UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

Davidsonia Mar 1, 1974

Item Metadata

Download

Media
davidsonia-1.0115051.pdf
Metadata
JSON: davidsonia-1.0115051.json
JSON-LD: davidsonia-1.0115051-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): davidsonia-1.0115051-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: davidsonia-1.0115051-rdf.json
Turtle: davidsonia-1.0115051-turtle.txt
N-Triples: davidsonia-1.0115051-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: davidsonia-1.0115051-source.json
Full Text
davidsonia-1.0115051-fulltext.txt
Citation
davidsonia-1.0115051.ris

Full Text

Array DAVIDSONIA
VOLUME 5
NUMBER 1
Spring 1974 Cover
Pieris japonica, the Japanese Andromeda,
a widely used ornamental in southwestern
British Columbia. It is as much at home
in patio planters as in shrub borders in
large gardens. A particularly useful
shrub in semi-shaded areas of the garden.
The unfolding of the leaf buds of
Aesculus, a sure sign of spring!
DAVIDSONIA
VOLUME 5 NUMBER 1
Spring 1974
Davidsonia is published quarterly by The Botanical Garden of The University of British
Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1W5. Annual subscription, four
dollars. Single numbers, one dollar. All editorial matters or information concerning
subscriptions should be addressed to The Director of The Botanical Garden.
A cknowledgements
The pen and ink sketches are by Mrs. Lesley Bohm and Mrs. Rosemary Burnham. The
cross section line drawing for the article on Trough Gardening was prepared by Dennis
Carter. Photographs were taken and prepared by Dennis Carter. The article on Indian
plum was researched by Mrs. Sylvia Taylor. Trough Gardening
A. JAMES MacPHAIL
The creation of miniature rock gardens using troughs or sinks as containers is a relatively recent but
increasingly popular activity among devotees of alpine gardening.
Objects in miniature, whether they be scale models of ships or automobiles, the Lord's Prayer imprinted
on the head of a pin, a model of the Tower Bridge constructed of toothpicks, miniature paintings, sculptures and art objects of various kinds have always, in themselves, exhibited a compelling fascination. A
garden in miniature, too, is an artistic creation but, unlike a painting, is a living ornament that provides
within its framework a series of delightful pictures everchanging and evolving with the passing of the
seasons.
The miniature garden can be displayed to advantage in many situations about the home landscape. It
is usually raised up on a pedestal so that its diminutive plants can be seen to better advantage. Placed at
the end of a garden path, a trough garden provides an interesting focal point, but perhaps its best use is
in the more formal settings of a terrace or patio. Here it takes on a dramatic, sculptural quality and can be
viewed frequently and cared for conveniently. If placed on a deck or balcony just outside a glass wall or
window the garden may be enjoyed from the indoors as well.
Trough gardening or sink gardening is an innovation from England where, until recent times when
the demand exceeded the supply, natural stone troughs or sinks could be found lying neglected in rural
areas. These were generally made of native limestone or sandstone. Their original use was as kitchen
sinks, or feed and water troughs for farm animals. Today, no longer considered as cast-offs but as artifacts, these natural stone containers command a high price. Most sought-after are those with obvious
signs of antiquity: time-worn contours with lichen encrustations adorning the natural rock strata.
In this part of the world where natural stone containers are virtually non-existent, other materials must
be used. Of course, there is nothing to stop one from fashioning, with hammer and chisel, a suitable container from one of the softer native rocks, sandstone perhaps, or basalt. The difficulties in this approach,
however, would appear to be formidable indeed for the inexperienced. Local nursery sales yards offer a variety of concrete containers ranging from ornately decorated urns
and window boxes to other simpler shapes. Most of the former are far too flamboyant for association
with alpine plants, but some of the simpler shaped ones would be adequate in some respects for our purposes. Indeed, some very attractive gardens have been made in concrete containers.
The trouble with concrete is that it is a sterile, soulless substance that is totally lacking in aesthetic
appeal. It has been criticized as being antipathetic to the roots of alpine plants but, in truth, providing that
the concrete is properly cured, there is little evidence to support this contention. A more valid objection
to the use of concrete—apart from its appearance—is that it is essentially non-porous and therefore fails
to provide the benefits that derive from the use of a porous container: better soil aeration and the ability
to act to some extent as a moisture reservoir. In practical terms it can be observed that a soil mix is less
likely to become sour in a porous container than in a non-porous one.
The shortcomings of concrete can be overcome by modifying the concrete formula by the addition of
peat moss. This material, a mixture of peat, sand and cement, has been given the name "hypertufa" because of its superficial resemblance to tufa, a porous "rock" highly regarded by knowledgeable alpine
gardeners as one of the most hospitable mediums for the roots of alpine plants.
A trough made of hypertufa by the process to be described has many of the attributes of one made
from natural stone. The particles of peat distributed within the walls of the container serve to even out
the moisture supply available to the roots of the plants. Indeed, should a plant be removed from the container after a year or two it will be observed that many of the plant's fine feeder roots have attached
themselves firmly to the hypertufa surface, a sure token that they find this material to their liking. In
appearance, too, the hypertufa trough resembles natural stone with its strata lines and roughened texture. Moreover, even a newly-made trough has an aged appearance, as though it had lain for decades
awaiting discovery in some musty recess of an English farmyard.
Making the Trough
Basically the process of making the trough involves casting the hypertufa mix in a simple wooden mold.
Random layers of pure concrete are added to provide the "strata lines". Before the material has completely hardened the mold is removed and the trough is "texturized" with a stiff wire brush. This brushing
removes more of the softer hypertufa mix than the pure cement layers. This gives the surface its three-
dimensional rock-like appearance. After a further drying period several drainage holes are drilled in the
bottom. While the process is quite a simple one, there is something very soul-satisfying in any kind of
masonry project, particularly one that combines functionalism with a certain degree of artistry.
The following is a detailed step-by-step outline for building the trough. Reference to the corresponding
photographs should help clarify the procedure.
1. Assemble the wooden mold as shown in Figure 1.
The overall dimensions for this particular trough are 36" long by 20" wide by 8" deep. This represents a size
that is about the maximum that can be moved about conveniently when planted. The builder may choose to
vary these dimensions as he sees fit. The mold consists of an inner and an outer form. The space between
between them determines the thickness of the walls of the trough. The space below the bottom of the inner
form determines the thickness of the bottom of the trough. In our case the thickness of the walls and the
bottom will be 2". The outer form is held together with long wood screws applied from the outside of the
four corners. The inner form is held together with metal "L" brackets, one on the inside of each corner. The
removable wooden strips shown in Figure 2 connecting the inner and outer forms are not strictly necessary;
they merely serve to maintain the proper spacing between the two forms, a job that can be done satisfactorily
by eye. They do, however, provide a degree of repeatable accuracy if a number of troughs are to be made
from the same mold. Removal of the mold is shown in Figure 3.
2. Use a paintbrush to apply linseed oil or motor oil to all wooden surfaces that will come in contact with the
hypertufa mix, i.e., the inner surface of the outer form and the outer surface and the bottom of the inner
form. The oil prevents the hypertufa from sticking to the sides of the forms when they are later taken apart.
3. With tin snips or heavy scissors, fashion a wire reinforcing basket from V4" to Vi" hardware cloth. This
should be of a size to fit in the exact center of the walls and bottom of the trough, 34" long x 18" wide x 6"
deep for the size mold whose dimensions are given above. This should be cut from a single piece of hardware cloth, its sides and ends folded up, the excess material from the corners discarded, and the corners
securely wired together (see Figure 4). HGURH 2. Inner form being removed
illustrating connecting wooden strip
to maintain uniform width of trough.
MGL'RE 3. Removal of last portion of
form revealing completed trough. 4. Place a layer of newspapers on your working surface, preferably a flat wooden floor or a 4' x 8' sheet of heavy
plywood. Place the outer mold over the newspapers and check for squareness with a carpenter's square.
5. In a wheelbarrow mix together in a dry state 1 part cement, 1 part coarse sand and 2 parts baled shredded
peat by volume. A trough of this size should require approximately one bag of cement, the same amount of
sand and double the amount of peat. It is best to make two or three batches of this material as the work of
filling the mold progresses, rather than try to mix it all in one wheelbarrow load. Stir in enough water to the
mix to form a "muck" that is about the consistency of cottage cheese.
6. Mix together in a large bucket one part cement to two parts sand. To this add enough water to make a runny
mix of about the consistency of thick pea soup. This will be the material that will be incorporated into the
walls of the mold in very thin layers, alternating with thicker layers of the main hypertufa mix. Its purpose is
to simulate the random occurrence of natural rock strata.
7. Now start the casting of the mold by filling the bottom of the outer mold to a depth of one inch with the
hypertufa muck. Smooth and press the material well into all the corners using a mason's float or a small flat
board.
8. Place the wire net reinforcing basket on top of the one inch thick layer, making sure that it is centered
equidistant from all four sides of the mold.
9. Now build up the total thickness of the bottom layer to 2", covering the bottom of the basket with an additional 1" layer of the mix. The bottom of the basket should now be embedded as the middle layer of what
will be the bottom of the trough.
10. Place the inner mold in position, resting it on the layer of mix at the bottom of the larger mold. The inner
and outer molds should now be at the same height and with a space of 2" on each of the four walls remaining
to be filled. The sides of the wire basket project upwards in this wall space to within 1" of the top of the
molds.
11. Proceed to fill up the walls of the mold. Alternately pour in layers of hypertufa mix and thinner layers of
the soupy mix. Use the end of a 1" x 2" stick to force this material well into the corners, making sure there
are no air spaces remaining (Figure 5). Pour the mixes on both sides of the wire netting, trying to keep the
netting centered in the walls. Continue in this manner until the entire mold is filled.
12. Now it is necessary to wait for a period until the trough reaches a semi-set condition. The exact time for this
depends upon a number of variables: temperature, relative humidity, and the amount of water used in the
mix. Generally, though, a time lapse of twenty-four hours is about right. After this period one can proceed
to remove the molds. Remove the inner one first. Unscrew the four "L" brackets and collapse the mold inwards. This might present some difficulty. It may happen that some of the mix forming the bottom of the
trough has risen above the bottom of the mold, preventing its easy removal. If this has happened the material
can be gently scraped away from the bottom edge of the mold with a screwdriver. With patience the mold,
now in four separate pieces, can be removed one piece at a time. Removal of the outer mold presents no difficulty. It is only necessary to remove the screws holding one of the long sides and remove the side. The remaining three sides can be removed as one piece if the two short sides are pressed outward (see Figure 3).
The trough, now revealed in all its nakedness, is at this point not too different in appearance from one made
entirely of concrete.
13. Now proceed to "texturize" the trough. Do this by brushing the exposed surface with a stiff wire brush, rather
cautiously at first, as the trough is still very fragile (Figure 6). As the surface material is brushed away and
the harder "strata lines" exposed, the trough will begin to look more and more like natural stone. Gently
round off all exposed edges on sides and top. Brush the inside surfaces as well, in order to remove the non-
porous surface glaze. It is as well not to carry the brushing process too far at this point, but to wait a further
twenty-four hours before finishing the process to the degree desired.
14. After the trough is texturized, leave it undisturbed on the working surface for at least a week so that it can
harden more fully. It will then be necessary to cure the trough, a process that neutralizes the harmful (to
the roots of plants) effect of the cement. This is accomplished by filling the trough with water to which about
half a teaspoonful of potassium permanganate crystals have been added. Let this solution stand for a few
hours, then empty and rinse the trough with fresh water.
15. The trough can now be stood up on one end and drainage holes drilled through the bottom with a drill, preferably a masonry drill of at least ¥s" diameter. Drilling is easy at this stage as the trough is still relatively
soft. Nine such holes widely spaced over the bottom in three rows will prove adequate for a trough of this
size. After a few more days the trough should be hardened enough for use. FIGURE 6. New trough being
"texturized" with wire brush. Right front
of trough shows "untexturized" surface. Preparation for Planting
It is much easier to place the empty trough in its final position and then plant it; a trough of this size
full of soil mix, rocks and plants will weigh in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. When choosing a position for it, bear in mind that the vast majority of alpine plants require a good deal of sun in order to
flower well and to retain their tight compact character. Those few plants that need shadier conditions can
be planted in the shade of a rock or dwarf tree or shrub. The trough should be elevated off the ground in
some manner, preferably on a pair of brick or masonry block pedestals. Be certain that none of the drainage holes are obstructed by the pedestals and that the trough is perfectly level. The site chosen should
normally be unobstructed overhead so that the miniature garden is fully exposed to the open sky and
whatever falls from it.
For that ever-increasing segment of the gardening population—somewhat derisively known as "cliff
dwellers"—whose open air garden must be confined to the limits of their apartment balcony, this latter
requirement cannot always be met. In many cases the balcony is roofed directly overhead with the deck
that forms the balcony for the floor above, and the only rain that falls on each balcony is that which is
slanted in by the wind. The owner of such a balcony might be cheered, however, to reflect that many of
the choicer alpine plants are themselves natural "cliff dwellers" and will thrive in such a situation, protected as they are from the drenching rains of winter.
The trough should be prepared for planting as shown in the cross-section diagram, Figure 7. If there is
one over-riding requirement for the successful cultivation of alpines it is the provision of absolutely faultless drainage. Each drainage hole should be covered with a piece of fine wire mesh. Next comes a 1"
thick layer of fine gravel and on top of that, to prevent the gravel drainage layer from becoming clogged,
a Vi" layer of sphagnum moss, dried leaves, peat roughage (shredded block peat). This also acts as a
moisture storage layer. The exact makeup of the next layer, the one in which the roots of the plants will
grow, should be varied according to the requirements of the plants to be grown.
It is possible, within the confines of a miniature garden, to grow plants from such diverse native haunts
as, for example, a windswept ridge in the Rocky Mountains, a Himalayan peat bog, an arid Persian plain,
n or a rocky scree high in the Dolomite Alps. Although they may come from vastly dissimilar regions, the
vast majority of alpines can be accommodated in one of the following three soil mixes. In the list of
plants given in Appendix II, the mixtures referred to by letter are those described below:
Compost A:   1 part loam
1 part flaked leaf mould
1 part coarse sand
1 part granite grit
Add 1 tblsp. of bonemeal for each cubic foot of mix.
This mixture is suitable for the majority of alpines, as well as dwarf conifers and bulbs.
Compost B. 2 parts granite grit
1 part coarse sand
1 part flaked leaf mould
Add 1 tblsp. of bonemeal for each cubic foot of mix.
This is an extremely fast draining mix suitable for rare and difficult high alpines, including most of the
cushion type.
Compost C:   4 parts flaked leaf mould
1 part loam
Vi part coarse sand
Vz part granite grit
This is a moisture retentive soil for growing dwarf rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants and woodland plants.
The formulas for these soil mixes are given without intending to be overly dogmatic as to their precise
makeup. Fortunately, alpines are undemanding plants that will allow considerable latitude in respect to
soil mixes. The one thing they will not tolerate is a poorly drained mix. Certain substitutions could be
made in the formulas. If you don't have any leaf mould, peat moss could be substituted in mix A or C. It cannot be substituted for the leaf mould in mix B, however, as this mix, containing no loam, depends
upon the leaf mould for a source of nourishment which could not be supplied by peat moss, an inert material. One would do better to gather leaf mould from a nearby deciduous wood, if it is not otherwise
available. However it is obtained, it should be rubbed through a W screen before use. Both the leaf
mould and the loam preferably should be sterilized but this is not absolutely necessary if they are reasonably free from weed seeds. Ordinary builder's sand, of the coarsest grade available, is a suitable type of
sand. Building supply dealers can sometimes supply the granite grit (it is used in the fabrication of built-
up roofing). If not, it is available in sacks as "chicken grit" from feed suppliers.
Planting
The trough should be filled and compacted almost to the rim with the soil mix or mixes appropriate to
whatever planting scheme is decided upon. You may wish, for example, to have a dwarf rhododendron as
the dominant plant at the left end of the garden. That end of the trough, perhaps for V4 or V3 of the
trough's length, would then be filled with Compost C. The balance of the trough might be filled with
Compost A in order to accommodate a dwarf conifer, some bulbs, and a great variety of other plants.
Somewhat to the right of the center you could have a raised planting area contained by a group of rocks
and this could be built up using Compost B which would provide the ideal conditions for such choice
cushion plants as Androsace imbricata and Draba mollisina. Thus it is possible to grow a great variety of
plants in one trough.
The best rocks to use are those with weathered features and pronounced strata. They should not be
dotted about at random but combined in groups to give the impression of a single rock outcropping with
the strata all running in the same direction. The greater proportion of the bulk of each rock should be
like that of an iceberg below the surface. One of the great features of rock gardening, whether on a normal or miniature scale, is that it is essentially a means for gardening in three dimensions. We can thrust
upward with rock, creating cliffs and promotories with ledges and crevices from which plants can be
allowed to cascade vertically downward or soar upward to even greater heights. Planted in a rock cranny,
a cushion plant will in time tightly shape itself to the rock contours until it seems almost to become a part
of the rock.
The choice of plant material for the miniature garden is, of course, subject to the likes and dislikes of
the individual grower. Beyond such personal considerations, it should be noted that not all plants included under the name "alpines" are suitable subjects for the miniature garden. Some ultimately become
too tall, too rampant-growing or too disproportionate in some way to be in scale with the dimensions of a
miniature landscape. By studying alpines in books, visiting alpine nurseries, or observing the growth habits
of different plants in the wild or in cultivation, the inexperienced trough-gardener will quickly become
familiar with a wide range of suitable types.
FIGURE 7. Cross-section of planted
trough.
A. Decorative rocks, B. plants, C. a
one-half inch layer of rock chips,
D. prepared compost, E. layer of peat
roughage, F. one-inch layer of fine
gravel, and G. drainage holes covered
with wire mesh. 8
Dwarf conifers are an extremely valuable group of plants for the miniature garden. Because they have
a relatively large mass, they should be placed carefully in relation to the other dominant element in the
composition, the rock outcroppings. The effect desired is a naturalistic one, therefore, any hint of symmetry should be avoided. Rather, one should strive for an arrangement based on asymmetrical balance. The
dwarf conifer serves a further, more subtle purpose. Because the viewer can readily accept it for what it
in fact is; a tree, he has no problem in accepting a nearby rock, for example, as being a quarter or half
as big as a tree. Thus, the dwarf conifer establishes the scale of the whole garden; it enhances the illusion
of a landscape in miniature. Suggestions for suitable slow-growing conifers are given in Appendix I.
The best time to plant the garden is undoubtedly in early spring when the roots start into active growth
and the plants will quickly re-establish themselves in their new home. Plants obtained from a nursery will
usually be received growing in pots in a somewhat richer soil mix than is considered ideal. The reason
for this is that nurserymen, quite understandably, try to raise a saleable sized plant in as short a time as
possible. If such a plant were to be planted with its root ball intact into a much faster draining medium
such as Compost B, the plant might survive for a while in seemingly good health, but would very likely
gradually decline and eventually die. The reason is that when the plant is watered the water soaks away
rapidly around the root ball without penetrating it. This results in a hard, dry root ball that the roots
are unable to break out of; the plant dies from lack of water and nourishment. It is important then, when
the plant is to go into Compost B, that the old soil be shaken or washed away and the roots gently teased
apart. Planted, firmed and watered into the trough, the plant should thereafter be shaded from direct sun
for a few days.
If the plant is to go into Compost A or C the method is much more straightforward. Simply knock the
plant out of the pot and remove any crocks or drainage material from the bottom of the rootball. If the
plant is potbound or has great masses of roots growing in a circle, the root tips should be gently separated so that they will take hold of the new soil. It is then placed into the hole prepared for it and firmed
into place.
FIGURE 8. A completed hypertufa
trough with many delightful alpines. The plants should be planted so that the soil level in the trough comes about Vz" lower around the
collar of the plant than when it was in the pot. This is to allow space for an overall layer of chippings
after the planting is completed.
The layer of chippings, which ideally should be of the same material as the rocks used in the trough,
provides several beneficial effects: first, by covering the soil surface it adds immeasurably to the finished
appearance of the trough (one seldom sees bare soil in a natural environment); it helps to conserve moisture by limiting surface evaporation; it tends to inhibit the germination of weed seeds; in damp weather
it provides an extra measure of drainage around the collar of cushion plants which otherwise might develop rot at this point.
Maintenance
Far from being the burdensome chores they might be in the full sized garden, the routine watering,
weeding, pruning and feeding of the miniature garden take on more the aspect of agreeable tinkerings.
The gardener attains a high degree of intimacy with the garden's occupants and consequently a quick
awareness of their needs.
The subject of maintenance can only be dealt with in very general terms as so much depends upon the
number and type of plants grown. A garden made up largely of dwarf rhododendrons, cassiopes, phyllo-
doces and the like would need much more frequent watering, for example, than one consisting of semper-
vivums, sedums and dwarf bulbs. The latter group would need practically no watering after the bulbs had
gone dormant. In general it can be said that most alpines should be watered heavily in spring and early
summer, less frequently in autumn and hardly at all in winter. In fact, the most trying period for many
of the more difficult alpines is winter when normal rainfall is far in excess of what they require. For this
reason many alpine gardeners who grow these difficult plants in troughs will either move the troughs
under cover or improvise a covering of glass or plastic for them.
The soil mix in the trough most likely will be full of plant roots after a period of two or three years.
A feeding each spring of a balanced organic plant food such as liquid fish fertilizer can then be given
and in the fall a topdressing of bonemeal. A zero-nitrogen plant food supplement may be of benefit where
lots of healthy foliage is produced but few flowers.
Luckily, rock garden plants as a group are relatively untroubled by plant diseases or insect pests. The
chief enemies are slugs and aphids, both of which are easily controlled with the usual baits and sprays.
Selected Lists of Plants
Appendix I is a representative selection of dwarf conifers. All do best in Compost A:
APPENDIX I—Dwarf Conifers
Group 1. These are readily available but relatively fast growing conifers that may in time—perhaps after a period
of six or eight years—become too large for trough cultivation. As young plants they are quite suitable but may
need to be restrained by pinching or pruning.
Cedrus libani var. nana
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana var. elwoodii
Chamaecyparis obtusa var. nana
Cryptomeria japonica var. bandai-sugi
Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii
Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana'
Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica'
Pinus mugo
Thujopsis dolobrata 'Nana'
Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'
Group 2. These, the jewels in any collection, have an annual growth rate measured in fractions of an inch. They
are quite rare and apt to be rather expensive.
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Caespitosa
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Minima'
Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmoriniana'
Dacrydium laxifolium
Juniperus communis 'Compressa'
Picea abies 'Pygmaea'
Pinus sylvestris 'Beauvronensis'
Podocarpus nivalis
Tsuga canadensis 'Coles' Appendix II is a representative but by no means exhaustive list of flowering plants chosen to provide
a long-blooming season. Plants can be selected from this list to provide something in bloom almost the
year round. Abbreviations used: Type: Sh=Shrub, Cu=Cushion plant, EH=Evergreen herb, HP=Herba-
ceous perennial, B=Bulbous plant. Position: S=Sun, Sh=Shade, HSh=Half shade.
10
AP
PENDlll
Height
X
Spread
' u
In
Flowering
Name of plant
Type
Inches
Position
Colour
Season
Compost
Aethionema armenum
Sh
4"x8"
S
Pink
June
A
Alyssurh serpyllifolium
Sh
l"x5"
S
Pale yellow
May
A
Andromeda polifolia minima
Sh
2"x6"
HSh
Pink or white
April
C
Androsace carnea
Cu
3"x4"
S
Pink
April
A
A. imbricata
Cu
l"x3"
S
White
April
B
A. sempervivoides
EH
2"x6"
s
Pink
April
A
Aquilegia flabella var. nana
HP
4"x6"
s
Blue
May
A
A. jonesii
HP
3"x4"
s
Blue
March
B
A. laramiensis
HP
2"x3"
s
Pale blue
April
B
A. scopulorum
HP
4"x5"
s
Pastel blue
June
B
Arabis bryoides var. olympica
Cu
l"x3"
s
White
May
B
Arcterica nana
Sh
2"x5"
HSh
White
April
C
Armeria caespitosa
Cu
2"x6"
S
Pink
April
A
Astilbe glaberrima var. saxatilis
HP
3"x6"
HSh
Pink
July
C
Bellium minutum
hp
2"x4"
S
White/red
June
A
Calceolaria tenella
HP
2"x4"
HSh
Yellow
June
C
Campanula morettiana
HP
2"x6"
S
Violet-blue
July
B
Cassiope lycopodioides
Sh
2"x6"
s
White
April
C
C. stelleriana
Sh
3"x6"
s
White
May
c
Ceanothus prostratus
Sh
2"x8"
s
Blue
May
B
Celmisia sessiliflora
EH
3"x6"
s
White
June
A
Chionodoxa luciliae
B
4"x2"
s
Blue
March
A
Crocus imperati
B
3"x3"
s
Buff, purple
February
A
C. medius
B
2"x3"
s
Purple
November
A
C. ochroleucus
B
3"x3"
s
White
November
A
C. susianus
B
3"x3"
s
Yellow
January
A
Cyananthus microphyllus
HP
3"x6"
HSh
Blue
August
A
Cyclamen cilicicum
B
3"x4"
HSh
Pale Pink
September
A
C. orbiculatum var. coum
B
3"x4"
HSh
Magenta
February
A
C. orbiculatum var. hiemale
B
4"x4"
HSh
Carmine
January
A
Cytisus demissus
Sh
3"x6"
S
Yellow
April
A
Daphne cneorum var. pygmaea
Sh
3"x6"
S
Deep pink
May
A
Dianthus alpinus
Cu
2"x6"
S
Rose pink
June
B
Douglasia laevigata
Cu
2"x6"
S
Deep pink
March
B
D. vitaliana
Cu
l"x6"
S
Yellow
April
B
Draba bryoides var. imbricata
Cu
2"x4"
s
Yellow
April
B
Draba dedeana
Cu
l"x4"
s
White
March
B
Dryas octopetala var. minor
Sh
2"x6"
s
White
May
A
Edraianthus pumilio
HP
2"x6"
s
Lavender
June
B
Eriogonum ovalifolium
EH
5"x6"
s
White
June
B
Fritillaria pudica
B
6"x2"
s
Yellow
March
B
Gaultheria humifusa
Sh
2"x8"
Sh
Blush pink
June
C
Galanthus olgae
B
4"x2"
S
White
November
A
Genista villarsii
Sh
2"x6"
s
Yellow
June
A
Gentiana saxosa
EH
2"x6"
HSh
White
July
C Height
X
Spread
In
Flowering
Name of plant
Type
Inches
"osition
Colour
Season
Compost
G. verna
EH
3"x4"
S
Blue
May
A
Globularia nana
EH
l"x4"
s
Blue
June
B
Hebe buchananii var. nana
Sh
l"x3"
s
White
June
A
Hypericum reptans
HP
l"x8"
s
Yellow
July
B
Iberis saxatilis
EH
3"x6"
s
White
April
A
Ilex crenata var. mariesii
Sh
8"x4"
Sh
Foliage plant
May
C
Iris danfordiae
B
3"x3"
S
Yellow
February
A
Lapeyrousia cruenta
B
4"x3"
S
Pink
August
A
Leiophyllum buxifolium var. hugeri
Sh
5"x6"
Sh
Pink/White
May
C
Leucojum autumnale
B
2"x3"
S
Blush pink
September
A
Lewisia columbiana var. rupicola
EH
4"x3"
S
Magenta
May
A
L. rediviva
HP
2"x4"
s
Pale pink
June
B
Muscari azureum
B
3"x2"
s
Blue
March
A
Narcissus bulbocodium var. romieuxii
B
3"x3"
s
Pale yellow
January
A
N. watierii
B
4"x3"
s
White
March
A
Oxalis lobata
B
3"x6"
s
Gold
September
A
Penstemon davidsonii
Sh
3"x8"
s
Red
June
B
P. rupicola
Sh
4"x8"
s
Red
June
B
Petrocallis pyrenaica
Cu
2"x5"
s
Lavender
May
B
Petrophytum caespitosum
Cu
2"x6"
s
White
July
B
Phlox douglasii
Cu
2"x8"
s
Lilac
May
A
Phyllodoce nipponica
Sh
5"x7"
HSh
White
May
C
Polygonum tenuicaule
HP
2"x5"
HSh
White
April
C
Potentilla nitida
HP
2"x6"
S
Rose
June
A
Primula X bileckii
EH
l"x3"
S
Red
May
A
P. farinosa
HP
2"x3"
Sh
Pink
April
C
P. minima
EH
2"x4"
S
Rose
May
A
P. clarkei
EH
2"x4"
Sh
Deep pink
April
C
Pulsatilla vernalis
EH
4"x6"
S
White/violet
April
A
Raoulia australis
Cu
>/2"x6"
s
Yellow
June
B
Rhododendron impeditum
Sh
4"x6"
Sh
Lavender
April
C
Rhododendron radicans
Sh
2"x6"
Sh
Purple
May
C
Rhodohypoxis baurii
B
2"x5"
S
Deep pink
Summer
A
Salix reticulata
Sh
3"x6"
HSh
Yellow
May
C
Saponaria ocymoides 'Rubra compacta'
EH
l"x6"
S
Carmine
May
A
Saxifraga burseriana
Cu
2"x6"
HSh
White
March
A
Saxifraga X Irvingii
Cu
l"x4"
HSh
Lilac
March
A
Saxifraga x Myra
Cu
l"x4"
HSh
Red
March
A
Scilla autumnalis
B
4"x2"
HSh
Rose
September
C
Sedum spathulifolium
EH
3"x6"
S
Yellow
June
A
Sempervivum arachnoideum
EH
3"x6"
S
Rose
August
A
Silene acaulis
Cu
2"x6"
s
Pink
May
B
Soldanella minima
EH
2"x4"
HSh
Lilac
March
C
Talinum okanoganense
HP
l"x3"
S
White
May
B
Thalictrum kiusianum
HP
4"x6"
HSh
Mauve
June
C
Trillium rivale
B
2"x3"
HSh
White
March
A
Veronica bombycina
EH
3"x6"
S
Pale blue
May
B
Viola yakusimana
HP
>/2"x3"
Sh
White/lilac
May
C
11
REFERENCES
Ashberry, Anne. 1951. Miniature Gardens. C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., London.
Heath, Royston E. 1969. Rev. ed. Rock Plants for Small Gardens. Collingridge Books, London and Toronto. Osmaronia cerasiformis (Torr.& Gray) Greene
INDIAN PLUM, OSO-BERRY, BIRD CHERRY, SQUAWPLUM
Member of Family Rosaceae
Natural Distribution
Osmaronia cerasiformis occurs from British Columbia to northern California west of the Cascade-
Sierra Nevada divide. In British Columbia it is found only in the extreme southwestern part of the province from the vicinity of Vancouver south, extending east in the Fraser Valley to Popkum and north to
Squamish, while on Vancouver Island it is found south from Duncan.
Habitat
Osmaronia cerasiformis is found in the coastal Douglas fir and drier coastal Western hemlock Zones
of British Columbia. The precipitation in these zones varies from 66 to 280 cm (Krajina 1969) with wet
winters and dry summers. The shrub is found along stream banks, roadsides and in moist to fairly dry
open woods at lower elevations (from sea level to 450 m on Vancouver Island and from sea level to
150 m on the mainland). It is most common on well drained moist alluvial soils in partly shaded
situations.
Description
An erect, usually clustered, several-stemmed, deciduous, suckering shrub or small tree, 1.5-3 (-5) m tall.
Branches are rather straight and slender. If growing in the open the shrub is bushy and erect sometimes
12 forming a thicket, but becomes sprawling and taller if shaded by trees. The earliest flowering shrub in
British Columbia.
The root system is fibrous and close to the surface.
The bark is purplish brown or gray, smooth and bitter to the taste, when torn it produces an odor
somewhat similar to wood-alcohol.
Twigs are terete and purplish, the branchlets are brittle, glabrous and ill-smelling. The pith is rather
large, rounded, pale and chambered.
Buds are green, sessile or more-or-less supra-axillary or stalked, ovoid, obtuse, with about 3 exposed
mucronulate scales.
Mature leaves are deciduous, alternate, thin, entire, (4-) 5-12 cm long, 2-4 cm broad, narrowly ovate
or elliptic to obovate, mucronate to acute at apex, of a peculiarly intense yellowish green, glabrous
above, slightly paler and often pubescent but becoming glabrate on the lower surface, with prominent
raised veins beneath, and occurring in upright clusters. Have a pungent smell when crushed sometimes
described as cucumber-like. Petiole short, 5-10(-15) mm long. Stipules small, soon deciduous. Leaf scars
alternate, somewhat crowded at tips of branches, shallow U-shaped or narrowly crescent-shaped, only
slightly raised, stipule scars lacking.
Flowers produced from February to April depending on the range, appearing as the leaves unfold.
Inflorescence a glabrous, bracteate, usually pendent raceme, 3-10 cm long containing 5-10 flowers and
terminating leafy branchlets of the season. Pedicels glabrous with 2 bractlets. Bracts and bractlets membranaceous and deciduous. Flowers polygamodioecious or dioecious, white or greenish white, fragrant,
perfect or imperfect, pentamerous, 8-10 mm across. Calyx 6-7 mm long, more-or-less turbinate-campanu-
late, lobes about 3 mm long, approximately equal to hypanthium, hypanthium gland-lined, persistent in
staminate flowers but quickly circumscissile in pistillate flowers near the base leaving a collar-like remnant
under the fruit. Petals 5, about 6 mm long, obovate or elliptic obovate, very short-clawed and spreading B X I
150 cm -
120
90
60 -
30 -
13
EX 3.5
30
60
90
120
150 cm
FIGURE 9. Osmaronia cerasiformis. A. Habit of shrub  it  flowering time (March/April), B. fruiting raceme, C. a portion of a
staminate flowering shrub, D. pistillate flower, E   staminaie flower. 14
in staminate flowers, shorter, narrower and erect in pistillate flowers. Stamens 15, inserted in 3 distinct
series, 10 with the petals and 5 lower down on the disk lining the hypanthium, present also in the pistillate flowers but filaments very short and the anthers probably always abortive. Pistils usually 5, simple,
free, distinct, glabrous, styles not exceeding calyx, jointed at base, deciduous, stigmas capitate. Ovary 5,
superior with 2 ovules in each. Fragrance said to be cucumber-like, but can be oppressive to some people,
especially when brought into the house.
Fruit a plum-like drupe, 1-5 produced per flower, 8-10 mm long, scarlet or orange when immature,
becoming bluish-black when ripe, glaucous, ovoid or oblong, often a little flattened on one side, thin
fleshed, bitter but not poisonous, smooth bony endocarp, 1-seeded. Collar-like remnant of hypanthium
persistent under fruit.
Propagation
Seeds may be sown as soon as mature or after stratification.
Semi-ripe hardwood cuttings taken in July are easily rooted, Otherwise suckering or layering may be
tried.
Transplantation
Fibrous rooted and therefore easy to transplant in spring at any size bare-rooted.
Conditions for cultivation
The rate of growth is moderate throughout its life. The recommended hardiness zones in Canada for
Osmaronia cerasiformis is Zone 7. The shrub prefers humid soil with some summer moisture, and a partly
shaded situation, but will become straggly if there is too much shade. If grown in the open it may become
a bushy thicket. There is no need to prune annually, but if the growth becomes dense and overcrowded
then the shrub should be pruned immediately after flowering.
Landscape Value
Not really a choice ornamental shrub although it is grown for the handsome foliage and the fragrant
early-appearing flowers—as the earliest of our spring-blooming shrubs, it is attractive in the garden when
other woody plants are bare. The berries are also attractive and are eagerly eaten by birds so do not remain on the shrub for long.
A vailability
No known commercial source in North America.
Varieties and Ornamental Cultivars
Osmaronia is a monotypic genus present only on the Pacific Coast. Some locally differentiated forms
occur, particularly in California. Most botanists now consider these forms to be merely extremes of the
one species and previously named varieties are no longer used.
No ornamental cultivars have been developed.
Other Uses
The Indians of Western Washington apparently used to eat the fresh berries in a casual way although the
Cowlitz tribe would dry them for emergency winter use. The southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia ate them fresh with oil at family meals and at large feasts—they are, however, so dry and hard to
swallow that a person unused to them would need a large quantity of oil. They also stored them for winter
use in sealed oil boxes which were kept in a cool place.
Turner and Bell (1973) also mention a plant which they believe could be Indian plum which was chewed
and applied to sore places, or was burned and mixed with catfish oil before application. Diseases and Problems of Cultivation
Chlorosis may develop if the shrub is grown in shallow poor chalky soils.
Very little information is available about diseases and insects which may attack Osmaronia cerasiformis.
Toms (1964) reports Cylindrosporium nuttallii (Harkn.) Dearn.—'leaf spot'—as occurring on the shrub
in the coastal area of British Columbia.
The generic name Osmaronia is derived from the Greek adjective osme meaning smell or fragrant prefixed to the generic name Aronia which was the Rosaceous genus choke-cherry proposed by Persoon. It is
presumed that this is because the shrub somewhat resembles the choke-cherry and is very fragrant. The
The specific epithet cerasiformis means "shaped like a cherry", although the fruits actually resemble small
plums rather than cherries.
The type locality for Osmaronia cerasiformis is the Columbia River where it was collected by Nuttall,
Douglas and Scouler. The genus was originally named Nutlallia cerasiformis Torr. & Gray in Hook. &
Arn. in honor of Thomas Nuttall as he was the first person to collect fruiting specimens, Douglas having
collected flowering branches only.
REFERENCES
Clark, L. J. 1973. Wild Flowers of British Columbia. Gray's Publishing Limited, Sidney, B.C.
Gunther, Erna.  1945. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Univ. of Washington Publications in Anthropology
10(l):l-62.
Hitchcock, C. L. et al. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3. Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Univ.
of Washington Press, Seattle.
Krajina, V. J.  1969. Ecology of Forest Trees in  British Columbia. Ecology of Western North America 2(1):
1-147.
Lyons, C. P. 1965. Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in British Columbia. Rev. ed. J. M. Dent & Sons (Canada)
Ltd., Toronto and Vancouver.
Smith, A. W. 1971. A Gardener's Dictionary of Plant Names. (Revised and enlarged by W. T. Stearn). Cassell,
London.
Taylor, T. M. C. 1973. The Rose Family (Rosaceae) of British Columbia. Brit. Columbia Prov. Mus. Handb. 30.
Queen's Printer, Victoria.
Toms, H. N. W. 1964. Plant Diseases of Southern British Columbia. A Host Index. Pp. 143-225. Reprinted from
Canadian Plant Diseases Survey. Volume 44. Canada Department of Agriculture Publication, Ottawa.
Turner, N. C. and M. A. M. Bell. 1973. Ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia.
Economic Botany 27:257-310.
15
CLIMATOLOGICAL SUMMARY*
Data                                                              1974
January
February
March
Mean temperature
36.90°F
40.0°F
42.65-F
Highest temperature
53.0°F
50.0°F
56.0° F
Lowest temperature
21.0°F
30.0°F
24.0-F
Grass minimum temperature
9.0°F
24.0-F
13.0°F
Total rainfall/No. days with rainfall
7.76"/20
5.57"/19
8.31"/19
Total snowfall/No. days with snowfall
7.4"/3
0
9.5"/3
Total hours bright sunshine/possible
77.3/265.39
58.9/278.24
118.9/361.16
Max. wind speed (m.p.h.) 1 hour/direction
16/SE
17/SE
14/SE
Mean mileage of wind at 3'
78.7
89.3
86.7
Mean mileage of wind at 40'
118.9
130.1
125.2
*Site: The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Position: lat. 49" 15'29"N; long. 123° 14'58"W. Elevation: 342.6' H^rrJb
I'
if i
■Pjra^
Bf.'-"1* *'T
WSBftL
^^^ui - $-i
t    ' J
i».    *'3Ki
K* j; *J
*t:
tv :,'3>-
r
'.■"
I
f     ser-- :
-*    ii
M-^
3
.'1      •5'
0P.
*
1*
-   J r
1
" ;1E*,
1      »f
i   1
!
«
•
>*j
i-iSsfn
to     !
Vasfi
*}
:       V
HE
*#:
r^.*5" s .1
\&
a?**
¥!
rrt *
It*®* ■
%'
.«?*
■^^ ?£ ; BOTANICAL GARDEN STAFF
Director
Dr. Roy L. Taylor
Supervisor of Operations
Mr. Kenneth Wilson
Research Scientist (Cytogenetics)
Dr. Christopher J. Marchant
Research Scientist (Horticulture)
Dr. John W. Neill
Research Assistants
Mrs. Marilyn G. Hirsekorn
Mrs. Sylvia Taylor
Secretary to the Office
Mrs. Susan Weiner
Senior Technician (Horticulture)
Mr. A. James MacPhail
Plant Accession System
Mrs. Annie Y. M. Cheng
Education Co-ordinator
Mr. David Tarrant
Senior Gardener (B.C. Native Area)
Mr. James O'Friel
Gardeners
Mr. Dennis Carter
Mr. Harold Duffill
Mr. Leonard Gibbs
Mr. Sam Oyama
Mr. Pierre Rykuiter
Mr. David Tarrant
Mr. Isao Watanabe
Mr. William S. White
Flora British Columbia Program
Dr. Roy L. Taylor (Editor)
Dr. Bruce MacBryde (Associate Editor)
Mrs. Rosamund Pojar (Research Assistant)
Mrs. Sylvia Taylor (Research Assistant)
A miniature tufa rock garden.
Opposite: A view in the British Columbia Native Garden, where the natural coastal forest has been preserved. Such preservation will
become more important to the University and the adjacent local community as development continues to erode the University Endowment Lands. A delicate harbinger of spring, the Star Magnolia,
Magnolia stellata, is a welcome white addition
to the burst of color in the spring garden.
DAVIDSONIA
Volume 5        Number 1        Spring 1974
Contents
Trough Gardening      1
Osmaronia cerasiformis, Indian plum    12
Climatology    15

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/cdm.davidsonia.1-0115051/manifest

Comment

Related Items