Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My favorite plant in the garden this week - Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths'

I know, I know, you've seen a great deal of this hunky fellow in the past few weeks. Well, when life tempts you with a handsome, high performing, all-around great guy, you might as well revel in him. After all, love is like chocolate - there's never too much.

My current Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' is my second in the garden: In the spring of 2009, I first became infatuated with 'Austin' in my garden. But an ill-advised move in 2010 killed him. I felt awful and replaced him immediately with another, and that one has featured in February and March Bloom Day posts for the last four years.
This year, 'Austin Griffiths' brightened my January Bloom Day post and has been a welcome sight in the garden all winter. Its soft pink flowers are a gentle counterpoint to its gray-green leaves and the surrounding muted tones of the winter garden.

Its peeling, deep mahogany bark, while not yet quite as showy and shiny as some of the better-known manzanitas, is nonetheless striking.

The stats on Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' from Plant Lust:

Zone: 7a-10b
Size: 8-12'H x 6'W
Exposure: Sun
Water: Low, drought tolerant when established, dry when dormant
Soil: Well-drained
Flowers: Pink to white, urn-shaped in late winter
Fruit: Small red berries (I have not seen berries yet)

One of the features I liked about 'Austin Griffiths' is its upright habit. Many Manzanitas are wider than they are tall, so this one is a better fit in my narrow garden.

The Favorite Plant meme is hosted by Loree at danger garden. Check out the comments on her latest "Favorite" post to see what other garden bloggers are featuring this week.


  1. Oh, that is flowering quite nicely! I have two upright Arctostaphylos waiting to be planted in my new front garden.

    1. Good to hear, Alison - they are so rewarding at any time of the year!

  2. Beautiful manzanita! I love everything about them!

  3. Oh that second photo is the best I've ever seen of the blooms! Please don't tell my other three manzanitas but Austin is my favorite too.

  4. Such a beautiful plant, Jane...blooms, foliage, form, bark...what more can you ask for!

  5. Manzanitas are such beautiful shrubs. Gardeners on the west coast are so lucky to have them!

  6. Gorgeous! What a beautiful sight in the bleak midwinter when we need cheering up the most!

  7. Beautiful! I love the bark, and those flowers are so unique. At first glance, the flowers in the second photo reminded me of horse's heads without ears... or a fish's lips! (The grasses around the tree are beautiful, too)

  8. Hunky is exactly the right word for Austin. You are making me think about where I could tuck one into my garden . . .

  9. My only Arcostaphylos is 'Harmony' and it's the sprawling kind. That's fine for my situation, but it doesn't show off the bark, which in my mind is the main reason for the existence of madrones. Mine hasn't flowered this year either. I didn't think that mattered, but seeing yours in flower has nearly changed my mind.

  10. A beautiful sight, so graceful and delicate. The pink flowers really set off the mahogany bark. It takes me back to hiking in the wilds of S. California.


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