This is a silver-blue foliaged species from South America we received from Jerry Flintoff which makes a 3' diameter broundcover of ferny foliage which is topped in summer by friendly little reddish brown burs like a forest of miniature Tootsie Roll Pops. Good drainage is key.
Our collection from northern Vietnam of this very attractive maple species which logic dictates should not be hardy but it has been even in our comparatively harsh environs. As Spock would say: "Fascinating". Good unabashedly Maple foliage that is a cut above with clusters of salmon-red winged samaras that ably fill the floral void. Best in part sun as bark can scald in full sun.
This is one of the rarest Maples in wild known only from a very small and threatened population which was recently rediscovered following its introduction to cultivation in the 1930's from a scarce handful of seed. Narrow leaflets in 5's or 7's on a usually shrubby small tree and best in a milder garden. Parent plant thriving in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.
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.
Wicked New Zealander with defensively formidable stilleto yelloowish leaves in a low dense mound. This is not only deer resistant but wild boar, komodo dragon and grizzly bear reisistant as well. This well armored Kiwi has dioecious white flowers in a showy yellow plume. Good deep drainage.
The largest of the Spaniard Grasses, this is native to sub-alpine montane grasslands on the South Island of New Zealand where it does experience snow. The plant forms large tussocks whose needle sharp blue-green leaves can reach 3' long. Perhaps best of all, it has a spike of soft yellow flowers up to 9' tall. Not a true grass but in the carrot family.
One of the sweetest little bulbs imaginable! Summer dormant with dainty white flowers on 6" stems appearing in Aug into Sept. This grows in Portugal, Gibralter and Morocco and is just as happy growing with Madrona in the PNW as it is Olives back home. Grassy foliage up in fall and winter.
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.
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 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.
An interesting Monkshood species from a Philip MacDougall collection in Taiwan. This has large dusky blue-purple flowers on 2'-3' stems in mid summer and is not so tall so as to require support. This does well for us in full sun but might be even better in half sun. It has been a reliable performer and a nice change from the typical Dutch and Euro selections.
These are from wild collected seed in the Russian Far East. Light green foliage and spires of white flowers. A good tough plant and quite attractive.
Silver Broom. Uncommon xeric shrub endemic to the Sierra Nevada Mts of Spain. This member of the Fabaceae family is fab indeed with pale flaking bark, silver-green needle-like leaves and sprays of soft yellow flowers. Pretty awesome and locally grown to perfection at the Heg and Barca gardens on Whidbey Island.
Himalayan Maidenhair Fern. Evergreen to semi-evergreen creeping fern making the the most textural groundcover imaginable. Salmon pink new growth goes to light olive and finally green leaflets on black wiry stems just 8"-12" high. Likes a loose moist soil but will tolerate dry when established.
A fine evergreen Maidenhair Fern from a naturally occurring hybrid between Adiantum aleuticum and A. jordanii. These are a different clone than the "original clone" and no less desireable with the same fine and wholesome attributes. Maidenhairs have always been one of the quintessential ferns in our estimation and this is a choice one.
This is likely the first introduction of this curious Tea family member from our collection in Guangxi Province. An evergreen shrub to 10' in the wild with long slightly drooping olive-green leaves prominently hirsute especially along the margins. Flowers are small and white and give way to small black fruit. We are thinking hardy to zone 8.
Choice little alpine from the heights of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey which is remarkably hardy. Sue brought this out west with her from her garden in northern Vermont in case you think we're making stuff up. Which we do but we're not this time. Perfect low mats of small rounded gray leaves and white spring flowers.
This is a fine selection quite comparable to "Back in Black" but a bit more compact in stature aspiring to attain 3' in height. This makes it much more workable for the front of the bed or as a container element. Dark stems holding dark blue-purple flowers in late summer. Mulch if very cold but has been fine here in the Puget Sound area.
Blue Heaven brings some serious swagger to the garden. This Nico Rijnbeek introduction can take a year or two to really establish in the garden but once it has, it owns that piece of ground. Wide green leaves surround fat flower stems that hold XL blue flowerheads around 2' tall. This has handled low teens fine with a thick blanket of mulch in winter.
A compact little guy carrying very nice white flowers which benefit from extra petals giving it a little more floral punch. If you can and no one complains, then why not? Mulch in winter and decent drainage and feel free to plant it in a very sunny hot spot.
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.
One of the top hybrids bred by Steve Hickman of Hoyland's and is well-regarded among those in the know for its large powder-blue flowers on 30" stems. We have just a few of these and owe thanks to plantsman Jim Fox's courier efforts from the UK and for sharing with us.
A hybrid out of New Zealand that is widely regarded as one of the best. A hardier deciduous species with big heads of purple-violet flowers with each petal boasting a darker central stripe. This is a performer which will not disappoint. This can be grown in zone 7 if deeply mulched for the winter. We typically mulch all of our Agapanthus just to be on the safe side as we can get cold here.
One of the very best of the white variegated Agapanthus. This has superb clean white variegation which coupled with the abundant blue flowers in mid to late summer is frankly dazzling. A dwarf selection that lends itself well to containers - just don't let the pots freeze in winter!
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.
Small yet floriferous Hyssop native to northern Mexico but hardy to below zero. The tangerine peach flowers go on and on in the summer and the aromatic foliage causes the dratted deer to leave it alone. Best in a lean soil and tolerant of drier conditions - this would be perfect in that gravel garden or hell strip.
Frosted Jade Ajuga. Hard to believe that this is an Ajuga but it is true. This choice selection has fantastic foliage and very good dark cobalt flowers. Not a spreader - this makes a clump with 16" tall stems. Challenges all of your comfy notions about Ajuga but in a good way. Great in our shade garden.
Rare plant found only in limited areas in central Honshu, Japan where it likes the forest fringes in the subalpine areas and is known as hiiragi-sou or holly tree-leafed weed. Hiiragi-sou sounds better than the translation. This selection has dark blue flowers and is a deciduous clumper to 16" tall - very nice!
A vigorous evergreen vine with trifoliate leaves collected by Dan Hinkley in Sichuan which has purplish flowers and bears fairly enormous purplish or yellowish fruit, that look like fat bananas. Quite the fantastical garden element when these ripen in late summer and fall! This is vigorous so a stout trellis or strong supporting tree is required.
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.