Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’

April Flowers

How could I start with anything but Daffodils??  These are called “Tete a Tete” and have multiplied for 3 years now.  So nice at the entrance to the house.

A Goshiki Kotohime Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum “Goshiki Kotohime”).  The name of this beautiful maple means 5 colored Old Harp for the multi hued leaves as it opens up, and for the Koto, a traditional Japanese instrument that is harp like.  It’s the first Japanese maple to leaf out every spring and has grown in this pot for years now.  I hope it does so for awhile longer cause I can’t figure out how to get it out!!

A PJM Regal Rhododendron (Rhododendron “PJM Regal”). This is a very early Rhodie that is just vibrant with its color.  It adds some bright color into the grey days of Spring and brings some beauty to the front garden.

I wish I could let you smell this one.  It’s a Winter Daphne (Daphne odora “Marginata”) and is one of the most fragrant plants in the garden world.  We can smell it all over the front yard, even when we walk up onto the front porch.  It’s a classic!

This is a Prostrate Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis “Prostratus”).  It’s a weeper that sometimes falls over the edge of the wall here.  But it occasionally freezes back – it’s only mostly hardly.  It’s very fragrant to touch.

This is another Rosemary – one that most people would more easily recognize than the last one.  It’s a Tuscan Blue Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis “Tuscan Blue”).  It’s notable for having been introduced to the plant world by the noted author and traveler Vita Sackville-West.  It’s delightful to brush by this plant and smell it on your hands as you walk away.

This is what’s known as a species Rhododendron.  That means it’s not a cultivar but rather one found in nature, (tho this one is a cultivar of the native (confused yet?).  It’s a Rock Rose Rhododendron (Rhododendron racemosum “Rock Rose”). I’ve tried to grow this plant for several years, but they keep dying on me.  This one was trashed by the raccoons that ran over it from the old garage next door.  I put re-bar around it and that solved the problem, but I still sorta wanted to eat raccoon for dinner that night!  (Not really….!)

This is a unique plant.  It’s called a Zig Zag Camellia (Camellia japonica “Unryu”).  The name means “Dragon in the Clouds”.  The branches all grow at 45 degree angles to each other.  It’s very interesting to watch it become itself.  Lovely flowers too.

A lovely specimen of Lily of the Valley shrub (Pieris japonica Mountain Fire”).  The new growth is fiery red and looks like flowers it’s so bright.   The flowers are fragrant and are bell shaped – the hallmark of plants in the Ericaceae – the Heath and Heather family, which also includes blueberries and rhododendrons as well as many other familiar plants.

Near the Pieris is this lovely Blue Diamond Rhododendron (Rhododendron “Blue Diamond”), another early blooming one.  There aren’t a lot of Rhodies that are this kind of blue or purple, so it’s unique for us here.  It stays small.

Next to the Rhodie is this Pink Icicle Camellia (Camellia hybrid “Pink Icicle”).  We got this as a large plant and it’s put on several more feet of growth in the last few years.  It blooms early and has lovely pink blossoms with orange centers.

This one is subtle, but I wanted to include it because it’s a wonderful plant.  It shows how the color develops first on the buds.  It’s a Hino Crimson Azalea (Azalea kurume “Hino Crimson”).  It’s a brilliant scarlet red when it blooms and is covered almost totally with tiny bright red flowers.

No flowers here.  This is a Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii “Atropurpurea Nana”).  I’m showing it for the purple new growth.  It leafs out early and looks very nice next to the rock path beside it.

I love this one.  It’s a Howard McMinn Manzanita (Arctostaphyllos densiflora “Howard McMinn”). It has wonderful brownish red bark that I’ve exposed by pruning up the branches.  This smells so sweet and is prized by the bees and hummers, and by people too!!  Manzanita means “little apple” in Spanish and some of the species have small red orbs after the flowers leave, but not this one.  Too bad…

This is a big one, and again no flowers.  It’s a Diana Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi “Diana”).  I’m showing it for the light green needles it’s rapidly covering itself with.  They look so delicate but this tree is very hardy.  It’s put on some 13 feet in the last 3 years alone!  I can’t wait to see what it becomes!

This tree is the first to leaf out in the whole garden.  It’s a Korean Butterfly Maple (Acer tschnoskii ssp. “Koreanum”.)  It’s another fast grower and has gotten to this size in only 4-5 years.  It turns a striking color of reddish orange in early fall.

Here’s the last one – an Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifoloium).  It has these wonderfully bright yellow flowers in early spring, then they turn into edible blue berries.  Even people eat the fruit but it’s the birds who love them.  But they’re a bit dangerous to be around – they’re prickly – and Louie keeps threatening to blow them up with dynamite cause they scratch him when he mows the lawn.  But I won’t let him…  Obviously…

This is just the beginning of the flowers to come, but I wanted to give you a taste of what it looks like around here this time of year.  After a dull grey Seattle winter with little color, it’s so exciting to see all these flowers and leaf colors now, and it’s just glorious.  Everyone loves flowers don’t they?  I hope you do!!

Happy Spring!!

Steve

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NW Flower and Garden Festival

As I mentioned in my last post Louie and I spent several hours the other day at the NW Flower and Garden Festival.  It’s celebrating its 30th year as America’s largest family-owned garden themed show.  It’s truly amazing!   There are a number of of demonstration gardens, which are what I’ll be showing you here.  But there’s also a huge marketplace with hundreds of vendors selling all manner of garden products, as well as miscellaneous show type stuff.   There’s also a large plant market with a number of specialty nurseries who offer miniature conifers, bulbs and tubers, even Japanese maples.  I could only handle it for a few hours before sensory overload hit and we had to leave.  But I got a lot of good pictures and I want to share them with you here.

All of these gardens were created by dedicated teams of volunteers in just the 72 hours preceding the show!  Incredible!  Of course none of them would make it outdoors as planted – they’re not meant as literal gardens themselves and their job is to showcase various themes and styles rather than an actual garden design.  They move in literally tons of rock, soil, mulch and of course hundreds of plants, ranging from a few inches to 20 feet or more tall.  I always get a lot of ideas for my own garden, but of course it’s already so over-planted I don’t really have room for more.  But next year I’ll plan ahead better and get some bulbs at least.  But then the reason we go is just to enjoy the sights.  I hope you do too!

OK, thats about it.  It’d be nice if I’d been able to remember each display, but I didn’t have writing materials and it would have been too hard to remember each one anyway.  But I hope that just the designs themselves will be satisfying for you, as it was for me.  If you have a garden show in your area please do find time to go to it.  You’ll be supporting a good cause and be able to see some amazing garden displays and get your own ideas for your garden at home.  It’s worth the trip.

Happy Viewing,

Steve

Ikebana

I was at the NW Flower and Garden Show yesterday and saw the Ikebana exhibit.  The designs were so attractive and evocative I wanted to share them with you.  According to a pamphlet I picked up Ikebana is described as the Art of Japanese Flower Arranging.   This show was put on by the Seattle Chapter 29 of Ikebana International.  The organization is a worldwide non-profit dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of Ikebana.  It has members all over the world, and 147 chapters in 60 countries with some 7,500 members.  There are 21 of the many styles that are represented in the Seattle Chapter alone, and  there are many more – 3,000 in Japan, I was told.   Their website is http://www.Iiseattlechapter29.org if you’d like more information. Here are the pictures I took yesterday at the Show.

I hope you enjoyed these.  They’re much more powerful in person, of course, but these give you an idea of how lovely they are.

Steve

Onion Art II

With thanks to my cousin Marilyn’s cousin Patrick in France.  Wow!!  He sent them to her because she was having surgery and he wanted her to have something to cry about!  Interesting sense of humor.  I just love the photos and the amazing ingenuity of the unknown artist who created these masterpieces.  I did another post of these a few years ago.  Most of these are all new.

Hummer Heaven

This is a Mahonia x media “Charity” and it’s a haven for the hummingbirds.  In the middle of Winter it’s hard for the little guys to find good food, but this is one place they can always get it.  It’s not uncommon to see several of them at one time on this bush.  Later on the flowers will turn into blue berries that are treats for other birds. All in all it’s a good plant for the bird lovers among us, tho it’s not so friendly to people.  It lives along a path to the greenhouse with the ferns and you have to be careful or it’ll stick you badly.  Still it’s so beautiful that it’s worth the risk.  It grows pretty fast too.  It’s been in the yard for about 6 years and is 8′ tall.  It’s in the Berberidaceae family, and is related to the barberries, various Oregon grapes and the nandinas.  It’s a cool family with lots of colorful plants and many of them have good food for the birds as well.  Check it out and enjoy!

Night Scented Tobacco

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I’m ashamed to say I don’t have the correct botanical name for this plant. I planted it in my greenhouse as a seed two years ago and grew it over the winter for two years to get it to where I could plant it out this spring. I had about 1/2 a dozen of them but this is the only one that got to blooming size. It’s a beauty and has really fragrant flowers, even in daytime let alone at night when it really shines. It’s just lovely.

 

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Here it is  in the bed of mostly wild flowers I re-seed every year with some seeds I save and some I get new. You can see the old heads of Phacelia or Bee’s Friend in here, and some Clarkia and of course the old Hollyhock that has been there for 3 or 4 years now. And the poppies of course. I have yet to make poppy seed cookies with the seeds but I’m saving them and replant them every year to great joy. They’re so beautiful.

 

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And finally here’s a shot I took by sticking my camera up under the plant so I could see the underside of the flowers. They’re stars! You get a good sense of how they look from this vantage point. I’m hoping I can save some seeds of this one for next year, or maybe two years if it follows the way it’s grown and takes me two years to get a blooming plant. It’s all worth it and maybe next year my greenhouse heating cable will work right and I won’t lose all my seedlings like I did this year. Ah well, the vagaries of gardening, eh?

Smelling the flowers,

Steve

This Year’s Flowers to Date

 

I went back thru my archives to see how many plants I could find that have bloomed so far this year. They all started with the two Pieris, which were blooming in March when I took the first pictures. As we move thru time and space with the rest of these shots you’ll see them in a chronological order as they come into bloom, or as I get the chance to photograph them. I took the last few shots this morning before I wrote this post so it’s pretty current, tho I didn’t really include everything I could have because the list was getting so big. So here they are as they came into bloom. As you can see there have been flowers here for months and months.

After the Pieris, which really started to show themselves with their buds way back in winter, the next things to bloom were the heaths. My Furzy heaths didn’t look so good this year so I didn’t include them but this Kramer’s Rote is lovely and adds flowers to the Heather Garden at a much different time than the heathers, which bloom in summer.  The Little Heath is in there too so the bed is nice at an early date.

The Winter Daphne filled the whole yard with its fragrance for many weeks as it was simply covered with blooms this year. I was amazed and thrilled to see and smell it. Later on I’ll show two more Daphnes -a Summer Ice and a Lawrence Crocker. The first gets to about 4 feet but the other is a dwarf and only gets to about a foot or so but still has an incredible smell to it, if you get down on your knees!, as does the Summer Ice. All 3 Daphnes are wonderful to have here both for their blooms and for their fragrance.

I imagine most folks know the Lenten Rose and the Elephant Ears. Both bloom early and then put on lovely foliage to show us later on so they stay nice for the year. Next is a species Rhodie called Rock Rose Rhododendron that bloomed wonderfully then froze so it’s not looking so nice right now but it’s coming back slowly. This was a hard winter and I lost several plants altogether as well as a lot of burning on others. I’m lucky that so many survived as well as they did I suppose but I always feel bad when things die on me. Oh well, such is life, eh?

I’ve shown the Dutchman’s Pipe and the Wild Ginger before so I won’t go into them again but I wanted to include them as they were in bloom at this time. The next two are natives. One is a Trillium I collected near the road when we were in the mountains, ( I did it right so don’t worry about mal-harvesting… ) and the Red Flowering currant grows in the Cascades and in other woods. It’ll get to about 6-8 feet tall in time and have currants on it at some point, I hope….

The next two are Rhodies that bloom mid season. The Blue Diamond gets about 4 feet tall and the Patty Bee is a clear yellow, unusual in Rhodies and bred in Ireland so the name fits it well. Next is another Heath family member called a Bog Rosemary or Andromeda. I have another form of it too but it didn’t flower too well this year so I didn’t include it but it is quite nice as well, with larger flowers.

Next is one of the Daphnes I talked about earlier, the dwarf form. Next to it is a small Thrift which has such lovely pink flowers and is small at the foot of the fountain where it gets plenty of over splash of water and grows very well. Following them are two Rhoodies. One is the white-with-a-splotch Dora Amateis which is a 3 foot dwarf and the next is an even smaller dwarf with a clear yellow color called Curlew, another species Rhodie. Both are early and lovely.

The Candytuft surrounds our mailbox out front and is visible to all who drive by and see it. It blooms for a long time. I only have one of the David’s Viburnum so I don’t get berries but I love the plant and the flowers it puts on. Later on I’ll show another Viburnum, the Rhytidophyllum, or Leatherleaf Viburnum, that gets 12 feet tall and will require some work to keep it in place as it grows I’m afraid. It’s doing well now tho it went thru some hard times last year before it came out of it.

The Pt Reyes Ceanothus, or California Lilac, has a nice smell to it and attracts lots of bees when it’s blooming tho it’s still early when it does so. The Ken Janeck Rhodie starts out pink and then turns a clear white as it opens fully. The flowers stay on the plant for a long time.

The Aronia is the new super food I’ve found out. It’s super high in those purple/red Phyto Nutrients that help our bodies heal and grow and I intend to make juice out of them this year as it put on tons of flowers and will have lots of berries. They are a bit tart so the juice is good mixed with a sweeter type or some sugar or honey I’ve heard. I’m excited to see how the juice turns out this year. A lucky coincidence, as I didn’t know its attributes when I planted it. I did it because it likes wet soils and it’s very wet where it is…

The Ward’s Ruby is a Kurume Azalea and is covered with small blossoms when it blooms. I love the deep red of it and you can see it from many vantage points it the garden it stands out so well. The Bow Bells is at the foot of the fountain and seems to like it there a lot. It’ll get up to the edge of the fountain someday but it’ll take awhile to do so. Next is the Viburnum I talked about a bit ago that gets so large. It bloomed well this year.

The Azalea is one Louie planted years ago and I don’t know the name of it but it sure is a stand out in the front yard. Very nice. Next is the Daphne Summer Ice I mentioned above and following that are shots of two forms of Columbine that grow in the garden. I love these airy plants that add such an element of grace to the garden. The one set came up all by itself from plants I planted years ago. Amazing!

Next are 3 Rhodies – the Anna Rose Whitney in the back  corner of the garden, the Western Azalea, the native that grows in the western mountains and is a parent of the Exbury and Mollis hybrids from England that all smell so sweet. They get that smell from this plant. The last is a Sappho that Louie planted a long time ago. It’s so incredible in the front yard and is dominant there now.

The last row starts out with a Common Sage that has amazing purple flowers that the bees love now. As they do the French Lavender flowers that are coming on strong now. The last is a large purple rhodie, a Blue Peter, that Louie planted and has become a big part of the back drop to the whole back garden. I love the purple flowers with their darker splotches of purple in their centers. It’s probably the largest rhodie we have but some get Much bigger. Some are even trees! I wish I could plant one of them but we just don’t have the room.

Still I’m very content with this amazing garden we have here now. There are almost always things blooming somewhere all year long and if not flowers then the foliage gives us many colors to view and textures and structures that make the whole thing work well. I hope this hasn’t been too long a tour. I kinda got carried away when I started to put out all the things that have bloomed so far this year. I found that it’s quite a lot when I did it. I hope you still enjoyed it all. 🙂

Flowers Rule! (sometimes…)

Steve

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