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Vicki Green's Garden

Vicki Green's garden is one of the neatest and most immaculate gardens I've seen and it is a showcase for beautifully grown plants as well as art objects (she is a glass artist). The property was once wall-to-wall grass and now just a central portion is devoted to the green. A long pathway leads you around the perimeter of the garden adorned with lush plantings. Vicki is a master at pruning and her technique reminds me of the way Michael does it. She has trained many of her "shrubs" into small trees, such at the waxleaf privet and elderberry. A Wax Leaf Privet ( Ligustrum japonicum ) trained into an attractive small tree. I was taken aback by the size of the plants, some of which I grow, and my mind was racing. Driving up, I was immediately wowed by her 'Golden Spirit' Smoke Bush ( Cotinus coggygria ) although now I do recall seeing a very large on 117th St. However, this one is the most beautiful I've seen -   I also was surprised to see how large her 

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 find that it dies as soon as it gets in the box and knows where it is going."

So funny and they go on to say that you should never try and move it so I have not. I read in another book that it should not be watered during the summer months and I followed that advice and was not getting very much growth. I was then told by a local authority that I should give it some water occasionally during the summer. So I started doing that and indeed began to get a response.  

Another reason that ours is probably a slow grower is because it gets quite a bit of shade from the nearby Parrotia. However, it obviously blooms well in part shade as this year proves. Fingers crossed that it will one day tower above the fence and the 'Buff Beauty' rose.



Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Comments

  1. It is frustrating to have such a beautiful shrub/tree poke along. Since it has bloomed.so profusely maybe it is about to accept its situation and grow. If the weather moderates and gets into an acceptable flow perhaps this little beauty will flourish.
    I remember a lilac tree that didn't bloom for seven years after I moved here. Who knows how long it had been actually growing in this garden. I finally told it if it didn't bloom I was going to cut it down and replace it. Sure enough that summer and many years after it bloomed. Ha... mYbe you need to talk mean to your tree. 😉

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, I'm also hoping that it is just now hitting its stride.

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    2. What a cool looking, wannabe, tree, Phillip! Debbie

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    3. It's a gorgeous thing, Phillip, and I think you're lucky to have it even though it's partially hidden. (The hummers probably think that's a great thing!) My local botanic garden has 2 trees but frankly they always look sickly to me - in contrast, yours shines with health.

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  2. My problem is exactly the opposite. I planted my Embothrium coccineum and it seemingly overnight shot up to be 20ft tall. I never got to enjoy the blooms at eye-level (or below) because it blooms up so high. I usually only know it's in bloom (and think to look up) when I hear the hummingbirds going after it.

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    1. Isn't that odd? I agree that it is not as impressive when it is so tall.

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    2. I have had my embothrium in the ground for over 20 years and it is now quite large...approaching 40'. It spent its first several years in a pot and never put on more than 8"-10" of growth so... yours can still have a growth spurt. I do believe that they can range from tight shrubby forms to tall, open and lanky forms so even if it never takes off and attains any height, you've got a great plant there. One last thing, that was a great quote from Roger! ;-) Erik

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  3. That is so gorgeous. Those colors are wow!

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  4. Oh wow, is that a thing of beauty! It sounds like you are actually lucky to have it be not so tall. The color is fantastic.

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