Showing posts with label Landwave Gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Landwave Gardens. Show all posts

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Infatuation with PCIs (Pacific Coast Iris Hybrids)

Pacific Northwest gardeners are able to brag about a lot of plants that most of the rest of the country could only see and admire in photographs and Pacific Coast Irises seem to be one of those that are such workhorses in the garden, but they're rarely seen outside of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Pacific Coast Iris x 'Native Warrior'
Iris x 'Native Warrior' offered by Xera Plants
Now why is that? As you'll see with the mouth-watering color forms that I've obtained and grown for several years now, they've been highly praised for their shade and drought tolerance and a few select forms have excellent evergreen foliage!

To start, let's look at what's comprised as a PCI:

There are about 11 wild, native, species that make up the PCI's. They are considered a "beardless" type of iris that grow as rhizomatous clumps and thrive in our wet winters, dry summers and moderate temperatures.
Some species hybridize on their own and, of course, selections are made and numerous crosses are done to enhance the size of bloom, improve habit and vigor and diversify the color range that exists.

Often you'll see them offered as seed-grown plants in local garden centers, but specialty nurseries will carry named selections that can be quite extraordinary.

My first exposure to them was when I was in college and doing a planting plan for a design/build project I was involved in. I did some research and found that these irises would be perfect for curbside plantings and the specs emphasized the use of natives. Naturally wanting something more extravagant and more memorable thanks just sword ferns or salal, I found 5 plants at a local garden center with the full intent of using them for this project, but we were over budget and knowing that they probably wouldn't reimburse me if I used them in the garden, I decided to keep them and plunk them in my garden. The result were 4 vigorous plants (one just died randomly), three of which I donated to use at the Center for Urban Horticulture and one that simply took my breath away so I decided to keep and propagate.

Iris x 'Ami Royale'
An unregistered selection named 'Ami Royale' offered by Far Reaches Farm

With a handful of named selections, PCI hybrids are still difficult to come by. I still find that a lot of Northwest gardeners really don't know them so the push to really propagate and offer them in large quantities just isn't there. The plants are also somewhat temperamental about WHEN they're divided. I've been taught that once new roots are beginning to form at the base of the rhizome, they're ready for division.

Pacific Coast Iris hybrid 1
A hybrid with unique coloration - could possibly already be named

Ideally, they start putting down new roots before winter sets in allowing the roots to reestablish so the plants are immediately replanted in the beds or potted up and overwintered in a cool, unheated polyhouse over the winter.

Iris PCI Drip Drop
Iris x 'Drip Drop' was offered by Cistus Nursery

So why aren't these stunning plants found in other parts of the USA? According to Iris growers in the mid-west and east coast, hardiness seem to be the downfall of these extravagant blooms. While they easily withstand frosts a deep freeze in the single digits may do some of these varieties in.

Pacific Coast Iris x 'Baby Blanket'
The unique coloration of Iris x 'Baby Blanket' I got from Dancing Oaks Nursery

PC Iris with Golden Ribes 1
Check out the stunning contrast with a gold leaf red-flowering currant at the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Spring Plant Sale!

Iris x Pacific Coast Hybrid Blue with Gold
This one was just labeled as "blue-violet", but looks stunning enough to be a named selection.

Iris x Pacific Coast Hybrid Violet Purple
Again, another unnamed selection that caught my eye so I grabbed it

So, what did happen to that one that was left from the original 5 plants I first got:

Iris x Pacific Coast unknown

Iris PC hybrid with Heuchera

Pacific Coast Iris hybrid

Pacific Coast Iris hybrid 1c habit

I've observed it, divided it, and shared starts with various friends and colleagues, who, I hope will keep it going.



Friday, October 26, 2012

Where do I even begin to pick up where I left off...

bad garden blogger...BAD GARDEN BLOGGER!!!   Ugggggghhhhh....

I guess I could say, in my defense, that I was actually gardening and not sitting on my ass blogging about every event that's garden/plant/flower related. The problem is, just about every aspect of my life is related to plants, flowers and garden and I can't even begin to choose what to share.

Plus, I've also just been so overwhelmed with work. It is FALL after all! Clean up is endless and preparations for the winter, plus TEACHING; the weeks go by so fast and, olly crap, it's almost NOVEMBER!!!

So, here's are some events that took place over the past month. Why don't YOU choose which topic I should do a full blog post on:

-My cousin Jocelyn got married (yes, another wedding, but I didn't do the flowers this time, but there's still something plant related that's cheesy and hilarious)

-A wedding also means a little family reunion. I had cousins stay with me and see my garden which included grapes my grandfather planted that ripened just in time.

-Just got back from my first ever trip to the Northeast hitting up New York City, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia area to visit family, friends, and, of course, GARDENS! I'm sure there will be a post on this no matter what. was pretty incredible!

-Finished my design for my show garden for the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

-Filmed the second episode of the "Next Generation Gardener"  (currently being produced and edited!)

-Presented my first talk called "Travels of a Garden Foodie" to a local garden club.

-Started teaching a class on Nursery and Greenhouse Production at Edmonds Community College. 

-Landwave Gardens in the fall is always a treat as the landscape really lights up.

-It's that time of year where I'm preparing for the winter and digging, dividing, and transplanting all sorts of plants.

I'm sure this isn't all of it, but take your pick(s) and I'll get another post up.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Scenes of Summer

It's been hard to find time to post something. I'm sorry it's been awhile. I had this ultra-special post I was going to put up, but it got to a point where I was really stressing over it and questioning if I would be sharing too much of my personal life so I scrapped it....for now.

Instead, I'll just show you some images from my garden the past few weeks to give you a sense of my mostly beautiful surroundings.

UntitledEarly in the morning at Landwave is something truly special that I don't get to experience often enough because I'm such a night owl. Midsummer mornings are like nothing else. Everything is so crisp, quiet, and every plant seems to just glow as the light slowly intensifies.

Untitled Many of you know how fond of lilies I am. This is 'Scheherazade', a 5 year old clump that produces masses of gently fragrant blossoms full of nectar that the birds and the bees absolutely go crazy for and I love the airy Giant Feather Grass (Stipa gigantea) as a focal point in the garden.

Rheum Cotinus PersicariaFoliage is equally as important as flowers in the summer border. Here, Rheum 'Ace of Hearts' and Cotinus 'Royal Purple' echo one another with a little Persicaria spike photo-bombing the composition. Back-lit by the setting sun, this composition is quite dramatic.

IMG_5732That little Persicaria is actually a wonderful "weaver" in a bed as it fills in between plants and they bloom continuously and can be kept tidy if you whack 'em back to the base following the first major flush of blooms for a fresh set of foliage and more flowers! Here the soft oranges and blue purples blend well together here. I love how the reverse of the lilies pick p the purple of the Penstemon 'Sour Grapes and the Clematis, which is 'Etoile de Violette', a vigorous viticella type.

Echinacea Phlox Lilium comboThose soft blues carry through to another bed where Phlox 'Blue Paradise' is an absolute stand out and compliment a brand new lily called 'Blueberry Crush' and the wonderful Echinacea 'Hope'.

Summer Border at Landwave GardensThe dahlias typically begin in August for me, but a few blooming ones caught my eye at the nursery that I had to have so I added them into the main border and they worked so well with the soft pastel tones and texture of the pom pom Allium 'Summer Beauty'. The dahlia is 'Happy Single Wink'.  yeah...I know....ick.

Sunset at LandwaveSomeday, I hope to have a garden where I can fully appreciate a gorgeous sunset. A view of the water would be amazing, but probably not necessary because I will never be able to afford it, but much like the early morning, it can be quite a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere as you're almost forced to slow down and relax as light becomes scarce.




Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lilium lust

The lilies are on their final stretch and there have been many surprises in the last two months.

In our late late summer, the lily show began in July with the opening of one of the tried and true lilies out there. This is 'Tiger Babies' blooming with ornamental grasses in the Soest Perennial Display Garden at the UW Botanic Gardens - Center for Urban Horticulture where I work part time.

Lilum Tiger Babies in Briza media

Then comes two species from China I brought back a few years ago. The first is the elegant and rare Lilium majoense and then the tall, stately Lilium leucanthemum.

Lilium majoense reverse Lilium majoense

Lilium leucanthemum

Soon after, the "Orienpet" lilies put on a show. Here's the gold with crimson and richly scented 'Shocking' and the voluptuous 'Silk Road' at a client's garden.

Lilium Shocking composition

Lilium 'Silk Road'
'Silk Road'/'Northern Carillon'

The new mixed bed I'm developing has the spectacular 'Scheherazade' blooming with mixed perennials and glittery grasses in the background.


My clumps of 'Nymph' have slowly dwindled as I love using them profusely for arrangements just like this one at my sister's house for a little reunion with cousins from out of town a few weeks ago.

Lilium 'Nymph' in an arrangement

Orientals are just starting and my collection has dwindled a bit as I used to grow more. The standout right now is 'Tiger Woods' and the rare 'Midnight Star'.

WHOOPS....that's the REAL Tiger Woods.

Here's the lily:

Orienpets overlap with the Orientals and, man, were there surprises:

From top left clockwise: 'My Precious', a sister seedling to the cultivar 'Pizazz', and a rare double-flowered oriental 'Josef'.

So the double orientals are looking their best EVER and I'm wondering if it's been the mild and relatively cooler summer or my new and special friend who's been helping me water more diligently.

The "classic" variety 'Miss Lucy' is towering at 5 feet with long pedicles and flowers that haven't aborted, but are opening slowly and quite beautifully:

Lilium 'Miss Lucy'

Next to "Lucy" is 'Davyd'. Has done absolutely nothing but abort and look horrendous, but here this year, at least it looks like it's trying. LOL!


'Josef' is definitely a surprise as it has opened up pretty well despite still being in a container.

'Chrys' might be the same or similar to a new intro out right now called 'Polar Star'. It opened very nicely last year in a container, but the one in the ground is slowly doing its thing!

Then there's this HOT MESS of a lily. Interesting? Sure! Looks like throw-up? Uh huh. But fragrant? Of course! Why did you grow this? Shut up. Now, I can't even remember it's name. The interesting thing about this flower are the present anthers with pollen!!

One of my most highly anticipated purchases earlier this spring was a package of 'Magic Star'. It almost looks like a double-flowered 'Tiger Woods' or 'Dizzy' and when you've grown lilies for a long time and you see the photo, your jaws drop and you say, "WOW"! So I purchased two dessicated bulbs from a local nursery, potted them up so they can "recover" and root before planting them out in the garden.

Lilium Magic Star Lilium Magic Star closeup

So's interesting and all and kind of cool looking, but very inconsistent when opening. Could it get better as it matures much like 'Miss Lucy' did? We'll see.

All lily'd out??!! Hhahahahh



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm wearin' all my own brands brands brands brands...

and wearing it proudly!!

Riz with RHR Merchandise
"I teach and do for you garden! You no plant Arborvitae!!! NO!! Plant Osmanthus hedge instead! Okay, pay now!" LOL!!!

I took my marketing and exposure to a new level and finally have RHR Horticulture and Landwave Gardens merchandise to show off the work my cousin, Nio Subaran, created with me a few years ago.

Embroidery done

Bellevue Embroidery in Factoria Mall did an outstanding job with the shirts, caps, vests, aprons and canvas tote bags I had screen printed and embroidered. Evelyn Hou, one of the proprietors, was a treat to work with as she walked me through the entire process and put forth suggestions that really made a difference in the final products, which included having my website URL. With "" seemingly awkward to have on a t-shirt, she suggested that I have a separate URL for both RHR and Landwave. A quick visit to and I was set. I didn't realize how big the lettering would be in the back, but she insisted that, "They need to really see you!". A great call.

RHR Brand

Telling her a bit about what I do, we talked plants, flowers and this unusual vegetable that she used to have back in Guangzhou called "Ba Wang Hua".

Ba Wang Hua

When I picked up my merchandise, she included a bag of it for me so being the curious botanist I can be, I had to look it up immediately. It's the flower of DRAGONFRUIT! (Hylocereus undatus). She said to cook it in a soup with pig hocks. Hmmmmmmm. Thank goodness its dried. I'm gonna have to wait on that one.

Now I feel totally official and legit! I'll be sporting these during my talk at the NW Flower and Garden Show and I hope it's a brand that sticks in people's mind like this song by Taio Cruz that inspired the title of this blog post.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Morning Lilies

Overwhemingly fragrant, but what a sight stepping out the door this morning!