One of the wildflower kings of the Columbia Gorge. This is an awesome Desert Parsley that can be found near Lyle growing out of basalt rubble outcrops in the grasslands. Billowing mounds of blue green ferny foliage and big rich pink flower umbels. Yowlza! Ask us how to grow it.
Even on a murky day this can make it seem like the sun is out. Intense rich rings of yellow flowers on stems which in rich boggy sites reach 4' high. If Dave Niehaus of the Mariners gardened, this would be a grand salami. If George W. gardened, he'd neglect to water it but would say he did.
It is difficult not to like this plant and if you don't,then you may well have to wonder if you are a difficult person. I mean look at this! Tubular crimson flowers flaring to a yellow starry smile? Midwest to Southeastern native enticing hummingbirds and butterflies throughout it's range.
One of our beloved natives colonizing rich bottomland along the shoulders of woodland streams. This has succulent delicato ferny foliage of fresh green munchable (Please Don't) appearing foliage and small terminal flower clusters of pink cornucopias. Moist to damn near wet.
This is an indicator plant useful for delineating highly refined plant geeks. Perfection of scale and form with very narrow slightly curled leaves and delicate white flowers followed by improbably rich blue shiny fruit. Involuntary moaning is perfectly acceptable. Very slow clumper.
Much sought-after jewel of the rock garden is this slow dwarf Willow. This was found as a natural hybrid on the moors in Scotland and is prized by rock gardeners for its slow 2"-3" of growth per year with nice rounded foliage and stoutly twiggy habit. Always spendy, always worth it.
Big dude with leaves up to 5' across. Bizarre flower cones evocative of times distantly primordial and the whole package begs to be the centerpiece of the Jurassic Garden. I can see it - Tree Ferns, Cardiocrinums, Big Leaf Rhododendrons and Podophyllums playing off the Gunnera. Rich moist soil and mulch in winter.
This is a dynamite cultivar also called 'Florida' but names aside, the flowers totally rock. White and dark red fragrant flowers marry nicely with the rich purple-tinted foliage. We keep ours trimmed to an informal shrub but it can be a vigorous vine. Nice orange fruit.
Evergreen or in this case everorange stiff blades which complement the starry white flowers in late spring makes this New Zealander an invaluble addition to the garden.
The hardiest Olearia undamaged at 5F. Dapper evergreen with a pleasing tan indumentum under each leaf. The foliage is obscured in summer by a clusters of small white FRAGRANT daisies. Salt spray, and reputedly bastard deer resistant. Good drainage and takes dry when established.
A durable and satisfying groundcover hybridized by Jim Ault at Chicago Botanic Garden using V. armena and V. pectinata 'Rosea' as parents. What he got was a plant that makes an evergreen mat 2" high by 3' across in just 3-4 years with rich violet blue flowers accented by a white center. Odd name coming from Chicago.
Spring Vetchling. One of the stars of the early spring garden, this perennial bush Pea makes a soft-textured clump with scads of lavender-pink Pea flowers. Combines well with Hellebores and Narcissus and is virtually pest-free. Low-maintenance - cut back in fall.
'Amazing' is a descriptive too often used when 'Pretty good' or 'Not too bad' would be more appropriate. Well, this hardy Ice Plant from South Africa's Cape region is freaking Ah-Mazing! Collected by Panayoti Kelaidis, this has performed for 10 years in Denver. Fast groundcover with orange,red, neon magenta and white flowers.
An intriguing Iris relative from higher elevations in South Africa which has narrow vertical foliage and dark yellow very Iris-like flowers. This has proven to be nicely hardy for us here and may well be hardy to Zone 6 especially with mulch. This provides that important vertical element in your design scheme.
Helmeted Cobra Lily. This is a rare species from the Indian Himalayan foothills. Tall stems to 4'+ carry big 3-parted leaves and strongly cowled or helmeted flowers varying from green with white stripes to purplish. Choice plant and one to brag about. Has done great in our shade garden.
Chilean Fire Tree. Our classic all-time Desert Island plant where if we were stranded and could only choose one plant etc. we would be sitting beneath an Embothrium munching a Tyler Street Pesto Savory Scone and drinking a Townsend Bay Pinot Gris. A 4 alarm inferno of flame red flowers.
At first glance you might think Rhody or shrubby Magnolia but this Asian is in its own family, the Daphniphyllaceae. A stunning and scarce evergreen large shrub being either male or female. Males have red catkin-like flowers and the girls clustered blueberry-like fruit. A great excuse for a grove.
Marvelous little Thrift that is the lazy gardener's cushion plant. The English alpine gardeners in particular pride themselves in growing these difficult plants that forms cushions or 'buns'. Well this makes a perfect tight round dome on its own with pink flowers right in the foliage. Easy.
Distinctive perennial likely either G, dendrologi or G. officinalis. Thriving in a grazed grassy bank in an vast area of ecological malpractice and abuse in Sichuan. We considered this a mercy collection. More curious than beautiful, big evergreen vaguely tropical leaves and clustered pale whitish flowers.
This is regarded as the largest of the Anemone nemorosa cultivars and is a star in our shade garden. It is the perfect underplanting to many other plants as the Anemone is but 10" high or less and creeps on twiggy rhizomes to make a fine, dense patch.
A tasteful standard dwarf bearded (SDB) Iris brought over from the UK by the suave,dapper and bearded (SDB) David Mason of Hedgerows Nursery. We were fortunate to have acquired this because it is a delightful plant. Short stems to 12" with rich yellow flowers vividly thumbprinted in maroon on the falls.
A vigorous cross between our native stream orchid Epipactis gigantea and the European marsh orchid, E. palustris. This will make lots of stems to 18" with small flowers whose various parts are colored in orange-red, brownish and yellow and white. Easy given a rich moist soil and hardy to Z5.
The 2011 Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year. This Scottish hybrid with Anemone rupicola as the seed parent is one of the best new perennials in many years. Long bloom time from June into fall with large 3"-4" white flowers with a soft blue reverse. To 2' tall and clumping - not running like Japanese anemones.
Excellent introduction from the breeding work of Keith lever at Aberconwy Nursery in Wales. A compact grower with dark blue upward facing trumpets lined with white in the interior. This requires full sun to do its best and requires a rich, acidic soil that stays moist. Your reward is one heckuva show in late August clear into October.
One of the best of the red Astrantia selections and not surprising that it comes from the work done at Hadspen House in England. Deeply colored long-lasting flowers in June and carrying on for weeks. Half sun is probably ideal but we grow ours in the nursery in full sun or at least for what passes as such in maritime Port Townsend. Easy and hardy.
A superb selection with tall strong stems to 5' or more (anecdotal stories of 10' intrigue us but we haven't had them long enough to get old growth Monkshood) Large dark deep blue cowled flowers are among the best and they do make a statement. Deer proof.
It is unthinkable that any improvement could be made on the classic lines and refined presentation that is the stock and bond of typical Maidenhair Spleenwort but as is so often the case in our waning years, we are confronted by contradictions to our comfortable precepts. In this case, WOOHOO! The tip of each frond is intricately crested.
A very fun new compact Goats Beard from Europe. This makes very dense mounds of finely cut fern-like foliage with multiple flower stems bearing short wands of densely packed white flowers flowing horizontally like the plumage of some fanciful bird. Like a Guinea Fowl.
An evergreen Solomon's Seal relative from the mountainous slopes of Taiwan where it forms thick clumps as part of the rich understory. Low arching stems hold white bells underneath the leaves. Even though it is evergreen, we trim back the old stems in spring just before the new growth starts. Hardy to zone 7.
A collection by the Wynn-Jones from Taiwan and likely the first introduction of this species to cultivation. An uncommon evergreen lookalike to Solomon Seal, this has low arching stems to 8"-12" with broad leaves and late spring-early summer white flowers colored with purplish markings on the interior. Shade, moist and hardy zone 7-9.