We do not spend much on plant material here. Actually, I purchase nothing. Removal of excessive vegetation is more of a priority than adding more. We purchased quite a bit of plant material this last week only because it was so very inexpensive from a supplier that is closing for business. All of it is new to our landscape. New Zealand tea tree is common locally, but was somehow never installed here. We got a single #15 specimen, although I did not add a picture of it here. We would prefer to install all of the new material early in the rainy season. By local standards, the weather is too cool to do so comfortably.

1. Frost happens here also. Fortunately, it is not too severe. This is the coolest spot in the region. Rhody should not mix randomly capitalized letters like this. ‘E’ should match ‘e’.

2. Canna ‘Red King Humbert’ melts when the weather gets this cool, even without frost. It is already trying to replace this foliage, so might melt again, but will be fine by spring.

3. Dicksonia antarctica, Tasmanian tree fern could perform better than the rather pekid Australian tree ferns in a cool and riparian landscape. We got only a single #5 specimen.

4. Physocarpus opulifolius, ninebark is the first that I have ever met! It is bronzed, but I do not remember its cultivar. It is too cool to go look now. We got twelve #15 specimens.

5. Pinus mugo, mugo pine looks like a smaller and greener version of mature specimens of dwarf white pine of last week. They eventually get bigger. We got thirty #5 specimens.

6. Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’, bird’s nest spruce will not be combined with mugo pine here. I was warned about their redundancy of form last week. We got forty-two #5 specimens!

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/


19 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Sale

  1. Can you grow Cyathea medullaris? now Sphaeropteris medullaris I see. We saw it growing as understory in a plantation of Sequoia near Ruapehu in New Zealand. Not an image I shall forget in a hurry. I’m slightly surprised that you would grow dwarfish forms of European conifers rather than American species, have they produced a lot of aberrant forms?

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    1. Cyathea medullaris is rare in Southern California, and I have never seen it here. I do not know why. Literature about it is very variable. Some literature says that it tolerates frost, and lives in climates that get significantly colder than ours. Others literature says that it can barely survive in the mildest climates of San Diego County. I do not know what to believe. I suspect that it is ‘reasonably’ happy in Los Angeles County, but would prefer a bit more humidity. Even if it could survive here, it might look a bit shabbier than it does in Los Angeles. Dicksonia antarctica is not my favorite tree fern, but is likely the most resilient here.


    2. Mugo pine likely became popular here because it had historically been popular in Japantown and other Japanese Communities of Western North America. It was popular among Americans of Japanese descent because it is so compatible with their distinct landscape style, as well as bonsai. It is considered to be a Japanese species rather than an alpine European species. Bird’s nest fir is not exactly popular here. We got as many as we did likely as a result of the grower growing more than was marketable. Not many landscape designers here know what it is. Like Mugo pine, it is likely to be mistaken for a Japanese conifer, rather than Norwegian or Scandinavian. The only dwarf cultivar of North American origin that I can think of is dwarf Alberta spruce, which is a runty cultivar of white spruce, Picea alba ‘Conica’.


    1. Thank you! Like beautyberry and black elderberry, it is one of those ‘common’ species that I have never experienced. I saw it in Nevada, but it was bare at the time. I want to see what all the fuss is about. The native species is nothing to brag about.

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    1. I thought that ninebark is popular everywhere but here. That is sort of why I wanted to try it. Of course, I did not intend to end up with a dozen big specimens all at once! I am not adequately acquainted with it to know where to put it within the landscapes. I can only go by what we read about it. I do not remember the name of cultivar that we got, but it is now a more common sort within regions where it is common. Although it is modern, it looks sort of traditional to me, like hawthorn or honeysuckle.


      1. The source I was reading from said it made a good hedge; also that it din’t do well in hot humid weather in the south, which was confusing given it’s a Missouri native, but couldn’t explain why I haven’t seen it, being a denizen of Virginia. It does have an old look, like privet or bridal veil. You should use it to enclose something, I guess. A sheltered garden…

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      2. It will not be shorn as a refined hedge, since deciduous hedges are so unacceptable here, . . . and because we lack gardeners to shear such hedges. However, it may work like an informal hedge or screen. The mugo pines will be foundation planting on two of the lodges, although one of these foundation planting rows will be quite a distance from the frontage of the associated lodge. Ninebark may also be large scale foundation planting behind the pines of that particular lodge, to partially obscure a high foundation wall below ground floor balconies. I do not mind that it is deciduous, since it does not need to obscure the foundation completely.


    1. Now that they are here, they really look like two items that should not be mixed. The dwarf white pine is likewise. I mean, they develop similar dense and rounded form, but with different foliar texture, sort of like capital and lower case ‘E’. So-called ‘landscapers’ often put lily of the Nile with daylily, but at least they bloom so differently that no one minds. I hope that the ninebark does well here, and I suspect that it will grow up to be tenbark or more!


      1. The mugo pine will become foundation planting at two of the lodges. They will be in a row, like a hedge, but with too much space in between for them to fill in completely. They will be out quite a distance from the foundations, rather than right up against them, but will have the same effect from below. Although they will not obscure the underside of the lower balconies of the buildings completely, they will disrupt the expansiveness of them. (There is a cinder block foundation wall that is about five feet tall, and the ground slopes downward away from it, so even if the mugo pines get tall, they will not be as high as the lower balconies.) That is likely much more information than could be useful. The bird’s nest spruce may become a border within another landscape a considerable distance away. Like the mugo pines and dwarf white pines, they will be too far apart to fill in like a hedge. So, although they will not mix, the ‘pattern’ will be repeated in at least three locations. I like the ninebark because it is compatible with the forested landscape beyond the cultivated landscape. We like our landscapes to blend like that.


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