Archive | Home Garden RSS feed for this section

Day of Rest

10 Jun

Yesterday I promised myself I would take on the garden full force today to plant, prune, and repot, but something about a slow start to the morning and the warmth outside is convincing me to stay in and lull about. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect time for a post? Seattle has been warming up on time this year and the stretches of sunny, dry weather is growing longer and longer. So what’s happening in the garden? Though the Siberian Irises have just finished blooming, Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’ is still going strong and the patches of Boykinia major are beginning to bloom.

Iris 'Blue King' and 'Caesar's Brother' are blooming together in a 'wild' patch.

Iris ‘Blue King’ and ‘Caesar’s Brother’ are blooming together in a ‘wild’ patch.

Iris 'Blue King' is taller, lighter blue, and more floriferous than 'Caesar's Brother'.

Iris ‘Blue King’ is taller, lighter blue, and more floriferous than ‘Caesar’s Brother’.

This photo doesn't do it justice - 'Caesar's Brother' has a richer, deeper purple-blue.

This photo doesn’t do it justice – ‘Caesar’s Brother’ has a richer, deeper purple-blue.

As for the Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’, it popped out its first bloom in April and has carried on since. I received both these Astrantia from work two autumns ago as rejects and they have done beautifully in the clay soil. However, one Astrantia always appears to be darker than the other one. I’ve begun to wonder if one was mislabeled as ‘Abbey Road’.

The first buds in late April.

The first buds on the darker one in late April.

Here is the same plant in mid-May.

Here is the same plant in mid-May.

Look how dark those flowers got!

Here is the darker one of the two a couple of weeks ago and it still has this coloring – just scrumptious!

Here is 'Abbey Road' today with the Boykinia.

Here is the lighter of the two ‘Abbey Road’ today with the Boykinia.

Like I said, Boykinia major has just begun blooming and both of these were the same batch of rejects just as the two Astrantia. Remember when it was just rhizomes and shoots a couple of months ago? It has grown considerably since then! I love its small heads of puffy flowers – a nice contrast to all the whispy things in the bed.

Here is a close of the flowers.

Here is a close-up of the flowers.

Just a few steps down from the Irises, Astrantia, and Boykinia are the Primula bulleyana in full bloom. A mentor gave me these two years ago and they really have taken themselves to the clay soil. I struggled trying to transplant one last autumn, since its unusually massive roots (for a primula) really gripped the wet clay. I still haven’t had a slug show any interest in them and they haven’t been fertilized, except once weakly about a year ago, and they are doing beautifully! On a gray Seattle day, they really glow in the gloom and brighten up the shady corner where they live. Love it! I hope it seeds around a bit this year.

Here are the first two whorls just opening a couple of weeks ago.

Here are the first two whorls just opening a couple of weeks ago.

Isn't that the color of a kumquat? Good enough to eat!

Isn’t that the color of a kumquat? Good enough to eat!

I love how the powdery sepals give way to burnt orange buds that open up to that bright cheery orange.

I love how the powdery sepals give way to burnt orange buds that open up to that bright cheery orange.

Speaking of primula, remember Primula florindae? It has also been in the garden for about two years now and I still haven’t gotten use to how slowly it emerges in the spring. But look at it now! The leaves have completely expanded and every day they seem to get bigger and bigger. (Plus I’ve heard and read that with extra water or in standing water the leaves are ginormous!)

I'm sorry it's hard to tell who is who, but the rosettes of larged round (but toothed) leaves in the center are the Primula florindae.

I’m sorry it’s hard to tell who is who, but the rosettes of large round (but toothed) leaves in the center are the Primula florindae.

Plus I am also not used to when they are suppose to bloom. Last year it was late July, this year it’s showing signs of inflorescences already! I can’t wait to smell its heavenly scented blooms of rich nutmeg, which I unfortunately missed last year.

Here is one of the many inflorescences poking up.

Here is one of the many inflorescences poking up.

Another primula closely related to P. florindae – which I didn’t flower, but I bought at the FlorAbundance Sale in April at the Washington Park Arboretum with buds – is Primula alpicola var. alba. I have the white form, but this primula can come in purple, white, and red. Smaller than P. florindae, P. alpicola is also know for it’s wonderful scent: sweet lily with a touch of spice and jasmine/daphne. It’s beyond words. Luckily, I forgot I had taken photos earlier since the flowers are just about done now.

The first bud opened to this little beauty! It's supposed to be 'white', but I love that it has just the tiniest touch of gray-blue against that powdery cream eye.

The first bud opened to this little beauty! It’s supposed to be ‘white’, but I love that it has just the tiniest touch of gray-blue against that powdery cream eye.

This was about two weeks after the first bud opened. The scent was just amazing!

This was about two weeks after the first bud opened. The scent was just amazing!

Near by I planted some bulbs in containers a bit late last autumn. I guess the species daffodils really appreciated it because they decided to bloom for me! I picked up these Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’ from work on a whim and I am happy that I did! These charming ‘wild’ daffodils are native to the Mediterranean region where winters are cool and wet and summers are super hot and dry. Luckily, Seattle’s climate is considered ‘Northern Mediteranean’, thus giving us the upper hand to grow an array of spring bulbs such as these.

These were finished blooming about a two weeks ago, but I forgot to attach them to the last entry.

These were finished blooming about a two weeks ago, but I forgot to attach them to the last entry.

Oh! I almost forgot! I have an unusual plant blooming right now! My friend gave me this mystery plant in the autumn and I fell in love with its purple tinted, lance-shaped leaves. With Riz’s help, we believe it is a Helwingia chinensis. Helwingia is an unusual shrub/tree from China and what is even more unusual is that the flowers are produced on the leaves. That’s right, right on the midrib!  I accepted the fact that mine was a male plant and it would never produce berries, but to my delight it turns out I have a girl! Can you just imagine shiny black berries resting delicately on the leaves? Now I just need to find a male plant…

Here are the new leaves emerging about a month ago. I love that purple-bronze tint!

Here are the new leaves emerging about a month ago. I love that purple-bronze tint!

Here is the famed Helwingia flower. I know, a flower only a botanist would love.

Here is the famed Helwingia flower. I know, a flower only a botanist could love.

Oh gosh, so much to talk about, but not enough time. I think it is another time for a quick jaunt again! Here are a few things that have bloomed or are blooming right now in the garden. From all the shots of the Long Plot you can tell that Aruncus dioicus is quite the grower! This one has shot up to least 6ft. tall!

This shot was a couple of weeks ago during the height of bloom.

This shot was a couple of weeks ago during the height of bloom.

Daylily Hemerocallis flava, or Custard Lily, is an heirloom pass-along plant. This daylily only blooms once a season, but the clear yellow blooms release such a luscious sweet scent of jasmine that it’s just too precious to have all summer long.

I love the clear lemon flowers, but oh that sweet fragrance! It wafts on the slightest breeze. Mmm!

I love the clear lemon flowers, but oh that sweet fragrance! It wafts on the slightest breeze. Mmm!

Here is Kniphofia ‘Lightning Bug’ doing her thing in the front garden. ‘Lightning Bug’ is a Xera Plants introduction said to rebloom throughout summer if watered well and deadheaded. I love its pale yellow color.

If I was a little bit more consistent with the Sluggo on this one, it would have had at least three more inflorescences.

If I was a little bit more consistent with the Sluggo on this one, it would have had at least three more inflorescences.

That’s it for now, but hopefully in a week or two I’ll be back again. If you are in Seattle, enjoy that well deserved sunshine!

Here is apart of the Long Plot in bloom this week. My how things are progressing quickly to summer!

Here is apart of the Long Plot in bloom this week. My how things are progressing quickly to summer!

Advertisements

Spring Fever

27 May

Seattle spring is a lovely waltz between warm sun breaks and cool rains and this year the weather has gotten the dance right! This perfect elixir of sunshine and rain is encouraging the garden to billow up and out (and causing some flopping). The succession of spring flowers are steadily progressing through, but Bletillas are definitely at their peak. Remember them two posts ago? Well here they are a couple weeks ago:

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

The first bud to bloom a week after:

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

Now here they are today. Look at all of those pink blooms – every year they take my breath away! They are starting to spread a little too fast, but it is a wonderful problem to have, right?

Bloomin' fools they all are!

Bloomin’ fools they all are!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

Right in the middle of all the Bletilla action my Papaver orientale ‘Miss Piggy’ just opened its first flower today, but something tells me that this isn’t the real ‘Miss Piggy’…hmm…

‘Miss Piggy’ is supposed to have huge pale pink blooms to about 10″ across,  packed with finely cut, frilly petals – this one definitely doesn’t match that description. Even though it has turned out to be the traditional shape and size, I am not disappointed. I really love that simple elegant poppy shape and salmony pink shade. Mmm, delicious!

It isn't what the tag promised, but it's absolutely lovely!

It isn’t what the tag promised, but it’s absolutely lovely!

Over on the other side of the front garden underneath the Edgeworthia, Calanthe x ‘Kozu Spice’ was in full bloom a few weeks ago.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

Oh remember the Camas? Both Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash have budded, blossomed, and moved on for a few weeks now. The fertilized flowers have turned into swelling seedpods and the entire plant will die back in a few weeks.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

Sometimes Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash can be confused for each other, but when they are grown next to each other it is easy to see that they are distinctive. Overall C. leichtlinii is a much larger plant – 3 feet tall – with light blue starry petals, whereas C. quamash has fuller petals with a richer purple-blue hue and is half the size of its cousin.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

Notice how Camassia quamash is darker, richer purple-blue.

In person the hue of Camassia quamash is a darker, richer purple-blue.

During my undergrad I took two propagation classes and one of them I got to try my hand at grafting. Here are the fruits (literally) of my labor! I grafted Ms. Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ on a M27 rootstock five years ago and now she is bearing young apples! It bloomed for the first time this year and I hope at least one apple ripens before I have to leave in the autumn.

Yay, crosspollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow - no aborting please!

Yay, cross-pollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow – no aborting please!

‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ was bred in the Netherlands in 1949 and it’s supposedly the most intense, complex, and sweet tasting apple you will ever encounter. It’s said that it stores well and the that the aroma and flavor actually changes and mellows as it sits and cures from week to week. Sounds amazing right? Why aren’t they commercially available? It turns out it’s not a “pretty” fruit by supermarket standards and it’s not very disease resistant. I love it either way.

The large white flowers on Malus 'Karmijn de Sonnaville' were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

The large white flowers on Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

While we are still in the rose family, my Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is in full bloom and Rosa ‘Julia Child’ is not too far behind! I love the fun and wild form of the Mutabilis rose and it’s playful ever changing colors is so uplifting on a dreary, gray day.

The apricot flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the once int he background in on its second-third day of bloom.

The flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the one in the background is on its second day.

What’s not to love about ‘Julia Child’? The old-fashioned, butter yellow flowers are fragrant, the leaves are glossy mid green, and very disease resistant. I just love her! Although her first flower is small, I spied many fat buds swelling and rising up and out of her foliage.

Here is the first little flower of Rosa 'Julia Child'. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

Here is the first flower of Rosa ‘Julia Child’. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

Oh and speaking of sweet scents, both Smilacina racemosa and Smilacina stellata have long finished with their blooms, but their clean sweet scent floated through the garden whenever a warm breeze blew by. Plus, come fall their olive mottled berries will turn a smoldering red.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to red.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to red.

Again like the Camas, both Smilacinas are related, but definitely different. S. racemosa is bigger in every sense: taller, wider leaves, more flower, whereas S. stellata is the opposite. S. racemosa is a clumper, while S. stellata is a spreader.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

Oh man, there are so many things blooming I wish I could share them all! Here’s a quick jaunt threw the rest of the garden of things that are blooming I can’t ignore.

Paeonia lutea-hybrid ‘Alice Harding’ is in full bloom and right on time this year. She is the grandmother if all Itoh Peonies (a miraculous cross between tree and herbaceous type peonies) and it is an honor that I have her growing and blooming in my garden beautifully! She is a low and compact peony perfectly suited for smaller gardens and her warm and slightly musky fragrance can waft a ways down the garden path on a warm day. Her flowers are a sweet lemon yellow with a brilliant red blotch at the base of every petal. The only trait that may be seen as a fault is that her flowers are nodding and usually nestled in her foliage. Unless planted higher up, one would have to lay on the ground to look right into the flowers. (I remedy this “problem” by cutting them and bringing them into the house.)

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

And on the other end of the color spectrum Bearded Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’ just popped open its first blossom! I’ve been waiting for two years! Its icy blue color and supple, but soft fragrance is so hard to resist! This was also a reject from work that I am glad I saved. I wish I would just smother myself in those silky dreamy petals.

Just look at those icy billowing petals!

Just look at those icy billowing petals!

Anyway, again I gotta run and it will probably be another week or two before I can write again, but here is a shot of what the Long Plot in the back garden is doing now. I’ll write you soon!

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

Sun Crazed

6 May

So much for Bloominocity – Part III! The heavens cleared and the sun is (apparently) staying for another week bringing with it temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s! Which is, by the way, totally unseasonal for Seattle in May…

I wrote this for Part III, but it’s season is over and we are moving on. Here it is anyway:

“I bought this lovely form of Rannculus ficaria from work a few weeks ago. Since I couldn’t really make out the label very well, I believe it is Ranunculus ficaria ‘Primrose’ from Edelweiss Perennials in Canby, Oregon. Identified or unidentified, I love its rounded petals (coworker pointed out its “waterlily-like” form). The glossy, cream colored petals end with a darker blotch at the base creating a halo around the eye. Its flowers are a nice departure from the typical bright, sunshine yellow of wild forms and its cream-splashed leaves will contrast well with the black leaves of Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ and the plain green of the straight species in the same bed. Tough, does-not-care-about-clay, and summer dormant: perfect.”

I love it's glistening creamy color - so soft and refreshing!

I love it’s glistening creamy color – so soft and refreshing!

The nice variegation on the leaves will extend the interest beyond just the flowers.

The nice variegation on the leaves will extend the interest beyond just the flowers.

Oh gosh, where do I even begin?

About two weeks ago my Tulipa clusiana were budded and ready to go. The next week while I was at work (of course) they were in full bloom during the day and closed in the evening, but as of today they have all shattered in the warmth.

Here is Tulipa clusiana fully budded and waiting for a warm day.

Here is Tulipa clusiana fully budded and waiting for a warm day.

Tulipa clusiana typically opens its flowers flat in the sun and here they are closing up for the night.

On a sunny day, Tulipa clusiana typically opens its flowers flat, but during overcast or nightfall they close up for the night. Here they are closing up for the night.

I love its elegant two-toned flowers and long, thin, and delicate stature.

I love the elegant two-toned flowers and long, thin, and delicate structure of the plant.

Four tree peonies were also showing signs of petals and colors about two weeks ago. (Long story short: my father loves plants from classical Chinese culture and when he had the chance to buy tree peonies by the dozens – he did. All through middle school and most of high school they would all reliably bloom and beautifully too, but now a days we are struggling with the war against botrytis.) Two tree peonies opened their first buds today while the first two to bloom are now past their peak and finishing up.

It's so exciting to see peonies finally unfurling, since it only happens for two weeks out of the year.

It’s so exciting to see peonies finally unfurling, since it only happens for two weeks out of the year.

In person it's a deeper purple.

In person it’s a deeper purple.

This one is actually a stronger red; very hard to capture on camera.

This one is actually a stronger red; very hard to capture on camera.

This one is a tall, strong grower with very luminous white petals that fade to deep pink at the base.

This one is a tall, strong grower with very luminous white petals that fade to deep pink at the base.

An unusual double pink with exceptionally thin, crepe-paper like petals.

An unusual double pink with exceptionally thin, crepe-paper like petals.

Remember my Primula sieboldii ‘Snowflake’ in my Bloominocity – Part I post? It’s a very delicate looking primula that is totally tough as long as you give it woodland conditions (cool and moist). So far it is doing beautifully in my unamended clay soil. Now I just have to encourage it to grow into a large patch for a seriously breathtaking spring display.

The flowers look like each petal has been pinked to create a delicate snowflake.

Here it is about a week ago. The flowers look like each petal has been pinked to create a delicate snowflake.

Now in full bloom, the titanium whiteness of the blossoms really brings you into the shade.

Now in full bloom, the titanium whiteness of the blossoms really brings you into the shade.

Between work, the client’s garden, my garden, and planning for my UK debut in September and mixing spring weather into all of that, I’ve been unable to regularly post on my blog. I’ll try to write more often, but in reality that would be most likely to happen towards late June.

Here is the Long Plot in the back garden a week ago.

Here is the Long Plot in the back garden about a week ago…

...and here is the long plot today!

…and here is the long plot today!

Anyway, if you live in the Puget Sound, enjoy that summery-spring weather and soak it up!

Bloominocity – Part II

14 Apr
Here is Geum x 'Marmalade' with it's citrusy nodding flared flowers.

Here is Geum x ‘Marmalade’ with it’s citrusy nodding flared flowers.

In the front garden Geum x ‘Marmalade’, a Xeraplants selection that I rescued from work about a year ago, is flowering now! It started out life as a 4″ potted plant and it received one too many drinks during the summer and all that was left was one weak shoot grasping onto life. With no compost I left to amend my heavy soil, so with slight hesitation I plugged the little Geum into the slick earth. Throughout winter and well through spring, summer, and into last autumn, it tripled in size and hasn’t looked back since and now it’s blooming! Seriously a tough plant!

Here is a close-up of the sweetly flared flowers in glowing apricot.

Here is a close-up of the sweetly flared flowers in glowing apricot.

The infloresnces started rising slowly above the foliage at first, but once the weather stopped threatening to freeze they all shot up. At nearly two feet tall, each inflorescence gracefully arcs outwards ending with a few syrupy apricot flowers. The flowers themselves are not like typical modern hybrids with full petals and acid colors. Rather the petals are heart shaped and delicately attached to the hypanthium allowing the flower to open into a flared bell.

The open flowers have a pleasant flared shape.

The open flowers have a pleasant flared shape.

Also in the front garden, I have some Tulipa humilis ‘Odalisque’ and Chionodoxa blooming in the Japanese Maple Container where I also planted my Saffron Crocuses. Tulipa humilis is one of the species Tulips that will multiply and reliably come back year after year. Chionodoxa is just as tough and reliable, plus it also seeds around gently creating a small drift over time. I love their bright colors in early spring when things can be so gray.

Tulipa humilis 'Odalisque' enjoying the sun along with the other bulbs.

Tulipa humilis ‘Odalisque’ enjoying the sun along with the other bulbs.

Butter yellow against the rich beet root purple just glows.

The butter yellow against the rich beet root purple just glows.

These bright little stars lifts my heart every time I see them.

These bright little stars lifts my heart every time I see them.

I was a little behind on planting last fall, so I planted a majority of my bulbs in mid-late winter (I still have tulip and daffodil bulbs I still haven’t planted yet…). As a result some of the bulbs didn’t bloom this year and some bloomed later than they typically would, such as my Galanthus elwesii. The majority of flowers didn’t make it past the slugs – even with Sluggo – but some patches did bloom, which was definitely a bonus. More than anything I wanted their energy to be put towards establishing and bulking up, but hey, I shouldn’t complain!

The leaves and flowers of Galanthus elwesii are much larger than the typical G. nivalis and the leaves have a beautiful glaucous cast as well.

The leaves and flowers of Galanthus elwesii are much larger than the typical Galanthus nivalis, and the leaves have a beautiful glaucous cast as well.

Galanthus nivalis is still blooming?! Yes, because I planted these late too.

Galanthus nivalis is still blooming?! Yes, because I planted these late too…

In the front garden I am being overrun by Bletilla striata. I saved these from the compost pile for one of my volunteering gigs. Being the (overly) sympathetic gardener that I am I grabbed ALL of them. When I got home I realized I was way over my head, I had no idea where to plant them.  The only available space open at the time was in the long bed  of the front garden. I threw them into the heavy clay later regretting I sentenced them to death. I eventually would forget all about them. Winter rolled past and in spring all of these mysterious shoots started to emerge out of the slick soil. What could they be? Wait, are them – no it couldn’t be! The Bletillas were not just up and growing, they also had doubled in size! It’s now about four years later and they have been expanding their hold of the long bed. Apparently Bletillas have a penchant for heavy soil and I’m not complaining…

I love the pleated new shoots of Bletilla striata in the early spring.

I love the pleated new shoots of Bletilla striata in the early spring.

At the end of the same bed where the Bletillas live the Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is getting ready to bloom. I bought her as a 6 inch twig about two and a half years ago from the Pat Calvert Greenhouse at the Washington Park Arboretum. She’s now grown to about 4.5 feet tall and well on her way to 6 feet and up. Though she is reportedly a vigorous grower, mine (so far) has be well behaved. The name ‘Mutabilis’ comes from the ever-changing color of the rose’s flowers as they fade. They first bloom in a soft apricot fading to a soft orange-pink, then a dusty pink and finally ending in cerise. It’s quite the show!

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' is such an easy grower, but it's wild habit can be a pain (literally) for people that like more formal plantings.

Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is such an easy grower, but it’s wild habit can be a pain (literally) for people that like more formal plantings. She has been pruned in this photo.

As if over night, the inflorescences of Tellima grandiflora in the back garden have shot up and flower buds are starting to swell. Just a few weeks ago they were only rosettes. Hopefully, the Siberian Irises growing with them will catch up and bloom with the Tellimas like they did last year, but I feel like last year was an off year for everyone. Hm, maybe I should name this the “Vertical Bed”, since I just realized this bed is all vertical interest.

My how they have grown! I love they young coiled flowering stems.

My how they have grown! I love they young nodding flowering stems.

Detail of the swelling buds.

Detail of the swelling buds.

The Tiarella trifoliata is also thinking about blooming and not to mention the Saxifraga x urbium too. Wow, I have a lot of representatives from the family Saxifragaceae. Scratch the “Vertical Bed”, it should be named the “Saxifrage Bed”.

Tiarella trifoliata is the epitome of woodland.

Tiarella trifoliata is the epitome of woodland.

Saxifraga x urbium is also known as London Pride. When it blooms a cloud of airy star flowers hover high above that glossy green foliage.

Saxifraga x urbium is also known as London Pride. When it blooms a cloud of airy star flowers hover high above that glossy green foliage.

Seriously, that’s a lot of vertical and a lot of Saxifrage.

Seriously.

Seriously.

Oh wait, another Saxifrage that is sending up inflorescences is Mitella ovalis. I got this one and another, Mitella pentandra, from Botanica at the Saturday U-District Farmers Market. These native plants can be found growing in mossy, wet forests and their crazy, though small, flowers have distinctive antenna-like petals. As some would say, “A flower only a botanist can love.” These diminutive flowers are always welcome in my garden. (I’m a botanist, can you tell?)

Mitella ovalis sending up flowering shoots. It's only 4.5 inches tall.

Mitella ovalis sending up flowering shoots. It’s only 4.5 inches tall.

Oh and speaking of native, all the Camas are sending up their spikes now and even the Mertensia has tripled in size!

Look at all that lushness!

Look at all that lushness!

I can't wait for those blue start flowers too!

I can’t wait for those blue start flowers too!

Mertensia bella just a few weeks away from blooming.

Mertensia bella just a few weeks away from blooming.

Ready for a flashback? Look who is still blooming:

I just can't get enough of it's hot orangey-red color and its fresh, sweet scent!

I just can’t get enough of it’s hot orangey-red color and its fresh, sweet scent!

Viola 'Duchesse de Parme' has been blooming since November!

Viola ‘Duchesse de Parme’ has been reigning since November!

Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akabana’ and Viola ‘Duchesse de Parme’! Can you believe it? They both have come a really long way and with such bloominocity! I feel like the mild winter had to do with a part of their fervor, but I am still in awe!

This is an older blossom, but look how full they can get! Plus they have that elusive sort of ripe-cherry-esque fragrance.

This is an older blossom, but look how full they get! Plus I can’t resist that elusive sort of ripe-cherry-esque fragrance.

With each passing day new plants pop up, and everything grows faster and faster – I just can’t keep up! I am going to have to make Bloominocity a trilogy, otherwise this post would never end. Now I must take advantage of this sun break! See you all in Part III!

Bloominocity – Part I

9 Apr

GeumSorry for the mini hiatus! I always forget how everything garden erupts all at once in spring leaving not enough time to tend to everyone. Pruning, weeding, transplanting, seeding is on my mind and the precious free days I have are spent doing all of those things. For plants however, growing, blooming, and setting seed are on the top of their list. The mixture of cool rainy days and warm sunny ones has been a recipe for a rambunctious garden. So what’s been blooming? Let’s see!

The Oemleria cerasiformis in my garden is a male plant.

I love the chains of flowers on Oemleria cerasiformis in the early spring.

The Oemleria cerasiformis started out as a little sucker I dug up on the side of a road and in one year it shot up to 3 feet. It bloomed in early spring this year revealing male flowers. Though I was hoping for a female plant for the fruit, it’s a part of rolling the diecious plant dice. Some people find that the flowers smell like cat pee, but I don’t find its green fragrance deterring. (Its scent reminds me of hiking trails in early spring through the understory of the Pacific Northwest.)

Epimedium fargesii in early March.

Epimedium fargesii in early March.

On a gray day in early March, I spied this Epimedium fargesii at work. Its pale pink stellar flowers glowed in the gloom, and the airy inflorescence gave each flower enough room to hang and stretch out. It’s been about a month and it’s still blooming! There are even new inflorescences emerging along with the new leaves. The triangular leaves start of small, supple, and deep burgundy. As they mature and expand the leaves fade to a rosy bronze, then to a fresh apple green. Swoon! I am not usually one for Epimediums, but the effervescent flowers and delicate stems lighten the heavy evergreen leaves unlike some of its heftier cousins.

Epimedium fargesii about a month later. Look at those new leaves! Mmm!

Epimedium fargesii about a month later. Look at those new leaves! Mmm!

Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ is reaching the end of its show, but not before putting on a pale blush.

Bergenia 'Bressingham White' aging quite gracefully for a white flower.

She’saging quite gracefully for a white flower.

Yet another plant I am surprised by: Erythronium oregonum. I received two from work as dormant bulbs and I planted them under my blue spruce without any expectations. The bulbs were tiny non-blooming size. I figured the voles would get the bulbs first and if they happened to dodge that bullet, the slugs would enjoy marring the leaves and taking bites out of the immature buds. Boy was I proven wrong! Every year the two have returned and flowered for the past few years. This year they are exceptionally lovely, though I wonder it the Sluggo had a hand in this…

I love the patterned leaves on Erythronium oregonum.

I love the patterned leaves on Erythronium oregonum.

I love the reddish bands on the base of each petal.

I love the reddish bands on the base of each petal.

Remember the Dodecatheon pulchellum on my past post? Well they are definitely up now! This is just the beginning, there are more buds on the way. It amazes that that all of these clumps came from three 4″ pots three years ago.

There are a few more blooming clumps to the left of this drift.

There are a few more blooming clumps to the left of this drift.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ is fully awake and beginning to flower. I hope one day to have a billowing mass of lacy gold foliage, but starting life as rescues in 4″ pots they are growing quite quickly and nicely.

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' with her graceful habit and beautifully contrasting pink and chartreuse colors.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ with her graceful habit and beautiful bright colors.

Our native Dicentra is also in bud. Yes, much more humble than his larger cousin, but it’s a (tough) friendly spreading ground cover.

Dicentra formosa is a few days away from blooming!

Dicentra formosa is a few days away from blooming!

Oh! Remember Darmera peltata? It’s sending up its first inflorescence! It won’t be long until the large lotus leaves are up and unfolding.

The inflorescence is a mere 4" tall, but I am still excited!

The inflorescence is a mere 4″ tall, but I am still excited!

The first Fritillaria meleagris is now in full bloom. I love their nodding flowers and that checkered snakeskin pattern. One of the few Fritillaria I can successfully grow in my clayey soil.

Looking so mournful, but beautifully so.

Looking so mournful, but beautifully so.

I could get lost in that mesmerizing pattern!

I could get lost in that mesmerizing pattern!

Alright, and now for the Primulas, are you ready?

Primula veris with some grass.

Primula veris with some grass…

Some more Primula veris amongst wild strawberries.

Some more Primula veris amongst wild strawberries…

And some more Primula veris still in their pots.

And some more Primula veris still in their pots.

Yes another Primula veris, but this time it's Primula veris 'Katy Mcsparron', a double form!

Yes another Primula veris, but this time it’s Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’ – a double form!

 Detail of a single flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’.

Detail of a single flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’.

A bisected flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’. Someone's got junk in in their trunk - she's stuffed!

A bisected flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’. Someone’s got junk in in their trunk – she’s stuffed!

Primula 'Belarina Cream' doing her thing. Plus she is super fragrant!

Primula ‘Belarina Cream’ doing her thing. Plus she is super fragrant!

Here's a fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in my front door.

Here’s a fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in my front door.

Here is another Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in the back garden (this one is about 4-5 years old).

Here is another fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in the back garden (this one is about 4-5 years old).

Primula polyanthus 'Gold Lace' the dainty stature and bright yellow really highlights the moody, deep maroon.

Primula polyanthus ‘Gold Lace’ the dainty stature and bright yellow eye really highlights the moody deep maroon.

Primula denticulata such soft blossoms like lilac cotton candy.

Primula denticulata such soft blossoms like lilac cotton candy.

Primula bulleyana stretching out with tiered kumquat-colored flowers to follow in June.

Primula bulleyana stretching out and with tiered kumquat-colored flowers to follow in June.

Primula sieboldii 'Snowflake' will also bloom a little later. The flowers will look like paper cutouts of snow!

Primula sieboldii ‘Snowflake’ will also bloom a little later. The flowers will look like paper cutouts of snow!

Just waking up is Primula florindae, which is the latest blooming and of them all. The nutmeg-scented flowers may appear as early as June and continue through August.

Just waking up is Primula florindae. The latest blooming and biggest of them all primulas. The nutmeg-scented flowers may appear as early as June and continue through August.

Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. I know I look like a Primula Nut, but I assure you this is just the beginning of a possible obsession (which I am trying to pull the reins on). Anyway after all that I’ll leave you with a house plant to cleanse the palette with: behold, Clivia ‘Golden Dragon’!

I've had this Clivia 'Golden Dragon' for two years, and this is his second time blooming for me.

I’ve had this Clivia ‘Golden Dragon’ for two years, and this is his second time blooming for me.

Yellow flowering Clivias are still highly sought after and comment a high-price, but they are more available than they have been in the past. I’m just happy to have one that blooms consistently (so far). Time to go, but do look for Part II tomorrow! Spring is certainly here!

Wildflower

21 Mar

MossWhen my native plant craze started, I planted only northwest native plants in the garden. My original plan was to create a low maintenance (and wild) garden, so that if life takes me away from Seattle, locally adapted plants could survive my parents’ forgetfulness and if they happened to escape my garden they wouldn’t be a potential new invasive species. My strict native palette has relaxed since then, but my love and appreciate for the diversity of flora of the Pacific Northwest is still going strong. If I ever see an interesting or not commonly offered native plant I’ll usually snatch it up.

Camassia leichtlinii v. suksdorfii leafing out through grass, mint, and Schizostylis.

Camassia leichtlinii v. suksdorfii leafing out through grass, mint, and Schizostylis.

Through the years I’ve saved Camas bulbs that were unsellable from work and I have scattered them through multiple beds, but the largest patch grows in my “Wild Bed”. Here weedy grasses, mint, and Schizostylis run a muck, but every year the Camas have come up fuller and undeterred. I love how the starry blue wands of Camas flowers give the bed a wild meadow look in mid-spring. My soils are predominately clay and it’s difficult to find plants that can survive bricky soil in summer and mud in the winter. Wonderfully, Camas are well adapted to handle waterlogged winters and parched summers, and plus they thrive in clay soil – right at home in my garden with little effort!

I love the buttery soft leaves of Dodecatheon pulchellum, and unfortunately so do the slugs.

I love the buttery soft leaves of Dodecatheon pulchellum, and unfortunately so do the slugs.

Speaking of native plants that thrive in clay soil, the Dodecatheon pulchellum I mentioned in a previous post is already showing signs of buds! I hope the little previously shattered divisions will finally flower this year. It would be lovely to see a drift of hot pink dangling above the cool bed of chartreuse moss.

Look, buds!

Look, buds!

Another native plant that took off in my clay soil (see a theme emerging?) is starting to wake up. Boykinia major is a herbaceous perennial that grows in shady wet meadows and spreads via underground rhizomes. Mid-spring it sends up tall stems with clusters of white flowers  and can bloom throughout summer if it is watered well.

Last year I received my two Boykinia major from work, because they had developed brown spots on their leaves. (I think it was because they didn’t stay as constantly moist as they would like to in the nursery.) I took them home and kind of plopped them into the seemingly last bit of free space in the bed. Apparently the two plants LOVE where I planted them, because I can see their rhizomes tunneling throughout the soil happily. Hopefully each little growing point will throw up an inflorescence giving me a stand of foamy white blossoms and glossy fringed leaves.

Boykinia major unfurling its new leaves.

Boykinia major unfurling its new leaves.

Sidalcea hendersonii, or Henderson’s Checkered Mallow, is another native wildflower that has done extremely well for me. It’s naturally found growing along the coast in tidal marshes and wet meadows. It’s a rare wildflower with wands of pink flowers and very uncommon in its native habitat. Small populations can only be found in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. An other interesting fact is that Henderson’s Checkered Mallow come either as female or bisexual plants. My plant is bisexual because it has self seeded gently to my delight.

Sidalcea hendersonii stays as a glossy, evergreen clump in the winter, but come spring it's crepe-paper pink flowers are attention grabbing.

Sidalcea hendersonii stays as a glossy, evergreen clump in the winter, but come spring it’s crepe-paper pink flowers are attention grabbing.

Like Dodecatheon pulchellum, Corydalis scouleri doesn’t like it hot either preferring to go dormant than endure the summer heat. This herbaceous perennial can grow into an impressive billowing four feet tall in one season, though it requires constant moisture to be able to reach such heights. It spreads via underground rhizomes and it quite the sight to see a colony thickly growing in the ravines of waterways and seeps.

Corydalis scouleri waking up with a few more buds on the way.

Corydalis scouleri waking up with a few more buds on the way.

Back in the Wild Bed behind some Camas I have Mertensia bella poking up out of the ground. This native Lungwort lives up in cool mountain seeps and wet meadows. It’s lightly hairy leaves and stems hold up dangling light blue bell flowers in the late spring. Though I planted it in a site that gets too dry and hot in the summer, it still has hung on and grew for the past few years. Since the slugs are also fond of this plant, I’ve been applying Sluggo before it has come up.

Mertensia bella emerging.

Mertensia bella emerging.

Both Maianthemum racemosum and Maianthemum stellatum, formerly in the genus Smilacina, are just pushing up out of the ground. M. stellatum will bloom first, while M. racemosum will have the fullest panicle of blossoms. Both do beautifully in a damp woodland setting and the hold their leaves and red mottled berries through the summer and autumn.

Maianthemum racemosum is the largest of the False-Soloman's-Seal.

Maianthemum racemosum is the largest of the False-Soloman’s-Seal.

Unlike M. racemosum, M. stellatum will run and colonize loose, damp soil.

Unlike M. racemosum, M. stellatum will run and colonize loose, damp soil.

Our naive Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa is a very tough herbaceous perennial that spreads via underground rhizomes. Though it is best in damp shade, it can grow in dry shade, however once summer drought hits it will retreat back into the soil until next spring. I have been trying to get it to spread under a Colorado Blue Spruce, but since it’s in dry shade it is spreading very slowly.

Dicentra formosa has the delicate, lacy foliage, but don't let that fool you.

Dicentra formosa has the delicate, lacy foliage, but don’t let that fool you.

Where would I be without Tellima grandiflora? This low evergreen mounding perennial can grow in deep shade to full sun, but part shade in a woodland setting is where it will look its best. In spring tall elegant stems lined with white fridged flowers rise above the scalloped leaves and eash flower will fade to pink or red before dropping its petals. It is a great filler plant and it visually binds the beds together to make my garden more cohesive and best of all it readily self sows so I have my own nursery stock on site. (Don’t worry, the seedlings are easy to weed out if they end up in an undesired place.)

I have a soft spot for Tellima grandiflora. If I had to pick a favorite native plant, this might be it!

I have a soft spot for Tellima grandiflora. If I had to pick a favorite native plant, this might be it!

Phew, what a long post! We’ll those are a few of my favorite native plants and there will be more waking up soon. Stay warm out there and see you soon!

Equinox

20 Mar

Primula

Today is ‘officially’ the first day of spring and to celebrate I went out yesterday to take photos. (Yesterday morning was sunny, while today heavy rains and gusts are slamming western Washington.) Both day and night are equal today and from here on out days will only get longer. This is what both gardeners and plants dream of during the long, cold nights of winter. It’s also Persian New Year – Happy Nowruz!

A freebie Anemone coronaria blooming again this year.

A freebie Anemone coronaria blooming again this year.

I took home three freebie Anemone coronaria about three years ago and planted them with the Muscari armeniacum patch in the south bed of the front garden. Their return in spring every year always surprising, but delightful. Though only one came up this year and I think it maybe the, now drift, Muscari is choking them out. Either way I hope this one sticks around.

It’s amazing what a little bit of warmth and sun can do in the garden. For the past week we’ve been having warmer temperatures, scattered showers, and sun breaks here and there. These conditions encourage sleeping perennials to push up out of the ground and leafy weeds to flourish. Remember Primula denticulata in my last post? The flowers were all huddling in its clentched leaves for warmth, but now there are multiple wands of soft lilac pompoms raising up above fresh lettucy leaves – scrumptious!

Primula denticulata in bloom with more inflorescences on the way.

Primula denticulata in bloom with more inflorescences on the way.

I need to rush off to work, so it’ll be a short post today. But here are a few more photos:

Anemone sylvestris stretching up and out of the ground.

Anemone sylvestris stretching up and out of the ground.

Two of the many daffodils to come.

Two of the many daffodils to come.

Here is my small patch of Viola odorata 'Queen Charlotte' in full bloom.

Here is my small patch of Viola odorata ‘Queen Charlotte’ in full bloom.

See you next time!

Consider the Plants

for a life botanic

UW Greenhouse Insiders

Plants to watch in the University of Washington's Botany Greenhouse

Plinth et al.

the platform between art and horticulture

Seeds by Post

A New way of gardening - have seeds delivered to your door!

Xera Plants Blog

Gardening in Portland, Oregon Zone 8b

Rose Notes

for a life botanic

RG Blog

for a life botanic

Growing with plants

for a life botanic

What ho Kew!

for a life botanic

Prairiebreak

for a life botanic

The Frustrated Gardener

The life and loves of a time-poor plantsman

DC Tropics

for a life botanic

Blog – Floret Flowers

for a life botanic

View from Federal Twist

Ramblings of a New American Gardener

Garden amateur

for a life botanic

Stupid Garden Plants

for a life botanic

The Chthonian Life

Making the natural, unnatural.

gardeninacity

Notes from a wildlife-friendly cottage garden

The Garden Smallholder

Small-Scale Smallholding, A Tiny Farm In A Big Garden

Southbourne Gardens

A slice of the good life

a sonoma garden

adventures in organic living

The Outlaw Gardener

for a life botanic

busy mockingbird

a messy collection of art projects, crafts, and various random things...

Hayefield

A Pennsylvania Plant Geek's Garden

.

for a life botanic

Squirrels and Tomatoes

the slow saga of my garden

Smithsonian Gardens

Discover Smithsonian Gardens

theseasonalbouquet

two designers, two farms, two coasts + one dare

A Next Generation Gardener

for a life botanic

Growing Steady

for a life botanic

%d bloggers like this: