Friday, September 13, 2013

Loads of Fun



I began today's blog (a few days ago) with the theme being our specimen availability, and the process of allocating and maintaining the inventory. Basically: relationship tips for our customers. Boring, right? So I dropped it. Anyway, most of you readers are not customers, and I suspect the majority of you just look at the pictures and don't read a word. I half-seriously asked Seth, my blog go-to-guy, what I should choose for a subject, if there was something he would like to see. "Oh, I don't know," he replied, "just something that's fun. That's all anyone really wants anyway."


Another Buchholz Greek lesson


So, just the fun, then. Funny fun, maybe with some jokes? Educational fun, where you might learn something? Frivolous fun perhaps? Seth revealed that he's a little tired of Greek and Latin lessons, which is important for me to know, as Seth is college educated – I didn't graduate – with an IQ twice that of mine. But what about his sense of fun, how well developed is that? He is paid from 7:30 until 4:30, so he is obligated to at least chuckle at my jokes during that time period, but maybe he groans thereafter.



























The original Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Miss Grace'





























Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost'


Acer palmatum 'Shogun'


Fun. I've even used the "F" word myself, when I previously bragged that "you can have more fun at Buchholz Nursery than at any other wholesale nursery." Well, speaking of groans, maybe some of you expletivated at that statement, but nobody came forth with a challenge. So, what is it that makes it so fun here? Let's start first with the ambiance. The display gardens are what you first notice when you arrive on the property. We try our best to camouflage the greenhouses and production areas with gardens. Every plant has a label, so visitors can wander on their own. In hindsight I wish that every label would also indicate the age of the plant, because when I tour the grounds with others many are amazed that some of the dwarves and miniatures are so old. The gardens also contain the largest or most old of many cultivars. Our introduction of Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Miss Grace' would be one such plant. The original Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost' is in the oldest display garden, as is the original Acer palmatum 'Shogun'.


Acer circinatum 'Sunglow'

Acer circinatum 'Sunglow'



























Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem'




























Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem'


Our Short Road garden features the original Acer circinatum 'Sunglow', and every spring day it throbs with color. It is planted in full sun, and I admit that it looks horrible now, and we anxiously await for real autumn color to arrive. A few steps away from the "Vine Maple" is our introduction of Pinus bungeana 'Temple Gem'. This is the first and largest in the world, and I always find the bark apeeling. 'Temple Gem' is not dwarf, but rather "compact," growing about one-third the rate of the type, which is good...as it is in a space-challenged garden.


Picea breweriana 'Emerald Midget'


Also in the Short Road section is the first Picea breweriana 'Emerald Midget'. The "midget" has now grown to eight feet tall, but it is also thirty two years old. This tree has a dense pyramidal habit, with shoots growing erect. Silver-gray is the overall color, as you can always see the silvery stomatal bands, which on a normal "Brewer's Spruce" are present on the needles' undersides. I'm humored by a few European nurserymen who are certain that my species identification is incorrect, that 'Emerald Midget' is really a dwarf form of "Serbian Spruce," Picea omorika. But look closely at the buds, boys, and you will see it is clearly a breweriana. I don't know why the Hillier's Manual of Trees and Shrubs consistently misspells breweriana as brewerana, when Hillier seems to be correct on everything else. Hillier also claims that the "Brewer's Spruce" is a "rare tree in the wild state." It's not remarkably common, true, but it certainly is not rare. It was thought to be rare when first discovered, but many stands of it have been found in southern Oregon and northern California






















Ilex serrata 'Koshobai'


A cute addition to the Short Road is Ilex serrata 'Koshobai', a dwarf bush with tiny green leaves. The cultivar name is Japanese for "peppercorn," as the miniature berries are barely larger than the period at the end of this sentence. They are borne in profusion, but are not noticeable until they begin to turn red (which is now occurring). Visitors are amazed that a knee-high plant appears to be sparkling with a thousand fruits. The best thing about 'Koshobai' is that it is cleistogamous, meaning flowers that are self-pollinating, and set fertile seed without the flower opening. In other words, it doesn't need a male pollinator to produce berries. So it's a cheap date, then, and the berries will persist throughout the winter, and the birds seek a larger meal it seems.


Ginkgo ball

Ginkgo ball

Tobey and Jayne Chadsey


The perfect complement to the Short Road plants is a beautiful metal sculpture, a Ginkgo ball. This was crafted by Tobey Chadsey, the former owner of Meadowcroft Farm in Oregon. He recently retired from the nursery business, on a high note, to move to Pennsylvania to pursue his metalwork passion. We will miss Tobey and wife Jayne very much, but the wonderful Ginkgo ball is a reminder of our friendship, besides being a superb work of craftsmanship.


Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'

Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'

Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'

I'll mention a final plant in this Short Road garden: our enormous Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'. Fortunately no truck driver has smashed into it yet – they have creamed other trees, though – and it is the largest 'Mikawa' specimen I have ever seen. Japan's Masayoshi Yano, author of Book for Maples, has never seen one as large in Japan, nor has anyone from Europe either. I'm asked every few years if it is for sale; and the answer is yes, but you must also buy the entire nursery (which is always for sale). Once an arrogant hairy-brow New Jerseyman thought it was alright to roam the nursery and flag everything he was interested in. The Neanderthal attached a five-foot orange flagging tape to the tree. When I saw that later in the day, I had made – or rather, he had made – a new enemy. The temerity of the goon!




























Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiralis'


























Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiralis'



























Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Aurea'


Tsuga heterophylla 'Iron Springs'


Are we still having fun? I enjoy walking under specimens of slow-growing, or supposedly dwarf trees. Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiralis' is presumed by many to be dwarf, but not so, and I am now staring out the office window at my 30-foot plus tree. I get a kick out of another "dwarf," Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Aurea', which is stupidly named, as the foliage is bright green, not yellow, throughout the year. The crew likes to eat lunch under it, for every laborer's back has a trunk to lean against. This old specimen features tan-colored trunks which exfoliate in strips. Another false dwarf is Tsuga heterophylla 'Iron Springs', an upright with an irregular habit. This "Western Hemlock" was found near Iron Springs, a resort on the Pacific coast of Washington state by Mrs. Blogg of Seattle. Blogg. My God, what a name; she probably hated it. Mrs. Blogg gave the original to the University of Washington Arboretum in 1969, but I've never seen it there on my numerous visits.


Tsuga canadensis 'Little Joe'

John Mitsch

Other fun hemlocks are the diminutive Tsuga canadensis 'Little Joe' and Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta'. 'Little Joe' has the smaller leaves of the two, and Swartley, author of Cultivated Hemlocks, wrote (in 1984) that it is "one of the smallest clones known." And that "at 20 years a plant on the Mitsch Nursery, Aurora, Oregon is 6 inches high and 10 inches across." My original was given to me by the generous John Mitsch about twenty five years ago, and was planted in the lush lath house in the original Display Garden. It is happy as ever there, and has even assumed an upright habit, and is now possibly of greater size than the Mitsch runt, in spite of Mitsch's decades head start.



Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta'



























Tsuga canadensis 'Betty Rose'

Tsuga canadensis 'Betty Rose'

So far Tsuga canadensis 'Minuta' grows into a flat-bun shape, and a ten-year-old will be approximately six inches tall by ten inches wide. Even more fun is the variegated miniature, Tsuga canadensis 'Betty Rose'. This is planted under the shade of a Stewartia tree , so it too has grown upright. This specimen, now at seven feet tall, is probably the most lovely of any conifer in my collection. Is my tree now the largest in existence? The original was discovered in Maine by Mr. Francis Heckman of Pennsylvania. But who is/was Betty Rose – his wife, daughter or girlfriend? 'Betty Rose' is particularly attractive in our pumice planters and alpine troughs.

Pumice Garden

Juniperus horizontalis 'Golden Wiltonii'


Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph'


And that brings up another reason why Buchholz is a fun nursery: our products, our imaginative creations. I can't take credit for all of them; it is really a collaborative effort to dream up ideas to promote our nursery and livelihoods, an attempt to supply what no one else has, or has yet imagined. Concerning our pumice stones and gardens, many customers who visit actually shop rock, as much as the plant in them, for the stones are about 35,000 years old, and no two are alike.


QT Pots

QT Pots

Abies koreana 'Cis'

Abies koreana 'Cis'





















Abies koreana 'Ice Breaker'


Acer palmatum 'Orange Dream'

Acer palmatum 'Emerald Lace'

Acer palmatum 'Emerald Lace'

Acer palmatum 'Mikazuki'


Our "QT" plant program is second to none, meaning that the plants we offer in these cute 4" round pots are more high-end than those of the competition. We don't foist cheap Chamaecyparis pisiferas, or lawsonianas that will eventually die on their own roots. And who really wants another Euonymus? Abies balsamea 'Nana'? – C'mon, that was popular and impressive 100 years ago, and we have better Abies dwarves today. For example, Abies koreana 'Cis' or 'Ice Breaker'. Also, our "QT's" feature Japanese maples at low prices. Who else offers Acer palmatums 'Orange Dream', 'Emerald Lace', 'Mikazuki' etc. for less than five bucks? In addition, we customize to select plants that are hardy and known to perform in your gardening area.

Acer palmatum seedling

Acer palmatum seedling

Acer palmatum seedling






Acer palmatum 'Seedling'


A phenomenal treat is to wander into GH15 where half the house is devoted to maple seedlings from named cultivars. The best times are in May, then again in August, and the fresh new growth will dazzle you with color. I am particular to the reticulates, and after all, I am the "Ghost Guy." The older seedlings are planted in the "real world" at Flora Farm in full sun where they can thrive or burn or die.

I will acknowledge that some visitors are humorless and find nothing fun at Buchholz Nursery. Many come just to buy our "different stuff," sometimes when they are unable to even pronounce the plant's name. One employee from a national brokerage firm called to arrange a visit for later in the day, that perhaps we could do business together. I was in the field when he arrived, and just needed thirty seconds to finish my project, then I would go to introduce myself. He took about twenty steps toward our box area, did a panoramic gawk, then got back in his car and left. So clearly he didn't have any fun and we never heard from him further, the turd.


Seth formulating the blog


I am the employee who has the most fun at Buchholz Nursery, unless it be Seth. He would probably come to work for the happiness only, even without pay, but I don't want to test that theory.

10 comments:

  1. I'm an early subscriber and it's all been fascinating, funny, instructive, inspiring, etc. etc. I even on occasion buy stuff for the East coast version of maple roulette.
    So keep going and be glad Seth is so good at what he does!!! Mike McCarthy, The Nursery at Tanglewood

    ReplyDelete
  2. Talon

    Your blog is amusing as much as it is informative. Arrogant ranting, that is how I would describe it, yet I come back each week for more.

    Not a customer, just a fellow nurseryman.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like we have the same customers! If we ever sell, would you like to come work here the last 30 days? Anything goes and can finally tell them like it is.

    One of the best stories is when we had the nursery in Oklahoma, almost 40 years ago, a customer came in and told us her wisteria that she had bought from us 7 years prior had not bloomed for her that year. What were we going to do about it? I think we bought those plants from an Oregon nursery, wanna send our money back? And the pitiful thing is customers Oklahoma were much better than what we deal with almost daily here in Florida.
    Tropical World Nursery in Boynton Beach, Fla.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not sure what Hilliers edition you have, mine seems to have the correct spelling of Picea breweriana. You are correct about the rareness part though, not quite as rare as perhaps they make out, I still use this book though more than once every day.

    Thanks Talon and your colleagues/employees for introducing and exposing all these wonderful choice plants to the nation.

    Rob

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this blog and I do read the text, not just look at the pretty pictures. Have you published any books about how to take care of the types of maples you have in stock? Or do you have any books to recommend? Perhaps it's just trade knowledge that you hold secret but people would pay good money for advice on how to get their Orange Dreams and Mikazuki to look like the ones in your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sory Talon were not all stupid and just look at the pictures. I read every word, love your blog would be better without the rude coments about customers. People you dont know that come to your nursery could be the next Jean Iseli or Bob Fincham.Posted by a fellow conifer society member.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Talon,

    My wife, son and I had a great visit the Tuesday after labor day. You downplayed the beauty of your trees this time of year, and yet we still saw a ton of magnificence. Thanks for spending time with us and hope you enjoyed the donuts!

    The Spriggs (Jeff, Luke and Rachel)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I might be in the minority, but I in fact DO enjoy your comments and insight in regards to the Greek and Latin root words of plants. My mini arboretum wannabe is named Lepthasos........hope you can make it to Asheville next month. JPC

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love your ranting and come back to it all the time - and learn alot looking at the pictures as well. I could have fun working for you. Since everything already has a sign, why not set up a new system that is just the date of planting and people can do their own arithmetic. Sounds like a job for me, I love being methodical. Come visit Bowood Farms if you are ever in St. Louis!

    ReplyDelete