Last week I received my 2017-2018 Gossler Farms Nursery retail catalog and I didn't have to pay the $2.00 like it says on the front cover. Roger Gossler visits and orders once or twice a year, which he has done since the beginning of time, and he “cherry picks” our best plants. Many nurseries hate it when customers attempt to do that, but at Buchholz Nursery we don't mind because we grow only the cherries anyway. Roger orders a wide array of plants from our three categories: 1) maples, 2) conifers and 3) everything else, but the common theme to his choices is that every plant is fun. Imagine that – making a living by peddling fun!
|Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph'|
|Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons'|
Probably many of you Flora Wonder Blog readers already know about Gossler Nursery, but if you don't you are encouraged to head to gosslerfarms.com and get a catalog, even if he sticks you for the two bucks. Many listings come from my nursery, such as Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph', Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Sparkling Arrow', Ginkgo biloba 'Troll', Acer circinatum 'Baby Buttons', Acer palmatum 'Peve Starfish' and more, but in today's blog I will mention other choice plants that come from different sources, and you can be sure that I'll soon get my order in.
Gossler writes about Berberis replicata, “People always see this barberry and ask what it is and want it.” And why not, since it is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with narrow leaves colored rich purple on the new growth. Gossler states that his plant is 8' tall by 9' wide in 20 years, and in other areas it has proven hardy to -20 degrees F. Pale yellow flowers appear in May and black-purple berries adorn the shrub in fall and winter. The specific name is due to leaf margins turned backwards (i.e. replicated). It was introduced from Yunnan, China by George Forrest in 1917 and it received an Award of Merit in 1923.
|Acer palmatum 'Shirazz'|
Acer palmatum 'Geisha Gone Wild'
I used to grow a few Acer palmatum 'Shirazz', a New Zealand selection that originated as a sport on Acer palmatum 'Geisha'. 'Geisha' is notorious for reverting and sometimes the mutant growth can be attractive and a stronger garden performer than its parent. I know because my 'Geisha Gone Wild' discovery occurred at about the same time and in the same manner as 'Shirazz'. The only difference between the two is that 'Shirazz' is patented and mine is not, and my initial purpose to grow 'Shirazz' was to see if there was any difference, if one was maybe a little better than the other...but they're the same. Gossler is two-timing me with the 'Shirazz' listing since I don't grow it anymore, but maybe he likes the name better than 'Geisha Gone Wild'.
Gossler lists Arisaema flavum which he calls, “Not a showstopper, but a fun plant in late summer when the red seeds appear.” I would agree with that. The yellow flowers are small and are hidden by the dark green leaves, but if you paw through the foliage to find them they are as interesting as any aroid. A. flavum is native to eastern Africa and southern Asia and it is somewhat edible and used as a famine food. You can get a 1 gallon pot from Gossler for only $15.00 which makes it a fairly inexpensive meal.
|Arisaema sikokianum Silver foliage form|
Gossler calls Arisaema sikokianum's Silver foliage form “simply amazing.” It is the Japanese “Jack in the Pulpit” and comes from the island of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands.
Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Heronswood Globe'
I used to grow Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Heronswood Globe', in fact I provided grafts to the now defunct Heronswood Nursery for a couple of years. The photo above is of the original seedling – 15 years ago – in Washington state but I don't know if it currently exists. The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs lists it, surprisingly enough, calling it a “slow-growing bushy dwarf selection.” My experience was that it was vigorous, too vigorous, and that all grafts would eventually grow into upright trees. Another problem was that no one would buy my trees so I wasn't overly sad when my one last specimen was cut down for outgrowing its place in the garden. I attempted to root 'Heronswood Globe', for that would certainly reduce its rate of growth, but I never got any to strike root. Anyway, I'm not going to order one from Gossler; but I don't mean to be negative – you should if you have room.
|René Louiche Desfontaines|
I might order a Desfontainia spinosa 'Heronswood', and I assume the cultivar epithet refers to its introduction from the aforementioned Heronswood Nursery. The spinosa species (“Chilean holly”) is one of three found in Central and South America and it was introduced by William Lobb from Costa Rica in 1843. The genus was named for the French botanist René Louiche Desfontaines (1750-1833). I would probably have to keep my plant inside a greenhouse as it is probably a USDA zone 8 plant, although I know one grows outdoors at the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden in Washington state (it always looks crappy though). One of D. spinosa's common names is Borrachero de Paramo or “intoxicator of the swamp,” and the Columbian shamans of the Kamsa tribe make a tea “to dream” or to see visions and diagnose diseases. Others report that the tea will “make you go crazy.” One thing is certain: you don't want your doctor to be drinking the concoction!
Daphne genkwa Hackenberry Group
Daphne genkwa is the “lilac daphne,” and it is a deciduous shrub from China, Taiwan and Korea. It was introduced from China in 1843 by Robert Fortune, the spy and thief who also stole tea plants and tea-processing information from the Chinese. Gossler offers the “show stopper” form called the Hackenberry Group, a clone or clones with lighter-colored flowers than the type, at least in our nursery. This “group” arose as seedlings raised by Don Hackenberry from seed originating in the wild in China, collected by the Beijing Botanic Garden.
I notice that Gossler lists Juniperus recurva 'Coxii'. Most of the literature does not regard Coxii as a cultivar, but rather as a variety – so var. coxii with a small “c.” Hillier describes it as “An elegant small tree with gracefully drooping branchlets which are longer and more pendulous than the typical variety.” Just two weeks ago I saw a healthy gorgeous specimen at the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden. What a coincidence since I cut my oldest (25-year-old) tree down from the Upper Gardens the day before because I concluded that my arboretum is not a hospital for unattractive, struggling trees. My coxii suffered this past winter at near 0 degrees F, and in our brutal summer's heat it declined even further. Nothing is more unbecoming than a sickly old juniper, but still it was difficult to pull its plug. My old specimen was grafted onto Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket'. I suppose Roger sells plants that are on their own roots – either from cuttings or from seedlings. In any case $24.00 is a steal for a 2-gallon pot, but only if you garden in a climate a little warmer than I do in Oregon. For what it's worth, Debreczy/Racz in Conifers Around the World (2011) gives coxii species rank, and state, “It is morphologically similar and has been considered a variety of J. recurva, but recent molecular studies support its treatment at species rank.” The name coxii is due to its discovery and introduction by E.H.M. Cox and Reginald Farrer from Upper Myanmar in 1920.
Gossler Farms Nursery has always specialized in magnolias, and the visitor to their Springfield, Oregon location will be treated to enormous flowering specimens in spring. In fact, our office Manager Eric Lucas has been growing magnolia from Gossler long before he came to work at Buchholz Nursery. Of Magnolia 'Burncoose' Roger states that “we got our original scionwood from Dr. Corbin's garden in Portland.” And so did I. Dr. Corbin received scionwood from various sources in the magnolia vanguard, then he would graft them onto the canopies of older established trees, thus having his new cultivar – such as 'Burncoose' – flower profusely in just a couple of years. The skinny doctor would climb into his trees at an advanced age to perform the graft...which was quite a sight. Naturally his wife fretted below, but the doctor loved to display his climbing prowess. Magnolia 'Burncoose' originated at the Burncoose Nurseries in Cornwall, England as a seedling from Magnolia sprengeri var. sprengeri 'Diva'.
|Magnolia kobus var. stellata 'Jane Platt'|
Gossler Nursery is famous for its introduction of Magnolia kobus var. stellata 'Jane Platt'. The late Mrs. Platt was well-known for her tasteful, artistically inspired garden in Portland, Oregon. In it was a magnolia grown as M. stellata 'Rosea', but Roger Gossler recognized it as being superior – a stronger pink – than the typical var. rosea. He writes, “One of the finest plants we have ever found. We named this glorious plant for our friend and mentor back in the 80's. This star magnolia can have 60 tepals that are a pretty light pink. We are thrilled that M. 'Jane Platt' received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.” The flower color can vary somewhat from year to year, but I agree that this large shrub/small tree is one of the finest plants that one can grow. I purposely planted one along the driveway to my home and it is stunning when blooming in the afternoon light in late April.
|Camellia 'Black Magic' on Omphalodes cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram'|
Gossler lists Omphalodes 'Cherry Ingram' which is named for the English gardener Collingwood Ingram (of flowering cherry fame). I had to look up Omphalodes for I wasn't familiar with the genus. When Roger describes it as a low-growing perennial (1' tall) with brilliant blue flowers in March-April, then I recalled seeing it in his garden on early spring visits. I didn't know what it was then and I didn't think to ask. Now I think I would like one and he charges only $10.00 for a 1-gallon plant. I don't know how O. cappadocica 'Cherry Ingram' differs from the type but it did win an Award of Garden Merit. It is commonly called “navelwort” due to the shape of the seeds, as omphalos is the Greek word for “navel.” It is a cousin to the Forget-me-not and is also called Blue-eyed Mary.
Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Fenway Park'
Parthenocissus tricuspidata is known as “Boston ivy” even though the species is native to Japan, Korea and China. It was introduced from Japan by J.G. Veitch in 1862. Gossler offers 'Fenway Park', a gold-leaved form of the climber and says “Our plant is in full south facing sun and thrives.” It was discovered as a sport on the normally green ivy in 1988 by Peter Del Tredici of the Arnold Arboretum. And no, it wasn't found in Fenway Park – home of baseball's Boston Red Sox – but rather on an apartment building near Fenway Park. I had seen it for sale in retail garden centers but never thought much of it, but after seeing 'Fenway Park' cover an entire building at Shadow Nursery in Tennessee a few years ago, I was impressed enough to get one for my plant collection. The botanic name is a mouthful, but comes from Greek parthenos meaning a “virgin” and kissos meaning “ivy” while tricuspidata means “three-toothed” in reference to the leaves.
|Quercus macrolepis 'Hemelrijk Silver'|
The reason for a Gossler blog is because of the new catalog, but also by coincidence they picked up an order yesterday from us and Roger gifted me a Quercus macrolepis 'Hemelrijk Silver'. Hillier (2014) lets us know that the oak is now Q. ithaburensis ssp. macrolepis, "a small to medium-sized tree with grey-tomentose twigs." 'Hemelrijk Silver' was grown from seed collected on the island of Rhodes by Robert and Jelena de Belder, a famous plant couple from Belgium, the late owners of Arboretum Kalmthout near Antwerp. Roger doesn't know the trees' eventual size, but assumes that it's not huge as his grows 6-12" per season. In any case I've got plenty of room at Flora Farm and I hope to get it in the ground next week.
|Rosa moyesii 'Geranium'|
Last year Gossler gave me a Rosa moyesii 'Geranium', and in his catalog he claims, "This is the true R. moyesii 'Geranium' (there are many imposters). A 10-12' shrub with single red flowers (Red is only a general description. It is really different red). In late summer-fall the hips turn a glorious peachy orange." Hillier explains further that 'Geranium' is a hybrid of R. moyesii "which it resembles, but slightly more compact in habit..." Also the fruits are said to be slightly larger and smoother. "Raised at RHS Garden Wisley in 1938. AM 1950."
Rosa moyesii 'Regalia'
R. moyesii is native to western China and it is commonly known as "Mandarin Rose." The American Rose Society wrongly claims that the species was discovered and introduced by E.H. Wilson, but it was first discovered in 1893 by A.E. Pratt, and then introduced by Wilson in 1903. Wilson was collecting for the Veitch Nursery firm, who first exhibited it in flower in June 1908. The specific name commemorates the Reverend J. Moyes, a missionary in China whose Protestant organization encouraged members to wear Chinese dress and sport pig-tails to impress the locals who were undergoing the conversion attempt.
|Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'|
|Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'|
Viburnum opulus 'Aureum'
I wouldn't want a Viburnum opulus 'Aureum' in the middle of my Display Garden, but I am most happy to have it growing in a semi-wild state down by the pond. Gossler says, "This Viburnum has golden leaves from April-October." The white lace-cap flowers are mainly lost in the golden foliage, and I know that many Junes have come and gone that I have missed them in bloom. Ah well, the rosy-red leaves are attractive in early fall, then they turn to absolute purple by November. If grown in shade the leaves will be lemon-green, but if placed in full sun they can burn (in Oregon) so wise siting is important. Viburnum opulus is commonly known as the "European cranberry bush" and sometimes as "cramp bark" as its medicine can help regulate cycles and relieve menstrual cramps. Yikes! – glad to be a guy.
|Stewartia pseudocamellia 'Pewter'|
It's obvious by now that Gossler Farms Nursery offers a wide selection of choice garden trees and shrubs. One genus that is well represented is Stewartia, in fact some would go so far as to call them snob trees. They aren't cheap, but the species and cultivars offered must be considered. S. pseudocamellia 'Pewter' was discovered by Guy Meacham of PlantMad and it features green leaves with a silver sheen. S. pseudocamellia 'Pillar Bella' was discovered by Oregon's Crispin Silva and it's grown for its columnar form. Silva also discovered S. sinensis 'Gardens Guardian', and after 12 years the full bushy original is only 6' tall by 2' wide. You can also buy a Stewartia koreana, and a 50-year-old specimen in Eric Gossler's yard shows off its red autumn foliage that "can be seen for a quarter mile away." Hillier classifies it as Stewartia pseudocamellia Koreana Group and describes its bark as giving the "effect of beautifully marked snakeskin," and the species (or "variety" or "group") was introduced by E.H. Wilson on the Korean peninsula in 1917.
Besides offering great garden plants, Roger Gossler is known for his "garden coaching," for those who want assistance with their gardens, and if you bite you'll receive a 10% discounts on all plants purchased for the next month after the visit. The old geezer is probably worth your time, and I'll quote one of his happy customers:
Inviting Roger into our garden to be a "garden coach" was one of our best horticultural investments. He has an almost endless amount of information regarding plant growth and habit. His depth and knowledge on what to plant where, why, when and how was a great help to us. And, perhaps most important, it was wonderful fun. A visit from Roger would leave us quite excited about new plant possibilities. In a few words and wild hand gestures, he could turn an ugly shady corner bed into a colorful hydrangea planting that would be beautiful and hide the shed wall and fence. We will continue to use the garden coach service and we know that each visit from Roger will be enjoyable and full of new information.
Surprisingly this year's catalog didn't make mention that you can also purchase Gossler's book, The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs Timber Press (2009), but I'm sure that they still have plenty of copies in their closets. This book goes far beyond my blog to reveal the Gossler experience, and I have read it word for word at least three times.
Running a nursery is a tough profession, but when you consider your plant friends, like Roger, it is a wonderful experience.