Friday, April 24, 2015

Pacific Coast Iris in My Garden

One of the first plants that I got for free at my first PNW plant exchange, several years ago when we first moved here, was a number of different Pacific Coast Iris hybrids. They've been divided once since then, and are blooming now.

This one was labeled 'Broadleigh Rose.'

It starts out more orange when it first opens, and ages to a lighter shade.

I've lost the tag for this one. It's pretty, but I prefer the colors in 'Broadleigh Rose.'

I love the veins on all of them.

I featured this one, called 'Fruit Market,' in a recent post. It was the first to start blooming.

Like 'Broadleigh Rose' the flowers age to a lighter shade.

Do you notice anything odd about this one? It has four falls, instead of three like all the others.

I wonder if that makes it lucky, like finding a four-leaf clover.

I remember being surprised that there were Irises that were West Coast natives. I always thought of Irises as exotic things. Dividing and transplanting them can be tricky, but so far I've had fair luck with that. They're ok being out of the ground overnight as long as the roots don't dry out, and as long as you dig them at the right time of year (late winter/early spring). I usually put the divisions into a pail of water if I know I won't be able to get to them the same day that I dig them up.

You can read more about Pacific Coast Irises at this link: Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Where's Frankie?

While taking pictures for Bloom Day, I ran into my neighbor's cats playing hide and seek in my garden.

Have you seen Frankie?

I can't find him anywhere!

Maybe he's in this pot.

Not today.

Is he over there?

Is he here?

No, it's just a bunch of poky plants.

Where on earth is Frankie?

Wait! What's that?

Is that you, Frankie?

Sshhh, go away with that camera, you'll give me away.

There he is!

There's Frankie!

Can we have some treats now?

That orange Carex testacea was perfect camouflage.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Moss and Flowers on My 'Forest Pansy' Redbud

Flowers appear first on redbud trees, before the leaves. I've had this Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' for a few years now, having replaced a nasty suckering cherry tree that the previous owners had topped, which oozed sap and always aborted its fruit, with this. This is the first spring since I planted it that I've noticed flowers. I don't know if it was resting since being planted, or if I just wasn't as observant as I think I am. Last year, I did kind of ignore this area of the garden, tucked behind the new greenhouse.

Pink flowers against a blue sky

I love how some of the flowers are just sticking out of the trunk

I love the moss growing on the trunk too

In this spot, I have both moss and flowers

It's a great tree, but it tends to drop a lot of twigs and chunks of bark, which worries me. Pretty twigs, but still. And I wish more of the pretty flowers and leaves (dark purple when it leafs out) were closer to eye-height.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ten Little Giants

It wasn't a harsh winter, but it still carried a big ugly stick that it used to to beat my garden up. In fact, it beat my Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant' so badly with the ugly stick that it turned into one.

Ugly mother

She left behind a host of babies, though, growing up from her roots.







Seven and Eight



And one more for good measure, growing scarily close to the culvert planter

I'm pretty sure the mother is dead, but crikey! She's going to turn my front garden into a Tetrapanax forest. Fortunately, I've heard they're fairly easy to dig up when young. I just need to figure out where the happy medium is. Dig up too few and they'll take over and be difficult to get rid of. Dig up too many, and I risk none of these babies surviving our next winter's beating.

Monday, April 20, 2015

After the Tulips, More Nursery Visits

As Emily of the blog All Things Emily surmised in her comment on my recent tulip post, I did indeed go to Christianson's Nursery, which is near the tulip fields in Mount Vernon, WA. I didn't buy cut flowers at Roozengaarde, but at Christianson's and at one more place, Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, I did buy plants.

Christianson's Nursery

I started out in the conservatory area, where I found some treasures, but my own greenhouse right  now is not even standing room only, it's no room only. I've already got plants stuffed in there willy-nilly, with the constant danger of stepping on something every time I enter. It won't be long now before I start to empty it and bring everyone out for their summer vacation in the sun, but that just means that I was more focused on looking for hardy plants I could plant out now in the beds. (Plus, I had another coupon for 20% off my entire purchase!)

The Conservatory

Enormous Bromeliad with pups was tempting

Very red Begonia

Such a bright pretty leaf, it almost looks like paint

Nepenthes/pitcher plant -- I do want one of these, but I'm holding out for something more mottled or with teeth

Tall and gangly 'Gene Daniels' Begonia -- it's a beauty

Enormous nursery cat

Eyes open to just slits as he checks me out

Red Pelargoniums and spiky, scary desert plants are not companions you expect to see next to each other


Agave victoria-reginae -- a good size

A very handsome Aloe 'Hercules' which I keep reading about on California blogs

Agave guiengola, also huge

Finally, I ventured out to check out the perennial tables.

Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' is not looking particularly blue

One of last year's "It" plants -- Stachys 'Bello Grigio'
I searched for that Stachys last year after seeing it in several gardens on tour, but by then they had all been snatched up. I bought one recently at a nursery closer to home, so I left these.

Scrophularia macrantha -- "Red Birds in a Tree"
Sorry it's such a crappy, unfocused photo of the Scrophularia. I was intrigued by this plant, mostly because of its common name, but not familiar with it. I might look for it again, because from what I've read about it online, it might be a good candidate for the gravel garden redo. And hummers will love those red flowers.
Yellow tree peony

Perennial tables

Shrubs and trees -- plenty to choose from. This area is so big, it would be easy to get lost

There's a small antique shop on site as well, with some fab hard-to-resist treasures inside.
In the antique shop

Antique washbasin

Happy/Sad Buddha
After paying for my purchases, I loaded up the car and headed back down I-5 to Marysville, where earlier in the day I had paused briefly to throw Nigel out of the car at the Tulalip Native American Casino (Nigel calls it the Tulalip Daddy Day-Care). I had yet another coupon from the WSNLA booklet that I picked up at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, and it was another nursery I'd never visited before.

Sunnyside Nursery

This nursery is smaller than Christianson's, but still packed with interesting plants and containers. The owners, Steve and Pauline, are both certified plant horticulturists, and they have others on staff who are also CPHs. In addition, Steve writes a blog The Whistling Gardener for the nursery, which you can read here. And they run free classes, with one coming up this weekend on Japanese maples. For a list of upcoming classes, click here.

They had quite an extensive selection of Japanese maples

I found it hard to ignore these Acer palmatum 'Akane'

"Akane" in Japanese means "Glowing evening sky"

A row of vibrantly blooming Columbines

Plenty of bright blue pots

And light blue pots




Even a planted-up old cowboy boot

Vertical succulent hanging -- Some day I'll try my hand at making one of these

This cute display was outside the covered building where you pay. The little sign is touting a class on having fun with hypertufa

So, what did I buy?

At Christianson's, a handful of plants -- at Sunnyside, just one -- which is not a reflection on their wares at all.

Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' and Dasylirion quadrangulata -- both still just babies

Aconitum cammarum 'Stainless Steel'

And at Sunnyside, I finally decided to take the plunge into growing a Japanese maple.

Acer palmatum 'Akane'

Here in the PNW, we love anything that invokes the sun