Beautiful Phormium (New Zealand flax), glass, ornamental kale, and clouds
Cambodia in December meant fewer insects than a traveling entomologist might hope for, so this cicadal interlude was welcome.
Back in my day, of horticulture school and nursery internships, we did this work by hand. At the end of the day, resetting rows of 3 and 5-gallon boxwood, I would crawl out to my car and drive home, then crab crawl into the house and ice my back. One Saturday morning, after a week of moving hundreds of nursery containers and doing hours of hand-weeding in the shadehouse, my back spasmed in the Safeway parking lot and I lied on the asphalt for a spell thinking about my future. Being a grower was not in the cards I surmised, and I turned my sights from production horticulture to production problem solving.
In the meantime, along came Harvest Automation. These little guys are so cool – efficient, precise, and tireless. Their backs don’t spasm, they don’t complain, they space rows like a boss.
A few images from this beautiful summer day in the Pacific Northwest:
Kicking around a vintage store in Eugene Oregon, we stumbled across these tiny pots, watering can, and in the back on the right, fruit pint containers made from wire and wood. Darling containers + utterly impractical = win.
Laboratory glassware would make excellent kitchen and barware. You could measure out extremely precise amounts of cereal or gin or what have you, order replacements as easily as you reorder liquid nitrogen or stirring magnets, and cook things over a Bunsen burner. Cheers to feeling scientific in the kitchen; cooking is, after all, chemistry.
I realized when I saw this sign, I had thought invasive species and noxious weeds were a relatively recent concern – not so. Only one year before the referenced law on this sign, Gorse introduced from Ireland helped burn Bandon, OR to the ground, so people were familiar with the dangers of introduced species.
Inoculate yer cow peas, people.
Euonymus alatus, or Burning Bush, is planted for its incredible fall color. It positively glows, bright red against a backdrop of already naked deciduous trees and the last few hanging leaves of autumn. The stems are flattened and interesting, which is why it’s sometimes called Winged Euonymus. It’s less acclaimed during the spring and summer months, overplanted in some areas and over-sheared to look blocky and underwhelming. Many gardening sites describe it as unattractive except in fall(1), but it doesn’t have to be. Look!:
This planting is in a commercial parking lot and is about 6 years old. The cultivar (I don’t know what it is, probably a varietal of ‘Compactus’) is about 3-4′ tall and wide this year, and it’s one of the softer-leaved Euonymus as opposed to the waxier-leaved species.
In the first picture, you can see how its light green to yellow foliage is bright where the leaves receive the most sun. Plants that receive less light are a darker green.
The second picture shows this light chartreuse of the uppermost leaves – those that get bright light all day from their southern exposure. Notice also how well this color contrasts with the dark red to burgundy foliage of the Crimson King maple in the background. (In a perfect world, those two trees would switch position, with the CK maple next to the Euonymus and the green-leaved maple behind it for alternating color palettes and maximum contrast).
In the bottom panel, you can see the open habit of the Euonymus, how the branches arch out and away from the plant’s center. Note another nice contrast: the light green foliage with the dark brown stem structure. The berries are just setting, and they’ll turn to bright red Christmas lights of interest this winter.
It’s not always easy to do hedges and grouped plantings well, and this one is quite nice, especially for a commercial landscape. I’m always happy to see something besides Laurel, Rhododendron and Oregon Grape.
(1) Most of the Euonymus alatus that I see looking rough has insect, disease and/or irrigation problems. These plants benefit from a regular water supply, especially when they are young. They aren’t plant-it-and-forget-it shrubs, but they’re close.