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Finaly found – Saruma henryi

Friday 9 July 2010 - Filed under General

Saruma henryi
It was love at first sight with the velvety ground-hugging perennial at the Chinese Garden, that nobody seemed to recognize. Finally I got a plant name – Saruma henryi. A cousin of the Asarum (wild ginger) – the name is an anagram. Of course, in plant hunting, knowing the name is only half the battle. Some plants keep you looking for years. I’ve been on the prowl for Saruma henryi since 2008. I did see it last year in the Plant Delights catalog. I would have ordered it, but every time I go to their site, I wildly fill up my shopping cart with way more plants than I ought to be buying, and then I chicken out.

Saruma henryi (upright wild ginger)
Last weekend, I was out at our local cult favorite nursery, Cistus, and there it was, tucked into the greenhouse. I guess I’m a true plant nerd, emphasis on the nerd, because my little plant discovery had me hollering to everyone in earshot “oh my god! I found it!” There were apparently no fellow plant stalkers around, because nobody offered me a high five. They mostly attempted to avoid eye contact with the crazy lady.

Saruma henryi (upright wild ginger)
Heart shaped fuzzy leaves, for shade. And I have one of my very one.

Saruma henryi (upright wild ginger)
My ever-eroding position on flower snobbery is on even shakier ground now, the plant is topped with yellow flowers spring – summer. There’s no way I’m cutting them off prematurely like I do with a lot of my flowers. Plant delights tells me I’ll have a few self-sown seedlings after the plant’s second year. In a plant that’s been so hard to track down, any volunteers I can coax are welcome in my garden. The worst part about being an obsessive plant collector, is that the thrill is in the chase. Now that I’ve got it, I need to find a new plant to stalk. Any ideas?

2010-07-09  »  megan

Talkback x 12

  1. Jane/MulchMaid
    9 July 2010 @ 2:46 pm

    Congrats! Triumph, followed by an empty feeling? I feel sure you have a few more must-haves on your list still. And I would have given you high fives at Cistus, for sure.

    Nice new blog look. I like the way its spareness enhances your photos.

  2. Grace
    9 July 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    Oh Megan, You are such a NERD, and in such good company with your followers. I’m just sorry none of us could be there to witness your elation. Still the screams and jumps and overall personal mayhem are completely understood, especially when the plant discovery has been elusive for so long. [Teza calls it a "hort-gasm." ]

    I’m sure you’ll be on another plant hunt in short order. If you’re not already. :)

  3. Andrew at Garden Smackdown
    10 July 2010 @ 4:14 am

    Saruma’s flowers may not offend you so much. They’re such a pale yellow they’re almost chartreuse, which, if you think about it, is almost green.

    My suggestion for plant to chase would be Salix arenaria, one of the most silver plants I’ve ever seen. I can’t find a photo online that does it justice. Maybe I’ll have to post one…

    BTW, one of my Tetrapanax came back, AND it was the one I planted out as an experiment in October! It’ll be getting a better mulch this fall.

  4. Karen
    10 July 2010 @ 9:45 am

    Woo hoo! Virtual high five! I do that holler/dance thing too when I find something special at the nursery. I remember when you posted that top pic, and some people worried it was related to Japanese knotweed. So glad it isn’t, and that you found it! C’mon, do you really have all the plants on your list? If so, you need to make a new list, pronto! :)

  5. Laura
    10 July 2010 @ 10:06 am

    Awww! Well how about an internet fist bump! Congrats on your score!

  6. ricki - sprig to twig
    10 July 2010 @ 3:40 pm

    You would make a good detective…but you would have to work on your poker face.

  7. Denise
    10 July 2010 @ 4:31 pm

    Your quest ends and mine begins…that is a beauty! Big high-five.

  8. Loree / danger garden
    10 July 2010 @ 8:14 pm

    I am really disappointed in your fellow Cistus shoppers. I would have thought an understanding group of fellow plant nerds would have heard your shouts and came running. Well, congrats and may you have many many happy seedlings! Oh…and I’m not buying the needing a new plant to stalk thing….not even for a second….your list is too long!

  9. Al
    13 July 2010 @ 5:19 am

    Megan, mine is reblooming! i’m so excited.
    Waited last year to rebloom but no success. Now in it’s third year I have two seedlings. So, it’s ture just wait two years and you will have a few seedlings around.

  10. brenda Kodama
    19 July 2010 @ 4:49 am

    hey megan, I just went to Cistus for the first time last week. I selected a few choice plants and one was saruma! This was before I read your blog…what a coincidence. I was drawn to the fuzzy leaves and the shape of them as well. I love asarum too. Well, here’s to happy dances, pretty plants and good health.

  11. Roger Auman
    24 August 2010 @ 9:14 am

    I Magen I do next time your traveling in my area (Olympia) you will stop by and see my garden and we can have a nice chat about exotic plants. Love your story adventures and I really need to get down to Cistus or go see Jerry at Jungle Fever its been to long.
    From one plant geek to another, I’ve really enjoy all the plants you have posted, what we would do with out them, their almost like an extension of your family.
    Roger.

  12. Roger Auman
    24 August 2010 @ 9:20 am

    Hi Magen I do hope next time your traveling in my area (Olympia) you will stop by and see my small garden and we can have a nice chat about exotic plants. Love your adventure stories and I really need to get down to Cistus or go see Jerry at Jungle Fever, its been to long.
    From one plant geek to another, I’ve really enjoy all the plants you have posted, what would we do with out them, their almost like an extension of your family.
    Roger.