My first rhubarb was given to my by my paternal-paternal great grandfather before I was in kindergarten. My Iris pallida also goes back four generations. I got one of my two favorite zonal geraniums from a compost pile in Montara, and snuck it back on the train when I was in the seventh grade. Some of the plants I grow have been with me for a remarkably long time.

Well, I did not get pictures of my rhubarb, Iris pallida or zonal geranium for today. Instead, these are five plants with whom I became acquainted more recently, and my first yucca whom I met three decades ago. They all have their respective stories that are more interesting than what I mentioned here. None are directly from nurseries, although #2 and #4 are from cultivars.

I sort of suspect that these plants and others of such significance to me will be with me for a very long time. I know that blue gum is nearly impossible to tame, and that windmill palm can’t be pruned down like the others. I will not force them to comply. The others can give me more cuttings to replace themselves indefinitely. The place names designate where I acquired them.

1. Holmby Hills ~ Los Angeles – Yucca elephantipes – This was my very first Yucca. My colleague, Brent Green, removed it from a project he was working on back in about 1988. It lived as a houseplant next to my desk for many years, and produced a few pups.P91095

2. Mid City ~ Los Angeles – Brugmansia suaveolens – Brent got me cuttings for this angels’ trumpet from another of his landscapes a few years ago because I really wanted a single white to add to the four more complicated cultivars that I already accumulated.P91095+

3. Reno ~ Nevada – Salix laevigata – I know that there is nothing special about the all too common red willow. I like this one anyway, because it grew from a broken twig I happened to grab on the Truckee Riverwalk through Reno. I should be more discriminating.P91095++

4. Murphys – Ficus carica – A few of these little fig trees were grown from pruning scraps. A friend wanted copies of the original tree before selling the home where the tree lived. We do not now what cultivar it is, but we sort of suspect it is the common ‘Mission’.P91095+++

5. Santa Cruz – Eucalyptus globulus – While waiting for a friend who needed a ride, and pacing outside, I started plucking a few tiny weeds from planter. One of the weeds happened to be a tiny blue gum seedling. Against my better judgment, I did not discard it.P91095++++

6. West San Jose – Trachycarpus fortunei – An old friend’s mother grew flowery annuals and perennials in pots on the porch. This windmill palm grew from seed in one of the pots, and was happy there for a few years, but eventually got too big. It lives here now.P91095+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Souvenirs

  1. Trachycarpus fortunei is one of the few palms that we can grow here without problems. Since the time I get them from seeds and I grow them in pots, I have decided for several years to plant them in the ground. I have a palm tree of 2.50m high now and it will continue…I also grow T wagnerianus that is also a good species and almost prettier.

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    1. Trachycarpus takil look interesting too. I shaved a Trachycarpus fortunei years ago. It really looked sharp, but shaving it was a lot of work! I would like to try Trachycarpus takil because it sheds its fibrous petiole bases. However, I sort of doubt that the fronds are as elegant as those of Trachycarpus fortunei or Trachycarpus wagnerianus.

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  2. One of the best things about gardening is the plants we get from others. If someone gives me an outdoor plant, besides labeling it with its name, I write “from _____” on the plant label.

    Obviously I don’t label my indoor plants but I still remember those that were gifted. And I have a whole bunch from my last days in retail gardening. Since that garden center is now a housing development, I cherish those plants as well!


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    1. In the past many years, I purchased almost nothing for my garden. What I purchased was mostly cultivars of plants that I remember such as exact cultivars of the fruit trees that once grew in the orchards of the Santa Clara Valley.


  3. My favorite plant is a cactus I received from the mother of a friend. It was 4″ tall when I got it, many years ago. Now, it’s a bit over 2 1-2′ tall, and needs repotting again. It’s name is Godette. It was a companion to Godot, who got his name because I waited forever for him to bloom, but Godot has gone to the great desert in the sky.

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  4. You are so right. Every garden should have something gifted in it. I have benefited this year from many and in turn have passed on spare annuals and now some self seeders that are beginning to appear. It’s one of the best parts of gardening. Always buying in plants is so sterile. It’s very rewarding to take a cutting or branch of something and nurture it on. Lovely post.

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    1. Thank you. I know that nurseries would go out of business if we all grew our own. (I intend to return to work in nursery production eventually.) I also know that those of us who really enjoy gardening would prefer to grow our own, especially plants of sentimental value.

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