When I saw two English Yews (Taxus baccata) in the garden center, I snapped them up. And because they had a Spreading Yew (Taxus x media 'Densiformis'), I bought it, too. Yes, I was skeptical. I didn't recall seeing any other yews around here. But I loved that classic look, and its soft, fine, feathery foliage. Being an evergreen appealed to me. Plus - there they were - just waiting to be purchased. I gave them a big hug hello.
I should have saved my money.
The two English Yews didn't last long. Even though they are supposed to be hardy in zones 5b to 8b, they both died in our Texas summer heat. I wish more plants had labels with their heat zone indication. Zone 8 Pacific Northwest is a lot different than Zone 8, Texas.
Densiformis, on the other hand, lasted a little while longer - almost three years. Which is funny, because it is only supposed to be hardy in zones 4 to 7, and I'm in zone 8. I really thought it was going to make it. I really thought I could have a taxus in Texas.
But last year's high heat and drought finally killed it, too. I just dug it up while doing the spring cleaning. And stuck another plant in its place. A plant that is common around here.
Occasionally, I like to try an unusual plant in my garden. But far too often, I find out why that plant is not common here - they don't grow well here! Sometimes, and maybe especially in gardens, common is good. And maybe yews will grow in East Texas. But not in my garden. Or, at least, not for this gardener.
So, now if I see any more yews for sale, I will say hello. Briefly. Then I will say goodbye, and not take any more home with me. Lesson learned. Goodbye to yew.
I had seen densiformis around quite a few gardens year before last, so I decided to try them for a client or two, but I now regret that bigtime because they did not do well in the heat. I do, however, have some cephalotaxus harringtonia prostrata (Japanese Spreading Yew) in my garden and it has done really well despite the heat last year. It has a totally different form than densiformis, though. It is low growing and weepy, not upright. I will not be quite so daring to try something new for clients in the future; I will stick with the tried and true. Lesson learned.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad I wasn't the only one that fell for the densiformis, and thank you for confirming it's not just me! I also appreciate the info on the Japanese Spreading Yew. Now to just find one! Of course, I really don't need another plant, but you know how it is - I think I'd have one of everything if I could! :)Delete
What a pity! I know how yew feel too, it has often happened to me. Now I give in to the stuff that grows easily as I am essentially such a lazy gardener. It is always fascinating to experience another climate through some one else's experience, thanks for sharing, failure is a great teacher, thanks for sharing:~))ReplyDelete
This has happened to yew, too? ;)Delete
I'm a lazy gardener, too. I guess I shouldn't try anything but the common plants - but the unusual ones are so enticing! Failure is a great teacher - well put!
I had the exact same thing happen in my garden too! It was most frustrating and I even posted about it hoping someone could help me out as to why my yews died. I think now I understand it was the drought and heat but it's a funny thing that I see many large and very happy yews in landscapes around my town so I hated it that mine died. Like you, I won't waste my money anymore but you know they are awfully pretty when grown well. Yup, common is sometimes good. But it is even better when you can find a little known cultivar of common then you'll really have something different! Sorry your yews died.ReplyDelete
Yes, I've been reading up on them (should have done this before I started having problems, not after they died), and they like more water than I realized. Oh, well, I am not one to baby a plant, so I guess it's back to the tried-and-true-tough plants for me! Your idea of a different cultivar is a great one!Delete
Yews make fantastic plants, hedges, and topiaries here but it does dislike high summer temperatures. Interesting to hear how it fared in your garden which confirms its intolerance for very high summer temperatures. Fortunately there are loads more conifers out there that will thrive in your garden,plenty to choose from :)ReplyDelete
I see them in pictures, and love their form and foliage, but I guess I'll have to live with the plants that live where my garden is, instead of the ones that live in my dreams!Delete
Cute post Holley...I am not fond of yews since they never grow well for me....I have tried to grow a few plants not for my snowy zone 5...sadly I said goodbye!ReplyDelete
It's really hard to say goodbye when you really want a plant to live. I guess our gardens all have limitations - unfortunately!Delete
I have a similar experience with plants labeled for full sun. Full sun somewhere else does not necessarily mean full sun here in NC! (Note, no matter what the label says, do NOT put a hydrangea in full sun in the South..) Now I really try to do my research on plants before I buy and plant them!ReplyDelete
I've often wondered where hydrangeas live in Full Sun! I see that on the plant labels, too, and it is always confusing to me. And you're right - full sun in the south is a completely different animal than full sun up north!Delete
oh no! Too bad about the English Yews. I wonder why they'd even sell them at the garden center if they don't do well in the TX heat? At least you tried!ReplyDelete
I wondered about that, too. I thought surely if they were selling them, they would grow here! I'm learning that some places will sell anything, whether the plant is hardy or not - or even an invasive! So sad that we have to be fully researched before going in and seeing what is offered for sale.Delete
I'm just blessed if the ones native to east Texas live for me! :) I did try an unusual evergreen (I'm not as good as you about knowing the names) - I think in my yard it could be called everbrown -because I thought it was so pretty in Colorado - of course that didn't make it through our hot summer last year!ReplyDelete
Everbrown! haha That could be the name of a few things I've grown around here! :)Delete
Hi Holley, OH WELL---we all live and learn when it comes to plants/flowers... Some do better than others.. I tried one year to plant caladium bulbs here... They didn't do well --and I was disappointed. They are so gorgeous I think... BUT--Hosta does great here... SO---I went with Hosta instead.ReplyDelete
Yes, live and learn. We will never know unless we try, will we?Delete
Gardeners learn new lesson everyday... :DReplyDelete
Thanks for visiting my blog, ciao.
Yes, every day is a new lesson out in the garden. Sometimes, we get lucky and they're good lessons. Sometimes, not so lucky.Delete
You could try Southern yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus). Grows fine in hot, humid southwest Georgia.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Nell Jean! :) I'll look that one up!Delete
Unusual plants are kind of like lottery tickets--they might not work, but when they do you've really hit the jackpot. In the meantime, though, it's an expensive hobby...ReplyDelete
Maybe I should remember that analogy. I never play the lottery. I wonder if I would buy an 'iffy' plant if I thought of it as gambling!Delete
In Philadelphia where I grew up, we would squish the yew berries and throw them at each other (I'm sure our moms really loved it, on laundry day). I don't see many (any) yews in Virginia though, for the same reason that you aren't growing them I'm sure. I'm sure you already grow my favorite evergreen shrub. Similar leaf shape, but different overall form... rosemary. What other evergreen shrub can boast such great fragrance?ReplyDelete
Yes, I love rosemary! I love the way it smells, too. Maybe I don't need a yew - just another rosemary or two!Delete
I'm not sure how Yew look like, so I must try to find out before I make further comment. Thanks for sharing your thought though :)ReplyDelete
Well, I would have taken a picture, but all there was left to see would have just been a brown, dead plant! I couldn't find any pictures of the yew when it was alive.Delete
I agree with BL, I can't believe some of the plants they sell in the garden center that aren't hardy. Sorry about the lost trees. I have a redbud that never flourished, but doesn't want to be dug up either. :(ReplyDelete
It's sad that you really can't trust the garden centers. I guess they knows some of us are suckers!Delete
I second the recommendation for Cephalotaxus harringtonia. It thrives in heat and humidity where Taxus doesn't.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I will definitely check it out. Anything that lives in our heat has to be a tough plant!Delete
Texas can be brutal to our beloved gardens!ReplyDelete
It really can. Hot, hot, hot, but we also get freezing temperatures, too - it can be quite a challenge!Delete
I try not to let myself push zones as I just can't afford the losses. You want what we have and I want what you have down there. :)ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
haha - Isn't that the truth? Like hair - if someone has curly hair, they want straight, and if it's straight, they want curly! I guess it's just human nature.Delete
I do the same thing with gaura. It's supposed to grow in my zone 5 garden, but freezes every time I buy it. Let's switch - you admire the lovely gaura I want so much and I'll admire the yews (of which I have a nice 3' high hedge along the fence in the patio area).
I do have guara! I agree. You admire your yews, and I'll admire my gaura! Thanks for reminding me that each area has its own special beauty.Delete
I've made the same mistake - it's taken me two tries with a couple of plants to admit that they just weren't going to grow in my garden.ReplyDelete
Sometimes it hurts to admit that, doesn't it? :(Delete
I had to laugh a little, as I am planning a post on the spreading yew that has flourished in my 7b woodland! Plants do choose where they want to grow, and sometimes I am surprised by the ones that do well, and the ones that don't! I am realizing more and more how well adapted natives are and am trying to incorporate more into my garden. But I do think my yew is wonderful!ReplyDelete
I bet your spreading yew is gorgeous. I do think they are beautiful plants. But, I don't think I'll give any more a try!Delete