September 26, 2022

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Tom Karwin, On Gardening | Deciding on unheard of plants – Santa Cruz Sentinel

5 min read

Care for your yard

Current columns have focused on my nomination of the five most well-known groups of garden plants. Some or all of these plant groups are bundled in my backyard garden and quite a few other gardens.

The generic teams (dahlias, irises and roses) incorporate expanding lists of types selected or hybridized by growers to charm to gardeners the other teams (California natives and succulents) involve the two a lot of genera and species and distinct types.

General, these preferred plant teams present a excellent range of alternatives to opt for from, earning plant selection a challenging undertaking for numerous gardeners. We have instructed easing this process by shopping for plants that would (a) align with a thematic structure for the back garden, and (b) develop to a measurement appropriate for a distinct place in the landscape.

Here’s a third approach: choosing unusual vegetation that you take pleasure in.

This is a liberating way to select plants whilst increasing the new troubles to recognize and obtain unusual vegetation that remember to your eyes and then discover the correct areas for them in the backyard.

These new troubles can be fulfilling queries. They include thumbing the internet pages of mail-get catalogs, roaming through sections of a yard middle, and searching websites on the World wide web.

I have enjoyed these types of treasure hunts, with the end result that my garden’s well-liked plant groups are complemented by a number of unheard of crops. These are not quite scarce vegetation, but specimens that vary from far more common plants, and stand out as exceptions.

Right here are a number of examples.

Ornamental Onion (Allium schubertii). This bulbous perennial plant is indigenous from the eastern Mediterranean to central Asia. In the spring, it provides 12- inch vast, umbrella-like flower heads (umbels) that can be in comparison to exploding fireworks. Its dried seed heads fall to the ground in which they are spread by the wind, earning the plant’s other common identify, Tumbleweed Onion. This eye-catching plant will self-seed in a limited way, and just about every season’s new crop is pleasing to see. It can be observed in mail-order catalogs that element Alliums and other bulbs.

Madeira Island Geranium (Geranium maderense). This plant is the most significant of the 422 species of the genus Geranium. It bouquets biennially, but its dim inexperienced palmate leaves are entitled to a distinguished place in the garden when not in bloom. When it blooms in spring, its substantial inflorescence of 1-inch vast mauve-pink dim centered bouquets rises to five toes, nicely higher than the 3×3 foliage. I acquired this plant in the tumble of 2017, at the Santa Cruz Yard Trade. It has due to the fact grown nicely and proliferated, yielding seedlings for other Backyard Exchange guests. I a short while ago lifted a large seedling for a pal, then viewed the lower leaves shrivel as the plant produced roots. It is searching healthy now, but I considering that realized that the reduce leaves are desired to help the towering flower heads. Time will convey to if the loss of decreased leaves will be a issue.

World Daisy (Globularia sarcophylla ‘Blue Eyes’). This somewhat scarce plant is endemic to the Canary Islands. It is a shrubby perennial, growing to 3×3 feet with dark green 2-inch long dim environmentally friendly leaves. Its enchantment focuses on its exceptional, 1-inch large, globular flowers with white petals with lavender-blue margins that bloom from spring by summer season. This plant was hybridized by the Huntington Botanic Gardens and is staying grown by San Marcos Growers (which supplies regional backyard centers).

Rice Flower (Pimelea ferruginea ‘Bonne Petite’). This Australian native grows to a 3×3 foot evergreen bush, with generous clusters of compact pink flowers blooming most heavily in the spring. The species name usually means “rust-colored.” The plant grows well in a sunny location with perfectly-drained soil. I acquired this plant about 3 many years from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Yard. It’s escalating properly but reportedly does not have a extensive lifetime, so I will love it till a substitution will be wanted.

Progress your know-how

The Cactus & Succulent Society of The united states will present the webinar, “The Succulent Assortment of Babylonstoren Farm,” at 10 a.m. Saturday. This is an remarkable backyard garden in South Africa’s Western Cape, targeted predominantly on succulents from southern Africa, and is run like a botanical backyard garden. The presenter, Ernst van Jaarsveld, Ph.D., was employed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute from 1974 to 2015. As a horticulturist, he curated the succulent segment at the globe-popular Kirstenbosch Countrywide Botanical Gardens. Soon after retirement, he pursues whole-time operate on the Babylonstoren Farm and is involved in building a succulent selection like a botanical backyard garden. Jaarsveld is the author of additional than 200 posts and quite a few books. In 2013, with Uschi Pond, he created a espresso-table e book on Welwitschia mirabilis to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. He has also authored Tree Aloes of the Globe (2015).  Ernst is a fellow of the Cactus and Succulent Society of The usa. To sign up for this totally free event, stop by


The Monterey Bay Rose Society will existing its 41st Annual Rose Present, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, at the Alladin Nursery, 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. This in-individual celebration features roses expertly developed by community gardeners and gives an opportunity to learn and select roses for order from numerous resources throughout the impending bare-root year.

The California Landscape and Yard Heritage Society will sponsor the webinar, “Garden Record of the Monterey Peninsula,” at 6 p.m., May 11. For info on this charge-centered celebration, and to sign-up, look through to and simply click on “Events.”

Enrich your gardening days

Attempt establishing your garden by conducting treasure hunts for unusual vegetation. Whilst we can always take pleasure in the acquainted vegetation, possessing “something different” could incorporate spice to your garden structure. It could also attract the focus of your gardening mates.

Love your garden!

Tom Karwin is previous president of Mates of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Culture, a Life time Member of the Monterey Bay Place Cactus & Succulent Culture, and a Life time UC Grasp Gardener (Accredited 1999–2009). He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Culture, and lively with the Pacific Horticultural Culture. To perspective everyday photos from his back garden, For backyard coaching facts and an archive of earlier On Gardening columns, check out Get in touch with him with opinions or questions at [email protected]

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