Archive | June, 2013

What’s Blooming June 28th, 2013

29 Jun

The weather decided to do one of its unusual flips today- its been cool and raining, even torrential rain, for the last week, mostly highs in the low 60s. Today it hit 88 degrees in most of Seattle, 90 here on the Island. Ugh… should be good for the garden though, if things don’t fry in the heat. I noticed what appears to be sunburn on the Agapanthus, lol… you would think that would be one happy for the heat.

Abutilon x (megapotamicum)
Agastache x ‘Apricot Sprite’
Agastache x ‘Grape Nectar’
Agastache x ‘Orange Nectar’
Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket’
Aquilegia formosa
Bacopa monieri
Ballota nigra
Barbarea orthocerus
Barbarea vulgaris
Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’
Begonia x ‘Catrin’
Begonia x ‘Kleo’
Beta vulgaris
Brassica oleracea
Callibrachoa x ‘Tequila Sunrise’
Callibrachoa x ‘Vamprire’
Campanula carpatica
Campanula persicifolia
Campanula portenschlageana
Cardamine hirsuta
Celosia x ‘New Look’
Celosia x (cockscomb)
Claytonia sibirica
Coreopsis auriculata ‘nana’
Cuphea ignea
Cuphea ignea (DV type)
Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’
Cuphea x ‘Carribean Sunset’
Cuphea x ‘Flamenco Samba’
Cymbidium hybrid
Dactylorhiza glomerata
Dahlia x (dark leaf red flower)
Dahlia x (cactus flowered white)
Dianthus superbus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’
Dicentra Formosa
Ellisiophyllum pinnatum
Epilobium ciliatum
Eriophyllum lanatum
Festuca roemeri
Fuchsia campos-portoi
Fucshia glazioviana
Fuchsia magellanica ‘aurea’
Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’
Fuchsia magellanica (Gram’s)
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’
Fuchsia x ‘Auntie Jinks’
Fuchsia x ‘Lachlade Magician’
Fuchsia x ‘Marinka’
Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’
Fuchsia x ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’
Gallium aparine
Gazania x ‘Daybreak Garden Sun’
Geranium robertianum
Gerbera hybrida
Geum macrophyllum
Holcus lanatus
Huechera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
Huechera x sanguinea
Huechera x (ruffled purple)
Impatiens hawker
Impatiens noli-tangere
Ipomoea luteola
Ipomoea multifida
Juncus effusus
Justicia brandegeana
Kalnchoe blossfieldiana
Lantana camara ‘Anne Marie’
Lantana camara ‘Landmark Peach Sunrise’
Lapsana communis
Lavendula angustifolia
Lavendula viridis
Lespedeza thunbergii
Leucanthemum vulgare
Lobelia erinus
Lobularia maritime
Lonicera japonica ‘Pink Lemonade’
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
Lonicera x ‘Sulphurea’
Lychnis coronaria
Malva alcea
Medicago sativa
Mellisa citriodora
Mentha himalayense
Monarda didyma ‘Gardenview Scarlet’
Nicotiana alata grandiflora
Nicotiana x ‘Knightiana’
Oenanthe sarmentosa
Osteospermum x (white and purple)
Oxalis nelsoniana
Oxalis oregana
Oxalis triangularisPelargonium x ‘Tango Velvet Red’
Phaelenopsis hybrids (3)
Philadelphus lewisii ‘Goose Creek’
Philadelphus x (Mom’s)
Plantago major
Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’
Rosa x ‘Graham Thomas’
Rosa x (mini peach)
Rubus armeniacus
Saintpaulia hybrid (2)
Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’
Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’
Salvia elegens ‘Tangerine’
Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’
Salvia microphylla ‘ Cerro Petosi’
Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’
Salvia x ‘Phyllis Fancy’
Salvia x ‘Wendy’s Wish’
Scabiosa alpine ‘Ritz Blue’
Schizanthus pinnatus
Sedum album
Senecio confusa
Sidalcea hendersonii
Sisymbrium alatum
Solanum dulcamarra
(Solidago x ‘Baby Sun’?)
Stachys cooleyae
Tagetes x ‘Disco Orange’
Tagetes x ‘Disco Yellow’
Taraxacum officinale
Tradescantis zebrina
Trifolium alba
Thymus citriodorus
Urtica dioica
Verbena x ‘Estrella Voodoo’
Viola x wallichiana
Viola x wallichiana ‘Rebecca’

Lavendula angustifolia

26 Jun


English lavender is one of my sister’s favorite plants. Now we grow mostly dwarf varieties suitable for culinary use (try using lavender sugar on top of your favorite snicker doodle type sugar cookie recipe!), but the taller ones are always admired when we see them too.

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Unfortunately I’ve lost the names of the ones we planted, or at least the names we had, since two of them were unidentified seedlings. I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, but when people ask which ones we grow, I can’t tell you. I know we originally had ‘Twice Purple’, and ‘Buena Vista’ but I couldn’t tell you which ones were which.

We got ours out at the Lavender Festival in Sequim, a few years back. I don’t even remember which farms we bought them from, but several had seedlings and cuttings for sale. At least one of the pink ones we have was one of these unnamed seedlings, bought be ause we liked the sweet fragrance of the flowers and foliage.

And really, if you are getting lavender to use in teas and pastries, the best advice is to ignore what other people tell you works, and simply smell the foliage a f flowers. If its yummy sweet, try it! If it smells a little sharp to you, move along to the next variety, cause that sharpness will show up when you taste it too.

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Ok, I mentioned lavender sugar above… Here is how I make it; on a clear dry morning, pick a handful of flowers, preferably stems that are only just barely starting to open. Knock off any bugs and dirt. Carefully strip off the flowers into a bowl or straight into a mason jar. Cover completely with regular sugar. I would say I usually use a out a quarter to a half cup of lavender to one to two cups of sugar, but really, experiment till you find the balance you like.

Try using this mildly infused sugar on top of sugar cookies or Mexican wedding ball cookies, to sweeten lemonade, things like that. It’s especially refreshing on a hot day, and for cookies makes an interesting more adult alternative to the usual cookie fare at Christmas.

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Lavender is fairly easy to grow as long as you give it enough sun, and water the first few years to get it established. Older plants get woody and need to be carefully pruned in late winter as buds break, to renew the stems and keep them from getting overly leggy. Propagation is fairly easy a d straightforward either from cuttings or seed. Seedlings can be highly variable and fun to grow for new plants, so long S you don’t want boring uniformity in your lavender hedge.

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This is a seedling I grew out that is flowering well this year, with a nice dwarf habit and wonderfully sweet fragrance. This one is a keeper. One of its sisters is much stronger smelling, but with a medicinal twang that overpowers the sweet was of the flowers. The bees seem to like it better though, go figure.

Lavendula viridis

26 Jun

I’m still not 100% positive this is the straight species, the original plant died, and this is a seedling from it, the only one of about a dozen that survived. Still, I love this plant. It’s fragrant leaves can be used like rosemary, but have a complex flavor mixing pine, lemon and lavender notes. Often the species is called “lemon lavender” because of the citrusy hints, but I think the flavor is much more complex than that. If you do decide to use it, be careful! Little dab will do you with this one. Too much overwhelmed just about everything it is cooked with, and gives a medicinal aftertaste that is not particularly pleasant.

The flowers are like the Lavendula stoechas type cone like bracts, but with chartreuse green to cream flowers poking out. Bumbles like them as well as they do all the lavenders. Skippers and butterflies, when flying while it is in bloom, also like these. Haven’t seen a hummer on them, but would not be overly surprised.

Needs really good drainage, which here seems to mean a pot, lean soils seem to be fine though. Hit heavily by hard freezes, but usually pulls through ok. Not the easiest lavender I’ve grown, but not the hardest by any means either. Worth a try if you like different herbs for cooking or potpourri, etc.

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Anna’s Perambations, June 25th, 2013

26 Jun

Rubus armeniacus (dioicus)

Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

Fuchsia x ‘Auntie Jinks’

At this point she got distracted chasing off a rival, but usually would continue on to-

Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’

Also seen used today;

Dahlia x (red/orange with dark leaves)

Just a few hits, dunno if she was just curious or if she found enough nectar to deal with it. It is the right color, lol.

And now we have a thunder storm rolling through… Crazy weather!

What’s Blooming June 24th, 2013

24 Jun

Abutilon x (megapotamicum)
Agastache x ‘Apricot Sprite’
Agastache x ‘Grape Nectar’
Agastache x ‘Orange Nectar’
Alcea moshcata
Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket’
Aquilegia formosa
Barbarea orthocerus
Barbarea vulgaris
Bacopa monieri
Ballota nigra
Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’
Begonia x ‘Catrin’
Begonia x ‘Kleo’
Beta vulgaris
Brassica oleracea
Callibrachoa x ‘Tequila Sunrise’
Callibrachoa x ‘Vampire’
Campanula carpatica
Campanula persicifolia
Campanula portenschlageana
Cardamine hirsuta
Celosia x ‘New Look’
Celosia x (cockscomb)
Chaenorrhinum origanifolium ‘Blue Dream’
Chrysanthemum partheniacum
Claytonia sibirica
Clematis cirrhosa
Crepis cappilaris
Cuphea ignea
Cuphea ignea (‘David Verity’?)
Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’
Cuphea x ‘Caribean Sunset’
Cuphea x ‘Flamenco Samba’
Dahlia x (dark leaf, red flower)
Delphinium menziesii
Delphinium nuttallii
Dianthus x superbus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’
Dicentra formosa
Ellisiophyllum pinnatum
Eriophyllum lanatum
Fuchsia campos-portoi
Fuchsia glazioviana
Fuchsia magellanica ‘aurea’
Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’
Fuchsia magellanica (Gram’s)
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonsdtedt’
Fuchsia x ‘Auntie Jinks’
Fuchsia x ‘Display’
Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’
Fuchsia x ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’
Gallium aparine
Gazania x ‘Daybreak Garden Sun’
Geranium robertianum
Geranium phaeum
Gerbera x hybrid
Heracleum lanatum
Holcus lanatus
Huechera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
Huechera x sanguinea
Huechera x (purple ruffles)
Impatiens hawker
Impatiens noli-tangere
Ipomoea luteola
Justicia brandegeana
Kalnchoa blossfeildiana
Lantana camara ‘Anne Marie’
Lantana camara ‘Landmark Peach Sunrise’
Lavendula angustifolia
Lavendula viridis
Lespedeza thunbergii
Leucanthemum vulgare
Lobelia erinus
Lobularia maritima
Lonicera japonica ‘Pink Lemonaide’
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
Lonicera x ‘sulphurea’
Lunaria annua
Lupinus polyphyllus
Lychnis coronaria
Meconopsis cambrica
Medicago sativa
Mellisa citriodora
Mimulus guttatus
Mirabilis jalapa ‘Limelight’
Myosotis laxa
Nemesia x ‘Aromatica White Improved’
Nemesia x hybrids
Nicotiana alata grandiflora
Nicotiana x ‘Knightiana’
Oenanthe sarmentosa
Osteospermum x ‘Margarita Purple’
Osteospermum x (purple spoon)
Osteospermum x (white with purple center)
Oxalis nelsoniana
Oxalis oregana
Oxalis triangularis
Pelargonium x ‘Tango Velvet Red’
Philadelphus coronaria ‘aurea’
Philadelphus lewisii ‘Goose Creek’
Philadelphus (mom’s)
Plantago major
Primula aucalis
Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’
Rosa x ‘Graham Thomas’
Rosa x (mini peach)
Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’
Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’
Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’
Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’
Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’
Salvia x ‘Phyllis Fancy’
Salvia x ‘Wendy’s Wish’
Scabiosa alpine ‘Ritz Blue’
Schizanthus pinnatus
Sedum alba
Senecio confuse
Sidalcea hendersonii
Solanum dulcamarra
Solanum lycopersicum (yellow pear)
Stachys cooleyae
Sysimbrium alata
Tagetes x ‘Disco Orange’
Tagetes x ‘Disco Yellow’
Trifolium alba
Thymus citriodorus
Tradescantia zebrina
Verbena x ‘Estrella Voodoo’
Veronica prortata ‘Blue Dream’
Viola x wittrockiana
Viola x ‘Rebecca’
Zinnia x ‘Swizzle Scarlet and Yellow’

Inside;
Phaelenopsis hybrids
Saintpaulia hybrid

Mixed pot- Nemesia, rose and candyflower

22 Jun

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This little strawberry pot was pit together three years ago now, and is as charming as ever. The little rose was a florist type mini given to Beth from one of her pre-schoolers that year. Didn’t even have a name… This is the only one of several she was given that particular year that survived, but luckily it’s my favorite. It changed color depending on the weather, and as it ages, going from pink buds to shades of orange or apricot as it opens.

The Nemesia ‘Aromatica White Improved’ was bought as an annual that year, but has come back nice and full twice over now. Gotta love that in an “annual” right?

And the candyflower, Claytonia sibirica, is a native annual that self seeds in this pot, luckily I love the combination of the three together.

Only problem is, I think the rose needs to be planted in the ground or something, or I just need to refresh the soil. Last year it produced tons of flowers, but this year it’s looking pretty anemic.

Mixed pot- Cuphea, Gazania, Callibrachoa, etc

22 Jun

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One of the bowls I put together, with;

Callibrachoa x ‘Vampire’
Lobelia erinus ‘Blue Moon’
Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’
Cuphea lave a ‘Tiny Mice’
Gazania x ‘Daydream Yellow’

The Callibrachoa “million bells” and the Cuphea have been attracting some hummingbird attention, as should the salvia once it starts developing. The lobelia would probably have been better if I hadn’t used this dwarfed more compact form, maybe ‘Sapphire’ or ‘Marine Blue’ would have filled in more and seem to attract more bees than this one does. Overall I’m happy with it though.

Mimulus guttatus

22 Jun

Monkey flowers in general have long been one of my favorite groups of plants, native or not. Yellow monkey flowers are probably the most common of our native species, and are definitely the easiest to grow. In the wild, you usually see them on the edges of streams and ponds, happily blooming at the water’s edge. In the garden, they do just fine in regularly irrigated garden beds, pots, and even hanging baskets. Sometimes annual, sometimes perennial, often it’s difficult to tell if your looking at the same plant from year to year, or seedlings. Either way, they can put on quite a show.

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Propagation is either from seed (easy any time of year, just keep the soil moist but not too wet), or divisions of the offsets a d sometime runners. Again, keep the soil moist but not too wet and these are pretty easy to propagate.

Some forms of these can get quite tall, I’ve seen them in Eastern Washington on a stream side get to three, almost four feet, but usually they stay under two feet. Any moist soil will do, just need some sun to flower well. They will often grow but not flower in shade.

Other species do well for hummingbirds, but I haven’t seem my Anna’s show any interest in these common yellow ones. Bumbles on the other hand like to loose themselves in the blooms, with just their but sticking out, lol.

For some these can spread aggressively e ouch to be a garden thug. For me the seed occasionally, but not aggressively, and I love their cheerful flowers. Now if I can just get the pink Mimulus lewisite going…

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Eriophylum lanatum

22 Jun

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“Oregon sunshine”, “wooly sunflower”, whatever name you choose for this bright little daisy, it never ceases to make me smile when I see its cheerful little flowers.

Native to both sides of the mountains, in drier habitats like open prairies and rocky balds, this is a tough little bugger. All it really needs to do well is something close to full sun and protection from wet roots. As the flowers develop, the silvery wooly foliage does tend to flop a bit, which makes this an interesting pot plant since it likes to cascade over the edge of the pot, but it is something to consider in a rockery or dry border, so it doesn’t smother it’s neighbors.

As you would expect, all kinds of bees and smaller butterflies adore the flowers of these cheerful relatives of daisies and marigolds. I usually try and deadhead them to keep them flowering, but I suspect the seeds would be good for finches and such too.

Propagation by seeds is pretty straight forward as with most composites. You can also take cuttings any time of year you can find a stem, or divide a larger plant if you insist. Division should be done in spring, and be careful to use well draining soil so the plants don’t drown as they recover.

In the prairies, it’s been described to me that they like the “wet spots in the dry prairies”, which in the garden translates into; they will take advantage of water when given, and indeed don’t seem to like drying out too much in a pot, but need good drainage and fairly rich soils to do their best, though fertilizer isn’t usually necessary.

Even when not in flowers, the ferny grey green wooly leaves are attractive. Like asters, they tend to die back to wooly little rosettes in winter, then quickly regenerate in spring into nice little spreading mounds in summer, topped by the bright yellow orange daisies most of early summer.

Forms from eastern Washington and Oregon tend to have larger flowers, so are the more common ones found in nurseries and native plant sales, but they do well in Seattle all the same. Some of the west side forms have a more entire leaf (which is to say, less heavily lobed or simpler), and can be almost like a spreading dusty miller.

This is a charming plant that really deserves more garden space. For dry rockeries or even in hanging baskets, it can make a rather bold statement in flower, and is pretty the rest of the year too.

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

22 Jun

I bought this tuberous begonia a couple of years ago, in the hopes it would attract my Anna’s hummingbirds. And it does, though it doesn’t appear to be a favorite. Still, it’s an easy going plant, and produces huge numbers of flowers all summer long, and even in winter when kept warm.

I tend to bring it into the living room to overwinter. Doing this it generally keeps flowering till around Christmas, then it goes dormant for a month or two or three, till am beginning to wonder if I killed it. Then it will start growing again, sometimes even flowering on lanky stems right about the time I need to take it outside. More often than not, this late winter growth dies back when I take it outside anyway, so since it will take from cuttings, this spring I took cuttings as I took it outside. One even took, lol. But this did seem to keep it going better.

Unfortunately I put it on the back deck, poking through the railing. It (and the Salvia coccinea “Forest Fire” seedling in with it) has been so happy I haven’t wanted to move it. I think it was happier in more sun, or at least flowered better and became fuller, but the hummer in the backyard has definitely been enjoying the flowers of both it and the salvia, and of course the fuchsias hanging over head, so I haven’t moved it up front.

Apparently this comes from high mountains in South America, like many of the Fuchsias, and may even be hardy in mild winters here. If I get enough cuttings going, I may test that, but for now I’ll bring in at least the main one and an extra, since I do like the bright orange red flowers, and the occasional hummer visits. I think the big one is due for a larger pot soon though, the tuber is pushing the edges of the pot as it is.

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