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, August 29, 2014

Whatever You Want to Call it Now is my Favorite Plant - This Week

So, there I was, innocently looking up information about this weeks plant fave when the rude interweb informed me that the name I was using was that of a defunct genus and is now considered a common name. 

Coleus blumei (his friends just call him Coleus)  is now Plectranthus scutellarioides and Coleus is now considered a common name for this plant  along with Painted Nettle which I've never heard it called.  (Refers to it's relation to the deadnettle family.) Although, Wikipedia also says that the scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides so I guess you just get to choose.
Much as I love Latin -  botanical, liturgical and classical(each has it's own rules for pronunciation so you should know if you're talking to Dan Hinkley or the Pope!) I'm getting too old to keep up with all the name changes they keep throwing at us.  So, I'm going to call this plant Coleus and be common as dirt.

I love bright color that lasts all season long and Coleus provides it in spades. 

They look great in mixed plantings or in pots by themselves.

The images in this post show the ones that are in my garden this year.  I used to note the names of the ones I really liked but they're usually not available the next year. This fall I will take cuttings (you say that every year!)

 Some of them look stunning when backlit by the sun.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of capturing how gorgeous this looked.

Like stained glass.
Sometimes it's a good thing to read  plant labels.  This one is growing in a mixed pot

with this one that picks up the colors of the veins of the former  and echoes the colors of the cordyline.

With yellow creeping jenny to pick up the gold of the leaves and a small begonia boliviensis for an orange pop.  Unfortunately, the Yellow and purple one is a monster (drooping here a little because it wants water) and pretty much covers up the purples behind.  Hmm, that info on the label is helpful but only if you read it.  Oops.  Maybe I should just turn the pot around.

A perennial hardy in zones 11 and above, it's grown as an annual here but makes a nice houseplant (if you remember to water such things.)  There are trailing medium and large sized varieties in a kaleidoscope of colors.  Go ahead, throw a couple in your garden next year and pretend you're in the tropics.  (Or an older relative's dining room where she grew one as a houseplant.)
Check out the article in Fine Gardening Here.
Here's some interesting information from Wikipedia:

"Coleus blumei (now known as Plectranthus scutellarioides) has been reported to have very mild relaxing and/or hallucinogenic effects when consumed.  The effects of the Coleus plant have not been explored very much by modern scientists but the plant has been known to have been used by the Mazatec Indians of southern Mexico who have a history of consuming this plant for its mind-altering effects."

I'm joining with Loree at Danger Garden in her Favorite Plant of the Week Meme.  Click on over and see other bloggers' faves this week!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kathy's Corner - An Explosion of Color!

After visiting Colvos Creek and Dig!  we just kept going up the road a piece to Kathy's Corner.  This place always has something in bloom and in late June when we visited, it was ablaze with blossoms!

Variegated Lithodora is so sweet up close.

As beautiful as it is common, Digitalis will always be welcome in my garden!

Oh the blue of those delphiniums!  Notice the sprinkler head.  Kathy was worried because her water district was practicing involuntary conservation by cutting the amount of water it would allow through its lines.  So, there is not enough pressure to run sprinklers.  Kathy opened one up all the way and water just ran down the side of the pipe. She was worried that she'd loose a lot of her stock without the ability to water it all.  Kathy's place is huge and she grows a huge mount of plants on several acres. 

Snapdragons always make me smile.

Someone's always got to do his own thing!
 Kathy is much loved on the island.  Her home vegetable garden is large and she invites folks to come and spend time weeding or otherwise tending the garden.  At harvest time, they are free to take all they need.  Anything that is left over is brought to the nursery and sold at lower than grocery store prices.  Let's hope the water rationing didn't adversely effect that project.

Eryngium and phlox.

Coleus comes in so many great color combinations! 

When you visit Kathy, ask her to tell you the sweet story about the surprise gift of this elephant!
 Amaranthus Pigmy Torch and a red salvia make an eye popping combination.
 Color on the softer side.

Kathy always has my favorite fuchsia 'Autumnale' which does bloom but who cares.  The foliage is the star here.

When it comes to containers, I'm mostly a one plant, one pot kind of gardener (well, with the exception of succulents) but the sight of this stunning combination hanging pot had me swooning.

Lovely hanging fuchsias.

Tuberous begonias

Kathy's Fire Flush begonia is the lushest I've seen in person!

 As Loree says, There's always an agave!

Do you see the other elephant facing away from the one on the left?

Even more green goodness growing out back. 
Vashon Island is a great place to spend a day (or several) shopping at these great nurseries, and at the farmers market and  many cool shops and galleries in the area! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sylvia and Ross's New Garden

About a year ago, Sylvia and Ross, co conspirators at Dig Nursery which we visited yesterday, sold their fabulous contemporary home and garden and moved to a turn of the century house.  It will be interesting to see how this dynamic couple with an eye and talent for the contemporary transform their new dwelling. The garden is also a work in progress.  Let's see what's happening.

The arches we saw being put together on the ground at an earlier visit are now in place.  I forgot to ask what the plan is for the area in the foreground

Here's another.  Love the gabion wall behind!

Great foliage combinations in this shady bed.

Schefflera delavayi, Mahonia gracilipes, and podophyllum pleianthum dance beautifully together.

Smaller specimens in front of the fine dark foliage of taxus.  Yew know yew love it!

Smoking is allowed in the garden if you're a cotinus.  Again with brilliant foliage combinations!

Arundo donax 'Variegata'  makes a statement wherever it's planted!

Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark) 'Diabolo's' burgundy foliage makes a great partner for this orange dahlia!

That the Genista aetnensis  (Mt. Etna Broom) is blooming and the Lobelia tupa aren't shows that this visit took place several weeks ago!

I'm partial to dahlias with deep purple foliage.  What do you think?

Gorgeous Persicaria ne Polygonum.
 Gold, purple, and a little splash of orange.

Gold and purple echoed in another part of the garden with this beautiful aralia and ligularia.

No garden is complete without a Tetrapanax jungle, right?

With whatever Ross and Sylvia do, one can't wait to see what they'll do next!