Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony,’…yep! It’s my favorite plant in the garden this week…


Back in January I posted a couple of pictures of Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony,’ the oldest Manzanita in my garden. I was lamenting the fact it was nothing but a blob and I couldn't even see the very reason I had planted it, those sexy cinnamon branches. Fast forward to last week when I did a little pruning and ta-dah…

Sexy branches galore!

In fact you can even (finally) see the color combo I loved back when I planted Podocarpus alpinus ‘Orangeade’ next to it (yes probably too close, but that’s my way) in the spring of 2011…

I bought my plant from Joy Creek Nursery in 2010. I’d wanted to add a Manzanita to my garden and loved the form and larger leaves of this plant, which came from Xera Plants (a wholesaler). According to plant lust it’s available from Cistus and Far Reaches Farm, as well as wherever Xera Plants are sold (that’s a pretty stellar combination of nurseries wouldn’t you say?). Here are their descriptions:

A fantastic selection of Sonoma Manzanita that is similar to 'Howard McMinn' when young but reveals its different character with age. Taller growing with a more arboreal habit. Glossy green leaves are the largest on any densiflora type. To 7' tall and 5' wide in time. Clusters of pink flowers appear in late winter and are showy for 4-6 weeks. Wonderful as a specimen and easy to grow. (Xera)

Taller and larger-leaved than other cultivars of the species, this one simply has more of that Californian manzanita, "summer water is for pansies” presence to it. The bark alone is enough for me. To 6 ft tall or so by 5 ft wide. Sun and good drainage. Cold hardy to 5F, mid USDA zone 7. (Cistus)

An ideal choice for that classic Manzanita look, this cultivar is taller growing than the other densiflora types allowing one to fully appreciate that mahogany bark and gnarled growth. It also sports larger leaves than typical and has light pink flowers in typical abandon. Good drainage, likes it dry. (Far Reaches)

I suppose I could have pruned even a little more, but I didn’t want to get carried away. Besides I’m just thrilled it’s finally starting to grow upwards, for the longest time its windswept shape had it creeping along horizontally.

Want to learn more about which Arctostaphylos might be right for your garden? There are 123 listed on plant lust!

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

19 comments:

  1. That certainly is a beauty, and I love the combo you created with the 'Orangeade'!

    I suspect there are none of these that are right for my garden due to climate limitations though. :(

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    1. Of course you're right Alan, I'm sorry! Can you grow Arbutus unedo there?

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  2. One of my neighbors just got a couple of the more upright type of manzanita. And now you've posted this. Maybe it's a sign that I need to find space in my yard for one? If not, I can at least admire from afar.

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    1. Admiring from afar is the next best thing. Maybe you could track down one that's been pruned to grow as a standard (or start the process yourself)? That way you'll get some of that gorgeous bark without a plant that takes up a lot of space?

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  3. What a wonderful difference your pruning made! This gives me hope for my own green blob manzanitas!

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  4. It's a beauty! I've been looking at taller-than-wide Arctostaphylos to replace the 'Natchez' crepe myrtle I moved to the back garden, but thought Harmony was a wider one. I considered A. 'Lutsko's Pink', A. bakeri 'Louis Edmunds' and A. manzanita 'Dr. Hurd'. Or maybe even Callistemon 'Woodlander's Hardy Red' will get the coveted spot. I can't decide, and your pics of 'Harmony' have just increased the dilemma ;)

    (Nice to see your Tetrapanax starting to leaf out in the last pic - mine looks just as ready to pop.)

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    1. Well my plant certainly is performing as a wider than tall one but then it was destined to go that way since it was bent over at an early age. Have you thought about 'Austin Griffiths?'in my experience it is very fast growing! http://plantlust.com/plants/arctostaphylos-x-austin-griffiths/ of course you're preaching to the choir with your mention of 'Woodlander's Hardy Red' too...

      So I'm wondering about the stalled blooms on my other Tetrapanax, do you think I should cut them off to enable it to better leaf out?

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    2. Since I already have A. 'Austin Griffiths' (and love it!) I thought it would be nice to have a different cultivar. And I just spotted a lovely, vertical, A. bakeri 'Louis Edmunds' in my neighborhood to drool over.

      I don't know about your Tetrapanax - but I bet the leaves will push out even if you don't cut off the bloom tufts. After all, what do they do in the wilds of Vietnam without us to tend to them?

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  5. Hah! Pruning! Why didn't I think of that? Mine is still in the sprawling stage, so I was scratching my head over those descriptions making it taller than wide. The mature one I saw in Kym Pokory's last garden seemed to still be quite a bit wider than tall. Oh, well...they will do what they will do.

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    1. "Sprawling" is the perfect descriptor ricki, and you're right. I don't think plants read their plant tags very closely. Or if they do they regard it as a "challenge"...

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  6. Niiiice! (and you're forgiven for planting too close, esp since Portlandia is wetter and can do that anyway) With that rating, that's one tempting to try out here in C/S NM. I like the smaller leaf on it, and I cannot resist anything so green these last 6+ months.

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  7. I really like the pruning - I feel the same way when I cut back my Opuntia ellisiana and give it some air space between the branches. There is something about the space a plant doesn't take up that really captivates sometimes.

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  8. Just got an Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Sentinel'. Very neat plants.

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  9. How exactly did you prune it, though? Not sure I understand, and would love to know. Beautiful.

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