Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A visit to Peacock Horticultural Nursery, part 2

green_check Click here to read part 1 of this post

While many of the plants at Peacock Horticultural Nursery were in autumn mode, one tree was blooming like it was the height of spring:

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Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’

The tree, Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’ aka Florist Silver Dollar, was alive with bees, their buzzing audible from quite a few feet away.

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Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’

I was very surprised to see a tree positively covered with flowers at this time of year but apparently this gum tree blooms from fall to spring. Here are a few more photos:

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Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’

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Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’

Another tree that caught my attention—this one for sale instead of in the ground—was a Korean fir (Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’). The needles are curved up so the silver underside is visible, giving the tree a pseudo-metallic sheen. This slow grower (to 10 ft. in 10 years, ultimately to 20 ft.) is very attractive, and hardy to zone 5.

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Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’

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Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’

Most of the nursery grounds is in the shade, ranging from dappled to full shade. A remarkable variety of plants thrive here, not doubt because of generous watering. I bet in the summer months when temperatures in the sun climb into the 90s, nursery customers also prefer these sheltered outdoor rooms.

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LEFT: Restio quadratus, RIGHT: unidentified clumping bamboo

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Unidentified restio

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Fatsia japonica ‘Spider's Web’

The front of the nursery—technically the front yard of the private residence—is in the shade as well. While relatively small, I found this area to be particularly charming.

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Woodland section in front yard

And I found several treasures here, like a variegated clivia…

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Clivia miniata ‘Variegata’ (orange flowers)

…a cross vine that was still blooming…

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Cross vine (Bignonia capreolata 'Tangerine Beauty')

…and a variety of ferns:

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Siebold’s wood fern (Dryopteris sieboldii)

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Maidenhair fern (?) and black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ’Nigrescens’)

But the most stunning plant I saw was a variegated porcelain berry vine. The leaves were beautiful, although clearly in decline, but the most outstanding feature were the berries. I’d never seen berries this color before. Shiny and an utterly strange shade of blue, they looked completely fake. (For inquiring minds, the weird color of the berries is caused by an “anthocyanidins-flavonols copigmentation phenomenon”.)

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Variegated porcelain berry vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’)

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Variegated porcelain berry vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’)

All too soon it was time to leave. On the way back to the car I grabbed a few more photos:

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Ovens wattle (Acacia pravissima)

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Ginkgo biloba ‘Chase Manhattan’

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Ginkgo biloba ‘Chase Manhattan’

You might be wondering what, if anything, I bought. The photos of the ‘Chase Manhattan’ ginkgos above are a clue. While I was initially tempted to buy one of the Agave potatorum ‘Snowfall’ I showed you in part 1, I made a complete about-face and bought a ginkgo instead—a variegated cultivar call ‘Sunstream’ to be precise. Here are a couple of good photos that show the subtle yellow variegation. ‘Sunstream’ will be a good companion for my ginkgo ‘Majestic Butterflies’ which has white variegation. Plus, Robert Peacock told me that ‘Sunstream’ has proven to be more stable than most other variegated ginkgos, which often revert to all-green. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

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I can’t recommend Peacock Horticultural Nursery enough. It’s the perfect antidote to the mass-produced sameness of large garden centers and big box stores. This is the kind of place where you can be a plant explorer for an hour as you wander through the nursery, not knowing what you might find.

Peacock Horticultural Nursery is located at 4296 Gravenstein Highway South, halfway between Cotati (where you get off the 101) and downtown Sebastopol. The nursery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more info, visit their website.

9 comments:

  1. ooh, those berries! Thanks for introducing that vine to me -- it's hardy here!

    As I said yesterday, really looks like a great place!

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    Replies
    1. Since porcelain berry vine is hardy in your zone, you might be able to find it locally.

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  2. How do I not know about this place? I thought I'd been to every nursery in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties..I sure missed this one !

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  3. Most of the plants looks like they are defying the current season. Perhaps the Eucalyptus is in spring mode as its spring down under at the moment?

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    Replies
    1. I believe this eucalyptus is a fall/winter bloomer even in its native habitat.

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  4. I wish I could pop right over there this afternoon...

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  5. Great post and super photos! What a beautiful place!

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