Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pruning Escallonia, Seed Potatoes -- And A New Plant!

My pink Escallonia did not like the unexpected snow and extended period of freezing temps we got last November, just before Thanksgiving.

It's been looking very sad and brown ever since. I've read that Escallonia is marginally hardy here. I didn't think it was still alive. You can see a few green leaves in this pic (taken in March), but they have been dropping steadily all Spring.

I attacked it today with bypass pruners.
I know -- Holy moly! Right?

My plan originally was to remove it completely. But when I got down to the very bottom branches, I found tiny little green shoots coming from some of the pieces that I had removed already. Whoops! It may not be dead.

I like this shrub. It has pretty pink tube-like flowers that the hummingbirds love too.

So now I'm of two minds. 

Do I keep it and see what happens? It's probably going to continue to be this ugly for a while. But I'm pretty sure it will bounce back from this severe pruning. Some shrubs actually like being pruned to the ground, some just tolerate it if you do it every year, and some will eventually weaken and die if you keep doing it. If I keep it, will it even flower this year? If we have another severe winter (for the PNW), will any new growth it puts out after this just die back too?

If I pull it out, I can put in one of the many other shrubs I am dying to buy. (WooHoo! Hello, Daphne...)

Got an opinion? Wonder what I'll do.
I got my order for seed potatoes today from Territorial Seed.

I really need to get them into the kitchen window so they can start sprouting. But that means removing the seedlings that are sitting there. 

Where do they go?

I'm going to a plant swap this weekend in Olympia. Those plants are outside in the propagator. I'll move these out there after the swap, so I can start the potatoes.
I went to Top Food today for some groceries, and couldn't resist checking out their little nursery area.

I found a climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) for only $9.99. It looks nice and healthy. I've been wanting one for this spot.

See that gap at the bottom of the fence, where they had to cut around the Douglas fir? I'm hoping the climbing hydrangea will plug that spot and climb the fir tree (and look spectacular doing it).

I love finding plants at the grocery store. I can hide the cost in the cost of getting supper, and no one is the wiser. (Oh wait, my husband reads my blog....oops)

Of course, I am almost caught up on my planting. I think......I am just incapable of remaining in that state for longer than a few days.


  1. I'm not crazy about Escallonia. You could do better. Dephne x burkwoodii is supposed to be the easiest to grow. I think it's very lovely, too. 'Carol Mackie' & 'Briggs Moonlight' are easy to find. My wild ginger gets eaten by the snails. But they don't like it as much as some other things. I think they've wiped out the lupine I just planted.

  2. Hi Alison! My escallonias look ugly. But, they have leaves. They stayed green all the winter. Even looking green, they are not pretty. I don't like the way their branches grow, in all directions. Maybe, my pruning was not very smart. I am very curious how your shrub will do after such a dramatic pruning.
    As for potatoes, I found a green top recently - it was an old potato, forgotten in my raised bed, which started to grow. It means the soil is warm enough already for potatoes. Don't you want to put at least a couple of potatoes into the soil right now and see how they will do? It'll be interesting to compare what potatoes do better. Good luck!

  3. Hi Alison..hmm, I'm not hopeful about that plant. I recommend putting in something new and a tad more hardy. Besides, it's fun to put in something new :)
    A climbing that is cool! Cheers, Jenni

  4. I would keep the Escallonia and see what happens, if it does not revive, then there is plenty of time to replace it.

  5. I had almost planted a hedge of escallonia in my backyard until someone working at the nursery said they are marginally hardy here, I hope yours does bounce back. I really like them too. I love the idea of the hydrangea on the tree, I'm going to have to see if I could get one to grow on the pine tree in our backyard. I love the plants they sell at Top and I do go out of my way to shop there in spring because of the plants, and luckily my husband rarely reads my blog and will never be the wiser :)

  6. I have been buying plants like crazy lately....time to take a breather after I get the ones I bought today in the ground.
    I vote for waiting to see what happens with your brush...good luck.

  7. I swear I tried to just post a comment.
    Short version:
    Daphne has an unbeleivable smell--try it if escallonia doesnt work this year! It is next on my list.
    Im off to see climbing hydrangea on google-just saw it recently and is NOW on my list too!

  8. How did your escallonia turn out after 5 years?


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