Luma apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’

luma apiculata

L. apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’ Click picture to enlarge the view

A couple of years ago I picked up this variegated Chilean myrtle tree in a gallon pot at Robinwood Nursery here on Vashon Island.

Robinwood, a wholesale nursery founded in 1991, has recently opened their nursery to the public a few times a year.

Visiting Robinwood Nursery is definitely worth a trip to Vashon. They have a couple of events scheduled for this June, and the annual fall open house at the nursery is in early September. They have a fine selection of plants including some shrubs and trees whose origin is South America, specifically, Eucryphia nymansensis, Azara micrphylla variegata, Ugni molinae and L. apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold.’

Lapiculata bloom

Click photo for a closer look

L. apiculata is a native of Chile and naturally I include it in my “Zonal Denial” category. I’m growing it in a pot and I’ve over wintered it in my “cold” greenhouse, which has supplemental heat only on the coldest winter days, keeping minimum temperatures above 38° F.

It has responded by blooming heavily for the first time since I purchased it .  The small white blooms invite close inspection, especially against the backdrop of the variegated foliage.

These flowers are about three-fourths of an inch wide, consist of four cupped-shaped, white petals, surrounded by a puff of numerous filigree like stamens. I’m looking forward to adding a photo of the small berries, which appear in the fall and are a deep purple-black.

The following description is from the website of the BlueBell Arboretum &  Nursery in Leicestershire, England:

Unusual, evergreen aromatic shrub which has dark green leaves with attractive golden edges and clusters of pretty white flowers summer. Luma apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’ is a handsome yet slow growing shrub, the original plant at Glanleam, on the west coast of Ireland, is only 2 – 3 meters tall after many years growth. Luma apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’ is best planted in a warm position in sun or light shade, with plenty of  shelter from cold winter winds. Unless you have a very warm garden, Luma apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’ usually grows best in southern areas of the U.K., in particularly Devon and Cornwall.

For almost everything else you need to know about Chilean myrtle, check out this post by Seattle tree maven, plant expert and writer Arthur Lee Jacobson (be sure to scroll down for the pictures).

Febrile February?

This month just might prove to be the warmest February on record for the Seattle area. And wetter too!  By February tenth we had already exceeded the average precipitation for the month (3.75″ vs 3.50″ average).  It’s 3 PM as I write and about 60° F. in my yard (time to mow the lawn); the temps in the city of Seattle are above 65° F., which to my mind is downright feverish.


Primula allionii x pubescens hybrid ‘Wharfdale Ling’

I haven’t really paid close attention to the weather statistics until today, but some my plants have definitely been showing evidence they are ahead of schedule.  This little alpine primula cross was outside all winter under a bench, but still able to get a bit of moisture.  Two years ago it didn’t bloom heavily until mid-March.

A rosemary plant in a clay pot had the benefit of my greenhouse and is very happily blooming at the same time as the Hellebores.


The dwarf red twig dogwood (below) is showing some nice red stems, which I believe is what it’s expected to do over the winter; perhaps it will leaf out earlier this year.


Mexican feather grass, red twig dogwood, Hinoki cypress

The Mexican feather grass in the foreground doesn’t look bad, but probably should be trimmed back to get ready for the real spring.

I’m not sure if the Camellia japonica in my garden is that early, since these two blooms are just out while the rest of the plant is still in buds.


This mature plant, about seven feet high is usually quite early, but right now it’s blooming at the same time as C. sasanqua, the winter blooming Camellia.

What’s blooming in your February garden?

Avant Gardener: Music to My Ears


Dahlias in a vase

I’ve been thinking of renaming my blog The Avant Gardner:  Reflections from a Vashon Island Garden.  When I first thought of the name, I guessed other bloggers were probably already using it and never followed up. I also figured my garden was hardly avant garde, and neither were my gardening techniques.

Last night, before bed, I was listening to Sound Opinions on the radio. The rock critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot do a superb job of covering the music scene, past and present. This week’s show featured what they call “Buried Treasures: great, lesser-known albums from this year that deserve more attention.”

My ears perked up immediately when they played a song from Courtney Barnett’s new album…

I sleep in late
Another day
Oh what a wonder
Oh what a waste.
It’s a monday
It’s so mundane
What exciting things
Will happen today?
The yard is full of hard rubbish it’s a mess and
I guess the neighbours must think we run a meth lab
We should ammend that
I pull the sheets back
It’s 40 degrees
And i feel like i’m dying.
Life’s getting hard in here
So i do some gardening…

What follows that intro is apparently Courtney’s experience with anaphylactic shock in the garden.  The Australian singer’s new album, “A Sea of Split Peas,” features the song, named, you guessed it, Avant Gardener. 

This got me thinking of Aerosmith’s song,  Avant Garden, from their 2001 album “Just Push Play.”

I had a friend who spoke of fate and he
knew of another place in space in time.
He told of how me and my lady could look but we would never find,
said if you please I beg your pardon.
Sometimes the things you see they just ain’t so
your life can be an avant garden,
’cause love’s what makes your garden grow

By then, thanks to my sleep deprived state, my “Zonal Denial” plants were morphing into “Tonal Denial” plants. I decided it was time to fall asleep.