Tom Karwin, On Gardening | Picking unusual plants – Monterey Herald

Care for your backyard garden

New columns have targeted on my nomination of the five most common groups of backyard plants. Some or all of these plant teams are involved in my backyard and many other gardens.

The generic groups (dahlias, irises and roses) consist of expanding lists of versions chosen or hybridized by growers to attractiveness to gardeners the other teams (California natives and succulents) consist of the two lots of genera and species and unique versions.

General, these preferred plant groups give a excellent amount of choices to opt for from, creating plant collection a challenging undertaking for a lot of gardeners. We have suggested easing this process by procuring for crops that would (a) align with a thematic design for the backyard garden, and (b) mature to a dimensions ideal for a certain location in the landscape.

Here’s a 3rd tactic: picking unusual plants that you take pleasure in.

This is a liberating way to pick out vegetation while increasing the new difficulties to detect and discover unheard of crops that remember to your eyes and then come across the right spots for them in the back garden.

These new challenges can be pleasurable queries. They involve thumbing the internet pages of mail-purchase catalogs, roaming via sections of a backyard heart, and searching internet websites on the World wide web.

I have relished this sort of treasure hunts, with the end result that my garden’s well-liked plant teams are complemented by many uncommon plants. These are not quite exceptional crops, but specimens that vary from far more acquainted crops, and stand out as exceptions.

Here are a number of illustrations.

Decorative Onion (Allium schubertii). This bulbous perennial plant is indigenous from the jap Mediterranean to central Asia. In the spring, it creates 12- inch large, umbrella-like flower heads (umbels) that can be compared to exploding fireworks. Its dried seed heads slide to the floor wherever they are distribute by the wind, earning the plant’s other widespread name, Tumbleweed Onion. This eye-catching plant will self-seed in a confined way, and each season’s new crop is satisfying to see. It can be identified in mail-order catalogs that feature Alliums and other bulbs.

Madeira Island Geranium (Geranium maderense). This plant is the largest of the 422 species of the genus Geranium. It bouquets biennially, but its darkish environmentally friendly palmate leaves deserve a popular spot in the yard when not in bloom. When it blooms in spring, its big inflorescence of 1-inch vast mauve-pink dark centered bouquets rises to five ft, effectively higher than the 3×3 foliage. I obtained this plant in the tumble of 2017, at the Santa Cruz Backyard garden Trade. It has considering that grown properly and proliferated, yielding seedlings for other Back garden Trade website visitors. I not too long ago lifted a substantial seedling for a pal, then watched the decreased leaves shrivel as the plant created roots. It is wanting balanced now, but I due to the fact figured out that the decrease leaves are needed to aid the towering flower heads. Time will notify if the reduction of reduced leaves will be a difficulty.

World Daisy (Globularia sarcophylla ‘Blue Eyes’). This comparatively exceptional plant is endemic to the Canary Islands. It is a shrubby perennial, expanding to 3×3 toes with dark green 2-inch long dim inexperienced leaves. Its attraction focuses on its exceptional, 1-inch broad, globular flowers with white petals with lavender-blue margins that bloom from spring by summer time. This plant was hybridized by the Huntington Botanic Gardens and is becoming developed by San Marcos Growers (which materials local back garden facilities).

Rice Flower (Pimelea ferruginea ‘Bonne Petite’). This Australian indigenous grows to a 3×3 foot evergreen bush, with generous clusters of modest pink flowers blooming most closely in the spring. The species identify means “rust-coloured.” The plant grows well in a sunny place with well-drained soil. I acquired this plant about three decades from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Yard. It’s rising nicely but reportedly does not have a long everyday living, so I will love it until eventually a replacement will be wanted.

Advance your awareness

The Cactus & Succulent Society of The united states will current the webinar, “The Succulent Collection of Babylonstoren Farm,” at 10 a.m. Saturday. This is an outstanding backyard in South Africa’s Western Cape, targeted primarily on succulents from southern Africa, and is operate like a botanical yard. The presenter, Ernst van Jaarsveld, Ph.D., was used by the South African National Biodiversity Institute from 1974 to 2015. As a horticulturist, he curated the succulent portion at the environment-well-known Kirstenbosch Countrywide Botanical Gardens. Following retirement, he pursues whole-time operate on the Babylonstoren Farm and is involved in building a succulent assortment like a botanical back garden. Jaarsveld is the author of more than 200 articles or blog posts and many guides. In 2013, with Uschi Pond, he generated a coffee-desk guide on Welwitschia mirabilis to commemorate the 100th birthday of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. He has also authored Tree Aloes of the Environment (2015).  Ernst is a fellow of the Cactus and Succulent Modern society of The usa. To sign-up for this free event, stop by


The Monterey Bay Rose Society will present its 41st Once-a-year Rose Clearly show, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, at the Alladin Nursery, 2905 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. This in-man or woman celebration attributes roses expertly grown by nearby gardeners and offers an prospect to uncover and pick roses for order from a variety of sources through the upcoming bare-root period.

The California Landscape and Garden History Culture will sponsor the webinar, “Garden Record of the Monterey Peninsula,” at 6 p.m., Could 11. For details on this cost-dependent party, and to sign up, search to and click on on “Events.”

Enrich your gardening times

Attempt establishing your yard by conducting treasure hunts for unusual vegetation. When we can normally value the acquainted crops, acquiring “something different” could insert spice to your backyard structure. It could also entice the focus of your gardening friends.

Love your backyard garden!

Tom Karwin is earlier president of Mates of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and the Monterey Bay Iris Society, a Life span Member of the Monterey Bay Location Cactus & Succulent Society, and a Life span UC Grasp Gardener (Qualified 1999–2009). He is now a board member of the Santa Cruz Hostel Culture, and energetic with the Pacific Horticultural Modern society. To look at daily pictures from his yard, For back garden coaching info and an archive of previous On Gardening columns, check out Get hold of him with comments or concerns at

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