All I want...more unusual plants: Part II

Okay, so I thought of a few more plants that I want to try in my garden. One of the best things about taking a trip to the Promised Land for Gardeners (i.e., Oregon) is that I get to see so many fantastic plants in person. Yes, I know everything grows better in the Promised Land, but still...

Abies koreana 'Ice Breaker'

The first is a still-rare Korean fir. It was developed from a witches' broom from `Horstmann's Silberlocke', and grows into a flat miniature round disk of silver foliage. Stems and leaves look like buds. Grows one inch a year. Found by Jorge Kohout from Eastern Germany. I saw this potted specimen at Gossler Farms Nursery when we were in Oregon. They have a limited supply at a cost of $45 each.


I'm a sucker for variegated plants. So far, I've managed to avoid placing too many together in one location, which is like wearing stripes with plaid.  But I can always find room for more. In general, plants with variegated leaves are kind of tricky to place because they need enough shade so their leaves don't burn but enough sun to bring out the variegation and blooms. They also are sometimes prone to reversions, or reverting back to their original mono-color form. 

Still, I'm pretty sure I can find a spot for...

Davidia involucrata 'Lady Sunshine' 

Davidia, often referred to as dove tree or handkerchief tree, has unusual blooms in spring that hang from the branches like crisp linen hankies. 'Lady Sunshine' is a slower grower than the green-foliaged varieties, and can be very slow to bloom. But who needs blossoms with a plant like this? Sure, it would be a nice bonus eventually, but that would mean I have something to look forward to besides its growth, and the way it brightens up and adds delicacy to the heavier plants in a landscape. The one in the photo is young; the pink flowers from an adjacent planting of Rogersia. If you make it to Gossler Farms, you'll find a great number of Rogersia. Roger Gossler is the man who graciously took us through the garden, pointing out his favorites.


Okay, just one more, with variegation. I spotted it from a long way off--thought it was a little shrub with white blooms. Another part-shade-loving plant that prefers acidic soils, Pieris has never been on any of my short lists. Until I saw ...

Pieris japonica 'Little Heath'

This gorgeous beauty is touted as very slow-growing, which Roger Gossler disputes. Of course, if you live in The Promised Land for Gardeners, it will grow more quickly than if you live in Indiana. But because of the limitations imposed on me by property ownership, I like a slow-growing plant. And I like this one a lot.
 
What I've found to be true about some plants labeled "slow-growing" is that they could mean "slow to get established." In my garden, this means that if you plant a "slow-in-any-context" plant in 2009, you don't see any change, or even a change for the worse, in 2010. By 2011, it's perked up and looks like you don't have to put it into the compost heap after all. I figure its root system is taking hold and settling into its space before putting out any new growth. 

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