Thursday, March 22, 2007

Look what came by UPS yesterday, Osmanthus x Burkwoodii

The wonderful UPS man brought a surprise package yesterday. I was expecting the Medlar tree but when I opened the box it turned out to be an Osmanthus shrub. I thought the box was too small to contain a tree but I don't remember ordering the Osmanthus, in fact I have a folder on my computer desktop which I thought contained information about Osmanthuses sp? as a reminder to order one in Spring but I guess it was an order confirmation all this time! The mind is going to pot quickly.

Well in any case what a pleasant surprise. I read on the Gardenweb forums for NJ garderners, several people extolling the virtues of their Osmanthus shrubs mainly that the fragrance was heavenly or the smell intoxicating. Unfortunately most of the Osmanthus growers live in zone 7 or warmer as the plants are usually hardy only to zone 7. I did some digging around and found that the O. x Burkwoodii was listed to be hardy to zone 6 although I later found that some books list it as a zone 7 plant. The magic words zone 6 cinched it. So I must have placed the order as soon as I had that information at hand.

Osmanthus x Burkwoodii, syn. O. x Osmarea Burkwoodii is named after the famous Burkwood brothers, the early 1900's plant developers in England. It is a hybrid cross of the rare O. decorus from the Caucasus and O. delvayi from China. The evergreen plants belong to the olive family. Apparently some people consider Osmanthus with its prized fragrance to be the sweetest and most attractive of all flowers. Supposedly the fragrance is "reminiscent of jasmine or gardenia". Scent of jasmine and gardenia-that doubly cinched it for me.

My two feet tall plant has a couple of small flower buds! I can't wait for the blossoms to open. You can see one in the detail photo.

I bought the shrub from Heronswood Nursery in Pennsylvania although it was shipped from Delaware. The price was right at only $10.95 but the shipping was $7.00. Still a bargain in my opinion. And apparently O. x Burkwoodii is the least fussy of the Osmanthus to grow. I recently ordered a Daphne from Park Seed Nursery so it will be interesting to compare the scents of these two fragrant shrubs.


Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh wow... that's a healthy-looking, big plant for just $10 and change! Now, I may be wrong about this, but if a shrub is not completely hardy to zone 6, don't you most often just have to deal with dieback of the branches? I was under the impression that sometimes the roots still live anyway... but I could very well be wrong.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kim,
The Osmanthus is quite tall but it's in a tiny 3x3x7" pot so I don't know how it will do when planted in the garden.

Our two camellias do have branch dieback but they live in the warmest, most sheltered spot in the yard probably a zone 7 microclime. I think they would die if left in a more exposed place. We did plant two more in what I thought were protected places but those died. One actually only originally planted 3 feet from the other camellia in what turned out to be the most sheltered spot was about to die so I transplanted it next to the one that survived the best and now the transplanted one is much happier even blooming last fall. What a long incoherent sentence! So I learned that just a small distance can mean survival or death for some plants. We had many azaleas die this year even if the temps weren't very cold. I wonder why. Subject for another blog.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Funny that the plant came and you didn't realize you had orderd it already! That's happened to me on occasion, not just with plants, but with books, as well.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Ki, maybe receiving unexpected deliveries in this manner should go on your meme as #6. I think my osmanthus are Osmanthus fragrans. I sure hope your microclimate works, because the fragrance is lovely.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Carol,
I guess I ordered the Osmanthus in fall. The time lapse from then 'til now was long enough that this poor brain couldn't remember placing the order. Great receiving a surprise gift tho! Funny about the book order. I just hope this isn't the start of senility.

Hi Annie,
Is it as the book sez, reminiscent of jasmine and gardenias or is that just hype? It definitely could be meme #6, I'm sure this is a common occurrence among plant crazy people.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

:lol: On getting that delivery.
I have been growing Osmanthus heterophyllus here in CT and it seems fine. I don't think I have ever seen that other species around here.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Now I'll have to look for O. heterophyllus. Ah, the holly look alike. Is it very fragrant?

6:00 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ki, that makes sense. I keep thinking about trying to experiment with a few zone 7 plants here, myself... I think I'll stick with ones that are small enough to play around with, though.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Kim, I have an area about 8 feet long and about 3 feet deep next to the house in the SouthEast corner, sheltered by a deck on the West that's close to zone 7. I even put up a temporary lath fence on the open front to keep the wind out or at least attenuated to help keep the heat in. Also our drier vent exhausts in the area so that momentarily warms the plants tho probably not all that much. But I think every bit helps. I could get obsessive and wrap the plants but the camellias are evergreen and probably need the winter sun and the others will hopefully survive w/o my having to go to such extreme intervention. I did visit Japan a number of years ago and I saw some old women wrapping trees with straw mats. I guess I have a ways to go before I can claim to be as caring. Surprising to me because the trees were fairly large and almost full grown. Good luck with your zone 7 experiment.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Heronswood is having some Garden Opens at the Fordhook Farms in Doylestown, PA. The last one was very nice. Picked up some nice hellebores.


Future Opens

9:10 PM  

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