October 2010 Plant Profile: Symphyotrichum (Aster) lateriflorum ‘Prince’

October 11th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Symphyotrichum (Aster) lateriflorum ‘Prince’


A regular visitor to the garden recommended that I make sure that I profile a plant that would stop people on their tracks when they walk by it and for October of this year, I’ve selected a dashingly handsome Aster, or now properly known as Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Prince’ thriving happily in Bed 8. After years of sulking in the same bed; but overtaken by other plants, I finally moved it where it would receive full sun and less competition and, oh boy, did it take off! It is a much revered plant in the fall landscape because of its compact habit, dark purple foliage and the masses of miniature daisy-like blooms that bloom for weeks until a very hard frost. Many who see it are surprised that such a small plant could produce so many flowers!

Common Name: Calico Aster
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Location: Soest Garden Bed 8
Height: 1.5ft. tall
Spread: 2ft. wide
Bloom Time: Late September to hard frost
Bloom Type/Color: Small composite, white with pink centers.
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Average, well drained.

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September 2010 Plant Profile: Begonia grandis ‘Heron’s Pirouette’

September 14th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Probably one of the most elegant of all late summer to fall blooming perennials, this hardy begonia has been loved and admired by many avid gardeners since plantsman, Dan Hinkley, brought it back from Japan in 1997. It is somewhat late to emerge in the spring and it grows from a hardy tuber. The large, almost succulent leaves and stems provide a backdrop to airy inflorescences that dance in the breeze and soft pink, bubble gum flowers have a very faint, but pleasing fragrance. They produce little baby bulbils on the nodes of the stems so there’s always volunteers to share with gardening friends!

Common Name: Hardy Begonia
Location: Soest Garden Bed 5 (with a few volunteers in Bed 7 where it used to be)
Family: Begoniaceae
Origin: Japan
Height: 15-24″
Spread: 1.5-2ft.
Bloom Time: August-October
Bloom Type/Color: Pendulous racemes of soft, shell-pink with bright yellow stamens.
Exposure: Part to Full Shade
Water/Soil: Well drained, but consistently moist.

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August 2010 Plant Profile: Lilium ‘Scheherazade’

August 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

A most outstanding hybrid lily known worldwide for its hardiness, vigor, and overall dependability in the garden. ‘Scheherazade’ was one of the first interspecific hybrids introduced on the market and began a trend that would revolutionize the world of lily breeding. Bred by L. Freimann using tetraploid (double the number chromosomes a plant typically has) forms of a cultivar called ‘Thunderbolt’ and a tetraploid form of the famous ‘Black Beauty’, you get a most unusual mahogany crimson edged in gold and later fading to cream born in profusion over stalks that have often been referred to as “Lily Trees”.

Lilium hybrid 'Scheherazade'

I counted over 40 buds and blossoms on ONE STEM! These are gently scented and not overpowering in fragrance like the Orientals (‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casablanca’) or trumpet lilies (Easter Lily). These were a donation from the great lily breeder and grower, Judith Freeman from The Lily Garden 2 years ago and now they’ve hit their stride.

Common Name: Scheherazade Orientpet Lily
Location: Soest Garden Bed 8
Family: Liliaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 5-7ft.
Spread: 1.5-2ft.
Bloom Time: July into August
Bloom Type/Color: Recurved tepals of rich mahogany crimson edged in gold cream.
Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist.

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July 2010 Plant Profile: Cornus elliptica

July 8th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Taxonomically confusing and undecisive, but I am so enamored by this small tree from China.

We have this stunning specimen growing here at CUH (within the Fragrance Garden, though it’s not fragrant at all) and, each June-July, I stare in amazement at the glossy evergreen foliage blushed in deep red and bronze with a smattering of star-like bracts that cover almost the entire tree from top to bottom.

Cornus elliptica habit

Cornus elliptica in flower

Cornus elliptica

This tree has been referred to as:

Cornus angustata
Cornus capitata
C. capitata ssp. angustata
C. capitata var. angustata
Cornus kousa v. angustata (this is how we currently have it labeled)
C. kousa v. angustifolia
Cornus elliptica
Dendrobenthamia angustata

Potential graduate work to sort all this out? Oh you betcha!

Now, there’s a plant in commerce called ‘Elsbry’ trademarked EMPRESS OF CHINA. that was selected by John Elsley. While available at a few nurseries here in Seattle, he’s worried that we might not have the heat in the summer to get this plant blooming here in the Puget Sound area, but with our evergreen dogwood at UWBG, perhaps that’s the one that we should be propagating and distributing to gardeners here.

Come see this gorgeous tree in person soon as the bracts could fall in a matter of days with the heat wave we’re experiencing!

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June 2010 Plant Profile: Rosa ‘AUSboard’ [Gertrude Jekyll]

June 15th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

One of David Austin’s timeless tributes to the famous garden designer. In bloom since mid-May, this English Rose is one of the most captivating and richly scented of all his hybrids and does reasonably well for us in the Puget Sound region.

Common Name: Gertrude Jekyll Rose
Location: Soest Garden Bed 5
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 4-6ft.
Spread: 5-6ft.
Bloom Time: May into early July. Mostly once blooming, but may repeat.
Bloom Type/Color: Deep rose/pink. Fully doubled, somewhat quartered when first opening
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist.

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May 2010 Plant Profile: Lupinus ‘The Governor’

May 12th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Lupines have long been staples in the perennial border. With their elegant line, exquisite colors and fine-textured foliage, they create accents, punctuation, and almost a wave of movement when used as a group in both the garden and in cut flower arrangements. We have just one lupine in the Soest Garden and it is a seedling strain known as ‘The Governor’. It is one of many Russell Hybrid lupines developed by George Russell in Yorkshire, England and one of the most striking perennials in the late spring garden. Interplanted with geraniums, catmint, and English roses, it’s the iconic cottage garden look that’s just so classic, it never goes out of style.

Lupinus 'The Governor' in full bloom in Bed 5 at the Soest Perennial Display Garden (Bed 5)

Common Name: The Governor Lupine
Location: Soest Garden Bed 5
Family: Fabaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 2-2.5ft.
Spread: Clumps to about 2ft.
Bloom Time: May and sometimes into June.
Bloom Type/Color: Dense open whorls of Pea-like blue and white flowers on erect spikes.
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist.

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April 2010 Plant Profile: Epimedium

April 1st, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It has taken me almost three years to get the chance to feature one of my most favorite of all blooming shade perennials and with a wide assortment of them beginning to hit their peak, I will discuss the entire genus. Known as” Barrenwort” to some, “Fairy Wings” to others and “Horny Goat Weed” to herbalist, I am talking about the enchanting Epimedium.

“Eppies”, as I often call them amongst fellow plant geeks, have long been known as a tried-and-true perennial for dry shade. Typically planted under trees in a woodland setting, we have a wide assortment of various species and selected cultivars that thrive in various conditions just to demonstrate how adaptive they can really be in many landscape settings here in the Pacific Northwest. With many recent introductions from China finding their way into the market, many unusual forms and hybrids are beginning to turn up.

Within the Soest Garden, we have about 10 different species and named cultivars on display. Most of them are evergreen and reside underneath a large red oak tree and a handful are deciduous that have evident buds ready to spring into full bloom in the month of April.

Every landscape deserves an Epimedium. You really can’t ask for a more elegant, tough and reliable perennial.

  • Common Name: Barrenwort, Fairy Wings
  • Location: Soest Garden Beds 2, 6, 7 and the dry shade bed under the large red oak. Two species in the Fragrance Garden (thought no Epimedium is fragrant, unfortunately)
  • Family: Berberidaceae
  • Origin: Asian and Eastern European species and some of garden origin
  • Height: 6-12″
  • Spread: Can form tight clumps after several years
  • Bloom Time: Usually mid-late March onto April and sometimes into May.
  • Bloom Type/Color: Various
  • Exposure: Part-Full Shade
  • Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist. Asian species and their hybrids tend to prefer more water.
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March 2010 Plant Profile: Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Ancilla’

March 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Very VERY early this season, but the weather has been outstanding for this little gem. Having lasted a decade in these beds, ‘Anclla’ still keeps coming strong each spring with these outstanding blooms.
They are reliably perennial and stunningly beautiful as a mass or group planting.

Common Name: Ancilla Tulip
Location: Soest Garden Bed 6
Family: Liliacea
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 6-8″
Spread: Can form tight clumps after several years
Bloom Time: Usually mid-late March onto April
Bloom Type/Color: Cream colored tepals with bright orange red centers. Reverse has a light red/blue blush..
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist.

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January 2010 Plant Profile: Viola odorata ‘Lianne’

January 1st, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

The charmingly dainty Sweet Violet seems to have disappeared off the list of garden perennial favorites over the years. Having garnered the reputation of seeding themselves aggressively and being difficult to eradicate from lawns, many gardeners have come to despise violets. But modern gardeners are missing out by overlooking violets long history, their early spring show, and of course, their richly scented blooms that are best admired by taking gentle whiffs like Victorian young ladies were taught to smell their nosegays.
When I started working in the Soest Garden, I was tempted to rip out a large patch of this Viola thinking that it was the straight species, V. odorata, but studying the brochure, I found that it was a named selection of the species that had intentionally been planted.
‘Lianne’ is an old cultivar dating back to the early 1900’s. It was selected for its compact habit, vivid violet/blue color, long bloom period and its delicious fragrance that permeate the path between Bed 2 and 3 where small clumps have established. On top of these tremendous qualities, I’ve also noticed that it hasn’t really seeded itself in any of the other beds in the Soest Garden.

Family: Violaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 4-6”
Spread: 1.5-2ft.
Bloom Time: Late January-Mid March
Bloom Color: Violet/Blue
Sun: Part Sun-Full Shade
Water/Soil: Moist with a lot of organic matter.

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December 2009 Plant Profile: Garrya x issaquahensis ‘Pat Ballard’

December 1st, 2009 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Discovered in the garden of Pat Ballard in Issaquah as a cross between G. fremontii and the more common G. elliptica, this is one of the most spectacular broadleaf evergreen shrubs to have in the winter landscape. It is truly exquisite in January-February with its semi-glossy medium green leaves adorned with elegant 12-inch “silk tassels”. It is a very tough shrub that is relatively pest and disease free and it is remarkably drought tolerant once it has established. This selection is somewhat rare and not frequently propagated, but a more common selection called ‘James Roof’ is also an excellent variety.

Common Name: Pat Ballard Silk Tassel Tree
Location: Soest Garden – South Slope (against Isacsson Hall)
Family: Garryaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 8 – 10ft
Spread: 6 – 8ft
Bloom Time: Winter
Bloom Type/Color: Pendulous pinkish gray with a hint of yellow colored catkins
Exposure: Part Shade to Full Sun
Water/Soil: Well drained with moderate moisture.

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