This is the East Coast Skunk Cabbage which while common to swamps and boggy areas in PA and NY is an exotic collector's plant here. Tubby black-purple or yellow flecked brown-purple flowers squat on the bare soil before the big green Hosta-like leaves appear. Love it.
Rollicking twining Monkshood from China that delights in scrambling up into shrubs or onto thin trellage. Although a fine and aristocratic perennial, it remains devoid of snobbery embracing chainlink as if it were ornate wrought iron at an Antebellum mansion. Dusky lavender flowers.
This is a treasure among Pokers. A small statured species with big time bloom from South Africa introduced to the NW by Hedgerows Nursery in OR. This doesn't know the word quit and after a main heavy spring bloom keeps throwing up flowers spikes throughout the season.
This is an awesome plant with very large flowers of excellent substance clustered in dense heads which compounds the visual impact. Tall stems to 40" just to make sure you won't miss seeing this in bloom. A good even rich yellow that is not brightly strident but very capable of mingling with other colors or carrying the display load on its own.
The penultimate 'Poker in our opinion at this particular moment. Tall wands of orange tubulat flowers well spaced on the stem evoke images of Aloes in Southern California. A good spreader which quickly makes a clump. I generally view this barefoot as it knocks my socks off anyway.
This is an Alan Bloom selection from Bressingham Gardens which he introduced in 1970. 'Spitfire' is a feisty little plant making a dense clump of thin leaves with flared open fiery red-orange flowers held closely together in which the many presents as one to great effect. A smaller mounding plant than some of its kin.
This UK selection has good ripe tomato red flowers arrayed nicely on the stem and held out horizonatally to optimize viewing. Very accommodating those Brits. The flowers are nicely ranked with some overlap which creates a showy floral synergistic effect. This is a compact grower to just a couple feet tall.
This hybrid of Crocosmia masoniorum x C. paniculata was introduced by Chris Saunders in 2001and has fine flowers of brilliant orange. The petals are long and elegant being well-separated from one another but not by any means aloof. The petals recurve gently which to me just adds another element of grace.
Award of Garden Merit recipient in the UK where gardening is just not a pleasant diversion but a way of life. A flower color of soft tomato with infusions of orange and red on a good mid-sized flower. This is not a shy bloomer and not a runner so blooms heavy in dense clumps.
These were shared with us by Kelly's mentor and fair to say, hero, Steve Doonan of Grand Ridge Nursery. A superb selection with petaloid stamens giving this a robust doubled appearance. Always hard to come by and much sought after, this will in time make a nice carpet of ostentation.
Second generation seedlings from a Hinkley collection in Sichuan of this fine Lilac which can be kept as a large shrub or trained up to be a small tree. Pendulous flowers white to pale pink inside with a lavender-pink reverse. Very attractive and trouble free.
Fun new selection of Persicaria with softly golden foliage which is a great backdrop for the 18"-24" flower stems bearing spikes of flowers the same color as the Pope's new ruby slippers. Easy and very hardy and thriving in a good moisture retentive soil.
One of the good rock garden plants that is actually pretty easy to grow. Related closely to our Douglasia of the Olympics, this little jewel from the Pyrennees and Dolomites has yellow flowers nearly covering the foliage in late spring. Good drainage and not terribly dry.
Tall Jack in the Pulpit. These grow into big boys with a big green flower and distinctive vertical spadix held well above the foliage. This merits that overused word of awesome especially when it gets 5' tall and you are eye-to-eye with that intriguing flower. Showy seed cluster too!
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.
Highly regarded in the Uk and Europe but not well known on this side of the pond but we are trying to correct that. Beautifully grown in Linda McDonald's garden which should be reason enough for anyone to grow it. Coarse and hirsute foliage to 2' with reddish flowers on 4; stems.
A lovely cultivar introduced to this area by the enigmatic Pete Ray of Vashon and no relation to our local Kingston. Tastefully narrow deciduous leaves with medium small flower heads of a good clear mid-blue. Hardy and a good performer in the garden. Sun and deer resistant.
A Blooms of Bressingham introduction, that brings it's 'A' game to the garden. Sturdy stems to 30" that are well-branched and with big heads of long-lasting electric blue flowers in summer that is one of those focal points in a planting. Even the deer admire this plant despite finding it totally unpalatable. Poor well drained soil.
Fantastic ornamental rhubarb which we had the good fortune to see blooming in the wild along a river above Kangding in Sichuan in 2006. The Tibetans had harvested the flower stalks on the near side but the far side was a spectacle with large hand-sized overlapping cream-yellow bracts on 3'+ stems.
A Bee Balm native to the Ocoee River in Tennessee and formally described as a new species in 2015 thanks to the work being done by botanist Aaron Floden. Nice white flowers on what for us has been a shorter plant of 18" or so but we expect it to be a bit taller in the garden. First introduced in the US as Monarda sp. nova by Far Reaches in 2014.
Big cheerful yellow flowers which open widely on stems to nearly 30" tall are the reason for growing this selection. This can help make some of the late season fiery colors seem even more intense by comparison or if asked to carry the floral load on its own, it is more than up to the task,.
One of my favorite Alliums from Mark McDonough with cool gray green foliage and sugar pink 2" balls of flowers in midsummer. This is a rhizomatous type making nice clumps without being invasive. The foliage looks good during bloom and the bees & butterflies have a rugby scrum over the nectar.
Awesome tree Witch Hazel family from north Vietnam where this Josh McCullough collection hails from. We saw this broadly vase-shaped 50' tree in the Dayaoshan in China. Large evergreen leaves unfurl with bronze tones from large flattened stipules. Small filamentous reddish flowers which we have yet to see. Zone 9 and hoping for warmer parts of zone 8.
What a great name! The flowers on this fairly smolder above the icy blue-green foliage and it is only the coolness of the leaves which prevents spontaneous combustion. Surprisingly sun tolerant and a very satisfying period of bloom from late spring well into summer. Non-running.
Our collection of this distinctive viningMonkshood from the wooded slopes of Longshou in Sichuan. We think this is quite superior to other color forms of this rare species and have given it the name 'Monk Gone Wild' because it is a pretty crazy color for a Monkshood plus this monk managed to remain technically celibate yet still have lots of children via stem bulbils.
Sea Kale. A prized vegetable of olden times, this still would be widely eaten if the leaves didn't bruise easily in transport. However, that is just a gastronomic aside because the ornamental qualities outweigh its tastiness. A seashore plant of Europe, this has ruffled blue-green leaves and white flowers.
Found in Boone North Carolina by an extension agent, this Glad is possibly a hybrid with dalenii and has pretty awesome cold hardiness having proven itself in zone 6. June flower spikes to 4' with apricot flowers touched in peach at the petal tips as well as in the throat. Very good increaser as this makes numerous cormlets so spread the love.
A very dwarf selection of our native red huckleberry found in the garden at St. Andrews in Scotland. This is extremely dwarf to just a few inches high but spreading to 3' across in time. That would be a long time. Brilliant red and orange new growth. Perfect little rock garden shrub.
Hart's Tongue Fern. A distinctive fern whose undissected pale green leaves sets it apart from its allies. A tidy evergreen compact clumper which is easy to please and goes so well with Trilliums and Arisaemas.
Incredibly exciting rare ornamental Araliad from Taiwan where it can reach 30 feet tall. Don't be scared by that as it will likely not attain those dimensions in your garden at least while you are the gardener! Broadly orbicular leaves with 3-5 shallow lobes on stout branches makes this a riveting centerpiece. These are seed-grown and best in mild gardens.