Retama raetam - experience from Greece?

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JTh

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Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« on: April 15, 2017, 07:46:04 PM »
I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread or continue with the one already existing for Lygos raetam, but I chose to start a new topic, since the Lygos raetam thread was quite old. The Plant List seems to be as confusing as it was 3-4 years ago, listing both as accepted names, with R. raetam as a synonym for L. raetam, but not the other way around. Anyhow, I have recently seen Retama raetam and would very much like to have it in my garden in Greece, I wonder if anybody could tell me about their experience with this dry-tolerant plant in this region and if you you seen it for sale here?

I found some seeds which I planted a couple of weeks ago, I dont know if I'll have any luck, since they are said to be very difficult to germinate - about 6 % germination is normal I read somewhere, unless you pretreat the seeds. One of the methods described was passing them through the digestive tract of a donkey or a goat, none of them readily available at the moment, so I have tried various other methods of scarification. Pouring boiling water over the seeds and leaving them overnight made one of them (of a total of about 35) swell nicely. I tried to scarify them with sandpaper, which was impossible, they were too hard, and small, so I finally nicked them (and my fingers) with a small nail clipper, which made them (the seeds, not my fingers) swell in water. If I am lucky, I only damaged the hard outer shell and maybe some of them will germinate.
Veterinary surgeon by training with a phD in parasitology, worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 06:54:01 AM »
Jorun, just returned from 2 weeks in UK with limited Internet access so have only just seen your post. We have grown this plant in our garden, and our daughter's garden, for several years with absolutely no supplementary water in summer. It was used extensively in Cyprus for planting in central reservations on dual carriageway roads, again without water, and was given the local name of 'the bride' due to its masses of white flowers. The photo below was taken of one growing on a hillside in Morocco that was covered with them.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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JTh

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Re: Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 03:36:06 PM »
I didn't see your answer earlier, John, from where did you get your plants? I have asked the nurseries around here , but they haven't got a clue, seems to be completely unknown. I had a fairly good result with the seeds I had, around 1/3 of them germinated. A few died later, but I still had a few healthy-looking plants when I left Norway, now it depends upon my neighbour's care if some of them have survived until I'm home again.
Veterinary surgeon by training with a phD in parasitology, worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2017, 08:31:47 AM »
Jorun, we've had ours for so long I can't definitely say where we got them from, quite possibly from our old friend, Yiannos. The nurseries, even the Forestry Dept ones, used to sell them but I have to admit that I don't recall seeing any on offer recently. For some reason they seem to have dropped out of favour, even for use on highway plantings. Why this should be I don't know as they are so easy to grow once established, just another of those fads and fashions that horticulture appears to be prone to from time to time perhaps.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Hilary

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Re: Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2017, 08:51:03 AM »
I have been trying to think where I have seen this bush,
There are a few near Ag Theodori but none on the road to Sparta and none on the Attiki Odos, as far as I remember. Also none at the side of the Proastiakos railway
So it looks as if the nurseries which supply plants to the constructors of the new roads and railways do not grow Retama. I wonder why ? 
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

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JTh

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Re: Retama raetam - experience from Greece?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 07:36:51 PM »
Strange that even plants are in  and out of fashion, must have been quite a while since if it has ever been grown here, since it seems to be unknown. The owner of a large wholesale nurseriy not far from us seemed to be very interested when I showed him some information and he said he would like to propagate it if I could find a plant he could start from.  I believe it would be ideal here unless we get many winters like the last one. According to  B / T World Seeds the average, annual, minimum temperature zone where Retama raetam is cold hardy is USDA Zone:9 - 20 to 30F   (-6.5 to -1C).
Veterinary surgeon by training with a phD in parasitology, worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.