Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ohio Buckeye(s)

Recently on the news, reporters sought the answer to a question apparently on many Oregon citizens' minds right now. What is a buckeye? I was sitting on the sofa, only half paying attention to the question and quickly replied, "a tree. Duh." 

We who garden know these things. For the rest, there is Wikipedia, full of information and photos of Aesculus glabra. Or there is the nightly news. 

With the Oregon masses duly educated, said TV reporters asked passersby if we shouldn't cut down a heritage, prominently located Buckeye tree because, of course, the University of Oregon football team will be competing with the Ohio State Buckeyes for the national championship. It was done tongue-in-cheek, I hope. Oregon loves its trees. But maybe not as much as it loves its football. I'm not sure. 

Admittedly I can ignore a football game for a garden tour any day. I love the buckeye tree (also called Horse Chestnut). The verdant, palm-shaped leaves are fabulous and the red-flowered variety is jaw-dropping when in bloom. Despite being completely winter-hardy it has a tropical look that I can't resist. Below is a photo I took a few years ago of Buckeye blossoms.  

With petals leaning more towards hot-pink than red, this Buckeye, what I assume is
Aesculus pava is a small tree or large shrub, perfect for those of us with limited space. 
Poor Buckeye... humans are so weird.

Anyway, we're fogged in right now. Fortunately the temps aren't terrible-40s and 50s. And I'm noticing just a smidgen more daylight now in the evenings. Hooray! 

It might be wishful thinking but I think I may be detecting a few microscopic flower buds on my Grevillea rosmarinfolia. I'm keeping it in a pot by the door and bringing it inside when the temps dip low like they did last week. It's worth it to witness these fantastic blossoms. 

I've had it planted in the ground twice and lost it both times to winter's cold.
No more! I'm learning. 

And finally I'm seeing lots of buds and a few open flowers on my Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox). While the flowers are nothing to write home about, their scent is to die for. 

I hope you're enjoying your winter months, dreaming of the garden to come.


  1. Dreaming is about the only gardening "activity" happening here on State Road 37 in NE Indiana :)

    Visiting my parents just across the state line three or four times a week, I hear PLENTY of Buckeye chatter! However, like you, I'd take a garden tour over a football game ANY day!

  2. I had no idea what a buckeye was until I watched the Ohio playoff game, was confused about all the little leaves on their helmets, and asked my son in law what they were. I had heard of buckeyes before but was never curious enough before to question what they were. Very pretty. Love the bit of color in your garden Grace. Can't wait for Spring to see a lot more.

  3. Beautiful Buckeye. I need to look into Wintersweet. Wonder if it is hardy to my zone?
    We are looking for the next few days of arctic blast....such rollercoaster weather.

  4. Haha! Love this Grace. Also love that Grevillea, it's a beauty.

  5. The Aesculus is beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen it local even through my sunset guide indicates it should grow here. I was tempted - until I saw the reference to a need for "regular water," which, sadly, knocks it off my wish list.

  6. Delightful post Grace! I loved the blossoms of the Buckeye Tree...those are new to me, or maybe I've been asleep to them all these years. Until I became a gardener. That is the key. I'm going to try doing both, cheering our Ducks and honoring the Buckeye Trees at the same time.

  7. We have Texas and Mexican buckeyes down here in Texas. Sweet understory trees but not such a wonderful bloom as you have on that one. It also will give us a nice golden fall color, which we don't get much of here. That Grevillea is luscious ! The first thing my mind saw was a flamingo when I saw the picture! Really cool. Love your garden!

  8. Our lives revolve around Ducks these days (mostly R's doing, but I have become something of a convert). Had no idea that Buckeye = horse chestnut. Thanks for yet another learning moment, Grace.

  9. Signs of spring already! Very nice. I remember Buckeye trees from childhood--when I lived in Indiana. I think there are some here in Wisconsin, too, but not as many. Your temperatures sound wonderful--we're subzero lately. I'm catching up on crocheting, book-reading, and garden planning.

  10. I'm not sure I could ever allow a buckeye in my garden (tree or player)...we are rooting for the Ducks...sorry Ohio State fans. Wishing you some lovely flowers soon.

  11. Ah ha! I did not know the Horse Chestnut was also the Buckeye tree. I always learn something when I visit your blog :) It's our typical, misty, gray yuck right now, but overall, I'd rather have winter than not. I guess I'm in the camp that wants a slow season to make the heart grow fonder for days of warmth and color in the garden :)

  12. I have seeds under grow lights and my garden is a brown dormant blob of blah. Chestnuts are beautiful trees. We had one that must have been 75 ft tall at our house in upstate NY. But the little pricker balls that covered the lawn were killers.

  13. Some varieties of Buckeye trees do have gorgeous blooms. When I see them I always wish I had a few acres instead of one triangle acre that does not work at all. LOL!
    Your Grevillea rosmarinfolia has the greatest blooms and I can see why you are looking for buds.Have a lovely week.

  14. Thank you for educating me, Grace! Now, I know how Buckeye tree looks!
    Thank you also for posting the picture of your grevillea! What a beauty!

  15. Well, the Ducks vs the Bucks game is tonight, so I found this post particularly entertaining! I live in Columbus, so you know who I'm rooting for....But I agree, Buckeye trees are truly lovely. I can't believe they'd even consider cutting one down. I'd be afraid some fanatic football fans would get it into their head to do just that. The horror!


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