Archive | August, 2014

New Fav Hummingbird Feeder

20 Aug

So early this summer we picked up a new feeder while at the Ace Hardware store in West Seattle. I liked the design, and I thought it might work well… And it does! Well enough when we went back in this last weekend, and they had more, I got two more of them!


This is a Bliss Hummingbird Feeder by More Birds


As the tag says, it is easy to fill (though the ridge on the top that you put the little hook through the hole in makes it not stand up straight), easy to clean (it’s even dish washer safe, if your ok doing that), and the little ports are easy for the birds to use. I haven’t seen any bug issues on mine, though that is always possible. But the design of this naturally limits that, since the nectar site far enough down the bees and wasps fact reach it, and the hole is hard to see, thoug the birds have no trouble with it.

The clever design has three parts, four if you include the hook.


The “bottle” portion is more than big enough for my birds at 13 fluid ounces, I usually only partly fill it. If I had swarms of birds, I’d go for a bigger one but this one works well for me even half full.

The base part is in two pieces- a five part reservoir and a flower shaped cap. It’s a little tricky screwing this back in since they want to slide crossways to each other, but other than that it’s easy enough to hold them together and slide the bottle on. What I really like is that each “petal” of the flower shaped vase is a separate chamber, keeping at least some of the inevitable contamination from getting to all the nectar. It also seems slightly better than some about not dripping too horribly when whacked or hit by wind. There just isn’t as much to slosh in he little well each chamber makes.

So overall I really like the design of this. The only thing I would ask for is an integrated ant moat on the top, which might also help keep it stable when upside down for filling. Other than that minor improvement, this feeder works really well! I just hope the somewhat soft plastic holds up over time, bit only time will tell on that.


Pots this year… The good, the bad, and the ugly

17 Aug

Most of my pots are doing pretty well this year, but definitely some better than others.

Let’s start with a good grouping…


The tall fuchsia I got a couple of years ago. I’m kind getting tired of maintaining the standard tall trunk (which is not likely to be hardy) on a plant that is otherwise proving to be hardy… So may leave this one outside this winter. It tends to take a break anyway, and didn’t start blooming till mid July, so I might as well plant it in the ground.

That being said I love how this group works this year. The play of fuchsia and orange, the bright variegation beside the subtle mottling of the purple foliaged plants, for me this works well together.

So in the tall standard pot we have Fuchsia ‘Display’, Oxalis triangularis, and a tropical Dryopteris fern. The dark purple leaves of this oxalis, with the subtle tone on tone markings really set off the fuchsia well on their own, but play nice with their neighbors the wandering Jew and the purple leaved begonia.


The pot on the left just has two plants- Impatiens ‘Fusion Peach Frost’ and Steptocarpella saxorum. Oh, and some creeping Jenny (Lisimachia nummularia ‘aurea’).


The impatiens is rather over growing the little streptocarpella, but I do love the interplay of foliage and flower between these, and the fuchsia, and of course the soft orange flowers echo the begonia nicely. Sadly, neither of these seem to interest the hummers.

The pot on the right has Begonia ‘Sparkle’, Tradesctia zebrina, and a Viola cornuta hybrid.

I actually bought the begonia as much for the leaves as the flowers. This corner may be darker than it likes, or maybe I’m not fertilizing it enough… It’s flowered ok, but not spectacularly. The wandering jew of course goes rampant, lol, but the play of subtle tone on tone purples and dark greens between these and the oxalis above is really nice regardless of flowers.

The little Viola was spectacular earlier in spring, but as expected in the heat of the summer kinda melted a bit. It’s still flowering, and I suspect if I leave it alone will do better this fall and winter. The begonia however seems tuberous. I haven’t decided if I want to try and save it for next year. It’s pretty, but the hummers have ignored it completely.

Now for a bit of wimsy… My table pots this year!


This is just two pots in a tray of rocks. There is a small shallow 6″ standard clay pot, and a frog shaped pot. I wanted to keep things low since we often eat out here when it’s nice, and Beth gets testy if the plants get in the way of seeing who you are talking to. So in the frog, there is just Sedum spathulifolium, and in the main pot a silver leaved Trifolium alba (looks like the variety ‘Red Dragon’, but this seeded itself into the parking lot, and I’ve never had that variety before. I do love it though), a tiny blue Viola cornuta, and some black leaved Liriope. Everything is getting overwhelmed with the clover, but I still like the way it looks.


Poor little violet lost in a see of clover leaves, lol. I keep threatening to whack the clover back. I should probably just do it, lol.

Next, the “tipsy pots”;


This is my attempt at what so many have posted on Pinterest and other sites like that. Basically I took one of my bigger pots, stuck a piece of rebar in it, slightly off center and sticking straight up, and threaded smaller pots through their drain holes on the pole, tipping them sideways. The result is a kind of tower of pots. It’s a pain to water properly, but not too bad, and I love how it creates an instant kind of tower effect. I’ll definitely do this again, but maybe with different plants.


So the three pots that make up the tower are planted with Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’, Cuphea cyanea ‘Carribean Sunset’ and Bidens humilis ‘Pirate’s Pearl’. I had originally planted Lobelia erinus ‘Sapphire’ as well, but those dried out when it got hot. I think there was just too much competition and it’s too hard to keep these hydrated, even watering every morning. The white creeping zinnia has been great! It even hosts swallowtail and cabbage white butterflies as well as bees regularly, and the Cuphea has done well for the most part (though disappointingly these have not really attracted the hummers as much as they did last year for some reason). The fuchsia has sputtered from admittedly ratty looking starts I overwintered, and really is only just now starting to show color. I think next year I need to keep it simpler and not overstuff these with so many plants. Either the fuchsia OR the Cuphea, not both. And I won’t waste the Lobelia on these either, as pretty as that would be. I’m real tempted to save seeds of the zinnia though, it’s been great!

The big pot at the base has a chocolate mint in it already, which grows up enough to obscure the pot. I’m not real fond of it with everything else, and kind if wish I had taken it out… But I do use the mint, and it’s nice to have on the deck. I tried planting a Nemesia ‘Compact Innocence’ with it, and another fuchsia start of the GB, but neither did well.

That Nemesia is one I will NOT buy next year. Out of six I had here, only one did well all summer, several simply died. And the ones I got for Ruth did even worse than mine. I’ve had good luck with white Nemesia in the past, but this one was a bust this year.

In the pots under these tipsy pots is kind of a hodgepodge. On the left is a pot that had originally some Australian honey wort, Cerinthe major purpurea, which melted mid summer, a Fuchsia speciosa start, Lobelia ‘Sapphire’, and the one plant of the Nemesia that is still doing ok. The Fuchsia looks tattered compared to the one in the ground, but is gamely flowering-


I will definitely put these in the ground in fall, assuming they are hardy. I love the leaves on these, even though they don’t flower as heavily as the magellanica types.

In front is a pot I planted with a beautiful bright fuchsia Cineraria, which is struggling and didn’t really flower all summer the way I had hope they would. The Lobelia and Nemesia in this pot simply died. In front of that is a little Dianthus gratianopolis (‘Velvet and Lace’ or something like that), which I bought cause I love the clove scent of it, like the old fashioned pinks gram used to have, but the little bugger has flowered better than most of it the annuals!


I recently just potted up a cutting of Salvia ‘Amistad’ which is blooming gamely in its gallon sized pot.


It’s a pretty little thing, and I hope when it gets bigger the hummers will like it. It might be spectacular with the white zinnia in the tipsy pots next year. That might not be a big enough pot for it though…

Next to this are pots of herbs- Thai basil, parsley and cilantro, tarragon, and a blueberry with kale seeding itself into the pot. It’s all green, and nice for the herbs… But not that showy, lol.

In the front entry is my favorite group of pots.


Morning sun is messing with the pic, but you get the idea…


This is a group of five pots… Well, six if you include the hanging basket behind it. The main one has an Osteospermum ‘Summertime Sweet Blue Sunrise’, a Cupressus macrocarpa (lemon scented type),Tellima grandiflora, and I stuffed some random Gladiola bulbs in there for good measure.


It’s mostly been a nice green backdrop for the other pots, which works, with periodic flushes of daisies. The glads of course flop as soon as they open, even staking didn’t help, but the random colors actually worked! I rather like the peaches and cream of this one. Another is more orange and yellow. Not sure I would do it again, but it was fun watching them develop.

The little square pot has another of the Osteospermums, a random Pelargonium hybrid, Viola cornuta, a nice big Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’, and had a red leaved Fuchsia magellanica I was really hoping would come back but didn’t. This is the one pot in the group that kind of languished. The only thing that did really well is the Agastache. I’m tempted to move it into shade in the back, and see if the fuchsia would recover. The rest, even the Agastache, I’m ok with loosing.

The smallest pot in the group is the one that has my little golden Salvia coccinea in it. I posted about this one before, so I’ll just put up another photo here, and note that the little Fuchsia ‘Mary’ in it is starting to flower nicely now, and looks great with the salvia and everything else!


I definitely want to bring this whole thing in. It all works good together, and I love the golden salvia.

I also posted earlier in summer about the middle pot with the Ismene in it, which now is mostly showing off the really nice tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica, and the Oxalis deppei underneath it. The leaves of the Ismene are still growing strong too, though they are flopping just a bit after the heavy rains last week. But overall, this pot is doing great!



The final pot in the group is the one I put together to use one of our new tall blue pots. The main plant is a rather spectacular Fuchsia triphylla ‘Fireworks’ I bought as a gallon sized, already budded out ‘annual’ from Rite Aid of all places. They actually get in some really nice plants from time to time, and this was one of them. I underplanted it with my silver leaf clover, some ‘Sapphire’ lobelia (which didn’t like the heat), and a purple leaved Oxalis triangularis. Chickweed (Cerastium tomentosum) has invaded, but other than that it looks great overall!


On the other side of the front door, three pots there have worked ok but not great. The big one is an overwintered Cuphea ignea which is gorgeous, but the brilliant blue Cineraria I planted under it all pretty much melted, all three, as did the Lobelia. Glad bulbs are also looking pretty pathetic… Whether from too much competition, the heat in the courtyard, or poor soil I’m not sure. The Cuphea is happy though!


In the tall blue pot is another overwintered pot, which has Oxalis triangularis, a purple Zantedeschia which hasn’t bloomed all summer, and a white Osteospermum with a purple eye that also hasn’t bloomed to speak of.


It’s lush and green, but that’s about it. I think the oxalis is the only thing here worth saving again though.

Another overwintered pot is this really spectacular Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ paired with a golden four o-clock (Mirabilis Jalapa ‘Limelight’)



The flowers of these two plants are so very close in color, and the foliage provides a nice contrast between them. The four o-clock doesn’t really do much for me, but if it wants to keep coming back with the salvia, I do like the combination.

Next to that is my big plant of Fuchsia triphylla ‘Mary’, underplanted with Lobelia ‘Crustal Palace’. This is the one patch of lobelia that really look nice!



The silly fuchsia looked bedraggled and pathetic most if the summer, but is rather nice now in full flower! I just wish it would have started blooming earlier.

One of my favorite combinations this year is the Cuphea ignea ‘Eternal Flame’ and Lantana camara ‘Peach Sunrise’ from last year. There is also a Plectranthus ‘Velvet Elvis’ in there languishing, and some more Lobelia, and around the edges some wandering jew, Tradescantia zebrina. The blend of colors of the Cuphea and Lantana are really nice though!


One pot I’ve been disappointed in is this once spectacular hanging basket we got from Earthworks this spring. It was gorgeous, but over planted and has proven temperamental in this spot. I really should have put it in the back with the others, as this was way too hot for it. I often end up watering it twice a day, and it’s still looking peaked. The Heliotrope and the Fuchsia ‘Belle of Salem’ are great though, and worth saving this winter I think. The purple Bacopa monieri is ok, and violets are always welcome here, but I really wish they had not put in the weedy creeping Charlie. Even though it’s variegated, I don’t think it adds much to the pot, and I don’t trust it not to escape. I keep pulling it out, lol.


Under this I put a “drip pot” with a variegated marjoram (Origanum vulgare ‘variegata’), two colors of annual Verbena (deep purple and a dark fuchsia purple), and some bulbs of a yellow Tiger lily. What has really proven spectacular was a “weed” in one of the two verbenas- a rather nice lemon marigold!


Next to this in the pedestal pot is a nice little start of Fuchsia ‘Surprise’ with Lobelia, Viola cornuta, and Trifolium alba.


This little fuchsia has done much better in the heat and drought of the courtyard than the hanging basket has done, and if I want to do another basket I may do it with this one, even though technically it’s an upright type.

The third pot in this group is a small pot with Trifolium alba and Viola cornuta. Oxalis nelsoniana with its purple leaves and yellow flowers seeded itself in, and even though it’s a horrible weed, I kinda like the effect…


In the backyard I have a few more pots, but most of them aren’t too showy. The basket I put on top of the bottle tree, though hidden in the fireweed a bit, did turn out rather nice though!



Since this is in the memorial garden, I put in Fuchsia ‘Marinka’ and a white tuberous Begonia in Dad’s memory, plus Lamium maculatum ‘Ghost’ which I thought was appropriate, and some Viola cornuta in Beth and Gram’s honor. Wandering jew because it makes me think of Gramma Smith, lol, because she wouldn’t grow it, thinking it would make the family wander. All together it works pretty well- the purple leaves of the wandering jew and begonia echo the Viola flowers, and the bright fuchsia pops that color nicely. I do kinda wish the fuchsia would get bigger, but maybe that is for next year. I may try and overwinter the whole thing if I can, it should all do ok in the pot it’s in if I can just keep it from getting too cold.

Also back there is another overwintered Cuphea with a blue Salvia patens ‘Cobalt’ which though it isn’t blooming now, was spectacular earlier. I think it’s getting ready to bloom again…


This particular Cuphea gets lots of attention from the hummers in the back. I think I may just try and overwinter it and propagate it for planting out, as I love it and so do the birds. A cutting of this in the rockery actually overwintered last year too, which makes me want to plant more of it around in hopes it will prove perennial.

Most of the rest are basically in my “pot ghetto”…


What’s Blooming- August 4th, 2014

4 Aug

Beautiful sunny Seattle summer day… Nice now but will probably be too hot for me later, like most of this summer has been. Fall is creeping in though… Nights are cooling off again.

Abutilon megapotamicum hybrid
Achillea millefolium
Agastache aurantiaca
Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’
Agastache ‘Apricot Sprite’
Agastache ‘Grape Nectar’
Agastache (salmon pink… Acapulco type?)
Anaphalis margaritaceae
Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket’
Asclepias currasavica
Aster subspicatus
Ballotta nigra
Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’
Begonia ‘Sparkle’
Belloperome guttata
Bidens humilis ‘Pirate’s Pearl’
Brassica oleracea
Buddleia davidii ‘Dark Knight’
Canna patens
Campanula persicifolia
Chlorophytum comosum ‘variegata’
Chrysanthemum coronaria
Chrysanthemum partheniacum
Cirsium vulgare
Corydalis lutea
Cupjea cyanea ‘Caribean Sunset’
Cuphea ignea
Cuphea ignores ‘Eternal Flame’ (been calling it inferno all summer!)
Cuphea ignea ‘Flamingo’
Cuphea microphylla
Dahlia bybrid ‘Honcho Surprise’
Dahlia hybrid ‘HS Date’
Dahlia hybrid ‘HS Flame’
Dahlia hybrid (white cactus)
Dianthus gratianopolis
Eccremocarpus scaber
Epilobium ciliatum
Epilobium angustifolium
Escholtzia californica
Fuchsia campos-portoi
Fuchsia magellanica ‘aurea’
Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’
Fuchsia magellanica ‘ricartonii’
Fuchsia speciosa
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Fireworks’
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’
Fuchsia triphylla ‘Mary’
Fuchsia ‘Belle of Salem’
Fuchsia ‘Billy’
Fuchsia ‘Bouffant’
Fuchsia ‘Display’
Fuchsia ‘Foxgrove Woods’
Fuchsia ‘Golden Herald’
Fuchsia ‘Katjan’
Fuchsia ‘Marinka’
Fuchsia ‘Misty Pink’
Fuchsia ‘Purpur Klokje’
Fuchsia ‘Queen Elizabeth’
Fuchsia ‘Rufus’
Fuchsia ‘Surprise’
Fuchsia ‘Thilco’
Fuchsia ‘Walz Harp’
Fuchsia ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’
Geranium robertianum
Glyceria grandis
Heuchera americana ‘Palace Purple’
Heuchera sanguinea ‘Firefly’
Huecherella ‘Cracked Ice’
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Red Heart’
Impatiens capensis
Impatiens noli-tangere
Impatiens ‘Fusion Peach Frost’
Incarvillea delavayi
Lantana camara ‘Peach Sunrise’
Lapsana communis
Lavendula angustifolia
Lespedeza thunbergii
Liatris spicata
Lilium orientale
Lilium martagon
Lilium orientale ‘Stargazer’
Lobelia erinus ‘Crystal Palace’
Lobelia erinus ‘Sapphire’
Lonicera japonica ‘Pink Lemonade’
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
Lonicera ‘sulphurea’
Lychnis coronaria
Medicago sativa
Melissa citriodora
Mentha himalayensis
Mentha spicata
Mentha suaveolens ‘Chocolate’
Mimulus cardinalis
Mimulus guttatus
Myosotis laxa
Nemesia ‘Compact Innocence’
Nicotiana ‘Knightiana’
Ocimum basilicum ‘Magic Mountain’
Ocimum basilicum (Thai)
Oenothera missouriensis
Origanum vulgare
Osteospermum ‘Sunrise Blue’
Oxalis deppei ‘Iron Cross’
Oxalis nelsoniana
Oxalis triangularis
Pelargonium hybrid ‘Velvet Red’
Pelargonium hybrids
Penstemon richardsonii
Pentas lanceolata
Plantago major
Rosa chinensis mutabilis
Rubus armeniacus
Salvia coccinea ‘Forest Fire’
Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’
Salvia coccinea “tall form”
Salvia coccinea “gold leaf Forest Fire” (ember glow?)
Salvia elegans ‘Honeymellon’
Salvia elegans ‘Tangerine’
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’
Salvia microphylla ‘Hotlips’
Salvia ‘Amistad’
Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’
Scabiosa japonica alpina
Schizanthus grahamii
Sedum alba
Sinningia sellovii
Solidago canadensis
Stachys coccinea ‘Hidalgo’
Stachys cooleyae
Streptocarpella saxorum
Sysimbrium altissimum
Tagetes signata ‘Starfire’
Thymus citriodora
Trifolium alba
Tropaeolum majus ‘Alaska’
Verbena hybrids
Viola adunca
Viola cornuta
Viola x wallichiana