Wednesday, March 25, 2009


In a continued post on the 2009 Seattle Garden Show this post
is focused on outdoor water features. I've grouped them in
types to show just a few of the many styles of water
features there are. After seeing these beautiful
displays it really makes me want to
incorporate one into the garden.

This one was my favourite. I loved the contemporary form and
the infinity edge feel. It's a pond less style so it's easy to maintain.
Love the repetition of shapes of tiles and water feature.
And the lighting inside --- amazing!

Another pond less style but with basalt spires. This style
has been around for a while but still is a great look. For those that
are not familiar with basalt spire water features
the spires are drilled in the center to allow the
water to cascade out.

I really like this reflecting pond. It's unique shape creates
a wonderful focal area.

Another reflecting pond with a Southeast Asian influence. The repeated pots in
the center were a nice touch and anchor this display.

This rill style was beautifully executed. The capped top
also adds additional seating.

The lighting from below on the cube form of the contemporary
water feature was very effective. Water came from the center of
the square and cascaded over all four edges.

This water feature incorporated natural and industrial elements.
The water was cascading out of galvanized flashing
which contrasted nicely with all the mosses,
boulders, logs, and foliage.

And finally, a natural design water fall and pond
as if you came upon it on a mountain hike.

As you can see there were many styles and something for everyone.
I hope it inspires you
to find a place in you garden for one.

trichocaulon - meaning with a hairy stem
plants with this word - Hypericum trichocaulon

Saturday, March 21, 2009


In Mid-February Seattle had it's 21st Garden Show. This show is the 2nd largest in the country and is always eagerly anticipated by any one into gardening in the area. For me it really
kicks off the garden season. I've featured just a few pictures to show some garden trends and share some thoughts. Unfortunately the photos are not as crisp and focused as I would have liked ( I have a new camera and I'm still trying to figure it out). But I'm sure you'll see some very creative ideas that you can apply to you garden.

Multi-layered hard scapes in different colours

Outdoor living spaces with dual tasking (benches store wood and provide seating)
mixing contemporary elements with rustic/natural textures and finishes.

All foliage landscapes relying on textures, form, and shades of foliage.

Natural elements for form and function. These granite steps are 6 feet and larger!

Ground covers used in new ways. Pave' design used with these ground covers
creating garden wall.

Like above but here the ground covers were used to create an art piece in the patio.
A living Collage!

The continued use of outdoor garden rooms, the above created out of stone. Again the using natural material to function. There were lots of rock benches and seats creating small intimate areas designed into the garden.

I just thought this was very cool. It's the end of a tree (your seeing the roots) used as an accent piece as well as screen.

This display reminded me of how important it is to create peaceful areas that we gardeners can retreat to. The scale on this garden was wonderful. It really gave the illusion of depth in a very narrow garden.

The next post well show some of the incredible water features featured at the show.

rugosus or rugulosus - meaning wrinkled
plants with this word - Rosa rugosa

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Wanted to share an Oxalis for St. Patty's Day. The above is Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) which is native to the Pacific Northwest. This plant is a shade lover and actually folds it's leaves down in direct sun. They quickly reopen once the shade returns. Native American Indians enjoyed the leaves of this sorrel. Oxalis organa can be located growing at the base of large trees like Firs, Redwoods, and Hemlocks preferring a soil of moist rich humus. Forming large clumps and spreads moderately this plant is hardy.
With the financial distress through out the glode these days maybe finding a four leaf clover or the luck of the Irish is just what the need to lighten up the mood.

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Well it's that time of year that the seed starting gets kicked off. I'm ambitious this year with
starting many more types of seeds than usually. All get started inside with a seed starting technique that I have done for years. I can share on that in a later post. The above are some sweet pea starts, which I'm acclimating to outside conditions. Below is a list of what I'll be sprouting this Spring. I'll let you know on how they are doing.

Sweet Pea 'North Shore'
Sweet Pea 'Cupani's Original'
Sweet Pea 'April in Paris'
Ipomopsis (Hummingbird Mix)
Silene 'Jack Flash'
Gomphrena 'Fireworks'
Viola 'Amber Kiss'
Zinnia (Border Beauty Hybrid Mix)
Zinnia (Cut and Come Again Mix)
Zinnia (Giant Cactus Flower Mix)
Tithonia 'Sundance'
Pumpkin 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes'
Sweet Basil
Sweet Basil 'Red Rubin'
Thunbergia Alata 'Superstar Orange'
Mina lobata
Sunflowers (Mixed Hybrid Collection)
Limnathes douglasii
Nolana (Sun Belle Mix)
California Poppy (Fruit Crush)
Marigold (Zenith Mix F1 Hybrid)
Torenia (Happy Faces Hybrid Mix)

This well keep me busy for a while. I'll share pictures of how they are doing or when they are blooming in future posts.

douglasii - named after David Douglas
plants with this word - Limanthes douglasii (Poached Egg flower)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Boston Ivy (Pathenocissus tricuspidata)

Golden Full Moon Maple (Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum')

Gardening is not an exact science and there are often countless mysteries in how Mother Nature works. The photos shown are to prove this point. Both pictures were shot last Spring. But as you can see their are some interesting colour differences in the leaves.
All the foliage on the maple is from side by side branches (same plant). And the Ivy (growing on a wall near my home) is all receiving the same amount of light, water, temperature, all the same conditions. So why the differences in colour? I don't have the answer.
All plants with in a month had returned to their traditional Spring colour. In any case it was beautiful to see, a little bit of Autumn colour in Spring, and a gentle reminder of Mother Nature many surprises.

aureum - meaning gold or golden
plants with this word - Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'

Sunday, March 08, 2009


In a continued series on potted bulbs I wanted to elaborate on Hyacinths. I generally grow several pots of Hyacinths a year strictly for their fragrance. Nothing is more welcoming than a pot in full bloom located by the front door were guests enter. Plus, I get to enjoy the flowers fragrance every time I go by too. Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), along with tulips, are often grown as annual because they regularly don't match the vigour they have in their first year. So, at my garden after they finish blooming the bulbs are discarded into the compost pile making room for summer colour in those same pots.
The above pictured hybrids are H. orientalis 'City of Haarlem' (yellow) and H. orientalis 'Gipsy Queen' (peach). I really don't have any recommended favorites when it comes to Hyacinths generally choosing what every is available at the local garden center.

amarissimus - meaning very bitter
plants with this word - Salvia amarissimus


I love this time of year exploring what new hybrids that are available and seeing new plant introductions. It can be very tempting seeing so much garden candy. I use to be more impulsive when purchasing plants. But now with garden experience I'm much more calculated in what plants make it into the cart. One thing that has helped is blogs by fellow gardeners that inform me of their experiences when investigating plants that I'm not familiar with. On that note I thought to share a plant you might want to stay away from.
Aegopodium podograria 'variegatum' (Bishops Weed) is a beautiful hardy ground cover with multi tonal variegated leaves that prefers partial shade locations in moist rich soil. In a 4 inch or 1 gallon pot it can look harmless until you releases it into your garden. Once established it is very aggressive spreading by underground runners as well as copious reseeding. Reseeding can be deterred by mowing of flowers which does flush out fresh new foliage. However, this plant loves to spread. It can be contained by metal or cement barriers dug into the ground. It is a very attractive ground cover and if you have a large area that has difficulty growing anything you may want to consider it. If not there are many other ground covers that are far less invasive allowing you more time to enjoy your garden instead of working in it.

spathulifolius - meaning with spoon-shaped leaves
plants with this word - Sedum spathulifolius

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I toured the garden today anxiously seeing what's sprouting. I was happy to see this years tulips are going strong, already standing about 3 inches high. It's always amazing how quickly they grow, knowing that in 6 to 7 weeks they will be in full bloom. Generally I grow my tulips in containers primarily because of a constant vole problem I have. In additional its great having them portable to move them closer while in colour. The above picture is of last years tulips. I traditionally plant in solid varieties (for more impact) and roughly 150 to 200 hundred every year. Some feel that its a waste of money but to me it's not a big expense for the joy I get out of them. Plus I often give out extra pots to brighten up friends and neighbors doorsteps.
The two pictured are Tulipa fosteriana 'Juan' (orange and yellow tulip) and Tulipa greggii 'Red Riding Hood' (red tulip). I'm a big fan of hybrids like these because they tend to be early bloomers and they have beautifully mottled foliage so they look interesting even before they bloom.
In Spring container gardening it's really hard to top the overall
impact of a large pot of tulips.

malacoides - soft, supple
plant with this word - Primula malacoides

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Successful gardening is comprised of many things. Appropriate sunlight, adequate watering,
well producing hybrids or cultivars, and last but certainly not lest good soil. This is especially true for container gardening. The above pictures prove a valueable point. Both pots have the same plants grown in similar locations (just feet from each other). But the container on the left
had soil that had been used for several years (I had not replaced the soil). While the pot on the right had new potting soil. Both containers received the same amount of water and fertilizer.
As you can see there is a tremendous difference between the two. Lesson learned - I'll invest in new potting soil every year to get healthier vigorous plants.
I have always preached this at nurseries that I have worked at, I guess now I'll take my own advise :)

patraea - meaning growing among rocks
plants with this word - Quercus patraea

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Well it's getting to that time of year where seeds that have been
ordered are arriving and I get ambitious in getting the garden going.
Last Fall I started some seeds for Fall/Spring colour. Above are some shots of some of them. Pictured are Viola 'Blue Haven' from the Viola Sorbet series. I was amazed at there vigour, and how quickly they started blooming, showing flowers at only 1 1/2 inches tall. This hybrid grows to about 8 to 10 inches wide and generally to about 6 inches high. Performing best in full sun, this Viola responds favorable to often fertilizing (every 2 to 3 weeks) during the growth season. It well reseed but if you going to have volunteers popping up in the garden I can think of many that would be worse. I started several flats, gave out a few, and have heard wonderful comments on how well this viola is doing. I'd have to say if your looking for a very easy care annual this that give you months of colour and delivers old fashion charm then this Viola is for you.

validus - meaning strong, robust
plants with this word - Lobelia validus