Forgotten plants

One of the main reasons I started this blog is so I'd have a record of significant things I do in the garden: building planter boxes, which bamboo was planted when, and in general which plants (or cultivars) I used in certain areas. This is my garden "diary".


So when I neglect to mention new plants in posts, there's a good chance I'll eventually forget the details of when the plants were welcomed into my garden or what they actually were. A couple of weekends ago when I was in the middle of the front walkway project I received a few new plants as part of a trade. Before I forget about them completely, here's what I received.

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There's nothing overly special about any of these and I knew exactly what was coming, but it's still exciting to have the box actually appear on the porch.

A quick look inside:


Looks like bamboo to me!


Yep, that's what it is: a couple of Arundinaria appalachiana divisons to replace the one I had that died in the heat of the summer. That species is native to parts of the Southeastern US, and is only one of three species of bamboo native to this country. Its common name is "hill cane" as it grows on dry hillsides as opposed to wetter bottomlands (where Arundinaria gigantea grows) and I'm not sure how attractive it will be in a garden setting, but I'm willing to give it a try. (If these two divisions die too, I'll give up on it though.)

There's also a small division of Semiarundinaria sp. 'Korea' in the box -- a fairly new introduction whose mature characteristics are not yet know. Sources seem to indicate that this may be a shorter species when mature, and I'll grow it in a pot for a few years at least.

There are a few other goodies in this box too:


Those are a bag of bulbils from Dioscorea batatas, or "Chinese yam". This is a tap-rooted vine that produces flowers with a cinnamon scent, and then makes little bulbils on the vine that look like very small potatoes. This page shows both the taproot and the bulbils. I'm always on the lookout for new vines, so this is worth a try for me next year. (This is not to be confused with the less cold-hardy Dioscorea bulbifera, which is has reached noxious weed status in Florida.)

A couple of these had already sprouted leaves, but after I planted them it doesn't look like those tiny vines are going to survive, although I've been assured these are tough plants that are hard to kill. I have a few spare bulbils as backup which I'll plant in the spring, just in case.

The box also contained a small paper bag:


I was told to open it carefully.


Ah, another cold-hardy Opuntia! This one is an unknown hybrid that appears to have some attractive black spines. I'll add it to the collection!


Because of the walkway project I didn't get to pot up the bamboos right away, but a rainy and mostly overcast week meant that these plants were fine in their little plastic bags for a few days.

I just love plant trades!


(If you're curious, in return I sent Matthew a couple of bamboos: an Indocalamus longiauritus and what is probably Pseudosasa japonica although I've not been able to get a definitive ID on that one yet. Hopefully Matthew will be able to compare it to the other Ps. japonica plants he has and let me know if it looks identical -- this one is more attractive than other japonica specimens I've received so may be a different species. I also sent him some 'Moudry' fountain grass seedlings. I wish there had been room in the box to send him a dozen more.)

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Teri  – (October 3, 2012 at 7:08 AM)  

"Cane" is one thing we have plenty of out here in "The Sticks" of TN! Just a short walk and I can cut as much as I want for yard projects.

Lucy  – (October 3, 2012 at 9:25 AM)  

Parcels are always fun. Prickles in parcels only at times!

Wolf  – (October 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM)  

The Chinese Yam looks disturbing like the Strangling Dog Vine that's taken over the neighbor's side of the fence and readily self seeds everywhere.

I spend almost the entire summer yanking seedlings out of areas I don't want it, in an effort to control it.

I'll have to look for that bamboo at my local nursuries (I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains after all), I think it'd do well at the top of my back hill with the natice Mock Oranges.}:)

Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (October 3, 2012 at 4:43 PM)  

Great trade! You sure got some good stuff there. Your Chinese yam is in the same genus as my elephant's foot (Discorea elephantipes). The vine looks very similar, in fact.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (October 4, 2012 at 8:43 AM)  

Wolf: not the same species or even genus. "Dog Strangling Vine" is a horrible name! (and sounds like a nasty vine)

Wolf  – (October 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM)  

It *is* a nasty, invasive species of a vine! Heh. It's not the same by far, but the leaves are very similar as is the bulbils it puts ouit. The roots, however, are most definitely not huge yam like taproots.}:)

I think, if I remember correctly, it was originally introduced as an erosion control, like Kudzu, and well, like Kudzu, got out of hand.}:/

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