Archive | July, 2013

Anna’s Perambulations, July 31st, 2013

31 Jul

Mimulus cardinalis
Cuphea ignea
Salvia ‘Credo Petosi’
Lychnis coronaria
Salvia ‘Hotlips’
Brassica oleracea
Cuphea cyanea ‘Carribeam Sunset’
Abutilon megapotamicum

I assume the brassica was visited because the flowers were so close to the Salvia ‘Hotlips’, as she just visited one flower, but I have seen them checked out before, too. The bees sure like these…

Earlier in the day I caught one visiting the two fuchsias in the corner too- Fuchsia magelanica ‘molinae’ and the unnamed standard I think is Fuchsia ‘Display’

Origami Seed Packets

31 Jul

Ok, so for whatever reason today I decided to save some seeds of the “poor man’s orchid”, Schizanthus pinnatus. Dunno why really, since I suck at actually growing things out from seed, but I like this plant and its not always easy to find. So, since I had at least one plant the hummingbirds graced with a few visits, I thought I would try saving some seeds of it.

I know lots of people have different ways to save seed, and many people buy little velum or plastic envelopes to put their seeds in, but years ago a friend of mine shared this origami fold that adapts itself really well to saving seeds. From a single piece of scratch paper, you can make two to four good sized envelopes that are easy to open, and more importantly REopen, and keep most seeds nicely secured in breathable paper. Experts say plastic doesn’t breath enough and can smother the seeds… Then turn around and tell you to put the seed packets in sealable glass jars, lol. You decide how you want to store them, but maybe this little fold will make it easier to collect seeds on the fly when you aren’t necessarily planning on it.

Anyway, this is a cheap and effective way to make a simple seed packet that works great for all but the largest seeds. All you need is a piece of paper;


This is regular 8×12 lined school paper, but any kind of paper will work, of any size. I usually prefer to rip the paper in half or quarters, depending on how many or how small the seeds are. Blank paper, or at least something with room to write on it works best, as you can scribble down the name of the seeds, and the date of when you collected and any other pertinent info directly on the seed pack before adding the seeds. Or use a sticker I suppose.

Ok, so start with a piece of paper roughly 4×6 inches, or half a sheet of standard lined paper. I like to fold it in half where I want to rip it, run my thumbnail over it to crease it hard, then open it up and flip it backwards and crease it again from the other side. Now you can open it up and gently rip along the creased fold, and it will usually rip fairly straight and cleanly along that line.

Or just mark it and use scissors, whatever works for you.

Now, long ways, fold it again bottom edge to top-


Crease hard. Now match the two top and bottom edges again, and make a small fold to hold these edges together, about 1/8 to 3/16ths of and inch deep-


Do this again, doubling this fold over for a nice tight seal (we don’t want it to come apart with the seeds in the finished envelope, so doubling the fold makes it stronger.)


It’s hard to see in the above photo, but if you look closely you can see how it’s been folded once then doubled over and folded again.

Now flip the fold over, and fold a triangle on one end, with this double folded edge going up to meet the center fold like so-


Now do that again on the other side-


Flip it over again, and fold the corners down, tucking the end into the double folded bottom edge-



That’s it! You have made the packet. I recommend if your going to use these for seeds, write at least the name of the seeds, and the date you collected them on the outside of the packet. If your collecting from a natural area or park, you can include that provenance information too, or any other notes you want or need to remember the seed location by, or tips on how to grow them, or whatever. I also like to put who I got seeds from if I get them from another gardener or friend. Really, whatever info you need that can fit on the paper. You can even open the paper up, write detailed notes on it, then refold and add the seeds. It’s pretty flexible.

Oh, to open, pop the tab on one of the sides, open it back up to square, and gently blow open the end-


Be careful when you open these not to pull too hard on the double folded bottom edge, and when you close it, remember to tuck the corner back in under this fold to lock everything closed.

Of course it can be used for all kinds of things, not just seeds, but this is an easy fold to master and can be done anywhere if you just have a piece of paper.

One final look at the finished product here-


The smaller of the two is made from a quarter sheet, the larger from a half sheet. If you have a large number of seeds, and bigger ones, you can use a full sheet of paper, but I’ve found they don’t hold together as easily. Your mileage may vary.

Hope this is clear enough to figure out! Have fun collecting seeds *grin*.

Anna’s perambulations, July 30th, 2013

31 Jul

Fuchsia ‘Display’ standard


Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’


Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Petosi’


Cuphea ignea (tall form)


Of course, I was watching this from the deck, hard to say if me being outside prevented her from visiting some things I was too close for her liking? I know I see them on the Cuphea ‘Tiny Mice’ frequently, and the Mimulus cardinalis has been quite popular this year too. Bit maybe I was just too close to those for her.

What’s Blooming July 24th, 2013

31 Jul

Achillea millefolium

Agapanthus hybrid

Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’

Agastache x ‘Apricot Sprite’

Agastache x ‘Grape Nectar’

Agastache x ‘Orange Nectar’

Allium schoenoprassum

Anaphalis margaritaceae

Bacopa monieri

Ballotta nigra

Barbarea vulgaris

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

Begonia x ‘Catrin’

Begonia x ‘Kleo’

Brassica oleracea

Buddleia davidii ‘Dark Knight’

Calliandra eryophylla

Campanula carpatica

Campanula persicifolia

Campanula portenshclageana

Cardamine hirsuta

Celosia x ‘New Look’

Celosia (cockscomb)

Cerastium tomentosum

Chaenorrhinum origanifolium ‘Blue Dream’

Chamerion angustifolium

Chrysanthemum partheniacum

Chrysanthemum x superbum

Claytonia sibirica

Clivia miniata

Coreopsis auriculata ‘nana’

Corydalis lutea

Crocosmia masonorum

Crocosmia x ‘Lucifer’

Cuphea cyanea ‘Carribean Sunset’

Cuphea ignea

Cuphea ignea (tall form)

Cuphea llavea ‘Flamenco Samba’

Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’

Cyclamen hederifolium

Dahlia (white cactus)

Dahlia (red leaved red flowers)

Dicentra formosa

Echinacea purpurea

Ellisiphyllum pinnatum

Epilobium ciliatum

Fuchsia campos-portoi

Fuchsia magellanica ‘aurea’

Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia magellanica (Gram’s)

Fuchsia magellanica (Patrick’s)

Fuchsia magellanica (red leaved)

Fuchsia magellanica (plant swap)

Fuchsia tryphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonsteadt’

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Mary’

Fuchsia x ‘Auntie Jinks’

Fuchsia x ‘Billy Green’

Fuchsia x ‘Juella’

Fuchsia x ‘Lachlade Magician’

Fuchsia x ‘Marinka’

Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’

Fuchsia x ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’

Gazania ‘Daybreak Garden Sun’

Geum macrophyllum

Gladiolus hybrid

Glyceria grandis

Huechera sanguinea

Impatiens hawker

Impatiens noli-tangere

Ipomoea luteola

Ipomoea multifida

Juncus ensifolia

Justicia brandegeana

Kalanchoe blossfieldiana

Lantana camara ‘Anne Marie’

Lantana camara ‘Landmark Peach Sunrise’

Lapsana communis

Lathyrus sylvestris

Lavendula angustifolia

Lespedeza thunbergii

Liatris spicata

Lillium martagon

Lobelia erinus

Lobularia maritimus

Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’

Lonicera ‘Pink Lemonade’

Lonicera ‘sulphurea’

Lychnis coronaria

Malva alcea

Medicago sativa

Mellissa citriodora

Mentha himalayensis

Mimulus cardinalis

Mimulus guttatus

Mina lobata

Mirabilis jalapa ‘Limelight’

Mitraria coccinea

Monarda didyma ‘Gardenview Scarlet’

Myosotis laxa

Nemesia ‘Aromatica White Improved’

Nemesia hybrids

Nicotiana alata grandiflora

Nicotiana mutabilis

Nicotiana x ‘Knightiana’

Ocimum basilicum

Oenothera missouriensis

Origanum vulgare

Osteospermum hybrid (white and purple)

Oxalis nelsoniana

Oxalis oregano

Oxalis triangularis

Pentas lanceolata

Phaelenopsis hybrids

Phaseolus coccinea

Plantago major

Polygonum pensylvanicum

Rosa chinensis mutabilis

Rosa x ‘Graham Thomas’

Rubus armeniacus

Rumex acetosella

Saintpaulia hybrids

Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’

Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’

Salvia elegans ‘Tangerine’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia luecantha ‘Phyllis Fancy’

Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’

Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’

Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’

Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

Scabiosa alpina ‘Ritz Blue’

Schizanthus pinnatus

Schlumbergera hybrid

Solidago canadensis

Solidago ‘Golden Baby’

Stachys cooleyae

Symphoricarpos alba

Symphyotrichum subspicatum

Sysimbrium altissimum

Tagetes signata ‘Sparkles’

Tagetes ‘Disco Orange’

Tagetes ‘Disco Yellow’

Taraxacum officinale

Trapaeolum majus ‘Alaska’

Trifolium alba

Urtica dioica

Verbena x ‘Estrella Voodoo’

Viola x wittrockiana

July Humplants

13 Jul

There is a bunch going on in the garden this year, so I thought I would go through and make some notes on what is working and what’s not, to attract the hummingbirds.

So this morning I got up way too early, and went out to sit in the morning sun a d see if the hummers would show me what they like. I thought sitting in the truck would be good, cause it was still just a. It chilly in the shade, and that way the birds couldn’t see me. Unfortunately, with the sun on the window I could t see much either. But I did catch one visiting the scarlet runner beans, Phaseolus coccineus-


S/he must have liked it, since several flowers were visited before flying off.

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see a juvenile visiting the flowers of the Japanese false indigo.



I’ve been calling this Lespedeza thunbergii in my What’s Blooming lists, since that’s what I remember it as, but looking at the pics online the leaves look different for that species, three part rather than 15-19 on mine. The flowers are very very similar though, and beloved of bees. I got this years ago from Heronswood, planted it in a pot and though it gets occassional splashes of water, it’s pretty much on its own. It’s thrived over the years, blooms heavily most of mid summer. This was the first time I’d seen hummers visit the flowers, but the little guy worked several flower spikes over in quick succession, so he must have gotten something he liked.

A plant I just got this year, though I have grown it in the past, is Mimulus cardinalis-



This rather sprawling California native is one of their favorites at the moment. It makes me want to install a stream or marshy pond in sun somewhere to give it the kind of garden space it would really thrive in. I love the bright reddish orange flowers, and the nice nectar lines in the throat. So do the hummers, consistently visiting these in their passes through the garden.

Another hands down favorite is the Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’


I love this salvia almost as much as the hummers. The cute little flowers often open in pairs, and the coolest thing is they change color based on the weather. When it’s cooler, they are all red. As it warms up, they to through bicolor stages, then when it gets really hot, they can be all white. With our variable temps around here, this time of year you can have all three present at one time.

Another Salvia they have enjoyed since I brought it home is Salvia x leucantha ‘Phyllis Fancy’-



The fuzzy lavender stems and near white lavender flowers are very different from most of the garden. But I bought it in bloom this spring, and better than any other salvia in my collection, this one has bloomed and bloomed, and steadily increased in size. I need to fertilize I think, it’s now starting to look just a little run down. Something broke off a branch the other day too, and I need to make sure I take cuttings from that branch today. This is one I want to keep.

Another that has done well for me, though the hummers seemed to like it better a month ago than now, is Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’-


This one isn’t hardy here at all, so I am trying to decide if I want to bring one of the two in to overwinter, or trust that Langley Fine Gardens will have them again next year. I do love the color, and earlier it was one of the hummers faves, especially the one in the corner by the birdbath. It was fairly common to see them go from the fuchsias in the rockery, to the Salvia ‘Hotlips’, then to this one.

The other Salvia I have that has always been a steady repeat for me is Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’-


This picture is of one of the seedlings I took out of the bigger pot where one overwintered with the Begonia boliviensis and the lemon verbena. I also bought the white ‘Snow Nymph’ variety, which has attracted some hummer interest, but in general has been rather disappointing for me. It’s a little too dwarf and compact for my liking, and honestly the hummers don’t go out of their way for it.

The Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’ is another that ill keep growing it till I kill it, mostly cause I like the flowers. I have seen hummers regularly use the one hanging through the railing off the back deck, but I suspect that is as much because the Salvia ‘Forest Fire’ is mixed with it, and they also like the fuchsias back there.


Speaking of Fuchsias, lol… I have more of those than any other group of cultivars, except maybe red flowering currants. We currently have three hanging baskets in the back- ‘Auntie Jinks’


Which is nicely compact and seems to be the favorite of the three back here,



This is a. Odl fashioned cultivar I remember my dad growing, and is consistently a good one to attract hummers to hanging baskets, though these ones, overwintered from two years ago, are looking a little ragged. If I overwinter them again, I need to repot and fertilize more carefully.

The third hanging basket is ‘Princessita’-


We got this one on sale, half off since it was wilted badly and some of the Bacopa growing in with it was dieing off. Water and a trim perked it right up, and it throws an amazing amount of flowers the hummers seem to like just fine.

Under these there is also a Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’, which we got at the Issaquah Farmer’s Market last fall.


These are cuttings, taken from that plant late spring, blooming in my propagation unit. I really need to get them out of there, lol. We bought two at the market in fall, I planted on in a larger container to overwinter, and the other I hung from the fence and left out. It continued blooming till killed by heavy frost and freezing temps in December, long after I thought it would have curled its rather tropical leaves up and croaked. If I had known, I might have been able to bring that plant in and overwinter it too, getting it to regenerate in spring from the roots. As it is, the main plant has been in continuous bloom since we got it. It’s getting a little lanky and could use a trim, but is still flowering well. And attracting hummers.

Honestly in many ways I prefer the hardy fuchsias. One of these particularly so for sentimental reasons.


This is an heirloom variety of Fuchsia magelanica I got from my grandmother from her garden in West Seattle. Over there, and in the San Juans, this old variety (and quite possibly, seedlings of it, or maybe this is from a seedling of the originals), have been passed along gardener to gardener, over the back fence or, as my grandmother got hers, at church plant swaps and the like.its an untidy, but reliably hardy flu raining shrub. Takes a ton of abuse, drought tolerant within reason, likes sun but will take shade, just an easy going reliable performer. I remember my grandmother’s on the north side of the house, next to an enormous maiden hair fern, shaded by the house but otherwise pretty much in the open. For me it enjoys the bed behind a short fence, roots cool and protected but its branches mostly in the sun. It’s not the a site best Humplant in the garden, but it is certainly a reliable and steady attraction for them, over most of the summer and into fall.

An even more hardy one is the nearly white Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’-


Until this year, this was almost always the first of my hardy ones to bloom, and has a much more upright, shrub over to almost small tree like habit. It grew to almost 15 feet before getting knocked back to the ground a few years back in one of those Arctic Freeze events we occassionally get, but has slowly recovered since, though it isn’t putting on the wood it did before. The palest pink and lavender bicolor flowers look soft white from a distance, and this is reliably on the favorites of the local hummers when it is in bloom, and it blooms for an incredibly long period, often starting in May and going through November when finally hit back by frost. I get the feeling if it was just a little warmer in winter, it would bloom year round.

A relatively new fuchsia for me, but that looks like it may be as hardy as molinae, is the hybrid ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’-


It a tuay started blooming slightly before molinae, and has a similar more upright form to it that makes me wonder if these are related. The flowers are the more typical scarlet red and deep purple of the species however. I love this plant, and if it proves to be as hardy as molinae, will be propagating it more to spread around the garden. maybe I should wat h for fruit and sew seeds…

Another species that has also done consistently well, both in terms of hardiness, and at attracting hummers, is the diminutive Fuchsia campos-portoi


It wasn’t quite as early as the other two above, but close. It’s tiny leaves and compact, low shrub habit make it perfect for the rockery with the Salvia microphylla types. It sets fruit easily, so I’m tempted to let a few ripen and plant the seeds, to see what I get out of it. Although small, it produces lots of flowers the hummers seem to go for first, which is a great reason for growing more of it.

The final fuchsia worth mentioning for hummers is the standard I got last year, I’ve been referring to as ‘Display’. That’s a guess, since it didn’t come with a name on it, but it looks like that variety, which is apparently common around here for hanging baskets and the topiary like standards like this one. I carefully overwintered this inside since last summer it was THE favorite of the hummers on the front deck. Maybe because I have lots of other things for them, this year it hasn’t been quite so popular, it it does get regular visits. I’ve also propagated lots of it, overwinter a d this spring straight into pots. If it IS Display, it may even prove hardy here, which would be an added bonus. I like the flowers as much as the hummers, too. Though I dunno if the big standard is going to last long. The height is nice in the dark corner of the deck behind the tables, but it takes up a lot of indoor space over winter.


Another group I seem bent on collecting is the Cuphea genus. The hummer’s favorite of the group appears to be a dwarf form of Cuphea ignea-


I have two of these, both in pots, both in shade since this particular one seems to prefer that, and hates drying out in the sun. I got this along with a bunch of other stuff from Langley Fine Gardens, the first time at the Arboretum sale where they are a regular vendor each year, and the second we went out to the West Seattle market, which they attend in spring. Some day I would love to visit them out on Vashon Island where their nursery is. Anyway, at the West Seattle market they also had a larger taller form-


This one is growing with Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’, which so far I have yet to see a hummer visit, but it’s in a hard spot to discretely watch. Both of these Cuphea ignea cultivars seem excellent for attracting hummers though. I do wonder if this taller form is like the hybrid ‘David Verity’, or if its a natural selection of the species. It does grow much bigger, bigger flowers, and likes sun more than shade apparently. I like both though.

Another similar looking one is the Cuphea ‘Carribean Sunset’-


One online source said it is a selection or hybrid of C. cyanea. Whatever the. See, the smaller flowers are very pretty, and it does get some use, though it seems not quite as popular as the taller ignea in the rockery nearby.

Another plant near this that has for some attention is a red leaved, red flowered Dahlia cultivar-


I’ve had this in the garden for a couple of years now, but this year I transplanted it into a larger pot. I’ve never seen it used before, and it doesn’t seem to be a favorite, but the juveniles are using it sporadically so it is on this list for good reason. This may well be one of the Bishop series of tall, red leaved forms. It is certainly getting much bigger this year now that its got more root room. I think I will need to dig it up and divide it a bit this next winter or spring. The single flowers are bright and cheerful, so it is a welcome addition to the garden regardless.

One of the oddball subtropicals I got this spring is Justicia brandegeana-


This odd little shrimp plant is probably wondering WTF in our cool weather, it seems to do better in the Gulf Coast states and down into Mexico. But it’s been in flower since I bought it and shows no signs of slowing down. Again, it seemed more popular earlier when there wasn’t as much blooming, but I do still see the occasional visit. Hardiness wise, this may be hardy here, but I am going to assume its not, and just need to figure out if it is going to be one of the ones I bring in or not. I like it, and wonder if it got bigger if it would prove more attractive to hummers? We will see I guess.

I have two native blooming that traditionally have been humflowers favorites; Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium, formerly Epilobium angustifolium) and hedgemint (Stachys cooleyae). I haven’t seen either one used this year yet, but both are in out of the way corners where they are hard to watch.

Stachys cooleyae is a mint, spreads like a mint, and flowers for most of mid summer.



The bright pink candles on tall stems to four feet have always attracted hummers here. It likes rich soils that don’t dry out completely, even winter wet conditions, and prefers at least part shade unless you give it lots of water. It can tend to flop as the flowers get top heavy, so I like growing it with taller things that can help keep it upright, and not incidentally keep it from overcrowding everything around it.

Fireweed is not a mint, but spreads almost as aggressively. Where hedgemint likes shade, fireweed tolerates it but flowers best in full sun. Drought tolerant, but don’t let the roots sit out an dry out, it will simply shrivel and die. I have two forms, the native natural to the area pink-


And a white variety that may be a European cultivar-


Both are lovely, and make beautiful garden flowers. I don’t find they spread so aggressively as to be a problem, but others may differ in their opinion. Funnily enough, this spring I knew we had dear in the garden not because I could see them, but because they had nipped each of the fireweed stems at around 8-10 inches. They are only just now starting to recover, lol. Hopefully next year I will have more to spread around for a nice grove of it in the back.

Along with the Salvias and Cupheas, I also got a few vines from Langleys. I got two different red morning glories. Ipomoea luteola has been blooming steadily through the roller coaster of warm to cool weather we’ve had.


It’s not growing quite as strongly as its cousin I. multifida-


Both seem to get steady action from what flowers they have, though I get a distinct impression that they aren’t real happy here.

I have a bunch of other stuff that might be used by the hummers, things like Agastache, Schizanthus which was used earlier in summer, nasturtiums, etc, but these are the ones I regularly see visited this summer.

What’s Blooming July 9th, 2013

11 Jul

Abutilon (megapotamicum)

Achillea millefolium

Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’

Agastache ‘Grape Nectar’

Agastache ‘Orange Nectar’

Agastache (?)

Bacopa monieri

Ballota nigra

Barbarea orthocerus

Barbarea vulgaris

Begonia bolioviensis ‘Bonfire’

Begonia ‘Catrin’

Begonia ‘Kleo’

Beta vulgaris

Brassica oleracea

Calliandra eriophylla

Callibrachoa ‘Vampire’

Callibrachoa ‘Tequila Sunrise’

Campanula persicifolia

Campanula portenschlageana

Cardamine hirsuta

Celosia ‘New Look’

Celosia x (cockscomb)

Chaenorrhinum origanifolium ‘Blue Dream’

Chrysanthemum partheniacum

Chrysanthemum x superbum

Claytonia sibirica

Clematis cirrhosa

Clivia miniata

Coreopsis auriculata

Cuphea ignea

Cuphea ignea (tall form)

Cuphea cyanea ‘Carribean Sunset’

Cuphea llavea ‘Flamenco Samba’

Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’

Cymbidium hybrid

Dahlia (cactus white)

Dahlia (red leaved, red flowered)

Dicentra formosa

Ellisiophyllum pinnatum

Eriophyllum lanatum

Fuchsia campos-portoi

Fuchsia magellanica ‘aurea’

Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia magellanica (Gram’s)

Fuchsia magellanica (purple leaved)

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’

Fuchsia x ‘Auntie Jinks’

Fuchsia x ‘Display’

Fuchsia x ‘Juellia’

Fuchsia x ‘Lachlade Magician’

Fuchsia x ‘Marinka’

Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’

Fuchsia ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’

Fuchsia (from plant swap)

Fuchsia (Patrick’s)

Gallium aparine

Gazania ‘Daybreak Garden Sun’

Gerbera hybrida

Geum macrophyllum

Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’

Huechera x sanguinea

Heuchera (purple ruffles)

Justicia brandegeana

Impatiens hawkeri

Impatiens noli-tangere

Ipomoea luteola

Ipomoea multifida

Kalanchoe blossfieldiana

Lactuca muralis

Lantana camara ‘Ann Marie’

Lantana camara ‘Landmark Peach Sunrise’

Lapsana communis

Lavendula angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’

Lavendula angustofolia (5)

Lavendula viridis

Leucanthemum vulgare

Lespedeza thunbergii

Liatris spicata

Lobelia erinus

Lobularia maritima

Lonicera japonica ‘Pink Lemonade’

Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’

Lonicera ‘sulphurea’

Lychnis coronaria

Malva alcea

Meconopsis cambrica

Medicago sativa

Mellissa citriodora

Mentha himalayensis

Mimulus cardinalis

Mimulus guttatus

Mitraria coccinea

Monarda (dydima?)

Myosotis laxa

Nemesia ‘Aromatica White Improved’

Nemesia x (pink and purples)

Nicotiana alata

Nicotiana ‘Knightiana’

Ocimum basilicum

Oenanthe sarmentosa

Osteospermum ‘Margarita Purple’

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis nelsoniana

Oxalis triangularis

Pelargonium ‘Tango Velvet Red’

Phaelenopsis (3)

Phaseolus coccineus

Philadelphus coronaria

Philadelphus lewisii ‘Goose Creek’

Plumbago major

Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’

Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’

Rosa (mini peach)

Rubus armeniacus

Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’

Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia leucantha ‘Phyllis Fancy’

Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’

Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’

Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’

Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

Scabiosa alpine ‘Ritz Blue’

Schizanthus pinnatus

Sedum album

Senecio confusa

Sisymbrium alltissimum

Stachys cooleyae

Tagetes signata ‘Starfire Mix’

Tagetes ‘Disco Orange’

Tagetes ‘Disco Yellow’

Taraxacum officinale

Tradescantia zebrina

Trapaeolum majus ‘Alaska’

Trifolium alba

Urtica dioica

Verbena ‘Estrella Voodoo’

Viccia hirsuta

Viola x wallichiana

Trapaeolum majus ‘Alaska’

10 Jul


I grow these periodically, both because I like how easy they are to plant, and because I like the flowers. What’s not to like? White speckled leaves, bright flowers, both of which can add a peppery flavor to salads, easy to plant from large seeds even kids can handle easily, and it attracts the odd Cabbage White Butterfly to lay her eggs on, and even the occassional hummingbird checking out the flowers.

I really need to start collecting seeds of my favorite forms though. Most come up in shades of yellow and orange flowers. One this year is a nice salmon pink orange, and a few have nice contrasting darker nectar guides, which I always find appealing on these.

The problem is simply remembering to collect them, and how to store the big, chick pea sized seeds. Maybe a small mason jar? They should come true to leaf type if not flower color, and I don’t grow any other annual nasturtiums, so there isn’t anything to hybridize with.

Unless of course, the fall blooming Nasturtium tuberosum I bought decides to do well and flower. It is a tuberous species, edible tubers actually, though Beth and I weren’t particularly impressed with the taste of them. It’s leaves are also edible, and rather peppery. Not my favorite, but edible. We will see if they decide to flower, or if the tubers prove hardy here in the PNW. Maybe in a pot, under cover in the garage over winter? We will see.

But the Alaska nasturtiums are easy annuals I really should grow more. I e got them in the long box with the white Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’, some deep purple annual allysum, and the old cottage flower Lychnis coronaria. The orange and yellow flowers are little odd with the magenta catchfly, but it’s still a nice combination of bright cheerful flowers.

Summer Pots

10 Jul

We spent far more on “summer color” for the deck this year than we probably should have, especially with the construction going on around here this summer, but really, I’ve been enjoying it. In particular, we got quite a few good hummingbird plants, even though having the construction stuff on the deck in the middle of it all kind of drove a few hummers off that we had in the spring. Poor Mike, apparently as he was working outside, he’d get dive bombed and buzzed by the occasional
hummer looking for food, lol.

All in all though, I like how the pots turned out this year. I got a bunch of blue annual lobelia, Lobelia erinus. I love how having them scattered around kind of ties everything together. I did get some mixed ones, and some that were white with blue throats and edges. The pink and purple shades I could mostly do without… But the white and blue ones are kind of nice in a red places.

Another annual we got we hadn’t grown for a while is the Schizanthus pinnatus, in mixed colors. This was one of my Mom’s favorites, and I must say I’ve really been enjoying them, particularly in the hanging baskets with the blue lobelia.


Isn’t that lovely? The lighter pink ones with the blue are almost as nice. I’ll have to look for them again next spring. This was one six pack, but I think a little more to spread around would have been nice.

Salvia coccinea has been one I look for each spring, since its reliably good at attracting hummers. This year I tried growing some from seed, with mixed results. I had scattered seed of the variety ‘Forest Fire’ directly into the pot with the Befonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’ and a lemon verbena last summer, and several of those sprouted.


That is one of the seedlings I carefully transplanted to use as an annual in a mixed pot. The big one in the begonia pot is a little off at the moment, lol, but give it a break. It’s been blooming steadily since almost New Years in that pot. Oddly, it’s growing almost as much sideways as up. I kind of like the trailing habit, actually, and the hummers on the back deck have certainly been enjoying it!

Early in spring I found, in bloom, six packs of ‘Snow Nymph’, a white variety that tends to stay rather compact. I thought why not? Lets try it!


I honestly have to say I’m a little disappointed. They do stay dwarf, maybe because of our cool spring and flip flop weather this summer, they are almost too dwarf. Several are barely flowering at all, and I’ve only seen sporadic use by the hummers, less than most of the other salvias I have, and less than makes them worth growing. I do like the white color though, so maybe I can find some seedlings that are taller at some point or something, I dunno.

Speaking of taller coccineas, I did get seed from a member on the hummingbird forum for a taller variety she grows.


As you can see, these are still small plants. I don’t think they are gonna get that big this summer, lol. Maybe like others have said on the forum, I should focus on other hardier salvias, and other plants I know do well to attract hummers. Thing is, I like Salvia coccinea in general, and it is easy to grow. With lots of other hummer plants in the garden, it’s not a top tier favorite… But then again, it IS used, and is an easy to grow plant for the money. Now if I can just get good at growing out seedlings, I could save my own, lol.

Speaking of saving seeds, I really should try and save seeds from the ‘Alaska’ nasturtiums. This heirloom variety has nice speckled white foliage. Most of mine came in yellow orange, though I do have one interesting coral pink one. I keep getting seeds of these to plant, but really I should save the seeds of the ones that grow the best that I like the colors of. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind just saving the bright orange ones with the darker nectar guides!


Along with Salvia coccinea, I got a couple of tender to half hardy salvias. The prettiest of the bunch is the only one I have NOT seen a hummer use, lol. Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’ is an incredible clear blue-


Growing in the same pot with the taller of the Cuphea ignea varieties, and a spectacular Senecio confuses with fluorescent orange daisies, this whole pot may come inside for the winter. I love all three. Even if it doesn’t attract hummers, the funky shaped, bright blue flowers are stunning. The Cuphea gets more attention from the hummers of course.

I have several Cupheas this year- two forms of Cuphea ignea, two forms of Cuphea llavea (‘Tiny Mice’ and ‘Flamenco Samba’), plus Cuphea (Cyanea?) ‘Carribean Sunset’. All of them have, at one point or another attracted some hummer usage. The two forms of C. ignea seem to be the most attractive to the hummers. Caribean Sunset is in with a flowering maple, vaguely labeled as “Abutilon hybrid” though the plant and flowers look like straight Abutilon megapotamicum. That pot may also be brought in to overwinter, since for one the parlor maple should bloom through the winter inside, and I find the flowers bizarrely beautiful.


You can also see in the corner of this pot a bright magenta plume of Celosia ‘New Look’. It’s been forever since I’ve grown these amaranths, but I’ve really been enjoying them. This one had blushed purple foliage when I planted it, though that has faded somewhat in this pot.


This pot, with Lantana camara ‘Lamdmark Peach Sunrise’, a purple under leafed Plectranthus ‘Velvet Elvis’, and a few others not blooming has been better at holding that color. This is another pot I want to bring in, as both the lantana and the Plectranthus should overwinter.

One plant that has overwintered the last few is this beautiful dark leaved Dahlia-


I either list the tag or never had the name for it, I just remember that the first year it stayed nice and dwarf, never getting over two feet. This year, it’s third summer, I transplanted it into. Much larger pot, and it is now pushing four feet, and with lots more flowers. Best yet, I’ve seen hummers on it a couple of times! Granted, I’m pretty sure they were juveniles, who will visit almost anything, but they must like it well enough to come back. And visit multiple flowers, not just one. It’s a keeper!

Another pot overwintered was this standard fuchsia-


It’s back on the same corner of the deck as last year. Overwintering was a pain though. First it went in the basement, no light, where it dropped all its leaves and dried out probably a little more than it wants to. The Oxalis in the base too, completely went dormant. I think it was in January I took pity on it and brought it up into the living room where it got good light, an occasional watering, and perked right up. It was flowering by the time I took it back outside, but the cool spring stopped bud formation for another month or two. It didn’t really start going till we had that week long hotspell with days in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Now it looks spectacular, though I haven’t seen much hummer use this year, unlike last year when it was a favorite. Oh, and I now have cuttings of this one scattered through out the garden, lol, in hanging baskets (where it is still not blooming) and in the ground. If it proves hardy, I may grow more of it. If not, I’m not sure what will happen. This standard really needs to be reported next spring. The soil has to be tired, and I am sure it’s now way over pot bound. It’s beautiful this year though!

Something we tried this year that has sort of worked was to put lettuce starts in with some of the pots. I say this has sort of worked, because in reality, we tend to forget they are there. One of them is bolting now, lol. They have grown well though, and we have eaten a salad or two from them, but in general we tend to forget they are there when we are hungry. Other herbs like the mints, sorrel and parsley we do better with.

I do need to get some fertilizer for these guys in general, and break out the shears to cut back the spring an early summer spikes turning to seed heads. Hopefully that, and a return of the sun, will get things blooming better again.

Summer blooming house plants

10 Jul

Most of the stuff I consider house plants goes outside for the summer, but there are a few things that just doesn’t work for. The Orchids for one, though I do take the big Cymbidium out, more on that one later. The African Violets have never done well outside either, so they stay inside. And I learned a few years ago not to take Amaryllus outside, since they get these nasty Iris borers tunneling through those big succulent bulbs. Distorts them from the inside out. So those stay inside.


The Phaelenopsis orchids we have been collecting the last couple of years seem to like our house pretty well. At any given time we seem to have one or two blooming. Right now we have one that was recently given to Beth in full bloom of course, but two others have been the looking too, one of which is the first one she was given years ago, by her coworker. I just need to remember once a week or so to place a handful of ice cubes around the base of each plant to keep them from getting too dry. At some point I should figure out how to fertilize these poor things too…

The African Violets have long been a favorite of Beth’s too. I think all the ones we have now were gifts of one type or another.


We have three blooming now, for the summer. Most of the time these poor things just have leaves. I suspect the kitchen windowsill isn’t bright enough for them in winter, the camellia tree really does shade most of it now. The orchids seem to better here, oddly enough.

More spectacular than these is the big Clivia lily, which hasn’t done much the last few years, but decided to put one big glorious flower spike up this summer!


It really is a spectacular lily in full flower. I have to be caref about overwatering, and in spring when I set it out it cannot go anywhere full sun hits it or the leaves burn, but it seems happy under the rhody in the front, and with summer water seems to be filling its pot again. I noticed a new off shoot the other day, yay!

I me filmed above the other orchid I’ve been growing for a few years, a large Cymbidium. Usually it blooms in late winter and spring, around and just before I have to take it outside. Well it did that this year. But is also blooming now! May be the cool weather we’ve been having? Dunno, but the single flower spike is a nice addition to the back deck, even if the hummers back there totally ignore it.


Another surprise flowering is the Christmas cactus!


I have two of these, both presents from Beth as this is one of my own personal favorites, and they reliably bloom usually right before thanksgiving, lol. I don’t know why these would bloom now, they are supposed to bloom triggered by day length if I remember correctly. So far haven’t seen any hummers visit, but the straight species is supposed to attract them. They just usually bloom at a time of year when they are stuck inside.

The other main house plant is the big Jade Tree, poor thing needs a depot, but I haven’t had time when it was consistently warm enough for it. It seems to be suffering this year though, so I really do need to make sure I repot it.

Beyond that, I am going to have to do some major rethinking this fall about what to bring in. The Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ is doing really well, but I have two others I may want to bring in now too- ‘Mary’, which was a gift from Patrick on the hummingbird Forum, and ‘Juelle’ which we got from the Arboretum sale this spring. It’s a beauty too, though haven’t seen any hummers on it yet.


The flower scales are slightly different, not so congested, but I believe it is also a triphylla type, and not likely to be hardy. They rely should be brought inside for the winter if I want to keep them.

Another group of marginally hardy plants I have collected are the Cupheas. Almost all of them have proven at least some attraction to the hummers, espe I ally the two forms of Cuphea ignea I have. That one may even be partially hardy here, I’ve overwintered it in the past, though it does flower earlier and better if kept warmer over winter. Man, I wish I had a small greenhouse to put stuff like these, and the Abutilon, and the Pelargonium geraniums, etc. lots of half hardy stuff here… Even the begonias I have could probably be overwintered if I can figure out where and how to do it.

I have a few months to figure it all out…

Mimulus cardinalis

2 Jul


Ok, I have to admit, I have a thing for the monkeyflowers. There is just something about their cheerful trumpet shaped flowers, with the petals forming suggestive shapes like monkey faces, that just makes me grin. This one, a California native, but perfectly hardy here in Seattle most winters, has the added draw that it attracts hummingbirds.

Apparently in its native haunts you can find it, much like the common yellow monkeyflowers here, in and along side sunny stream edges and moist to wet meadows. Luckily it adapts well to pots and garden borders that are kept evenly moist all summer. The flowers are more orange to me than truly “cardinal” red, but at least they are nice and bright, and the perfect color to attract the hummers in the garden.

In fact, as soon as the very first flowers opened, I saw hummers not only investigate, but came back for more. Only time will tell if my hummers like it as well as many say they do, but that is a good sign, if they are found and used so quickly.

For now I have three, two in pots and one in the ground. Blooming commenced identically for both, but it does seem a little easier to keep hydrated in the ground. On the other hand, it doesn’t get very tall, so being in a pot I can lift it up for better hummer availability, lol, plus it’s a lovely sprawly thing in a bowl with annual blue an white lobelia.


All in all, I’d say this is a keeper!