Plants, Stone, California Landscapes



Trachycarpus fortunei on the left, Brahea edulis on the right

Our client at the cracked pot garden recently went through her garden ID’ing all of the plants, a task which was harder than you might think because it was originally planted by a horticulturalist with a love for variety. There are six kinds of lavender, for instance, and both Julia Phelps and Dark Star Ceanothus, two of the most similar forms of Ceanothus. The plant list for the garden is about as long as the list for my entire planting career, or at least it feels that way. Anyways, in the process, we were trying to ID the palms in the garden, a new horticultural task for me. I’ve never planted a palm and don’t know them well, though I’m starting to appreciate them; they might be my favorite element in this particular garden. They look great with the mix of foliage, and in particular with a couple of California natives, the mounding forms of Fremontodendron and Ceanothus.

Brahea edulis

Brahea edulis

I really like the combination of the Brahea edulis with the low, mounding form of Fremontodendron, F. californicum decumbens. Both plants have a prehistoric look to them.

Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis cerifera

Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis cerifera

Another nice native with non-native combo, the Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm against the the dark green foliage of ceanothus behind it.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus?

According to the original plant list, one of the Trachcyarpus specimens is T. wagnerianus, the (relatively) dwarf species of windmill palm. I think this is the one. It’s smaller in size than the others and it’s sited where I would expect to find the dwarf planted, but I don’t know enough about palms to be sure.

I also don’t know what this one in a container is, something dwarf and slow. It looks good against the Chondropetalum behind it. Quite a few other plants were figured. Among others, we ID’ed the aster-family shrub I showed in April. It’s a Shrub Aster, Felicia fruticosa, a good plant to know. It’s quite the show-stopper when it blooms.

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7 Responses to “Palms”

  1. November 5th, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    I should get better IDing palms myself. My house came with two palms, one the common Mexican fan, which we had taken out when it started cracking lifting walkways and patios nearby, and another mystery fan palm that clumps and has stayed the perfect size behind a pond for the last two decades. I research it every now and then but haven’t come up with a name that fits.

    The pairing of the brahea with the fremontia is cool. I like how the palms mix well with lots of other plants, and not just the poky, spiky ones.

  2. November 6th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    ryan says:

    You’re right that they mix well. I feel like I mostly see them on their own around here, but they mix right in to this garden.

  3. November 6th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    Well, I must admit I think of palms as water-guzzling and hard to maintain, which I why I got rid of the Queen Palm in our front garden. But these look great!

  4. November 7th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    ryan says:

    I think Queen Palms are thirstier than some of the others, but I haven’t really figured out which ones handle drought and which ones are water guzzling. I’m starting to pay more attention to them, though.

  5. November 9th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Brad says:

    Great pics of the cracked pot garden. A shrub aster, huh? And it says it’s from S. Africa. I guess I never paid much attention to the palms since they needed so little maintenance, but you’re right they do look good in that garden.

  6. November 10th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Dirty Girl Gardening says:

    Wow, that does sound like a lot of varieties…

  7. May 14th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    DryStoneGarden » Blog Archive » The Bay Friendly Garden Tour says:

    […] posted photos from this garden a couple of times before, here and here. There is a post about the garden on the Bay Friendly blog and the garden got several paragraphs in […]

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