Monday, August 19, 2013

Sleep, Creep, Leap, or something like that.

No doubt you’ve heard the saying “sleep, creep, leap” used when referring to growth in a newly planted garden, meaning the first year the plants sleep, the second year they creep and the third year LOOK OUT cause they’re gonna leap. Combine that bit of folklore with the reputation Cotinus has as a fast grower, and my Cotinus ‘Royal Purple' should be about the size of our house by now, but it’s not. It’s been deeply sleeping for several years, and just recently showed signs of waking up. Almost overnight several long rambling arms developed, splaying this way and that.

The leaves on the new arms are larger, and darker, than the “old growth.”

New growth...

New growth...

Old growth...

And in a treat only Mother Nature could provide they’re flopping right up next to the Eucomis blooms and making a lovely color echo.

And the Cotinus and Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' are actually reaching out to touch "fingers" (okay...leaves) it’s very sweet.

Oh and that Arctostaphylos never suffered any sleeping issues, it leaped right away and I love it for that.

I should be frightened about this new development but actually I’m thrilled. I’ve been waiting for this darn plant to get a little out of control so I can cut it back hard in the spring, resulting in bigger and darker foliage.

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

30 comments:

  1. woohoo! That's very exciting...they are so gorgeous, glad yours finally got its act together!

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    1. Me too, I really had given up on it.

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  2. The new Cotinus color is lovely! I love your pruning-ready attitude. It's one I could take a note from, and not just for color effects.

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    1. Remember my tendency to plant too many things in a small space? I'm going to have to become very comfortable with pruning.

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  3. Hooray! That radioactive waste fertilizer you picked up on your last trip by Hanford finally kicked in! Crazy that it took so long to decide to put on new growth.

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    1. That's it! Ha, my poor plants wouldn't know what to do if I fertilized them.

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  4. I havent heard that expression before - no wonder my border look so stationery! I am sure I read somewhere that you pruned cotinus each year to promote the young foliage which is nicer than the old but as mine are fairly newly planted I havent had courage to try it

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    1. No doubt the time will come where you're out there pruning it back.

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  5. Prune!!!! It promotes growth. The plant hormones in the plants growing tips kick in.

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    1. I don't know, high summer seems like a bad time to promote growth.

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  6. Nice! I love to see a plant take off like that. Love all the color echoes in these pics

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  7. I'd second the recommendation to prune hard now while in active growth mode, which will also make for a bushier shrub. I've been pruning all my Cotinus coggygria several times already this summer, about every 6 weeks, and use the long cut stems in outdoor arrangements in large urns, with the abundant Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset', Cannas such as Lucifer and Tropicana, Anigozanthus flavidus 'Harmony' and Big Red, Erythrina x bidwillii and Alstroemeria 'Third Harmonic'. In fact, there's so much abundance right now, I generally have enough to do the same for several garden clients at the same time. The cut foliage gets double use, and the shrub will reward with fast new growth.
    David in Berkeley

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    1. Bringing in cuttings to fill vases throughout the house is my favorite thing about pruning, well okay second favorite thing.

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  8. It's a gorgeous plant indeed and glad to know its finally putting out vigorous growth for you. We used to have a big one that was in the garden already when we moved in. It's one of the few we kept but sadly for some reason it just died. Oh well, perhaps its time to plant another one...

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    1. They are pretty common around these parts but I do think they're gorgeous.

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  9. The new foliage is stunning on this Cotinus, I hope it grows well for you now. I am always a bit reluctant to prune a plant that doesn't have much foliage to start with.

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    1. Me too, that's why I hadn't done it yet. While it may have helped it just seemed like too big of a risk.

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  10. It's a great color with all that new growth. The deer pruned mine to the ground so I had to move it last spring. That might have set it back a year. It's looking nice and full, but not so tall just yet.

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    1. I am so lucky to not have to deal with the deer.

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  11. None of my Cotinus have ever been "creepers". But I'm going to join the chorus of people who are recommending that you prune it now. I just hacked back one of my Royal Purples after cutting it back to a foot long single trunk in April. These shrubs are gluttons for punishment.

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    1. How many do you have Sue? "none of my" sounds like there must be many!

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  12. R was just commenting on how our 'Purple Robe' has stayed the same size for several years...had to confess that I whittle on it regularly. It is exactly the size I want it to be,and cutting back keeps it from "smoking" (can't have that going on out there).

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    1. No I imagine smoking is quite dangerous in your neck of the woods with everything being so dry.

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  13. I can really relate to your Cotinus experience Loree, mine took at least 5 years (and 2 moves) before it did a thing. I coppice mine now , and as a result I have no blooms . but instead Suess-like whirly branches, and some floppishness.Have I invented a new word ? Floppishness ?

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    1. I like it and will attempt to use "floppishness" in a sentance at least 3 times today. (suess-like whirly branches is pretty good too!)

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  14. Never heard that expression before, but I like it! Also - love the color combo of the Eucomis and Cotinus, and that pretty bloodgrass in the background. Stellar!

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    1. Getting that bloodgrass in the shot was a happy accident indeed!

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  15. 'Royal Purple' was one of the first plants I put in the front garden. I religiously cut it back every February, mainly for the same reasons you mentioned, and also that otherwise it would block the view at an intersection. I do not want to be responsible for an accident. I have found it to be remarkably drought tolerant and easy to grow. I just wish that foliage color would last longer.

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    1. I wish a few people are round here held that same belief (not wanting to be responsible for an accident).

      I hadn't realized how green the foliage had become until I was taking these pictures, in fact even now looking out at it they appear to be purpler. Maybe it was a trick of the light that day.

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