Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When tans go bad

I returned from Kauai a little (not a lot) tanner and found that some of my plants were tanner as well.

Even though temperatures were dipping into the thirties, my cannas were still blooming.

Then the temperature dropped below freezing and my poor cannas and Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira' turned my front garden into a swath of brown.

Luckily my Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies' has recently erupted in blooms.

And my Geranium 'Rozanne' is completely unfazed by the temperatures.

And my Clematis jackmanii just put out a new bloom! Thank you Laurrie, for suggesting this one.

And my Fatsia japonica is doing its wonderful Sputniky thing.

Thank goodness for these late season blooms. I'm itching to get back in the garden but this cold dry weather is making it hard (I feel like a mummy!). Better to enjoy the blooms from inside the house.

Have a happy thanksgiving, all you turkeys!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Greg and I just returned from ten days on Kauai and we're slowly adjusting to a cruel lack of sunshine, maitais, and the gentle smell of plumeria on the air. It's cold and rainy in Portland. 

I gave in at the airport and bought this tree fern (Cibotium splendens) and popped it in a weirdly wonderful pot I found at Digs.

I think it looks like the Grinch without his hat on. I've set it up in the bathroom where it should get the humidity it likes. Anybody have any luck growing one of these?

I'll be back online with garden tours soon!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall color I'm digging

This spring I went on the hunt for Fothergilla gardenii 'Jane Platt,' which was rumored to have the nicest fall color of all the fothergillas. She did not disappoint.

A few weeks ago some of the leaves starting changing, turning a screaming red at the tips.

Now it looks like this.

WHAT. Some of the green is deepening to a dusky purple that looks so nice with the hot carmine leaves.

I love! I read somewhere on the internet that its color can vary from year to year, though I can't find where anymore.

This spring I kept looking for 'Jane Platt' and finding only Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow,' which has the most beautiful blue foliage. I am definitely making room for one of these next. Even if the fall show is half as good as Jane Platt I'll be happy.

Image source: Rick's Custom Nursery

I bought my Jane Platt from Gossler Farms Nursery, if you feel the need to add one to your garden.

I'm also deeply in love with my Spiraea japonica 'Magic Carpet.' In spring it is the most wonderful zinging chartreuse.

It mellows a bit in summer.

And then in the fall it turns every color imaginable.

I hesitated to add this shrub to my garden because it's used so widely in grocery store parking lots here. It's really tough and can take a lot of abuse, though it tends to get sheared into unsightly blobs by landscapers. I will never understand the need by landscaping crews to shear everything into blobs. I know it's fast and easy but it looks terrible.

When I am dictator people will prune with hand pruners until they've been deemed worthy of using tools of mass uglification like hedge trimmers. Anyway. I'm glad I added it to my garden because the color is totally doing it for me.

I just picked up another spirea for the front garden at Xera Plants recently: Spiraea betulifolia var. lucida. I waited until it lost almost all of its leaves to get my act together to take a picture, so this doesn't really show off the kaleidoscope of colors this native boasts. It's stunning.

One of my Epimedium 'Black Sea' went rogue and turned completely red.

. . . While the others look like this. If I could get them all to spread out, bulk up, and turn that blazing red color next to the Hakonechloa grass, I'd be the happiest of campers.

You know what else would make me happy? If I could go back in time and not buy this Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense', AKA "Clown whore sedum."