Showing posts with label variegated plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label variegated plants. Show all posts

Matching Plants in Plaids and Paisley

Two tropicals and a hardy perennial plant
share a container.
I'm patting myself on the back for a never-seen-before color combination. Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement. More accurately, the combination hasn't been seen in my garden before. It will grow into a pot of texture, and most of it will be green, except for the Cordyline ‘Miss Andrea’, a fancy little number with bright shiny leaves that, if given the chance, will steal the show.

Currently, the color comes courtesy of Astilbe 'Burgundy Red', with its deep green deeply cut leaves and, for now, deep red flowers. Rounding out the arrangement is a fern whose name, I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't catch. It doesn't look like much right now, but I have high hopes for this trio when it settles in after a few weeks.

I'm not sure I would have found Dracaena 'Lemon Lime' if it weren't for the houseplant frenzy. Dracaena are some of the easiest tropicals to grow indoors. It will be even easier outside.

Cordyline 'Miss Andrea' 
Yes, you can let some of your houseplants take a vacation on your patio, but with a few considerations. Start them off in the shade, even if they prefer sun. Move them gradually to a spot you think they'll be happy in, and then you'll still want to keep an eye out for burned or scorched leaves. Another thing we tend to forget when putting a plant outside for the summer is wind. I've seen the wind desiccate a plant in one day. It just seemed to blow the color right out of the leaves.


To keep the Dracaena company, I added two Fuchsia 'Autumnale', an Impatiens repens, and one Pilea microphylla ‘Variegata’, which I know is pushing the chaotic coloring envelope. Using three multicolored plants in one container is frowned upon in some circles. But it's not as if I'm wearing plaid pants and a paisley shirt with a flowered shawl. Here's my theory: Because three out of four contain red/pink and two out of four contain yellow-green, all five plants will grow up into one happy and colorful family, even without flowers.

Sure, the Fuchsia will bloom, but it needs just the right amount of sun. Actually, all of these plants require part sun, which is kind of a conundrum. I'm counting on the Dracaena 'Lemon Lime' to eventually grow tall enough to offer shelter to the Impatiens, which seems to have the most stringent shade requirements. The Dracaena and the Impatiens are new to me this year, but I've grown the other two.

Mixed with an upright Fuchsia, a Begonia and a ribbon fern is
Pilea microphylla 'Variegata' in the upper left of this photo.
I discovered the Pilea last year at River Street Flowerland. They featured it in several mixed planters, and, at first glance, looks like it has tiny white blooms. I bought a few and mixed it with almost everything. It kept going and going and loved everything I paired it with, including a planter with partial shade-lovers like Fuchsia and Begonia.

Plants in the mixture I am trying this year all are pretty tolerant of low water, which isn't a problem because we just got two inches of rain in as many days. I plan for a wet spring, because we usually have one. But I try to remember what July feels like on a sunny day--hot and dry and humid and sometimes windy--but they'll be strong and bulky enough to take it. (That's the plan, anyway.)

Gossler Farms Gives Me Zone Envy

We started in one of the greenhouses, where the fever began. I was coming down with a bad case of Zone 8-itis, complete with the involuntary twitch toward my checkbook before learning the target of my lust was not hardy in my area.  Gossler Farms Nursery is pure Oregon, with a gentle reminder of its range by virtue of the giant palm trees swaying above it all.

Roger Gossler
Roger and Marjorie Gossler had graciously offered to show Dave and me around their compound/display garden/laboratory/growing fields.  What a treat! 
Jamie the cat points out a Hellebore.

I was charmed at every turn, accompanied as we were on our tour by a stiff wind following an Oregonian rain (i.e.: a downpour by anyone who isn’t from the Pacific Northwest, but a drizzle to those who are). We also were accompanied by the Gossler cat, a loner that forged his own path and left Gus and and Sophie with Roger.

Gus and Sophie

The gardens host an array of trees and mature shrubs you likely won’t see anywhere else—certainly not all in one place. The Gosslers specialize in woody plants, but they also carry a selection of very special perennials, including rare orchids, Agapanthus and Gunnera. Roger, his brother Eric and Marjory Gossler, their mother, penned the book entitled Best Hardy Shrubs. The book, along with the Gossler Farms Nursery catalog, makes for a serious mind-expanding encounter for a hortigeek like me.

We'd come for the Magnolias and lingered longer than we’d planned in order to take in some of the rest. Here are just a few of the highlights: 

Davidia 'Lady Sunshine' shows off its variegation with Rogersia. This Davidia is very rare in the trade.

Cornus controversa variegata matures to form a horizontal cascade of branches with a beautiful layered look.


Zenobia, a North American Native with a charming name and more charming flowers.

Deutzia candidisima
Pieris 'Little Heath' doesn't offer many flowers but the foliage and compact size more than make up for it.

If you've started sensing a theme here, it could be variegation. There is nothing like it to brighten up a shaded spot. And the plants with the variegation pictured here all are hardy down to a Zone 6a. Yay!
Marj Gossler stands with a Magnolia loebneri by the same name.
We had the great pleasure to meet and talk with Marjory Gossler, who introduced us to Magnolia denudata x sargentiana 'Marjory Gossler. The tree was named by Phil Savage of Detroit.
Magnolia x wieseneri is a cross between M. sieboldii and  M. hypoleuca. So far, it's the only plant I ordered from Gossler,
but I've got a long list of "must haves" that I hope to eventually work through.