My Fall Plant Sale Purchases

Last Saturday I worked the plant sale as I usually do - I like being on the crew whose job is unloading the truck, sorting the plants out, and putting in the signs on sticks.  I also like to take yummy plants home with me - some are described later in this post.

Drought-tolerant plants at the CNPS Santa Cruz County chapter sale - so many blooms!
Above are blue witch, sulphur buckwheat, rosy buckwheat, seaside daisy and in front, epilobium - all late summer bloomers for sale at the CNPS plant sale, which is held at the same time and location as the UCSC Arboretum plant sale.

Steve McCabe, director of research and development at UCSC Arboretum,  explains the Arboretum and CNPS plant sale guidelines to eager early shoppers waiting for the 10 am opening.
I also helped people purchase plants, and I took a lot of photos of happy shoppers willing to help us with our publicity. Below are actually a couple folk I happen to know from restoration weed whacking activities...

CNPS friend Jeb with a snowberry - look at all those huge berries!

CNPS friends Ellen and Mike happy with their purchases

And I also made time to acquire a few plants myself - some for the new north garden, and also for the to-be-newly-planted entrance to that garden.

These are non-local native plants that won't interfere with my locals. The conifer in front is the rare Santa Cruz cypress
As usual my choice is dictated by the guidelines: not invasive, and won't interbreed with local natives.
The emerald carpet manzanita could possibly hybridize I guess - but when celebrated local botanist Randy Morgan assured me it wouldn't affect my local population of stump sprouters to have a few nursery bred manzanitas, and given that this is already a hybrid, I'm not concerned.  I'm going to put it ina sunny spot in the north valley garden far from the native manzanitas.

So - my new purchases are as follows, top left to right then lower left to right:

Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet': a hybrid between Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Arctostaphylos nummularia. Las Pilitas Nursery does not sell it and calls it " an evergreen groundcover preferred by the non-native folks that want to plant a 'native'." More relevant is their comment that it likes richer soil. My soil has no money in the bank! Yerba Buena nursery calls it "Our most popular groundcover Manzanita" and says it is "An excellent choice for a fresh green appearance throughout the year." Well, it's OK by me for my garden needs and I'm happy to give it a go. I was also told it can take a little more shade than most Arctostaphylos - my north facing valley gets about 4 hours of sun where I want to put it.

Erysimum menziesii ssp continuum, curly walflower (3 plants): Compact biennial plant good for narrow borders. Highly fragrant, cream to yellow flowers in spring, full sun on the coast, part sun inland, low water needs. I'll put this near the gate, in the sunny pool garden. Native to the north coast as far south as Point Reyes. Confession: as these are biennial and were left over after the sale, I got to take them home and adopt them for free - volunteer's perk! *

Spiraea douglasii, rose spiraea or western spiraea are common names: A 4-5 foot deciduous shrub with stunning large plumes of rose colored flower clusters in June to September.

Flowers of rose spiraea - photo from Las Pilitas Nursery web site
Adaptable - takes sun to part shade, takes a lot of water especially if grown in sun, but can manage on little water in part shade. I don't think this one is deer resistant so I'll put it inside the pool garden fence.

Hesperocyparis abramsiana (was Cupressus abramsiana) Santa Cruz Cypress: I'm excited about this plant as it a rare endemic found only in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, It currently grows wild only in a few isolated spots in Santa Cruz County. It grows in closed cone forest areas. A kind person grew three of them for the plant sale and they were all snapped up.

I'm going to grow it in a very large container so it won't attain its maximum height of 60 feet! More commonly it grows to 25 feet - and our local plant sale expert says it will do very nicely in a container for many years, growing in a dwarfed manner (not sure how tall).  I'll put it in a semi-shady location  with no afternoon sun and away from deer, as I don't know if it is deer resistant or not. We have an old gnarly cypress of some sort in the garden that the deer never touch so I expect it might be OK, but not while it's a baby anyway.

There is some controversy around a recent proposal to delist this plant - our local experts say the local wild population is too small to justify taking it off the endangered species list. In fact they may be drafting an objection to the proposal.

Santa Cruz Cypress is the plant after which the newsletter of the Santa Cruz County chapter of CNPS is named - to wit, The Cypress Cone (of which I'm currently the editor - and if you want to wait for the six megabyte file of the current issue to load you can see it by clicking here.)

Cheilanthes covillei, coville's lip fern: Theodore Payne Foundation web site describes this fern as follows: "An unusual fern for dry shade with stiff leaves and a lightly fuzzy texture. Plant among rocks protected from afternoon sun. A good understory plant for oaks and other evergreen trees." This fern can take shade to part sun and from none to moderate water. It's not locally native in my county. You find it wild in the North Coast Ranges, South Coast Ranges and a bunch of other ranges in between -- but not for some reason the Santa Cruz Mountains. I'm looking forward to tucking these into the upslope side of the new stone stairs in the north garden -- which I'll be eagerly leaping out of my chair to continue building as soon as this post is published!

*BTW I like to point out that if plants whose names embed botanists' names should be pronounced as  in the botanist's native country - then you would call this plant, mingisii, because the Scottish name Menzies is pronounced "Mingis" in Scotland. I find this highly amusing though you may not - hence my placing this note at the end of the post!


Terra said…
I can see you enjoy volunteering at this sale; I have attended it several times. It is a great resource for gardeners that is for sure.