more bad examples

1. Lack of killer instinct.
Exhibit One presented as evidence of illegal snacking. I know exactly who is doing this, and people tell me I’m supposed to track down the evildoers and dispatch them in some messy way. Then “throw ’em on the grill; they taste just like chicken.”

agave polianthiflora, slightly nibbled

2. Lack of respect for tradition.
The world’s smallest front lawn, with Mexican blue oak in the cage. The lawn never gets mowed. Some of the neighbors think this is a disgrace, and an affront to everything that’s sacred in this country.
When we moved here, in 1985, there was a lawn and a burgeoning shade tree (meaning, water-sucking weed on a stick). Both were gone by the end of the following year.

World’s Smallest (TM) front lawn

3. Unwillingness to admit I might have an addiction.
I like cercocarps. A lot. Cercocarpus montanus is one of my favorites, even though it’s common as dirt on the hogbacks a few miles west of here. Nice silver gray bark in winter. This one is about 20 years old; I like it so much, especially the way it takes to being pruned in an upright form, that I planted six more when a space in the garden miraculously opened up.

A few years ago they started doing this, and I’m letting them do it. Even when they seed right next to a path that people sometimes walk on. (This could also be considered an unwillingness to do anything remotely resembling actual work.)

seedling cercocarpus, center

4. Lack of horticultural decorum.
Found this seedling, among a group of other self-sown seedlings of Mahonia repens, and decided to give it a fancy name, like ‘Blue Weenie’. It’s little, and it’s blue, so why not? I could have called it ‘Love’s Dream’, or ‘Flight of Freedom’, or some other really descriptive name.

a cross between Mahonia repens and M. fremontii or M. haematocarpa

I was talked out of the name I chose, which is a pity, because I figured I’d make a couple million selling the plant itself, and another couple million letting whoever bought it change the name, which I course I would have trademarked, patented, insured, copyrighted, assigned a Social Security number, etc.

And not only that, instead of doing all those things that are de rigeur these days, I promised the plant to a local nurseryman, for free, when it got bigger.

So many wasted opportunities here.

real Mahonia repens

5. Utter disregard for my zone.
I feel the same way about hardiness zones as I do about Santa Claus, the free market, the planet Nibiru, etc. Young plants here get cages, to keep them safe from teeth that shouldn’t be anywhere near them, and burlap to protect them from wind and hot winter sun. (Does the zone stuff say anything about hot winter sun and totally dry soil?)
Besides, I like to say umbellularia.

Umbellularia californica

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7 Responses to more bad examples

  1. Loree says:

    Free? So much for being rich and famous.

    (that is a damn fine looking Mahonia though)

  2. I was about to admire your “Blue Weenie” but realized that could be taken the wrong way. I have passed your proposal by Proven Winners, Plant Haven, Monrovia and the Plant Select board, and have to admit the bidding is fierce!

    If it retains the blue color AND repens prostrate habit you may actually be on to something. And your cultivar name may lure in a whole new demographic of colorblind pederasts into gardening–not something I relish, I have to admit. I could see five more C. montanus…or four. But SIX?

    If that Oregon Bay grows for you (from Sean?) and comes through the winter, I shall never speak to you again.

    • paridevita says:

      Actually seven Cercocarpus montanus, I counted wrong.
      Is there something about the umbellularia I should know? Zone stuff? There are three plants here, and maybe they should know too.


      • Ian says:

        Bob, I have found that Umbellularia roots are quite intolerant of hard freezing – they can’t sit out in pots through an average to cold winter in the Northwest, or they die. (How did I learn that? You might not want to know) It’s a bit surprising, considering they naturalize freely around Seattle.

      • paridevita says:

        these are in the ground, which makes a huge difference. (Well, it better make a huge difference.)
        The volume of soil is the thing. The roots of an untold number of otherwise hardy trees and shrubs are not hardy even to +20F, but the fact that it takes a considerable amount of cold (more than I’m willing to endure) for the soil to get to that temperature at root depth keeps the plants alive. The roots of Magnolia soulangeana, for example (widely planted here) are only hardy to +23F.
        Last winter, or the winter before, bulbs growers in the UK lost large portions of their collections. Bulbs are not very hardy; snowdrops are not even hardy to +10F. Grown in the ground, different story.
        Here’s hoping, anyway.

  3. No, no- stay ignorant, be blissful like the plants: shrubs don’t read books.

    Just look at the sky all day.

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