Rare, Unusual & Hard-To-Find Plants Presentation By Mike Craib

No, not these.
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A little closer, but not these either:
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Almost there.  The rare plant sale had most of the plants Mr. Craib discussed, plus some others he mentioned only briefly, or not at all.  These included...a brand new raspberry that is both thornless and dwarf, so gardeners can keep a pot or two of raspberries growing on the patio.  Sometimes plant hybridizing is a great idea!  Raspberry 'Strawberry Shortcake' (why not 'Raspberry Shortcake?!?) set to make its formal debut in 2013:
Dwarf thornless raspberry
This small  (30 inches tall x 18" wide) plant has fabulously photogenic flowers.  Globularia  sarcophylla 'Blue Eyes', from the Canary Islands. 
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Cordyline 'Cha Cha'--same Cordyline plant, new colors... 

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The always fabulous Begonia luxurians.  Safe to say everyone wants this one, including me, but the Santa Ana winds would probably kill it here.   From mountains north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The new leaf emerges from the center of the previous leaf.  No wonder everyone wants one. 
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A variegated Zauschneria!
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And then some of the plants Mr. Craib discussed.  A super-trendy species rose from China, grown for the prickles, not the four-petaled flower:  Rosa sericea 'Ptericantha'.  Gets fairly large.  Plant with a western exposure to backlight the red prickles:
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Deutzia ningoensis is a billowy green shrub with white panicles of flower.  Graceful and elegant.  The examples were almost finished blooming, so most of the panicles were spent:
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A Bay Laurel with unusual lighter green, more ruffled foliage than the species and with a hint of cinnamon flavor, 'Laurus nobilis 'Emerald Wave':
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An evergreen tropical vine from Mexico with a wonderful sweet fragrance that was something like a cross between Star Jasmine and Stephanotis, Thenardia floribunda.  Gorgeous, gorgeous, expensive, expensive.  
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A couple of nicely petite ferns, Polypodium guttatum from Mexico...
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...and a Japanese leather fern, Pyrrosa lingua, 'Crested',  This one was a looker!  The tips of the leaves usually end in a plain point.  This selection does an elaborate feathery edge instead.  Dry shade.
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A golden Hops vine, mannerly at 10'.  Humulus lupulus 'Aureus', (triple "us" there).  How common is a well-behaved vine?  Mr. Craib went off on an interesting tangent about badly-behaved vines, specifically Passiflora 'Susan Brigham'.  One 'Susan' in a five-gallon container escaped the container and rooted itself into the ground at Mary Lou Heard's old garden center, and covered a small structure there.  It proved so vigorous, it was able to grow rapidly enough to stay ahead--far ahead--of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, which lives to eat Passiflora vines.  Soon there were clouds of Gulf Fritillary butterflies inhabiting the place, and masses of chrysalides decorating the eaves.  This went on until yellow jacket wasps moved in and decimated the Fritillary population.  Thus the balance of nature was righted, though of course everyone missed the butterflies.  But the golden Hops vine doesn't do any of that. 
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Mr. Craib also talked about his own discovery of a rare Agave colimana in bloom on a visit he made to Mexico.  He saw the 10' bloom spike on a cliff, and with the help of his companions was able to reach and collect the spike.  Thousands and thousands and thousands of seeds, and now the plant is available for sale, courtesy of that collected spike. 
Agave colimana 
 I thought at first it was rather plain, but it photographs beautifully, with white filiments and the stray white line on the foliage. 
Agave colimana
 Agave colimana stays small (2') and solitary.  Cold hardiness as yet unknown. 
Agave colimana
Next, a non-mollis Acanthus, Acanthus spinosus, with more sharply cut foliage, slightly shorter bloom stems, and very slightly less ability to engulf and dominate a garden bed.
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Lastly, Crinodendron hookerianum, from Chile, which appears to prefer cool, humid weather, so why did I buy one?   It is a very slow-growing small tree with flowers like this:
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and foliage like this:
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Not discussed was the delightfully tidy and petite Agave 'Dragon Toes', which I want but don't need...
Agave 'Dragon Toes'
and Agave sebastiana 'Silver Lining', which I don't need either, but got anyway. 
Agave sebastiana 'Silver Lining'
Mr Craib also displayed and discussed a graceful clumping bamboo from southerrn Brazil, Chusquea mimosa.  It has the same look as Mexican Weeping Bamboo. Hardy to about 20F, height to possibly 15'.  It was lovely, and shame on me for not taking a photo of that, or of the Wollemi Pine, or a fabulous Restio, Rhodocoma capensis.  I leave these all as exercises for the reader.


















Comments

  1. Excellent post. Ten percent of my collection are rare, impossible to buy at nurseries. I believe any garden should have some...
    Here a couple of reviews of what I do in the urban concrete/asphalt context of Puerto Rico, USA.
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7741396/5_gardening_blogs_you_should_read.html?cat=32


    http://www.guiaverde.com/blog/destacadas/jardin-tropical-en-puerto-rico

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  2. Some great plants, the Agave colimana especially caught my eye as I've got a couple of small ones, from seeds recently collected too and it looks exactly like your photo. However some of the images online look different from it. I also like the sound of Chusquea mimosa, hopefully it will turn out to be not as fussy as the Mexican weeping bamboo (fussy here anyway.).

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    1. The Chusquea is supposed to be a good substitute for the Mexican Weeping. Great that you got seedlings of A. colimana!

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  3. Great photos as always. No doubt the agaves will end up on my wish list.

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    1. Thanks Spiky, and you'll want 'Dragon Toes' for sure, as it stays petite and so is manageable in a pot for life. Plus of course it looks cool!

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  4. What a wonderful post, Hoover. I bet you really enjoyed the presentation. I think I need to have that Begonia. Stat. The colors and the leaf form are just outstanding. It's probably marginally (if that) hardy in my Zone 8b garden though and I'm so tired of losing plants to the vagaries of winter. Still it's good to dream, right? :)

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    1. Yes he had vast plant knowledge and was happy to share it, always a treat, that. Apparently B. luxurians likes temperatures above 55F--could you grow it as a houseplant and bring it outside for the summer? I also read, "For advanced growers only," which means: not me!

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  5. I have never seen Begonia luxurians before... but you can add me to the list of "everyone" who wants it! Such fun foliage. :-)

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    1. Isn't it? It's called the "palm tree" begonia because of that foliage.

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  6. Have to get out to Roger's to see what remains of rare plant week. But a mannerly hops vine? Surely, they're pulling our legs! Funny about B. luxurians, which is easy BTW -- because I've only ever seen photos of it grown in pots in frost-tender climes, I've always kept mine in pots too. Pot plant, check, got it. Couple a weeks ago, lightning struck -- duh! -- and I planted it in the ground, where it is growing by leaps and bounds and getting shrublike. And one less pot to water too.

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  7. That's what the man said, "mannerly". Thanks for the info about the begonia, now I really want one. Good thing I don't have a spot for it.

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  8. I really enjoyed viewing all those rare and unusual plants. Over here in the UK, Acanthus spinosus is more commonly grown than Acanthus mollis.

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    1. Interesting, Crystal! Here mollis is the only one I ever see.

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