This choice Chinese perennial is related to our native Ginger or Asarum and Saruma being an anagram of Asarum is what passes for humor in botanical nomenclature. Felty heart shaped foliage bronze when young and half inch yellow flowers right away and through the summer. Easy.
Rare in cultivation, this NW Indian Solomon's Seal is mainly an epiphytic species growing in mossy trees and rocks. The speckled pale pink flowers hang as small bells as the new growth elongates. Very charming. This is an evergreen species in mild areas. Good drainage.
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.
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.
One of those captivating Chinese species. This has a neat stoloniferous habit sending out runners and making new bulbs so you soon have a grove of Lilies. Flowers white with dark spots with recurved petals in the classic "Turk's Cap" style. We love it.
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.
Bold foliaged Chinese Salvia collected by plantswoman June Sinclair. Deciduous species and tough as nails. Multiple arms of flowering stems splay out from the leafy crown bearing many rich purple tubular pouchy flowers. We previously offered this as S. bulleyana. Bad well-intentioned nursery!
A very attractive introduction by us from Yunnan if we do say so. Broad lightly hairy leaves in a dense clump with lots of large soft lavender daisy flowers fringed heavily in very fine petals surround a prominent dark "cone". Doesn't rebloom - just does it right the first time.
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.
Bleeding Heart. Given the Award of Garden Merit in the UK, this is truly a winner with icy blue ferny foliage subtending the dangling white heart shaped flowers. A superb form of our western native and deserving of a place in any garden. Can you tell we like it?
A very rarely offered hardy terrestrial orchid from northern India that is an Asian counterpart to our own native Epipactis gigantea. This has freakishly nice rosey-pink flowers as many as 15 per stem. Easy in the garden and a good multiplier. We've wanted to offer this one for a long time and the opening bell has finally rung. Feel free to comparison shop on this baby.
A very choice plant from the Applachian Mts and closely allied to Podophyllum as they are both herbaceous members of the Berberidaceae. Broad leaves to a foot or more across with small white flowers which are easy to miss but screaming blue berries holler "Look at me!". Shade.
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.
Long have we had a love affair with this most noble of the weed clan Plantago. Hailing from Spain where sun and good drainage and robust olive oils and sturdy red wines are so critical to properly growing and appreciating this gem, this adapts easily to the NW. A delight in the rock garden
If you have the spot for this plant then there is no reason to not to grow this unless you simply don't do red because this is a smoldering fountain of saturated pigmentation celebrating the red spectrum. Red foliage and bright red flowers on 3'-4' stems in late summer. Moist and rich.
Our selection from the California Redwoods of a large-leafed and vigorous clone of Wild Ginger. This sports large glossy green leaves which mask the sizable brown starfish flowers hidden underneath. We always like surprises. A dense big groundcover in shaded rich moist soil.
Another one of those shouldn't-be-hardy-but-is begonias. This comes from Mt Emei in China and does fine here in our PNW zone 8 moist shaded gardens especially if you mulch it. Excellent long-fingered foliage to 18" tall cloak the pink flowers which are a nice hidden surprise in late summer.
Pains me to part with these on the rare times that Plant Merchant overwhelms Plant Hoarder. Diminuitive Pineapple Lily that gives way more pleasure than its size might suggest. (Don't go there Kelly) Blooms lasting for weeks. Great in pots but don't freeze. Ok in ground if mulched in winter.
Maidenhair Spleenwort. I love common names. I must dig out our 15th century Herbal and read up on how to properly decoct this sweet little fern for afflicting humors of the spleen. Or I can just grow it in a gritty well-drained shaded rock garden and enjoy its evergreen delicacy.
We've seen this wee gem in both Bhutan and Sichuan at high elevations @12000' where it mingles in alpine meadows. Open-faced lavender pink flowers at groundlevel followed closely by foliage just a few inches high. Easy in the garden. Who would suspect it's a Solomon's Seal?
Fragrant Dwarf False Indigo. An excellent plant for the xeric garden although not the best in sandy soils since it hails from good prairie soil in the midwest from central Canada down to Texas. Nice small woody shrub with erect small spikes of clustered small tubular flowes of violet blue petals and red stamens - whoa!
Annointed as the "Queen of the Umbels", this is what Queen Anne's Lace would look like after a top design team makeover. The refined supreme lacery of foliage and polished presentation of 8" white platters of flowers belies a certain innocent muscularity. The epitome of texture.
This is an exquisite little bit of spring pleasure that was introduced by our friend Urs Baltensberger. Urs found this dark-leafed form growing wild in the forest on Stammerberg in Switzerland and we are all benefiting from his keen eye. Purplish new growth is perfect backing for the white spring flowers in mid to late spring. A key smaller element for shade.
Crazy species which we coveted at Windcliff and Duane West dug us up a nice chunk - with permission from Dan of course. Weird brown flowers are scented. Differs from the related K. typhoides by having strongly keeled leaves in a non-distichous arrangement. Cool in a nerdy way.
Chinese May Apple. This is an impressive plant - truly one to give the shade garden some visual impact. Big leaves get up to 18" across with bizarre clusters of red flowers held beneath which are followed by red "tomatoes" if you are lucky. Rich moist soil in shade.
Our collection of this distinct form from the summit of Jinfoshan where it grew in the moss on the shaded vertical face of a hard limestone rock face. Small dark green round leaves colored in deep maroon on the reverse and flower stems covered in long red hairs upon first emergence, elongate to bear a small cloud of white flowers.
Hardy dwarf Jasmine from Himal Pradesh in India. This is an ideal little rock garden candidate or if you are looking for a small shrub for that special nook, look no further. Small yellow flowers lightly scented are scattered among the evergreen leaves all summer. Tolerant of dry, deer aren't interested, no maintenance needed.
We are smitten with Veratrum and this is an exciting addition to the mix. This one has pale petals and darker eye pattern to the center, and narrow pleated leaves in an open and airy arrangement on the 3' flowering stem. A rich moist soil in part shade will be just the ticket. Our thanks to Aaron Floden for sharing this plant with us.
Fantastic little plant from South Africa which used to be Aster natalensis but is now in the genus Felicia. We got this from a Scottish alpine nursery in Scotland and know of a rock gardener in northern Norway who raves about it. Tight clumps with blue flowers with a yellow button in June-July. Very hardy. First introduction to the US.
A cracking plant originally collected in the Lydenburg District of Mpumalanga of South Africa and grown for years in the treasure house of Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden. Upright gray-green leaves lead the eye up and up to over 40" where the pale sky blue flower heads with large drooping individual florets are captivating.
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