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Garden Blog

RIP, Plants

sorbusAt some point, every gardener just has to give up and admit it: The plant is dead.

Winter often has casualties, and each spring we wait to see if those plants that remain brown and leafless will leaf out. Well into June now, we must resign ourselves and get out the saw.

This year’s dead include:

Arctostaphylos columbiana – This hairy manzanita, a member of a notoriously sensitive genus, had been failing for years. Our cold, wet winter finally finished it off. Now its gnarled trunk will make a great structure for a climbing vine.

Pseudolarix amabilis – Golden larches are lovely trees and this young specimen had great potential. Sadly, it barely made it out of infancy.

Sorbus vilmorinii – This Chinese ash tree was planted in the mid 1990’s by the MsK Nursery, gracing the area with its fern-like foliage and attractive pink berries. Its demise will now allow more sun and space for the surrounding plants in this heavily planted area.

Photinia parviflora – This was one in a grove of three small photinia trees in the meadow. Now it is dead, leaving the two that remain looking unbalanced.

What killed these? We may never know. In a garden of over 2,000 plant species, significant losses each year are inevitable and unsurprising. We move on and remember to embrace the fact that gardens are not static, but constantly in flux.

Thankfully, the vine hill manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora), a beloved specimen in the Garden, is re-sprouting after appearing to be dead earlier in the season. It serves as a reminder to not be too hasty with the saw.

Mareen_with_arctostaphylos

Mareen Kruckeberg with the Arctostaphylos densiflora.