August 2014 Plant Profile: Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum

August 4th, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Aeonium 1Succulent plants continue to be very popular amongst gardeners everywhere because of their unusual and architectural forms and thriving with very minimal watering. The Aeoniums are one of the most iconic of all succulents. Unfortunately, they are not hardy in the Pacific Northwest, but they are excellent container specimens that are actually pretty easy to overwinter if cared for properly indoors.

The key to success with any succulent is bright light, very well-drained soil and limited watering during the growing season. They respond to being fertilized on a regular basis during active growth (for us it’s June-September) and then as cold temperatures approach, they are dug up before the first frost and potted up and kept indoors where it can stay cool, but not freezing. Some growers overwinter them “bareroot” and will mist them occasionally so they don’t dry out. The more light you can give them during this pseudo-dormant period the better.

Aeonium 2

Family: CRASSULACEAE
Genus: Aeonium
species: arboreum var. atropurpureum
Common Name:  Tree Aeonium, Irish Rose, Houseleek
Location: Containers in Soest Garden
Origin: Straight species from Canary Islands, but this selection may be of garden origin.
Height and Spread: 1.5ft wide to 2ft. tall (potentially much larger in milder climates)
Bloom Time: N/A for Pacific NW outdoors (but may flower later winter/early spring if greenhouse-grown)

 

 

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March 2014 Plant Profile: Stewartia sinensis

March 10th, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Photo by Mitch Evans

Photo by Mitch Evans

It may seem odd that we’re profiling a plant we currently don’t have yet at UWBG, but soon everyone will be able to see it in a very prominent spot at the Center for Urban Horticulture. After over 10 years in its place, the 2nd of two Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood) in the Soest Garden will be removed to make room for a new tree that will take its place for the next 10 year cycle to cast part shade in Bed 2. Curation has selected the exquisite and rare Stewartia sinensis.

Many keen gardeners and horticulturists are familiar with the more common Stewartia pseudocamellia and the stunning bark of S. monodelpha. This Chinese stewartia seems to have been overlooked in the trade as descriptions state that the flowers are a hair smaller than that of S. pseudocamellia and monodelpha and the fact that it may be less hardy than the two species may also have contributed to its status as a collector’s item destined mainly for taxonomic collections.  It has the same exquisite white blooms with the yellow stamens and the trunk of this small tree is truly exceptional with pretty peeling bark and a magnificent marbling pattern as the plant ages.

Be on the lookout for this stunning species. It will be years until it casts the kind of shade the underplantings of herbaceous perennials prefer, but the eventual effect will be quite dramatic.

 

 

 

 

Common Name:  Chinese Stewartia
Location: Soest Garden Bed 2
Origin: Central China
Height and Spread: 20-25′ high x 15-20′ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: June-July

 

 

 

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Autumn in the Soest Garden

October 31st, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Have you ever visited the Soest Garden and wondered what kind of work goes into making it thrive year round? Join Soest Gardener Riz Reyes for a morning of hands-on instruction, fun and fall perennial care. Learn how he keeps this garden glowing even in the winter months!

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In this exclusive class, you will get down and dirty in the garden with Riz while he shares his favorite “tried and true” selections for fall interest as well as tips and techniques for keeping your own garden beautiful even in the rainiest, grayest months.

 

 

 

 

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Instructor Riz Reyes has worked at UW Botanic Gardens since 2004 and has run his own garden consultation business, RHR Horticulture, since 2003. He is a regular contributor to many local horticultural publications and also writes a monthly feature on the UW Botanic Gardens website. Earlier this year, Riz won the Founder’s Cup for Best Show Garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Recently Riz has been working in the Soest Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture, a garden designed to help local gardeners select plants appropriate to a variety of site conditions commonly found in Pacific Northwest urban gardens.

For more information on Riz, check out his website and blog!

Participants should bring their own hand-pruners, gloves, and hori-hori soil knife, and dress for the weather.

Date: Saturday, November 9th, from 10am-12pm

Fee: Early Bird Discount: $25; $30 after November 2

Register online, or call 206-685-8033

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The Garden at Rest

October 7th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

You may think fall and winter is a time for rest for your garden. Get prepared this fall so your garden will be supercharged come spring!

Register Online, or call 206-685-8033!

 

Putting Your Garden to Bed

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Protecting tender plants

In this FREE class taught by a Master Gardener, find out what you should do in your garden in the fall to prepare it for winter and make your garden chores easier come spring. You can help give it a gentle transition into the winter season by performing a few important tasks that will not only make the winter garden more appealing but also able to better handle the cold temperatures ahead.
By doing these simple things, your garden will be ready for winter and further ahead for next spring.

Join us on Saturday, October 26th from 10-11 to see how to put your garden to bed!

 

November Garden Tasks: Ensuring a Healthy Flower Garden Next Year

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Soest in the Fall and Spring

Join the Soest Garden gardener Riz Reyes for this hands-on workshop on fall perennial garden care.  Walk the extensively planted beds and learn about which plants to cut back now, and which ones to leave until spring.  Learn how to divide and transplant specific types of plants, and some tricks and techniques for maintenance practices that create visual appeal for the dormant season.  Riz will also share his favorite “tried and true” selections for fall interest.
Participants should bring their own hand-pruners, gloves, and hori-hori soil knife, and dress for the weather.

Join the class on Saturday, November 9th, from 10am-12pm; $25/person.

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July 2013 Plant Profile: Single & Dark-leaf Dahlias

July 12th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Dahlia 'Bashful'

Dahlia ‘Bashful’

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.

Dahlia 'Moonfire'

Dahlia ‘Moonfire’

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'

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

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June 2013 Plant Profile: Lilium ‘Tiger Babies’

June 6th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Tiger Babies

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

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May 2013 Plant Profile: Pacific Coast Irises

May 3rd, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Iris 'Ami Royale'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.

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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

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Perennial Possibilities

April 24th, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

Do you want a low-maintenance garden that is perpetually colorful and interesting?
You can have it all!Perennials The Gardeners Reference

Join us for upcoming classes in our Perennial Series with Carrie Becker to learn how.

These classes involve both classroom lectures and field trips to see how the concepts can be applied in your own garden.

Space is still available in these classes, and you can register online.

Perennial Companions
2-part class: Wednesday, May 15th, 7:00 – 8:30pm, and Saturday, May 18th, 1:00 – 3:30pm
Fee: Early-bird discount $50; $60 after May 12

In this class you will learn how to put plants together in satisfying combinations that endure and to use site information (such as sun, shade, dryness, etc.) to place companion plants who need similar conditions together, while taking color, form and texture into account.

After the Shade
2-part class: Wednesday, June 19th, 7:00 – 8:30pm, and Saturday, June 22nd, 1:00 – 3:30pm
Fee: Early-bird discount $50; $60 after June 16

Is your formerly sunny garden becoming shady with maturing trees and shrubs? Or do you have areas of existing shade? This class will teach you how to plant for shade and still have beautiful enduring plants from early spring through fall. Learn to love the shade!

Instructor Carrie Becker is co-author of Perennials: The Gardener’s Reference, and has spent 40 years immersed in the study of plants as a gardener, professional landscape designer, consultant, and educator. One of the original designers of the Northwest Perennial Alliance Borders at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, she has taught classes about perennials, bulbs, annuals, and biennials in the horticultural department at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington for 17 years. Carrie has written articles for Horticulture, Pacific Horticulture, Arboretum Bulletin, and the Northwest Perennial Alliance and was a Hortus Praefectus of the Northwest Perennial Alliance in 2008. Carrie lectures in various garden clubs, nurseries, arboretums, and flower shows around the Northwest.

Like to plan ahead? Mark your calendar for the last class in the series:

Bulbs!
Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 7 – 9pm
Fee: Early-bird discount $30; $35 after September 18

This class will show you how to select and grow bulbous plants for all kinds of garden conditions. Find out which bulbs are enduring as perennials, pest resistant and hardy!

You can register online here: https://www.cfr.washington.edu/uwbg/ 

Questions? urbhort@uw.edu or 206.685.8033

Check out our other upcoming classes, too!

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February 2013 Plant Profile: Cyclamen coum

February 1st, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Cyclamen coum portraitWho says there isn’t much color in the landscape in the winter time? The month of February is peak bloom for one of the most delicate, yet tough plants in the winter garden. Hugging the ground with it’s rounded foliage often mottled and marked with silver patterns, this prolific tuberous perennial sends out multiple buds that gently emerge and, all of a sudden, burst  into bloom.

What makes Cyclamen coum so charming are their diminuitive size and the diversity of leaf color and patterns on the foliage and the vibrant colors that seem to appear in the ground as if a child had spilled a bag full of candy! They come in wonderful whites, pinks, purples,  lavenders and an occasional darker colored “eye” giving a bi-color effect.

Through the rigors of winter, whether it be  gloomy and wet or  bitter cold, these delicate charmers are as tough as can be.  Even gardeners with winters temperatures dropping down to -15F can enjoy these cheery flowers once the snow melts and the weather warms.

 

They are wonderful under deciduous trees and shrubs or even scattered about in a lawn where you don’t want children and pets playing in during the winter.

 

Cyclamen coum Common Name: Winter Cyclamen

Location: Soest Garden – Bed 7

Origin: Eastern Europe/Turkey/Caucasus

Exposure: Part sun – shade

Height and spread: 2-3ft. tall x 5ft. wide

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November 2012 Plant Profile: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Kitten’

November 6th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Ornamental grasses begin to put on a show in autumn as striking blades of silvery light greens transition to deep yellows and tans adding structure and textures during a time of year  perennial beds are cut back and put to rest. The genus Miscanthus is a staple of ornamental grasses.  Native to Japan and China, they are tough and easy to care for.

Once established, they are drought tolerant, easily maintained, and typically possess year round interest. Some selections, however, have had a reputation for being too large of an ornamental grass for small urban gardens. They may be overly vigorous, and in some occasions, relentlessly self seeding. There’s a remarkable array to choose from, but there was a cultivar two years ago that caught my eye and has continually impressed me.

‘Little Kitten’ has been a pleasant and manageable ornamental grass that stays tidy and it has a soft, demure elegance to it when used singly as a specimen and it adds a wonderful foil to bold foliage late in the season in containers massed as a small group.

 

Common Name: Dwarf Maiden Hair Grass

Location: Soest Garden Bed 4 (Rear)

Origin: Garden Origin

Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade

Height and spread: 3-4ft. tall x 3ft. wide

Bloom Time: mid-late Autumn

 

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