Newsletter 3/19/07 – The Spring Shipping Season Begins!

Is it March 15 yet? OK, so I was a few days behind in updating the web page. But with my new job, and my car in the shop for some major work, it has been kind of hectic lately and I deserve a little break! Or at least, that is what I shall tell myself, LOL.

So now, the exciting news is, I am all ready to sell and ship plants for the spring 2007 mail order season! The list is up to date and I have added 10 new plants so far. I am excited to offer two species of Puya! This genus of fabulous xeric terrestrial bromeliads (some of them gigantic) has been on my radar screen for a long time, and deserves much wider testing in gardens. I also have two nice Eryngiums, which I consider to be very rewarding because they look like they should need good drainage, but they do not: they are tough as nails and will grow about anywhere. I am also pleased to offer one Eucryphia (another is on the way), a beautiful, showy ornamental broadleaf evergreen. And you will find a couple of new New Zealand plants and a few other things.

Admittedly, a few plants had to disappear from the list, as I either sold out of them, they outgrew their pots (mostly eucalypts), or they froze (note to self: don’t leave Fuchsias out in tiny pots through 13 degrees. They are only hardy once established). But on the plus side, I should be able to add many more plants throughout the spring shipping season, more than making up for any losses.

Speaking of frozen plants, winter seems to finally be over and it’s time to assess my losses. It is a darn good thing I finished that second greenhouse just before winter, and was able to heat it throughout the winter, or the Desert Northwest might be no more! After a dip to 13 degrees F in November and 19 degrees F in January, with some high temperatures below freezing both times, and multiple snowfalls, it is no surprise that the Banksia serrata and Acacia retinodes I planted outside at the nursery last fall are quite dead. More disappointing is the death of Yucca whipplei, Fremontodendron x ‘California Glory’, Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius, Eucalyptus bicostata, E. delegatensis var. tasmaniensis, and E. approximans. Oh well, all plants have their limits somewhere, and the nursery is far from being in a sheltered microclimate. In some cases, the importance of starting with larger plants and cold hardy provenances has been noted. On the plus side, Grevillea lavandulacea ‘Penola’, Pittosporum ralphii, and Callistemon ‘Woodlanders Hardy’ all survived, which is impressive.

But fortunately spring is on the way, and the number of new plants propagated will soon far outweigh any losses. A quick trip to California was fun, and resulted in me returning with several Passiflora, Metrosideros umbellata, Acacia pravissima ‘Golden Carpet’ and others, that I shall use for stock plants (and the aforementioned car problems, LOL). I’ll have to keep looking for replacements for some of the Grevilleas I have killed in the past – I’d like to have another go at G. x gaudichaudii, G. victoriae ‘East Gippsland’ and G. acanthifolia. I passed by UC Berkeley this time, but enjoyed my usual visit to the garden formerly known as Strybing, UCSC, and a few nurseries. I also visited the botanic gardens at Tilden Regional Preserve for the first time: a fabulous collection of California native plants with more manzanitas and dudleyas than you would believe. I highly recommend it!

A couple photos of Acacia pravissima ‘Golden Carpet’ at UCSC to make you get mad at me for not having it for sale. Now tell me, what kind of person wouldn’t want a plant like that in their yard?




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gene solyntjes
    May 18, 2007 @ 15:00:32


    George Pinyuh sent me this site. My name is Gene Solyntjes, I saw my last patient in December, retired and took the Master Gardener course. I am an intern working as a volunteer at the Chavez Garden,in the Beacon Hill area in the center of an ethnic community. All our vegetables grown go to the La Raza community center for various programs.

    I have refurbished this garden in two months and noted that strangely there are no Cacti or Succulents anywhere in or area. Realizing this could be a bonding with our community I had contacted George Pinyuh and he was so kind as to offer advice and some “Paddles” from his Cacti which I have planted. I am seeking more information on these plants and we would really appreciate any and all plants dealing with this area. Any help you may choose to give us in this project would be deeply appreciated. I simply know of no one other than George who has these types of plants, and we have decided to devote a portion of our boulevard to just these plants, so that community can identify with them. A transit station is being built near us and the commuters will be parking right next to the garden, they will have to turn into the parking area right by the new cacti portion of our garden and walk by the front of the Master Garden in just two years. This situation clearly would raise the awareness of the Master Gardeners program and we feel the cacti garden portion could be a big influence.

    Thank you for your attention in this matter,

    Gene Solyntjes C/L.O., C. Ped.


  2. desertnw
    May 22, 2007 @ 02:24:08

    Hi Gene
    Please send me an email privately and I’d be glad to discuss the project!

    Regards, Ian.


  3. Graham McFarland
    Jul 20, 2007 @ 20:18:21

    Looking for plant Metrosideros umbellata and Telopea truncata, no luck growing from seed.


  4. desertnw
    Jul 21, 2007 @ 06:59:35

    Graham, I’d really like to offer Metrosideros umbellata, I have tried it from seed many times and never had any luck (including again this spring). Telopea truncata, I have just germinated a bunch of them and they should be ready to sell sometime in 2008. I might also have a few Metrosideros robusta next year.


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