Post image for Marginal: Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’

Marginal: Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’

by Andrew Keys on March 15, 2011

Five out of eight Goshikis agree, they can make it through winter in my garden!

So my Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ story starts a year ago December, when I found myself in a big box store, and also found scores of tiny Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ in foil-wrapped pots advertised as Christmas decorations. As in, probably most people would buy them and throw them out. The nerve!

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'

I had had my eye on ‘Goshiki’ for a while, since I’d been pining for Osmanthus fragrans, the smells-like-heaven sweet olive, ever since I left the South, and though ‘Goshiki’ is only rumored MAYBE to bloom with fragrance a FRACTION of that plant, I’d been thinking of giving it a shot. If nothing else, its variegation is great.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'

But don’t let those Zone 6 hardiness tags fool you — ‘Goshiki’ is very much a marginal. I had a conversation with Kris Green of Blithewold about it over on their blog a while back. They’ve lost ‘Goshiki’, and they’re further south than I am. Still, they sell it at the tree/shrub nursery I buy from in even-colder Concord, N.H., so I figured it for a worthy marginal nonetheless.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'

I bought two pots that December at the big box store. Each pot had four baby Goshikis. I planted them all together in a bigger pot, overwintered them (something I’m terrible at, mind you, which is why I bought so few), and planted them out the following spring. Did they grow? A tad. Did they survive? Yes. Fall came, I sprayed them with an organic anti-dessicant and crossed my fingers as it began to snow, and snow… And snow some more.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'

Last week, the Goshikis finally emerged. And guess what? Five out of eight made it through like champs! Observe at right. The three that don’t look so great were the runts of the litter anyway, and who knows? Maybe they’ll put on new growth. Who knows how long it’ll take these guys to get big, but isn’t that the fun of gardening? Let’s hope my meager ‘Goshiki’ investment continues to pay off. I’ll certainly keep you posted.

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