How do I love thee, let me count the ways…

Azara microphylla 'Variegata' leavesI’ve adored Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’ ever since I noticed it in a little one-gallon pot at Portland Nursery in the early 2000s. Back then it was difficult to find and the only commercially available plants were these little tikes from specialty nurseries. I took my little azara home that day and planted it in my old yard in Seattle. It grew nobly in part-shade for years. Starting in a gangly little V and then stretching out while filling in branches and leaves. I can’t say enough about those little variegated leaves. Gawd.

And now that it’s November and the cold has done in all of my other deciduous trees and shrubs, this little tree holds its evergreen color beautifully. It’s a slow grower so you really don’t notice it growing but one afternoon you’ll turn around and all of a sudden it’s a third bigger than it was a half-year ago. But I appreciate the slow growth. It’s more like a painting than a plant, a very pleasing painting. This pic that I put up of my recently planted one in my new yard, hardly does the overall form justice.  Azara microphylla 'Variegata'Then again my plant is still an adolescent. I know that it will grow into a bushier, hardier adult plant in a few years. This is why I planted it outside of my living room window. First, I’ll enjoy it outside, how the margins of its yellow leaves contrast with the light green siding of my house. Then, when it does grow up to the window, I can enjoy it from the inside on chilly winter days like today.

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