New Gardening Acquisitions

It’s that time of year when the leftovers of the gardening season go on sale at the nurseries and home improvement centers. The last of the stock plants are ready to go home like misbegotten playthings on the Island of Misfit Toys. For whatever reason these plants remained unsold and can now be found as a bargain for the thrifty gardener. While it is too dark to take pictures, I can at least tell you about my new found friends.

Two bird’s nest spruces will join the front garden in some fashion to add some evergreen foliage to the mix of mostly deciduous plants. Bird’s nest spruce or Picea abies ‘nidiformis’ is a slow growing evergreen that grows to 3 to 5 feet tall and about the same width. It’s named for the rounded shape that seems to leave an indention in the middle, very similar to a nest. One of them was for my daughter who while we were perusing plants in the nursery area of the big box store said “I want a plant” and held up a liriope. Knowing that we had more than enough liriope I said, “how would you like a small tree?” Her grin told me how much she liked that idea! I was going to get two of them anyway, but it turned out to be a small reward for her bravery in the face of flu shots.

I also picked up a fringe flower (Loropetalum chinensis rubrum ‘Blush’). I suspect that the blush is from it’s fall color display since right now it’s a beautiful shade of red-orange. It blooms in spring with string-like flowers similar to a Witch Hazel. It likes part sun and is hardy to zone 8. We are slightly colder than that (being zone 7-ish, who really knows?) but every now and then it’s good to cheat the zones to test the cold tolerance of various plants. Needless to say it will have a very good layer of mulch around it before this weekend! It grows into a 4′-8′ shrub. It may die back to the ground each year but hopefully we’ll get a little more out of it. I’ll position it close to the house near a paved surface of some kind.

The last find was my favorite, a Japanese Maple! This Suminagashi Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sumi Nagashi’) was nice to find at 50% off the original price. It’s a skinny little tree right now but stands about 5 feet tall. It was a definite steal of a Japanese maple! It will one day grow to 25′ x 15′ but since Japanese maples are a slow growers it may take it some time. Speaking of time, now it’s time to get them in the ground before the weekend hits, we have some cold nights ahead!

Update: I planted the Japanese Maple this morning!

9 thoughts on “New Gardening Acquisitions”

  1. While I happily (too happily?) snap up bargain perennials at end of the season sales, I'm afraid to do the same for woody plants. I'm worried that they'll be horribly pot-bound & severely stressed. Lately, it's been hard to find woody plants that aren't pot-bound in June, much less October or November. I would love to get a bargain on a conifer, as they are usually so expensive.

  2. Tina,

    I planted it this morning on one side of our porch in a semi-shady area. Of course I had to install a deer annoyance barrier…


    I thought the orange tints in the foliage were enough to warrant buying it, anything else will be just icing on the cake!


    I thought $17 was an extremely good price to pay! Now lets just hope the deer don’t get the munchies.


    I know exactly what you mean. Most anything you buy anymore is extremely pot bound. It’s probably due to the growth regulators they use in the production process. I usually do some root pruning before I plant pot bound plants. I’ve had pretty good success with them so far. Most of what I pick is pretty hardy stuff and can take a little rough treatment in the roots.

  3. I just love bargain prices on great plants. This is definitely the time of year to find them too. Especially with the Christmas merchandise starting to flow over into the garden area at the big box stores. Can’t wait to see pictures of you new additions!

  4. Hi Dave, you got some great plants. I love the bird’s nest spruce. It stays a nice size and can also be pruned neatly if you want to play around with it. I have loropetalums, am I spelling that right?, that have done well if not very fast growers. My son in Asheville has better luck and they are colder than we are. Those fall colors sound like a real bonus too. You can’t have too much of that! Good score on the Japanese maple too, getting a small one gives it a good chance to grow well into your soil as a youngster, a big plus. Can’t wait to see shots of these guys! And a big hug for your daughter’s bravery in the face of the flu shot!

  5. I’ll not get a chance to go bargain hunting till next week, but I’ll see what I can find that might overwinter in the basement or in a temporary bed next to the house for protection.

    I’m so glad to hear you found a Japanese maple Dave! Especially after reading your comment on my blog.

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