Friday, April 27, 2012

On becoming aware…

It was once explained to me that there is a rule in marketing; it goes something like “people need to see your ad/message three times before really SEE it.” There must be an analogous rule in gardening, for how many times it can take for you to see a plant before you actually SEE it. Does that make sense? I know this can be true for me and that’s my story today…
We start out at McMenamins, the St. Johns Pub to be exact. I’d stopped to photograph a Euphorbia stygiana (that’s it, behind the grass)…
But of course got sidetracked as other interesting plants competed for my attention, like these Daffodil blooms briefly masquerading as Opuntia flowers.

Another choice Nolina 'La Siberica'…
And because misery loves company a Loquat with spots on its leaves just like mine.

Unknown, but beautiful Grevillea.
Newly planted Agaves, A. ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' I believe…
Electric Euphorbia blooms.

And cool pealing bark…

With equally cool leaves.

But finally, I was captivated by these leaves, so small and glossy!
With furry edges.
What was this plant!?

Fast forward to a week later; I was at Xera Plants with my plant crazy friends, when I saw those same leaves again. Here’s the tag…
Fremontodendron, that’s what it was! Those leaves could be mine. So I bought one…
An hour or so later when we were touring around the Kennedy School gardens (another of the McMenamins “chain”) Ryan asked about a plant, this one…

…growing along the fenceline. Guess what it was…a Fremontodendron! How many times have I walked right by that plant? Erich (our tour guide) went on to explain the placement of that particular plant wasn’t ideal as the fur I admired on the leaves was actually an irritant. From the San Marcos Growers website…“The fuzz (stellate hairs) on the leaves can be very irritating to the skin, and protection should be worn for the eyes if a person needs to work with this plant”

Yikes. I seem to be quite adept at falling for plants that pose a danger to my health (hence the name of my blog right?). As it turns out there is a second Fremontodendron in this garden, hard to see, but of a good size.

On becoming aware of this particular Fremontodendron I remembered a conversation from about a year ago when my friend Lauren pointed and commented on the combination of it and another plant nearby. At the time I paid little attention to Fremontodendron (not really noticing it, just seeing a plant blob…probably with my attention pulled towards the imposing Dasylirion close by). So why do I remember that particular conversation? Because even though I didn’t “see” the plant I was captivated by the name… Fremontodendron, it’s beautiful word. And now I really do SEE the plant too, and with any luck I will be enjoying it for years to come….

41 comments:

  1. Funny, isn't it - I know just what you mean about something entering your radar. I remember having that experience with Cistus (the plant, not the nursery.) The St John's Pub garden is a favorite for me...and the food's just fine, too!

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    1. We've never eaten at the St Johns Pub (which for some reason I keep typing as the pup not pub), maybe this Summer when the weather warms we can enjoy that nice outdoor area.

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    2. Well, the food is the usual McMenamin's selections, but eating it out in the garden is what makes it taste so good, I guess. That and the beer with it!

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  2. Oh, and did you ever find out the name of that cool tree with the peeling bark and crazy, sliced leaves?

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  3. I just became aware of Euphobia stygiana, via your yard. I have a feeling I am going to start seeing it more now that I want it.

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  4. I've totally been oblivious to some plants on my usual walk along the Boise river greenbelt and am just now learning to appreciate them for their unique structure!

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    1. We visited Boise for a long weekend (yikes... almost 10 years ago!) and loved that walk along the river. Beautiful!

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  5. I have been enjoying reading about your field trip over at Scott's blog too. It is strange how many times we have to see/hear something before it registers. I have always worked with birth through 8 year olds. An infant will not attempt to try and pronounce a word until their brain has heard it 60 something times.....

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    1. Really!? I had no idea. I guess that's why the repetition of "Mommy" and "Daddy"

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  6. Flannel bush is everywhere down here, and it's blooming now. Stunning! It wants to be dry in the summer and have perfect drainage at all times; in fact, the only time I had one, I killed it by watering it in the summer. But I must say I've been tempted to try it again...

    I love all the other plants you found. It appears there are succulents everywhere in Portland, you just have to know where to look!

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    1. Dry in the summer I can do, perfect drainage at all times...we'll see. It is planted near one of the more successful Agave experiments so maybe.

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  7. Isn't that a sign you could put on almost all plants: "warning, do not rub leaves in eyes!". ;-)

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    1. If it's anything like the Tetrapanax leaves you just have to brush by them and the stuff fills the air. No rubbing needed.

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  8. You aren't kidding about the irritant factor. A friend was pruning one at Kew and later that night she thought she was going to die. Tree ferns are similar in that regard and there was an evil gardener at the NYBG that used to make new students prune the tree ferns in the conservatory and wouldn't warn them. A sort of hazing I suppose.

    Love the "rule of three". Funny how once you learn about something you start seeing it all over the place.

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    1. Oh that's mean! I guess the one leaf I need to prune from my baby Tree Fern each year isn't enough to effect me.

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  9. Could that tree be Catalina Ironwood? I've seen that tree before, in fact, I have a vague memory of being in a grove of them. I just can't place the time or place, but the common name of Ironwood came to mind and I did a little serfing and found some images. Let me know if I got it right.

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    1. Wow a grove? That would be amazing. (Good job on the i.d.!)

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  10. Adam opens a tinnie and sits down for his regular Friday night entertainment and is well entertained yet again :)

    The tree with the peeling bark is a Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. aspleniifolius. Ha, reeling that name off the tip of my tongue makes me sound quite clever, eh! But, the truth be told I was looking for something else last week and stumbled across it online.

    I like your Fremon..., Fremonto..., oh I give up, you know what I mean. I was going to google it, but I read the tag and sighed when it mentioned such as words as "warm", "hot" and "sunny" as trying to grow things like that in Scotland just ends up with heartache.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    I am going to get another tinnie. No drunken comments from me tonight ;)

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    1. Thank you for the tree ID, Adam. Skin off yorn!

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    2. Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp aspleniifolius IS Catalina Ironwood. I get some credit too!

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    3. Yes, you do, Lisa! Thank you!

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    4. I had to look up "tinnie"...love the slag! And I'm glad the entertainment did not disappoint. Hope you have a great weekend too. We're off to get a load of gravel to cover the bald spots from the Bishops Weed removal project. Such a glamorous live I lead.

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  11. My little Fremontodendron--compliments of Loree's, "yes, you want that"--is sitting on the porch waiting and sighing.

    Also, if you go to the St. John's pub, do yourself a favor and swing by Tulip Pastry Shop around the corner on Lombard. Fab chocolate muffins with cream in the center, like a Hostess cupcake--but with actual food ingredients. And you might call ahead to reserve a few--so you won't be disappointed when you get there and they are all gone!

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    1. OMG...those sound amazing. Maybe we'll need to eat there sooner than this summer!

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  12. I've had that happen so often...I'll see a plant in a magazine, or someone else's garden, it catches my eye, and suddenly it's like I see it everywhere. LOVE the Muhlenbergia rigens in the pic with that Euphorbia.

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    1. Me too! I thought about trying to recreate that great combo in my garden but since my Euphorbia is still just a wee thing it wouldn't work so well.

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  13. I think you're right about the agaves being "frosty blue." It is soo happy to see people planting them!! Again with the Nolina ... I have been on the hunt for one now. I missed out on the cistus order which was my best bet, so I have to pester nursery folk to get them in!! best of luck with the loquats... they look ultra tropical to me!

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    1. Pester...or maybe make a road trip to Cistus? Can you take plants back into Canada? Probably complicated.

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    2. I think if you have a phyto sanitary certificate it's okay... cistus does obviously get their plants up here so I'm sure it could be worked out. hmmm... you have me thinking.

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  14. Dancing Oaks has a HUMONGOUS Fremontodendron planted on the side of one of their outbuildings. In bloom it's quite stunning. Sharon Lovejoy recently blogged about her (California) Fremontodendron leaning precariously after a wind storm. Luckily it didn't uproot and her hubby was able to re-position it.

    On another note, just for you, my current post features a Danger Garden with photos of the agave we discussed!

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    1. Well I guess I'm just going to have to be sure to head out to Dancing Oaks again this year...

      (loved your post!)

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  15. I love euphorbia... mine is blooming like crazy right now.

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    1. You have a Euphorbia stygiana?

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  16. Danger plant indeed...yikes! Gloves really can be a gardeners best friend ;) Love the Euphorbia too, another plant for my must buy list...Cheers Julia xx

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    1. Yes gloves keep us from all sorts of evils. I was thankful I was wearing mine today when I needs to swoop in and grab a slug!

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  17. Wow, at a pub...such great plant selections. And every bit as eclectic as what you see in parts of TX, so interesting! (our most progressive pub landscape has a few massive lantanas in back, and riparian trash trees planted 8' apart on one side near hardscape...oops)

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    1. A McMemanins! If you make it up this way we'll meet you at one for a beer and meal. Their gardens do not disappoint.

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  18. Three and it's in...I like the sound of that and there's a lot of truth in that psychology :) It is a wonderful wall shrub and hopefully will do well in your garden. It's got a reputation here for being a tricky plant to grow but some gardeners have had success here.

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    1. Well I've done the best I can for it...now it's all up to Mother Nature!

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