While out running errands one day I made a quick stop at the hardware store (not to be confused with a big-box store, after all Winks is the real deal). I was quite surprised to see an extremely healthy Brachyglottis greyi growing beside the parking lot.
Brachyglottis greyi at Winks overall
Brachyglottis greyi at Winks close up
That sighting got me all nostalgic for my own Brachyglottis greyi which just up and died last August…


my Brachyglottis greyi overall
my Brachyglottis greyi close up

I loved that plant and still mourn its passing, I had big plans for the foliage to be a part of my holiday decorating. As I drove away from the store I got to thinking about all the plants I’ve loved and lost, there have been many…

At the high point I had upwards of 15 phormium in my garden, then the PKWs hit (phormium killing winters) and I’ve only replanted a few, always to be enjoyed as temporary beauties – never as structure plants. Although, of course, it makes me happy when they stick around.

I knew when I planted the mangave it would eventually succumb to the cold temperatures, but it was lovely while it lasted. The fremontodendron is a mystery, one day it was happy and blooming, the next it was dead. That Agave montana ‘Baccarat’ was my first real success with an agave here in Portland. It fell victim to an untimely broken bone that kept me from removing some temporary winter cover, allowing rot to set in.

You’ve never seen foliage glow like the new growth on Callistemon pallidus ‘Blue Foliage’. And if you’ve already guessed it was winter that did in this beauty, well, you’d be correct. Ditto on the acacia. The Musella lasiocarpa dies after blooming, although it’s pups should have carried on. What the heck, we’ll blame that one on the cold too.

A mild winter allowed both the Clianthus puniceus and Euphorbia stygiana to grow large enough to bloom, before they died over the next. I am grateful I got to see them in flower, and in fact I don’t regret growing any of these plants. I loved them, and lost them, but while they grew in my garden I completely enjoyed them. Heck I even learned a few things, that Agave montana ‘Baccarat’ taught me lessons I’ve applied to the agaves currently growing in my garden.

And finally…that plant that started my stroll down memory lane, the Brachyglottis greyi? Wouldn’t ya know it, a pair followed me home from a recent nursery visit! Yes, I’m going to try again. That’s what a gardener does right?

Brachyglottis greyi from Cornell Farm