Monday, April 26, 2010

Spanish Fir & Korean Fir

Here are two trees worth hunting the nurseries for. The Spanish Fir, Abies Pinsapo, and Korean Fir, Abies Koreana, are two of the most beautiful and unique conifers in the world. Most nurseries have either never heard of them or if they have they rarely carry them. I just found two the other day after several years of searching and coming up with nothing. The needles of Spanish Fir are a textile marvel. If one runs ones hand across the foliage it has an almost hard, bristly cacti feel. The early pollen cones of spring are a smart cherry red, and the following seed cones grow up to 9inches. They are easy to grow from seed and are relatively pest free. Apparently they adapt well when grown in a pot. Note: Rock phosphate for food in young specimens.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mountain Hemlock, v. Tsuga Mertensiana.

Mountain Hemlock, Tsuga Mertensiana, is a tree of the high alpine zone. Its native range extends from Alaska south through British Columbia all the way to the Washington and Oregon coast. It is a tree shaped by the deep seasonal shift of the burning summer sun to heavy winter snowpack and back again. As a result, its growing season is very short, and at treeline, it appears stunted and contorted like a natural bonsai tree with rugged scaly bark and smooth rounded foliage pads. At lower elevations it still retains its rugged charm, yet grows up to 80ft.
And a common sight, one which can be used to identify the tree amidst other species, are its beautiful purple-blue seed cones hanging in dense clusters in the spring sun.
As a candidate for a Bonsai tree it is perhaps one of the best in the world, for on mature specimens, Its rugged old bark and delicate dark green fernlike foliage are the perfect combination of masculine and feminine beauty. It also adapts very well to life in a pot, which basically mimics life in the thin alpine soil.
Many trees found growing high in the mountains will have trunks as small as 4inches in diameter, yet can be as old as 350 years. Some collected specimens have been tested at close to and in one case over 800 years old. In all it is an outstanding tree with many attractive qualities, allowing it to stand out in a sharp, eye catching manner amongst other plant and tree varieties.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Evergreen Huckleberry

Evergreen Huckleberry, Vaccinium Ovatum Pursh. Plant symbol=VAO2.
This is a very interesting, useful and aesthetically beautiful plant. Its rich, glossy, ovate leaves, which are usually 2-5cm in length, range in color from a deep lime green to a cool salmon pink/red, and are rich in vitamin C. This goes for the berries as well, which are best picked and eaten after the first frost in mid to late October, early November. The leaves and stems, when finely chopped, contain quinic acid that helps in the lowering and stabilization of blood sugar levels with diabetes. The flavor of the berry could be described as sweet, musky, and somewhat similar to Alaskan blueberry, but with an edge of black currant. (?) The plant itself can tolerate a wide range of light, from nearly full shade to full sun and still produce a strong yield of its delicious, edible berries. As far as i am concerned, this plant type is an excellent candidate for almost any landscape or garden. Mass plantings are highly encouraged.....

Throughout the spring summer season Evergreen huckleberry is available at a cost ranging from $9.75 for 1 gallon to $35.95 for 5 gallon with relatively short notice. Also, in the picking season, evergreen huckleberry berries, along with black huckleberries, most native blueberries and chanterelle mushrooms, will be available for $8.00 to $11.00 per pound, fresh, frozen or dried.