Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Rays of Sunshine


Maximilian's Sunflower

I planted a one gallon container of this sunflower last Spring and the way this plant grows is amazing. By the end of the season it was a tenfold on the size. In the late fall I dug it up and cut it in half and gave half to my neighbor. I took the piece I kept and planted it in a different spot. Originally it was located in the front garden by the street, I had no idea it was going to get 8' tall. I moved it into the side garden and closer to the fence line. Now it is in a much better location.........It still reached 8' this year and again grew into a huge clump. The bees absolutely love this plant, all day long the flowers are buzzing with all types of bees and other insects. The nice thing about this variety is that you have so many small flowers at the same time. Once this plant starts blooming it continues into late fall. If you grow this plant you will need to do some kind of staking early. I purchased a 60" tomato cage and put it over it when it first started emerging out of the ground. The plants have gotten to wide that you do not even see the cage. A perfect solution with little work. Also keep in mind that this variety of sunflower is a perennial, most sunflowers are annuals.

An uncommon plant that occurs in NE Illinois, west central Illinois, and SW Illinois. It is adventive from the west in most, if not all, of these areas. It is possible, however, that Maximilian's Sunflower is native to a few of the western counties where it occurs in high quality natural habitats. Habitats include rocky upland prairies, hill prairies, ledges of rocky cliffs, areas along railroads and roadsides, and waste ground. This plant is more common in states that lie west of the Mississippi River. The preference is full sun and mesic to dry conditions. The soil can contain clay-loam or rocky material. This plant appears to have few problems with pests or foliar disease.

USDA hardiness zone 3 to zone 8

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lilium Oriental Hybrid


One of the darkest red Oriental hybrids on the market, introduced by B & D Lilies in 2005. I purchased mine from Dancing Oaks Nursery this early spring and planted it out in the front garden in full sun by the street for all to enjoy. The upward facing flower color is scarlet red with a very thin edging of white. Since this is the first year for this bulb it reached the full height of 4 '. Not for shady areas, 'Sumatra' needs a sunny site for sturdy stems and the most intense color.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 9

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall Fireworks

Japanese Anemone "September Charm"

I planted this in the side garden years ago where it does not receive a lot of sun. It receives most of its shade from the Clerodendrum tree, only very late in the day does it get direct sun. I treat it like a drought tolerant plant, it receives as much water as the other plants and it is one of the oldest plants in the gardens. It takes up an area about 5' to 6' wide and about 4 1/2' high. The flowering reminds me of fireworks, first the stock comes up high above the dark green foliage and then there are all these single little flower heads. Looks like a Roman candle going off. It is the perfect late summer/ early fall flowering plant.

Anemones are long-lived, fibrous-rooted perennials that are native to China. The base of the plant is a dark green clump, which produces leaves covered with soft hairs. The low foliage clumps look nice from the moment they emerge in spring until frost enforces their dormancy. Graceful, branching stems grow 2-5 feet high. They display a charming appearance that masks a tough constitution. Plantings can survive considerable neglect. They will appreciate a good mulching in climates where winters are severe. Plants are slow to establish, but spread readily if the roots are not disturbed. Varieties such as white blooming 'Honorine Jobert' and double flowered, rose-red 'Pamini' are excellent for cutting. 'Prince Henry,' a double dark pink, 'September Charm,' a single pale pink, which is planted here at the gardens, and 'Queen Charlotte,' a semi-double pink are all commonly available.

USDA hardiness zone 4 to zone 8

Yum, Peanut Butter


There are number of these trees in our area, a very popular deciduous tree in Portland and in our neighborhood. I have two, one in the side garden and one in the back garden. The gardens across the street have two and two houses over there are two huge trees. When these trees ramp up into full bloom during the late summer/early fall it is an intoxicating fragrance like Jasmine that lingers through the neighborhood. Then if you bruise the leaves they have the odor of peanut butter. Later in the season when the flowers are finished blooming the calyxes turn a showy red, and ultimately, bright blue fruit. For which the birds, especially the robins love to eat. Its a non stop show with these trees. Native to Eastern China and Japan. Will grow in full sun to part shade and to a height of 15ft. to 20 ft. One thing to remember is this tree will sucker freely and you could end up with more than you want if you do not keep them under control. The other common names for these trees are Harlequin GloryBower and Peanut Butter Shrub.

USDA hardiness zone 6 to zone 9

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have dozens of sedums planted here at the gardens, remember drought tolerant. Sedums have that phrase as their middle name. I have large types like Mr. Goodbud from Terra Nova Nursery in the front gardens to small varieties that I'm using as ground covers. Now that is the perfect usage, ground cover. Helps to suppress weeds and keeps moisture in the ground.

Sedums are a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops. There are around 400 species of leaf succulents that are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, varying from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs that have water-storing leaves. Flowers tend to be in shades of pink, mauve, white, red and yellow that start out pale and deepen as they mature. Sedum flowers bloom only once; most late in the season. The bees absolutely love these plants.......No need for deadheading and they often look good right through the winter. After several years, the center of Sedum plants will show signs of dying out. Division is needed at that point, to keep the plant vigorous.

USDA hardiness zone 4 to zone 9

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pink Ballerinas in the Back Gardens



The first image that comes to mind for me is the movie "Fantasia". Very time I see Fuchsias in bloom I think of the tiny ballet dancers. I have a number of hardy Fuchsias in the gardens. I'm going to plant a few in pots this year and see how they winter over. I love to experiment to see how good plants really are. The problem is that a fuchsia is not a drought tolerant plant but I kind of baby them a little more than the other plants. I do have one planted out in the side garden under the Clerodendrum trichotomum, so far it has been okay. It stays a lot dryer out there than in the back gardens.

Nearly all fuchsia species come from the West Indies and Latin America, from Mexico and southwards. They are trees or shrubs with flowers borne singly or in racemes and bloom on new shoots. The wood is hard and the bark flaky. The hardiest species comes from southern Chile near the Straits of Magellan - Fuchsia magellanica - where the climate is damp and cool. Fuchsias grow in rock crevices and at the edges of forests where the soil is rich and well-drained. They also grow at high altitudes, the nearer the equator the higher the altitude, in misty cloud forests, cool but light. The magellanica fuchsias are the best winter hardy varieties that you can plant. In the wild, fuchsias are often pollinated by hummingbirds, but in Europe, it's mainly bees, bumble bees, and wasps. Wild fuchsia species are of a woody nature, ranging in their natural habitat from trees, such as Fuchsia excorticata, 30 feet or more high, to prostrate, creeping plants such as Fuchsia procumbens with small, petal-less, yellow/green/brown flowers. The majority are vigorous shrubs, found on high, rain-drenched, moisture laiden mountain slopes in the Andes or in dense, evergreen forests or jungles.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 8

Echinacea "Double Decker"

Very interesting variety planted in the front garden by the street for others to enjoy. Love the way it pops petals out of the top of the cone. A great plant for a drought tolerant garden. I believe I have a posting from a couple of weeks ago regarding Echinaceas.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rosa "Madame A. Meilland"

"Madame A. Meilland"
aka Peace

This Peace Rose is an original planting that was here when Will and I purchased Beech Street. Probably an original bush when it was first put on the market. I did not have the heart to remove it. It was so out of control, with a ten foot height and just as wide. I decided to spend a couple of years working on it to get it under control and getting new canes to come forth. The first year I removed about a third of the bush and the following year a little more like half. Now we have this beautiful rose bush with the most gorgeous flowers. Its a prize in the front garden.

Developed by French horticulturist Francis Meilland in the years 1935 to 1939. He had no name for it in the beginning, but simply called #3-35-40. When Meilland foresaw the German invasion of France he sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and the United States to protect the new rose. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful hybrid tea rose anyone had ever seen. The rose became known as 'Peace' in the following way. Early 1945 Meilland wrote to Field Marshal Alan Brooke (later Viscount Alanbrooke), the principal author of the master strategy that won the Second World War, to thank him for his key part in the liberation of France and to ask if Brooke would give his name to the rose. Brooke declined saying that, though he was honored to be asked, his name would soon be forgotten and a much better and more enduring name would be "Peace". Over 100 million plants have been sold since the end of WWII.

USDA hardiness zone 4 to zone 9

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Daylilies Of The Unknown

Have no idea what these varieties are but I love the colors. The burgundy flower came from Gail Austin, she did not know what the name of it was. The bottom photograph of the red flowers I received from a friend about 15 years ago. Wanted to share the flowers.........

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lilium paradalinum


Known as the panther lily or leopard lily this native of Oregon and California is a vigorous, clump-forming, rhizomatous true species lily, with strong stems bearing whorls of elliptic deep green leaves. Where it usually grows in damp areas. Typically it grows to about 3' to 3 1/2' tall, but known to reach 5' to 8'. The flowers are Turk's-cap shaped, red-orange, with numerous brown spots, usually flowering in mid summer to late summer.

I have a small group of these lilies back in the conifer area with the Lilium wigginsii. The colors are so rich and vibrant with the blending of the red, orange and yellow. I love the way the petals curl back and expose all the colors and spots. Another wonderful addition to grow here in a Great Pacific Northwest garden.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 8

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cistus- Worthy Shrub




Perennial flowering shrubs containing about 20 species found on dry or rocky soils throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal thru the Middle East, and also the Canary Islands. 4' x 4' or smaller evergreen plants with showy 5-petaled flowers ranging from white to purple and dark pink, in a few species with a conspicuous dark red spot at the base of each petal. With its many hybrids and cultivars it is commonly encountered as a garden flower.The name Cistus is from the Greek for "Box," alluding to the square shape of the seed capsules.

I have been a fan of Cistus actually the whole rockrose family for years. Some of the best drought tolerant plants that you could ever plant in your gardens. I planted the Cistus salviifolious in place of the wonderful Matilija Poppy that I always wanted. There is a poppy planted down the street and that plant gets out of control. The number one need is lots of water, SORRY. I came across the salviifolious variety (first photograph) and stated on the tag that it is a substitute for the Matilija Poppy if you were wanting that style of flower. Worked for me........Include any of the rockroses in your gardens, they will not let you down.

USDA hardiness zone 6 to zone 9

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Got Common Milkweed?


I have planted this in hopes of attracting butterflies in the following years. I will be adding a few other varieties this fall for added color such as red, yellow, orange. The syriaca variety is okay, but not much of a bang for the buck. Odd little flowers, common is not the word I would not use.

A herbaceous drought tolerant perennial plant native to most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains contain a variety of 76 species. Plant in full sun to light shade and a bloom time from August to September. Flowers are a pink to lilac color. A favorite nectar source for butterflies and are host plants for caterpillars including Monarch butterfly larva.

USDA hardiness zone 3 to zone 8

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Allium -Latin For Garlic


Allium, an interesting group of 750+ plants that are grown for decoration and cooking. Most grow in temperate climates of the northern hemisphere such as Asia, but there are a few that grow in Chile, Brazil or tropical Africa. Species grow in various conditions from dry, well-drained mineral-based soils to moist, organic soils; most grow in sunny locations but a number also grow in forests, or even in swamps / water. They vary in height between 6" to 6'. The flowers themselves come in a wide range of design as well as a great palate of colors such as purple, pink, maroon, red, white, blue, and yellow. The basic varieties of Allium that we are familiar with are garlic, onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions.

I have planted a number of different varieties and have them blooming from early Spring to late Summer. The plants that I have chosen for the gardens are mostly the Mediterranean varieties due to the drought tolerant conditions here at Beech Street Gardens. If you have the opportunity to add them to your gardens DO..........They are a very delightful plant, Allium vineale, Allium siculum, and Allium christophii are just a couple of others that are a great addition to any gardens. They are truly showstoppers when in bloom. The Fall is the best time for planting. When you are picking out your other bulbs for planting this Fall add a couple of Alliums just for fun. You'll wish you had planted more.

USDA hardiness zone 4 to zone 10

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Species Lilium wigginsii


A very pretty species lily that is growing in the back garden in the conifer area. Looks perfect up against dark green fir trees. A rare, little-seen lily from the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and certain areas of Oregon where it grows in bogs and under redwoods.
The stems can reach 3' to 3 1/2' and flowers that are about 3" in diameter. Several hanging turkscap flowers of pure yellow, with little orange-brown spots all over the inside. The upright leaves clothe the stem. Lilium wigginsii takes partial shade to full sun in the north, give filtered shade in the south. In the garden keep the bulbs on the dry side and the roots damp for best results. In cold areas try a thick layer of mulch to protect the bulbs from freezing in the winter.
Naturally these beauties grow in streams with the bulb sitting above the summer water level and the roots down in the water. When the streams run high in winter the bulbs are often totally covered with cold but not frozen running water. They find places in the streams where rocks or tree roots keep them from washing away in winter storms. The seeds fall down into the pebbles and stones of the creek bank and take root.
If you are new to growing species lilies give
Lilium pardalinum and Lilium pardalinum subspecies a try – I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 10

New Fountain For The Back Garden

I just purchased this new fountain for the back garden. I placed it where the big water bowl was, but of course I had to remove a 10' fir tree first. I really do not care about the tree it was starting to crowd out other things I like better. I love the fountain, it has a great sound, and I know the birds are going to enjoy it. Now I need to get some new plants to put around it. The bowl of the fountain is just a little over 24" and about 8" deep. But not to worry, the big water bowl was placed closer to the patio. I could never get rid of it, its where the frogs hang out at during the Spring. Remember to add water features to your gardens, all the creatures need that special attention. At this time there are 4 fountains, 5 birdbaths, and 2 large water bowls here at Beech Street Gardens and there is room to add more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Please visit...................

I have started another blog Death Valley Shack. It is where I will now post information and photographs of the succulents and cactus that live in the greenhouse here at Beech Street Gardens. I hope you stop by for a visit.