As I said last week, the Santa Clara Valley is the best place in the entire Universe for horticulture. That is where these pictures came from. Although I planted only the Ilex aquifolium of the second picture, I collected all six of these plants from various sources over the years. They have been quite happy here. I will now be taking more copies or originals of all but Ilex aquifolium.

1. Juniperus virginiana – is my favorite this week. I know it is uninteresting to those who are familiar with it, but it happens to be one of only a few that I brought from Newalla in Oklahoma.P00808-1

2. Ilex aquifolium – is the only one this week that I actually purchased from a nursery, while in school in San Luis Obispo in the late 1980s. It is uncommon (and unpopular) here. I still dig it.P00808-2

3. Viola odorata – came from Santa Clara while I was in high school. (I thought) I wanted it because it blooms white. It is not very pretty, but I can not get rid of it. Violets should be ‘violet’.P00808-3

4. Pelargonium hortorum – is not the original that I found in a compost pile in Montara in about 1980, but is very likely the same ‘unimproved’ species or whatever it is. I found it downtown.P00808-4

5. Agapanthus orientalis – from Watsonville in 1992, is one of my two favorite agapanthus; because it is white, but is otherwise identical to my original blue agapanthus from the late 1970s.P00808-5

6. Amaryllis belladonna – came from Hoot Owl Creek in Oklahoma. It lived in the same garden with my Iris pallida! I know it is no more interesting that these others here, but it has history!P00808-6

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

22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Suburbia II

  1. There’s always something good about plants with “history ” even if they are not the showiest plants. I still have my grandma’s ficus and she’s been gone since 1993. But her memory remains because of the plant (& in many other ways too, of course!)


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    1. Some of mine have been around for generations. My iris are from the garden of my great grandmother, and my great niece digs them now. I got my rhubarb from my great grandfather before I was in kindergarten. Such plants will never be replaced.


  2. They are all interesting. I like the amaryllis. In the UK they’ve become something to have at Christmas, in a pot. We always have a couple, but have never managed to keep them from one year to the next.

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    1. Amaryllis that are forced in pots are fancier hybrids. The Amaryllis belladonna is just a common perennial that naturalizes in some areas. Some people dislike it because it is so prolific and so bright pink. I like mine because of their history. They do not divide enough to be bothersome.


    1. Yes; some have been around for a long time. I got my zonal geraniums when I was just a kid, and brought them with me to every home I lived in since then. They have been used as cover crop, and shared with gardens all over. I got my original agapanthus when I was instructed to remove them from one garden, but just chopped them apart and put them in other gardens. They too have followed me everywhere, and will soon be planted at work.


  3. I enjoyed reading the history of these plants, Tony. Our connections with growing things is deep and inexplicable. Are junipers highly discouraged where you are? They’ve become practically banned in Marin for fire hazard reasons…

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    1. Garden variety Junipers are still used occasionally in landscaping. However, the genus is on the ‘do not plant’ list for this particular region. I believe that it was listed because of fire hazard, but somehow became described as an invasive species instead. The juniper in the picture is not a garden variety, and is not commonly available here. It is undesirable within its native range because in proliferates in range land, and is no longer controlled by fire.


  4. The Red cedar grows here and I wish I had a few, my mother considered them a trash tree. And the Agapanthus..wish I had some that would do something. I love ‘historical’ plants I have a lot of plants in this garden that friends have grown from seed and given me, these are my favorites.

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    1. Neighbors where I took the red cedar from could not understand why I wanted them. I had never seen them before, and am still intrigued by them. There are two potted here, and the specimen in the picture will be coming here too.

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      1. I have seen it only in pictures. Eastern red cedar is rare here. Growers in Oregon used it for those weird ‘spiral’ ‘topiaries’. I do not know what cultivar was used. Italian cypress are the primary columnar evergreen here, but get too big to function as hedges.


      2. The pictures I saw were in New England. The trees were quite mature, so were plump down low. They looked to be more conical than columnar.


      3. The wild trees I saw in Oklahoma were remarkably variable, but all looked like diminutive cypress trees. Those that I brought back are all distinct from each other. If I want a row of similar trees, I would need to grow them from cuttings of the same specimen.


      4. That is fine in the wild, but not for a formal hedge or row of trees. (I will grow them as solitary trees anyway, so it does not matter.)


      5. I had considered getting a few of some sort of cultivar for a formal row of trees. However, I no longer have need for such trees. I prefer to grow the wild trees because they are what I encountered in Oklahoma.


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