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Foliage does not get any blacker than this.

This is not another of my many racial slurs for the renowned Southern Californian landscape designer, Brent Green. Believe or not, I endure many more of such slurs from him; so will not even bother putting something else out there that compels his retaliation. This is about Japanese laurel, Aucuba japonica, which is incidentally rather yellowish with rich golden variegation.

Japanese laurel, which is known as gold dust plant locally, is happy in partial shade, and will tolerate rather significant shade. That is a distinct advantage in landscapes that are dominated by so many big redwoods. Even without significant bloom, the bright yellowish foliage is an asset in visually dark parts of the landscapes. There probably should be more of it here than there is.

It is not one of my favorites though. It does not cooperate with pruning, and often produces overly vigorous growth that flops over in response to aggressive pruning. It shelters proliferation of snails in warmer climates. What I dislike most about it is the prominent blackening of some of the foliage that is too exposed to direct sunlight. It is so unsightly in front of the cheery gold.

After pruning a few overly vigorous stems that became floppy, I noticed how quickly the lush and fresh new foliage blackens from exposure. The pictures above and below were taken about two hours after the stems were pruned. The stems grew in a notably shaded situation, and were then left out on a hot black bed liner without shade, which of course accelerated the process.

I should have gotten a picture of the foliage as I found it, with all exposed surfaces blackened, as if spray painted where they were on the black vinyl. The portions of the leaves that remain green were shaded under other foliage.

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Shaded parts are still fresh and gold dusted green. Exposed parts are roasted to a crisp.

8 thoughts on “Horridculture – Green Is The New Black

    1. I do not exactly despise it, although I do dislike it. Some of ours are presentable, but are not particularly impressive. Some are downright unsightly and disfigured. They were probably better years ago, but stretched as the landscape became shadier.

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      1. They are probably much happier with the humidity there. Weirdly, I noticed some nice specimens in Olympia in Washington! I sort of wondered how they got there, and if they are more popular than I would have guessed. They were out in an exposed landscape. I do not know if they needed protection from frost, but I doubt that they would have gotten any in that particular landscape.

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      2. Seriously?! I do not know Washington (the City in the District of Columbia), but I am aware that it snows and gets cold there! It probably gets significantly colder there than it does in Olympia in Washington (the state that the City is fortunate to share its name with). That is impressive. I suppose that if I see what appears to be frost damage, I should know better. Foliage can get roasted even where it is not totally exposed. It must happen very quickly, with a combination of aridity, warmth, and just enough direct exposure to sunlight, even if only for a little while. It does not get too hot here, but it does get dry.

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