Dots of Red

The Gravel Garden is where I nurtured this idea, based on observation of some plants that do extremely well here - Sanseverias, Rhoeo discolor, which looked to me like broad abstract brush strokes. By the time it found realization in my own garden, it took on more of a dusty white palette. That started when I found the, dusty grey green sanseveria, the white edged agave and white euophorbia Lactea pictured here and things seemed to be telling a story in that direction. Orange was the only color that seemed to really want to belong here as well as these dots of red color.

Since form was important here, its seemed only right that even color should have a more precise one. The potted Acerola or Barbados Cherry Malpighia Emarginata  tree was what suggested that. It was orginally in the Tropical Potager, since its more a food type plant, but the red cherries seem to want to belong here. So it got dragged here where it has remained and thrived. It has done astonishingly well as a small potted tree and has had only one upgrade in the last four years to a larger pot. It deals with watering neglect like a champ and bounces right back after a hard prune.

I was originally attracted to it at the nursery by its whitish branches and pink flowers. I couldn't help thinking its dainty leaves and flowers were the opposite of lush large tropical ones we more commonly see here, giving it a personality set apart. Then it set fruit, which it does quite regularly, sour with a large stone - not quite a match with its lush red looks. It does however pack a gigantic serving of vitamin C - a whole day's worth in one single fruit.  So some get squeezed into glasses of cold water or I use it in salad dressing or even in cooking if I want a sour element.

I kept the logic of small leaves and little red fruits going with Limeberry Triphasia Trifolia - see top margin of RHS photo. Also in a pot but not quite the same happy camper as the Acerola - it often yellows and drops leaves when not watered adequately or requires manuring. It does have a lovely arching habit though. The real star of that photo however is the small red flowered Euphorbia Geroldii related to Euphorbia Millii which I also have.

Although both the Limeberry and Acerola quite regularly provide these little red dots of color, the Euphorbia Geroldii, a new addition to the garden - is almost always in flower. Underplanted with a lime green sedum, it really has become an eye catcher. On top of that its thornless. Pretty as the Euphorbia Millii is, you can't help but notice its huge thorns and I have to admit I haven't quite got the hang of its watering/potting needs as I've lost a few already. This guy however has been going strong and I've started some cuttings of it too.

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