Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Typeless Tuesday - Allium Seed Heads in My Garden

This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday post but I got busy yesterday and didn't get anything else done for today so Typeless Tuesday it is!  These allium seed heads looked especially lovely one morning.

And this "Seed Pod" is a new addition to my garden by Judi Hook. 

 See previous posts about Judi's work here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Colvos Creek, Ave atque vale

After almost 40 years of finding and propagating a wide variety of rare and unusual plants, Mike Lee  decided to close the doors of Colvos Creek Nursery.  Mike was a pioneer of growing unusual and especially xeric plants in the pacific northwest and had a mail order catalog that was a plant nerd's delight.  If you see huge agaves or tree sized Embothriums in Seattle area gardens, it's likely that Mike's hands separated the pup, pressed the seed to soil or plunged the cutting into pearlite.  Fans of growing callistemon, manzaneta  and grevillea in this area owe Mike a debt of gratitude for promoting their use in our gardens for years!  For more about Colvos Creek, see Ian's excellent post here.

It has been said that like faded photographs in attic boxes, we are all eventually forgotten but the great horticultural contribution of Mike Lee and his nursery is worth remembering!
Thanks to Ian's post, referenced above, I was able to attend the final sale at Colvos Creek.  Prices were amazingly low and the list of plants still available was impressive!  Over the years, I've visited Colvos Creek Nursery in a variety of Vashon Island locations but it wasn't until recently that I learned that Mike lives in Seattle and commuted by ferry  to Vashon Island.  To learn more about the reasons for the closure, look here.
Colvos Creek's growing area has always existed on part of someone else's property.  The landowner of the most current location had lots of interesting objects on the grounds including this bicycle fence.

And these cool architectural fragments.

We had some other stops to make on the island so I didn't spend a tremendous amount of time in the shade plant area. 

There were treasures to be found here but I noticed a couple of cool eucalypti on the list and decided to seek them out.

 So off we were led up the road to the sunny area, a bit of a hike but more than worth the walk!
A large clearing at the top of the road functioned as the growing area for sun lovers.

So many plants, so little garden space. 

Believe it or not, I only bought four plants.  Ignore the bulging boxes of plants behind my camera bag, they must belong to someone else:)
What a treat to be able to see Mike's plants one last time, to take some home, and mostly to chat with Mike.  As he travels up another path, I wish him well, thank him for his contribution, and look forward to hearing what he'll do next!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Begonias for Foliage Follow Up

Each month on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the incomparable Pam Penick of Digging hosts foliage follow up to remind us of the important role that foliage plays in our gardens.  This month, I'm featuring a few of my begonias with beautiful foliage. 

This is the newest in the collection.  Alison and I both grabbed one of these beauties at Flower World on a recent visit.  We also grabbed breakfast at the Maltby Café and I'm still full!  (BTW Alison, one of those sweet rolls is still in the refrigerator, we've only made it through one!)

Begonia luxurians before the wind came up and knocked a brugmansia on top of it.
Rex begonia 'Fire Flush'

Rex begonia 'Iron Cross'

Providing festive color in the garden in the summer, these also make happy house plants in the winter. After a mild winter, if the gardener forgets to bring them inside, they've re emerged from their pots but not until very late in the season.  It's so hard to get good garden help and the firm currently employed here, Me, Myself and I, are a lazy lot prone to taking afternoon naps in the summer and ignoring uninteresting tasks in the garden.

How can one not love foliage like this? 
Flowers are fleeting but foliage is forever.  May your garden be full of whatever brings you joy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 2014 Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

How can it be the middle of August already?  The summer months seem to go by faster than any of the others! Oh well, it is what it is and here's a sampling of what's blooming in my garden this month.

Anemone hupehensis

The sweet fragrance of Clerodendrum bungei and the bright pink blossoms at this time of year make me forgive it for sending up suckers everywhere.  A great plant but be sure that you want a thicket of it before you plant it.  The good news is that the suckers pull easily.

Many hardy fuchsias are in full swing right now.  Here's Delta's Groom
 And June Bride.

Hydrangea 'Pistachio'

A perennial impatiens that came from Annie's Annuals several years ago. 

Roscoea purpurea 'Cinnamon Stick."  Fortunately, the blooms don't last long as the plant is the real attraction.

This goofy fluorescent pelargonium will represent the many that are blooming right now.

Abutilon something or other that made it through the winter in the ground.

 Abutilon megapotamicum that made it through the winter in a pot with no protection.
White brugmansia.  My 'Charles Grimaldis' and the pink one suffered damage this winter when the heat didn't get turned up in the glass room so they aren't blooming yet.  Maybe next month.
 Begonia boliviensis


Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Arrow'  Put it in too much sun and the golden leaves burn, too much shade and the leaves turn chartreuse.  Either way it blooms.

Clerodendrum tricotomum has been more floriferous this year than ever.  The bees and humming birds have been very busy so hopefully there'll be lots of gorgeous metallic turquoise berries inside the red calyces.

Eryngium alpinum blooms are not as blue this year as usual.

Albizia julibrissin

   Macleaya cordata gets pulled up every year and somehow comes back  stronger and spreads farther.  I  love the foliage so don't want to totally eradicate it.

Impatiens niamniamensis ‘Congo Cockatoo’

My very first Crinum bloom.  I have another in the garden that has been there for at least nine years and has never bloomed.  Probably not in enough sun.  Anyway, I got this bulb on sale this spring, planted it in a pot and put it in the sun.  Hooray, blooms.

The last of the fragrant oriental lilies,  'Tom Pouce.'

Lobelia tupa survived an attack early in the season by one of the people with mental disabilities who live across the alley from me.  It was lying flat on the ground but I got a stout stake and tied the lobelia to it. It's quite a sizeable clump so I was unsure if it would pull through but it did with no permanent damage at all.   The Clematis tangutica vine on the fence behind was not so lucky and died after being pulled off the fence and torn to bits.
 Leycesteria formosa

NOID crocosmia that a neighbor has given to everyone in the hood.  It spreads fairly quickly and blooms nicely.  The rest of my crocosmias bloomed much earlier.

Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon is the only hibiscus that performs really well for us up here and blooms well with no summer heat.  It's also hardy in the ground. 

This NOID buddleia came home as a little start of a thing and has grown into quite a shrub.  The flowers hand downward, have a slight fragrance and are a hummingbird favorite.  Also, this one doesn't seem to be seeding everywhere. 

Dicentra scandens is a charming perennial vine and is tough as nails.

I let a few fireweeds grow in my parking strip.  They really are lovely flowers.

Romneya coulteri is just about bloomed out but there are still some blooms left.

Another weed that I allow is Lathyrus somethingorother, a perennial pea that blooms in either this deep pink or white.  They don't have a fragrance, but they climb over shrubs nicely and provide a shot of color in high summer.  It's easy enough to pull up what you don't want.  As legumes, they fix nitrogen in the soil making the other plants happy. 

Cotinus 'Pink Champagne'  and fennel for the butterflies.

Lots of roses.  This one will represent all of them.

That bad boy of impatiens, I. glandulifera, reseeds rampantly.  We pull thousands of them up each year but leave a few.  It creates a great deal of biomass for the compost heap.

Agastache is another hummingbird favorite.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens is the host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month.  Click here to visit her blog and see what's blooming all over the world right now.  Thanks for inviting us all to the party and for being such a great host Carol!