You may recall that I mentioned that I was thinking of getting a Japanese maple to replace the Mountain Pepper (Driyms lanceolata) I'd planted at the site of the large Eucalyptus tree we took down early last year. (My misgivings over the selection of the Driyms were described here and the reasons for the removal of the Eucalyptus were discussed here.)
|This is Driyms lanceolata shortly after planting last February - it's an attractive plant but perhaps not the best choice as a focal point for the bed|
|The Driyms, in the center foreground in this photo taken at the end of January, grows slowly and has been eclipsed by the surrounding plants, particularly the 3 Coprosma repens 'Plum Hussey'|
After some scouting about, I decided to go ahead with that plan and, last Sunday, headed to Roger's Gardens, an Orange County nursery, to pick up the maple I'd selected, an Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost.' At this point, it looks like a stick in a pot but the images of the plant I found on the web convinced me that it will make a much better focal point for the bed than the Drimys, which I plan to move to another area of the garden.
|Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost' in its nursery pot|
The 'Purple Ghost' purchase was planned but I can't visit Roger's without checking out what else is available. I cruised through the nursery and found myself putting things onto my cart I hadn't had any plans whatsoever of purchasing when I left the house. The first of these were tulips. I'd long ago given up on tulips. With the exception of some species types, these don't come back in southern California. They require a long period of chilling in the refrigerator and then, just when they're about to bloom, one of our Santa Ana winds comes along and withers the buds. No matter how beautiful they are, they're a bad investment here. But Roger's had some already sprouted in nursery packs. They weren't unusual varieties and I know they won't last long but they didn't cost much so onto the cart they went. The sun shining through their petals was just impossible for me to pass up.
|I popped the tulips into a partially empty pot, where they'll keep very temporary company with a Euphorbia|
Then there was the Puya berteroniana. Sure, I've admired pictures of its turquoise flowers and spiky foliage on-line but it can take 6 or more years to reach blooming size. (You can find a picture of it in flower here.) Still, 6 years can fly by, can't it? Onto the cart it went.
|A baby Puya berteroniana in its nursery pot|
Then there were some Osteospermum with spoon-shaped petals. I already have Osteospermum of various types throughout my garden, as noted in my recent Bloom Day report. I didn't need more, yet 3 ended up on my cart.
|One of the new Osteospermum, already planted in my backyard border|
Several other things ended up on the cart as well. In an exercise of self-discipline, I decided to put 2 plants back. That's when things really got out of hand. Having returned those plants to the spots I picked them up from, I walked by another Japanese maple and stopped dead in my tracks. I walked back to my cart. Then I walked back to the maple. Then I walked back to my cart and brought it to the maple. Then the maple and I, along with my other purchases, checked out and drove back home, my wallet a little lighter.
Could you have turned away from this plant?
|Look at the branching structure!|
|Look at the picture of the mature leaves!|
|Look at that new foliage!|
Acer palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa' is a dwarf variety, often used in bonsai. I was attracted by its form, already evident in the young plant, and the appearance of the new foliage, with its chartreuse color. In summer, the leaves become a medium green, shifting to a golden orange color with red tips in the fall. It was pricier than 'Purple Ghost' but I decided that its dwarf stature might make it the perfect focal point for the new border we're creating in the backyard, where we're removing another long strip of lawn. That bed should be ready to plant within a few weeks, if not sooner - so this purchase is really just a head-start on plant selection.
What garden plants have tempted you recently?