Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Something’s missing…


A better blogger would have had a camera in hand to record the moment. Instead I chose to respect the dead and conduct a solemn, unrecorded removal. The giant Acacia pravissima is gone.

The one I planted too close to the house because I thought it would die; has died. Or at least it turned a funny color and all the leaves began to fall to the ground like confetti.

Sure I could have left it for awhile longer but the look of its leafless limbs was tearing at my heart. And let’s be honest, Andrew had wanted to get rid of it for awhile now (that whole too close to the house thing). Here it is February of last year, I can't believe how much it grew last summer! It was over the roof…

As you can see in this photo taken during the December freeze.

I had hopes it would come back from the roots, maybe a wild patch of suckers! That’s why we left a bit of trunk too. But talking with Paul Bonine of Xera Plants he squashed that dream saying Acacia’s with phyllodes will do no such thing. With what? New word for me!

Phyllode – a laterally flattened photosynthetic blade.

While I am sad it’s no longer there to wave at me through the bedroom window I completely expected that it would die when the temperatures dropped, in fact I didn’t expect it to live as long as it did. Still it’s strange to look along the back side of the house and actually be able to see the loquat.

Since we’re already on a depressing topic let’s look at more plant death shall we? Isn’t this a striking look for a Trachycarpus?

And how about this Libertia (in front of the Nolina), I really preferred the bronzy/orange tones pre-freeze (this is just one of 5…I really had no idea this plant was so tender)…

Do you think the Abutilon hybrid will bloom this summer? Ya, probably not.

Phormium ‘Tom Thumb’ fooled me into thinking he was gonna make it, he looked fabulous for a month. Now this (the leaves should be green with a brown edge)…

Stems of the Euprhorbia stygiana are starting to flop over and the whole plant has taken on a bizarre coloration.

It would be beautiful if this was fall color, but it’s not.

The tips on Callistemon pallidus 'Blue Foliage’ died back pretty rapidly. Now the whole plant is drying up and the leaves are curling.

Whenever we’ve dipped into the low 20’s/high teens C. ‘Clemson’ has shown damage, however this event takes it to a new level…

The most surprising Callistemon damage however is on ‘Woodlander's Hardy Red’. I thought this one was bullet proof, it’s not.

I think we’ll stop here, I could go on but that wouldn’t be good for either one of us.

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

36 comments:

  1. Sad, isn't it? Especially when things were just getting to that "good" size...

    The only consolation I can offer: at least you have lots of other plants to soften the blow. Too few plants and you miss every one that dies (or gets eaten).Plus you now have more space!

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    1. I don't need more space...remember the huge parcel being opened up by the removal of the privet? That was plenty of space to plant this spring.

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  2. Oh dear, so sad. Are you sure all of them are really truly dead? There's still some green on that Woodlander's Hardy Red. Mine is still completely green despite being in a pot in the back garden (which sometimes doesn't get frost even when the front does because of the tall Douglas firs sheltering it). Oh, but I think you got even lower temps than we did during that December freeze. I am surprised at the Libertia too, I thought they were pretty hardy. Wondering what will take the Acacia's place in the spring. Something totally fabulous, I'm sure.

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    1. I don't think the 'Woodlander's' is dead, just damaged. The two in the front garden are a mixed bag (one showing a little damage, one fine). I was told the one in the back probably got damaged because it spent more time in the shade. And yes, we did get colder in the freeze...

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  3. Sh*t, that just makes me mad. Now I understand why conifers are starting to look good. Too much cold up there, not enough or any rain down here...and then there's the whole planting too close to the house thing (good to know it's not just Marty). Making a garden has become a blood sport these days...

    Hope you're holding up okay, Loree. Sounds like a great opportunity for plant nurseries to send a blogger plants to trial....just an observation.

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    1. While I imagine most Californians would have a good laugh at this, they are actually starting to talk drought up here too (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/RegionalDroughtMonitor.aspx?west). Nothing like what you all are experiencing though.

      I do like your observation. Problem is I only want the cool plants! (Cistus to the rescue fyi, Sean sent me home with a bunch a couple of weeks ago...)

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  4. Im crying iside for you. that is tragic. My acacia pravissima is doing alright but some of the tips are dead. I brought it outside one night thinking it wasn't going to be cold and then forgot it in a small one gallon nursery pot. Shoot!

    I can't believe that trachycarpus damage however. That is really shocking. If you can handle it, just leave it or pour in some copper based fungicide. There was an article written in hardy palm international about trachycarpus recovery. Maybe I can see if I can get it to you. On the other hand it might be a genetic wimp if it is showing such damage at those temperatures. :( I hope things start growing out of it real soon.

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    1. Oh Louis, and that little palm was your namesake too! Truth be told (I plan to do a post on this later after I've had a chance to change them out) I already have a replacement for the palm thanks to Sean (Cistus).

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    2. I died! I'm glad you have a replacement already. I do look forward to seeing what comes of it. I know things will fill out and that there is now room. On a happy note, isn't it cool to realize how tough some of the other plants are! Another interesting thing to me has been the varied results with certain plants. For example there are some cordylines around town that should very much be dead but in reality are doing really well.

      My saddest loss was my aloe polyphylla. I'm going to try again. Lots have had success with it.

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    3. Don't take it too hard Louis, we'll just chalk that one up to bad genes and start over. Clearly it was only pretending to be worthy of the name. I do appreciate the knowing which plants are truly going to survive such a freezing event. I'm helping a couple of people out this spring with a planting plan and I don't want to recommend something that will up and die on them. As for the varied results, indeed! It's interesting to note as I drive around town. I'm sorry about your aloe!

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  5. Oh, I feel your pain. I have been couting the dead in my garden too. It was another PKW - except the death technically happened in the fall. I thought the Libertia was suppose to be hardy?! Mine all look dead too. Will they come back by the root? I got so crazy for Libertia last year and now I am kicking myself. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that Phormium and Astelia may sometimes be an annual hear.

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    1. I'm calling it winter, going with the meteorological calendar. Some sources seem to think the libertia will come back from the roots, others no. We shall see. As for the phormium and astelia...have you tried A. nivicola ‘Red Gem’? Both of mine look fine, got them at Cistus, Sean swore they were the hardiest.

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    2. I'll have to try A. nivicola ‘Red Gem’. My A. nervosa and A. chathamica are both dead.

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  6. JeffGoodEarthJanuary 21, 2014

    i have the SAME Trachycarpus here in TN along with a few Agave slushies, strangely the Fatsia and Danae racemosa sailed through -2 showing no damage at all

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    1. I have two others in my garden that are fine too, it was obviously a weak plant to begin with. "Agave slushies"...oh my! I've got a few of those too...

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  7. I don't know what to say except that I feel your pain, like most plant lovers would. Have there been any positive surprises--plants that did better than you thought? Did you lose any succulents?

    Sad news about the Acacia pravissima. Are you going to get another one? They're so unique...

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    1. There have been a few surprises, although I've been hesitant to talk much about them because I am a little superstitious. I'll plan to post about them next week, and yes I did loose some succulents too.

      I've got a fairly big Acacia pravissima in a container, I think that will be my only one. Then again if I see a couple at a great price they do make a wonderful (fast growing) accent.

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  8. Oh dear!

    I'm sad to see those photos and I feel your pain.

    Your Euphorbia should come back from the roots. It's a tough cookie. The downside is you will not see flowers this spring.

    Things are still wet and mild here, but there is talk of possible cold coming but hopefully not plant-killing temperatures.

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    1. Thanks Adam, I really don't care about the flowers on that euphorbia, I loved the big leaves with the center stripe of almost cream and the fact the base was (is) so woody. I don't know if I'll have the patience to leave it be and wait...

      Good luck with your cold, hopefully not plant-killing temperatures indeed!

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  9. Ouch! It's particularly cruel that the cold takes its time to kill plants off. I know it hurts even when it's quick but there isn't the added nervous frustration of hoping that, just maybe, the plants have survived. I hope you find some wonderful replacements.

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    1. You make a good point. I've been asking myself if would have been better for them to have just up and died right away and I think the answer is yes. The long slow decline can be emotionally draining.

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  10. I'm taking in my losses slowly. I don't have the heart to be so ruthless just yet. For example, the Acacia boormanii I took a chance on last summer is a lovely shade of brown, but I don't have the heart to dig it out just yet. My Callistemon pallidus looks exactly like yours (curled and crispy) - I'm hoping that it will come back somehow?!? All the Orange Libertia are aborting all their leaves. I think I will wait until May before I make drastic removals.

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    1. The only things I've been ruthless on are the acacia and my Banksia marginata, also chopped off at the base. The rest of these things I'm waiting and watching. We'll see how long I can maintain that...

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  11. RIP tender lovlies. This is the price one pays for falling in love with borderline hardy plants. Oh well, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, right? Heartfelt sympathy on your losses. I can't believe that your trachycarpus did that, they're usually tough as nails.

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    1. Ah but the frustrating thing is not all of these were supposed to be tender! Thank you though, and you're right about the trachy. I guess that's what I get for shopping at that cheap nursery that's part of your Highway 30 trifecta...

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  12. You're only a couple of miles away (at the most) but what a difference! I'm so sad for those losses, but surprised at some you lost that I didn't: My two T. fortuneii sailed through the cold weather and my C. "Woodlander's Hardy Red" and a tiny C. pityoides also appear untouched. But I lost a smaller T. wagnerianus a couple of winters ago, so I think the younger Trachys are less resilient. The jury is still out on my flaxes that I thought made it through...

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    1. I know right!? I swear I live in the polar vortex of Portland. My two other Trachycarpus are fine (one fortuneii and a wagnerianus) so that little guy was obviously not well to begin with. My two C. "Woodlander's Hardy Red" in the front garden look fine, although one has a bit of leaf damage.

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  13. RIP, dear plants. We must mourn, then move on. Maybe a rip-roaring wake is in order?

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    1. I should have saved all those little leaves, would have made a hell of fun confetti toss at the wake!

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  14. Sorry to see that the Acacia pravissima had to go, it was such a gorgeous plant. Surprised with the Trachycarpus fortunei too, and the Euphorbia but I reckon both will be fine and recover in the spring.

    Just think of the planting possibilities this year, and by summer your garden will be so lush and lovely again that this current winter will be nothing more but a distant memory.

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    1. "lush and lovely again"...I hope so!

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  15. Oh those are some big losses. I like Peter's approach with it's better to have enjoyed them for a few mild years. I'm consoling myself with the prospect of new plants in key spots.

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    1. You (and Peter) are right, I don't regret having planted any of these.

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  16. I probably should not have read this while I await a 16 degree night.

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  17. I started to tear up as I read your post. Sorry for your losses. I need to go count my dead. Well, maybe tomorrow...

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