Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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Sea of fallen red leaves at work

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Visiting the garden of a famous plant explorer.

What a treat it was to join my colleagues at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens for a grand tour and visit to a one of a kind landscape: the garden and home of plant explorer Dan Hinkley and his partner, architect extraordinaire, Robert Jones, who designed their amazing home.

I've posted my photos on my Flickr page, but here are some highlights of the trip:

Windcliff is the name they've dubbed for their property and it is a true horticultural delight. Arriving at the gate, I was greeted by a sign that brought a smile to my face:

Ref 71

The Entrance:

Windcliff Entrance

The Funky Blue and Gold Gunnera:

Painted Gunnera

The Front Door:

Home Entrance 2

The Hardy Schefflera:

Schefflera delavayi in bloom

A Garden Path:

Garden Entry 1

The Edible Garden (winter crops behind and beds prepped for spring planting):

Vegetable Beds

Scenes of the stunning landscape and house overlooking Puget Sound:

Pond View 1

View of water feature and Arbutus

View of House

So, I sort of ditched the tour that Dan was leading and shot some videos I posted on YouTube.

Here's one clip:

It's been awhile since I saw Dan and it was really great to see him and his garden evolve.

He made an effort to embarrass me as someone pointed out a Begonia he got from me:


"Oh, where's Riz? That's one of his plants. Each time I see it, it reminds me of him."

Everyone: "Awwwwwwwwwww"

Dan: "And I think of him more fondly as my dog walks by it, lifts his leg and...."

Oh Dan, I will so get you for that, biotch!

The flight of the painted busy lizzie

I had to bring it inside to allow the buds to from and eventually bloom, but this species Impatiens from Africa has captured my attention.

My original plant came from Mr. Impatiens himself, Derick Pitman, but I also got a start from deGro Flower and Garde Nursery here in Puyallup, Washington.

Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens tinctoria flora habit

Impatiens tinctoria pair flash

Too tired to write up a wordy post. Check out this website for more gorgeous pics and information about this rare plant.

A collaborative effort. (PART 2)

So, we did an install last Wednesday here here's are some views before the plants came in and some photos after the first phase of installation.

I have more work to do this week to add just a few more things and then we'll be complete with fall planting. Come spring, we'll include more perennials and ground covers and begin to closely monitor each plant as it gets established.
First Phase Planting 10/21/09
In selecting plant material for this space, a Himalayan theme emerged as a grouping of clumping Himalayan Birches (Betula jacquemontii) was selected as a focal point. In communicating with the clients, I learned about their close ties to Nepal and I wanted to integrate elements in the landscape that would allow them a glimpse of a Nepalese woodland forest and hillside outside their Bellevue home.
Here's the dry river bed from the street(the magnolia installed in the back will actually be moved):Dry River Bed 1
Underneath these stately birches, assorted Mahonias, Rhododendron yakushianum hybrids, and a trio of Viburnum plicatum v. tomentosum with excellent fall color will compliment the birches very well when they mature and produce their "double-file" white flowers.

Approaching their front door and turning to the right, we see this stunning flagstone pathway installed by Clayton's crew. It is flanked with evergreen Sarcoccoca and an assortment of various clumping bamboos that enclose the space and frame a few of the woodland and dry river bed below.
With Rhododendron species from my friends at Chimacum Woods, including a planned Rhododendron arboreum (the national flower of Nepal), the goal is for these plants to reach their tree like proportions in a few years. Alongside these rhododendrons, a wide assortment of shrubs including Osmanthus, Viburnum, Camellia, Magnolia, Daphne, and stands of assorted clumping bamboos complete the picture.

Woodland Pre-plant install 1 10/20/09 Woodland First Phase Planting A 10/21/09

More plants to come and a few things that need to be tweaked and then it's all up to Mother nature to do her thing. We are satisfied with the work we've done and we are looking forward to watching this landscape mature and evolve.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A collaborative effort. (PART 1)

For the past few weeks, I've been working with a colleague in designing and installing a landscape for a client and the process has been incredibly worthwhile.

Clayton Morgan, of CEM Design, Inc., is a former classmate, student, and friend. He finished his BLA (Bachelors of Landscape Architecture) when I finished my hort degree at the UW. We've been talking about doing a project together for some time now and an opportunity arose when a client in Bellevue called RHR (moi) to renovate and re-design their yard.

Since I don't do major demolition and hardscapes, Clayton (who just loves to do these sorts of things with his big power toys! lol ) took on this role. With the hard-working CEM crew, they clean up the site, installed an irrigation system, and transformed an overgrown and uninspiring front slope and uncovered a new canvas for us to create something very special.

Front View


ROCK & HARDSCAPE INSTALLED (stupid DEAD END sign. We're hoping they can get it moved)

So, most of the plant material was delivered today and the first phase of plant installation begins first thing in the morning. Clayton and I took some time earlier this evening to discuss placements and I couldn't be more pleased to work with someone with a keen eye for design and the experience and patience of a gardener. He's a quiet fellow, but he takes on and accomplishes big things that truly make a statement! Watch out, he's also YOUNGER THAN ME! haha.

Next generation of professional gardeners at work. Stay tuned for views of the first phase of installation.



$9.99 Orchids!!! C'mon try them!

Ever been intimidated about growing orchids???


At a local supermarket today, flights of colorful butterflies appear to have landed inside their floral departments and they were flying out the automatic doors like I've never seen before. It was so heartwarming to see people walking out with blooming orchid plants. What was even more encouraging to see was a young college-aged couple each carrying an orchid (for their dorm room, perhaps?)

Phalaenopsis hybrid orchids have always been the easiest of all tropical orchids to grow. That's because even though they come from the deep forests of a warm and humid jungle, the hybrids actually like the same kind of conditions that people do favoring moderate light and moderate temperatures.

Here's the quick and dirty, you need to run out and get yourself a "Phal"!

-Indoors (admire them OFTEN)

-East facing window is best. No direct sun.

-Water once a week or when the pot feels "light".

-Pick off flowers as they fade and remove any dead leaves at the base.

-After they flower, you can use a sterile disposable razor to cut the stem just below where the very first flower was. This could encourage the stem to branch and give you new buds and more flowers!


Really, the hardest thing about Phals is choosing which color you like!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TV RAISED ME: Watch PBS's "The Botany of Desire"

Check out this awesome preview that I hope everyone will watch and regain a fuller appreciation for the plants and flowers in our lives. Check out Amy Stewart in this documentary. She is the author of a book I'm currently reading called Flower Confidential .

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Day for a Fall Plant Sale!

Selling plants at the Dunn Garden Fall Foliage Festival! The weather was chilly, but gorgeous!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

The "First Timer"

Some highlights of my trip to Raleigh, NC for the Garden Writer's Association Symposium.

Riz Badge

**Most Awkward Moments**

-Getting on last on the bus and being forced to meet and converse with George Ball.
-Having to be rescued after being locked in the men's room at the Convention Center.

**Funny Moment during a Concurrent Session**

-THE FARTING SEATS! (Everytime someone plops down to sit (Dan Heims in particular during one session), the chairs act like whoopie cushions.)

**Person/People who impressed me most**

PDN Riz and Tony Avent -Fellow Generation Y gardener Kelly Norris (age 22!!), who gave a commanding lecture on how to introduce our generation to gardening.
-Tony Avent and his Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery.

**Best Meal**

-Buttermilk biscuits with fried chicken and hash browns

**Funniest Compliment Received**
PDN Riz and John Elsley
-"What in the bloody hell are you doing in horticulture??!!" - Plantsman John Elsley (after a "performance" during the closing karaoke party)

**Most Memorable Person/People I Met for the First Time In Person**
PDN Riz and Jim Wilson

-Jim Wilson. Who I grew up watching on old tapes of "The Victory Garden"
-Pam Baggett. Garden writer and tropical plant specialist.
-All my fellow "Gen Y" gardeners and writers.

**Person/People I was most relieved to see being a "First Timer"**

-Marty Wingate, Bobby Ward, C. Colston Burrell,

**Most Inspirational Person I Met**

-Mentor: Ed Markham. In his 90's and still going strong!

**Most Inspirational Talk**

-Keynote Speaker: Dr. Dr. Lowell B. Catlett The Greening of America

**Best chat**

-Post dinner and bus chat with Debra Prinzing and David Perry.

Check out all the pics from the Symposium here!!

Adjusting to autumn

Sick as a dog since I got back home from Raleigh, I've been watching autumn unfold its glorious color and splendor outdoors and it was starting to become a little unbearable until I gained the energy to bundle up and sneak outside to capture some images of the season.

The cold temperatures really came without warning for me this fall and many of the plants I've waited all season to really start putting on a show are already beginning to dwindle and succumb to the forties and fifties at night. I have colleagues already starting to winter their tropical container plants. Am I just really behind? Has a whole season completely passed me by in the five days I've been gone? I think I'm just not ready for the season yet as I've been on this constant work mode where I never fully savored the summer.

These images should hold me over for awhile as I recover from the flu and adjust to autumn.

Dahlia WSD with Asters Dahlia 'Weston Spanish Dancer' is one of the most intensely colored of the cactus form dahlias and also one of the most prolific bloomers. It looks absolutely smashing with a pale violet Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, a New England Aster. As annuals begin to fade or set seed, color impact like this is crucial in the landscape to compliment the other color action taking place all around the landscape. If frost stays at bay, I will be enjoying this spectacular show for a few more weeks. A plant that will hold up to some light frosts is the bold and dramatic Euphorbia mellifera.

Euphorbia mellifera Tropical Bed comboNative to the Canary and Madeira Islands, this stunning plant can overwinter in a mild winter and keep its form, otherwise, it dies close to the ground to resprout the following spring. Seen here with Agapanthus, a Yucca and the fiery red blooms of Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire' (one plant I will try to winter over in the ground), this plant absolutely stands out for its foliage alone. It supposedly flowers with honey-scented blooms, but I won't complain if they never appear.

Crocosmia inflorescence Allium Crocosmia Agapanthus

Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie' is still blooming strong and looked gorgeous with Agapanthus 'Elaine' and the sparkling seedheads of Allium christophii.

Lily Stems Miscanthus Gilt Edge

Clear fall days illuminate the garden in such beautiful ways and these lilies (Lilium 'Scheherazade') and ornamental grass (Miscanthus 'Gilt Edge') caught my eye.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brr...not ready for fall. But these beauties sure were!


I may have missed the boat, but I've been hoping to expand my collection of Colchicums. These bulbous corms are popular among keen gardeners who long for their cheery color in late summer and into early fall. They are rarely bothered by pests (they're actually quite poisonous) and require almost no care and maintenance besides clean-up of the large, glossy, medium green foliage in late spring. Then they completely disappear in summer only to surprise the gardener in fall with spectacular flowers like these:


Colchicum Waterlily close up A

Local nurseries will sometimes carry them (Wells Medina has a pretty good selection), but getting them mail order is probably your best bet!

Brent and Becky's Bulbs (I met these folks recently at a Garden Writer's Symposium in Raleigh, NC. Wow, can Becky sing!).

Ok, next year I need to place my order early!