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Newsletter 3/19/07 - The Spring Shipping Season Begins!

Is it March 15 yet? OK, so I was a few days behind in updating the web page. But with my new job, and my car in the shop for some major work, it has been kind of hectic lately and I deserve a little break! Or at least, that is what I shall tell myself, LOL.

So now, the exciting news is, I am all ready to sell and ship plants for the spring 2007 mail order season! The list is up to date and I have added 10 new plants so far. I am excited to offer two species of Puya! This genus of fabulous xeric terrestrial bromeliads (some of them gigantic) has been on my radar screen for a long time, and deserves much wider testing in gardens. I also have two nice Eryngiums, which I consider to be very rewarding because they look like they should need good drainage, but they do not: they are tough as nails and will grow about anywhere. I am also pleased to offer one Eucryphia (another is on the way), a beautiful, showy ornamental broadleaf evergreen. And you will find a couple of new New Zealand plants and a few other things.

Admittedly, a few plants had to disappear from the list, as I either sold out of them, they outgrew their pots (mostly eucalypts), or they froze (note to self: don’t leave Fuchsias out in tiny pots through 13 degrees. They are only hardy once established). But on the plus side, I should be able to add many more plants throughout the spring shipping season, more than making up for any losses.

Speaking of frozen plants, winter seems to finally be over and it’s time to assess my losses. It is a darn good thing I finished that second greenhouse just before winter, and was able to heat it throughout the winter, or the Desert Northwest might be no more! After a dip to 13 degrees F in November and 19 degrees F in January, with some high temperatures below freezing both times, and multiple snowfalls, it is no surprise that the Banksia serrata and Acacia retinodes I planted outside at the nursery last fall are quite dead. More disappointing is the death of Yucca whipplei, Fremontodendron x ‘California Glory’, Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius, Eucalyptus bicostata, E. delegatensis var. tasmaniensis, and E. approximans. Oh well, all plants have their limits somewhere, and the nursery is far from being in a sheltered microclimate. In some cases, the importance of starting with larger plants and cold hardy provenances has been noted. On the plus side, Grevillea lavandulacea ‘Penola’, Pittosporum ralphii, and Callistemon ‘Woodlanders Hardy’ all survived, which is impressive.

But fortunately spring is on the way, and the number of new plants propagated will soon far outweigh any losses. A quick trip to California was fun, and resulted in me returning with several Passiflora, Metrosideros umbellata, Acacia pravissima ‘Golden Carpet’ and others, that I shall use for stock plants (and the aforementioned car problems, LOL). I’ll have to keep looking for replacements for some of the Grevilleas I have killed in the past - I’d like to have another go at G. x gaudichaudii, G. victoriae ‘East Gippsland’ and G. acanthifolia. I passed by UC Berkeley this time, but enjoyed my usual visit to the garden formerly known as Strybing, UCSC, and a few nurseries. I also visited the botanic gardens at Tilden Regional Preserve for the first time: a fabulous collection of California native plants with more manzanitas and dudleyas than you would believe. I highly recommend it!

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