I hadn't been to Joy Creek since spring, so a couple weeks ago I decided it was time to return to see how the gardens had changed (and check off a few plants from my wishlist).
Parking the car, I was nearly blinded by this swath of Zauschneria. Oh to fast forward to when my tiny plants, added this summer, look like this.
It's such an intense color that it is difficult to photograph, especially in full sun. I'm not sure which was starting to burn first, my camera or my retinas.
I love this simple vignette of Hesperaloe parviflora prominently displayed in a gravel-mulched bed with green in the background. I wish there was a landscape supply company near me that carried the washed quarter-ten gravel Joy Creek espouses as such a great amendment for clay soils. The closest one I've been able to find so far is in Portland and they don't deliver to Washington. I'm going to have to settle for quarter-ten minus or pumice. The quarter-ten minus includes the fine, sandy particles, which can mix with the clay to make it more like concrete, instead of improving drainage like the washed version does. From what I've read, pumice is a good alternative, though I don't think it will look good as a mulch. Too bright.
I couldn't manage a good picture of the giant mass of Erodium chrysanthum, but I did get a close-up of some flowers and foliage. An evergreen, grey-leaved groundcover that doesn't have schoolbus-yellow flowers? Yes, please! I don't know why, but I generally dislike true yellow. The pale yellow, almost white flowers of this erodium, I love.
I really need to add Colchicum to my garden. These ones were just so beautiful. I love fall-blooming plants, or any bloom that appears at an unexpected time.
It was a truly perfect day. The recent rains had cleared the air of smoke, and the sun had broken through the clouds again. It was pleasantly warm, with a cool breeze, not baking, as it has been most of this summer. The puffy white clouds in the clear blue sky made a wonderful backdrop for the bright foliage of Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea', which in turn served as contrast for the dark foliage of Rosa glauca, complete with bright red hips.
Cyclamens are a favorite of mine. I don't have any white ones, yet. I actually prefer these over the pink. I need to keep an eye out for these.
A beautiful Calycanthus still blooming. I believe this is 'Hartlage Wine', the non-fragrant hybrid between the eastern U.S. native Calycanthus floridus and the Asian Calycanthus sinensis. A beautiful flower, but I'm more interested in obtaining the western native, Calycanthus occidentalis, and the fragrant hybrid, Calycanthus 'Aphrodite'.
I'm not sure which species of Cyrtomium this is. possibly Cyrt. macrophyllum? It's one of the most shapely, graceful specimens I've seen. Perhaps I could ask to collect a few leaflets for spores next time I visit...
Out in the test garden area, it's a riot of color, both foliage and flowers.
what is that burning orange glow in front of the bamboo? Time to move in for a closer look.
That's a lot of Rudbeckia! Seeing this display makes me regret not planting some in my garden. I love the orange, red, and brown shades of these flowers, everything from the brightest flames to the dimmest coals. I don't like their short life-spans, though. I meant to ask if they had trialed any of the new xEchibeckia hybrids, crosses between echinaceas and rudbeckias with the flower colors of the latter and (supposedly) the constitution and lifespans of the former.
It might be worth planting these short-lived flowers, especially given my recent acceptance of Carex comans, individual plants of which only live about 3 or 4 years in my climate but leave copious seedlings as a legacy. Not to mention the self-seeding annuals I plan to grow in the future, like Nigella damascena, Escscholtzia california, and Phacelia campanularia.
I often prefer single flowers over double, but in the case of these dark orange beauties, more really is better. Not to imply that the single versions are slouches. The bumblebee in this photo certainly likes them.
One more shot of these beauties. This one especially long petals, with a slightly more spidery appearance than others.
Does anyone else think this weeping purple beech looks like it's waving? Or maybe just gesturing in the direction of more treasures to be seen.
I didn't get the name of this viburnum. It could be V. rhytidophyllum, but the leaves seem too short and wide. Possibly V. x rhytidophylloides, a cross between V. rhytidophyllum and V. lantana 'Mohican'.
The Heptacodium miconioides, or seven sons flower, was in full bloom. This is one of my favorite small trees. It has so much to offer.
The shaggy grey bark exfoliates in thin strips, revealing light cinnamon new bark underneath, making this deciduous tree attractive even in winter.
It has a somewhat tiered branching habit, enhanced by the attractive, glossy leaves tending to hang down.
Then, of course, there are the fragrant, white blooms, born in groups of seven which earn it the common name of seven sons flower. Somehow I managed to get a shot without one of the hundreds of bees swarming the tree photobombing me. As if these beautiful flowers weren't enough, as they fade the calyxes will expand and turn a ruddy pink. The effect is of a second bloom, entirely different from the first, that lasts well into fall. No wonder I added one of these to my garden when I found it in the discount area at Tsugawa's Nursery in Woodland.
Almost to the sales area, I stopped to admire the amsonia bracketing a heather, slowly turning golden to echo the variegated yucca in the background.
Rated to zone 8, Salvia chamelaeagna is worth a try if you have a spot with excellent drainage, like a pile of gravel.
The bone-white foliage of Helichrysum tianshanicum beckoned (rather strongly) but for whatever reason, it didn't come home with me.
I've been to Joy Creek several times, but never taken a picture of the famous Yowler, the resident feline and virtual mascot of the nursery. This time, he came right up and demanded petting. I was happy to oblige, snapping a quick photo between ear rubs.
So what came home with me? Not Yowler, unfortunately. As consolation, I did grab this Berlandiera lyrata, with attractive, glaucous foliage and chocolate-scented flowers. Yes, the flowers will be that true yellow I try to avoid, but I'll make an exception for the scent, and the foliage.
You may notice that the plants in these photos are already spread about the garden as I decided where to place my new acquisitions. Carex flacca 'Blue Zinger' ended up near the wet end of the dry creek bed.
Erodium chrysanthum moved about several times before finally ending up in the bed by the patio. Hopefully the slope will be enough to counteract the clay soil.
Here you can see two salvias (left) from Joy Creek staged with the erodium (right) and two hesperaloe from Means in the bed along the front of the house. None of these plants ended up here.
Salvia x jamensis 'Sierra San Antonio' may be a bit on the tender side according to some sources, but Joy Creek lists it as zone 8, possibly zone 7, so I'm willing to try.
Salvia chamaedryoides has some of the most intense blue flowers available, enhances further by the lovely grey foliage. They show up a bit purple in this photo, but I assure you they are a true, cobalt blue. Plant Delights Nursery rates this as hardy to zone 7a, but they are often overly optimistic in their ratings, even more so when translated to wet PNW winters. Still, everything is worth a try, especially if you can give it good drainage. Did I provide adequate drainage? We'll find out in spring.