Sunday, January 31, 2010

Plants I'm Growing: Manzanitas and Japanese Plums

Blooming in the garden now are Japanese plums and manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp.). The top two photos are different varieties of flowering Japanese plum, Prunus mume, usually among the first flowers to bloom in the new year. They smell soooo good.

The next photo shows flowers on Acrctostaphylos pajaroensis, a comparatively rare variety that it has taken me several attempts to get established. It's hard to see from this close-up photo, but the plant is striking for its deep (for a manzanita) pink flowers that are set off against blue-green foliage. New leafy growth appears in an orangey-red hue that is particularly pretty.

The bottom photo shows Arctostaphylos densiflora "Sentinel." As its Latin name suggests, it becomes densely covered in blossoms at this time of year. It's one of the primary early nectar sources for the bees.


  1. I'm actually budding gardener and I've been looking for a fruit tree to occupy an empty spot in my garden. Would you recommend the Japanese plum? The pictures are striking.

    As far as I can tell, we already have a yellow plum tree (fruit drops mid-August), so maybe a different type of tree would be good to round it out?

  2. Well, the Japanese plums are for flowers only. They produce no fruit. If you have a copy of the Sunset Western Garden Book, that will give you an overview of the fruit trees suitable for around the Bay Area and it describes many of the varieties. That's probably a good place to start. Personally, I love the pluots. "Dapple Dandy" and "Flavor King" being my favorites. Both easy to grow.


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