29 Dec 2012

The ‘Must Have’ List: Part the Second

DSC_0092Oddly, when it comes to plants that pique my interest, I tend to have the memory of an elephant, yet with birthdates and anniversaries, well suffice to say I have been compared to a fruit fly…… hey! Wait a minute!

I was in Chicago three years ago at the IGC [Independent Garden Centre Convention] and stumbled across the most amazing spectacle! It piqued more than just my interest! It initiated a full sensory overload, culminating in a hortgasm of immeasurable proportions! Sweet baby Jesus, what is that? The leaves were similar to those of Albizia [Mimosa] but the deep, rich velvety purple hue had me doubting myself. Meet Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’ – everything about it sounds sexy doesn’t it?

Of course that was three years ago and it wasn’t until I visited Whistling Gardens this past year and had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with this mesmerizing specimen, did I know for a fact that come hell nor high water, I would be adding one to my garden repertoire in the coming months. They were sold out, but Darren [consummate plantsman and fellow addict that he is!] ensured me that he would have it again in Spring 2013!

Of course, like so many of my hortgasm worthy tribe, it definitely falls into the realm of ‘Zonal Denial’, but has this ever stopped me before? Hardy in Zones 7-10 [and even here I am told it benefits from winter protection!] it attains heights of 9m x 5m! I’ve already got the ceramic pot that will be its home – out on the front veranda for the summer - and then inside for the winter months! I think Loree might have experience with ‘Summer Chocolate’….. if so dear friend, drop a line and offer me some edumication between now and May, when I will be traversing to pick up number two on the ‘Must Have’ list!


danger garden said...

Mine has been in a container for a year and a half now, but I think I will be setting it free this spring. It was one of the first things to react when we hit 102 last August; it was not happy and lost a lot of its leaves. I think most of that was my fault as it didn't get sufficient water that day. It hasn’t seemed to put on any new growth, no doubt due to its container lifestyle. That said I’m glad through caution to the wind and bought it when I saw it (at the big box store for $19.99!), even though I had no idea what I would do with it. Can’t wait to see yours in its new home!

outlawgardener said...

These can be happy in pots for quite a while as long as they get their needs met. After several years of potting it up, you can always turn it out of it's pot and do some root pruning. Like many new introductions, the first year they were released, 'Summer Chocolate' cost something like $195.00 and there were only two or three released to some of the bigger nurseries. Now, like Loree said, you can get them on sale at the big box stores for a tenth of that price. It's amazing how quickly new introductions make it to the mass market these days.

Sue said...

Mine has been perfectly hardy in the ground in zone 6b for the past two winters (central CT). It's one of my favorite plants. Go for it!

Gardenbug said...

Can't even think of "chocolate" for a few more weeks. Christmas was a killer. Maybe I'll be seeing Darren later though. ;)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Sweetie it covers all the musts for you I know .. absolutely stunning plus it's nickname ? now how can you go wrong with that ? LOL