Thursday, February 16, 2012
I'm sorry I missed seeing the agarita, Mahonia trifoliolata, blooming on Garden Boggers' Bloom Day because I'm sure it was. It is growing underneath a live oak tree down the side of the house and is often overlooked. In the shade they may grow a little rangy but in sun they form a rounded shrub. Even with only morning sun and under the oak tree this plant has lots of blooms with many more buds to open.
The agaritas I have are all growing outside the walls of my garden. They occur naturally. This is not a plant that is often found in the nurseries. The plant should be made more available to the gardener because, besides being low maintenance, it is also drought tolerant. It is evergreen and friendly to wildlife for the natural protection its holly-like leaves provide. The flowers are followed by small small berries which are a source of food for birds. Homesteaders would collect the berries by laying a sheet underneath the bush and hitting the bush until the berries fell off.