Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bloomin' in the Death Valley Shack

Notocactus haselbergii Origin of this cactus is Brazil in the forested mountains of the Aparados da Serra, home of the Monkey Puzzle trees. Notocactus haselbergii can reach a height of 5"-9" and a width of 7"-8". Notice the bright red flowers appear in the center of the plant. Each flower lasts about three weeks, making them possibly having the longest-lived cactus flowers of all.
This plant is seven years old and about three inches across.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Heather for Winter interest

Calluna vulgaris "Robert Chapman"

Above is a photograph of a Heather or Calluna vulgaris in the front garden. It is far more stunning in person, the red glow from it is wonderful for this time of year. In spring, the foliage colors up in fine golden yellows, then the plant turns orange for summer and fall with lavender flowers. For the grand finale in winter, the foliage turns bright flame red. A tapestry of different heathers as evergreen ground cover is breathtaking. However, the variety "Robert Chapman" is the best for dazzling colors in all of the four seasons.

Keep in mind that there are 1000s of Calluna vulgaris varieties on the market. Look them over and get a nice selection for your gardens. They grow in full sun, drought tolerant, and flower in different shades of white, pink, red, and lavender.
USDA hardiness zone 4 to zone 8

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forget the groundhog, Spring is here

It is said we are to have six more weeks of Winter, okay. As I'm writing this post, a frog is croaking outside my office window here at the house. I guess he had not heard or did not watch the news yesterday. Silly frog.

Today I want to share the two varieties of irises that are up and blooming at Beech Street Gardens. Delightful........................The flower above is an Iris histrioides "Katharine Hodgkin".
A wonderful speckled mauve bloom.

This iris is Iris reticulata "Purple Gem". Once again an outstanding color.

Both of these irises are in the Reticulata family. Originally from Turkey, Iran, and the Caucasus Mountains where it is very dry in the summer. Bloom time is February to March, reaching a height between 5" to 8" depending on the variety. Easily grown in average, medium, well drained soil in full sun to part shade. Soil needs to stay relatively dry in summer in order for the bulbs to set buds for the following year. Great plants for the drought tolerant garden.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 9

Interested in obtaining a few of these irises for your garden visit Garden Fever in NE Portland, OR., they have a wonderful supply in stock now.