February 4th, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Hellebores are very popular winter-blooming perennials, and plant breeders are responding to the high demand for easy maintenance and colorful blooms during the gloomiest time of the year. The Gold Collection® is an assortment of species and modern hybrids selected for vigorous growth and prolific blossoms year after year. ‘Merlin,’ a Ballardiae hybrids (H. niger x H. lividus), is simply magical: it opens as a soft pink with a deeper pink reverse and a hint of lime green. As the flower ages, the blooms age to a richer deep pink and hold on for many weeks. The foliage on ‘Merlin’ is exquisite, with a hint of marbled variegation on tough, clean leaves.
Skagit Gardens in Mt. Vernon, WA kindly donated a batch of Helleborus x ballardiae Gold Collection® ‘Merlin’ to UW Botanic Gardens, and the plants have done well for us. They’re exceptional in the garden, but also in containers for those who don’t have much space.
Common Name: Hellebore hybrid
Location: Entry Triangle Bed Entry along NE 41st St.
Origin: Garden Origin.
Height and Spread: 10-12″ high x 18″ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: December-March
January 6th, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
A striking addition to any landscape, this golden Monterey Cypress is quite popular and widely available in nurseries and garden centers. ‘Goldcrest’ is noted for its narrow, upright habit and exquisitely bright color; it fits into many different planting situations especially in smaller spaces.
The caveat to this beauty is its semi-hardiness in the Pacific Northwest. It requires a warm spot in the garden or it is best confined to a container planting that could be moved during a hard, cold winter. Most plants sold in garden centers are small, immature trees with very tender, needle-like foliage, and have a wonderful citrus scent when rubbed. They’re wonderful as a vertical accent in a container and are frequently sold decorated with ornaments during the holiday season.
They should be grown in full sun and have well draining soil. Once established, they are quite drought tolerant and often they turn slightly orange or light brown during the winter time, resuming chartreuse coloration once the weather warms in spring.
Common Name: Goldcrest Monterey Cypress
Location: Containers in Fragrance Garden
Origin: Garden Origin. Original species is native to the central California coast, USA.
Height and Spread: 6-7′ high x 18-24″ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: N/A
December 2nd, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
This low growing, creeping shrub often gets overlooked throughout most of the year, but its vibrant fruit and evergreen foliage make it a stunning addition to the winter garden, particularly in containers. The Wintergreen grows via shallow underground rhizomes and like most plants in the Ericaceae, it prefers acidic soils and because of its diminutive size, grows best in mostly sunny and exposed sites.
American Wintergreen is best utilized in container plantings here in the Pacific Northwest as large patches of it in the garden are rarely encountered. It can be a tricky plant to get established in the garden and requires regular watering initially, but looks to be drought tolerant once it gets going.
As a container plant, the lovely (and edible) fruit are closely admired and last for many weeks. The fruit itself is actually a dry capsule and it’s the fleshy red calyx that surrounds it that looks like the fruit. When crushed, it has a minty aroma.
Common Name: Teaberry, American Wintergreen
Location: Containers by the commons and Merrill Hall
Origin: Eastern North American
Height and Spread: 3-8″ high x 10-12″ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: September-March
November 4th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
After a tremendous autumn display, the show continues in the landscape with wonderful fall and winter blooming plants that take center stage. This lovely selection of the fall/winter blooming Camellia sasanqua is highly coveted by garden designers for its glossy, dark green, evergreen foliage and simple flowers that do not leave a horrible mess once they’re through flowering.
‘Setsugekka’ has lovely pure white flowers with stunning yellow stamens that begin blooming in late October. It has a soft, earthy scent to its flowers and it has somewhat of a free and open habit that lends itself to being trained up against a wall as an espalier that provides a dark green background to others plants during the spring and summer months when its not blooming.
Common Name: Fall-Blooming Camellia
Location: Fragrance Garden/NHS Hall Bed
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 10-15′ high x 7′ wide
Bloom Time: October-February
October 1st, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Since our sample plants arrived three years ago from Blooms of Bressingham, this series of hybrid St. John’s Wort has really impressed us with their vigor, beauty, and reliability out in the garden. These short shrubs are wonderful in bedding; not only are their showy yellow flowers attractive, it’s the fruit on these tidy plants that are the main draw.
Luminous pink to captivating corals, they often will be blooming and fruiting at the same time making them exquisite in floral arrangements. Even the ripened black fruit remain intact and are quite ornamental.
Hypericum Hypearls™ Olivia with Erigeron ‘Prosperity’ poking through
Hypericum Hypearls™ Renu
Hypericum Hypearls™ Renu with older fruit
Common Name: Hybrid St. John’s Wort
Location: Blooms of Bressingham Plant Trials
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 2-3′ high x 3″ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: Mid-June-Frost
August 30th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Probably the most asked about plant in our seasonal container plantings, this unique African Daisy is both eye-catching and remarkably easy to grow. ‘Whirligig’ is referred to as a “spoon” type of hybrid where the tips of each petal is scalloped and rounded in shape.
Osteospermum come in various colors and are easy annuals provided that they receive full sun, regular water and fertilizer and in a mild winter, some plants may overwinter and come back the following season.
Common Name: African Daisy
Location: Container at the entrance of Merrill Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture.
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 8-12″ high x 12″ wide
Bloom Time: June-Frost
August 6th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
In recognition of the installation of New Zealand’s focal forest at the Pacific Connections Garden, we highlight a stunning ornamental grass that certainly attracts attention at this time of year. The “toe toe” grass is a relative of the more common, but often troublesome Pampas grass (C. selloana).
C. richardii is far more elegant and their plumes arch and sway in a gentle breeze making a dramatic impact in the landscape. It takes full sun and is quite adaptable to poor soils. It is best used as a single specimen or as a grouping of 3-5 clumps so you can admire its form and habit.
Like a few Ornamental grasses, it has the potential to re-seed in warmer climates, but it hasn’t been considered invasive here in the Pacific Northwest. Like any plant we’ve accessioned at UWBG, we will closely monitor its habit and take appropriate action should it ever become a problem. For now, we will enjoy it’s striking presence in the New Zealand entry at the Pacific Connections Garden and the South Slope of the Soest Perennial Garden.
Common Name: Toe Toe Grass, Plumed Tussock Grass
Location: Soest Garden – South Slope, WPA Pacific Connections New Zealand
Origin: New Zealand
Height and Spread: 5-7′ high x 5ft. wide
Bloom Time: July with plume lasting through the winter months.
July 12th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Not many garden plants can challenge the constant bloom and remarkable display dahlias put on in a summer garden. Their extravagant blooms come in a wide selection of different shapes, forms and seemingly endless colors. With thousands of varieties to choose from, I’ve tried to seek out types that are often hard to find and are a little more unusual.
Dark-leafed dahlias are all the rage in Europe, but a limited number are available to avid gardeners and collectors so I wanted to make sure that they were represented in our regularly irrigated sandy clay loam Bed 8 in full hot sun.
Dahlias flowers have a tendency to dominate a planting scheme, especially large dinner-plate types that tend to look gaudy and out of scale and the stems always require support. I’ve also sought out varieties that have single flowers and have a more open growth habit so they compliment other plants in a flower bed.
Planted in the spring, dahlias are typically grown from tuberous roots or rooted cuttings. They grow quickly with heat and regular applications of an organic fertilizer. They begin blooming this month and can continue on until frost if one keeps the spent flowers off. Tubers can be left in the ground over winter if you have them growing in soil that drains well and then provide a good thick mulch in the fall. To be on the safe side, tubers may be carefully lifted after frost has zapped the plant and stored in a box with soil left intact. Keep them in a cool unheated garage until spring.
Dahlia ‘Bishop of York’
Common Name: Dahlia cultivars
Location: Soest Garden – Bed 8
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 2-6′ high x 2ft. wide
Bloom Time: July-first frost
June 6th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Striking elegance with remarkable hardiness and vigor, this lily has withstood the test of time and is considered a classic amongst lily growers worldwide. ‘Tiger Babies’ is a complex hybrid that was bred from the often virus-infected “tiger lily” (Lilium lacifolium). Breeding has made it virus free and a welcomed summer-flowering bulb each year.
Soft shades of cantaloupe orange blushed with pink as they open with heavy brown spots color the pendant, nodding flowers that have a very slight scent to them. They have strong stems and do not require staking and they are quick to multiply compared to many other lily Asiatic lilies.
Common Name: Tiger Babies Asiatic Lily
Location: Soest Garden – Bed 6
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 3-4′ high x 1ft. wide
Bloom Time: June
May 3rd, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
The Pacific Northwest is home to a remarkable assortment of plants that are the envy of other gardeners across the country and the Pacific Coast Iris hybrids are among them.
With their remarkable variation in colors, evergreen foliage and tolerance of drought and some shade, this type of iris has become quite the workhorse in the spring garden come late April and into May. Over the past few years, more and more Northwest gardeners are beginning to discover Pacific Coast irises and, in some cases, even collect the handful of named selections that exist.
Pacific Coast Iris hybrids are comprised of several species that exist throughout the west coast of Washington, Oregon and California. While straight native species such as I. douglasii and I. tenax are readily available and are fine garden plants, it’s these remarkable hybrids that gardeners crave. With grassy foliage and profuse flowers, they rarely get over 12″ tall and are wonderful planted in perennial beds and the ever-so-difficult spot of planting underneath a tree! Given time to establish, they are remarkably drought-tolerant and easy to care for.
In the Soest Garden, we’ve introduced a plant that’s been passed around for many years, yet it hasn’t been properly registered as a named cultivar. It’s actually a division from a clump that’s growing at the Washington Park Arboretum where not many people get to see and enjoy it. This is a selection named ‘Ami Royale’.
Common Name: Pacific Coast Iris
Location: Soest Garden – Bed 7
Origin: Garden Origin
Height and Spread: 8-12″ high x 1.5 feet wide
Bloom Time: Mid-Spring