Another unidentified hardy Geranium in the garden. This one is not a heavy bloomer but what it lacks in flowers it makes up in attractive foliage. If any one recognizes this hybrid please let me know.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Scattered on my deck is a mixed collection of several different types of plants, all in pots of burgundy in assorted shapes and sizes. Each holds individual plants selected for the foliage or flower, form or texture. I have one filled with Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'all gold'). It is truly an amazing little grass staying in a nice compact clump ( very very slowly spreading), has striking golden green foliage, and moves gracefully with the softess breeze. It performs great in ground or pots and has few pests. Autunm bring shades of bronze, copper, and gold to its leaves. I recently purchased the better known hybrid 'Aureola' which has green and yellow longitudinal strips. Next year when its been in the ground for a while I'll post about it. Either of these grasses are real keepers and you just can't beat them for a partial shade garden.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Soft and supple, fuzzy and furry, velvety and flocked, many words come to mind when one sees and feels Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantina). This little herbaceous perennials is often an easy care favourite in many gardens. The hybrid I have is a dwarf variety that tops out at 1o" when in bloom and is always a real joy in the mixed borders.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
As promised here is another Allium relative 'Necaroscordum siculum'. With no common name it's really is a mouthful to say and sounds more like a part of the male anatomy than a flower. As with all Alliums it's a Lily Family member. This bulb is one to be planted in with other perennials and shrubs, because it only produce three or four spindly leaves which are not attractive. The flowers are about a 36'' high and are welcomed by bubble bees. This photo was taken at the end of April and as you can see these plants can have a very elegant look to them. Necaroscordum blooms for roughly 5 weeks and then seeds. An added bonus is seed stalks are unique and can be used in dried arrangements.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Nepeta is a real work horse in my garden, blooming months during the Summer and Fall with practically no care. I have it nestled amongst many of my perennials and shrubs filling in with its soft fragrant gray green foliage and beautiful lavender blue flowers. The Nepeta I grow is Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) which is sterile and is not to be confused with Catnip (Nepeta cataria) which send cats into a crazed frenzy and can reseed. Catmint is easy to maintain in full sun and if it gets a little leggy can be sheered to the ground. This also keeps it compact and encourages re blooming. As with many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) it has square stems and opposite leaf formation.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Throughout this Summer I'll share combinations that I like in my garden. Combinations can really make or break a landscape. It's important to me because I see many gardens with great plants but unfortunately they are placed next to something that distracts from their beauty rather than enhancing it. I hope the "combinations" posts well inspire :)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Certainly one of the most beautiful shrubs in gardens today is this Viburnum. Blooming for roughly 2 months this Viburnum adds colour as well as structure to any garden. Japanese Snowball (Viburnum plicatum) has strong horizontal branch development and is ideal for the back part of a mixed beds, as a informal hedge, or mixed in with other medium sized foundation plantings. Traditional Japanese Snowball (Viburnum plicatum) is sterile, and often confused with its sub-specie Doublefile Viburnum (V. p. tomentosum), which has lace-cap flowers and produces berries. Both are wonderful shrubs. If possible purchase dwarf varieties because these plants can get big. I have mine located next to bright lime green Hostas and chartreuse coloured plants to play off this Viburnums dark green leaves. So even when not in bloom this area of the garden has some pizazz. Depending on where you live this shrub can have bland to amazing red Autumn foliage.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Kalmias are in the Ericaceae Family and are related to Rhododendrons. In the trio, traditionally Azaleas bloom first, then Rhodys, followed by the Kalmias. All take similar care, needing moist acidic soil that is full of organic material, moist air, and light fertilization when first showing growth in Spring and immediately after blooming. I have mine located in partial sun, trying to shelter them from the hottest afternoon heat. Giving them good light ensures higher bloom count. One wonderful attribute about Kalmias is that the buds set weeks before they bloom and are very ornamental. Each flower bud looks like a little turban hat. Very Cool! Kalmias come in many colour combinations and newer hybirds are being introduced each year. A head node to P.J., who grows these for the nursery I buy for. Thanks P.J.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I've always loved the culinary as well as ornament value of Chives ( Allium schoenoprasum). Often chopped over potatoes, or bundled and placed on top of steaks and roasts, sometimes tying together bunches of asparagus, or even the lovely flowers adorning your favourite salads, chives uses are abundant. Many gardener keep them in tight rows along side other perennial herbs. Others incorporate them in their ornamental plantings adding texture and colour. In either case, they are a wonderful addition to any garden and a delicious accent to many recipes.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Huechera 'Peach Melba' is a delicious combination of watermelon, peach, and apricot tones keeping its foliage through out the year( in my area). It's a wonderful complement to Hostas, Astilbes, Coleus, Ferns and other partial shade plants. Preferring moist well drained soil and light fertilization through out the growing season keeps it looking its best. In early spring I give mine a clean up removing any spent leaves from Winter. This Huechera is grown for its foliage so many gardeners cut off flower stalks as they develop to show case their leaves. I really love this plant as well as all Huecheras and well feature others I have in my garden in the future.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Radiant and luminescent are perfect adjectives for this Maple. Its name is Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' (certainly a mouthful), which is a large shrub/small tree Maple that has beautiful yellow chartreuse foliage, and maintains it vibrancy all summer long. I keep mine in a very large pot on the deck and give it partial shade, along with some protection from strong winds. Other than occasional watering, it really requires little care. One day I'll have to get it into the garden, maybe locating it next to some dark forest green yews and small to intermediate sized conifers. That would be a great combination for contrast in colour and texture.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Well, June has arrived and it's the time of the year that the Delphiniums are in full glory. The type that I grow are the 'Pacific Giant' series and stand about five feet. I've had mine only three years and I find that the real trick with them is they need tremendous amounts of organic material in the soil. Plus, they can't dry out in summer! So I have them located with some Longiflorum lilies and other plants that appreciates well drained moist soil. This year, each clump has about 12 to 15 spikes, which gives quite a show. And are in several shades of blue, from pale to cobalt, and parrot to midnight. Definitely a head turner in the garden. I just started from seed some Pacific Giant 'Summer Skies' which is a medium blue hybrid. They only have their first few leaves, but can't wait to see them in bloom ( about 2 years from now). Well as I often say " Sow with patients, reap a full harvest "
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
I first spotted this plant on a tour of Herronswood Nursery several years back. I love the umbel shaped flowers, and the clear rose-pink colour was an attractive choice for one of my mixed borders. So I purchased 2 liners of this perennial and looked forward to getting it into the ground. The staff at Herronswood spoke highly of this plant and I haven't been disappointed. It blooms in Mid-Spring along with the late Euphorbias (of which it's a great complement) and is very low maintenance. Requiring full sun and good drainage are a most and it well produce weeks of colour. The flowers hover above the leaves giving this perennial a lite airy look. And the fern like foliage has an apple fragrance when cut and looks very pleasing even when not in bloom. For the first time mine are ready to divide after 4 years which shows that this plant is easy to keep in its place. Six weeks after it finishes blooming I cut it to the ground and it flushes new growth which looks great to the end of Fall.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The Summer blooming Spireas are starting to bloom in the garden and I wanted to feature Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet'. This plant is a real gem with interest many months of the year. First in late Winter/early Spring it leafs out in golds and red tones (bottom photo). Them the foliage turns to lime green and the new growth turns rose pink (middle photo). Finally it blooms with pink flowers and the foliage turns a chartreuse (top photo). As with most Spireas this hybrid requires full sun and usually is not bothered by any pests. Another quality of this Spirea is its size, generally topping out at about 30 inches and spreading slightly wider. Yearly light pruning keeps in top form. Its a great plant to place in mixed borders or amongst other foundation shrubs to add interest.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
To change things up a little and provide some contrast to my blog I'll post occasional shots of some of the hikes I go on. I'll try to incorporate pictures with plant material to keep with the theme of the blog. I hope you all well enjoy.
These shots were taken last Saturday on a hike in Central Washington on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. There were amazing rock formations on the sides of the canyon and lots of wildlife. Unfortunately we got there towards the end of peek wildflower season, but still seeing wild penstemon, geraniums, rice flower, alliums, and many asteraceae family members. Usually I hike in Western Washington which is much greenery, but this was a really nice change. I'll definitely go back, but earlier in Spring, so I can see more wildflowers in their prime.
Monday, June 04, 2007
The lupines are blooming in the garden now and its always a joy and surprise to see what colours I end up with. Originally I planted blue and pink Lupines about 5 years ago. I let them reseed and pull what volunteers show up in any unwanted areas. Each year, since they cross pollinate the colours seem to change. This years there seem to be many white ones, but in years past I've had yellows, purples, even some corals. The first plants where 'Gallery Mix' Lupines which are shorter (18 to 24 inches) than the Russell Lupines and often bloom the first year. They are not a long lived perennial usually only lasting 2 or 3 years. Keep in full sun with constantly moist well drained soil, and as with many Lupines, watch for aphids and powdery mildew.