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).

June Bloom

Despite the garden taking off and plants blooming like crazy, it’s been more than five weeks since my last post. Plenty of blooming beauties to photograph, yet I haven’t managed to find the time for even a few pix. So what’s been holding things up?

zonal denial greenhouse

New cedar greenhouse aka zonal denial enabler

That’s my new greenhouse, designed (I hope) to withstand our very windy site. Although a kit, it still required many hours of work to get to this point. With 4 X 4 cedar posts and heavy beams, I’m hoping it will be up to the task of occasional 60 to 80 mph gusts during winter storms.

I plan to use supplemental heat on the coldest winter days to keep the inside no lower than 40° F. That qualifies as a “cool” greenhouse, but will be just enough to keep plants like this potted olive tree, Olea europaea ‘arbequina, safe all winter.

Olea europaea arbequina

Olea europaea arbequina

Many of my “zonal denial” plants will find their winter home in the greenhouse. But like many gardeners first attracted to ornamentals I’m growing more and more edibles, so the greenhouse will also help me start veggie seeds besides being the winter home for this olive tree, which is now covered in tiny buds.


Olea europaea ‘arbequina buds soon to be tiny white, fragrant flowers

Now, instead of worrying about cold temperatures, better to concentrate on what’s happening in the garden right now and finally take some pix.

propane cannister

Propane cannister turned into planter locks nice against Acanthus leaves


Yucca getting ready to bloom

Yucca getting ready to bloom

This Yucca lights up a corner with its bright variegated leaves that contrast nicely with the dark pot. This year will be the first in quite a few years that the Yucca will bloom.

I have a vague memory that when I bought this Yucca the salesperson said the blooms were supposed to be  fragrant.  The stalk is just fattening up and should open soon finally revealing whether the blooms are scented. I’ve long since forgotten the name of the cultivar.

Some Yuccas are surprisingly hardy in our Puget Sound climate. Even though native to warmer climes, they definitely enjoy our hot dry summers and seem to tolerate are cold wet winters.

Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet'

Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’

Nandina and lavender

The lavender at the front of the border hasn’t quite colored up yet, but in a few weeks it will look stunning in front of the red Nandina leaves.

Claridge Druce

Geranium ‘Claridge Druce’ marches out of the border into the wood chip path

Clematis jackmanii climbing arbor

Clematis jackmanii climbing arbor

clematis roaming through Senecio

Clematis ‘Niobe’ rambling through Senecio greyii

Variegated Hardy Geranium unknown cultivar

Variegated Hardy Geranium unknown cultivar

clematis stans leaves

Clematis stans

Clematis stans

Clematis stans

Clematis stans is a native of Japan and is a bushy plant ( technically a sub shrub) rather than a climber.

It’s flowers are tiny compared to the spectacular flowers of most vines in the genus. Flower color size and shape is highly variable.

I’m growing it in a pot, but soon it will go in the ground. It’s a very hardy species that will survive USDA Zone 5 winters.

Left outside in a pot it dies back to its roots, but I suspect in the ground here in Zone 8 it will require cutting back in winter.

Senecio greyii blooms en masse

Senecio greyii blooms en masse

South African Tree Heaths

This past February at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle I bought two South African tree heaths in four inch pots, potted them on, watered well and hoped to see some blooms.  Erica speciosa and Erica canaliculata are both blooming now!

erica speciosa

Erica speciosa

Erica speciosa reportedly is hardy to 20° Fahrenheit, while Erica canaliculata is a bit more tender, listed as hardy to only 30°

Erica canaliculata

Erica canaliculata

These two plants, from the genus Erica, are endemic (found only in one area of the world) to the Cape Peninsula of South Africa, where apparently over 600 Erica species call home. Up close the blooms are stunning.

Erica speciosa

Erica speciosa

Erica canaliculata

Erica canaliculata

I purchased my plants from the Heaths and Heathers’ booth at the show. Their retail nursery is near Shelton, WA, while their main nursery collection is on Harstine Island just east of Shelton:

“We have built the equivalent of a national collection of heather here open to the public.  There are over 800 cultivars in this 3/4 of an acre planting…our personal collection boasts over 900 different cultivars.  Many heathers bloom for several months. Some offer colorful foliage during the winter. On others, the new growth tips are very colorful during late winter and spring. Heaths and heathers range from nearly flat as a pancake to pincushion size to tree heaths. Most are very hardy and are growing in nearly every state in the union. They take minimum care and are drought tolerant once established.”

I definitely plan to visit the Heath and Heather nursery soon.

Further afield, in California, a hillside of a lavender colored E. canaliculata is terribly invasive and threatens the native plants north of the San Francisco Bay.  A cautionary tale, as Bob Sikora points out in his comment below.  Clearly this Erica — endemic to another continent  and hemisphere — was introduced to the hospitable Bay area climate and prospered to the detriment of the native plants.


Above photo © Robert Sikora,  available at CalPhotos – a project of BSCIT , University of California, Berkeley

For more on another potentially invasive plant found widely in the nursery trade, see my post on Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’ Friend or Foe?