Thursday, May 1, 2014

Banksia blechnifolia is my favorite plant in the garden; this week…

Last Saturday we took down the walls on the shade pavilion greenhouse, an annual milestone for sure. From here on out it's happy outdoor living! (okay for 6 months...) Of course before the deconstruction could get underway we had to remove all the plants. As we did I saw many things I wanted to stop and note, or take care of, but there wasn't time (the husband runs a tight crew, no lollygagging). However there was one plant so amazing in it's spring growth that I had to record what I was seeing and that's my Banksia blechnifolia...

This is the second Banksia blechnifolia I've grown, as the first died an untimely death last spring when allowed to dry out on an unusually hot May day while I was away on Jury duty. It was so fabulous I bought a replacement last September when I visited The Desert Northwest up in Sequim, WA.

This is what made me want to try to grow it again. The undersides of the leaves...

But look at this combination of the underside of an older leaf with the coppery fuzz of a new one. Pretty darn fabulous.

But wait! Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, there is fuchsia fuzz too! Seriously. Is this plant amazing our what?

The only thing that could take it to the next level, well it's this...a crazy ground level bloom! What if? Well I would be thrilled (photo borrowed from The Desert Northwest)...

Description from The Desert Northwest: "Fascinating! This is one of several Banksia species that actually creeps along the ground, producing large leaves that stick straight up while the stems are completely prostrate. In the case of this species, the leaves recall with remarkable resemblance those of some species of the fern genus Blechnum, though they are much tougher, and may exceed 12" long. Cylindrical orange or orange-red flower spikes are produced on quite young plants: these arise directly from ground level resulting in a very curious looking plant! And to top it all off, it has brilliant pink new growth! Being from summer-dry Western Australia, it will appreciate a hot site, perhaps with reflected heat, and NO summer water. Although we're not sure how hardy this is yet, it's certainly hardier than might be expected. So far it has survived temperatures in the upper teens F unharmed. It can also be grown in a container in a sandy soil mix, where it is sure to make an interesting conversation piece, and yes, it does bloom in a pot!"

Bonus: if you're in the Portland, Oregon, area I've just learned The Desert Northwest will be at the Spring Garden Fair in Canby this weekend. May 3&4, 2014. If you contact them today (Thursday) you might be in time to get Ian to bring down a requested plant. Sadly he has no Banksia blechnifolia stock at the moment.

So...that's my story, now I want to hear about what's looking good in your garden this week...

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

35 comments:

  1. I can see why you were captivated - the foliage is wonderful! I'm showing one of my very favorite plants this week: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-favorite-plant-this-week.html

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    1. While I might someday see a bloom it is the foliage that makes me love this plant.

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  2. That is one colorful plant! And the variety of textures! I just want to touch them all. My favorite plant this week Adenium obesum, desert rose, a plant that can take the heat
    http://janestrong.blogspot.com/2014/04/favorite-plant-of-week-rose-that-can.html

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    1. Ah yes, the textures...from soft and fuzzy to a bit of a sandpaper-ish feel.

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  3. Wow! I must admit I don't have a single banksia. Time to remedy that!

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    1. Oh Gerhard, yes indeed!

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    2. Good news: I got my own Banksia blechnifolia today at the Ruth Bancroft Garden fall plant sale. They had a large selection of Australian natives.

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    3. I am so glad! How big is it? And what else did you buy? (you'll be posting all aboit it right?)

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  4. Nice of the plant to expose the leaf undersides so you don't have to crawl underneath on your back to get a glimpse. :) Quite wonderful!

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    1. So true, of course growing in a small container which is easily lifted helps too.

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  5. Thanks for introducing me to this plant - until now, the only banksia I knew of was the rose. Of course, now I think I have to have one. Who could resist after your description and photos?

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    1. Ah so you've discovered a whole new genus to fall in love with! There was a gorgeous (big) banksia next to the pool in the Testa-Vought Garden, during last year's Fling

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  6. Great plant, that will have to go on the list to find I think.

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    1. I'm betting that's a long list?

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  7. Such an interesting plant. I can see why you love it and needed another one. It looks great in that pot too. Happy summertime now that the greenhouse walls are down!

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    1. Greenhouse walls down, furniture on the patio, and 89 degrees...sounds like summer to me!

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  8. OK, I missed the "walls going up" post and linked back --- awesome. Did you document the tear down? I always mean to document what I'm doing more closely, but I'd need a staff photographer ha.

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    1. I did not document the tear down. For the most part I was busy in the garage moving things to make space for the walls, while Andrew was dismantling.

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  9. Banksia lust! wow! That is a really cool plant.

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  10. That is such a totally cool plant! Hooray for the greenhouse walls coming down, just in time for this tropical blast of heat.

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    1. How hot did it get yesterday in your greenhouse Alison?

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    2. It wasn't that bad, I think it was only in the low 90s. I had the door open completely, and there are vents that open automatically, and a fan.

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  11. Green, copper, and fuchsia. I never would have thought of that color combo, but I love it! The textures are fascinating, too.

    My favorite this week is a primrose that blooms fashionably late. http://practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-favorite-plant-in-garden-this-week.html

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  12. Oh my--that is a fascinating plant, indeed! I've never heard of it before, but I like everything about it. Just fabulous!

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  13. AnonymousMay 01, 2014

    What a cool plant! Exotic colors with unusual habit and flowers. My favorite plant this week is Echium wildprettii. I bought it a month ago from Cistus, and it's now over two feet high. It might be wanting to bloom, since I see small buds on the stalk. Next to my Louis Edmunds manzanita, it's silvery colors and symmetry are very cool.
    Jim N. Tabor

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    1. Seriously? You just bought it and it's making ready to bloom? I guess I better go see what the echium I bought from them is looking like.

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  14. Ooh! Fuzzy! Speckled! Want!

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    1. And you could probably even grow it in the ground!

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  15. Mr. Danger Garden, tear down that wall! The shade pavilion is no longer behind the plastic curtain. Hooray! What an interesting favorite plant this week! Mine can be found here: http://www.outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/clivia-minata-is-my-favorite-plantthis.html

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    1. Been watching a little reality television?

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  16. AnonymousMay 02, 2014

    This was also one of my favorites while I grew it in spec ho.e landscape I designed, and it did send out one bloom after 18 months. The foliage is to die for, and I loved it in combination with Linaria reticulata 'Flamingo', Anigozanthus 'Red Velvet', and the contrasting silver lavender succulence of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'. David in Berkeley.

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  17. Oh no...another plant I can´t find here and that is gorgeous!!!

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