Six on Saturday

The Propagator, riding high and wielding his lasso, corrals a herd of enthusiastic gardeners for another Six.

1. Soaker hoses. Finally J assisted me in placing the miles of soaker hose that had been lying in a tangle for months. The previous arrangement was not efficient and it left many plants uncovered or at the ends of overextended lines of hose from which nary a drop dripped. So little confidence did I have in the prior arrangement that I quickly gave up using it altogether and resumed hand watering so as to avoid condemning any of the plants not located along the circuitous length of one of the soaker hoses to untimely death. I look forward to turning on the hoses and proceeding with other tasks for the allotted time rather than expending what little energy remains at the end of the workday on hand watering.

2. Buds. Like most gardeners, I love to see new growth emerging in the spring. The stirrings of life. The embryonic expression of the full-blown leaf and flower that summer will bring. The resolution of the suspense that each winter’s semblance of death brings.

Sedum spurium maybe “Tricolor”
Baptisia australis “Blue Indigo”
Ribes speciosum

3. Street trees – Golden Rain Tree. One leafed out so far in advance of the other that I feared the delayed tree had slipped from dormancy into the deeper slumber of death. But no! Behold the bronzy unfurling leaves. Given that the trees are situated so close to one another and under seemingly similar conditions, it is difficult to account for the different rates of emergence from dormancy. Any theories? Do you think they will sync up in time?

Koelreuteria paniculata

4. Blooming manuka. Seems to be thriving in its new situation in well-drained soil, full sun, and with the added proection that proximity to the warm house provides on frosty nights. The dark leaves of delightfully indeterminate hue are offset by diminutive magenta flowers. Have I mentioned my passion for very small leaves recently?

Leptospermum scoparium

5. Golden hops reemerge. Originally planted outside our apartment, where it grew and thrived, strewing cascades of golden tendrils across everything in sight. The move to our new house required a brutal sheering, which had roughly the effect on the plant’s vitality of Samson’s haircut on his legendary strength. The subsequent year was marked by sullen protest, with little to no growth and a sickly, almost self-pitying hue. With time, I grew weary of the plant’s reproachful look and consigned it to a corner where I proposed to forget all about it forever. But here it emerges again, with that fresh brightness that promises such possibilities for the long growing season that I am tempted to try to heal the breach and scatter some organic fertilizer by way of making amends.

Humulus lupulus “Aureus”

6. Fern leaf biscuitroot. A new and, best of all, native acquisition from the Soil and Water Conservation districts’ sales. The stems are an interesting purplish color and the leaves do, as the name promises, resemble fern fronds. The internet advises me to expect golden umbels by way of flowers. Apparently these plants and the related barestem biscuitroot were used for both food and medicine, as the plant’s taproot, foliage, and seeds are all edible. Personally I enjoy the name: the fey assocations of ferns followed by the down-to-earth practicality of a biscuit. Something airy, something solid.

Lomatium dissectum

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. I checked my book shelf and was ashamed to say I had the Brian Capon book, so have moved that off the shelf to the must look through pile, since I couldn’t remember it. Love that Manuka and as you say small leaves indeed! Enjoy the continuing emergence of leaves.

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  2. Your description of the gardener’s excitement at seeing buds and new growth is spot on. I agree that Fern Leaved biscuitroot is an excellent and intriguing name – we hope to see the biscuits featured here in due course. Sounds like the soaker hoses will bring you much peace of mind, and more time, which is a good thing.

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  3. I’ve fallen in love with the Manuka – what a stunning shrub. I share your love for small leaved plants and just today took delivery of some Grevilleas with tiny needle-like leaves and pretty flowers. Now I’m on the hunt for a Manuka…

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    • Don’t get me wrong: I love huge, tropical foliage, but plants with small leaves are generally better suited to our drought-prone circumstances here in southern Oregon, so it’s handy that I also happen to appreciate them aesthetically.

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  4. The flowers on your Leptospermum had me scurrying out to see what mine was doing, not a lot, it’s alive but seems to have no flower buds. I have another, L. karo ‘Spectro Bay’ which is covered in buds, I suspect you’d love it if it’s available in your neck of the woods. Looking at the two Koelreuteria I’d say the leafier one was an all round healthier tree. Provided it has a decent root system it should catch up eventually.

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