Friday, October 13, 2017

Time to Order from Gossler Farms Nursery

Last week I received my 2017-2018 Gossler Farms Nursery retail catalog and I didn't have to pay the $2.00 like it says on the front cover. Roger Gossler visits and orders once or twice a year, which he has done since the beginning of time, and he “cherry picks” our best plants. Many nurseries hate it when customers attempt to do that, but at Buchholz Nursery we don't mind because we grow only the cherries anyway. Roger orders a wide array of plants from our three categories: 1) maples, 2) conifers and 3) everything else, but the common theme to his choices is that every plant is fun. Imagine that – making a living by peddling fun!

Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph'

Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons'

Probably many of you Flora Wonder Blog readers already know about Gossler Nursery, but if you don't you are encouraged to head to and get a catalog, even if he sticks you for the two bucks. Many listings come from my nursery, such as Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph', Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Sparkling Arrow', Ginkgo biloba 'Troll', Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons', Acer palmatum 'Peve Starfish' and more, but in today's blog I will mention other choice plants that come from different sources, and you can be sure that I'll soon get my order in.

Berberis replicata

Gossler writes about Berberis replicata, “People always see this barberry and ask what it is and want it.” And why not, since it is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with narrow leaves colored rich purple on the new growth. Gossler states that his plant is 8' tall by 9' wide in 20 years, and in other areas it has proven hardy to -20 degrees F. Pale yellow flowers appear in May and black-purple berries adorn the shrub in fall and winter. The specific name is due to leaf margins turned backwards (i.e. replicated). It was introduced from Yunnan, China by George Forrest in 1917 and it received an Award of Merit in 1923.

Acer palmatum 'Shirazz'

Acer palmatum 'Geisha Gone Wild'

I used to grow a few Acer palmatum 'Shirazz', a New Zealand selection that originated as a sport on Acer palmatum 'Geisha'. 'Geisha' is notorious for reverting and sometimes the mutant growth can be attractive and a stronger garden performer than its parent. I know because my 'Geisha Gone Wild' discovery occurred at about the same time and in the same manner as 'Shirazz'. The only difference between the two is that 'Shirazz' is patented and mine is not, and my initial purpose to grow 'Shirazz' was to see if there was any difference, if one was maybe a little better than the other...but they're the same. Gossler is two-timing me with the 'Shirazz' listing since I don't grow it anymore, but maybe he likes the name better than 'Geisha Gone Wild'.

Arisaema flavum

Gossler lists Arisaema flavum which he calls, “Not a showstopper, but a fun plant in late summer when the red seeds appear.” I would agree with that. The yellow flowers are small and are hidden by the dark green leaves, but if you paw through the foliage to find them they are as interesting as any aroid. A. flavum is native to eastern Africa and southern Asia and it is somewhat edible and used as a famine food. You can get a 1 gallon pot from Gossler for only $15.00 which makes it a fairly inexpensive meal.

Arisaema sikokianum Silver foliage form

Gossler calls Arisaema sikokianum's Silver foliage form “simply amazing.” It is the Japanese “Jack in the Pulpit” and comes from the island of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Heronswood Globe'

I used to grow Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Heronswood Globe', in fact I provided grafts to the now defunct Heronswood Nursery for a couple of years. The photo above is of the original seedling – 15 years ago – in Washington state but I don't know if it currently exists. The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs lists it, surprisingly enough, calling it a “slow-growing bushy dwarf selection.” My experience was that it was vigorous, too vigorous, and that all grafts would eventually grow into upright trees. Another problem was that no one would buy my trees so I wasn't overly sad when my one last specimen was cut down for outgrowing its place in the garden. I attempted to root 'Heronswood Globe', for that would certainly reduce its rate of growth, but I never got any to strike root. Anyway, I'm not going to order one from Gossler; but I don't mean to be negative – you should if you have room.

Desfontainia spinosa

René Louiche Desfontaines
I might order a Desfontainia spinosa 'Heronswood', and I assume the cultivar epithet refers to its introduction from the aforementioned Heronswood Nursery. The spinosa species (“Chilean holly”) is one of three found in Central and South America and it was introduced by William Lobb from Costa Rica in 1843. The genus was named for the French botanist René Louiche Desfontaines (1750-1833). I would probably have to keep my plant inside a greenhouse as it is probably a USDA zone 8 plant, although I know one grows outdoors at the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden in Washington state (it always looks crappy though). One of D. spinosa's common names is Borrachero de Paramo or “intoxicator of the swamp,” and the Columbian shamans of the Kamsa tribe make a tea “to dream” or to see visions and diagnose diseases. Others report that the tea will “make you go crazy.” One thing is certain: you don't want your doctor to be drinking the concoction!

Daphne genkwa Hackenberry Group

Robert Fortune

Daphne genkwa is the “lilac daphne,” and it is a deciduous shrub from China, Taiwan and Korea. It was introduced from China in 1843 by Robert Fortune, the spy and thief who also stole tea plants and tea-processing information from the Chinese. Gossler offers the “show stopper” form called the Hackenberry Group, a clone or clones with lighter-colored flowers than the type, at least in our nursery. This “group” arose as seedlings raised by Don Hackenberry from seed originating in the wild in China, collected by the Beijing Botanic Garden.

Juniperus coxii

Juniperus coxii

E.H.M. Cox
I notice that Gossler lists Juniperus recurva 'Coxii'. Most of the literature does not regard Coxii as a cultivar, but rather as a variety – so var. coxii with a small “c.” Hillier describes it as “An elegant small tree with gracefully drooping branchlets which are longer and more pendulous than the typical variety.” Just two weeks ago I saw a healthy gorgeous specimen at the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden. What a coincidence since I cut my oldest (25-year-old) tree down from the Upper Gardens the day before because I concluded that my arboretum is not a hospital for unattractive, struggling trees. My coxii suffered this past winter at near 0 degrees F, and in our brutal summer's heat it declined even further. Nothing is more unbecoming than a sickly old juniper, but still it was difficult to pull its plug. My old specimen was grafted onto Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket'. I suppose Roger sells plants that are on their own roots – either from cuttings or from seedlings. In any case $24.00 is a steal for a 2-gallon pot, but only if you garden in a climate a little warmer than I do in Oregon. For what it's worth, Debreczy/Racz in Conifers Around the World (2011) gives coxii species rank, and state, “It is morphologically similar and has been considered a variety of J. recurva, but recent molecular studies support its treatment at species rank.” The name coxii is due to its discovery and introduction by E.H.M. Cox and Reginald Farrer from Upper Myanmar in 1920.

Magnolia 'Burncoose'

Gossler Farms Nursery has always specialized in magnolias, and the visitor to their Springfield, Oregon location will be treated to enormous flowering specimens in spring. In fact, our office Manager Eric Lucas has been growing magnolia from Gossler long before he came to work at Buchholz Nursery. Of Magnolia 'Burncoose' Roger states that “we got our original scionwood from Dr. Corbin's garden in Portland.” And so did I. Dr. Corbin received scionwood from various sources in the magnolia vanguard, then he would graft them onto the canopies of older established trees, thus having his new cultivar – such as 'Burncoose' – flower profusely in just a couple of years. The skinny doctor would climb into his trees at an advanced age to perform the graft...which was quite a sight. Naturally his wife fretted below, but the doctor loved to display his climbing prowess. Magnolia 'Burncoose' originated at the Burncoose Nurseries in Cornwall, England as a seedling from Magnolia sprengeri var. sprengeri 'Diva'.

Magnolia kobus var. stellata 'Jane Platt'

Gossler Nursery is famous for its introduction of Magnolia kobus var. stellata 'Jane Platt'. The late Mrs. Platt was well-known for her tasteful, artistically inspired garden in Portland, Oregon. In it was a magnolia grown as M. stellata 'Rosea', but Roger Gossler recognized it as being superior – a stronger pink – than the typical var. rosea. He writes, “One of the finest plants we have ever found. We named this glorious plant for our friend and mentor back in the 80's. This star magnolia can have 60 tepals that are a pretty light pink. We are thrilled that M. 'Jane Platt' received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.” The flower color can vary somewhat from year to year, but I agree that this large shrub/small tree is one of the finest plants that one can grow. I purposely planted one along the driveway to my home and it is stunning when blooming in the afternoon light in late April.

Camellia 'Black Magic' on Omphalodes cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram'

Gossler lists Omphalodes 'Cherry Ingram' which is named for the English gardener Collingwood Ingram (of flowering cherry fame). I had to look up Omphalodes for I wasn't familiar with the genus. When Roger describes it as a low-growing perennial (1' tall) with brilliant blue flowers in March-April, then I recalled seeing it in his garden on early spring visits. I didn't know what it was then and I didn't think to ask. Now I think I would like one and he charges only $10.00 for a 1-gallon plant. I don't know how O. cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram' differs from the type but it did win an Award of Garden Merit. It is commonly called “navelwort” due to the shape of the seeds, as omphalos is the Greek word for “navel.” It is a cousin to the Forget-me-not and is also called Blue-eyed Mary.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Fenway Park'

J.G. Veitch
Parthenocissus tricuspidata is known as “Boston ivy” even though the species is native to Japan, Korea and China. It was introduced from Japan by J.G. Veitch in 1862. Gossler offers 'Fenway Park', a gold-leaved form of the climber and says “Our plant is in full south facing sun and thrives.” It was discovered as a sport on the normally green ivy in 1988 by Peter Del Tredici of the Arnold Arboretum. And no, it wasn't found in Fenway Park – home of baseball's Boston Red Sox – but rather on an apartment building near Fenway Park. I had seen it for sale in retail garden centers but never thought much of it, but after seeing 'Fenway Park' cover an entire building at Shadow Nursery in Tennessee a few years ago, I was impressed enough to get one for my plant collection. The botanic name is a mouthful, but comes from Greek parthenos meaning a “virgin” and kissos meaning “ivy” while tricuspidata means “three-toothed” in reference to the leaves.

Quercus macrolepis 'Hemelrijk Silver'

The reason for a Gossler blog is because of the new catalog, but also by coincidence they picked up an order yesterday from us and Roger gifted me a Quercus macrolepis 'Hemelrijk Silver'. Hillier (2014) lets us know that the oak is now Q. ithaburensis ssp. macrolepis, "a small to medium-sized tree with grey-tomentose twigs." 'Hemelrijk Silver' was grown from seed collected on the island of Rhodes by Robert and Jelena de Belder, a famous plant couple from Belgium, the late owners of Arboretum Kalmthout near Antwerp. Roger doesn't know the trees' eventual size, but assumes that it's not huge as his grows 6-12" per season. In any case I've got plenty of room at Flora Farm and I hope to get it in the ground next week.

Rosa moyesii 'Geranium'

Last year Gossler gave me a Rosa moyesii 'Geranium', and in his catalog he claims, "This is the true R. moyesii 'Geranium' (there are many imposters). A 10-12' shrub with single red flowers (Red is only a general description. It is really different red). In late summer-fall the hips turn a glorious peachy orange." Hillier explains further that 'Geranium' is a hybrid of R. moyesii "which it resembles, but slightly more compact in habit..." Also the fruits are said to be slightly larger and smoother. "Raised at RHS Garden Wisley in 1938. AM 1950."

Rosa moyesii 'Regalia'

E.H. Wilson
R. moyesii is native to western China and it is commonly known as "Mandarin Rose." The American Rose Society wrongly claims that the species was discovered and introduced by E.H. Wilson, but it was first discovered in 1893 by A.E. Pratt, and then introduced by Wilson in 1903. Wilson was collecting for the Veitch Nursery firm, who first exhibited it in flower in June 1908. The specific name commemorates the Reverend J. Moyes, a missionary in China whose Protestant organization encouraged members to wear Chinese dress and sport pig-tails to impress the locals who were undergoing the conversion attempt.

Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'

Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'

Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'

I wouldn't want a Viburnum opulus 'Aureum' in the middle of my Display Garden, but I am most happy to have it growing in a semi-wild state down by the pond. Gossler says, "This Viburnum has golden leaves from April-October." The white lace-cap flowers are mainly lost in the golden foliage, and I know that many Junes have come and gone that I have missed them in bloom. Ah well, the rosy-red leaves are attractive in early fall, then they turn to absolute purple by November. If grown in shade the leaves will be lemon-green, but if placed in full sun they can burn (in Oregon) so wise siting is important. Viburnum opulus is commonly known as the "European cranberry bush" and sometimes as "cramp bark" as its medicine can help regulate cycles and relieve menstrual cramps. Yikes! – glad to be a guy.

Stewartia pseudocamellia 'Pewter'

Stewartia koreana

It's obvious by now that Gossler Farms Nursery offers a wide selection of choice garden trees and shrubs. One genus that is well represented is Stewartia, in fact some would go so far as to call them snob trees. They aren't cheap, but the species and cultivars offered must be considered. S. pseudocamellia 'Pewter' was discovered by Guy Meacham of PlantMad and it features green leaves with a silver sheen. S. pseudocamellia 'Pillar Bella' was discovered by Oregon's Crispin Silva and it's grown for its columnar form. Silva also discovered S. sinensis 'Gardens Guardian', and after 12 years the full bushy original is only 6' tall by 2' wide. You can also buy a Stewartia koreana, and a 50-year-old specimen in Eric Gossler's yard shows off its red autumn foliage that "can be seen for a quarter mile away." Hillier classifies it as Stewartia pseudocamellia Koreana Group and describes its bark as giving the "effect of beautifully marked snakeskin," and the species (or "variety" or "group") was introduced by E.H. Wilson on the Korean peninsula in 1917.

Besides offering great garden plants, Roger Gossler is known for his "garden coaching," for those who want assistance with their gardens, and if you bite you'll receive a 10% discounts on all plants purchased for the next month after the visit. The old geezer is probably worth your time, and I'll quote one of his happy customers:

Inviting Roger into our garden to be a "garden coach" was one of our best horticultural investments. He has an almost endless amount of information regarding plant growth and habit. His depth and knowledge on what to plant where, why, when and how was a great help to us. And, perhaps most important, it was wonderful fun. A visit from Roger would leave us quite excited about new plant possibilities. In a few words and wild hand gestures, he could turn an ugly shady corner bed into a colorful hydrangea planting that would be beautiful and hide the shed wall and fence. We will continue to use the garden coach service and we know that each visit from Roger will be enjoyable and full of new information.

Sincerely, N.B.

Surprisingly this year's catalog didn't make mention that you can also purchase Gossler's book, The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs Timber Press (2009), but I'm sure that they still have plenty of copies in their closets. This book goes far beyond my blog to reveal the Gossler experience, and I have read it word for word at least three times.

Roger Gossler

Running a nursery is a tough profession, but when you consider your plant friends, like Roger, it is a wonderful experience.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Solo Saturday

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Robin in the rain
Such a saucy fellow.
Robin in the rain
Mind your socks of yellow.
Running in the garden on your nimble feet,
Digging for your dinner with your long strong beak.
Robin in the rain,
You don't mind the weather
Showers always make you gay.
Bet the worms are wishing you would stay at home,
Robin on a rainy day – don't get your feet wet,
Robin on a rainy day!


Last Saturday, 9/30/2017, I arrived at the nursery at 7 AM but I didn't report to anyone because no one was scheduled to work that weekend. Finally, two days to myself without employees or customers or delivery trucks...or problems, or complaints or broken equipment that would need repaired. Just me in a warm September drizzle. Our past summer was long and brutal with the irrigation team keeping the nursery vital almost every day of the week. Often I would have business to attend to in a certain greenhouse, but after a five-minute walk to the location I would discover the greenhouse engulfed with irrigation, and I would have to mentally reschedule my visit. Imagine the annoyance of trying to cut 25,000 maple scions – from 400 different cultivars – while dodging the damn sprinklers!

But today we're overcast and in the mid-60's for the high temperature. The earth exudes its petrichor*, the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. Today it is baking and muggy in Baghdad and Calcutta but we are crisp and clean in western Oregon, and there is the temptation to shed my clothes and prance naked amongst the trees. Oooh – sorry for the visuals.

*“Petrichor” is from Greek petra meaning “stone” and ichor, referring to the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.


Acer palmatum 'Summer Gold'

I stick to the greenhouses to avoid the rain and my first stop is GH18 where we keep the maple grafts. I have visited at least once a day since July 17th, our first day of grafting, and I like to flick off the half-inch petioles which after three weeks is an indication that the graft has taken. These will eventually fall off by themselves, especially when new growth appears at the fourth or fifth week on the scion, but I like to initiate the process. A year ago we achieved an excellent grafting percentage, but every season is different and I worry about the prospects for every one of the 25,000 that we did this summer. At least the Acer palmatum 'Summer Gold' grafts look good at this point.

Acer macrophyllum 'Mocha Rose'

Acer macrophyllum 'Golden Riddle'

Acer macrophyllum 'Santiam Snow'

The Acer macrophyllum cultivars are looking good as well. Not many companies produce forms of the “Big-leaf maple” because they're only hardy to -10 degrees (USDA zone 6) and because of their eventual size. A hundred grafts per year is enough for me, and this summer we divided the rootstock up for 'Mocha Rose', 'Golden Riddle' and 'Santiam Snow'. The intention will be to list them for sale at 4-5 years of age when they'll be about 8'-12' tall. I planted all three cultivars in full sun in the Quercus section at Flora Farm and eventually the canopies will mingle. I was especially pleased that the variegated 'Santiam Snow' held up without significant burning on our 106 degree day in July. The newly planted 'Golden Riddle' did burn – not surprising for an unestablished golden tree – but then new growth appeared in August and it withstood a number of 90 degree days. I guess that I mess around with these macrophyllums because the species is native to Oregon's woods and I have known the big monsters all of my life. It was introduced to Europe by Scotsman David Douglas in 1826 and scientifically described by the German-American botanist Frederick Pursh who was noted for studying the plants collected on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Davidia involucrata 'White Dust'

Davidia involucrata 'Aya nishiki'

Davidia involucrata 'Lady Sunshine'

Last year we grafted Davidia involucrata cultivars at the same time (August) as the maples with great success, so we're hoping for the same results again this year. We did a small number of 'White Dust' which we propagate about every third year...just to keep a few trees around the nursery. I don't really care for its white variegation but I am impressed with the reddish new growth. 'Aya nishiki' can be spectacular – like in Tokyo where the summers are humid – but Oregon's dry 106 degrees scorched the variegated leaves. Still, it's good to keep a few trees around. The bulk of our rootstocks are reserved for 'Lady Sunshine', a cultivar that is as spectacular as any variegated tree. It was discovered and introduced by Crispin Silva of Oregon, a plantsman with a small nursery, but notable for a large number of worthy plant introductions.

Stewartia monadelpha 'Pendula'

Last year we grafted about fifty Stewartia monadelpha 'Pendula' onto Stewartia pseudocamellia rootstocks. It was a 100% failure as zero grafts took. Hmm...was it because the crew spaced out and forgot to vent the poly on a very hot day? It was probably 150 degrees under the poly and the rootstock leaves burned, or did the grafts not take due to another reason or reasons? Stewartias are notoriously difficult to graft anyway, and one hates to scar the expensive rootstocks. With S. monadelpha as rootstock I achieved 15% success for 'Pendula' one winter with grafts placed on the hot pipe, and that has been my best result yet. I'm still growing these expensive trees on to a larger size before selling, and I will need a couple hundred dollars each before I can break even. I am unaware of anyone else in America who is producing this cultivar, with my start coming from Japan. I think it is a recent horticultural discovery, so the 'Pendula' name is not valid, and I would love to know what it is really called in Japan.

Cornus florida 'Autumn Gold'

Ok, that's enough time with new grafts in GH18 and I decided to wander into other greenhouses with more established plants. The end of September is an ugly time at the nursery with very little looking fresh, and not much yet in fall color. One exception was some containers of Cornus florida 'Autumn Gold', which normally turn a light golden color as the name implies. But as you can see (above) this year I am treated to some pink and purple leaves as well. 'Autumn Gold' flowers precociously, that is the cream-white blossoms (bracts) appear before the leaves, and then in fall the small red fruits blend spectacularly with golden foliage and golden-colored twigs. This wonderful dogwood is a selection from Don Shadow of Tennessee. We propagate by grafting onto Cornus kousa rootstock in winter on our hot-callus pipe.

Rhododendron luteum

In the same greenhouse I discovered that the deciduous Rhododendron luteum was displaying rich red autumn leaves, while a few old yellow flowers from summer were still clinging to the bush. R. luteum is known as the “yellow azalea” or “honeysuckle azalea,” and is a species native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. The blossoms are strongly perfumed, too much really, and one year when I brought a bouquet into the house my wife threw it out in less than an hour. Besides, the nectar is toxic, and the Greeks knew as early as the 4th century B.C. the dangers of R. luteum bee honey when supposedly 10,000 soldiers in the army of Xenophon became ill along the Black Sea coast of Turkey. R. luteum should not be confused with R. lutescens, the latter being evergreen and coming from southwest China.

Calocedrus decurrens 'Berrima Gold' at Arboretum Trompenburg

GH12 is a graft house where we heat it up in winter and produce various evergreen conifers. We've never had such a good take before on Calocedrus decurrens 'Berrima Gold' as last year and I think every one of the 500 grafts was successful. Due to last winter's abundance I decided to not purchase rootstock this year as 500 of any one conifer is quite a few for our small company. 'Berrima Gold' is especially attractive in the winter garden with its orange twigs and glowing golden foliage, and a mature specimen is particularly useful in the landscape due to its narrow habit. The largest tree that I have ever seen is growing at Arboretum Trompenburg in Rotterdam, just in front of the late Dick van Hoey Smith's house. The genus name is from Greek kalos for “beautiful” and cedrus for a “cedar tree,” and Calocedrus is a member of the Cupressaceae family.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro'

GH12 also contains a nice crop of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' from last winter's grafting. All of them are borrowing the disease resistant lawson rootstock 'D.R.', and shame on any company that peddles a lawson cultivar on its own roots. Today's GH12 tour indicates that Buchholz Nursery will be well-stocked in the future with C. lawsoniana grafts as well as numerous Chamaecyparis obtusa cultivars grafted onto Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'. We sell these trees as 1-year grafts all the way up to 25-year-old specimens – in other words there will be Buchholz trees for sale long after I am gone.

Acer ex rufinerve 'Winter Gold'

Acer x conspicuum 'Phoenix'

A few years ago I purchased 50 trees of Acer ex rufinerve 'Winter Gold' and now they are 7-8' tall at the northeast corner of GH15. How fast they grew! When I placed my order I wasn't paying attention and I thought I was buying 'Winter Gold' itself. The “ex” before the name is a ploy that reveals you are buying seedlings with 'Winter Gold' as the mother tree. In any case they all look alike – you could say that they “came true” – and all are glowing with yellow-orange stems. I'll plant a couple out in the gardens and try to sell the remainder. Hopefully they'll be stronger than the one last Acer rufinerve 'Erythrocladum' that was 90% dead in the garden last winter, and that we finally tossed onto the burn pile. I wasn't sorry to see it go because horticulture doesn't need a rufinerve 'Erythrocladum' since we already have a pensylvanicum 'Erythrocladum'. Both cultivars are wimps, of “weak constitution” as Hillier puts it in his Manual of Trees and Shrubs. For winter-red bark we favor Acer x conspicuum 'Phoenix'. The x conspicuum hybrid is Acer davidii x Acer pensylvanicum, with 'Phoenix' originating as a seedling of A. x. c. 'Silver Vein'.

Polystichum setiferum 'Bevis'

We are growing a frothy fern in GH23, Polystichum setiferum 'Bevis', and it is commonly called the “Bevis European soft shield fern.” This week I hope for a dry day and I'll put it in the garden where it belongs, as I only have the one and it's in a crowded greenhouse. As usual with ferns I turn to Sue Olsen's Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns, and she calls the “Bevis Group” “the cherished treasure among P. setiferum cultivars.” Sue relates that it was named for Mr. Bevis who was in charge of trimming hedge banks in Devon, England. He discovered it in 1876 and had the skill and presence of mind to recognize it as different. “It has been a great gift to horticulture ever since.” I have a perfect place for mine in the Display Garden in the shade of an Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame'.

Fagus sylvatica 'Bicolor Sartini'

Fagus sylvatica 'Albovariegata'

In the same house as the Bevis fern is Fagus sylvatica 'Bicolor Sartini', a cultivar with pale green leaves edged with yellow variegation. I grow one in full sun at Flora Farm, and although it doesn't burn it is largely a non-event in the Oregon heat. I imagine it is best in partial shade – but not too much! – especially with a backdrop of dark green evergreens. We also house Fagus sylvatica 'Albovariegata', but I insist the crew keeps them separate and far apart from 'Bicolor Sartini'. A word of cultural advice is to prune both cultivars into bushy shrubs, for the color is more apparent when looked at rather than up at.

Magnolia x 'March Till Frost'

What's the end of the greenhouse? Ah, a Magnolia in bloom, and it turns out that it's the cultivar 'March Till Frost'. It's a complicated hybrid of (Magnolia liliiflora x M. cylindrica) x M. x 'Ruby'. It was accomplished by August Kehr in 1997 and it really does bloom as the name implies. Another specimen now in flower is planted along the long road to my home, and I like to surprise my wife with these floral treats as she ferries the kids to school and runs a million other errands. 'March Till Frost' will not grow to a huge size, but I imagine it will get to at least 20' tall, judging by what I have seen so far.

Quercus alnifolia

I have one Quercus alnifolia at the nursery, gifted to me by Guy Meacham of PlantMad Nursery, a company known for “Growing Plants for the Fun of It!” I'm not positive but I think he produces the curious “Golden oak of Cyprus” from rooted cuttings. Its common name is due to its dark, glossy rounded leaves which are colored yellow beneath, and I never fail to lift up a leaf for visitors. Q. alnifolia can be found in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus so I don't know how hardy it is. Although Cypress [sic] is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, I suspect that 99% of USA high school graduates could never locate it on a world map. I'm not bragging because I can, but I mention it because the geography of plant origins has been my life-long hobby and some of the highlights of my life have been to visit them in the wild.

Acer mandshuricum

I thought I was done talking about maples, but I noticed that just out of the western door of GH23 we have a half dozen Acer mandshuricum. I couldn't miss them because they are currently adorned with royal purple-red foliage. The species is one of the first to color in autumn, but then it's also one of the first to leaf out in the spring. I have described the species sufficiently before, and I only mention it now because the leaves went from green to purple so suddenly. Also, a western shaft of sunlight has just pierced the overcast sky and is now shining upon them. I don't know why the species is spelled mandshuricum when it is commonly called the “Manchurian maple.” Anyway it is a wide-spread species that comes from much of eastern China...up to Korea and Russia. It is rarely seen in Western gardens because it leafs out so early and can be damaged by spring frosts. However, a nice specimen is growing at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston that is over 70 years old and is over 40' tall. It was still green early last October when I saw it – for some reason – because when I returned home my tree was in full autumn color.

Acer palmatum 'Purple Curl'

One last maple to describe is Acer palmatum 'Purple Curl', and the original tree is in GH15 with some other seedling selections. It's different, although I'm not really sure how much I like it. Also, I wonder if it contains any Acer shirasawanum blood in it, even though the seed mother was Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost'. Yikes – old Buchholz sets aside large quantities of seedling selections, so expectedly quite a number of them don't really pan out. Will I drop 'Purple Curl' altogether or will I eventually produce thousands of them? As they say: “we'll see, time will tell...”

Calico Critters

My solo Saturday tour was...interesting but not great. I made mental notes about next week's work projects as is my wont. I reported that I had a “good day” when asked by my wife, but then any day alone is usually pretty good for me. When my daughter S. was 8 years old she descended to the basement alone to play with her toys. After an hour I went down to see her and I asked if she was ok or if she was unhappy to be alone. She responded, “I wasn't alone – I was with my Calico Critters so I'm pretty happy.”