April 2012 Plant Profile: Ribes sanguineum

April 3rd, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Spring is definitely in the air when the clouds of pink burst forth into bloom and our native red-flowering currants put on a show. Though most forms aren’t truly red, their flower power is outstanding and its been a native that seems to have adapted well in our harsh urban environment. There’s a lovely white form that’s also floating around at this time of year drawing Oohs and Aahs from those who encounter it.
The flowers give a light pungent scent and hummingbirds absolutely go crazy for them.

A close up of the exquisite flowers of red-flowering currant

Common Name: Red-Flowering Currant
Location: CUH-Douglas Parking Lot
Origin: Western Coastal North America
Height and spread: 7-10ft high and wide.
Bloom Time: Early Spring

March Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

April 1st, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for March 26-April 8, 2012

1)   Berberis darwinii

  • Darwin’s barberry is one of the showiest of the genus with striking orange flowers opening from red buds.
  • Unlike most other Berberis (including our native species), Berberis darwinii produce sweet fruit in the fall.
  • A large mass can be found in the Chilean entry garden in Pacific Connections, as well as the Chilean hillside along Lake Washington Boulevard.

2)   Osmanthus x burkwoodii

  • A hybrid of O. decorus and O. delavayi, Osmanthus x burkwoodii produces the very fragrant flowers typical of the genus.
  • Several large specimens can be found along Foster Island Road.

3)  Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium ‘Ortega Beauty’

  • Though similar to Ribes sanguineum, the Chaparral currant has a more open form and the leaves are particularly resinous – (touch and smell the leaves).
  • Many cultivars of R. sanguineum and R. malvaceum can be found in the Cascadia area of Pacific Connections.

4)  Salix acutifolia ‘Pendulifolia’

  • Located in the twig bed of the Witt Winter Garden, this willow produces catkins that rival rabbits for softness.

5)  Stachyurus himalaicus

  • This Stachyurus is located along the footpath of the Sino-Himalayan hillside.
  • This specimen is a superlative example of both form and flowers for the genus.
  • Stachyurus species can also be found in the Woodland and Winter Gardens.