Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Latest Additions

My brain is struggling to make sentences today, but I wanted to show off some of the plant purchases I've made over the last couple weeks. First, from Greg's Gardens in Longview, I found Carex testacea and an unlabeled Erysimum I think might be 'Apricot Twist'. I didn't notice until I got home, but a couple of the carex I purchased were labeled Carex dipsacea, which is supposed to be a like a slightly larger version of Carex testacea. Of the five plants I bought, I couldn't tell which was which, so I have no idea if they are just that similar or if there was some mislabeling at the garden center or before. Two of the plants are slightly darker and more orange, but one was labeled C. testacea and the other was labeled C. dipsacea. They were all mixed together at the garden center, and no doubt labels had been pulled and put back in different pots and so forth. I guess I'll know if two of them get grow larger than the other three?

The Erysimum was one of those serendipitous finds. Grey leaves, purple buds, and flowers that open dark orange and fade to a light apricot. All three colors I've been focusing on in one plant! Plus fragrance!

It goes so well with the carex, too. What's more, I paid $8 for a gallon pot, but there were actually three plants in the pot! So of course I separated them. I'm hoping the separation won't shock them too badly. I want to collect the seeds that are developing and see what I can get out of them.

Yesterday, I returned to Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland to pick up a few things I had seen on my last trip that I still wanted. One was this Heptacodium miconioides in the discount area in the parking lot. Minus a few dead branch stubs that are easily removed, it's in really good shape. I was so happy it was still there. I love the fragrant white flowers, showy bracts that prolong the "floral" display for many more weeks into fall, and the peeling bark. I also love the red-tinted new growth.

Ok, this next one I actually picked up at Fred Meyers, but it's ok because it was grown by Little Prince of Oregon, right? Being on the lookout for Artemisia versicolor, its cultivar 'Seafoam', and Artemisia 'Powis Castle', these two Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound' seemed like good candidates to try, too, especially since they were on sale. They are just shiny enough that they might even qualify as "silver" instead of just grey.

Back to my haul from Tsugawa's. I really had only planned to get the heptacodium and a couple hebes, but I ended up finding a lot more. One of the best finds were these Euphorbia 'Nothowlee' (sold under the name Blackbird). This plant was one of my top candidates to replace the 'Crimson Pygmy' barberries in the driveway island. What luck to find them so soon! While they don't match the color of the maple as well as the barberries do, I think these will be much better than the barberries, being evergreen, with larger leaves and a smaller size. The only thing I'm worried about is the possibility of aphids, which can be a problem with this plant.

Another lucky find, all but forgotten at the end of one greenhouse, were these two Erica arborea 'Estrella Gold'. I get the feeling they were destined for the discount section, or even the compost. These neglected plants are not pretty I'll be the first to admit, but with a little cleaning up and some new growth they should do just fine. The old flowers look ugly in this photo. I should have included a shot of them next to the euphorbia. I actually kind of like the effect. Strange, I know. Anyway, a little shearing and most of the dead flowers on the plant on the right are gone, allowing the chartreuse new growth to fill in unencumbered. I left the flowers on the other plant, because I love the honey-vanilla scent. I saw a specimen of this plant at The Barn last spring in full bloom and covered in bees. Now I just need to find one more...


With the deer soon to be shut out of my garden, succulents are back on the plant palette. I've said several times that succulents should not be on deer-resistant plant lists, at least not on the west coast, where dry summers leave deer thirsty for anything with water in it. I got three different sempervivums, Sedum 'Chocolate Ball', Sedum forsterianum 'Antique Grill', and Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet'. I also bought three different cultivars of rosemary: 'Spice Island', 'Tuscan Blue', and 'Foxtail'. These aren't due to the fence going in. I'm going to try once more to get rosemary to survive the winter. Every time I plant it, it seems we have a bad winter and the newly planted rosemary dies, even 'Arp' which has been touted as being hardy to USDA zone 5. Maybe one of these three will survive. If not, I'll get one of the smaller rosemary cultivars and put it in the greenhouse over winter.

Sedum 'Antique Grill' has a lovely blue color, taking on purple tones in winter. Though all the water shook off on the way home, I was initially captured by the sparkling droplets caught at the ends of the stems.

The only sempervivum that had a name was this 'Royal Ruby'. This was the darkest, reddest one of the bunch.

I liked the wider leaves of this unnamed sempervivum, so it went in the cart, too.

But my favorite by far is this one, red and green with webbing in a well-defined pattern.

I also picked up this Sedum 'Bertram Anderson'. I got this one for the larger leaves and the combination of purple and blue. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this is one of the deciduous sedums until I got home. I wish there was a sedum like this that was evergreen. Well, it's still beautiful.

My first act when I got these plants was to butcher them. I chopped them up into little pieces and stuck the severed limbs into a flat filled with soil that I mixed extra perlite into. I also harvested some of my remaining Sedum spathulifolium and put those in. By the time the fence is finished (probably before, actually) these will be rooted and I'll have plenty of each sedum and the spiderweb sempervivum. I didn't do much of the Sedum 'Chocolate Ball', since I was warned that it may not make it through winter.

 Hebe ochracea 'James Sterling' was one of the two hebes I went back to Tsugawa's to buy. The other was 'Quicksilver', which they were out of. Oh well.

By the time I found these Libertia ixioides 'Taupo Sunset', I was a little plant drunk and couldn't resist adding a couple of them to my purchases. The label said hardy to USDA zone 7a, so I'm going to hope for the best.

I couldn't resist that rainbow of color. Could you?

 Some of the plants above have found a home in the bed along the front of the house. The erysimum, carex, hebe, artemisia, and libertia are all now living in this bed. Even though the plants are small, it feels good to have a coordinated planting in this bed for once. It was sort of an experimental testing ground for many years, and had a patchy assemblage of disparate plants.

Over the weekend, I started refreshing the sandy/silty soil in this bed with compost, raising it up more than six inches. The picture below shows the edge of the area I was able to finish that day. About one third of the bed is now done. The rest still has some of those experimental plants that I need to dig out before I can raise the soil level. I'm not sure where all of them will be going, as many of them don't really fit with any of my current planting schemes and I don't really have anywhere prepared for them. They may be going into the pot ghetto for awhile.


11 comments:

  1. Wow, you have really gone to town with the plant buying, now that you don't have to worry about deer. I love my Erysimums, they smell so nice, but my limited experience with them has shown them to be short-lived. They do flower for a long time though. Great idea to chop up all the sedums into pieces to root! I've never had a problem with aphids on Euphorbias.

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    1. Yup, I went overboard at Tsugawa's. But I had to snap up those plants while I was there, or they would have been gone like Hebe 'Quicksilver', right? They'll keep until their destined homes are ready for them. That's why I'm hoping to collect seed off of the erysimums. You might be feeling a wave of jealousy from Loree right now about not having aphids on your euphorbias. She's had them attack 'Blackbird' badly enough to tear one out.

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  2. I love the photo of your sedum and sempervivum propagation tray. I would expect nothing less! And no, I wouldn't be able to resist the rainbow of Libertia ixioides 'Taupo Sunset' which is why I replaced all of mine after the ugly winter of 2013/14. Lastly I want to garden where Alison does. No aphids on Euphorbia!? I didn't know such a thing existed.

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    1. With the amount I spent at Tsugawa's, I needed to save some money somehow. Succulent propagation is an easy way to do that. ;) I hope we have at least a few mild winters so I can enjoy that Libertia for awhile. Aphids aren't usually a big problem in my garden, so I'm hoping my garden is more like Alison's.

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  3. It's shaping up very nicely Evan, and great to hear that your plants are now protected from deer! The unnamed sempervivums are nice, looking like echeverias, and love the colour of that libertia.

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    1. It's not protected from the deer just yet. The fence only consists of a few posts in the ground so far. The contractor hasn't been back since Tuesday. The deer can still walk right in, though I haven't seen them for a few days.

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  4. This is very exciting. I'm going to remember this raised bed, and would request a follow-up in year. Wonderful color combinations. I have 3 James Sterlings: hands down my favorite hebe. A "webbed" sempervivum hitched a ride in the pot of another plant I once purchased; I loved it ever since. I put Euphorbia Nothowlee on my list but I wonder: does it run?

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    1. Thanks, Chav! It's going to look even better once I finish adding soil to the whole length of the bed and add more plants. I'm going to add more silver and some burgundy to the mix. Euphorbia 'Nothowlee' is a clumping type. I haven't seen any mention of it running or even reseeding. Just remember it will be sold under the name Blackbird. If the label has the name 'Nothowlee' at all, it will be in fine print somewhere.

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  5. I could easily follow you around and just buy all the plants you buy.

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    1. Haha! Maybe we should get together for some nursery hopping. I've only been to a handful of the many Portland nurseries.

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  6. I can see the new reality t.v. show now, "Garden Shopping Gone Wild" or maybe "The Real Garden Shoppers of the PNW." You got some great plants and I'm impressed that some have made it into the ground already. I've never had aphids on euphorbias. Lots of other plants but never euphorbias.

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