Friday, December 21, 2012

Callistemon viridiflorus, my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

Yes it’s true, another Callistemon! If it looks a little familiar maybe it’s because you saw bits of it when I featured Grevillea juniperina 'Molonglo’ a couple of weeks ago. Truth be told I think this is my very favorite Callistemon of the eight (Ha! What!? 8!!!) in my garden. Don’t tell the others okay?

Why Callistemon viridiflorus? Well first off all the almost white branching structure is just amazing. Whether it’s playing off the bleached coloration of the Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) in the front garden (above) or the tawny fall tones of Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass) in the back garden…

Secondly the leaves are so perfect. Little regimented spear shapes marching up the stem…

The older of my pair bloomed last June, lovely yellow-green bottle brush blooms…

On striking red new growth...

And the red remains (for awhile) as stripes on the stems.

And of course the blooms are replaced with these fabulous little nodules…

So that’s my gushing, what do the experts have to say?

The Desert Northwest: … "From the windswept heaths of Tasmania (sounds dramatic doesn't it?) comes this outstanding bottlebrush species with many ornamental virtues: a generous show of creamy brushes in spring, a strongly upright growth habit, soft felty new growth produced from conspicuous cone-like branch buds, and peeling white bark. It adapts well to cultivation even in hot climates, and can be grown on wet or dry soil, though it does require sun. One Seattle gardener has made it into a spectacular hedge! In addition it is extremely cold-hardy, easily withstanding 5-10 °F."

Cistus: "Small and compact evergreen shrub, to 5 ft tall x 6 ft wide…arching branches carry small and glossy leaves and, in midsummer, soft, greenish yellow, bottlebrush flowers. Best in a hot, sunny position, well-drained with occasional summer water. Easily frost hardy in USDA zone 8 and very likely in zone 7 in optimum conditions."

Xera Plants: "One of our very favorite shrubs that combines unusual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small scimitar shaped forest green leaves that line the wand-like stems. In cold weather this unusual shrub takes on maroon and purple tones, a great foil to the very light tan stems and trunk. In May 4" long by 1" wide chartreuse/yellow bottlebrushes protrude from the tips of the branches shoot out at every angle. In Tasmania where it is native it follows cold air drainages, proving that its requires at least some cold for good flower set…FULL sun and any soil with occasional summer water…Hardier to cold in full sun. Unusual shrub that seems to bridge the aesthetic gap between broad-leaved evergreen and conifer."

You know sometimes I think I could build a perfectly wonderful garden with only Calliestemon, Grevillea, Yucca, Opuntia and Agave. Then I start to think about the Manzanita, Schefflera, Tetrapanax, Echium, etc, etc, etc, and think how wonderful it is that I don’t have to choose!

20 comments:

  1. I love it too!!!!! I want! * I need * it's somewhere between pine and olive in terms of foliage which makes me swoon! And those beautiful flowers! Epic!

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    1. You do need it Louis, I'm glad you realized that! Do you think you can find it up your way or is it going to be one of your Portland purchases?

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  2. This is my one and only Callistemon (at least so far) and I love it. Mine would like a bit more sun than it gets, due to a growing Trachycarpus. I second the gorgeousness of its great little leaves and lovely coloration. I can see why it's your favorite this week!

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    1. Maybe you should consider topping that Trachy? (sorry, couldn't resist). How many years has yours been in the ground Jane?

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  3. I love it and added to my list. The flowers are gorgeous.

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    1. Yay! It will look great in your garden Lisa.

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  4. I've never seen this one down here. Really unique flower color!

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    1. I love the flower color so much! Some would prefer a red that pops but I love the subtlety of this shade.

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    2. Red bottlebrushes are a dime a dozen down here. This one is much more exotic.

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  5. È bellissimo questo Callistemon, complimenti :D

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  6. Your sales pitch is pitch perfect.

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    1. So that means you'll be getting one?

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  7. Thanks for the vicarious thrill. My garden sits in shade, but I can dream about Callistemon.

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    1. Darn! Well if a bit of sun ever opens up I highly recommend it!

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  8. Replies
    1. Maybe I should have hung a couple of red Christmas ornaments on it!

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  9. I miss our Callistemons now. They were cut back to the ground winter 2010 here and never did recover. Maybe we ought to introduce it again next spring...

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  10. Beautiful plant! I love Callistemon.

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