Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' and Lavender 'Meerlo'

I've killed Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' too many times to try again, but here's a different 'Cousin' to try,  Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' (note one "t" not two, in 'It').
An extensive discussion of 'It' here.

There are a couple different rows of fairly old (many decades) Casuarinas from a different (tallish tree) species in the neighborhood acting as windbreaks/tall screens.  I hope this plant proves easier to grow than the Acacia. 

Another new plant, Lavendula x allardii 'Meerlo' to replace the beautiful Leucadendron 'Mostly Silver' which was wonderful and growing for a while and then suddenly died.   The lavender is a more appropriate size for the spot.  I was lukewarm to it when 'Meerlo' started appearing in local garden centers.  Since that time,  its appearance in many gardens has been impressive.  That, and the strong sweet lavender scent of the foliage, prompted the purchase.
 'Meerlo' doesn't bloom much.  Perhaps it doesn't need to. 

 'Meerlo' is the last name of the horticulturalist who discovered this plant growing in a flat of other seedlings. 
A neighbor wanted a particular native shrub, so we dropped in at Tree Of Life nursery.  Neighbor found her shrub, and Quercus berberidifolia (Scrub Oak), Constancea nevinii, and another Centaurea ragusinia from nearby Plant Depot came home with me.
The scrub oak will replace the Ceanothus that died when I moved it.  The Centaurea went into an empty spot near the front door.  The Constancea went into Proteana. 

In the not-new plant arena,  Aloe erinacea, finally rescued from darkness underneath the ever expanding Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird', and just in time.  Not much root system left,  although the foliage looks beautiful, more beautiful actually then when it was baking in the sun.  I potted it up;  hopefully it will recover.

This year I've tried an experiment:  anything potted up has gone into 80% potting mix with 20% garden soil added.  The native soil here is an excellent silty loam.  So far, plants are doing better with this combination than in 100% potting mix.  The garden soil provides micronutrients and P-K.  Succulents don't seem to need much N.       

Another old plant, one of the oldest survivors in the garden, one that has grown in the garden for seventeen  years, originally purchased in a single 4" pot, Sesleria caerulea.  A silky tufting grass with leaves green on one side and white on the other.  I've never known what the heck to do with it.  It looks best with some shade and some moisture, which this particular spot has provided.  It adds a touch of lushness, a reminder of more luxurious climates (rain!).  Maybe someday it would be a meadow.  It's never flowered, (because no winter chill?) and looks like this year round.  This particular location was always slightly moist, being the lowest spot in the area, and the odd space was fit for nothing else. 

Seventeen years of growth.  A shoe for scale.  
I guess it is my mini-lawn 

Seven foliage plants, and now one flower:  a pretty Zinnia.  Soon it will be time to pull them.  Their performance was so-so--some fertilizer may have helped.  I might try Zinnias again next year or not--seems like summer is becoming too brutal here to bother with summer annuals.  In addition, chilli thrips did extensive damage to the Zinnias flowers.    
Luckily, not this one
A tough summer for many of the plants.  On the other hand, the Koi had a good summer. They hung out with each other and ate a lot.  Nice way to spend the summer. 


  1. I'm so excited about your casuarina. I was looking for it earlier in the year but could only find 15 gal. Please keep us posted on its progress.

    BTW, I killed three small Acacia 'Cousin Itt' a few years ago, but the 2 gal I bought last year is thriving. Maybe it's better to start out with a larger plant?

    1. This 'It' is a 5; and roots coming out the bottom of the pot. I will post about how it does. Plan to drape it over retaining wall.

      I tried 'Itt's in 2 gallons; didn't help. Don't really have a place for right now anyway, so it eliminates temptation to try again. Glad yours is thriving!

  2. I love your new Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It', what an interesting plant. Oh and I fell hard for the Lavandula x allardii 'Meerlo' and got one from Sunset at the Farwest Show, we'll see if it makes it through winter in the ground here...

    1. I hope 'Meerlo' survives for you; such a sweet fragrance.

  3. Chilli thrips on zinnias too? Yikes! I'll be interested to hear how your 'Cousin It' performs. I just planted another 'Cousin Itt' in the shady area under one of my Arbutus in the hope that it'll merge with the one already there to form a nice green mass. As to the Sesleria, I've some of that species down at the bottom of my slope, where they get kudos for survival. Mine also grew slowly albeit steadily. Sesleria 'Greenlee's Hybrid', which I've used more extensively in the main areas of the garden grows faster and flowers but it never gets huge.

    1. On Dahlias, too. :(

      I hope your new 'Itt' thrives!

      They are talking rain early next week; I'll believe it when I see it.

  4. "IT" is a most interesting looking plant. I hope it thrives for you. Maybe this size will be a good factor. I have killed several Whipchord Arborvetae and I finally kept one in a pot long enough for it to have a better root system to grow into. It has survived our awful summer. I am hopeful. I love the look of the meerlo too. I wish it would grow as a perennial for me. The grass is mighty pretty. Being two toned it lends more depth to the space. This is a fun time of year being able to get a few new things into the ground.

    1. A local nursery was selling a stringy Thuja--it was so cool very looking, but this is just not the climate for them. A whipcord Arbovitae sounds very cool, too. The PNW is the conifer kingdom, I guess! Arborvitae have done okay here in the past, but as summers get hotter and hotter, perhaps that era is over.

      Autumn is our prime planting time--it used to be anyway. A mild rainy winter would establish plants so they could survive the following summer.

  5. I've got a Cousin It, too! Although my dear Cousin It is a giant Aimée Vibert rose on a fence. I just let her hang all over the place because there's just an empty lot on the other side. Got a chuckle about your mini-lawn, and I had no idea that you had koi!

    1. I had a petite version of 'Aimée Vibert'. Lovely rose. Yours must be magnificent!

      I don't post about the koi that much, though they are a lot of fun to sit and watch. Got them in 2006!


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