October 2013 Plant Profile: Hypericum Hypearls™

October 1st, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Hypericum 3Since 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 4

Hypericum Hypearls™ Olivia with Erigeron ‘Prosperity’ poking through

Hypericum 1

Hypericum Hypearls™ Renu

Hypericum 2

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

Share

Perennial Plant Trials: Blooms of Bressingham Report 2009-2010

April 27th, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

UPDATED FOR YOUR REFERENCE AS YOU SEEK OUT NEW PERENNIAL PLANTS FOR YOUR GARDEN!!

2009-2010 Blooms of Bressingham Plant Evaluation Profiles

A little introduction:

Since 1997, the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) has been the recipient of plants from one of the most prominent names in the perennial plant industry. Blooms of Bressingham (referred to simply as “BLOOMS”) has been a source of the world’s finest perennial plant introductions for many years. Based in the UK with headquarters in North America, they’ve partnered with gardens all around the United States to evaluate the performance of their plants. Each year at CUH, samples are acquired, grown on and planted out in three island beds just west of Merrill Hall and, in recent years, container displays at Washington Park Arboretum. What looks like an extravagant perennial border is actually a test plot where the performance of each variety is scrutinized. Then recommendations and feedback are given back to BLOOMS.

For the 2010, season, we’ve decided to bring back the evaluation program after a few years hiatus. With the assistance of knowledgeable volunteers, BLOOMS has been consistently getting us new plant material and we’ve become a showcase garden for both new and older varieties for people to see before they head out to a local nursery and find these varieties for their own landscapes.

With the gardens changing each growing season with new plants and deletion of older varieties that are no longer performing as well as they should (often times being surpassed by improved selections), our maps are updated regularly and copies can be found at the reception desk at Merrill Hall.

Share

CUH Update – October 2010: UW Classes, plant evaluations and fall color

October 11th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium'

Classes in UW are in full swing as is the fall landscape at UWBG. Color is just beginning to show on our deciduous trees and the fall-blooming perennials are slowly waiting in the wings to burst into flight and glorious bloom here at CUH. After a inconsistent and late summer, fall seems to be right on queue as the weather slowly cools and our usual autumn tasks are well underway: fertilizing the lawn, planting and transplanting, monotonous raking and gathering of fallen leaves in either cold wet or windy weather, and one of my more favorite task is evaluating the year’s successes and failures in order to plan for next season.

Our formal evaluations were actually done on a crop of hardy perennials supplied to us by Blooms of Bressingham. For years we’ve received material and grown them on for people to see, but it was just last year that we resumed our formal trials and gave “BLOOMS” our feedback on how well their plants performed. This season, I decided to step it up; I recruited a enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer to help me with maintenance and evaluations based on a set of criteria. We noted things like flowering period, stem and foliage quality, and pest and disease resistance. Maintenance practices were also jotted down to determine a variety’s overall performance throughout the growing season. I hope to develop an exclusive page that will feature photos of each variety under evaluation and our findings. There are some exceptional varieties and a few that never should have entered the market based on our criteria. So, stay tuned for those results!

Helichrysum Pink Sapphires - a brand new variety drawing much attention as it completes its 2nd year of evaluations.

One of the more exciting things to observe as an employee is being able to access “behind the scenes” to see the number of student projects taking place. Graduate students and post docs run various experiments and several classes make use of our facilities to set up labs and it’s all very fascinating to see. At times I feel like I’m so out of touch with recent developments and research, but it’s reassuring to know that there are hard working individuals answering various questions concerning our ever-changing ecosystems and landscapes.

Both the students and the general public have a most treasured resource here at CUH that’s celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library is one of the best in the nation providing both novice and professionals a tremendous number of resources related to gardening and plants. Be sure to check our calendar for upcoming events to celebrate.

Our Douglas Conservatory has never really lived up to its name as our collection of indoor plants have consisted of only random hand-me downs from various sources who didn’t want to bother with them and tropicals left over from seasonal containers, but with a few doing reasonably well. I asked one of our volunteers to work with what we have and create a more appealing composition. Here’s what we came up with:

With fall being an ideal time to plant and transplant, expect a few changes as we play another round of musical plants. Look out for new plantings, a lot of digging and thinning and, hopefully, a few pleasant surprises come spring. There’s plenty to do as we shift in the seasons and I invite you all to come and visit and see the transformation before your eyes!

R

Share

CUH Update August 2010

August 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It’s finally beginning to feel like summer; fairly consistent warm temperatures, scrambling to get containers adequately watered, and gravitation towards shade when working outdoors!

The past few weeks have been so busy and incredibly productive as we’ve been fortunate to have an arsenal of interns, work study students, and volunteers help us out in grounds several times a week this summer. While it takes a bit of patience and organization, the added number of bodies out there doing SOMETHING has helped to keep things under control. While skills are still developing, their efforts have made quite a difference and it seems like they’re savoring the experience.

Soest Garden Bed 4

Lots of summer pruning is well under way to keep our trees, shrubs, and vines growing here relatively healthy and happy. By pruning in the summer, we can work on shaping and training certain species, controlling unruly growth such as water sprouts, suckers, and aggressive vines that have over-”climbed”.

Our evaluations of BLOOMS OF BRESSINGHAM perennials are underway here at CUH and we’re beginning to see glimpses of potential bright stars for the garden. After our first round of evaluations of the new plants we’ve received the last two years, many are looking quite promising while others just bit the dust and would caution gardeners about using them. I hope we can develop a website where we can post our findings and we’re also hoping to have a separate evaluation sheet for visitors to the gardens to GIVE US FEEDBACK about the plants! Please stay tuned!

We’ve also just received a generous donation of perennial plants from Skagit Gardens. Each year, they send us new varieties to feature in our gardens so people can see them and look them up when they visit local nurseries. We’ve received some lovely Sedums, a salvia, and some wonderful tickseeds aka Coreopsis like this smashing one called, ‘Cosmic Eye’ bred by a colleague of mine, Darrell Probst.

Coreopsis 'Cosmic Eye'

We’re also quite active on our Facebook Page so to get the latest tidbits about news, events, and quirky happenings, do “like” us, ok!! haha

R

Share

CUH Update June 2010

June 15th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

June is turning out to be an incredibly busy month as the weeds have gotten away from me and so much seems to have landed on my plate all at once. Three gardeners and a handful of volunteers are trying to keep up with CUH grounds on a half time schedule; it’s never enough and we’ve almost gotten used to the fact that not everything will get the attention it needs right away. It seems sad, almost pathetic, that a world class botanical institution can’t operate the way it should, but we’re not alone. With the recession affecting just about everybody, we’re trying to absorb the hit, but it’s not encouraging when we have to expect another staff reduction this year and next. It’s a tense and unpredictable time right now.

The budget cuts have certainly sapped our energies during a time where we should be out and marveling at the landscape that surrounds us. Everything is in full swing and everywhere you turn, you find something that catches your eye and/or nose. Check out our June plant profile.

Being short on time, I’ll let a few photographs speak for themselves. I hope they inspire you to come visit and maybe think about volunteering a little bit of your time to help us get caught up. There’s always something to do and always something new to learn!

See you in the gardens,

Riz

A view of our Blooms of Bressingham trial beds. With both classic favorites and brand new introductions, these beds showcase some of the best perennials out on the market!

Another view of the Blooms of Bressingham Beds. Come visit us for an updated map and plant list.

One of the newer varieties is this stunning new sea holly, Eryngium 'Big Blue'

Speaking of “Blooms”…

Adrian Bloom, from Blooms of Bressingham, will be in town and UWBG will be sponsoring a lecture and book signing at Molbak’s that’s A MUST for hardcore perennial gardeners. I’m looking forward to meeting him in person and, hopefully, he’ll approve of our efforts. More more information about his talk, click here.

Most of the containers are now potted up. Just a little more warmth and regular watering and these will be busting out in foliage and flowers in no time!

Recall that we transplanted a mature Carpenteria californica in this bed. It looks to have survived well and is in fine company with a stunning mountain laurel and several dwarf strawberry trees

Kalmia latifolia 'Bullseye' - Mountain Laurel

Carpenteria californica

Bed 7 in the Soest Garden has filled in considerably and is punctuated by an elegant stem of a Himalayan Lily in full bloom. Can you spot it?


Share

CUH Update May 2010

May 7th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

May is always an abundance of activity in the garden. Whether April’s on and off showers played much of a role in how many plants are blooming right now, each year we’re overwhelmed with the work as temperatures begin to warm up and just about everything calls our attention; people make requests for things (they ask more questions and are more curious and observant about a lot of things like the endless weeds we’ve been trying to stay on top of) and even the plans themselves demand that they get the cutting back, pinching, top-dress of compost and irrigation they require in order to perform their best. It’s an ongoing challenge and with three part time gardeners overseeing all of CUH Grounds and the Union Bay Natural Area, we truly try our best with the time and resources we have.

The Fragrance Garden in early May 2010

Amidst the chaos of choking weeds and a flurry of events and activities that occur at this time of year, the gardens and the plants themselves somehow manage to put on a tremendous show and visitors are constantly delighted by it all. With our recent changes and game of “musical plants”, the Fragrance Garden is looking fuller and far better defined. It still has a ways to go and a few minor planting schemes have yet to be implemented, but for the most part, plants are more appropriately placed and most everything is thriving very well. The Soest Garden next door continues to be the signature piece of CUH Grounds with its beautiful borders and captivating selection of plants. Bed 7 has got to be the most exciting bed as a jewel box packed with treasures. Epimedium ‘Lilafee’ is absolutely at its peak as are the dramatic stems of Disporum ‘Night Heron’ that seems to draw a lot of attention. We are also expecting the blossoming of a rare variety of the Giant Himalayan Lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum v. yunnanese).

Bed 7 of the Soest Garden in early May 2010

Here is some eye-candy that should prompt a visit to CUH very soon because in a few weeks, they’ll be gone:

Tulipa batalinii 'Bright Gem'. A charmingly true and perennial tulip

Bergenia 'Bressingham White'. Lovely evergreen foliage and a nice floral showing in early spring.

Anemone Vestal

Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal' growing in the dry shade bed of the Soest Garden

The McVay Courtyard is in dire need of attention and direction as it needs to move forward with the next phase of its evolution. Phormium has had the toughest time the last two winters and I’m beginning to question their status as a perennial plant for the Northwest. Many people have begun to write it off as an evergreen perennial and simply treat it as an annual or a container subject. Even if phormiums die back down, they are fully capable of returning, but it takes a full growing season to actually get a substantial specimen and at that point, winter has returned. There are many potential substitutions and ideas for replacement. So, stay tuned and find out what takes place in the next few months.

With a few weeks delay, we are still preparing for the arrival of a set of new introductions from Bloom of Bressingham. The beds themselves are really coming along with many cultivars under evaluation in full bloom for people to see. I would very much like to get a set of volunteers to help with these evaluations and perhaps help maintain the beds as well. If this sounds at all interesting to you, please contact David Zuckerman, our horticultural grounds supervisor at dzman@u.washington.edu. If you’d like to learn more about what would be involved in evaluating and maintaining “BLOOMS”, please feel free to email me: rhr2382@uw.edu. I will post our report on 2009 plants next week and, hopefully, the new plants will have arrived by then!

Well, the weeds are calling and the lawn is SCREAMING to be mowed and edged. I hope the two classes and meeting in Isaacson Hall and conference in NHS don’t mind the noise too much. The two weddings and 3 outdoor workshops this weekend will thank them.

Cheers,

Riz

Share