Sometimes I get that look. It's a sort of narrowing of the eyes, while the head turns a little to the side. I am being judged and found lacking.
"You call yourself a gardener?"... "and you can't I.D. that plant?"
The plant in question is always something that's not particularly rare, probably growing in several yards in any Portland neighborhood. But I've never bothered to learn the name of it, because I don't care about it. The way I see it there's only room in my brain for a certain number of plant names and I'm not going to give over space to learning the difference between an Escallonia and a Photinia ...with apologies to fans of either.
One of those "I don't know anything about them" plants: Euonymus. I've always lumped it in the category of plants people-who-aren't-gardeners "plant" in order to hide something, like the foundation of their house (again, apologies if you're a fan).
So while shopping at Joy Creek recently I was surprised when Ricki (Sprig to Twig) suggested one. Even more surprising? I came home with two of them! That's them there, draping over the side of the big planter. What...that's not what you expected from a Euonymus? Me either!
I'd been meaning to tend to this area — just to the left of the front steps — for awhile now. I reworked it last October for the OC&K Challenge (photos from then here) but since then it had become a mess. Here's a photo from my Agave edema post earlier in the month ...
The Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana) in the huge container was out of control (above) and that dark leaf Cordyline wasn't helping. I pruned the hell out of the Feijoa and gave the Cordy to a friend. Then went shopping, of course. The Euonymus are E. nanus var. turkestanicus ...
And like other (some? all? I really don't know) Euonymus they get these little seed pods which should turn pink and then expose orange seeds. Plus the autumn color is reputed to be fabulous. The folks at Joy Creek say: "Euonymus nanus var. turkestanicus is a curious arching-to-cascading shrub with narrow, widely spaced, dark green leaves that march down the stems in a ladder-like fashion. Autumn color is red to burgundy. The flowers are not noticeable but the fruits are relatively large, pink and contain bright orange arils within. This would be a wonderful shrub for spilling over a low wall or in a rockery."
Above the Euonymus, eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a touch of purple (stupid camera...it really is very deep purple) in the Feijoa sellowiana. Another Clematis! This one C. Clematis 'Gipsy Queen' and also from Joy Creek Nursery.
I've been causally hunting for a purple Clematis that reminded me of the one my Grandmother grew next to her porch in Spokane. This was finally it!
Back when the Outlaw visited in early August I'd picked up a few other plants to go in this area.
Like this striking Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'...
And a couple of Cordyline 'Cha Cha'...
Which technically aren't hardy here but I've had reliably come back from the roots, even at 12F.
The Agave desmettiana 'variegata' will have to go inside before danger of freeze, but I'm already scheming on another, hardier, Agave to take it's place.
It's grown so much this summer...I think it has earned this prominent placement again next year.
I also planted a couple Acaena inermis ‘Purpurea’ — their impact in photos isn't nearly as powerful as it is in person.
The severely damaged Agave americana is already pushing out new growth — I could not stand looking at the crispy leaves from the "edema" destruction and cut them off. Knowing this one is not guaranteed winter-hardy here I almost just pulled it out, but then decided to let it do battle. If it makes it all the better.
I did pull out the mutilated A. gentryi ‘Jaws’ though. It was just too ugly and I needed a spot to plant the Agave parryi I picked up last month at the Ruth Bancroft Garden.
Also new to this area are a pair of Agave toumeyana var. bella gifted to me by Gerhard. May they grow up to be big and strong.
Existing plants include several self-sown Euphorbia rigida...
Sedum ternatum 'Larinem Park' (something is munching on its leaves!)...
And Eryngium maritimum (along with a couple of Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow').
Controlled chaos. Oh and the reason for that big empty space on the left? Well first of all it's not so big "in real life", secondly it leads to the hose bib...(practical matters).
Hopefully I'll master this Clematis business and next year there will be an explosion of purple blooms rising above the Euonymus...
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