Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Native Plant of the Moment: Toyon
It's the time of year when the berries of Heteromeles arbutifolius are ripening, and happy migratory birds (and all the locals) are feasting. Above, a photo I took on the Steven's Creek trail two years ago, and below a photo from the Black Mountain Trail.
With all that bounty, it has, of course, been embarrassing for me that my efforts at growing toyon have not yielded quite the desired results. In the first year, it seemed a struggle to keep this - supposedly easy - plant alive. All manor of rust and discoloration on the leaves showed clearly that this member of the rose family was not too happy in my clay soil. And while toyon grows faster than some native plants, it still took it's sweet time. Here a photo from January 2010.
But between fairly good winter rains and a summer that was not too hot, things improved, and when I came home from a week-long vacation on Sunday, I was delighted to find the red berries I'd been dreaming of for a few years.
And to make things even better, the toyon in the front garden, which I planted from a 5-gallon pot only 2 years ago - or was that 3 years? - is also showing berries. And because this variety, 'Davis Gold' has yellow berries, they are a bright, beautiful yellow.
I'm really very happy how the yellow berries light up the back corner where Davis Gold is planted, and I hope I'll soon see some birds coming to taste the feast I've prepared for them.