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Chilean Fire Bush - a hidden jewel in our garden

It is heartbreaking that this beauty is hidden in our garden but at least the hummingbirds have found it. Hidden because it is planted behind a 7 feet tall rose. I planted it there because I was under the impression that it would become a tree. It can indeed become a tree and there is one growing about a mile from our house that is around 20 feet tall.  In our garden, it is taking its sweet time and is only 4 feet tall after being planted seven years ago (2017). It did not begin to bloom until its fifth year and this is the first year flowering has been so profuse. Whenever I think about this plant, I always remember what the Gosslers said in their book "The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs". I quote it here: "Since this plant comes from southern Chile, we begin with a word of warning: it will not grow anywhere in the United States outside western Washington, Oregon and northern California. People wanting to grow E. coccineum in the eastern part of the country will

Swapping Huckleberries

Himalayan Honeysuckle (Vaccinium glauco album) 

Himalayan Honeysuckle (Vaccinium glauco album) has been an attractive feature along our north-facing foundation since I planted it in 2016. You will have to take my word for it since I cannot locate a photo although I know one exists somewhere in the realm of the Internet or floating on a cloud somewhere. 

I did locate a photo of how it looked when it was first planted -

It took a few years to fill out but it did so nicely to an attractive mound about 2 feet high by 3 feet wide. 

Last year, it started to look bad.  I cut it back but it had not improved and this is how it looked a few weeks ago -

I decided to rip it out and plant another huckleberry - this time Vaccinium ovatum, more commonly known as the "Evergreen Huckleberry".  This is a plant that I've wanted for ages and kept putting off getting one because I could not find a good place for it. By most accounts, this is an amazing plant, a native one and excellent for wildlife. The white and pink bell-shaped flowers are appearing now and they are popular with pollinators.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. It's too bad you Himalayan variety gave up - it was very pretty. I hope the evergreen variety proves to be more tolerant.

  2. It's hard to yank something when it's not doing well, but I bet it feels great to look and see your beautiful new evergreen Huckleberry thriving. Also, yum!

  3. Lime bleed-off from your house's foundation may be the culprit. Azaleas often suffer the same fate when planted too close to a house.


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