Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lomatia tinctoria is my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

Never heard of it? Neither had I, until I spotted it in my friend Peter’s garden last fall. I can’t remember exactly why it caught my attention but as soon as he said the words “hardy” and "Protea family” I knew I needed one. Luckily we were about to embark on a day long plant shopping adventure and I satisfied my plant lust that very afternoon, at Far Reaches Farm.

Here’s what Far Reaches has to say about Lomatia tinctoria, who’s common name is the Guitar Plant: “Choice evergreen Tasmanian Proteaceae family member whose vaguely guitar shaped flower buds open to a wild riff of white flowers that will have you playing the air trowel. Hardy to a normal zero degrees and drought tolerant when established. Needs no fertilizer.” (not sure what a "normal" zero degrees is vs. an abnormal one?)

Later that day we visited The Desert Northwest, where they also grew my new found fav, their description: “Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby? It's the guitar plant! Actually, the soft, fernlike foliage alone - deep green, very finely dissected leaves with bronze new growth - could draw a crowd. But it also produces showy spikes of white or cream flowers in summer, which someone apparently thinks look like little guitars up close (but much quieter). This Tasmania endemic has been in cultivation for a while, though still very rare, and it's much hardier and easier to grow than given credit for, thriving easily on any reasonably well-drained soil in sun or part shade. Hardy to about 5 - 10 °F.”

Nobody seems to mention the scent of the flowers but when I was taking these photos it was very strong, not at all unpleasant but not something you would necessarily seek out.

I think the red stems are an especially nice bonus paired with the lacy green foliage.

As always I'm curious if a certain plant has caught your eye this week, if so please tell us about it...

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

43 comments:

  1. WOW! How did you get it to do that? Well I did not mention the scent because if it ever blooms in my parents yard I am not there to see it. Nor does it ever bloom (for me) in a pot. BUT, it is a great plant in both foliage and flower, and not hard to grow - way to capture those flowers, congrats and great pics!

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    1. Thanks Ian, I was pretty surprised when the new growth started to look like flower buds!

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  2. Ah, the grevillea that isn't a grevillea. At least that's what I call it in my mind. Its leaves look very grevillea-like to me. It's a beauty for sure. I've been wanting one for a while but have never found a source. Time to intensify my search!

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    1. Indeed they do look like a grevillea...and you know, both Far Reaches and The Desert NW do mail order...

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    2. AnonymousJuly 23, 2015

      Try Plants of Tasmania Nursery. That's where I got my guitar baby yesterday. They may send interstate. :)

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  3. I like it! I also like this quote from Desert Northwest: "It is hard for people to accept the idea that a garden does not have to be watered." My kinda plant; my kinda place. I have nothing so exotic to offer this week, but it does have fragrant, fern-like foliage. See: Fennel and the Fringe at http://janestrong.blogspot.com/

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    1. Funny you mention that quote as I was just out watering the front garden, which I claim needs no watering! Honestly though I was only watering new plants, it hasn't rained here in ages and there's none in the forecast!

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  4. Oh that's pretty! I planted Lomatia myricoides last year and it sailed through winter with just one stem taking a bit of damage. It hasn't yet flowered. The foliage and stems on your variety is much more exotic looking.

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    1. Good to hear. This one was planted in the holding tanks in the drive until being planted out this spring. Of course it was pulled during the horrid cold snap in December when the soil in that tank froze solid.

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  5. Reading your blog this past year...has really gotten to me! And now I find myself attracted to dangerous plants! I recently helped a new friend, that has been collecting bromeliads in Mexico since the 60's, divided and clean up his collection and he gave me tons of babies. I made him soup and he told us some great stories. I shared some with friends in Austin, some will go to clients and the rest will stay here in the ground and in pots. My newest find on my own was in Austin the other week at the Natural Gardener (just blogged about that) I found a Topaz Grass Aloe...that just said take me home. We are too wet here for most cacti and succulents...but I have a big porch : )

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    1. I'm so happy to read that you're now attracted to dangerous pants, gardening doesn't have to be all sweet! Topaz Grass Aloe sounds amazing. I will have to check out your post!

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  6. Wow! I'm moving mine as I've had it for several years and it hasn't bloomed. Yours looks gorgeous! Of course, it gets no water and is in the worst soil I have; maybe that has something to do with it...

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    1. I thought I remembered you saying yours hadn't bloomed but I wasn't sure. I got lucky with placement I guess...

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    1. I don't write it, I just report it.

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  8. AnonymousJune 05, 2014

    Rock on, Lomatia tinctoria! My favorite plant this week is a dahlia, Arabian Nights. While I'm getting away from growing dahlias due to their water needs, this one is a very early bloomer and already has buds opening. It's color is a deep red, and the blooms are 3" at most across, so it requires no staking, preserving at least some natural looking presence in the garden.
    Jim N. Tabor

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    1. There are some breath taking dahlias out there, I'm kind of glad I've never gotten the bug though as they seem a little demanding (and I don't need anymore demands!).

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  9. Just love this plant. What a winner! It has it all doesn't it? Love the foliage and those dissected leaves contrast so nicely with the succulents in that bed. Add the red stems and it puts it over the top for visual interest. Great find. Wish I could grow it! Seems I'm always saying that to you.

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    1. I'm sorry Deanne...and I do know that "wish I could grow it feeling"...seems we're always yearning for that just outside our grasp.

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  10. AnonymousJune 05, 2014

    Ooooooh!!!!!!!! So happy to see this blooming! I picked up a lomatia myracoides last fall at Xera. And after researching it at home, I found out about this lomatia and had to have it! I got really lucky and found one at the HPSO Hortlandia sale, but it is just tiny tiny! My myracoides held up this winter and is putting on new growth finally! I was concerned as I planted it LATE last fall. My tinctoria spent some time in it's nursery pot, but has been in the ground about a month now. It's so small I can't really tell if it's growing or not! Can't wait for it to look like this! Cheers- Kiersten

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    1. I bet it will kick into action soon, mine was pretty small when I bought it and has put on a ton of growth this spring. Glad you found one!

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  11. Beautiful, but some people's definition of "hardy" needs qualification. There's also a huge difference between 10ºF and 0ºF -- way more than 10 degrees! I've never heard white blooms described as "wild" before either. :)

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    1. Well when two gardeners who live in basically the same zone call something "hardy" I think (for them) that's an accurate description. I didn't promise it would be hardy for everyone! As for the temperature variance it's not uncommon, it's rarer when nurseries agree on such a thing!

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  12. Wonderful! I've never seen it here - I wouldn't forget that flower or the foliage, which reminds me of a Grevillea. My selection this week is more mundane but it's a beautiful blue: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-favorite-plant-this-week-eustoma.html

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    1. You and Gerhard both called it on the foliage resembling a grevillea. Of course a grevillea not hardy here in the PNW!

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  13. It's a beautiful Protea isn't it Loree? Well no wonder you highlighted it this week :) love the foliage and dainty blooms. I miss having one now...

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    1. I'm sorry, was this one of the fire losses?

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    2. No it seems short lived here for some reason, lasts a couple of years or so, blooms them fades away. Also it produces little bean like seed pods so watch out for that :)

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  14. Well, I'll be damned. I've heard of the plant but never actually seen it in flower. And I didn't know it was fragrant, and hardy. Boy I didn't know much did I? Thank you for two things: First, increasing my ever evolving and expanding plant wish list and two, infusing my brain with that bygone Bread tune. Great post.

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    1. So you'll be ordering one soon, right?

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  15. That photo of the leaves and stems is what does it for me. Guess what my favorite is this week. Can you? http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3768

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    1. I guessed agave, simply because your asking seemed to mean that was it (agave is always the answer in my book). Obviously I was wrong!

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  16. That is a fabulous plant. I love those unusual flowers. I'm going to Far Reaches next week, so I'll check and see if they have some. Of course, I have no idea where I'll put it, but those flowers are hard to resist. I wrote a favorite plant post today, it's here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-favorite-plant-in-garden-this-week-is.html

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    1. When we were there I didn't see it out on the tables but I asked about it, so be sure to do that. They probably have one they can pull for you.

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  17. A lovely plant, but I must be really lacking in imagination, as it does not say 'guitar' to me!! Your garden looks fantastic with so much of interest!
    It is the roses which hold my heart at the moment - especially the Gallica rose 'Charles de Mills' which is just coming out. Heavily scented, deep red, double flowers are borne above healthy fresh green foliage. It is not a repeat bloomer so those fleeting flowers are even more precious !!

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    1. "heavily scented, deep red, double flowers"...sounds good to me!

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  18. I was wondering if a "normal" zero meant what a zero is in the rest of the world (including Tasmania) - freezing point!

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    1. Ah that could be, but an odd choice of phrasing, especially if it is hardy to 5-10F as the other nursery suggests.

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  19. I like that plant, it's perfect in your garden. I wonder how much heat it can take. I'm joining in this week with my own favorite.

    http://rockoakdeer.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-cutest-plant-in-my-garden-this-week.html

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    1. Uhm...good question, sounds like a research opportunity...

      Off to check out your favorite!

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  20. I don't quite see the little guitars, but I love it nonetheless. This is one of many plants on my mile-long wishlist. The flowers, foliage and stems are all beautiful. I think this one will stay on the wishlist a while longer. There just isn't an appropriate place in the garden yet.

    My favorite this week is practically a classic by now. http://www.practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2014/06/brunnera-macrophylla-jack-frost-is-my.html

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    1. If I squint my eyes and turn my imagination up to full blast I can almost see them...

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  21. I love it. Oh no... lust...

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