Thursday, April 3, 2014

The curse of the favorite…

Seventy one favorites, that’s how many “favorite plant of the week” features I’ve done (plus one where I cheated and picked our new fence as a fav). Last weekend as I pulled out the Grevillea junipera ‘Molonglo’ and ‘Lava Cascade’ in the front garden I started wondering just how many of my fav’s are still around. Perhaps being a favorite might actually be a curse? After all so many of them have died, favorite one week, dead the next. It’s hardly a good sign.
Puya coerulea in the foreground with Grevillea juniperina 'Molonglo'in the background

Of course a lot of things I’ve featured simply because they were looking fabulous in that moment and I realized their time was doomed, like the Puya above which was featured right before our December cold snap.

But I’m curious, how does the overall list hold up, it's time to take a tally. My featured plants are listed below, the name is a link to their “fav” post and notes on their current condition follow (and yes, this is one of those posts that’s more for me than you, still I hope you find it useful).

Veratrum californicum - looks even better than last week when I featured it.

Tetrapanax papyrifer - of the 11 stalks total, 6 are leafing out at the top, the other 5 are showing signs of branching further down the trunk.

Polypodium scouleri/P. guttatum/Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' - all are happy and looking good.

Agave bracteosa - most of them sailed through the winter although 2 looked so bad I put them out of their misery.

Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii' - looks great!

Genista aetnensis - they booth look exactly like the day I posted about them.

Astelia nivicola ‘Red Gem’ - didn’t loose a single leaf, still looks wonderful.
Astelia nivicola ‘Red Gem’

Ajuga black scallop - looking good and preparing to bloom.

Podocarpus matudiae -  it’s growing, still needs to be put in the ground.

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' - all good!

Adiantum venustum - lots of green new growth.

Aucuba japonica ‘Longifolia’ - had to dig one of the three to make room for the fence construction and it's since been replanted. None of them missed a beat.

Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' - so perfect I bought a second and wish I could find a third or fourth.

Mr. Big, Agave Americana ‘Variegata’ - looking good after a winter spent in the shade pavilion greenhouse.

Puya coerulea - dead dead dead - a mushy brown mess.

Banksia marginata - top trunk and branches dead, all foliage dropped - might have come back from the roots but I don't have the space or patience to wait and see.

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' - I did the unthinkable and moved this beautiful plant a couple of weeks ago, it looked pretty sad but is starting to come out of it, I am hopeful it will make it.
Fatsia polycarpa ‘Needham’s Lace’

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ - both are in the beginning stages of blooming.

Agave gentryi 'Jaws' - the center cone turned to mush, the whole thing fell over and I put it out of its misery.

But it looks dead! (a Halloween addition) - the only plant from this ensemble post that didn't make it is a Pseudopanax crassifolius. It put up a good fight but succumbed to the winter madness.

Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' - dead in a big dramatic and ugly way.
Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira

Eryngium venustum - all good, although greatly reduced in size from the winter chill.

Mesquite Tree (at my mother-in-law’s) - still happy.

Salvia discolor - very dead from the winter cold, I will buy another when I see it available.

x Mangave 'Macho Mocha' - a stinky pile of goo, I left the roots and only removed the bits above ground hoping it might make a comeback when the temperatures warm.
x Mangave 'Macho Mocha' with Agave ovatifolia in the foreground

Fatshedera 'Aureo Maculata' - a bit burned back by winters cold, all in all quite happy and I recently bought a seond plant!

Senecio mandraliscae - over wintering happily on the window sill and due to return outdoors soon.
Senecio mandraliscae

Cordyline Cha Cha - dead!

Hedychium coccineum 'Tara' - dormant and hopefully due to return, only time will tell.

Agave americana ‘striata’ - looking good in the shade pavilion greenhouse.

Clematis tibetana var. vernayi - new green growth started emerging about a month ago, very much alive.

Sansevieria cylindrica - powering on, still in less than ideal conditions.

Acanthus sennii - no show thus far, fingers crossed that any day it will start to push up out of the soil.

Eryngium maritimum - pretty much dead, I have very little hope.
Eryngium maritimum

Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ - happy and about to be planted up into a larger container.

Rodgersia 'Bronze Peacock' - still sleeping, should make an appearance soon.

Alstroemeria isabellana - oh gosh, I'm worried about this one, giving it a little more time to wake up.
Alstroemeria isabellana

Podocarpus alpinus ‘Orangeade’ - looking fabulous.

Tetrapanax papyrifer - I "faved" this one twice and it was covered at the top of the post.

Rhododendron sinogrande - it sailed through the winter cold!

Cordyline australis - gone but not forgotten, they'll come back from the roots for sure.

Wingthorn Rose - cut back to the base and starting to regrow, there is no stopping this one.
Wingthorn Rose

Echium x wildpretii 'Rocket' - it bloomed, I cut it out, the bees mourned.

Adiantum pedatum - all's good...starting to send up new shoots.

Leptospermum 'Dark Shadows' - made it through another winter in a protected container, gotta love that.

Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby’ - dunno. When I do the scratch test the trunks are green, but there are no leaves. I have hope.
Sophora prostrata 'Little Baby’

Agave parryi 'JC Raulston' - a couple of leaves have blemishes but I don't think I'll loose any.

Stachyurus salicifolius - buds about to burst open any day.
Stachyurus salicifolius

Epimedium wushanense - a little knocked back by the cold but keepin on keepin on.

Euphorbia stygiana - so beautiful in it's demise but dead dead dead.

Sempervivum - just dandy.

Eriobotrya japonica - the oldest just survived a move (fingers crossed) and the younger is now poised to take over the former privet lands!

Dasylirion wheeleri - these just keep on being amazing. Up to 5 of them in the ground and I bought another that will be planted soon.
Dasylirion wheeleri

Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony’ - a bit of tip die-back from the cold but all in all unharmed.

Clianthus puniceus - oh so dead, from the cold.

Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens - if the name "cast iron plant" wasn't already taken it could apply to this.

Acacia pravissima - sad, dead. So dead, and gone.
Acacia pravissima

Yucca filamentosa / Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' - it's got a super ugly case of yuccahne but it should grow out of it.

Euphorbia rigida - the plant I featured is gone (a causality of the rhody removal) but it's babies live on.

Sedum rubrotinctum - unbelievably some are still alive, having made it though 12F in a container in the unheated garage, wow!

Saxifraga - another group post and they all look great.

Echium wildpretii - the one pictured below bloomed and died it's natural death. Two others died in the ground, ones that would have bloomed this summer. However one tiny little plant powered on, we'll see what it does this summer.
Echium wildpretii

Edgeworthia chrysantha - just finished up blooming and is starting to put on it's leaves.

Yucca filamentosa at my mom's - made it through another cold Spokane winter with no ill-effects, although my dad talks of getting out the chain saw and taming it.

Callistemon viridiflorus - both plants seem to have made it through the winter with out missing a beat. Hopefully there will be blooms this year!
Callistemon viridiflorus

Mystery yucca - it has returned, with a tiny sibling.

Cast Iron Plant -  all the solid green leafed plants are grand. The spotted ones (not featured in the post) however are crispy and ugly, presumed dead.

Grevillea juniperina 'Molonglo' - as I mentioned at the very beginning of this post I dug them all out last weekend. They were defoliating from the center out and just too ugly to leave. There was green wood and they might have staged a come back but I just couldn't look at them any longer. A plant that used to being me great happiness was bringing me down.

Carex brunnea ‘Jenneke’ - dug both of these out too. They just turned ugly.

Fatsia japonica - nothing gets to this plant. It lost a lot of leaves in the cold but is putting on new growth and looking fabulous.

Callistemon ‘Clemson’- this is the plant that started it all! My first "fav" - sadly it couldn't cope with the winter chill and died back to the ground. We'll see if it has the strength to come back from the roots.
Callistemon ‘Clemson’

Shall we tally them up?
Dead = 16
Too early to tell = 6
Which means the vast majority are still alive, okay I guess there's no curse just a gardener with a taste for risk...

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


  1. You are a garden sky diver! The thrill is worth the risk, right? Glad to hear that your fatsia polycarpa made it through its move. I'll be looking for one at the HPSO sale to see if I can keep it alive this time. My favorite post this week is here:

    1. Ha! Well you're right next to me jumping out of the plane. And yes, it is.

  2. Considering that you push your zonal boundaries and you had a particularly ugly winter, I'd say you're doing very well. I did a quick check on the 28 prior favorites I've posted in connection with your meme and found that 27 of those are doing just fine - the exception was an annual (Celosia). My selection this week is one of my new acquisitions:

    1. I agree with you Kris, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  3. Very enlightening post. Not a bad tally, really, seeing how you knew full well that some would not make it. I'm totally on your side; gardening would be so boring if we didn't constantly push the boundaries of what our climate allows.

    Question to myself: Now why did I just create a 6x48 ft. "desert garden" and not plant a single Dasylirion wheeleri? Now I'm almost hoping that one of my existing plants will die so I can plant one.

  4. O my gosh, let me say, you have so many unusual and unknown by me plants! I love the wingthorn rose-spectacular!

    1. It is pretty darn fabulous I agree. So glad I found one.

  5. Seventy one posts, time certainly does fly as it seemed like you only started this meme only recently. Not a bad tally at all and in reality that's probably the rate of garden plant turnover whether you feature faves of the week or not. A little superstition sneaking in every so often can't be helped though :)

    1. I think I was at it for about have that time before introducing it as a meme but it is amazing how fast time goes!

  6. Yes, I am shocked at how good my Fatsia looks, despite temps down around zero. During the worst of it, it looked awful, all closed in on itself, but as soon as the temperature rose above freezing, it popped right back up. Amazing. So sorry about your losses. My Rodgersia 'Bronze Peacock' is just beginning to wake up. I bet you'll also see life very soon. Hopefully all six of your "maybes" will wake up and be happy.

    1. Fatsia are pretty tough plants when it comes to cold, I'm always amazed how fast they pop back. Good news about 'Bronze Peacock' - oddly one of my clumps worked it's way out of the ground mid-freeze. Since they're hardy to Zone 5 I think it should be okay...

  7. Wow. Seventy something is a lot! I think you cheated one other time and featured Lila, right? :)

    1. Amazing memory but no, I featured Lila as a fav but then followed up the next day with a plant fav, Acanthus sennii.

  8. Too bad about the ones that perished, but it could be worse, right? And now you know which ones can survive what hopefully will be the coldest weather your garden will ever experience. Your plant collection is amazing!

    1. Yes it could have been a lot worse, while I mourn the losses I feel lucky.

  9. skimming my email, and I wonder if you've resolved your issue with scraping and Blue Fox Garden? I see the post I had commented on there is gone at least.

    1. Thanks for asking Diana, actually Google is being freakishly slow with their responses. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to report scraping but usually on the third report (I typically report 15-20 stolen posts at a time) they'll just take down the entire site. Their making me work really hard to get this one taken down.

  10. That's a very impressive list of favourites Loree and I reckon you still alive rate is pretty good going as well.

    BTW I read your blog anniversary post the other day and I would like to belatedly wish you all the best and thank you for providing such a great blog :)

    1. Thank you Adam, I appreciate your reading and commenting so faithfully!

  11. I'm going to have to bookmark this post for future reference! So very, very many cool plants....

  12. Funny, I was just thinking about how many faves live on, but the jury is still out on many of mine. Looks to me like you are batting a pretty good average, especially since you like to live on the edge. This is a nice post to use as a reference point in choosing chancy plants.

  13. 16 dead plants = SHOPPING OPPORTUNITY! :^)

    1. If it's all the same I'd rather keep the ones I had.

  14. This list reminds me of how many plants I'd seen you feature and had bookmarked as having to hunt down and somehow someday own. Eryngium maritirum must be found.
    It is hard to think about how many amazing plants you've lost. Some of them got so big in the time you had them, and I'd be devastated. I think I'll just pretend they're all still there, happy and alive. Acacia pravissima :(

    My favourite:

    1. I kind of do the same thing (pretend they're still there), better to have loved and lost then never loved at all....

  15. It's interesting to see your list of survivors, I like the red-thorned rose and the Astelia 'Red Gem'. We all win a few, lose a few, but learn a lot in the process. My favorite plant pick of the week is Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'.


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