A Mystery Solved and Some Wildlife Too

Japanese Photinia (Photinia glabra)
From Australia, no less, the identification of my mystery shrub was provided by Roman Soroka.  Recall that three plants came up voluntarily in the garden and two are now blooming for the first time in ten years.  It is Japanese Photinia (Photinia glabra).  He explains that it is a popular hedge plant in Australia because of its drought tolerance.  It is not at all common in the Pacific Northwest US.  We have a big destination nursery nearby, and they don't stock it or even know of it.  Apparently, it grows somewhere in the neighborhood and the seeds liked the dry, dusty soil in my yard.  The common Photinia in gardens here is Photina x fraseri, a hybrid of P. glabra which has much larger leaves.  It is also grown in screen hedges or as a specimen shrub.  Now that it has been pointed out, the kinship of the two plants is obvious to me.

This explains why I did not find it in any of the native plant books or websites I searched.  I was led astray by the notion that it was an indigenous plant of some sort.  Lesson learned.  Here the entire shrub is seen growing beneath the birdhouse.  The flowers are quite fragrant.  At first you think sweet and rose-like, but quickly, an unpleasant quality enters the sensation.  Imagine something that got burnt in chemistry lab with a sweet overtone.  Burning rubber and roses!

Roman sent this photo of his Photinia glabra hedge growing in Australia.  It was actually a photo taken to capture a shot of the amazing spider web.  He also sent a photo of the lady of the house:

Notice that she has a male suitor carefully approaching from behind.  We know what his fate will be.  In the spirit of the post, I have identified her as Nephila edulis, the Golden Orb Weaver.  See if you agree.

I want to send my thanks and appreciation to Roman Soroka in Australia for helping me identify my mystery shrub.  I also want to thank him for sharing his photos.  My previous mystery plant was solved by Malcolm Evison in the UK.  These are remarkable examples of the power, reach and fellowship of the internet.

That just leaves this plant where I need help with identification.  Stems on new shoots are red and all of the leaves are small, 2 inches (5 cm) or less in length:

Weather Statistics for June, 2011

TemperatureHigh 71.3° FLow 46.4° FMean 55.5° F
Rainfall0.66 inches
WindHigh 16 mphAverage 1.2 mphDom Dir SW

Observed at South Fidalgo Island (See Climate page for complete climatological data)