Absolute rock hardy jewel from Lebanon and Syria. This is perfect for our area as it is winter growing and summer dormant so can take our dry summers. Blooms in late spring with lots of lavender-blue flowers on stems up to 18" and after flowering it disappears until Fall. Not often available.
A choice Snowdrop with very large single flowers and one of the earliest to come into bloom. This was found in the garden of John Gray in England and is a hard one to come by. Increases moderately well and seems to be a survivor.
Fun form of the common Snowdrop which was found in Holland in the last century by Johannes Hoog who was one of the great Dutch bulb guys. This is instantly recognizable by the green thumbprint on the outside of each petal at the tips. The other good thing about this one is that it increases just as nicely as the regular one which is a classic naturalizer in shade gardens.
Quirky little evergreen vine from the Mediterranean that brings delight far out of proportion to the size of its flowers. Small curved pipe-like flowers are a subtle burnished pale flesh on the outside accented by thin reddish lines. The flared pipe bowl is a perky yellow with faint lines in the back of the throat and a rim of umber, delicately whiskered.
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.
This is from our seed collection on the Chongqing-Guangxi-Guizhou expedition in 2010. We found this on the summit of the previously unbotanized highest peak in the Wumingshan where it was clambering about on the top of the short scrub. We were struck by the large seed pods. Light blue flowers on this vining Monkshood.
Choice selection with ruffled heavily marbled leaves and light pink flowers. You normally grow Hepatica for the early spring flowers and any foliar enhancement is pure gravy but with Cremar, flowers bow their heads to the majesty of the leaves. Quite a choice plant and does well in light shade with decent drainage.
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!
A very cool compact Elm hybrid from England which grows very slowly and maybe you will be eye-to-eye with it in 10-15 years. So think of it as a cool large shrub for your enjoyment and a small tree for the next generation or two. A natural for bonsai or adding a tree element to a rock garden.
February Daphne. Narrow upright small shrub whose bare branches are clad in early spring with lots lavender pink flowers. The light blue green leaves appear after the flowers are done and all in all is very desireable plant. These are small starter plants which will settle right in.
From our expedition in 2010, this collection from Fanjinshan was notable for the somewhat hirsute foliage and rough, exfoliating bark. The flowers - likely scented and white in mid to late summer - were held in 4" finger-like racemes. Nicely pinkish to reddish tinted new growth and the fall color is similar but intensified. Protect this first winter although we expect this to be good to zone 6.
We saw this grown to perfection at the Charlton-Sale garden in North Vancouver BC, and left us stricken dumb in the wilderness. This Chilean and Argentinian gesneriad demands a cool, humid, acidic, moist, somewhat shaded and relatively mild situation to thrive. A small-leafed evergreen groundcover which will climb tightly appressed over or up boulders or logs. Given time, to 10'
It would be a shame not to grow this rose at least once in your gardening life. Gorgeous single flowers of an entrancing terracotta red which stirs an ancient response from deep within the limbic, the same subliminal urges provoked by lipstick. Beautiful large orange-red hips decorate this big-time shrub.
Our collection from the Zhongdien Plateau in Yunnan. Light lavender flowers with a multitude of thin ray petals. In the wild in harsh and dry, this was like an alpine to just a 4" tall. In the garden with dairy manure and water, it is 18" tall and lush. Your choice.
Scabweed. Don't you love common names? Unless of course you are trying to sell them. This alpine New Zealander is a very easy and very cool plant for a trough or rock garden. We saw this beautifully grownin the rock garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Hard flat white-silver mats with tiny cream dots of flowers in July.
One of the most distinctly "What is that plant?" deciduous shrubs around is this tough little mutant redstem dogwood. Intensely columnar and slow with curled leaves held close to the vertical stems. These turn a most satisfying purple in the fall. As far as flowers go, forget about it. Slow growing, our 6 footer in the garden is pushing 40 years of age.
Rare species in cultivation, this is a fine evergreen tree with white flowers that do not disappoint. This has a broad range from Sikkim into China and Vietnam and while the species is not threatened, some local populations have been extirpated or severely degraded. These are seed-grown from a fine Cornish specimen in the UK.
Sweet little blueberry from the Himalaya and China evocative of Lingonberry in stature. Often epiphytic, this has glossy green foliage and attractive pink flowers in spring followed by black fruit. Sure, you can eat them but like so many lesser edibles that are marginally palatable, why would you? Spreads gently by stolons - it is a class act.
Another climbing Monkshood species which we quite enjoy. A great deer proof perennial that each year produces twining vines to 10' or more with terminal clusters of Monkshood flowers of lavender-purple and white in late summer and fall. Good for trellises or running up into large shrubs, small trees or wire fence panels. Pretty darned easy.
First described by German botanist Adolf Engler who upon seeing this exclaimed "Heilige Scheiße!" or so we assume because when we saw this growing in the mucky rubble of a mountain gorge outwash, we too said "Holy Shit!" Big leaves like paired wings subtending the 6" hoagie roll of red fruit leaving one to ponder the earlier purple flowers.
This is a surprisingly hardy terrestrial Orchid that is quite easy to grow given a couple of rules. Loose crumbly organic/gritty well-drained soil and fairly dry in the winter. We've friends who grow these easily in Port Ludlow unprotected in rotting logs, stumps and deep moss on rocks.
This is one of our favorite little dwarf shrubs that totally rocks the rock garden. Slow, slow growth, densely twiggy, small heavily textured leaves and small clusters of deep pink flowers in mid summer makes this a great choice for containers or that small special place.
Our collection in the Siskiyous up 8 Dollar Road on a bench just above a stream in open light shade growing with Darmera and Lilium pardalinum ssp. vollmeri. Big compound pinnate leaves and terminal spikes of small airburst white flowers turning to black fruit. Herbaceous.
Odd Chinese sprawler that wends it way through both heart and border with herbaceous non-twining prostrate stems to 4' tipped in dusky lavender pouchy flowers. Roots here and there but never too much and always just enough to share.
We got seed of this interesting tuberous African species from John Grimshaw via Jim Fox. John has done a lot of botanical field work in Africa and not surprising that he grows this in his own garden. As hardy as I. tinctoria, this is a bit smaller with salmon flowers in late summer. Overwinters here, good drainage.
One of the sweetest little groundcovers we have grown. Aside from the small terminal clusters of deep blue flowers in late spring and early summer, we are taken by its good evergreen foliage and year-round tidy appearance. It is in one of our troughs and spills over the lip perfectly. Good for the rock garden.
Intriguing new introduction of this collection from northern Vietnam at 1700 meters in 2011. Surprising number of plants have been proving hardy here from Vietnam and hopefully this will number among them. Small rounded lobed leaves clad vertical stems.We can hardly wait see these get some size and flower. Our thanks to Aaron Floden.
A tried and true selection that really puts out with classic orchid flowers with rich pink petals backing a white cup that is nicely fringed on the lip with some light spotting on the interior and touched in yellow in the throat. An amalgamation of attributes in one flower. Good increaser needing good drainage like a rotting log and overwinters here in Puget Sound.
A collection from north Vietnam by Dan Hinkley of this hydrangea relative. While lacking the showing sterile bracts which constitute the "flowers" in hydrangeas, this has a quiet charm in flower and an attractive display of pinkish-lavender fruit. Hardiness is uncertain but with most Dichroa, zone 8b to 9 is preferred.
One of the best selections of Arum italicum with very pronounced stark white mottling in fall and winter. By spring the white is muted a bit as it is preparing to bloom and go dormant for the summer. Large diaphanous pale green flowers with showy orange fruit in summer.