Our new garden is filling up fast. Even this generous space won't be enough to hold all the plants we find interesting and worth propagating.
The garden is in a fortunate location- sunnier and milder than most of Seattle, with well drained soil and a variety of sun exposures. Nearly any plant will be happy here somewhere.
The harsh winter of 2010-2011 eliminated a few of our brand-new plantings, but most survived and hundreds have joined them since then. The most remarkable survivor of the cold, just now showing new fronds after 18 months, is the Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis). Years from now (mild years, we hope), this will be a massive, feathery landmark.
Sun roses (Helianthemum), native iris (Iris douglasiana), potentillas, and euphorbias flow into one another in the sunny front slope, nearly swamping slower growing agaves, Hesperaloe, yuccas and heathers. The colors are abundant and sometimes surprising.
For plants from moist but sunny settings, we have a 'swamp circle'. Watered daily, this bed holds mints, astilbes, native asters, colorful sedges and irises, all looked over by an Aralia elata 'Aureovariegata', with huge divided leaves of soft green and cream.
The show-off in this bed right now is a Louisiana iris we have identified as 'Black Gamecock'. It's velvety blackberry colored falls are painted with a narrow streak of electric gold. These evergreen irises, though thirsty, deserve to be tried here more often.
Nearby, but happily dry on its rock ledge, Dianthus freynii makes a fragrant mound of small pinks. The dense cushion of blue leaves is almost prickly, with a metallic glow, especially in winter. This native of southeast Europe will eventually upholster all the rocks below it.
Along the same rock ledge, Penstemon heterophyllus is showing off in gleaming clear blue. This cultivar, 'Electric Blue' is well named and will look great for several months. The species, a mounded evergreen shrublet, comes from California.
The tea tree, or manuka, is looking great right now. This heather-like large shrub from New Zealand and Australia is not only pretty, but loaded with vitamin C. When Captain Cook arrived in Australia with a crew dying of scurvy, the native people made a tea of Leptospermum scoparium and saved everyone. In gardens, it makes an airy evergreen to 8 ft. tall, well sprinkled in white flowers in late spring. And the tiny leaves, smelling of eucalyptus, really are nice in tea.
amazing show for six weeks, just overlapping with M. baileyi, which is still clustered with traslucent, crepe flowers in amethyst blue.