'd seen it all before, or if there really were slightly fewer interesting displays. Possibly a combination of the two. Still, there was much to absorb.

I was sorry not to see any of those funky green-and-purple petunias from last year (the "Petunia Sophistica"series, I think they were called), nor the unusually dark plumbago ('Imperial Blue'?) nor the yaupon holly that was meant to compete with 'Will Fleming.' (Ilex vomitoria 'Scarlet's Peak').

On the other hand, very cute Magnolia grandiflora 'Teddy Bear,' the new 'Little Gem' competitor, is still going strong. At least one grower is still pushing the nifty purple-leaved mimosa 'Summer Chocolate' (Albrizia julibrissen). And I saw a few vendors again sporting 'Summer Red' maples with their colorful new foliage, purported to grow everywhere.

Things that are new or caught my eye included:
  1. a weeping blue atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula'). Totally funky architectural fun--but not sure where I could put it. We're short on alpine plantings here at Chez M. I'm pretty sure that you have to train them to look like the pic--otherwise, they grow into huge formless Snuffuluffaguses.
  2. Agave neomexicana, a grey/fern-green New Mexico century plant.
  3. a thornless paloverde (X Parkinsonia--Matt particularly liked)
  4. 'Delta Jazz,' a crape myrtle with very dark purple leaves. Looked a bit droopy though--not sure how tough it is
  5. Weird, bowl-leaved 'Maraca Portulaca' (Portulaca molokiniensis)
  6. Gator aloe--species not given
  7. Purple verbena 'Royale Chambray'--might be good for the blue-and-purple bed
  8. a bronze loquat (Eriobotrya deflexa)--stiff, serrate leaves with bronzy new growth
  9. A cute little hen-n-chicks with purple leaf tips (Sempervivum tectorum--cultivar?)
  10. A lavender star tree (Grewia occidentalis) Never heard of this one before at all. Probably wouldn't live in Austin--was standing right next to a great big jacaranda. Sigh. I would dearly love to grow my own jacaranda...
  11. A river birch purported to grow in Austin, with the graceful name of 'Dura-heat.' I am skeptical, but if it I were a small, flop-eared animal, one of my ears would have perked up hopefully.
  12. Unhidden hidden lilies--who knew?!? These curcuma flowers stood proudly erect a good foot above their foliage. Gasp! One cultivar sported the a super-stylish green-and-purple color combo ('Choco Zebra').
  13. And a bunch of David Austin roses. According to their wholesale catalog, one of their three offices is located somewhere in "Texas, America." Where? Do they have display gardens? I would totally love to see. At present, we only have 'Graham Thomas' in our yard but I'd love some more--especially the sinfully fragrant 'Abraham Darby.'
  14. Dark, broody, scab-red antherium

Martian-looking maraca portulaca in a display of succulents

The interestingly stiff, serrated leaves of the bronze loquat, Eriobotrya deflexa. Grows in Florida. Not sure about Austin. Dave's Garden claims it goes up to 8b.

Lavender star tree. Grewia occidentalis. Alas, it maxes out at 9a (so close!)


Unhidden curcumas. These may include 'Chiang Mai Pink,' 'Khmer Snow,' 'Red Lip,' 'Royal Purple,' 'Siam Pearl'


Neat dark red antherium. Unfortunately, tooth-gnashingly, not labeled.


Interesting green and white ceramic fountains from a pottery place in The Woodlands

A really meretricious fountain. There is a light in the hole, and water comes out from there. Two bowing and courtseying European children round out this perplexing ensemble.

4 comments:

Bob said...

You guys have all the luck. That would be so cool to have seen all that.

Bonnie said...

Thanks for the pictures and links. Such interesting stuff. I'll be following your blog from now on.

Annie in Austin said...

Hello Elgin House,

Bob at Draco linked to your post - nice blog! Elgin is still zone 8B, right? But maybe sandier soil?

Graham Thomas & Abraham Darby did well in Illinois, but a couple of the Austin bloggers said they were a mess when grown here so I haven't tried. But I still miss my Graham Thomas!

Awhile ago I heard that David Austin Roses were grown in Tyler but don't know if there is anything to see:
15059 State Highway 64 W
Tyler, TX 75704
(903) 526-1800

http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/advanced.asp

I love my regular loquats and have heard that the Bronze Eriobotrya deflexa is used extensively in California. A couple of blogger friends out there also say the bronze loquat is not good in windy places - that wouldn't work in my NW part of Austin - don't know about Elgin.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Elgin_house said...

Hi Bob! It's fun stuff. It's not the Chelsea Flower Show, but it's neat to see the local industry strut its stuff.

Nice to meet you, Bonnie. I'm looking forward to catching up on your blog. Did you make the Kiss of Sun wallpaper yourself? It's really cute.

Hi Annie. What a nice, detailed comment! Yes, we're 8b. Our soil is kind of variable, but it's sandy with clay (read: shifts a lot).

I think how you assess Graham T depends on your expectations. Compared to rugged standbys like Mutabilis or Cramoisi, it's a gangly, slightly chlorotic mess. Compared to a hybrid tea, it's not all that bad. Matt's ready to pitch him, or at least demote him to some less prized real estate, but I think those lovely golden chalices of flowers he makes are worth it. Thanks for the David A info--I'd love to see more of his cultivars in action here in Texas. They're certainly gorgeous in his catalog...

Interesting info on the E. deflexa! We get some good gusts out here too (blew our greenhouses over a few times before we started anchoring them with t-posts), but perhaps in a sheltered spot... Matt does love loquats, so out of loyalty to the genus he may want to try the bronze kind.

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