Monday, March 5, 2012

A walk with a purpose…taking inventory of the neighborhood Manzanitas


If you read A Tidewater Gardener you may already be familiar with the Winter Walk-Off Challenge proposed by the blogs author, Les. This is the 2nd year Les has asked us to go for a walk and then document what we see in a blog post. Since I frequently post pictures from walks around my ‘hood I needed to come up with a subject matter, something that would give this particular walk a purpose (besides responding to Les’s challenge) and that’s when I thought of the Manzanitas.
Within walking distance of my home there are several gorgeous Manzanitas (or Arctostaphylos if you prefer, but why would you use such a tongue twisting clumsy name when you could enjoy the sumptuous word “Manzanita”). In fact I had to take two walks to capture them all, and lest you think I might be able to give you accurate names think again. I can admire them, but I have no idea which is which, if you want to do a bit of research this page on the Xera Plants website might help, or this one on the Desert Northwest site.
There 11 Manzanita species native to Oregon, and 55 in California (according to Paul Bonine of Xera…in a talk he gave at the 2011 Yard Garden & Patio Show), planted in the garden they need good air circulation and no supplemental summer water. Manzanitas bloom in the winter to early spring and display berries in spring and summer.
We started our walk with the plants closest to home, and in fact the first ones I ever really noticed and admired. This pair is planted in a narrow hell-strip and thus they’ve been heavily pruned to fit the tight space. This of course shows off their sinewy trunk and branches to the best advantage.
Here’s the sidewalk, Manzanita on the left…

Moving down the street a bit we come to what I believe is a patch of ground cover Manzanita.
A close up of the colorful new growth.

Just on the other side of the park is a pair of Manzanita that qualify as “green blobs”…is it because they weren’t pruned to reveal the bark? Or do some just not lend themselves to that twisty crazy look I love?
At least the new growth is pretty.
In the same garden is this newly planted baby…

And because one can’t help but be distracted by bright chartreuse blooms here we take a break from our Manzanita hunting to admire these Euphorbia rigida…

This Manzanita is the opposite of the green blob…it’s a sparse gangly thing.
Just down the sidewalk a few steps is this windswept specimen. It’s a bit of a mystery really. I swear it used to be upright, was it our morning of wet snow back in January that tipped it over?
Even the branches and leaves look like they’ve been shaped by a powerful wind.

More touches of chartreuse to admire, I’m not sure but I believe this is a Daphne?
Turning the corner here is another “blob-ish” example.
There is colorful bark in there, it’s just hidden.

The bloom buds…
…and new growth are both gorgeous though!
At the oft blogged about Kennedy School we find a tallish Manzantia with a nice growth habit.

Flower buds and good sized leaves.

Let’s take a moment to admire one of my favorite Agaves…
Here is a good looking ground cover Manzantia.
And in all my years of walking around photographing plants here at the Kennedy School I’ve never noticed this creative pruning job!

Heading for home now, but not before photographing a newly planted little Manzanita…
And the most beautiful Euphorbia myrsinites in the whole neighborhood.

Another day, another walk…before I could turn in this assignment I needed to visit my inspiration garden a few blocks away, after all I know they’ve got some lovely Manzanitas, this one in the wide parking strip.
Here is the same plant from the back side…
This one (on the left) seems to be reaching out to touch an unsuspecting passerby.
Its foliage looks blue with the sun over my shoulder.

But when backlit it takes on more of a bright green hue.

Here’s one that’s newly planted, it was just a seedling last summer from Cistus Nursery if my memory serves. It’s grown a lot!
And finally a glance down their driveway at a set of four planters I am very envious of. Left to right: Yucca, Manzanita, Agave, and maybe a Nolina?

I thought if I varied my route home I might run across another Manzantia or two, but no such luck. I hope you enjoyed seeing the different leaf sizes, colors, and forms of this wonderful species and if possible that you will consider planting one (or two) in your garden! Thank you Les for the excuse to get out and photograph with a purpose…

(if you’re in the Portland area Garden Fever carries several of the Xera grown plants and Cistus Nursery has a huge selection of Manzanita of all sizes, plus they do mail order!)

30 comments:

  1. Like you, I love manzanitas but have a hard time ID'ing them. Beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Gerhard, I remember you've admired a few Manzanitas on your blog but do you actually grow any?

      Delete
  2. I think if I had a tree in my yard with such beautiful smooth bark I wouldn't be able to keep my hands off of it! There would be shiny worn patches like the nose of an Abraham Lincoln statue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually some of them do look like they've been polished by millions of hands!

      Delete
  3. Those are wonderful. I love the exposed bark of manzanitas. And you just reminded me that I need to locate some Euphorbia rigida and myrsinites for my garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might help with the Gophers too, I've read that they stay away when Euphorbias are planted. (must be the sap?)

      Delete
  4. Those Manzantia are lovely trees. I remember them catching my eye when you posted a photo or two of them last year.

    I have had a look on the web to see if there are any nurseries selling them in the UK, but I had no joy.

    I think your mystery plant is a Daphne. The one in your photo is a bit of a monster. Did the flowers smell? I thought they were supposed to. I have one, but it is only a baby with 3 rosettes of leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed most Daphne are very fragrant aren't they? This one had no small that I could detect.

      Delete
  5. You and Les just might get me to do a walk around my hood...wish I could inventory manzanitas or native oaks, but Abq has a long way to go. But if I do it, it be an inventory of more than gravel colors! Nice scenes on all the manzanitas, but the last shot of the aggregate concrete planters, ea with a different plant I like - not too shabby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it! That would be wonderful. I so covet those planters...

      Delete
  6. This is a walk I can get into! The photos of the carefully pruned manzanitas in the parking strip give me the courage I needed to plant one in mine: I had been thinking about doing it but was hesitant because our strip is so narrow - only 2.5 feet. Now I see it could work.

    There's something particularly lovely and a little unusual about the the way the leaves on the first manzanita you show in your inspiration garden are set sort of flat along the branches. Any idea which variety it it might be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At times I think it would be nice to have a wider parking strip but then I realize I'd just plant more in it that would get trampled by traffic to the park so maybe it's good I too only have 2.5 ft to work with! I hope you do plant a Manzanita in yours!

      I emailed Paul Bonine of Xera Plants and he says the one you ask about is Arctostaphylos viscida.

      Delete
  7. Oh, and I think your daphne might be D. laureola.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The manzanitas are beautiful with their twisty, red limbs. The euphorbia are amazing too.

    I do like the planters and am always impressed with the number of succulents doing well in your area.

    I'm going to do this too. Still a few weeks left.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for taking us along your walk! Special mention to the Euphorbia rigida, can't wait to see ours in flower just like the one in your photo, gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I especially love that they have multiples all lied up along the sidewalk, so pretty!

      Delete
  10. I enjoyed your Manzanita tour. It looks soothingly cool where you are. We had such a roasting sweltering blinding hot weekend, your post made me feel better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grass is always greener...it was 32 here this morning. I want warm!!!

      Delete
  11. Absolutely beautiful...just love them all! I think the first few are my hands-down faves, they have those amazing, gnarly branches...so reminds me of windswept shoreline plants. The bark is, to be honest, my favorite quality of Manzanitas...in combination with the glaucous leaves, they are just stunning. Thanks for featuring so many varieties :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul thinks those first ones might be Arctostaphylos x densiflora 'Sentinel' which as I recall is exactly what you mentioned for your parking strip! It's the bark for me too...followed by the leaves. I would be fine if they didn't flower at all!

      Delete
  12. First of all, thanks for participating. Are these plants related to Arbutus (or vica versa). The foliage, flowers and structure look similar. If I could grow Manzanita, I would offer no space for those green blobs or for the ground cover, even if they are nice plants. I would only grow the varieties with that incredible bark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les I believe they are all part of the same family, the Ericaceae (Heath Family). Thanks for holding the challenge again this year! Can't wait to see your round-up post.

      Delete
  13. Great photos and examples of manzanita, or arctostaphylos. I grow a groundcover arctostaphylos (uva ursi) and here in Connecticut it's called kinnikinnik. I didn't realize my elegant glossy leaved groundcover's cousins were tall shrubs with twisty trunks and such neat bark!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep we've got the Kinnikinnick out here too...such a fun word to try and spell!

      Delete
  14. Holy moly, great post!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have always loved the satiny reddish bark best of all, but there is a specimen at Joy Creek, close to the house, that has satiny nearly black bark and a more regular, upright habit...must have that one.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful photographs and I like your writing style!
    - Georgia (local ecologist)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Weird, I never noticed any manzanita around the Kennedy School, or really anywhere outside of California! It's one of my favorite plants. Exfoliating bark is one of my most favorite botanical features.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. The amount of spam that get's through is incredible, so comment moderation is on. I'll try to approve and post your comment as soon as possible!