Beautiful Primrose family member with evergreen rounded leaves and numerous upright stems from which hang fringed lavender bells in spring. Truly a plant of elfin charm. This is very good garden plant and easy to please. Native to European high meadows. Showy beyond its size.
A hybrid between two fab foliage species, Syneilesis palmata and S. aconitifolia. We have Diana Reeck of Collector's Nursery to thank for these goodies. Silken silver conical new growth unfurling to deeply dissected round leaves - nothing like it! Flowers are an afterthought.
Rare and elusive denizen of the New Jersey Pine Barrens which when in flower, always strikes me as looking more extra-terrestrial than a product of our own earthly evolution. Bizarre pink cones studded with blue anthers are just a giggle. Rich moist soil in some shade.
Fairly recent introduction from China of this superb evergreen shade perennial differing from the more widely grown SEH (Steve Hootman) collection. This has denser flower heads and is perhaps more vigorous - we're quite fond of it. This makes a tidy rosette of evergreen leaves with very attractive white flowers in spring. We say yip-sih-landra by the way.
A compact dwarf hemlock which will make a 3'x4' mound in 10 years. The new growth is a pale white and the older inner growth retains lighter tones giving the whole plant a light cast. In the winter, the pale branchlets take on pinkish hues. Gleams in the moonlight. Best in morning sun - hot sun can burn.
A wunderbar find by plantsman Darrell Probst. This delicate woodlander creeps about sporting a hanging creamy bell-shaped flower in spring. The glory of this selection is the yellow margined foliage putting this way high up on the plant collector's "gotta have" list.
A Steve Hootman collection of this surprisingly hardy species which has cranked along happily outside here in the PNW since the late 90's and a fine 18' specimen can be seen growing happily at the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden in their woodland. A rare species that is not widely offered, this is certainly good to the low teens.
A very dwarf and often hard to find Astilbe that couples congested dark green foliage which is reddish bronze when in new growth with stout little spires of pink flowers. Don't be mislead by its small stature into thinking this is some ephemeral dainty - it is tough and durable.
A seedling strain from an especially robust population of this Southwestern US native Columbine. Big soft yellow flowers with characteristic extra-long spurs somehow manages to meld flash and whimsy. Easy and very nice in the garden. A Plant Select introduction out of Denver.
This was one of those "Holy shit - lookit that fern!" moments when we first spotted this species growing at the base of soaring pinnacles of vertical peaks in Guizhou, China where it was not intimidated in the least and perfectly in scale. Massive 4'-6' wide fronds 6'-8' tall in the wild and clumping. Likely smaller in cultivation but still BIG! Zone 7b-9.
Once in awhile we go for something in the mainstream when it is good and this is pretty darned good if you are looking for a poor soil colonizer that revels in hot sun while being very hardy and blooming all summer with pink flowers and crazy-good copper new growth. Waterwise needing only occasional water. Good in a container as well.
A hybrid Bergenia from the breeding work of Rosemarie Eskuche in Germany. 'David' has smallish leaves which stand quite upright taking on good color in the winter. Being smaller and upright lends itself to containers or the rock garden. Intense pink flowers on stems to 16" in spring are impossible to ignore unless of course you decorate with plastic flamingos.
Turkish Speedwell. Creeping evergreen Veronica from Turkey that is pretty drought tolerant and can be used much like you would creeping thyme except this will set you back on your haunches when It covers itself in BLUE flowers. Interplant stepping stones, rock garden, lawn substitute - whatever you choose will make you look like a genius.
A selection of ornamental Oregano from Hopley's Nursery in England. This is a stellar rock garden or hell strip plant if you have lean, well-drained soil and a disinclination to water or fertilize. Likes it on the dry and hot side where it will have tons of small violet pink flowers on 15" lax stems all summer into fall. Deer proof and zone 7b and likely lower.
This new hybrid Lavender might be aptly named as it is cold hardy to zone 4, heat and humidity tolerant and all on a compact rounded evergreen shrublet with blue-lavender flowers in masses May-July and then sporadically the rest of the summer. Takes poor soils, some drought. deer proof plus satchets for your underwear drawer.
A sport found on the famed Geranium Rozanne, Azure Rush is more compact than the far-flung and near vining branches of Rozanne. This has 2 inch wide light blue flowers from May into Fall on a low mounding plant that sprawls and spills to just the right degree. Blooms of Bressingham touts it as deer resistant but they have not seen our deer. Z5-8.
Solomon's Seal. Mighty fine selection and surely one of the very best variegated perennials for shade. Good clean white variegation that illuminates where it is planted. Stunning enough to stand alone with a simple groundcover at its feet or schmoozes easily with other garden glitteratti.
Chinese Ground Orchid. Hardy Orchid that does great outside here. My mom had a big patch on the west side of her house near Hadlock which had over 50 flower stems. Deep lavender-pink perfect orchid flowers. Easy. Mom's gardening doctrine is that of Benign Neglect.
Perennial Impatiens. Apricot yellow pouchy flowers in late summer enliven the already vibrant foliage of this hardy Chinese species. A good spreader so give it some room. Judith McLoughlin in Victoria combines this beautifully with Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea'.
Excellent selection from the former Heronswood nursery of this robust woodlander noted for the dark hued stems especially in the new growth. This is an exhuberant grower sending up big asparagus spears in late spring which branch out at 3'-4' with creamy bells followed by showy fruit.
One of the most satisfying and reliable of the hardy Gingers. We've grown this Nepalese beauty for years now and it always blooms in mid to late summer with flowers of the most gentle orange. This is a good increaser in moist loose soil and looks marvelous in the woodland.
A lovely recent introduction scarcely available anywhere. This has narrow pleated leaves which pair well with the bright pale orange flowers which are produced quite freely. A fairly vigorous plant which will make a statement in the garden. It is one of the taller selections stretching to 40" when happy. A 1996 C. paniculata x C. masoniorum hybrid by Gary Dunlop of Ireland.
Little bulby plant from the Drakensberg Mts in South Africa. This is a good rock garden subject in that it likes good drainage in the winter. When growing, keep it watered reasonably and it will bloom its tail off with loads of small reddish flowers. Mulch if bitter cold in winter.
From the breeding work of Bob Brown comes this crazy good plant. On very stout stems, the big flowers with broad rounded tepals are bunched together in nice fat heads and the flowers are a melange of peachy apricoty pink hues. One of the very best of the recent introductions.
This robust Chinese groundcover was shared with us by one of the great unsung planthunters of our era, Steve Hootman. We've seen other species of this genus in Sichuan and have always been ensnared by its curious flowers. Saxifrage family, this is strongly stoloniferous in moist shade.
From manic hybridizer Darrell Probst comes this herbaceous Hydrangea relative. Softer blue than D. caerulea but with leaves showing a distinct Camel Toe cleft attesting to D. bifida affinity. (Had a friend who was Wardrobe Mstress for PNW Ballet and Camel Toes were her bane)
This is a little charmer from a Diana Reeck collection in Yunnan which is quite short to just a few 6" tall but with very lovely pinkish and white flowers. When we see this bloom it takes us back to those same woods where saw this same species a year after Diana collected its seed in 1996, This is a sturdy little fellow increasing each year by offsets and reseeding a bit.
This sterile deciduous clumper is a cross between the American Lady Fern and the Japanese Painted Fern. Ghostly gray-green fronds to 3' long shimmers in the shade garden especially when deployed against a dark background. Hardy as all get out and easy - just not too dry.
Best form of the species with good green leaves and clustered ok to unremarkable pale pink flowers which transmorgrifies into totally remarkably awesome bunches of impossible blue fruit which seems crazy out of place in the woodland but now you can't imagine shade without.
One of our favorites (in the top 50!) for a couple of reasons. We like the visual heft of the foliage as it nicely broad and stout. We also like that it is not an aggressive spreader although it means we don't offer it often. Mostly we like the substantial and dense sprays of flame red open flowers.