I’ve spent months in a truck driving around Mexico with Greg Starr looking for oddball succulent plants, and I think it is safe to say that his taste in landscape plants is definitely non-standard, abnormal, a little perverse, and just downright weird. Which is exactly why when it came time to select some silver agaves for the Growdown!, Starr Nursery was my first stop. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that one of the dwarf silver agaves I got from him was named after a Mexican asbestos mine, ‘Minas Asbestos’, or that another plant (one of my secret weapons to be revealed later) that Greg is growing was propagated from seed collected near a rocky outcrop near Congress, Arizona (look it up, it is near the town of Nowhere). In addition to the agaves from the asbestos mine, Greg donated a trio of shiny silver mescal ceniza (Agave colorata) which I hope serve as the arteries to the platinum heart of my silver Growdown! garden.
What did surprise me is that Greg tried to crawl in the trunk of my daughter’s Hyundai with his plants for the trip home. I’d hate to get stopped at a border patrol checkpoint with this guy in the trunk.
Greg also helped me push some superb penstemon into blooming early. We stored these, and some bright orange-flowered Dykia brevifolia in one of Greg’s greenhouses. As of today, March 19th, the penstemon is in full-bloom–about two weeks ahead of time. They are so far along that I’m hoping they hold their blooms for another four days.