March 14, 2010

My Grandchildren are Plants

I went to the nursery and brought new babies home today!

I visited Broken Arrow Nursery for their program on witch hazels (they have beautiful ones, lots of them, and all the winter-blooming vernalis and mollis and hybrids are in full color, spectacular and fragrant.  Mine look pretty pathetic in comparison.... but let's not go there today.)
(A Hamamelis mollis 'Sweet Sunshine', that Broken Arrow introduced)

The talk was interesting, the tour of the grounds where the hazels are planted was great, but the scoop of the day was the trunkload of trees and shrubs I brought back; new members to join my family of plantings in the yard.  I couldn't be more excited if a new grandchild had been born (let's not go there either.  I am, as yet, grandchildless.)

Here's what I had pre-ordered over the winter, and picked up today:
  • Magnolia x 'Elizabeth' - a gorgeous yellow flowering magnolia
  • Stewartia monadelpha - called orangebark for its colorful cinnamon bark
  • Hydrangea serrata 'Bluebird' - mountain hydrangea, a lacecap
  • Actinidia kolmikta - kiwi vine, with pink tipped leaves
  • Itea virginica 'Sprich' Little Henry - a smaller version of sweetshrub
  • Cercis canadensis 'Silver Cloud' - redbud with variegated cream and white leaves
        Does anyone have experience with these?

Broken Arrow specializes in the more unusual woody plants (they've added some perennials, but not a wide selection).  As Adam, the plant propagator said, "if you can buy it at Lowe's you probably can't get it here".  My kind of nursery.

Already I'm worrying about these new babies fresh from the nursery.  They're still in their pots of course, and will be for a while - it's too cold and wet to plant.  But I'm fussing like a new grandmother.  What if the redbud won't like the sunny spot I have for it?  Should I try to get it more shade?  Those kiwi vines, can I really put them in pots and prune them smaller than 15 feet?  Will the magnolia transplant okay in bloom?

They're such young potted plants, sitting in their containers.  Mother nature may have her plan for how to raise each one, but the grandmother in the garden won't let that be.  I have to worry, kvetch, and second guess.  And yes, I have to show you pictures.

I want you to oooh and aaah, so these are not shots of the dormant twigs that came home with me; these are some details from Oregon State University's Department of Horticulture Landscape Plants Images, Identification & Information:
  Itea virginica Sprich Little Henry blooms

Kiwi Vine Actinidia kolomikta foliage

Stewartia monadelpha bark

I can't wait to get my new plants in the ground later this spring, and let the rest of my family of plants meet them.


  1. A friend of mine has one of those yellow blooming magnolias. It is gorgeous. It looks delicate but is quite hardy. Good luck with your new grands.

  2. Very cool plants! Itea is about the most adaptable plant in NA. It can grow in full sun or shade and can tolerate dry conditions, although it is a swamp plant. The wild Itea on my farm often grows in standing water.

  3. Love that plant list!

    I agree with Lisa re the magnolia - Elizabeth is one of my favorites! The Stewartia looks wonderful - I've never seen that variety - please post photos sometime!

    I'm in the West so we may do things a bit differently here. If you have B&B (balled and burlap) you should plant it with the burlap mostly intact. Hope this helps!

  4. I loved the few Magnolias I have seen. Elizabeth sounds like a lovely name for a grandchild :-)

  5. Thanks to all for the input. It seems everyone loves the Elizabeth magnolia... I'm so anxious to see how mine will look.

    Sweet bay, the itea certainly is adaptable. I have larger ones in my gardens already. I love that you have wild iteas growing, and wild sorrel trees too!

  6. And yes, I have to show you pictures

    Nothing says grandmother better :)

  7. wiseacre, I have more pictures of my plants than I do of my family (the humans).

  8. Oooh, aaah, I am extremely envious of your "grandchildren". I think I need some of my own.


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