Posts Tagged ‘Lonicera pileata’

goodbye to a beloved botanical friend

For some unknown reason, my Rhaphithamnus spinosus…both of them…are dying, and after I had raved about them earlier this year and said every gardener should have one.  One day I saw a haze of brown in the background out the kitchen window and realized that one of two of these glorious Chilean trees, acquired about 7 years ago from the Heronswood of old and now about ten feet tall, had turned all crispy.  At least, I thought one survived, and it looked fine as I took photos of its stupendous berries.  But yesterday, when I went down into Allan’s garden, I saw that the second one is showing curling and drying of the small evergreen leaves.  I have no idea why, and it is so rare that Googling brings me few results…and only one place to buy a new one, a nursery back east.  Deb of Rainyside told me that Cistus had it a few years back, so perhaps they will carry it again.  Meanwhile I am sad.

Today I spent much time fighting with the overgrown Akebia in the back corner of the garden where no one goes because it is such a jungle.  This gave me a chance to enjoy that area, and it is now so much more accessible that maybe guests will dare to venture there.  Soon I may actually have enough progress to have an after photo of the overgrown path. I’m always impressed in the late summer with the Strobilanthus atropurpurea which is growing well back in that shady area and also in sun against the house wall.  It seeds around freely. This fall I intend to dig some out of the path to distribute among our clients (who so must have this plant, but every year I forget to share it), so until then the “after” path photo will have to wait.

Both the above plants gave me a hard time remembering their names.  I had to write “Rhaphithamnus spinosus” on a index card and put it in my kitchen window where I saw it whenever I looked out at the back garden.  I finally learned to remember “Strobilanthes” by associating it in my mind with “strobe light”.

Late summer bloomer Strobilanthes atropurpurea in shade and in sun

Yesterday I planted more of my new plants.  My “pot ghetto” is down to six plants on a small table and one gallon pot on the ground.  Yes!  We have been toying with the idea of going to the HPSO plant sale, but I think that I want a rest from new plants, a sensible plan which involves getting new areas prepared before more plants take over the entry patio.  A radical and unusual plan for a collector, but it might be worth a try.

(above left) TINY pot ghetto (Right) Allan reclaims space

Meanwhile, Allan has been working to reclaim the fireplace patio and the secret upper deck. The path was under so much leaf litter you would not even know it is there. The words “cobbler”, “children”, and “shoes” come to mind.

more garden vignettes: (left) My wonderful Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ in Allan’s garden; (right) a thriving pot of annuals on the stone steps

Having opened this entry with strikingly blue or purple  berries, I’ll close with some more.

I was amazed to find that Lonicera ‘Red Tips’ (left) has the same colour of berries as Lonicera pileata (right). I had no idea.

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