Happy Mothers Day
Mom couldn’t ask for better weather this weekend for gardening. Following some fairly substantial rain the temperatures this weekend will push the mid 80’s and that means things will grow and fast. The soil temperature is approaching 60ºF which is optimal for growth. Here are four shrubs to focus on this week. Curbside pickup has been a great success. We are so proud of our careful and adaptable customers. They REALLY love to garden. And we can’t thank you enough. Here are my picks for the week of May 5. Happy Planting.
Callistemon ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’
After almost 30 years of being in the nursery business and 20 of those as a grower I can spot a winner now a mile away. This extraordinary bottlebrush was raised and introduced by Ian Barclay of Desert Northwest Nursery. Several things make it a superior shrub.
Cold hardiness is excellent. Undamaged down to 5ºF. A vertical and fairly narrow habit makes it useful as well. In May-June a procession of glowing large moonlight yellow bottlebrush flowers literally explode from every branch tip. I love Callistemons for their wild flower form and thrifty foliage which is handsome year round. This tall shrub to 10′ achieves that height in a short amount of time. The name which elicits a lot of comments was Ian’s. Its a reference to the 1980’s comic The Neighborhood which I think is making a return. Its an odd name for a great plant. If you want a really showy blooming shrub that is well behaved this is a great plant. Light summer H20 speeds growth. It revels in full, hot sun, but older plants will bloom in quite a bit of shade at the expense of the upright form. It also has an odd attribute of producing its brushes in multiples radiating from a single stem. Very showy. And this plant is sterile so a hybrid is likely. These are currently in bloom in the nursery.
Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Xera Compact’ (Xera)
Probably one of our best introductions. This compact growing cold hardy mountain bottlebrush is also a blooming fool. In May-June every branch tip waves 3″ chartreuse brushes. Incredibly beautiful. Loved by hummingbirds and all pollinators who can be seen rolling in the long pollen tipped stamens. To just 4′ tall in 10 years and 3′ wide. It blooms at a very young age as well. Full sun and average to enriched soil with consistent summer moisture. Not tolerant of any shade. Do not try. Heh.
Ceanothus roweanus ‘Cynthia Postan’
We’ve tested many Ceanothus and grown even more and this cultivar always comes out on top. Inky blue flowers smother the foliage for weeks in April to May. Literally a pollinator fantasy. Pollinators foam over blue flowers and this plant provides. Great cold hardiness, light leaf burn at 5ºF but recovery was fast and spring bloom was not impaired. Fast growing evergreen shrub that is wildly showy in bloom. Very drought adapted. 8′ x 8′ in no time at all.
Jasminum x humile ‘Sunshine’ (Xera)
One of our very fortunate finds. Several Jasminum wallachianum and Jasminum humile got randy and produced this surprisingly fragrant offspring. Beginning in late April in an initial enormous flush of yellow star shaped flowers that emit a wonderful perfume. And its very different and not sweet like others in the genus. Its a complex fragrance. My only complaint is that it isn’t more powerful. Sporadic fragrant starry flowers continue to frost. Semi-deciduous and very tough.. If you give it lush conditions it can get huge. Average conditions is best. Excellent plant for a hedgerow or back forty. Branches force nicely inside in late winter.
Have wonderful first heatwave and mother’s day. Thats some good news we can all cling to.