Monthly Top 10 Plants at Campiello Maurizio (December 2022)

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(This is the last post of 2022 and I want to thank everyone who’s been here to read something I’ve written or posted during the last 12 months. This has been a wonderful year and I look forward to many new and wonderful adventures AND PLANTS in 2023.)

Camellia sasanqua ‘Silver Dollar’ in the garden at the start of the month.

One: This Camellia sasanqua ‘Silver Dollar’ has been in the garden for many years now. Originally purchased nearly two decades ago at Cistus Nursery, it’s going to be available there again thanks to cuttings from my plant!

This fall bloomer is a peony form bloom and was originally developed by Nuccio’s Nurseries. It’s been a bit of a slow grower, but I don’t mind. These blooms are elegant and are worth the wait.

Lapageria rosea ‘Alba’ currently spending the winter in my Seed Studio.

Two: The Chilean bellflower, or copihue, is the national flower of Chile—but this is its less common white form. Typically seen in red, you can also find it in a few pink variations. The fact that it’s only hardy to USDA zone 9, combined with the fact that it’s also a fall bloomer, kind of limits the range in the US where it can be grown well.

So, this is not a vine you find in cultivation often. Combined with its limited range, the plant is also difficult to propagate. I know this personally because I’ve grown a crop from seed—thanks to the pollination work of my friend Evan.

This white flowering vine belongs to a friend of mine, and is on loan to me in order to propagate it. Sadly, I’ve not worked hard on this project yet, but it’s a priority right now. So far I’ve layered a few of its vines at the base of this large container. Next, I plan to air layer it for the next year or so. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

If we were to take cuttings of it, they’d basically take a year too. Without a cool mist area during the summer, success will be a challenge in this climate. So, of course I’m trying to pollinate the flowers again too but they’ve not been taking…

So let’s just sit back and admire this slightly frustrating stunner…

The new Rhododendron ‘Medusa’ awaiting her placement in the garden.

Three: Ok, maybe not the most stunning photo of this Rhododendron ‘Medusa’ but it’s a pleasure to have it home with me now. I recently acquired her from my friend Evan, after they moved out of their family home just before it was sold. We’d been planning for it to be transplanted to my garden since the gorgon is a symbol of Sicily, and I’m really excited to have her here.

We’ll have to wait to be “stopped in our tracks” though. She still needs to be replanted in order to fully bloom again. It was just very sweet that it at least was making an attempt this month.

Salix x ‘Swizzle Stick’ in the display garden at Secret Garden Growers.

Four: Not all of these Top 10 plants are at home. I decided some were going to have to be at work too. I spend enough time at both nurseries that I do become attached to certain things. This tree is one of them.

There’s just something about a willow tree. This is a smaller selection of a corkscrew willow and there’s a lot to love about that. It’s definitely more compact, and it’s a tree with a lot of seasonal interest.

I just want to make arrangements with those branches. Aren’t they great?

I don’t have the room for something like this at home, but that’s ok, because I can enjoy it at work. (And I bet I could clip some branches too if I really needed a few.)

Someday soon this Trachycarpus fortunei ‘Wagnerianus’ will be like the palms of Venice. You’ll just be able to see it as it peeks above my fence when you walk by on the sidewalk.

Five: Another one of my Cistus Nursery plants, this palm came home with me when it was quite small. Now, well, let’s just skip ahead a few years and it’s going to be a real stunner in the garden next summer. Come to think of it, it’s quite a stunner right now!

With so many smaller plants that I’ve purchased over the years, it’s fun to watch them grow up and fill in. Watching the space change is part of the true magic of gardening.

Having just had another storm with heavy east wind and ice I’m happy to say that this palm seems to take it all in stride. I can’t say that about the other trees I have out there, but I can replace any that don’t quite make it.

While the Pseudotsuga menziesii (aka Douglas fir) still looks a bit odd since we lifted its branches up, that pruning work helped it sail through the recent wind and ice like a champ.

Six: While I don’t completely LOVE having a giant tree right next to my home, it is nice during the summer, and I believe people should plant trees to cool their homes naturally when the space is available to do so. This side of the house faces west and it does a great job of blocking out some of the extra sunlight on those long hot and dry summer days.

I worry about removing it, but until then, we’ll just take care of it and enjoy it.

This month though, it’s been fascinating to watch it survive all of the wind and ice. It bends and sways and does drop some branches, but overall, it’s built to do so.

So this December, it’s just been a natural wonder to watch.

Berries on a Danae racemosa in my back garden. I collect and clean these seeds to sell at Spiffy Seeds.

Seven: This evergreen asparagus relative has long been a favorite of mine. Grown from seed, it’s taken a few years to get this large. Like other asparagus-like plants, it too has bright berries, and I love how they look in late fall.

This is a drought tolerant plant from the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East. It’s commonly called poet’s laurel and is one of the plants frequently depicted in ancient art. That, combined with the fact that it’s most importantly grown from seed, landed it here in my garden.

The native Vancouveria hexandra ground cover took years to fill in, but this year it has fully matured and the subtle fall color was wonderful.

Eight: I can’t remember how long ago I planted this native ground cover, and I’ve overlooked it for years. Suddenly though, it really filled in this last year. This pleased me because it struggled partially because I didn’t want to water that area often during our drier months.

Then I guess it suddenly established itself. It settled in and got comfortable. The swath of dappled fall color was nice this year. It’s one of those plants with a bit of wiggle to it, and I love movement in the garden, especially whenever it’s planted betwixt more stationary plants.

Begonia ‘Snow Flurries’ is a cane begonia that usually has “flurries” of white blooms each winter.

Nine: Back inside the house, there’s ALWAYS a favorite begonia right? Considering my fine collection of more than I’m even aware of right now, this cane is one of my favorites. Bred by the late Brad Thompson, it was named and released in 2001 by Paul Tsamtsis.

I tortured it a bit so it’s not blooming quite as well as it did last year, but trust me, it can absolutely look like there are snow flurries. There were lots of panicles of white blooms last year. While they did put on a show, they also made a mess on my floor, but it was a beautiful mess.

Not sure if it will travel with me up to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in February for my DIY Stage seminar covering begonias!

I get to work on that presentation this weekend, and I’ll begin to arrange the contenders for the big show! I am SO excited about it!

The key to any of my public appearances is that I’ll be sure to give it a bit of an unexpected twist. What will it be this time? 🙂 Stay tuned!

Several of my Sinningia leucotricha seedlings coming back to life. Time to repot them!

Ten: Gotta love a gesneriad too! You know, because I have a few of them. A few years ago I grew several Sinningia species from seed and this was one of my favorites. I sold various ones at the recent convention in Tacoma, but kept a few for myself and for our local Gesneriad Society chapter.

Sinningia leucotricha is an adorable fuzzy wonder.

So, that’s my Top 10 for this month and again, thank you so much for being a visitor to my site and dropping in on my plant-y life!

Oh, and here’s yet another cat in my life. We all know that the internet loves cats, so I have to do my part!

Wicky is now happily adapting to the spoiled life and is receiving lots of cat treats so she’s behaving, well, differently. She works with us out in Canby, and lives well with the hilarious pack of dogs. Each time they asked for a treat today, she did too.

Can’t exactly teach her to “sit” but I’m trying with “headbutt” for now. We’ll see how that goes…

So cheers to all of you and stay safe and warm out there. We’re working hard to make more plants!

Happy New Year’s Eve y’all and Happy New Year!!!

2 thoughts on “Monthly Top 10 Plants at Campiello Maurizio (December 2022)

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