Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Damage Done...for now...

So, I went back to Landwave this past weekend to check on things and assess the damage done by our early season winter cold snap.

Temperatures plummeted down to the mid teens (possibly lower) and we had about 5-6 inch accumulation of snow the week of Thanksgiving. Luckily, and THANKFULLY, things began to really thaw on Turkey Day and people were able to get out and about. Seattle drivers are THE WORST when it comes to driving in snow and ice. ugh

I did my best to bring in the most important things, while others I just figured:

1) They'll be okay just grouped together or under this sheltered/protected area

2) Oh, it was cheap enough, I'll just buy it again next year

3) This plant has to prove it's worth and hardiness. I'm not babying it.

New Hardy Schefflera taiwaniana survives first test:

Schefflera taiwaniana under eves Shefflera taiwaniana cold foliage

On the LEFT is a specimen I potted up and placed under the eves of the house facing Northwest. I recall the pot freezing just about solid and the new growth it tried to put on was zapped. The foliage also seemed to be a duller green. A similar story with the one on the RIGHT, which was planted in the ground. The new growth was hindered, but these also took on a gray/purple cast to the foliage. Overall, they seem alright for now.

Another comparison: Potted vs. in the ground, Mahonia 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia Soft Caress in container cold damage Mahonia Soft Caress cold damage in ground

Both planted this spring and basically in the same location in the garden. The potted specimen (on the LEFT) endured some frost damage, but the one planted directly in the ground (on the RIGHT) had very obvious damage. Both are in part shade, but the one in the ground is a little younger than the one used in a container. I wonder if that just one of many factors.

Not quite mush, but pretty close: Kniphofia northiae

Cold hit Kniphofias

I mean, I knew this was coming. I'm just praying that it isn't too bad. These were 2 gallon specimens that almost tripled in size over the summer. Now, they've proven to be hardy, but just how much of a setback winter will be on these, we'll have to wait and find out. I may need to find another specimen for the front entry of Landwave.

On the edge with Edgeworthia:

So, I could never get 'Gold Rush' to bloom and then it eventually was reduced to one viable stem so I just took it out and now 'Nanjing Gold' and the usually fairly reliable selection from Sichuan (see a post early this spring about this one) are not looking so hot. They have buds, yet, my fear is because the foliage was unable to properly yellow and undergo senescence, the forming buds might have been affected as well.

Edgeworthia cold damage before senescence 2

Hardy Bananas...please oh please live up to your name!

Musa sikkimensis protected Musa basjoo cold snapped

Even with the cage stuffed with dry fern fronds and pieces of Miscanthus I chopped up, the trunk of Musa sikkimensis has mushed pretty much down to the base. Perhaps if I wrapped it in burlap like I had planned to do in addition, it would have been okay. Now I'm just praying that it comes back from the crown underground. Musa basjoo I left thinking that it was surrounded by enough plants that it would be protected, but nope! It's also mushed down to the ground and fingers crossed that it comes back vigorously. The key to these bananas has always been making sure to plant them deep and get them really well established as older stands tend to be hardier and able to withstand the winter extremes we occasionally get here in the Pacific Northwest.

Annuals: Until next year.

Mixed Annual Container Seasonal Container after cold snap

So, this will have to be replanted next year, but those in the ground have a ways to go as winter hasn't officially started yet, but it's all a waiting game now.

To see more photos, click here.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Best of 2010: Part 2: Duets

My favorite plant pairing has to be the lovely Pelargonium 'Oldbury Duet' I mentioned getting a cutting of from the Dunn Garden last year. I planted it in a container with the ever popular "Festival Grass" - Cordyline x 'Jurred' and the duet is smashing:

Pelargonium Oldbury Duet with Festival Grass

Speaking of duets, here's a lovely one from the hit TV show , GLEE:

Winter Comes Early to Seattle!

So, I'm at work all by myself today. Not realizing that the UW closed operations due to snow, I took the bus and went to work. Luckily a fellow gardener came as well and we had nothing to do besides shovel and sand the pathways, but since I can't really do my regular tasks, I'm trying to get caught up on all sorts of stuff while I'm here in the office.

I've been moving and shifting potted plants like crazy and installing like a madman before this sudden onset of winter conditions. I feel like I have everything under control and things that didn't get brought in will just have to tough it out. The snow should provide some protection.

Yesterday, I snapped some photos from work and really enjoyed the effect of snowfall on plants and the wonderful shapes, patterns and textures that emerge with a light dusting of powdery white:

Helleborus Silver Lave in snow This is Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace' covered in snow. Notice the overall globe effect and the texture the leaflets create with the snow covering them.

Phlomis seedheads in snow 1 Forgetting to deadhead certainly has its advantages come winter as this Phlomis russelliana, or Jerusalem Sage, looks attractive with its tiered seedheads. That's rosemary in the back.

Containers right now, if properly designed with the appropriate plant materials, can looks absolutely fantastic.

Evegreen Container in Snow Fall Winter Container Container Composition in Snow

Then there's plants like this Hosta 'Halycon' that just started to die down for the winter that got caught mid-freeze and makes for a really unusual winter display.

Hosta in Snow

The winter landscape isn't complete without ornamental grasses. These Pennisetum look lovely with their dense spikes capturing a bit of snow to look as if it's suspended mid-air. They're so elegant and low maintenance plants almost all year round.

Pennisetums in Snow

What a gloomy day yesterday and now it's bright and sunny but well below freezing. I don't dare drive in these conditions, even though I have 4-wheel drive and all. I've seen too many accidents occur and that's just something I don't need to deal with right now.

Gardener needs time to reflect, plan and rest..

Winter Scene from Soest

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall Favorites

I threw this arrangement together a few weeks ago when some of my fall perennial favorites were looking their best.

Fall Bouquet Portrait November 2010 Fall Bouquet Nov 2010

This fall arrangement includes: Chrysanthemum 'Apricot', Symphyotrichum 'Lady in Black', Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and Panicum 'Northwind".

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Showing a little Husky Pride

So, I work out at the UW's Intramural Activities Building (often dubbed as the "IMA") and each fall, I look forward to the new crop of young college hotties and the abundant fruit and fabulous color effect on a large scale planting of beautyberry!

IMA with Callicarpa

Whoever planned and designed this planting scheme is quite clever as very few plants can ever match a school's colors so effectively (in this case, purple and gold)!!

Callicarpa Profusion fall color DSC07106

This is Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'
. Readily available and popular at nurseries at this time of year because of plantings such as this at the UW. They are easily grow in most well-drained soils in full sun or part shade and are perfectly hardy and suited for our area.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Best of 2010: Part 1: Knowing the Knotweeds

I'm becoming very fond of many selections of Persicaria that are out there. Their bold and often dramatically marked foliage are so eye-catching and the spikes of bright red are fun and add a nice surprised come summer. I find in kind of unfortunate that they're related and often mistaken for their close relatives Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed). The ornamental Persicaria (the most common being selections of P. amplexicaulis and P. virginiana), though known to also be quite aggressive and vigorous, are manageable and easy to maintain.

Soest Autumn 2007 Persicaria with Symphytum
Here's Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Taurus'. A fine border plant for full sun that forms dense, almost woody clumps of lush foliage and abundant spires of red flowers that form in early summer and after that first flush which ends in mid-summer, the plants are sheared back to the ground for a second round of fresh foliage and then MORE flowers that often last until frost! Mature plants can spread 4-6ft. wide and the flowering spikes rise up to about 2.5ft. They're wonderful fillers in flower arrangements!

Persicaria Golden Arrow
A brand new and exciting selection (at least to me!) I've acquired this year is one that seems a bit tidier and a smaller version of the above, but with glowing chartreuse foliage. This one was dubbed 'Golden Arrow'. I purchased a division from my friends at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend, WA and I've been very pleased with it's habit. Now, it's only the first year and it's not really in the richest or moistest spot in the garden, but I see this as being a very attractive and useful plant in part to full shade, although it gets its best golden foliage in full sun.

Persicaria Red Dragon
P. 'Red Dragon' is a selection of P. microcephala and TALK ABOUT FOLIAR APPEAL! As gorgeous as these leaves are, it is kind of a rambunctious plant, but the great foliage color and weaving habit and small clusters of white flowers late in the season make it a fun and welcomed addition in the garden. Should it get out of bounds, just whack it back to the ground and prepare for a nice flush of new foliage!

Persicaria Compton's Form
Here's one that we don't see too often, but it is quite striking. This one is referred to as 'Compton's Form'. The flowers on this aren't really that spectacular, but for foliage, it's quite dramatic. This photo shows off the early season color in full sun, but grown in shade, the leaves are bigger and you get this effect:

Persicaria Compton's Form 2

And finally, one I'm quite fond of, but not many local nurseries here carry it is this selection called 'Brushstrokes'. It's not as busy or overly dramatic in terms of color, but the painted "chevrons" and HUGE leaves are so bold and attractive.

Tovara 'Brushstrokes'

There's way more out there that's available, but these are just some of my favorites in the garden this year!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Tree Alien!

In a recent mushroom foray, we encountered this amusing set of artist's conks (Ganoderma applanatum) mushrooms on a Douglas fir that reminded me of a character on the animated series, "American Dad".
So, Roger, the drunken, drug-using, drag-dressing, dimwit of an alien, came to mind when I took this photo:

DSC06952 Roger

I have NO IDEA what he stuck in there! LOL!!