Monday, February 1, 2010

Spikes and Spines

Claire and I stopped by The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek the other day to collect some seed we had run out of at Annie's. Brain Kimble, the director, is always so kind and generous to give us material from the plants in the garden. We were collecting seed from Rhagodia spinescens, a very pretty silver shrub from Australia. The seeds are bright red and look like little alien eyeballs.

collecting seed
rhagodia seed

The winter protection was still on many of the Aloes in the garden. The boxes and tents add a comical architectural element to the look of the place.

aloe protection

And as always, I enjoyed photographing the wonderful wacky succulents in this extensive collection. The textures of the cacti and succulents are lovely layered upon one another and the details of these plants are what I enjoy the most. Fine hairs, robust spines, strange shapes, all are so fun to photograph.

The spiraling of Euphorbia flanaganii, Medusa Head Euphorbia, is quite nice.

medusa euphorbia

A soon-to-be gigantic Agave flower. I love them when they start shooting up. They look like asparagus spears for the Jolly Green Giant.

agave flower

Miscellaneous spines and prickles:

fuzz towers

bed head


And Claire noticed that the Glottiphyllum longum seed was germinating right in its intricate pods. I love Glottiphyllum longum, it looks as if it should be growing in the ocean with fish darting between the leaves.

glottiphyllum foliage

glottiphyllum germinating

It is always an enjoyable trip out to The Ruth Bancroft Garden. Always something new to see!


  1. Wow, germinating right in the pod-how cool is that? I must get a Medusa head some day

  2. What a great resource for you. Nice to have finally met you at Annie's on Saturday. Interesting place to start for someone with a landscape architecture degree. Makes me curious to know how you balance hardscape with plants in your designs. I suspect you are more nuanced in your plant selection than most landscape architects but also more concerned with hardscape than most hort-heads.


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