Rhody and I needed to go to San Jose for the past three days, and will be going there again at least until April. We had not been there or even into the Santa Clara Valley for a very long time. I did not realize how long we had been gone until I collected my accumulation of mail on the way through town, and found Christmas cards!

1. Tecoma stans is the second most important topic of my Six for this week! The Shrub Queen sent me these seed from wild plants that are native to Southern Florida! It is so rare here that I had seen it only a few times prior. A compact cultivar became available only a few years ago. I wanted the straight species. Embarrassingly, these seed were in my mailbox since December.

2. Camellia japonica is still blooming, with buds that will continue even longer. Technically, it is not late. Some bloom as late as March. I do not remember the name of this particular cultivar.

3. Ribes sanguineum is native to the forests only a few miles from here. This one and another like it were planted here a few years ago. Two others that bloomed white did not last very long.

4. Narcissus pseudonarcissus, or simply ‘daffodil’, bloom sporadically in the oddest of situations. Their bulbs remained where they got planted years ago, as the landscape changed over them.

5. Spirea prunifolia ‘Plena’ is sparsely branched, but perhaps delightfully so. I am surely no expert in regard to aesthetics, but it seems to me that more profuse bloom would be less delicate.

6. Rhody is the most important topic of my Six for this week. This was the moment immediately prior to his realization that I was aiming the camera at him, and his spry reaction to avoid it.

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



39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Do you know the way to San Jose?

  1. It’s always a good start to the year to have new seeds to try. I am watching seedlings collected from a special snowdrop in the garden and hoping it may lead to something nice. Ribes are popular here; common garden plants, easy and reliable – white flowers being especially prized.

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    1. Ribes sanguineum is a native species that is probably not much like the fruiting currants of the East and Europe. Those are actually rare here. This native species makes only a few small berries with icky flavor.

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      1. That is an odd species to be popular there. It is a chaparral species, and does not live for very long, even here. (Although the specimen that I got the picture of is nearly thirty years old.) That would make sense why the white blooming sort are desirable. They are uncommon, probably because they are not easy to grow in cans.

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      2. A number of them? That is even more intriguing. Here, where they grow wild and really should be more popular than they are, I am aware of only two cultivars. We are missing out on our own native species!


    1. Yes, that spireais pretty sharp. I did not expect anyone else to agree. The flowers are small, sparse and white. Most people prefer the bigger and more colorful flowers. I like how delicate the spirea bloom is, like small apricot blossoms.

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    1. Rhody is ALWAYS cute. He is busy doing it right now.
      Ribes sanguineum is rather boring for the rest of the year though. It is exquisite in bloom, but occupies space that could be utilized by something more utilitarian. I like them at work because there is plenty of space. In my own garden, I would prefer fruiting currants.

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    1. It is native to Mexico and the rest of Central America, as well as the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Arizona, southern New Mexico and southern Texas. It is not native here though. I saw it in a landscape in San Jose years ago, and have been wanting to grow it since then.

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  2. The Tecoma stans is native here, and it’s everywhere. It’s used in a good bit of commercial landscaping; it twines around the pillars in front of my grocery store, and there’s a vet clinic that has huge stands of it in front of the place. It’s often growing in the woods, too. It’s a lovely plant.

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    1. It twines?! I think of it as a free standing large shrub or even a small tree. The specimen that I met in San Jose was leaning on a garage. I thought that it would stand without support with a bit of pruning. Most species that I know of in that family happen to be vines though, and some climb aggressively.


  3. Thank you for reminding me of Spirea prunifolia ‘Plena’. I love the white flowers on the branches and as Paddy says the ornamental ribes is grown here. Interesting to hear that is native with you and yet the currant bushes are not so common. I am now singing(badly) do you know the way to San Jose. I’m sure you do!

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    1. ‘Do you know the way to San Jose’ by Dionne Warwick was common on the radio when I was a kid. I thought it was weird. San Jose was so close that she should have figured out how to get there.
      Spireas are unpopular here. It is a pleasure to find them. I believe that currants are unpopular both because so few of us know what they are, and even fewer know that they can grow here. Even flowering currant is somewhat uncommon, but likely because it is not so practical for refined landscapes.

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    1. I can not figure out why Rhody objects to getting his picture taken. Willow (Bill) and Privet before him objected as well.
      Everyone seems to like the flowering currant. I did not think they were so popular.


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