Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A not so common groundcover

Look what finally made it to a local nursery! A rare Pachysandra axillaris from Dan Hinkley dubbed 'Windcliff'.

A new video: The Winter Garden at Washington Park Arboretum

So I'm getting more and more practice in filming and editing. Here's my latest project shot at Washington Park Arboretum's Joe Witt Winter Garden!!

Enjoy and, as always, feedback is important!



Monday, January 25, 2010

Leaning on Nolina

I've been playing around with new compositions both in the garden and containers and I've becoming more and more infatuated with a hardy Yucca relative from Mexico called Nolina nelsonii.

I was first exposed to this plant at the Center for Urban Horticulture where a stunning specimen is the centerpiece of the McVay Courtyard.

Nolina snow
Even covered in snow, it is architecturally stunning and it has certainly proven its hardiness as I've even had a potted specimen sit outside in the open during our deep freeze last November and December.

Here is a simple composition up front where I planted it with one of my favorite Euphorbias. Euphorbia rigida.

Nolina Yucca and Euphobia

Euphorbia rigida with Nolina in back
This Euphorbia is simply stunning and, like Nolina nelsonii, highly adaptable. They are both very drought tolerant, as expected, from these genera and they have responded fairly well to part shade/morning sun.

In a container, I started playing around with this combination last year when I had a potted specimen of Nolina and a bundle of golden caramel colored curly willow. It's a stunning contrast in both color and texture, I think.

Nolina and Willow Composition


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The floral wonders of a Winter Garden.

So I've compiled a few photos on my Flickr page and I'm in the processes of composing a short video set to cheesy classical music of images I took this past weekend when I spent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day strolling through the rich and delightful aromas and bright colors that the Witt Winter Garden showcased on a mild, surprisingly sunny Seattle day.

Winter Garden Visitors

I was so pleased to see so many people coming to visit the UW Botanic Garden's Washington Park Arboretum. From dog walkers, joggers, couples, and lonely loners like myself, no one can't ignore the magic that takes place in the middle of winter when we have a rare sunbreak and growth and color appear out of nowhere. The eyes are tantalized and the nose is tickled with the fresh aromas permeating the air.

One of the stars of this fragrance frenzy is Hamamelis mollis, which was just starting to unfurl its filament-like petals of the richest yellow hue and a most delicious scent. As you approach the winter garden from the Graham Visitor's Center, it is the first yellow blooming plant to your left.

Hamamelis mollis

There are more Hamamelis to be found as large specimens create such a dramatic, yet lightly airy display of delicate blooms.

Hamamellis in foreground

Mahonias were in peak bloom as they spill their petals to the ground creating a bright yellow carpet. This statuesque beauty is M. 'Arthur Menzies'. It was in full dramatic bloom and I witnessed a hummingbird or two savoring the rich deposits of nectar in each flower.

Mahonia flowers close up

One scent that is near and dear to my heart is the potent, rich and sensually sweet scent of Wintersweet, botanically known as Chimonanthus praecox. A native to China, where they're often sold in bundles for indoor forcing during the wintertime, these woody plants and, even its flowers, aren't them most attractive in the landscape, but the aroma is captivating and almost mouth-watering.

Chimonanthus praecox

Another endearing fragrance is the rare and not always so cold hardy, Daphne bholua.

Daphne bholua

The dip into the teens certainly caused a bit of damage to the generally evergreen plants. The amount of leave loss was tremendous, but the flowers still appeared. Generally starting to bloom around Christmas, this species from the Himalayas is highly prized by collectors and the bark is used for paper making.

These are just some highlights I wanted to share. I hope the video comes out alright, but there's really no substitution for visiting the garden yourself and experiencing the sights and smells that will just linger with you long after your visit!

See the rest of the photos on my Flicker "set" labelled. UWBG Winter Garden 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forced Oriental Lilies gone DOUBLE!

Forced oriental lilies mutated! I really should have just bought this plant, took macro-shots of the mutated pistils and deformed stamens. After bloom, I can let them die down and see if they come up again true to their grotesque, but interesting form

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crying for a crinum!

Plant Delights Nursery continues to tempt me with new plants and there are several I'm just dying to try, but I've been telling myself that I cannot afford new accessions to my collections as funds need to go more towards a resign, an irrigation system and a proper nursery set up!!

But, oh my, check out this Crinum. I've successfully grown Crinum here, but they are late to come up and actually flower, but when they do. Oh, it's so elegant!

Reading the description of this variety called 'Schreck', I was tempted to blog about it:

Click on this pic from the Pacific Bulb Society to Plant Delight's page.


My attempt at a talk show: Winter Interest Plants on YouTube

Ok, so I had a little time this past weekend to take on a project I've been wanting to do more of. So, I busted out the tripod and tried to put together an informative video on winter interest plants. Audio sucks and some shots aren't that great, but I figured, if I don't start now, I won't improve if I plan on doing more of these.

I'm learning basic editing, but I think I really need a cameraman to make these more "visually pleasing".

Sorry about the ambulance, plane and car noises! hahah
I'd love your feedback!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Sleepless Gardener

...should be the title of a new blog or a compellingly erotic new book. Hahah.

Happy New Years, everyone!

One of my main goals this year is to get far more organized so I'm not overloaded with work and I'm allowing myself time to fully rest and not sacrifice sleep so much.

Since I was little, I've always been sort of a night owl. And when the internet entered our lives, heck, I PRAYED that I didn't need to sleep because of the new world of information and visual stimulation I couldn't get anywhere else. There was also the mentality of being in top of everything (ie, new plants, most recent discoveries and methods, etc.). Snooze you loose, right?!

I'll keep my late night plant web-surfing to a minimum, but new online catalogs are being updated and there are more exciting things to share!

So, Logee's Greenhouse's catalog arrived a few days ago and I am always thrilled to see the newest selection of houseplants (and some hardy garden selections) they offer. While I don't have the luxury of a warm, heated, greenhouse of my own to grow a lot of the fancy favorites I've highlighted, that doesn't stop me from learning about them.

Here are a few selections:

On the cover is this fabulous Sweet Olive: Osmanthus fragrans 'Fu Ding Zhu"

This selection I've read about before and it looks to be an exceptional clone and a tad bit hardier than the straight species, which really requires a warm protected spot or against a stone wall to grow and flower consistently.

Here's a discussion on this and other Osmanthus I found interesting.
Oh, the FRAGRANCE is sure to be remarkable! Like Apricots!!

Another plant that's not really new on the market, but sure getting a lot of press is the popular Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum). Known for its nutrient content and antioxidant properties, it is much sought after and in this new gardening generation, it's totally worth growing!!

Now for some tropical favorites that have caught my attention:

Now, I'm not sure if I'm willing to shell out 30 bucks on a rooted cutting of a easy to propagate Angels' Trumpet (Brugmansia), but this one is quite a unique breeding breakthrough. This is Brugmansia 'Angel's Summer Dream', a DWARF form.

Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)is a plant that seems to follow the generations as cuttings of this so called "Orchid Cactus" have been passed around through the years in our family. While the plant looks quite boring and kind of pathetic looking, getting a mature plant to come into bloom is quite a spectacular site. People will love the whole "thrives on neglect" deal, but in my option, you have to be pretty tolerant of this spindly and unattractive plant. You've also got to be there at night to fully experience the blooms.

There are so many more I can rave about, but I really need to get to bed!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Get this!! if it grows, it'll eat meat! Psssh....

Out with some friends for dim sum in Seattle's Chinatown and ran across this at the Uwajimaya bookstore and wondered just how much success people who buy this have when they try to grow a carnivorous plant from a seed plug