Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daughter of the Wind

Grecian Windflower

A tuberous perennial valued for its daisy-like spring-blooming flowers, native to southeastern Europe, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria. This small clump is planted in the back garden and you have to venture to see them. I planted them in the middle of a small bed, so its a surprise when you spot them. Additional flower colors of white, pink and reddish purple are available in taller cultivators that grow to as much as 8-12” tall and foliage is deeply cut and fern-like.

USDA hardiness zone 5 to zone 8

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's Talk Lilies

Lilium " Scheherazade"
Planted in the back garden, photograph taken 2010

I attended a seminar on Sunday sponsored by the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon and put on by the newest study group, the lily group. It was a double-hitter presentation by two of the Pacific Northwest's lily experts, Dr.Wayne Hoffman and Judith Freeman. Dr. Hoffman had a slide presentation and spoke of wild lilies. Judith spoke on her hybrid creations she has made. Before the presentation and after The Lily Garden had bulbs for sale which is owned by Judith. Of course I could not stand by and let others buy, me nothing. From the YG & P show and this last Sunday I have about 20 new lily bulbs to plant in the gardens. Looking forward to planting these bulbs and seeing what wonderful flowers will grace the gardens. I will try to post a list of the new lilies that I will be planting. Next month is a talk on Pacific Coast Irises, which is another great plant to include in your gardens.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Glacier Blue Euphorbia

Another great Euphorbia for the drought tolerant garden. I have Glacier Blue planted in the conifer area of the back garden where it does get some shade, but it does not mind. Like all Euphorbias they will take full sun. Introduced in 2007, I must have purchased it right after that. The brightness of Glacier Blue is perfect to add to a perennial bed of pinks, yellows, and purples. It is a very compact plant reaching 18" x 18", which to me is not a large plant. Another useage for Glaicer Blue is in a container with trailing annuals. The Glacier Blue is evergreen, so even in the dead of Winter you can have some interest in your container.

USDA hardiness zone 6 to zone 11

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Snake's Head Iris

Finger of Hermes

A Mediterranean native of Yugoslavia and Greece and has been in cultivation since the late 1500s. Botanically, it is not a true iris at all. The tuberous root bears some resemblance to the fingers of the human hand. Its common name, Snake’s Head, is said to come from the unusual coloring and shape that resembles the head of a reptile, specifically, a snake, alluding to its pointed buds that supposedly look like snake heads with open mouths. This flower has sometimes been referred to as the “widow iris” for its somber color or “black iris” for its black falls. Hermaodactylus tuberose is a lovely looking, unusual and fragrant perennial bulb with yellow-green, iris-like blooms and velvety, nearly black falls in early spring, between February and April. Not a very tall plant, about a height of 12" to 18". Very striking if planted a rockeries, beds and borders, and containers. They can naturalize in grass and will also make exceptional cut flowers.
I have a small group I planted about 5 years ago in the back garden. They are located at the corner of the path on the way to the Death Valley Shack.

USDA hardiness zone 7 to zone 9

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Singing In The Dead of Night


Mounding, evergreen, compact, and bushy with velvety foliage that darkens to near black in full sun. Black Bird looks great and is quite striking in perennial borders as well in containers. The flowers open above bright, lime green bracts on red stems that form a compact vase shape roughly 18" x 24". I have a number of Euphorbias in the gardens, but I like Black Bird for the dark color contrast against the other plants. Another nice variety is "Glacier Blue" with its white and light bluish green striped leaves. Again if you grow these plants please be careful of the poison sap that they have. Always wear gloves working with any plant material.

USDA hardiness zone 6 to zone 9

Friday, March 4, 2011

Put On A Happy Face!

I thought everyone would enjoy a happy little face today............
This Pansy is growing in the windowbox by the front door. There are many other colors planted, but this one reminds me of the sunny days ahead.