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A Plantsman’s Legacy

Articles: A Plantsman’s Legacy
Agapanthus 'Ed Carman' Photo: Sequim Rare Plants
Agapanthus ‘Ed Carman’ Photo: Sequim Rare Plants

Agapanthus ‘Ed Carman’ (Sean Hogan)

Strap-like leaves to 24-28 inches tall are green with golden-yellow to creamy white variegation. Huge trusses of pure white flowers stand above the foliage in mid to late summer. Best in sun with summer water. Deciduous by frost hardy USDA zone 8 and possibly into zone 7 mulched for winter protection. A Cistus Nursery introduction. Sequim Rare Plants


Epilobium canum (syn.Zauschneria californica) 'Ed Carman' Photo: Su crest Nurseries Inc.
Epilobium canum (syn.Zauschneria californica) ‘Ed Carman’ Photo: Su crest Nurseries Inc.

Epilobium canum (syn. Zauschneria californica) ‘Ed Carman’ (Allan Robinson)

This California fuchsia forms a dense, spreading mat with erect stems to 18 inches of narrow bright grey leaves. Vivid orange-red tubular flowers are abundant in summer and fall and attract hummingbirds. Occasional watering will extend the bloom season and abundance of blooms. As now conceived, Epilobium canum includes what were formerly known as Zauschneria californica, of northern California, and Z. cana, of the south. Suncrest Nurseries Inc.


Juncus patens 'Carman's Gray' Photo: Annie's Annuals & Perennials via Plant Lust
Juncus patens ‘Carman’s Gray’ Photo: Annie’s Annuals & Perennials via Plant Lust

Juncus patens ‘Carman’s Gray’  (John Greenlee)

A short, sometimes hard-to-find rush, ‘Carman’s Gray’ only grows 1 to 2 feet tall with vertical, spikey, bluish-grey leafless stems. California grass guru John Greenlee named this plant in honor of Ed Carman; over the years the name ‘Carman’s Gray’ has morphed into ‘Carmen’s Gray’. At only 2 feet across, this is a nicely behaved selection of this California and Oregon native. Tolerates more heat and drought than J. effuses but thrives in moist soil and shallow water. Good container accent.

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Juncus ‘Carman’s Japan’ (John Greenlee)

An evergreen clump-forming rush with narrow, bright green stems growing 18 to 24 inches tall. Overall the plant has a fine texture and a graceful form with attractive rusty brown flowers along the side of the stems below the tips. Plant in full sun to light shade in moist soil, a pond to a depth of 4 inches, or in areas that get only occasional irrigation. Hardy to at least 15 degrees F.

From San Marcos Growers: “We consider this plant a Carman Nursery introduction. The story as we have it from John Greenlee is that Ed Carman was delivering plants to a garden in Woodside, California that was being worked on by a Japanese master garden designer and stonemason, who noted that he always included this elegant rush in his gardens and gave a plant to Ed.  John Greenlee purchased a plant at Carman’s Nursery and subsequently named it ‘Carman’s Japan’. We received this plant from John Greenlee in 1987 and have grown it in our nursery ever since. It was placed as a selection of Juncus effusus by Rick Darke in his book “The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses” where he calls the plant ‘Carman’s Japanese’.

[no photo]

Origanum vulgare ‘Ed Carman’ (Deborah Wigham and Gary Ratway)

From Digging Dog nursery: “We collected this exceptionally floriferous form of O. vulgare at Ed Carmen’s nursery and named it in his honor. Multitudes of deep pink blooms and striking, dark purple bracts are held atop sinuous, leafy flower stems some 2-½ feet above the bluish green mound of basal foliage. To create a harmonious melding of purple and blue, let it sprawl beside a path with Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid’ and Aster ‘Bill’s Big Blue’.  Blooms August–October. Hardy to zone 5


Phormium 'Ed Carman' Photo: San Marcos Nursery
Phormium ‘Ed Carman’ Photo: San Marcos Nursery

Phormium ‘Ed Carman’ (Bob Hornback)

This New Zealand flax cultivar grows 2 to 3 feet tall and across with 2-inch wide dark bronze-green leaves with narrow margins colored light pink to white. Plant in full sun to light shade. Can tolerate fairly dry conditions but looks best with occasional to regular irrigation. Hardy to 15-20 F. Possibly root hardy below these temperatures but with severe foliage damage unless protected. Bob Hornback received this plant in 2005 from Ed Carman who brought it back, unnamed, from New Zealand. Ed gave Bob permission to name it after him. Digging Dog Nursery


Wisteria 'Ed's Blue Dragon' Photo: NZ Colour Labels
Wisteria ‘Ed’s Blue Dragon’ Photo: NZ Colour Labels

Wisteria floribunda ‘Ed’s Blue Dragon’ (Paul Turner)

A fully double true blue form. Read Nancy Schramm’s account of her father’s cultivation and selection of this special plant here.

[Ed. Note: this is but a partial list of plants commemorating the work of nurseryman Ed Carman. If you know of additional plants,  have more photos of any of these introductions, or know of others who might please share this story. Email photos and information to: TheEditor@pacifihorticulture.org and we will continue to add to this story.]




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