Tag Archives: Fuchsia magellanica ‘Riccartonii’

Dog Days

20 Aug

It’s definitely late summer here in Seattle. August is filled with the warmest and driest days of the year and every plant has (or had) the reached peak of its growth. This is a bittersweet time of the year for me. The garden – if well watered – is at it’s height right now, and the days are warm and sunny. However, everyday the sun is slowly creeping lower in the sky and with this cooler temperatures and rain will make their grand reentrance once again. Though this year I will be experiencing autumn in a different country, but since their climate (the UK) is similar to ours I have a feeling I won’t be missing every element of home.

Nothings says summer like a gardenia and mine is still going! (There are even more buds on the way!) I wasn’t a big fan of gardenias before – they are really needy plants – but Gardenia ‘Frostproof’ has changed my mind about growing them.

Isn't it dreamy? The fragrance easily soothes shot nerves.

Isn’t it dreamy? The fragrance easily soothes shot nerves.

If you know me, I am a sucker for fragrant plants. Having fragrance in the garden is wonderful, but it isn’t enough for me. I try to keep a few fragrant houseplants to tide me over during long, cold winters. Another classic plant that is grown all over the world for it’s scent is jasmine. Jasminum sambac is a large tropical scandent shrub and its blossoms are used to scent teas, make leis, and extracted for perfumes. I prefer the scent of this jasmine species, because it is sweeter and lighter than the other ones available. It’s been blooming on and off for weeks now and all it really ask for is ample sun and water. (Feeding it also helps it bloom more vigorously.)

The scent of this single dime-sized flower effortlessly fills the room, but not in a suffocating way.

The scent of this single dime-sized flower effortlessly fills the room, but not in a suffocating way.

Another plant that is also super fragrant is Cestrum nocturnum. This plant is also a large tropical shrub, but it  is easy to keep in check by giving it a hard prune, which encourages it to produce more flowers. During the day you have to get very close to be able to smell the flowers, but once night falls is fragrance pours out. It smells very sweet, like children’s bubble gum, but with a touch of spice.

Here are the first few buds closing slightly in the morning light.

Here are the first few buds closing slightly in the morning light.

I’ve read of reports where the plant is too fragrant to the point of being noxious, but I’ve read that others love how the plant exudes sugar and spice. My shrub was very small last year, so I haven’t experienced the former, but I have a feeling I will be with the same line of thinking of the latter.

There are so many buds on the way!

There are so many buds on the way!

About a week ago, the second Agapanthus inapertus ‘Nigrescens’ started to bloom continuing the agapanthus party. I just love this species! The upright blueish leaves and the tall loose heads of nodding, dark flowers are such a delicious combination.

I love the downward facing deep bluey-purple flowers.

I love the downward facing deep bluey-purple flowers.

Next to the agapanthus, Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ is (still) in a a pot and it hasn’t stopped blooming. I was introduced to this plant by Riz when he came back from the Chelsea Flower Show in 2011. This cultivar finally made it to US shelves this spring and it was love at first sight.

I love the golden crown of anthers sitting in the center of the delicate white petals.

I love the golden crown of anthers sitting in the center of the delicate white petals.

Hardy, everblooming, white, and delicate are definitely some of it’s many good characteristics, but when you reverse the flower, there is a lovely surprise:

Beautiful contrast, isn't it?

Beautiful contrast, isn’t it?

The backside of some of the the petals have a beautiful silvery-lilac color. I believe where the petals show this wonderful change of color is where the sun was hitting as a bud during development, since with stronger sunlight the steely-lilac is much richer and dramatic. When the breeze tousles the flowers about the flashes of lilac and white is quite dynamic.

They're just so delicate and light.

They’re just so delicate and light.

Here is one of the California poppies I picked up off of the reject pile at work and it is starting to bloom again. Its name, Eschscholzia californica ‘Apricot Flambeau’, is quite a mouth full, but luckily it isn’t as difficult to make it happy.

I hope this cheerful poppy reseeds and escapes the hungry hoards of slugs next spring.

I hope this cheerful poppy reseeds and escapes the hungry hoards of slugs next spring.

Also reblooming again is my Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’. This hybrid is the first scented alstroemeria in existent, but that might have changed since its introduction.

The red stamens against the clear yellow petals stands out well in the bright sunlight.

The red stamens against the clear yellow petals stands out well in the bright sunlight.

Speaking of Alstroemeria, I have a beautiful and uncommon vining cousin in bloom right now: Bomarea edulis. It has been blooming for about a week now and I couldn’t be more excited! I bought this as a 4″ potted plant from Annie’s Annuals last autumn and grew it like a houseplant during the winter. It was about to bloom in February, but some how thrips got into my house and started wreaking havoc. (The thrips have been done away with since then…) The bomarea was so stressed it aborted the flowers and kind of stopped doing anything. Once it was warm enough, I moved it outside hoping it would rejuvenate itself.

Here the buds are just beginning to open.

Here the buds are just beginning to open about a week ago.

At first it was slow to do anything, but finally the plant started to send up shoots when things got warmer and drier. It’s still sending up new shoots, but the pervious ones are starting to mature now and more buds should be on the way!

I love the details of the speckling on the lime-green petal.

I love the details of the speckling on the lime-green petal.

Here they are fully open. What a candy-colored, tropical dream!

Here they are fully open. What a candy-colored, tropical dream!

Another first time bloomer? Here is Crocosmia ‘Burnt Umber’. The combination of hot, searing orange-red, black stems, and deep olive leaves is really stunning. Though I wish the thrips didn’t warp the flowers so much.

It's quite a smoldering and livid plant.

It’s quite a smoldering and livid plant.

And here is Fuchsia magellanica ‘Riccartonii’ blooming for the first time for me as well. In every way, this fuchsia is half the size of the usual form of the species. The only thing that isn’t reduced is it’s bright colors.

These pint-sized flowers really shout from a distance.

These pint-sized flowers really shout from a distance.

I have to run off to an appointment, so that’s all I got time for now. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to write a little bit later this week. Though my visa for the UK did arrived a few weeks ago – which I feel was the biggest hurdle – I thought I would feel more at ease getting everything together. Who knew preparing to live abroad would be such an effort? (That was a joke.) I can’t believe I am leaving in two weeks for the UK, it always felt so far away…just like how autumn felt so far away.

Schizosylis coccinea 'Major' is an autumnal bloomer that does beautifully in my heavy soil.

Schizosylis coccinea ‘Major’ is an autumnal bloomer that does beautifully in my heavy soil.

Apparently nature, on the other hand, doesn’t think so.

Advertisements

Envisioning the Tropics

30 Jul

Seattle is definitely far from the tropics, but the end of July and the beginning of August marks when gardens in the Northwest take a tropical turn. With a steady increase of warmth, the tropical perennials that we treat as annuals take on a whole new life: with a new reinvigorated faith that there is in fact a plant god – they have stopped sulking and are doubling/tripling, in size. Temperate plants from climates that are supposed to experience a ‘real’ summer are also putting out most of their growth now too. If the gardener remembers to provide a steady stream of water, August through September is the garden’s second crescendo here in Seattle (the first being spring). The greens of the garden are full and lush, fuchsias are dripping with blossoms, dahlias are beginning to put on a show, reblooming roses are at it again, chrysanthemums will be in bud and bloom in a few more weeks, on and on the list goes. As usual garden life doesn’t always go according to plan, so at this time of year my garden begins to grow a bit weary from the dryness of summer.

One plant that is handling my inconsistent watering well is Solanum marginatum that I bought from Far Reaches Farm last autumn. It only drops one or two lower leaves if I’ve forgotten to water it for about a week, which when I think of it, is rather polite. Unfortunately, this tender shrub is only hardy in Zones 9 and up, so I had to overwinter it.

I love the contrast between its soft white fuzz and sharp spines, which are all over - really.

I love the contrast between its soft white fuzz and sharp spines, which are all over – really.

Also, some bee action has caused one flower to produce a fruit! Hopefully it ripens before I leave, so I can harvest and share the seeds.

What a juicy looking fruit with interesting green marbling/veining!

What a juicy looking fruit with interesting green marbling/veining!

Another plant that I overwintered as a houseplant (by the way also gets mite-y like the traditional ones) is Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frostproof’. Within the last week it decided it was time to bloom. I bought this mini-shrub for half the price at work, since it was declining and looking sad. It still isn’t looking quite like the ones at work, but it is covered with buds and I couldn’t be happier! Everyday a single bud will unfurl completely by night fall. I strategically placed the gardenia in our entryway where the slightest breeze will greet us with the rich, buttery perfume.

I love how the narrow, slightly twisted petals, gives the flowers a waterlily like form.

I love how the narrow, slightly twisted petals, gives the flowers a waterlily like form.

Also by our entry way, Grevillea victoriae ‘Marshall Olbricht’ has begun setting buds for autumn. I am impressed with this Australian shrub: all it asks for is a little bit of water in the summer and in return it blooms from autumn into winter. Plus it has survived two winters out in the open in a terracotta pot. Definitely a keeper!

I won't get to see these buds in bloom, but hopefully my family will appreciate them.

I won’t get to see these buds in bloom, but hopefully my family will appreciate them.

Another plant that has done well for me in its container (actually, it has done better in the container than in the garden) is Tricyrtis formosana var. glandosa ‘Blu-Shing Toad’ from Edelweiss Perennials. When I planted two in the garden two summers ago they were constantly being mowed down by slugs and shredded into a million pieces by tunneling chipmunks.  I threw in the towel and decided to try one in a large container. I’m glad I did, because it really has exceeded my expectations. The growth it put on is quite miraculous and almost no slug bites to speak of either!

Wouldn't you say this is a happy toad lily?

Wouldn’t you say this is a happy toad lily?

Look at all those buds ready to pop!

Look at all those buds ready to pop!

Here is Agapanthus inapertus ‘Nigrescens’ just beginning to bloom. With its upright leaves and dark, brooding, introspective flowers, I would have to say that this is my favorite agapanthus.

The flowers are a deeper, purple-black in person.

The flowers are a deeper, purple-black in person.

Oh here is another plant that I adore: Dryopteris sieboldii. My coworker turned me onto this fern and I can’t get enough of it! (Thank you, Vivian!) Though this species is mainly tropical, it is hardy here in the Puget Sound. However, I am 700 feet up, so just to be safe I’ll keep it as a houseplant come winter.

I love its saber shaped fronds!

I love its saber shaped fronds!

Oh, and another thing I can’t get enough of? The new growth on my Schefflera brevipedunculata. Is it truly hardy in zone 8? No one really knows. (Dan Hinkley thinks so.) It’ll be brought in with the houseplants and tender things alike for the winter.

Nothing like fuzzy, white new growth to set my heart-a-flutter.

Nothing like fuzzy, white new growth to set my heart aflutter.

In the Front Garden, I’m trying Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’ for the second time. I got my first plant from Annie’s Annuals last September when I was visiting family in San Francisco. (Clay tolerant and anise scented – how could I say no?) I planted it late and it didn’t really get a chance to establish fully, but it was still a great grower. When spring rolled around, it started to sprout, but every day half of it would disappear. At first I thought it was slugs, then cutworms, even evil magic, but my antidotes weren’t working. Then it came to me: root weevils. By the time I figure it out, it was too late. It was so tired (and jaded) from regrowing over and over again that it gave up the ghost. This spring I bought a new one and planted it in a different section of the bed. It’s growing and blooming quite happily right now! Hopefully, it will be established enough to outgrow any problems next year.

The soft lavender flowers against the bright chartreuse leaves is electric!

The soft lavender flowers against the bright chartreuse leaves is electric!

Remember ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ just developing in spring? Look at her fruit now!

I've been waiting to taste this for years! Hopefully they will ripen in time...

I’ve been waiting to taste this for years! Hopefully they will ripen in time…

The newly planted Veronica gentianoides ‘Pallida’ in the Long Plot is reblooming for me. This low groundcover has fleshy lance shaped leaves that are arranged in a pleasingly tidy rosette. During summer tall wands of fragile, porcelain flowers sway in the softest breeze, lifting the whole garden from its heavy cloak of green. Ah, to have a nice swath of it fluttering in the warm summer air would be soothing.

Isn't this charming? I love the faint, delicate blue veining on the petals.

Isn’t this charming? I love the faint, delicate blue veining on the petals.

My ‘Julia Child’ rose is blooming again. There are already globs of blossoms here and there, but  there are more buds on the way! She is such an easy and care free rose with a tough constitution. More importantly, who could resist those anise scented, butter yellow flowers? What more could you ask for?

This might be my favorite rose...EVER.

This might be my favorite rose…EVER.

Down a bit from ‘Julia Child’ is a bright combination of plants that worked out better than I imagined! I love how the fading flowers of Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’ is really setting the gold flowers of the Crocosmia Gerbe d’Or’ aflame. On the other side, the hot-blooded flowers of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ really meets the intensity of the crocosmia, and the bronze leaves of the crocosmia snuggling up to the chartreuse leaves of the fuchsia is a wonderful contrast.

I really like the bruised purple astrantia against the shining gold of the crocosmia.

I really like the bruised purple astrantia against the shining gold of the crocosmia.

I hope that the fuchsia grows tall enough next year, so that it’s flowers can mingle and dangle with the crocosmia flowers.

Look at those hot, burning colors together!

Look at those hot, burning colors together!

Further down the Long Plot is where it starts to take on a tropical look. About a little over a month ago, I planted Woodwardia unigemmata in an empty section at the base of the helwingia. It’s happily growing and throwing up new beautiful fronds! The fiddle heads were a redder color earlier in the season when it was cooler, but I still love that elegant, almost metal-like, new growth.

Isn't that bronze-y red just delicious?

Isn’t that bronze-y red just delicious?

To the right of the fern Helwingia chinensis and Fuchsia magellanica ‘Riccartonii’ fit right in weaving through our native Indian plum, lady ferns, and woodland strawberries. I love how this leafy corner looks! The different shapes, textures, and colors of the leaves really play off of one another quite well. I wish photographs didn’t have the tendency to flatten gardens, because this section is really layered and wonderfully light in person.

This is my little lush and jungly bit of the Long Plot.

This is my little lush and jungly bit of the Long Plot.

Further down is a new plant I got in early July at Justin’s garden festival of Growing Steady. Rubus lineatus is a slightly tender, suckering shrub from China with beautifully pleated leaves and a shimmering white undersides. I hope this one makes it through the winter and ultimately grows into a nice large shrub, because it needs to hold its own growing behind a native goat’s beard.

The silvery pleated underside of the leave is pleasantly soft and lustrous.

The silvery pleated underside of the leave is pleasantly soft and lustrous.

I’ve also been doing a lot of repotting. Like for instance, on the left I potted up a small rhizome of ginger that decided it was not going to be chopped up and cooked. I’ve learned that ginger makes a great houseplant. It might be because it is naturally found growing in warm, bright shade in the understory of the tropics – which is some what like a sunny windowsill. It’s also nice to have a ginger plant around because the leaves and flowers release a sweet ginger fragrance if brushed. Fun, right? And the plant on the right is a cutting of a scented geranium my friend gave me before heading off to study monkey vocalizations in China. I know it looks a bit tired from transport, but it is quite alive and very springy. This one smells of citronella.

Just freshly potted up.

Just freshly potted up.

Sorry it took almost a month to write again, but since this is my last week of work I (hopefully) will have more time to write about what’s happening in the garden. Here is a photo of the Long Plot now. Talk to you soon!

Here is the Long Plot in mid-summer.

Here is the Long Plot in mid-summer.

P.S. I’ve submitted the first portion of my visa application and bought my ticket to the UK – I can’t believe I am leaving in 5 weeks!

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: