Real Deal

Oh My! I forgot about this recycled article from 2018. It most definitely conforms the Horridculture meme for Wednesdays.

Tony Tomeo

P80203Stereotypes can be such a bother. For the past almost twenty years that I have been writing my gardening column, many of those who read the column have been making assumptions about who I am and how I behave. I actually find much of the behavior that I should conform to be rather objectionable. Even the lingo would be awkward for me. I am a horticulturist, and if you must know, an arborist as well. It is my profession. I did not take an interest in horticulture because I retired or got bored with my primary career. Nor did I flunk out at everything else. I am not a garden guru, flower floozy or hortisexual. I do not crowd my garden with garden fairies, repurposed junk or rare and unusual plants. There is nothing eclectic or quaint. There is no whimsy or magic, and most certainly NO riot of color!…

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Halston Junior

If gophers can procreate annually, the gophers who torment us now may be the great grandchildren of Halston Junior, and the great great grandchildren of Halston! However, Halston must be deceased by now, and Halston Junior is either also deceased, or is very elderly after three years.

Tony Tomeo

P80610Apparently, the warnings were effective. https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/caution/ . They managed to avoid the traps and survive to perpetuate another generation under the lawn of Felton Covered Bridge Park. It is impossible to know if they are directly related to the now deceased Halston https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/halston/ who infested a landscape only about two miles away. It is unimportant. They all are intent on conquest.

Halston Junior, a baby gopher who may or may not be a descendant of the famed Halston, was found wet and shivering on the surface of the ridiculously perforated lawn. Rhody wanted to play, but was restrained from consorting with the enemy. The prisoner was detained, dried and put in one of Rhody’s blankets to recover. There was no formal interrogation, but the detainee was found to be well armed.

It is impossible to imagine what sort of damage such sharp and strong claws could inflict!P80610+

It is equally…

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Souvenir

This recycled article explains why I purchase almost nothing from nurseries.

Tony Tomeo

P80609KNurseries are full of plants for sale. That is their business. They sell plants, and whatever plants need. With a bit of money, it is easy to purchase plants to compose an exquisite landscape. That is important to landscape professionals who make a business of composing landscapes to beautify the environments in which they work.

Those of us who enjoy home gardening might also purchase plants that we want for our garden. Yet, our home gardens are more than mere landscapes that are designed to simply beautify. The might also produce flowers for cutting, fruits and vegetables. Some might produce firewood. Gardens are usable spaces for active lifestyles. They are spaces for us to grow whatever we want to grow.

I buy almost nothing for my garden. The last item I purchased was a ‘John F. Kennedy’ rose, and I only did so because it was easier than growing one…

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O

Horridculture on Wednesdays used to be about aberrations of horticulture. I would contend that this recycled article could potentially conform to that tradition; but that is because I find disruptive wildlife to be objectionable. I suspect that most would disagree. It seems that everyone likes Kenny. https://tonytomeo.com/2018/09/16/kenny/

Tony Tomeo

P80530

‘O’ is for ‘opossum’. That it the proper common name for the familiar North American critter who lives in or near many home gardens where fruit, vegetables or pet food are available. When a similar critter was found in Australia, it was given the same name by someone who did not spell it properly, hence ‘possum’. It is marsupial, and therefore related to many familiar Australian critters like koalas, kangaroos and the most terrifying of all, wallabies. Well, if the North American name can be applied to an Australian critter, it only makes sense that the Australian name can be applied to the North American critter. Thought technically and correctly ‘opossum’, many of us know them simply as ‘possum’, without the preceding ‘O’.

Opossums have a vast native range in North America. They can live anywhere that does not get too cold for them. They have likely always lived in…

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Not So Fruitless Cherry Trees

Three years after this presently recycled article posted, these trees have not yet been cut down. They must be very soon. They got to bloom one last time (again), but are unable to support the weight of their own trunks any longer.

Tony Tomeo

P80520The ‘politically correct’ designation for them now is ‘flowering cherry’. We all know what it means, but it is not quite as accurate. After all, they all flower. Fruiting cherries can not make fruit without flowering first. The old fashioned designation as ‘fruitless cherry’ is more accurate, but not so appealing. Besides, after half a century, the work of these two deteriorating old fruitless cherry trees has not been in vain.

We are not certain what cultivar they are. I think of them as ‘Akebono’ because that is what I am familiar with. However, those who have been acquainted with them longer know them as ‘Yoshino’. The tree structure seems to be more similar to that of ‘Akebono’. The bloom seems to be more similar to that of ‘Yoshino’. My Mother happens to like ‘Akebono’, so if she ever asks, I know what to say. However, I would tell my…

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FLUX

This recycled article might seem like it would conform to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday, but is merely about a disease that looks worse than it actually is.

Tony Tomeo

P80523This unhappy native white alder, Alnus rhombifolia, had been deteriorating for quite a while. White alders do not last long even in the wild. A few nearby have already been removed. This one is next. They were nice and shady when the landscape was new. Nicely maturing sycamores and a bigleaf maple can take over for this one now.

As bad as it looks, this nasty stain had nothing to do with the imminent doom of this tree. It developed only recently, and very quickly. It is not nearly as bad as it looks. If the tree were not to be removed, it could survive with this problem for quite a while. Other healthier trees can live with it for many years or indefinitely, and some actually recover.

It is ‘flux’. More specifically, it is slime flux, which is also known as bacterial wetwood. The obvious symptoms are this…

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Golden Pfitzer Juniper

Fresh new shoots are most colorful.

Of the several junipers that were too common decades ago, the golden pfitzer juniper, Juniperus X pfitzeriana ‘Area’, was the one outfitted with cheery, bright yellow new foliage each spring. Similar but more compact varieties that are more popular now were rare back then, or simply not yet invented. Contrary to the stigma, golden pfitzer juniper is a very tough shrub, which is why so many from decades ago remain in older gardens, and new plants can sometimes be found in nurseries. Once established, they need very little water, or none at all. A bit of partial shade is tolerable, but inhibits color. Angular branches radiate outward, with the finely textured foliage drooping only slightly at the tips. Mature plants get wider than six feet, and taller than four feet. Crowded plants can stand taller than six feet. Golden pfitzer juniper can technically be shorn as hedges, but are so much more appealing if selectively pruned to maintain their natural form. They are at their best where they have space to spread out naturally without pruning.

Jumping Juniper!

Finally, a recycled article that ‘almost’ conforms to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday. I do find the unpleasant stigma of junipers to be objectionable.

Tony Tomeo

P80519KOh, the stigma of juniper never gets old! No matter how many cool new cultivars get introduced, and how many specie get rediscovered, they are still though of as those nastily prickly ‘tams’ that were too common in the 1950s. Even some of us who really like junipers dislike tams, not only because they share their stigma with all other members of the genus, but also because they really are nasty and prickly, and not as useful as their overuse would suggest. Are they deep ground cover or shallow shrubbery? They might work for a few years, or maybe many years, but they eventually crash into each other or other plants and pile up into a dense thicket that can not be pruned without being deprived of all dignity.

In the neighborhood where I primarily work, we have a ‘do not plant’ list. Such lists typically cite specie that are…

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Honeysuckle

Oh, I still like to brag about this unimpressive honeysuckle.

Tony Tomeo

P80526K

This is no ordinary honeysuckle. It is quite less than ordinary. It is not available in local nurseries. No one here wants it. Although it might be available from nurseries that provide native plants within the native range of this honeysuckle, most of those who find it in their garden probably do not want it there. After all, there are plenty of more desirable honeysuckles to grow. Some have more fragrant bloom. Some have more colorful bloom.

As you can see, this honeysuckle is not very impressive. It is about as shrubby as it is vining, and does not get very big. The small white flowers lack fragrance, and are not very abundant.

What I like about this honeysuckle is that it came all the way from Oklahoma. ( https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/oklahoma/ ) It is native there. I do not remember what honeysuckle it is at the moment. I brought it back…

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Fleabane

Since this recycled article posted three years ago, the fleabane has been removed from my planter box downtown because it was just a bit too aggressive there. It climbed over the succulents and looked sloppy through summer. At work, it still acorns stone walls where nothing else survives.

Tony Tomeo

P80513Erigeron karvinskianus

Is it really supposed to be the bane of fleas? If so, why? I learned it as Santa Barbara daisy. Is it native there, or was a particular variety of it named for Santa Barbara? Is it a weed? Is it native? Is it a native of somewhere else in California that merely naturalized here? There are so many questions about this simple little flower that is growing wild under a cyclone fence at the backside of a motorcourt at work.

Whether it really is native or not, or whether it is a straight species or a selected variety of one, fleabane happens to do well in drought tolerant landscapes composed of native plants. It naturally spreads out to form shallow but wide mounds. If it gets cut back in its off season, it comes right back. Although it dies after only a few years, lower stems typically…

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