Friday, January 21, 2011

Rubus cockburnianus 'Golden Vale' at the entrance to China Valley

Sometimes when I can''t sleep at night I invent humorous things to say should anyone ever utter this specific epithet in my hearing. I've been waiting , oh, 20-odd years and I've just about given up hope. I guess people just have too much good sense to verbalize some things.

Anyway, this is one of those "if you see it, you've got to have it" plants. In spades. These waxy purplish canes with a bluish bloom are outstanding now and in season the foliage is bright yellow, viridescing only the least bit in summer. It does tip root so go around in the spring and elevate it. Or, if it does root, give the plants away.

The bamboo works well as a backdrop, though any evergreen or even architectural structure might work as well. It really does needs a backdrop. I tend to thing the need for dark evergreen foliage to highlight winter accents is generally overstated but this is a plant that seems to call for it.

The first time I saw one of these ghost-stemmed Rubus was at Brookside Gardens just after it opened. An area they designated as "the winter garden" held an Acer griseum, a few Chimonanthus, the Rubus, a lot of Hellebores, and I forget what all else. It was my first experience with most of those plants and I spent many years aiming my gardens at winter, or at least including a little something for winter.

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