Saturday, January 2, 2021

African tree bonanza

Happy new year! We decided to kick off 2021 by planting some new trees from Africa from one our favorite genera, Cussonia. It was a bit of a soggy volunteer day but John, Chris and Bill helped Matt and I get the plants in and it was satisfying.

I had ordered 6 Cussonia paniculata from one of our favorite suppliers (Flora Grubb) a few months ago, expecting to receive six lovely blue-gray leaved plants described as "a large evergreen shrub or small tree" topping out around 10-15' in height and native to South Africa. We have one at home and it's lovely - one trunk, small poofball on top. Yep - we have lots of room for things like that.

However, what was delivered looked suspiciously different. Greener leaves, multi stemmed in some cases... and a trip to the Flora Grubb retail location caused more suspicion: they had the same 5 gallon plants but labelled Cussonia transvaalensis.

Nothing wrong with that. another blue-green leaves plant that tops out around 16'. A quick email to Flora Grubb's people and they confirmed the mixup - these are C. transvaalensis. Except... are they? The leaves are very green... and the multi-stemmed look is worryingly like Cussonia spicata, a bit sprawly monster going close to 50' tall!

Well, too late. They had to go in the ground so we will soon see what we get. Three went in at PRG (at the north corner, and two along the fenceline), three went in at PG  (in the middle back bed, on the terraces, and up at the very top of the garden by a loquat) And we also planted two Yucca filifera and two Yucca guatemalensis at PRG.

Matt fixed the tool chest with a new hasp from Chris (thank you!), and the new plants got some water (the ground is bone dry past the first 2" still...) and off we went home. Good job, chaps!

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