Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Random Pictures

It's a random sort of day. The garden continues to change rapidly. New highlights arise and old ones deserve an update. 

The flowers of Siderasis fuscata (brown spiderwort) last only a day, but they add a nice element of change to the already fantastic foliage.

I've only had this plant for about a year, if that, and I've never had this many blooms open at once. There are about 6-8 more around the rest of the plant, peeking out from the leaves. 

My Blechnum gibbum has been pumping out new fronds. It really seems to enjoy the heat we've been having, provided I keep it watered.

Remember what this looked like in January? It looks so great now! A few more new fronds and I can take off the rest of the damaged, brownish fronds at the bottom. It also has a small offset forming partway up the trunk. I plan to let that grow and then detach it once it's large enough. Then I'll have two! (Or maybe I'll share.)

This is probably becoming a familiar sight, but I just love how happy everything is on the deck. Just yesterday, the clivia dropped all but 2 of its blooms, so that brilliant pop of color is no longer there to contrast with the begonias. All of my vireyas are growing. You can see three of them in front of the begonias. These are 3 of the seedlings I received with my first order of vireyas. They are some of my most exciting plants because I have no idea what they are going to look like when they bloom.

Yet another element is coming into play in the driveway island. The Calluna vulgaris (heather), of which I have far too many in this bed, are coming into bloom. The variegated purple moor grass have also intensified in color, as have the Kent's Beauty oregano.

The blooming of the rudbeckia and Monch asters briefly coincides with the Lucifer crocosmia, making a brilliant color combo.

The aster is much slower to fill in, but should produce a brilliant show as more flowers open to pair with the rudbeckia. They are a much darker lavender-blue. I coudn't get the picture any darker without making the rudbeckia too dark.

Another sight that is becoming rather familiar by now, but I just haven't been able to resist photographing my new Billardiera longiflora as the fruits ripen.

Don't those berries look wonderful against the copper bark of the paperbark maple? I really hope this vine makes it through the winter. I'm a little colder than those lucky people around the Puget Sound, and I don't have the heat island effect of Portland. It was also planted a bit late. I'll cross my fingers for a mild winter.

Back to the driveway island for a moment, I found a surprise earlier this spring that I've been waiting to confirm. The white blooms coming up through the lavender belong to Spiranthes romanzoffiana, a native orchid that occurs naturally on one edge of the property. The flower stalks will get larger as the plant matures, but isn't super showy. I still love it, though. This plant managed to seed in dozens of yards away (not an unimaginable feat for dust-sized seeds which can be blown long distances). What really surprises me is that it managed to grow and bloom in this spot. Yes, there is native soil in this bed, but orchids (especially many of our native orchids) often require very specific conditions to germinate and grow. I'm amazed and thrilled that it's growing here.

And there's some of the happenings around my garden this week. The next few weeks are going to be really busy for me, but I'll try to keep my posts a little more regular than they have been recently.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lost in Outlaw Country

After our whirlwind tour of the Kitsap Peninsula, Vickie and I had the great pleasure of seeing Peter's garden. Reading his blog had not prepared me for the glorious chaos of so many fabulous plants packed together. Without further ado, let's dive into the jungle!

The first plant that caught my attention was actually Billardiera longiflora, growing up a metal arbor just inside the gate. I had just purchased one of these at Celestial that day. I might have taken a picture, but my attention was immediately wrenched from the Billardiera by this Trevesia palmata. Having only seen pictures, I drank in the sight of these amazing leaves, which give this plant the common name snowflake aralia. 

I love the blue glass pathway under the bamboo, as well as the happy leaf face laughing at the tickle of falling bamboo leaves. Peter has many such whimsical art pieces throughout his garden, providing surprise at every turn.

This bamboo has great gams, and the lush underplanting gives this area a real jungle-like quality.

Upon sighting this mermaid blatantly lounging at her ease, I expressed my concern that Peter's girlfriend Monrovia would be jealous. He grinned lasciviously. What a womanizer!

Luckily this newly hatched dino was turned away from the nearby peep show. He'll get to keep his innocence a while longer, if he hasn't been corrupted already.

Gorgeous foliage combinations abound in this garden bursting with color.

Glass flowers mingle with the real thing next to a pathway almost lost among the foliage. What mystery lies at the end?

Vickie and I had expressed some concern earlier on our way to Windcliff about being lured into the woods by a serial killer. Upon seeing Peter's garden, my fears were assuaged. Joking aside, I enjoyed the slightly macabre touches, my favorite being the baby crying baby's tears. Everyone has a bit of a dark side, some of us more than others.

Loads of great color echoes here, from the persicaria(?) in the foreground to the maple in the upper right corner and the purple tree in the background. 

More color echoes here in the purple heart, purple-leaved pelargonium, and the calyx of the abutilon. The brilliant petals of the abutilon provide a blazing contrast to the dark colors, revealing a keen color genius.

As we were leaving, Peter ducked into the undergrowth to snap off an errant bamboo shoot. Quick as a ninja, he channels the energy of the jungle cats which surely must lurk somewhere hidden by the foliage.

I wish I had spent a little more time exploring the hell strip, which quite possibly had more different kinds of plants than my entire garden, but it was getting late and I still had a two hour drive back home.

Sorting out our respective plant hauls, we parted ways until the next time. Thanks for a fantastic day, Peter and Vickie!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kitsap Adventure, Part III

Last week I was away on a trip and unable to post, but I'm back now and finally getting around to finishing up sharing my adventure with the outlaw and the plant nut.

Our final, and perhaps (for me at least) most anticipated stop of the day was Far Reaches Farm. Far Reaches is a phenomenal mail-order nursery in Port Townsend, Washington. They also have open weekends when the public can come to the nursery to fully indulge in a plant shopping frenzy. The owners, Kelly and Sue, are delightful and knowledgeable with good senses of humor, a trait which Kelly displays to great effect in the plant descriptions on their website and on the labels.

As the last stop of the day, I felt more relaxed about taking time and shot more photos. I still didn't spend nearly enough time looking at the sunny border though.
A small segment of the display garden at Far Reaches. The large clump of Kniphofia is of course visually captivating, but humor me and direct your attention to the shrub in the foreground at left. You can just make out the 1-inch wide flowers facing down. 

Here's a close-up of those flowers, belonging to Philadelphus madrensis, a powerfully fragrant mock-orange smelling of grape soda or Kool-Aid. No, they don't scream at you with visual opulence, but are delicate and beautiful. Since they face down, you have a perfect view from above of the dusky purple calyx contrasting with the white petals. Vickie and I were lucky enough to find two of these in the sales area.

We were also both captured by the twining purple stems of Aconitum hemsleyanum CGG 14028 (that last part is a collection number, important for serious plant nerds and seriously picky gardeners).

Even the finely cut leaves had a faint mottling of purple. So much beauty in this plant and it wasn't even flowering!

With the constant browsing of deer in my garden, sadistically spiny plants always catch my attention, if only because I can take momentary pleasure in imagining those uncouth ungulates turning their tongues into colanders trying to eat plants like this Solanum marginatum.

This plant, Smilax aspera, made me laugh out loud. Personally, I love the white markings on the elegantly-shaped leaves. However, I've spent enough time on the east coast, where there are several native species of this wickedly thorny vine, to know that it is not thought of fondly by those who grew up around it. I can only imagine the looks of incredulity on the faces of my friends in North Carolina if they were to see Smilax being sold at a nursery, on purpose no less.

Like many visitors to Far Reaches, I was powerless to prevent myself from photographing this gorgeous hardy schefflera.

A simple yet beautiful lath shelters a shady display garden full of lust-worthy treasures. Oh, look, somehow a rhododendron made it to the center of my photo. Would I do that?

The stiff red hairs and red margins of this little plant (Saxifraga?) intrigued me. Sue was standing but a few feet away, but was engaged with another customer, otherwise I would have asked what this was.

I'm not a fan of ruffles, but the curled, cut leaves of this Hepatica were interesting nonetheless. 

I much prefer the clean, elegant form of this Hepatica, not to mention the crisp markings.

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' is definitely on my lust list. Someday I'll have one of these in my garden, I'm sure, though it may have to wait a while now.

Of course I was struck by the many magnificent Cardiocrinum scattered throughout the lath area.  Most of the blooms towered above my head, and with my congested sniffer the scent was out of my reach.

Luckily there were a few closer to nose-level, so my reduced olfactory capacity could detect their scent. 

Possibly one of the most beautiful foliage plants I saw all day was this silvery-veined Paris species.

A peak under the skirts of a gorgeous speckled lily. Plant people are such perverts, staring at flowers all day.

Maianthemum oleracea was still blooming a month after Bonnie Lassie's post, here

Ok, that Paris was beautiful, but top prize for foliage certainly must go to Podophyllum delavayi. 

So many great plants under one roof!

Polygonatum x hybridum 'Striatum', another beautiful foliage plant.

Polylepis tomentella is a member of a genus that boasts growing at the highest elevation of any tree. The peeling copper bark and neat-tidy leaves make for an attractive plant.

Every time I see Woodwardia fimbriata I am struck anew by its beauty, particularly the colorful new growth. 

Rhododendron pachysanthum is a gorgeous species for foliage. The new growth is covered in golden tomentum.

After paying for our hauls, Peter, Vickie, and I packed our final treasures of the day into the plant mobile and headed back to Tacoma, where Vickie and I had the pleasure of seeing Peter's jungle-like garden. That will be another post. Happy gardening!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Foliage Follow-Up, July 2014

Another late post, and unlike many bloggers this past week I can't use the Fling as an excuse. Instead I'm going to claim discombobulation due to the heat which, thankfully, appears to be moving on as temperatures cool.

This recent heat wave has been especially nerve-wracking for me as I dragged hoses around to my many newly-added plant treasures, fretting that I wasn't keeping them wet enough. I have a vine maple in a particularly dry spot that is mostly red and a bit crispy thanks to the heat, and most of the leaves on my new Magnolia globosa are burned to varying degrees. The newest leaf is fine though, having adjusted to its new environment as it was still emerging, so I'm not worried about its survival long-term.

Calathea lancifolia has finally recovered from the attack by worms and millipedes it survived in North Carolina. It's a terrible picture, really, but I love the purple reverses and the crisp pattern on the upper surfaces. This calathea is one of the easiest to grow indoors, being less susceptible to burnt leaf tips than most other plants in this group.

Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery' has grown to over two feet tall, after a bit of a slow start, and has lots of new shoots and branches sprouting from near the base, promising a nice, bushy plant. I absolutely love this begonia, but whether it experiences any winter dormancy in my conditions will largely determine it's full value as an all-year foliage favorite.

I featured my clivia in this months GBBD post, but I wanted to point out how brilliantly it combines with Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery'. It wouldn't be nearly as fiery without the burgundy and silver leaves of the begonia working in contrast.

The small, narrow leaves of Billardiera longiflora augment the beautiful peeling bark of Acer griseum.

I'm really excited to watch the purple berries develop their color to contrast with the copper bark of the maple. Can't wait see both mature and in their full glory! (Of course it will be a while for the slow-growing Acer griseum.)

Not a pretty picture, thanks to the (very necessary) protective cage, but I am completely in love with my new variegated Davidia involucrata from Windcliff. I already love dove trees. Add fantastic variegation and it's spectacularly irresistible.  I'm very tempted to combine my foliage follow-up with my favorite plant in the garden post, with this dove tree as my favorite, but I have another plant with fabulous foliage for this weeks favorite.

The foliage matures to varying patterns of grey-green, cream, chartreuse, and dark green.

The new foliage has green centers with silvery streaks, surrounded by purple with green veins.

The wrinkled center will expand to a more normal, ribbed surface, but at this stage adds an interesting texture.

And finally, the lovely foliage of calla lilies (Zantedeschia sp.) I love the spotted, tropical foliage, which is the main feature on mine as they are rather late and shy-blooming in their current location.

Foliage Follow-up is hosted by Pam of Digging. Thanks, Pam! Visit her blog to see what other bloggers have found this month for fantastic foliage.
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