I Love This Plant: Japanese Yew

When I first designed my shade garden, I felt that I must have a fire pit.  So I installed a round pit lined with sand and rocks and stacked pavers.  In 3 years I used it only a handful of times and mostly in the first month.  The last time I used it two years ago, a very unhappy toad hopped away not happy that his home had been transformed into the towering inferno.  So I filled in the pit with compost leaving the wood ash and sand and rocks for drainage.  I planted a Japanese Yew about 3 foot tall and surrounded it with a variety of Asian Jasmine “Salsa”.  “Salsa” is touted to be less aggressive and a variegated foliage with touches of pink and red.  This area does not receive any direct sun and often goes unwatered for weeks at a time.  This is a recent picture of this feature fire pit-turned-planter and the Japanese Yew has grown very little but stays evergreen and weathers both summer heat and the occasional ice storm in winter.  The Salsa jasmine has been sparse with very few red highlights but has also proven to be very drought tolerant.  A very satisfactory solution and good thing too because the toad I tried to cook two years ago looks very much like the toad I suspect to be the momma toad to my tadpoles who are doing very well.  I found that they don’t care for tortoise food but go crazy for goldfish food.  Well, YOU try to find tadpole food!  I wonder how long toads live anyway?


Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!


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