A Steve Hootman collection from China of this quite unique creeping Honeysuckle. This is a Kinnikinnik or Arctostaphylos uva-ursi alternative making a mat of small rounded green leaves turning rich purple/red/bronze tones in winter. Small light yellow Honeysuckle flowers are sprinkled throughout. Very cool.
Madeiran Blueberry. We have the late Art Dome to thank for sharing this Vaccinium native to Madeira with us. He grew this beautifully in his Seward park garden but it really does need a mild garden. Big flowers for a blueberry and lots of tasty fruit. We were all grazing last summer.
Our collection from Asia of this fine medium sized tree. The usually 3-lobed (sometimes 5) leaves are handsome indeed with the new growth often flushed with a light copper overlay. Excellent at the woodland edge or partly shaded garden sheltered from the worst of the drying sun and wind which plagues us here.
A collection by Goteborg BG from a hardier area of this kin to Boston ivy. Grows much the same way climbing into trees or self-adhering to the brick walls of that historic manor house where you live and garden in your fever dreams after falling asleep perusing seed catalogs in the dark of winter. Great fall color.
Rubber Rabbitbush. Drought tolerant shrub of the arid sagebrush steppe and plains. So named for the felty leaves and flexible twigs. This is in the aster family and in late summer and fall will fairly cover itself in small yellow flowers which may not be the best smelling as indicated by the name but damn its nice!
One of the premier species in the genus with magnificent big leaves comprised of numerous broadly lanceolate leaflets radianting from a central axis and terminating in a fetching long drip tip. Brownish chocolate hooded flowers below the leaves are followed by red corncob fruit. From Taiwan.
One of the hardiest Leptospermums, this creeping form is from the alpine areas of Tasmania and has grown for many years at the Arboretum in Seattle. Evergreen leaves with small white flowers, this would be a shame not to have it in the rock garden and a greater shame not to have it spilling over a wall.
Our collection from Asia of what is likely the first introduction of this exceptional form of this equally exceptionally rare variety. Attractive leaves that are terminally cleft into bilateral lobes. The white flowers are the finest in the genus holding their own among the best of flowering trees. So much better than the straight species.
Cutting-grown plants of this evergreen Dogwood from our collection in Asia. Quite a handsome plant in both the wild and our garden which sports soft yellow flowers in June and July. Later, the round red fruit go from being attractive ornament on the tree to tasty snacks on the trail. Which is how we got ours.
To want more than 'Blue Jewel" is just wrong. This selection of one of the premier spring stalwarts subscribes to the theory that "more is better" and overwhelms with a myriad of small dark blue flowers. In this case, Miles Davis was wrong when he said "Less is more". He didn't garden. More is more.
Very choice selection not often available but we have some very nice plants. This has rich blue flowers in profusion during those often grim early spring days. This is an overachiever in the shade garden and often eats lunch alone as no one likes a show off but we do so we feed it cow poop.
Twinberry Honeysuckle. This the southern variant of our native shrubby Honeysuckle which here in Washington has tubular yellow flowers but down in southern Oregon and California, these flowers are little firecrackers of orangish-red. Tough plant liking wet sites but quite tolerant of drier spots. Hummers like this!
Nifty groundcover introduced from Taiwan by Crug Farm in Wales. This is a good spreader though easy to keep in bounds and prefers a loose organic rich soil that doesn't get too dry. Great under shrubs and perennials and forms a feathery dense mat with white starry flowers. Evergreen unless very cold.
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.
Nepal Lily. One of our favorite Lilies and one we saw in Arunachal Pradesh near Bhutan growing in low scrub on a sunny hillside. This is a particularly good form with very large pendant yellow-green flowers with a chocolate maroon throat. Really pretty amazing. Creeps about underground.
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.
Interesting and showy Japanese species that makes tidy little evergreen clumps. Our original plant came from the Portland iconic Bovees Nursery. Unusual lavender-pink flowers held well above the foliage. Makes nice patches by rooting at leaf tips. Good moist soil.
A bizarre antler-like sport of the common Yew found oddly enough on the grounds of the Insane Asylum in Holland for which it is named. This is one crazy plant. (sorry) Open strikingly architectural growth habit with such strict attention to lines and form as to be compulsive. (sorry again)
Amazing Chilean Lobelia that is perfectly hardy, especially if you mulch it during nasty cold snaps. This gets multiple stalks to 7' high with spires of tubular red flowers for weeks which beckon Hummingbirds from afar. Highly dramatic and surprisingly easy. Good rich soil.
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.
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.
There ain't nuthin' like this. Early spring yellow stars followed by leathery lobed green leaves in a dense low mound. It is the early yellow flowers that steal the show in part because they have so little competition and in part because they are so unique.
Miniature Joint Fir. Choice species from the bleak areas of the "stans" - Afghan, Uzbek, Kazak, Krygh, Paki and Tajikistan. This primitive Conifer relative likes it rough - just good drainage and a hot, sunny dry spot are it's simple wants. This is small enough for a trough planter.
This is a dandy cross between Primula minima which is really tricky to grow and P. hirsuta which is easy. The result has the charm of minima without the temperament and the ease of cultivation which hirsuta offers. Great foliage and vibrant reddish flowers. Good drainage and morning sun.
A refined shade plant that would grace any plant connoisseur's garden yet is perfectly happy to hang with us average Joes. Leaves evoking Anemone and pendant flowers combining pastels and lavenders in an understated parasol of exquisite design and dimension. A plant that is not on the radar of a lot of gardeners so let's keep it to ourselves.
Steve Hootman, curator of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, often pats himself on the back for collecting this exceptional species in China and each spring as our plants flower, we murmur attaboys and give him virtual high fives. Loves some shade, great foliage and spring pink flowers.
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.
A no-fuss restrained yet refined evergreen Cardamine which is nearly faultless. We haven't found a fault yet but most overachievers are hiding something deep under that charm and industry. Rest assured, this will never go postal in your garden. Dark green dense leaves set off flowers of of purest white in early summer.
There is no ignoring this Primrose when it is in flower. Some Primula are wee subtle things with no greater effect than the sound of a distant flute teasing the edge of hearing. Primula florindae is a full triumphant symphony with you sitting in the orchestra pit. Big heads of many nodding yellow or orange shaded fragrant flowers.
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.