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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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Far Reaches Farm "Soft Opening"

When an email arrived in my inbox announcing that Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend was inviting everyone to their soft opening with "limited offerings", a couple of weekends ago, I jumped at the chance to see what was happening in their spring garden.  There were also many treasures out on the sales tables. "Limited offerings" must have meant limited to the most fabulous and and hard to find plants.  As always, this place was definitely worth the drive, maybe even a flight... Here's a random sampling of some of my favorites.  See my previous posts about FRF here.   If you do a web search for blog post Far Reaches Farm, you'll find that garden bloggers love this magical place and have posted frequently about it.

The foliage of Paeonias tenuifolia and veitchii are spectacular. 

 Paeonia mairei is a welcome early bloomer!


Peonies look great from the time they emerge from the soil!  Foliage, buds, flowers, seedpods are all terrific!

Meconopsis 'Lingholm'  looking very fat and happy.  Doesn't everyone grow blue poppies? They're so easy here.


Ajuga incisa 'Bikum' combines yellow variegated foliage with blue flowers.  Heavenly!

 Speaking of blue and gold, Clematis 'Stolwilk gold' has gorgeous gold foliage with these blue flowers.  Mine has yet to flower but the foliage alone has been exciting enough to allow it to stay for the last few years.

 Glaucidium palmatum was named by the Royal Horticultural Society as one of the top 200 plants of the last 200 years!  We are very lucky to be able to grow this woodland gem here! 

From the Far Reaches Website:  "This Japanese woodlander is among the very elite of all plants for shade. Slow to propagate and uncommonly beautiful, a well-grown mature plant is a prized trophy which marks you as a gardener of exquisite taste.  This plant is not often available.    Broad maple-like leaves are the foil for the large 3" light lavender crepe paper Poppy-esque flowers. Cool shade and a woodsy soil that doesn't dry out is ideal for this piece of living botanical art.

 Pyrrosia sheareri


Podophyllums emerging from their winter dormancy.

No words -  Podophyllum delavayi still takes my breath away with its beauty.



Do be mindful of  the resident spider!


Lysichiton americanus, our native skunk cabbage, in bloom.

Lysichiton camschatscensis, it's white Asian counterpart.

Spring is a special time in any garden but here, it's truly amazing.  Far Reaches is pretty much crack for plant addicts.

Where are the shovels?  Isn't this a dig your own sort of nursery? The deeply incised leaves of this Schefflera delavayi have me breaking the tenth commandment and contemplating relaxing number eight a bit, too.  Seriously, though, isn't this cool?


Schefflera gracilis

Grevillea australis.  See the description in the photo below.  Who needs T.V. with entertainment like this at one's fingertips?


Familiar cardiocrinum foliage but look at that purple veining... What up with that?  Read the tag below to see.

 Pretty cool to know that this is currently the only place on the planet to obtain this plant and it's within driving distance of my house. 

Love trilliums with mottled leaves.  I only wish that the foliage lasted a little longer.  Oh well, they don't mind having hostas at their feet to fill in the blank spots when they go dormant for the summer.

On the counter by the cash register is always some drool worthy and usually unavailable plant in full bloom or sporting outrageous foliage.  This is clearly there to draw your attention away from the whir of the cash register as your bill is being tallied.  It also refuels  plant lust and  gives you another  reason to return to the nursery many times through the season.  This weekend's siren was Pleione 'Vesuvius Phoenix.'  "Do you really NEED to pay the mortgage this month?' she sings seductively.  "I think you forgot to check out every single table in the shade house.  Maybe you should stay a little longer.  Have you seen how beautiful and unusual everything is here?"  Her dulcet tones - the beautiful surroundings, so tempting to stay...  It's all I can do to grab my plants and run for the car. 
She's in a four inch pot so when you visit Far Reaches be sure to wear a coat with appropriately-sized pockets.  Also, bring your own shovel!  

NOTE: This is  a joke.  I am not actually suggesting that you steal plants from this or any other nursery!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aesculus hippocastanum 'Laciniata' is my Favorite Plant...This Week

Joining with my pal Loree at Danger Garden in her favorite plant this week meme.  Click over there to see what other gardeners are loving this week!


Truth be told, all of the plants from yesterday's post plus are my current faves but this one gets its own post.

I love a lacey leaf.  Acer palmata varieties with lacey leaves tickle me, Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida' with it's shredded foliage has been a favorite since I first saw it for sale at Heronswood a bunch of years ago.  Last spring, there were a few of these on Dragonfly Farms table at the Heronswood Open and plant sale.  However, they were walking out in the boxes of others. 

When this sort of situation arises, one makes himself feel better by saying things like, "It's deciduous and you really need more evergreen foliage in your garden." and "It's really sweet right now but what happens when it becomes a huge tree and blocks what little sun your garden still has?" We do what we can to mask our disappointment, right?

Imagine how thrilling it was to find a few of these casually sitting on a sales table at Hortlandia, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's spring plant sale.  (Watch for a future post about this plant nerd's paradise.)

Here are some descriptions lifted from  Plant Lust:

Rare and slow growing cultivar of the native Oregon horsechestnut. Shaggy serrated leaves and dissected to the base and have a very unique look. Although it grows very slow, and appears to be dwarf, very little is known about this plant. - Garden World

A shrubby tree to 10' in your lifetime; the compound palmate leaves are deeply and narrowly incised. zone 4. - Whitman Farms

Leaves which are deeply, irregularly cut (even needle-like!) add another layer of interest to this always beautiful large flowering tree; slower growing than the species; older plants may have drooping branches. Sun-PSh/Med. - Forest Farm
Blue Bell Arboretum and Nursery has this to say:  An unusual form of our native horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum 'Laciniata' has interesting, exceptionally deeply cut leaves. These leaves are dark green in spring and summer and can turn butter yellow in a good, crisp autumn. Upright panicles of attractive white flowers appear on the branches of established plants in late spring.
A very handsome tree with intriguing foliage!
This Aesculus can be coppiced every few years to produce a much smaller plant with a very distinctive foliage effect. Pruning it in this way can make it suitable for even the smallest of gardens!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 2014 Foliage Follow-Up

Each month on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the inspirational Pam Penick  at Digging hosts Foliage Follow-Up, a garden blogging meme to remind us all of the importance of foliage in our gardens. Flowers are pretty but foliage is forever. Click on the link above to see gorgeous greens from around the world!

Spring is an explosion of exciting foliage so instead of even pretending to have a theme, I just let the camera lead me around. 

Meconopsis paniculata foliage looking gorgeous in the sun!  Can't wait to see a mature rosette of this gorgeous plant?  Go here.  This is an easy Meconopsis and the golden glow of that foliage...sigh! 


Astilboides tabularis leaves looking a little rumpled as they unfurl.  Soon they'll cover the ripening foliage of the galianthus.  Probably best not to point out that hedera helix leaf in the  bottom center of the picture.  One would think I'd pull a weed or two before taking pictures.

Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo' has survived three years for me so maybe it'll decide to stay on permanently.

Pieris Japonica 'Forest Flame'


Syneilesis palmata adding some more growth to the tall stalks behind that emerged earlier.

Very excited to have this specimen of Schefflera  delavayi from Gossler Farms (Portland Yard Garden and Patio Show)   The leaf margins are not as deeply incised as some I've seen (watch for aan upcoming post!) but are more so than my other S. delavayi.


Acer pseudoplatanus 'Esk Sunset'  

Golden hops vine  seems like a good idea at this time of year before it starts trying to conquer the world. 

Since I read Alison's post with pictures of Rhododendron 'Super Flimmer' a year ago, I've been smitten by this plant but hadn't seen one until we visited Hortlandia, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's amazing plant sale (post to come soon.)  Unfortunately it got a little sunburn on top while in the car but it'll be fine!  Evergreen foliage that seems to glow from within.  Perfect for a shady spot!

Hoover Boo and Loree posted about this new Alstromeria 'Rock and Roll'  Both Alison and I wanted one and Loree pointed us to Portland Nursery to get them.  Sources disagree about hardiness 8? 8b? 9?  It may stay in a pot and come in during the coldest part of the winter.  (Screaming orange/red flowers - don't tell Pam I mentioned the "F" word!)

Hosta 'White Feather' is another Hortlandia find.

Tulip ' Fire of Love' has a tag that says it's a perennial bulb.  I sure hope so!  It's a Greigii and they usually stick around for a while.  Just found that Brent and Becky's Bulbs sells these!  I'm seeing many of these being planted in my garden this fall!

From a recent trip to Dragonfly Farms Nursery came this Pyrrosia lingua 'Hiryu' which had just arrived from Japan!
 All of these new plants are sitting near the back door where I pass them several times a day so they got a lot of attention in this post.  Agave americana 'Cornelius' has been very expensive when I've seen it before.  On our recent visit to Portland, Cistus had them on sale for about a fifth of the price of the others I'd seen.  Since the danger gardenette is moving to a larger, newly cleared-out area, I'll be able to find space for this beauty!

This hosta has nifty undulating leaves that emerge a little differently form their smoother-leafed peers.


Elated that I didn't kill Sinopldophyllum hexandrum  (Far Reaches last year.) It Is Alive!

Old friend Devil's Club, Oplopanax horridus, makes my Alaskan relatives laugh as there it is cut down all of the time.  It's pretty well-behaved, has huge leaves, (a good gunnera substitute in cold winter areas) and produces a nice cluster of white flowers followed by striking red berries.  Probably a good idea to plant it a bit away from paths as the sensory experience of brushing against it isn't pleasant.

What foliage has caught your attention this month?