anyone grow Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles' east of the Rockies?

davidrt28 (zone 7)October 12, 2013

Once again a question on a plant far more common in maritime climates. Though that particular one, as a rare east coast X west coast hybrid, should have some chance of surviving here if drainage is sufficient. Worryingly, it does not show up on the lists of either Longwood or the Morris Arboretum. It has grown for years at the NCSU arboretum, so summer heat will not be a problem for me.

As a frame of reference, I have a C. 'Concha' in a very sheltered south facing stone wall, on a raised bed so its roots stay dry. It's happy enough to bloom every spring. It starts defoliating, but never completely, below about 11F. For some reason Lazy SS Farms Nursery in Virginia has sold various west coast varieties over the years. I'd be shocked if they do well for most of their customers. That's where I got my 'Concha'. OTOH I intend the 'Gloires de Versailles' for hedge in an open spot, in almost full sun.

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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Well, I'd forgotten to check that other site with the initials DG, but there is a record of one in central Tennessee. Seems worth trying.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I am west of the Rockies - SF Bay Area - so my comments about culture would be useless but I had to respond because this is the only time that I have seen this plant mentioned anywhere! I have had one for about 15 years and it is the only Ceanothus that I really like. The flower color is exquisite and the reddish-brown stems quite attractive. The fact that it can take ordinary garden watering without dropping dead is also a real plus. I get two blooms a year out of it at least (depends on whether I ever get to trimming back after first bloom). Good luck with it - it's one that is worth a bit of fussing over.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:18AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for the recommendation Sara. I have no doubt that if my 'Concha' were not protected from (summer) rain, it would be dead here.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:09AM
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I don't grow it myself but it is one of the commonest Ceanothus over here. This is a post I put on the Cottage Garden Forum a while back. The Ceanothus is third up from the bottom. As you can see it is growing on top of a limestone wall - ie sharp drainage. (Sorry I can't insert the photo direct as I no longer have it on my computer and have deleted it from Photobucket..)

Here is a link that might be useful: Ceanothus

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:40PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Loved those pictures, flora. Looked like a Californian Ceanothus to me, or one of the hybrids derived therefrom. 'Gloire de Versailles' is a less saturated blue. You do have summer rain in SW UK, the differences being...
1) it seldom arrives in a huge glob (> 10cm/3" a day being not uncommon here)
2) becuase of our latitude and high air temperatures, soil temps. are routinely well above 21C. The heat & wetness lets fungal pathogens go wild.

So you can grow summer-dry plants from California there with relative ease...provided they are in well draining soil...and of course along the south coast and in the SW you are mild enough for gorgeous plants like the Catalina Ironwood.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 8:44PM
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davidrt28 - thanks for the name of that tree. I had never heard of it so I looked it up and came across an article you might find of interest about borderline trees here.

I often see trees in London which I don't recognise because of the micro climate there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Borderline

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 5:28AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for that article florauk. The Plantsman is without equal! One thing I love is the summary chart of 20th century freezes in major coastal UK gardens. That information is for some reason so hard to find elsewhere. (though I suspect the Chelsea Physic Garden minima since 1990 must be an could it be so high?)

I've been told the Ironwood tree grows reasonable well along the entire south coast/SE of the UK, provided it has a sheltered spot. Of course, you've been having a string of mild winters over there, as we have. Although some recent winters were considered bad, I don't think you've truly had a long, below normal one since 1996 or 97.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:34AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

A nursery industry friend lost 'Gloire de Versailles' to cold east of the Seattle area. Hybrids of this type are a different kettle of fish from the evergreen cultivars derived from coastal Californian wild species; they actually like rich soil and regular moisture, and produce the best flower heads when pruned down very hard at the start of the growing season (once established).

I keep missing getting this done to mine and the outcome is quantities of small twigs with little puffs of pale bloom and correspondingly numerous seed capsules - the flower color isn't deep enough to make a strong impression without the heads being of some size.

Being bluer this similar one has that much more appeal but so far seems to have not taken hold, with outlets here only having displayed small quantities one year. The plants being priced in the upper 30 something dollars for a ~3 gallon pot probably didn't help much - I know this is the reason it never came home with me, anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ceanothus x pallidus Marie Bleue = 'Minmari'

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 1:11

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:51AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for the Tip, BBoy, although in all the pictures I can find of 'Minmari', it looks about the same as GdV. Sometimes those pigments don't photograph well; if you've seen both plants in person I'll take your word for it.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 9:00AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

When I Bing there are multiple photos showing the blueness of 'Minmari'; being from a different cross (Ceanothus x pallidus, according to Proven Winners) it is also somewhat different in structure - 'Gloire de Versailles', when pruned and fed to produce full-sized heads has long plumes of powder or grayish-blue. There are also other C. x delileanus that are bluer than 'Gloire de Versailles', perhaps one or two of these is currently on the US market somewhere also.

Everett Community College, Everett, WA used to have a planting near a south-facing entry that consisted of one or two Sambucus mexicana (C. caerulea) and several 'Gloire de Versailles'. Presumably somebody put the two shrubs together because of the similarity of the bloomy blue elderberry fruits to the coloring of the ceanothus flowers.

As I remember it some years later I noticed that the ceanothus were gone, perhaps having frozen out - we had a 30 year winter around here during 1990 (mildest neighborhoods near Puget Sound ~12F, others colder, with people in the mountains perhaps subzero). Otherwise maybe somebody decided the ceanothus weren't neat enough and took them all out - you have to know how to handle these or they may turn into "brush".

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:45PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks Bboy. When I google (or Microserf-search) either one, I see a range of representations of their blueness. As I said those pigments can be hard to capture.
" being from a different cross"
But the funny thing is if you actually research these parentages which I did using my Hillier's you find that X pallidus is actually (X delileanus X ovatus); ovatus is merely a synonym for americanus, which is a parent of delileanus, so according to modern botanical naming rules...these are all X delileanus!
(kinda like how the "Aesculus formerly known as Aesculus X plantierensis" - Prince eat your heart out - is now properly "Aesculus X carnea 'Plantierensis'")

I independently stumbled upon the fact that there are C X delileanus crosses that are MUCH bluer than either one. Alas as is often the case they are rare as hen's teeth in US commerce. Easy to get in Europe though.

I think I will just go with Gloire de Versailles because Woodlanders says it is one of the only ones to grow in the southeast. (besides the native white one, obviously)

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 15:23

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 3:22PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The "sterile hexaploidal backcross hybrid" horse chestnut was being listed and described by A.L. Jacobson in North American Landscape Trees (Ten Speed, Berkeley) as Aesculus x carnea 'Plantierensis' 17 years ago; I think he has always called it that in his Seattle tree books also, in which case he was aware of and embracing the determination by 1989.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:43PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"he was aware of and embracing the determination by 1989"

Yes, formerly merely means "earlier in time." There's no degree of recentness implied. Almost any pre-1970 reference source (and some since then...) will call the plant Aesculus X plantierensis.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 7:19PM
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