Rare, Hardy, and Unique Plants
  Welcome to my "Rare, Hardy, and Unique" page of the Website.  Through this page, and page two, you will
be able to see several photograph's and information about several plants trees, and shrubs.  Most of them
you may never have seen before, and, or did not realize that they are hardy in our area.  
I have several of
these selections growing happily on my property for years!     
                                                                                              Giant Sequoia
Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant Sequoia, Sierra Redwood, or Wellingtonia) is the sole species in the
genus Sequoiadendron, and one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods. Giant Sequoia is
the world's largest tree in terms of total volume. They grow to an average height of 165-280 feet and 16-23
feet in diameter.  Giant Sequoia is usually found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers and
snowy winters.  Giant Sequoia like to grow near streams and like high moisture and humidity.  I took the
pictures below at the N.Y. Botanical Garden in the Bronx, which proves that they can grow in this area.  I
also have one doing quite well on my property!
                                                                        Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle blooms in late summer into autumn in our zone in panicles of crinkled flowers with a
crepe-like texture. Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between.  They
require full sun.  During extremely cold winters, they may die back to the ground, but they will come back
strong the following summer.  In our area, they bloom in August and September when few other flowering
shrubs are in bloom!  The one below, on the left, has done well on my property for four years.
Lagerstroemia Zuni Fauriei
  Color: Lavender
5/7" Panicle Flower
Slight Fragrance
 Bloom: Aug/Sept
Lagerstroemia Indica
   Color: White
5/7" Panicle Flower
     Height: 3 - 8'
 Slight Fragrance
  Bloom: Aug/Sept

Aucuba is valued for its colorful evergreen foliage, and large bright red berries.  They range in height from
two feet to five feet in height our area.  The variegated varieties can really highlight an area and have a
tropical appearance.  The soild green variety below is planted by my kitchen door and has Laurel-like
leaves and beautiful berries!
Aucuba Japonica
   "Gold Dust"
   Height: 2 - 5'
Aucuba Japonica

 Height: 2 - 5'
Aucuba Japonica Spotted
        Height: 2 - 5'

Most people that have tried to grow artichokes in this area for eating have had limited success.  This is
because they most likely planted Globe Artichokes(Synara Scolymus).  I have planted them and have had
some success as you can see from the photo of the flowering "choke" which I grew in my garden, below.  
Apart from food use, the Globe Artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes
grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads, or in pots. The recently
introduced hybrid cultivar 'Imperial Star' is an annual and has been bred to produce the year that it is
planted. An even newer cultivar, 'Northern Star', is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates,
and readily survive sub-zero temperatures.  
                                                                     Hardy Banana

Musa basjoo, the Japanese Fiber Banana, also known as the "hardy" banana.  The most cold hardy banana
species, it's corms have been known to survive in climates as cold as southern Ontario, Canada, and the
northern border states of the American Midwest, such as Michigan and Wisconsin. The plant has become
popular with gardeners in the past ten years, due it's rapid growth, tropical look, and ease of care. A young
offset, or "pup" planted out in the spring can often reach ten to twelve feet in height by the autumn.  In
colder climates, it is necessary to give the underground corm and aboveground stem heavy mulch in order
for them to survive the winter.  This plant is unlikely to flower or fruit in extreme northern areas of its
range, but further south, may produce ornamental flowers and small, inedible fruits.  The left side photo
was taken from my vegetable/cutting garden.  The right side photo was taken growing next to a greenhouse
in North Stamford and has survived there for years!
                                                                    Hardy Camellia's

Although camellias have traditionally been considered landscape favorites for warmer, moderate climates
in the United States, extensive research has produced many new, cold-hardy varieties that can be used in
northern areas.  The majority of these cold-hardy selections are the result of extensive work done by two
scientists, Dr. William L. Ackerman, who is described by the American Camellia Society as a "retired U.S.D.A.
plant breeder"; and Dr. Clifford Parks, a botanist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The
Ackerman hybrids are primarily hybrids of several different species, while the Parks selections are hybrids
and choice Japanese camellia varieties. These resilient shrubs flower in either fall or spring, depending on
the species and variety chosen. Outdoors, the Japanese camellia varieties normally flower from early to
late spring, and some of the hybrids bloom in late fall. Camellias used outdoors in colder climates should be
sited carefully and protected from full sun, cold, windy, and exposed areas of the garden.  In the cooler
climates of the northeast, camellias are best planted in the spring.  I have had "Winter's Star" Bloom at my
house in December into January for three years now!
Camellia "Winter's Rose"
Color: Pinkish White
       Height: 5 - 7'
   Slight Fragrance
   Bloom: Mid fall
Camellia "Polar Ice"
  Color:  White
     Height: 5 - 7'
 Slight Fragrance
 Bloom: Mid Fall
Camellia "Snow Flurry"
   Color:  White
     Height: 5 - 7'
 Slight Fragrance
 Bloom: Mid fall
Camellia "Winter's Star"
Color: Pinkish Red
     Height: 5 - 7'
 Slight Fragrance
 Bloom: Mid fall
Camellia "April Tryst"
Color:  White
   Height: 5 - 7'
Slight Fragrance
 Bloom: Spring