Friday, November 29, 2013

Banksia marginata is my favorite plant in the garden; this week.

I’ve never claimed this favorite plant thing was a scientific affair, and it’s not. I readily admit my favorite plant this week, Banksia marginata is heavily influenced by working on a post about my visit to The Desert Northwest. After all the mere thought that this plant…

Could grow up to have blooms like this (image source)…

And it’s alive (currently at least) in my garden. Well, it’s enough to give a girl goosebumps. I purchased this plant from The Desert Northwest at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in 2012, it was planted later that spring.

Here’s their description: “I guarantee this Banksia is made of pure silver! Well, not quite, but it's almost as good. This species is usually a shrub to about 5 - 8' tall, but it may attain the stature of a small tree. The green leaves are comparatively small (under 2”) with light serrations, and silvery underneath. Yellow flowers may appear on tall cylindrical “cones” in winter. Silver Banksia is very easy to grow. It will be happiest in full sun on sandy or silty soil, and does not like clay or very rich soils. It is quite drought tolerant but will also not object to moderate summer irrigation. It can also be grown in a large container for many years. This plant was shared with us by Brian Brown from his garden in Bremerton, Washington, where it has remained unscathed by the severe cold events of November 2006, December 2008 and December 2009 - it's now about 10' tall. We also know that this plant is originally of Tasmanian origin, suggesting it is well adapted to a cool climate. Hardiness once established is certainly somewhere below 20 °F; hopefully, further testing will enable us to figure out just how much lower.” And it looks like I might be helping figure out just how much lower, since our nighttime temps next week are predicted to be in the teens.

The silver undersides are one of my favorite things about this plant.

However I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve let the trunks grow so willy-nilly. I really should have been stricter. Here’s what they look like at the base, one goes straight up, three arch out to the side.

Last year the tender new growth resulted in some tip die-back come spring. I fear worse is bound to happen this year, I just hope the plant lives on. What are YOU appreciating in your garden this last week of November?

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

15 comments:

  1. Oh, I do hope yours lives to produce those amazing flowers. Here's my fave for this week: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3520

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    1. My hope for this guys survival keeps falling. Stupid arctic air!

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  2. How awesome would it be to see that bloom in the winter? My favorite post for this week is here: http://www.outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2013/11/pernettya-mucronata-my-favorite-plant.html

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  3. I like the idea of a favorite plant of the week ... or of the month. Mine is posted here: http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2013/11/plant-of-month-ornamental-kale.html

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    1. Thanks for joining in, PlantPostings.

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  4. I would love to have that plant in bloom. Reminds me of when I grew that plant they used to call Cytisis battandieri (pineapple broom) and waited and waited for it to flower. It never did, maybe too cold at the coast, and then we moved and I killed it by trying to make it move with us. I would like to try again, both with that one and with Banksia.

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    1. Ah yes, Cytisis battandieri has a fabulous bloom too!

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  5. I hope it does live on in your garden, cross fingers as its an even more of a sight to behold as a big specimen (like ones we saw at Tresco). All going well it will have a noticeable leader and pruning to good shape will be easier.

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    1. We shall see. I've been trying to compile a mental list of what I'll try and save but just keep getting overwhelmed at the task.

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  6. I'm trying to remain positive about this arctic blast, but I'm positive there will be fatalities. Such a bummer that my first winter as a gardener looks to be a rough one…if only I didn't love the marginally hardy plants most! Fingers crossed for us and ours! -Kiersten

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    1. Yes I think you are right, some fatalities for sure. Hopefully not to many! I took advantage of the dry (and warm) weather yesterday to take an inventory of my wrap and cover supplies. I haven't used them for a couple of years, and really enjoyed it! (not having to worry). Hope your garden doesn't get hit too hard.

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  7. I really really hope that this Banksia toughs out the cold and flowers for you one day. I had never seen the extent of the damage that freezing weather inflicts upon plants until your posts this week. I've never even seen snow (next year!) and the biggest threat we have from cold is a bit of frost, but it's very rare where I am. I now very much realise the 'danger' aspect of planting outside the hardy zones for your area! This just came into my head, and should be your theme song. Some of the lyrics are so fitting! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siwpn14IE7E

    Sorry, here is my fave this week: http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week.html

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  8. HA! That was a fun blast from the past. If I were musically talented I'd do a rewrite with the lyrics even better tailored. I hope I don't have much damage to show after this event is over, we shall see! Off to check out your fav...

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  9. Fingers crossed for all your babies . . . This is a good one.

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