Flower Hunting

The great danger in gardening is to set your attention on something that you know does not do well in your area. I have hit that point with two plants I often see in Tokyo and have already caught myself finding US nurseries that sell them and trying to come up with ideas on how to make them grow at Rurikia.

The first is the fall flowering Camellia. Arrival in Japan in October meant I was here for the peak bloom time of the seemingly infinite number of these shrubs both in and out of the city. Most of the ones here are of single form and either dark pink or red, and they appear to thrive in both cultivated gardens and in the wild. Having spent hours pouring through information and catalogs, I have found that there are some cold hardy varieties. Unfortunately, cold hardy is a relative term, and on further research none of these look to be up to a semi-rural Indiana winter.

The second is the groundcover bamboo Sasa veitchii. Colonies of this plant are all over the mountains outside of Tokyo in the sunny pockets, primarily on ridges and under mature stands of deciduous trees. In the spring and summer the leaves are solid green, but in the cooler weather of the autumn the edges begin to turn white, and it really stands out against the general brown of the forest floor. I have an area in the back of the meadow that would be ideal for this, if it could last the winter. I am about a zone and a half colder than this one likes.

I think both of these could possibly grow at Rurikia with a fair bit of winter coddling, but as both are essentially decorative (and thereby included in the plantings only by exception) I just don’t see that as a valid use of resource. These are something to enjoy here and remember later.

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