Oh dear, I can’t believe I didn’t write anything for a whole growing season! I’m here to say that I am alive and the blog lives on, but I am hesitant to promise a more regular posting since I’ve made that promise a few times before without the best follow through.
One of my favorite little woodland plants, Maianthemum stellatum, looking fresh before the drought took its toll.
Between the budding projects and responsibilities at work and the longest, hottest, and driest summer in Seattle history, there wasn’t much time left to write. (I really don’t know how other bloggers do it.)
Spring came incredibly early this year, so the Long Bed erupted into growth with amazing vigor.
My own garden suffered quite a bit, but this was the perfect year to leave the garden to edit itself. Anything what wasn’t well established or sited well would wither away allowing space for the more suited plantings to spread. Of course being a bit soft hearted I saved and doted upon a few select plants, but over all everyone had to make it through by their own devices.
Even before the normally reliable rains petered out the alternation of warm sunny days and mild rainy ones kept everyone looking quite good. Nearly everything bloomed all at once, so it was very difficult to photograph everything.
One of my favorite sights this spring was seeing the icy teal blue spruce and soft pink plumes of cherry blossoms against the wonderfully blue sky.
The (late) potted tulips sailed through the mild winter and began blooming a month early with a riot of color.
As usual the Bletilla orchids put on a great show though this year the chartreuse blooms of Euphorbia characias and ruddy flowers of Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ added to the effect.
I received this Ranunculus ficaria ‘Flore Pleno’ from a friend in early spring…hopefully it doesn’t have plants of garden domination.
I love the sweet smelling double flowers of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’ and despite the heavy blossoms the heads look up.
The Long Bed always looks so verdant in spring, but if the lady ferns aren’t well watered in the summer they crisp and brown terribly. I dig them out in late summer and planted other perennials in their place.
I find that the brooding blossoms on Geranium phaeum ‘Variegatum’ helps ground the splashy nature of its cream variegation.
I love the long dangling pedicels of Mertensia bella – a lovely Pacific Northwest native.
The only well-drained area in my garden is this long narrow bed about a foot wide. Everything Mediterranean lives here along with this lovely Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’.
After removing the Siberian irises back in February, I was happy to see that the fragrant Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus would bloom along side sweet Tellima grandiflora.
This summer was quite the blur. I seemed like everything needed my attention, so I didn’t get many chances to photograph what was blooming. Plus most of the plants were stressed and ragged from the drought, so I spared them from the camera’s unflinching view.
I’ve been impressed with how hardy Osteospermum jucundum has been in my garden. I has survived at least four winters now, but unfortunately hasn’t produced any viable seed while I’ve grown it.
This is Taraxacum pseudoroseum, a pink flowered species of dandelion that I grew from seed and of course I was delighted by its first bloom this year. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a nut.)
This is one of the flowers from an heirloom seed strain of carnations I started earlier in the year. Dianthus ‘Enfant de Nice’ is an old French strain with spicy clove scented flowers of mixed shades of red, pink, white, and purple.
I started a bunch of dahilas from seed this year, but this seedling had the richest ox-blood red flowers which I can’t capture on camera very well.
Without a hard freeze over the winter Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ was quick to bloom this year.
It was my first year growing this black tomato (Indigo Rose), but the marauding deer didn’t leave a single ripe one for me to try.
Rosa ‘Julia Child’ really need a rejuvenating prune this year, so after a hard hack and feeding in early summer it grew back and bloomed all the way through frost.
Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ grew magnificently in the summer heat. It was a joy pruning back the rich rose-scented sprawling stems.
Autumn came late this year, but when it did arrive it was a drastic and noticeable switch. It was still quite mild and the sunny days were beautiful, but the cooler and damper weather gave many plants much needed relief from the straining summer.
Oddly the Rhododendron occidentale decided to blossom again in September. Maybe it was rejoicing the autumn rains.
Another rebloomer was Veronica gentianoides ‘Pallida’. I love the china blue veins on its porcelain white petals.
As soon as Tricyrtis formosana ‘Blu-shing Toad’ started to bloom I knew it was the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.
Thanks to the late mild autumn, Chrysanthemum ‘Apricot’ had a beautiful long display. The shimmering peach color brighten grey days.
Here is Chrysanthemum ‘Matchsticks’ – a new acquisition – in a blaze of scarlet and gold.
Apparently a few of my pollination attempts took on my Helwingia chinensis. How odd seeing little berries growing on a leaf.
The over growth of the Long Bed wasn’t looking too rough despite the drought this summer.
I could never grow tired of smelling the sweet, yet fresh apricot scent of Osmanthus fragrans. It lives in a pot by the doorway where its wafting fragrance can be enjoyed.
In early November I took a weeklong trip to LA to visit a friend. While I was there we stopped by the Huntington Botanical Gardens for a look around.
The gardens were amazing, but I wish they were open longer. Four and a half hours was not enough to see the entire place!
The Pollination Garden
One of the many exciting projects I got to take on this summer was creating “The Pollination Garden” out in front of the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse. The container garden was designed to be a fun display for visitors where they are invited to enjoyed the flowers as they learn how to infer what pollinators each species of flower was trying to attract by looking at form, color, and scent. The garden doubled as a urban oasis for pollinators passing through both animal and human.
The garden was mostly a mixture of tropical plants and the majority of them were of straight species.
Here is a view of the main border.
A close-up of a portion of the main border.
Here is the main border but looking towards the gate on a warm afternoon.
That’s all for today. Hopefully I be back around soon, but until then wishing you well and if you are in Puget Sound stay warm out there!