Video: Container Garden Update 28: Lettuce harvest and working through the potting bench

Agn artwork

I harvest some baby buttercrunch lettuce to give more space to remaining heads and then work through everything on the potting bench to check for success and failure. Finally I pot up lantana layerings from our recent pruning (See In the Garden series for more info).


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Video shot with Canon VIXIA HF R400 HD

Music: “Whiskey on the Mississippi” Kevin MacLeod (  – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Interesting Plant: Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady)

Interesting Plant: Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady)

Nigella damascena


Interesting Plant: Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady)

Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady[1]) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land.

The specific epithet damascena relates to Damascus in Syria.[2] The plant’s common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It is also sometimes called devil-in-the-bush.

It grows to 20–50 cm (8–20 in) tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves. The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed. The sepals are the only colored part of the perianth. The four to five carpels of the compound pistil have each an erect style.

The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year. — Wikipedia

While this lavender/purple color caught my eye initially, I see in my reading that these Nigella come in a variety of colors. I am not a big fan of annuals, but these might just be pretty enough to give a try. The small bracts surrounding the flowers give a somewhat “alien” look to the flowers, but this only increases their interesting appearance.

Like many of the plants and flowers I highlight here in the Interesting Plant series, Nigella damascena was entirely unknown to me until I came across it in my online travels. I find that writing this series is greatly expanding my knowledge of the plant and flower world and I hope you find it fun and useful, too.

Do you have suggestions for the Interesting Plant series? Share your favorites with me!

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More information on Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Chelsea Garden Show – Mentioned items – May 19, 2013

A few items mentioned during Chelsea Garden Show coverage today.

Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk

Rosa ‘Little White Pet’

Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’

Dahlia ‘Etheral’

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Peonia ‘Coral Charm’

Cypripedium calceolus

 Anthriscus sylvestris (Cow Parsley)

Chelsea Garden Show 2013 this week

This week marks the 100th anniversary — The Centenary — of the Chelsea Garden Show in England. I have never been able to attend, but each year I watch from afar as show gardens, new plants and new ideas a shared via the web, YouTube and more. You can check out the basic of the show by visiting the Chelsea Garden Show web site.

Chelsea 2013

More Chelsea Video from YouTube

Garden History: Henry Edwards Huntington house, Oxford Road, San Marino, California. (LOC)

Here is a view that still exists — in a large part — right up the road from me. This is a vintage shot of The Huntington. In fact, this is one of my favorite places in the entire gardens — the Japanese Garden. This is always my first destination in the garden each time I visit. There is so much there to enjoy and immerse yourself within. This lovely bridge, a traditional Japanese House, a large zen garden, bonsai and a bamboo forest.

It is hard to imagine when the gardens were the private domain of the Huntington family and their guests. Today it is a national treasure which I feel privileged to have to close to me. When family and friends visit, we often take them to the Huntington to give them the feeling that Los Angeles is more than just Hollywood.

[Henry Edwards Huntington house, Oxford Road, San Marino, California. (LOC)

You can find detailed information on The Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Garden on their web site at

“A private, nonprofit institution, The Huntington was founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, an exceptional businessman who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities, and real estate holdings in Southern California.

Huntington was also a man of vision – with a special interest in books, art, and gardens. During his lifetime, he amassed the core of one of the finest research libraries in the world, established a splendid art collection, and created an array of botanical gardens with plants from a geographic range spanning the globe.

These three distinct facets of The Huntington are linked by a devotion to research, education, and beauty.” —

Henry Edwards Huntington house, Oxford Road, San Marino, California. (LOC)

Johnston, Frances Benjamin,, 1864-1952,, photographer.

[Henry Edwards Huntington house, Oxford Road, San Marino, California. Drum bridge in the Japanese garden]


1 photograph : glass lantern slide, hand-colored ; 3.25 x 4 in.

Site History. House Architecture: Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, 1908-1911. Landscape: William Hertrich, gardener, Japanese garden, 1911. Today: Garden extant with restorations.
On slide (printed): “176 Fulton Street, New York” (Slide manufactured by: T.H. McAllister-Keller Co.)
Title, date, and subject information provided by Sam Watters, 2011.
Forms part of: Garden and historic house lecture series in the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).
Published in Gardens for a Beautiful America / Sam Watters. New York: Acanthus Press, 2012. Plate 123.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA,

Higher resolution image is available (Persistent URL):

Call Number: LC-J717-X99- 2

Previously in Garden History:

Tree Identification Help – What do you think it is? – Enkianthus?

Update 20130523: After poking around a bit, could this be an Enkianthus of some type? I am totally unfamiliar with this plant/tree, but it seems similar to photos I have found online. — Douglas

I am taking more interest in the plants growing here in the neighborhood, so when I come across and unknown plant — or in this case — tree, I knew I had to ask for your help. Any ideas? It is blooming right now here in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Here are 2 photos of the flowers and leaves. If needed, I can go back and get some further pictures of the trunk and bark.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!



Garden Alphabet: Dietes (Fortnight Lily)

Garden Alphabet: Dietes (Fortnight Lily)

Not my favorite garden plant, as they are hugely overused and abused here in Southern California landscapes, but they do have very pretty flowers. Called Fortnight Lily as they flower about every 2 weeks during the season, the bloom only last 1 day though before disappearing completely. Dietes self-seeds dramatically, if allowed, so it is best to dead had the plants after they flower.

Garden Alphabet: Dietes (Fortnight Lily)


“Dietes is a genus of rhizomatous plants of the family Iridaceae. Common names include Fortnight lily, African iris, Morea or Moraea iris, Japanese iris and Butterfly iris, each of which may be used differently in different regions for one or more of the four species within the genus.

Most species are native to southern Africa, with one (Dietes robinsoniana) native to Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia. —

More information on the Dietes:

Previously in Garden Alphabet:


Garden Decor: DIY Log Birdfeeder

DIY Log Birdfeeder

The isn’t much information on how this birdfeeder was created, but I was struck with its design enough to think about how it might be recreated. I did something like this on a smaller scale to make a little gift box. The way I did it was to use my band saw to cut out the middle of the log. Then I cut two pieces of that inner section to re-attach as the top and bottom of the box. I am guessing this is similar to how this was created.

Diy log birdfeeder

from Pat Hayes Via Pinterest
More on Bird Feeder projects:

Previously in Garden Decor:

Video: Container Garden Update 27: Potting up Epiphyllum and scented geranium cuttings

Agn artwork

My friend offered up 2 Epiphyllum cuttings and also 3 types of scented geraniums. Even with today’s 100+ heat, I got them all potted up an don the bench.Fingers crossed for lots of new plants in a few weeks.


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Please like this video and/or subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Your LIKES directly effect how many others will see this video.

Video shot with Canon VIXIA HF R400 HD

Music: “Whiskey on the Mississippi” Kevin MacLeod (  – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Interesting Plant: Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Interesting Plant: Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Interesting Plant: Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Epiphyllum (pron.: /ˌɛpɨˈfɪləm/;[2] “upon the leaf” in Greek) is a genus of 19 species of epiphytic plants in the cactus family (Cactaceae), native to Central America. Common names for these species include orchid cacti and leaf cacti, though the latter also refers to the genus Pereskia.

The stems are broad and flat, 1–5 cm broad, 3–5 mm thick, usually with lobed edges. The flowers are large, 8–16 cm diameter, white to red, with numerous petals. The fruit is edible, very similar to the pitaya fruit from the closely related genus Hylocereus, though not so large, being only 3–4 cm long. The broad-leaved epiphyllum (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is particularly well-known. It bears large, strongly fragrant flowers that bloom for a single night only.

Epiphyllum species are added to some versions of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca.

The plants known as epiphyllum hybrids, epiphyllums or just epis, which are widely grown for their flowers, are artificial hybrids of species within the tribe Hylocereeae, particularly species of Disocactus, Pseudorhipsalis and Selenicereus. In spite of the common name, Epiphyllum species are less often involved.[3] — Wikipedia

A few weeks ago I visited the Souther California Spring Garden Show with my wife and a close friend, Keri Dearborn of At the show we saw a wide variety of plants, but Keri sang the praises of the many Epiphyllum we saw at the show. Indeed, they seem easy to grow, easy to propagate and bloom in dozens of different colors.

Keri wrote about her feelings for Epiphyllum in this blog post…

Propagating Epiphyllums

The flower diversity at the Southern California Spring Garden Show prompted Douglas Welch of A Gardener’s Notebook and I to talk about plant propagation.

I’ve successfully grown two variety of epiphyllum for years. The Sunset Western Garden Book gives the common name of “orchid cactus” for epiphyllum. Epiphyllums are a type of cactus with long flat stems that are scalloped along the edges and give the appearance of leaves. The few spines are at the base of these scallops.”

Read the entire article on

Keri was kind enough to give me some cuttings from her plants and I am hoping to get them potted up today for my weekly Container Garden Update video series. Watch for that video coming soon.

If you are looking for a rewarding plant that is easy to grow, Epiphyllum might me worth some further investigation. There are lots of resources available online and I have linked to a few below.

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More information on Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: