Monday, June 25, 2012

From Our Garden- June 2012

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.

From a different direction completely, yet happy here so far, are the Himalayan blue poppies. These have no trouble with our odd cold spells but they hate sun and dry heat. In their bed just north of the house- bright but shaded, well drained but faithfully watered- they have been beautiful. The first to bloom was actually not blue but creamy lemon. Meconopsis integrifolia will, alas, probably not return, since it dies after flowering, but it was glorious. M. x sheldonii, a reliable perennial, was next. Flowers the color of an Arizona sky made an amazing display that just overlapped M. baileyi, which is still clustered with crinkly amethyst blue flowers.

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.  


  1. You have a beautiful bunch of flowers! You’ll need extra space for the other flowers once they all grow. The best solution for that is to make a double-deck bed. This is the best way to maximize the space that you have. You can put the plants that dry in heat at the lower level of the bed, and on the top bed, you can place the plants that need abundant sunlight.

    *Elizaveta Kramer

    *Elizaveta Kramer

  2. Alnus serrulata plant is a great tree to plant in your garden, if you have bare spots. This shrub is very good bush, if you live in an area that remains fairly wet. This tree can grow to about 20-30 feet tall and wide. This shrub can grow very dense, this is a good reason to use it in the privacy fence will help keep prying eyes out. So if you have in your garden you need to keep some neighbors curious to see then just plant some of these bushes, and you can enjoy some privacy.

    Hazel Alder Shrubs