Friday, July 31, 2015

My favorite plant this week doesn't photograph well

My favorite plant this week is Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash', an evergreen shrub originating from New Zealand.  I picked it up last fall and put it in the front garden.  I wish I'd bought more.  I also wish I'd underplanted it with something that played up its wonderful variegated foliage.

Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' in situ in my front garden


The problem with capturing its beauty in a photograph is probably mostly the fault of the photographer.  You can't see the shrub's twisty silver-gray stems well in the photograph shown above, although they're readily visible in person.  The plant's shadow may give you a better idea of its shape.



My plant is still relatively small, about 2 feet (61 cm) tall but, in time it may grow more than twice that height and up to 3 feet (1 meter) wide.  It's drought tolerant but it can take regular water as well which will be an advantage if El Niño brings heavy rains to California this winter as more and more forecasters are predicting.

In addition to the lovely contorted silver gray stems, the plant's small leaves are prettily variegated in shades of green, yellow, and pink that play off the Phormium 'Maori Queen' I've placed nearby.  I surrounded the shrub with silver groundcovers but I'm going to look for other plants that will help bring out the colors of the leaves rather than the stems.


The mulch isn't doing anything to bring out the color of the leaves


Loree at danger garden does a better job than I do in photographing her favorite plants.  Check today's post to find her July favorites wrap-up.  Click here if you want a look at my favorite from last week, Campanula primulifolia.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

16 comments:

  1. Nice pairing with the similarly colored Phormiums. Interesting genus--evolving its stems into a cage to protect itself from Moas, now sadly extinct.

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    1. An interesting fact! I was unaware of that.

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  2. Cool! This looks like the variegated version of the regular corokia. I have one in a pot (the regular one, with green leaves) and I find it very difficult to photograph. But what a cool plant with its twisted branches.

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    1. FYI, I got this variegated Corokia at Seaside Gardens so, if you're interested in another, you can check there on your next visit ;)

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  3. I think you've done this one up right, it's such a strongly variegated plant that it seems difficult to combine well. I do hope you can find more of them, as it seems very suited to your garden and your climate.

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    1. I knew Denise at AGO had luck with growing one in a pot but you never know how a plant will handle conditions in your own garden. I'm definitely going to look for more of these shrubs this fall.

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  4. They're a great plant, an oddly enough, despite being native to Australia and New Zealand, you seldom see them here in anything other than plant collectors gardens!

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    1. It's funny how that works. For my part, I see more California poppies in posts from elsewhere in the US and around the world than in my own neighborhood, much less my own garden.

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  5. Don't you just hate when a favourite doesn't photograph well. I think the shadows picked up far more than you think Kris, I noted this before I read your comment. Variegated foliage is often difficult to pair up. Good luck on sourcing something new.

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    1. Just providing a green groundcover below may be enough but something with a light dusting of yellow flowers might also be nice.

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  6. Kris is there any version of four nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) available in your area? They are natives to Texas and thereby tolerate heat and drought very well. They do take to part shade and don't typically get very tall with small yellow flowers...

    I think you captured the beauty of the plant very well. Looking forward to seeing more of that area as it develops.

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    1. I don't recall seeing Tetraneuris locally but my garden guide says that species and T. acaulis will grow here so I'll look around for it. My other thought is that Cotula lineariloba or C. 'Tiffindell Gold' might work. Both are currently growing in my garden, form dense mats, and have proven to be drought tolerant. C. lineariloba has been easy to root from cuttings.

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  7. Snap! I have recently bought this plant to replace a messy Cotoneaster on my front wall. It is such a gorgeous colour. I thought of planting a Ceanothus next to it.

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    1. This plant is most definitely not messy, Chloris. Even its twisty stems are very refined.

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  8. It is so annoying when plants that look great in the garden don't look so great in images in situ. But I'm glad you included it as it is a good lesson in choosing what works in the garden and not what photographs well.

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    1. It might photograph better in a pot or when it gains more size, Christina. A more attractive groundcover might also help. But, you're right, lack of photogenic quality shouldn't be a selection criteria.

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