Thursday, December 28, 2006


I'm back. Sorry for the absence. I was ill earlier in the month and We had that horrible wind storm in our area which knocked out our power for a week and our Internet for 12 days. So its good to be back to share some photos and thoughts.

The above pictures are of a Holiday Nest of fruit and foliage from the garden. I love the natural textures and Autumn/Winter colour combinations. Hope you do too.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 04, 2006


A few shots of some Poinsettias that I took at a recent visit to Molbaks. This year Molbaks is growing 50 different varieties. Last year I had the opportunity to go to the Poinsettia trials up in British Columbia and see 200 new hybrids. Its amazing to see, through hybridization, all the new colours, bract formation, shapes and sizes. Seeing all these beautiful plants really does help get me in the holiday spirit.

Monday, November 27, 2006


When designing my yard I wanted to enclude some Barberries. There are so many to choose from, and I really only wanted one type in the front yard. I could have had several varieties of barberries, but didn't want a yard filled with deciduous shrubs only, especially stickery ones! When looking at the textural and leaf colour combinations that I was creating in the beds, I decided on Roseglow barberries. They has beautiful marbled foliage in shades of cinnabar and pale pink and when Autumn arrives the leave turn an electric coral colour ( see posting on November 6th, you can see their fall colour in the collage). Thriving in full sun I had the perfect locations for them. In Spring they fill their more mature branches ( they bloom on second year old wood) with myriads of tiny yellow flowers providing some early nectar for the local Mason Bees. And in fall, after the foliage drops, you get and additional show of small oval red berries. You can see what Roseglow Barberries look like when a little more mature in the posting on November 18th.
From time to time they need some pruning, which is best done in Winter or right before they leaf out. Generally Roseglows develop a vase shaped plant and unwanted stray branches and older wood need to be removed.

This plant should have a space in every yard if your looking for something very hardy with months of beauty and interest.

Thursday, November 23, 2006



here's a collections of samples from the garden

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Winter is knocking on our door and even though Fall isn't completely over (according to the calendar), it feels as if it has already parted. Every last leaf has been blown off by our recent storms and with temperatures dropping to the mid-thirties, Falls gentle embrace feels like a fleeting memory. It doesn't seem like that long ago the trees were starting to turn in a warm Indian Summer afternoon and the Fall Asters were in full bloom. The Dahlias were still going strong and the Ornamental Grasses were at their peak. Now the garden stands silently in our soggy landscapes waiting for Springs return.
This is a time for the garden to take a much needed rest from the prosperous growth of the previous season and to rejuvenate. And one day, in the not so distant future, will see the Spring Bulbs start to brake above the ground and the Hummingbirds and Gold Finches begin to return.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Here are a few more shots of the garden earlier in the year. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Here are some pictures of one of the beds in the front yard. The two photos were
taken about 4 years apart. It's always nice to view pictures like this to see the progress of the garden and enjoy its maturity. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was planting those shrubs and perennials, but now it's looking well established. Since the beds have filled in, this spring I'll take some divisions.
The women in the photo is my good friend Suzanne who has been available to shovel some of the 90 cubic yards of soil (so far) that I have brought in. Now that's what you call a friend!

Hope you all are blessed to have many wonderful friends to lend a hand in some of the bigger tasks in your gardens.
I know I am. Bob of Bobs

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Now that the garden has been cut down and started its dormancy, I reminisce on some of the successes of the past year. One of my favourites is my plantings of Japanese Painted Ferns (Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum'). I planted a few small clusters several years ago in a shady well enriched soil location nestled amongst some Cimicifugas, Primroses, Hydangeas, Kalmias, and Heucheras. I waited for 3 years for these small starts to start preforming and finally they developed into robust specimens. This Summer and Fall they unfurled to be beautiful full ferns nicely filling there allocated space and added a soft counterbalance to there many large leafed neighbors. This plant really does look as though it has been painted with silver, purple, grey, and green all on the same leaf. I look forward to next year when I can take a few small divisions off this hardy fern and share them with some of my fellow gardeners.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Well, I should say " very berry, fruit and seed".
October and November are a wonderful time to celebrate the harvest of the season and see what nature has produced. Often forgotten by many gardeners, the fruit and seeds of many of our ornamentals are very important. Its such a lovely site to come upon a Viburnum, Hawthorne, or Rugosa Rose with their beautiful fruit. What a shame that this charming feature is sometimes overlooked.
Adding to the texture of fall these precious gems give us one last boost of colour before their winter rest, adding to Autumns glory.


As with many of us in the North half part of United States, our gardens start to wind down due to winters approach giving us a time to reflect on our gardens progress. Since there is little growing during this time I'll share little treasures that bloomed earlier in the year in hopes that you'll consider finding a niche for them in your own yard.
Here's a picture of Platycodon grandiflorus. The hybrid I have growing in the garden is a dwarf variety of which I don't recall the name. Any who, its a wonderful little gem that comes back every year and requires the minimum in care. The colour is the most vibrant blue and its perfect for featuring near the front of the border or nestled amongst some rocks. Growing best in full sun with moderate summer water it blooms mid-summer (late June through beginning of August) and once planted it should be disturbed. Differently mark were this plant is located because it is very late to appear in spring coming up much later than just about everything else in garden.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


A couple of shots of the garden earlier this year. I'll share more later on this fall and winter.
Hope all you plant lovers are doing well and enjoying all the garden catalogs of next years latest and greatest. Now is a great time of year, as the our yards tend to need less upkeep, to find what we can't live without in our gardens.

Monday, November 06, 2006


To celebrate the season
A selection of foliage and fruit
From the garden
Creating a Autumn Collage

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Here are some photos of a lace-cap hydrangeas in my garden for Becky. I only have two hybrids in the garden right now. These are pictures that came from the same flower, showing how it changes colours as it matures. This Hydrangea is 'Lady in Red'. It has red stems and red veins on all of its leaves and in fall it turns a beautiful red. The flowers start out white and slowly change to an intense parrot blue. Sorry I don't have a good pictures of the wonderful red foliage. The resent hard frost took care of any Autumn colour. In the future I'll share some photography of an amazing variegated hybrid that I recently planted.
Thanks to all the wonderful feedback,

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Well the rains started in the other day, and here in the Pacific Northwest it suppose to rain until next March. So during this time of year I'll share pictures taken earlier this year. Not being a photographer or a writer for that matter, I'll take a picture that may not be as centered as it should or as in focus as it should, but from time to time a photographic miscalculation can turn into something rather lovely. This shot above, although slightly out of focus, turned out to be one of my favourite rose shots. To me it doesn't look like a picture but more like a painting. Either way I really like it and I hope you do too. The rose is "Queen Elizabeth" a floribunda thats been around along time (since 1954 to be exact) and its a real keeper.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Sedum spathulifolium is a west cost native that I cluster plant throughout the garden. The cultivar that I have is 'Cape blanco', which was selected for its wonderful blue grey foliage. I love to tuck it in the nooks and crannies around the garden as well as next to the river rock walkways. There's something that I like about mixing it with other hardy succulents and locating it with decorative gravel and rocks that appeals to me. Maybe because its very textural creating a living tapestry. Even a low shallow pot filled with an assortment of sedums and sempervirens and accessorized with some attractive rocks can make a statement. Either way its a wonderful little plant that deserves a place in any garden. Plus its very easy to grow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Here is a picture of Iris foetidissima varigata (Gladwin Iris) from earlier this year. I love this plant. It has beautiful foliage that does not die down in winter. Actually, it looks good year round. The variegated form of Gladwin Iris are generally non-bloomers, but in my garden they seem to flower every year. The non-variegated forms are more popular because they are prolific bloomers setting large seed pod filled with bright orange seeds in fall. This plant is not that easy to find at most nurseries. I purchased my plants from the famous Herronswood Nursery when I had an opportunity to tour there. This is the sort of plant you can easily combine with many other plants to add interest and form to your garden.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Well the first frost of the season has finally hit Lower Issaquah Heights. I wanted to share some pictures I took yesterday afternoon of some Autumn Colour in the garden. Thanks for the positive feedback I really appreciate it. Bob from

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We're going to have our first frost in a few days. So I wanted to cut the Dahlias that I have left to enjoy in the house. I have been working hard getting the garden ready for winter. Trying to finish the remaining weeding and cutting down what needs to be pruned for there dormancy period.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Crocomia, formally known as Montbretia, is one of my favourite and easiest to grow perennials that I have in my borders. I not only love it for its bright red flowers which the hummingbirds go crazy over, but also for it unique seed pods and its clumps of strap like foliage. It flourishes in full sun tucked in amongst some of the taller plants in the beds (Crosomia reaches 3 to 4 feet tall) and will bloom for 6 weeks in summer. In early spring I place a perennial cage over it so the foliage and flowers can grow through it and be supported with out being noticed. There are many Hybrids these days but right now the only one I have is 'Lucifer'. Being a fast grower it needs to be divided when flower and plant begin to decline or when the clump has out grown its location. Since Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is such a strong colour its usually planted next to saturated contrasting or complementary coloured blossoms. As a added bonus it makes a great cut flower.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It's funny that when I mention Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantina) to gardeners there is always 2 responses. Either they hate it because it can be aggressive and flop over when in bloom or love it for its ease of care, its hardiness, great colour, and for its velvety leaves. I of course like it for all the latter. I love the light gray foliage which plays off any colour in the garden acting as an enhancer to what ever you plant it next too. It's very easy to control, it pulls out of the ground with a simple tug. And finally it so easy to grow, taking very little water and care. The hybrid I have was suppose to not bloom but as you can see, it does. I'm glad though, it adds some dimension and height to the front of the borders where I usually locate it. Finally, I love it for how tactile the leaves are. Who hasn't stop and reached down to touch it soft foliage.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


As promised, I'll share some tips and thoughts on growing roses. First I always recommend selecting desease resistent roses for your area. Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of rain and have many cloudy days so choosing more fungus resistant hybrids makes the job of growing roses somewhat easier. Some gardeners are so tempted to try new hybrids for colour or fragrance that do not preform in there area, but the whole idea of growing roses is to have and enjoy there flowers. So pick roses that well grow to there potential in your environment. In spring I fertilize with a once a year fertilizer and follow that up with an application alfalfa meal that I work into the soil in June and August. In March I apply one cup of epson salts to each rose (for the magnesium) to encourage new cane growth. During the growing season I spray with Neem Oil to keep the bugs and fungus down to a minimum. In mid-September I no longer dead head allowing the roses to develop hips, helping them go dormant in the winter and for fall arrangements in the house. Every spring I apply a inch of compost to soil to help deter black spot since its soil borne. In November I cut my roses to half there height and pick off every leaf to prevent any deceases from over wintering and the end of February to the beginning of March is when I do my major pruning.
People often ask how many roses do I have, which is 20. They are a combination of mostly Hybrid Teas, some Florabundas, and a few David Austins. All in all it sound like a lot of work but it really isn't. And its well worth it for these garden beauties.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Wanted to share some pictures of front yard. My back yard is filled with mixed borders, the Rose garden, and the Dahlia bed. My front yard I choose to design with more textural combination focusing more on foliage and form rather than flowers. In all its much lower maintenance and looks pleasing throughout the seasons. Some of the plants are Nandina domestica 'Gulf Stream', Viburnum davidii, Phormium, Mugo Pine, Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Rose Glow Barberry, Phygelius (Cape Fushia), Vine Maple, and assorted Grasses, Sedums, Ground covers, and Sempervivums (hardy Hen and Chicks). These photos are what the yard looked like at the beginning of September.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Lychnis coronaria or known by its common name Campion Pink is an easy care attractive perennial with silver grey green foliage and bright magenta coloured flowers from the Pinks Family. They require full sun and infrequent summer water. Mine I unfortunately had to remove because it freely reseeds ending up in my lawn and throughout one of my borders. This can be prevented if you continually remove spent flowers, which is not an easy task because when in bloom they produce many flowers. But given the right place I would considerate again in the future because the flowers are so intensely coloured. For those interested in the background of the above picture is Oriental lily " Le Reve"

Thursday, October 12, 2006


A busy bumblebee on Abelia x grandiflora 'Edward Goucher'