Plant Forum - March 20, 2000

Dear Cal Hort Members,
Here follows a plea from your Plant Forum Committee. We hope you noted our boxed item in the recent Bulletin. For heaven's sake your garden must be exploding by now—they all are. Pick something special to share with the group: a truss of an unusual rhododendron, something you treasure and grow in a container, a special old or modern rose, a new perennial, something only a mother (gardener) could love—something grotesque or gorgeous, or if you hybridize and have a plant ready to introduce you'll be fulfilling two of our mandated duties—to demonstrate plants you have grown and/or showing us a new plant soon to be seen in Bay Area gardens.

  1. Orchid Collection
    Jack Halprin, San Francisco

    A frequent guest who is not even a Cal Hort member showed a collection of “fauvist” pangeneric orchids. Jack Halprin brought in a huge box of these plants all of which contained Cattleya genes. One has been registered with his name. All were beautifully grown; clean, undamaged, in robust bloom and many are grown outdoors with minimal protection in San Francisco!

  2. Arum palestinum
    Black Calla
    Jack Halprin, San Francisco

    Jack also shared a “Black Calla”, an arum frequently grown in Bay Area gardens which was a gift from Mrs Helen Tivol at dinner. (PS-I want one too!!) Dr. Fred Coe identified it as a form of Arum italicum but it keys out much closer to Arum palestinum. In all likelyhood it is a complex hybrid and many find it in old gardens. The ones in my garden are darkish red overlaid with black—this Tivol form was pure 'Black Velvet' and should be so dubbed.

  3. Myrtillocactus geometrizans, crested form
    Jack Halprin, San Francisco

    Jack also showed a new acquisition—a “crest or fasciated” form of Myrtillocactus geometrizans. Again perfectly grown, the “brain shaped” form was a bright blue and appeared thornless. This species which is fast growing in its normal club shape is often used by cactus growers in Southern California as the root stock onto which are grafted difficult to grow taxa. It is native to central Mexico, can be arboreal and up to 13' tall. It produces diurnal small white flowers followed by edible berries and though not especially hardy does well as root stock as long as it can be kept dry in winter.

Now come on—let's see something special of yours. Remember you certainly have something you “take for granted” which would make the rest of us drool. This is Cal Hort, and what we share is a love of plants!