Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Foliage Friday: Mahonia 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia 'Soft Caress'
I'm excited about this plant.  You're probably familiar with the more traditional mahonias.  Around here, they are very dependable shade plants.  Chinese mahonia get about 5' tall, and, though they have slender leaves, are rather spiny and tough.  Leatherleaf mahonia is even more spiny, having a holly-shaped leaf and a rough-looking, coarse texture.  I always thought I should like them.  They are fairly drought-tolerant and extremely dependable for most people.  But that spiny texture always disagreed with me.  I just could never warm to mahonia.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress'
Until I saw this beautiful Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress,' whose elegant, bamboo-like leaves are so inviting.  This one was developed by ItSaul Plants, and is more similar to Chinese mahonia.  It's also evergreen, and a little smaller, reaching only about 3 feet tall.  It has yellow flowers, arranged in racemes, but I love it for its delicate leaves.  It seems so much more friendly than other mahonia -- makes you just want to pet it, doesn't it?


  1. Is that frost or is the mahonia a little fuzzy? The second image looks like it warmed up a bit.

  2. HI I just planted with my son two of these beautiful mahonias in Atlanta, under a porch where they will not get TOO much sun. They are beautiful, and SO feathery. A few of the leaves were yellowish rather than green and we decided it was just because they needed to get out of their pots and into the ground. I can't wait to see what they will do! The flowers will be fabulous when they arrive in.... when? Does anybody know? -emandlee