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Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2015

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Here we are, almost unbelievably in the Merry Month of May...not even just starting...the middle of the month! Spring has been fitful but pleasant...and we're finally settling into a pattern of cool days and pleasant nights (good sleeping weather, to be sure). While we've had some dry spells during the past few months, we've been getting fairly regular rain, thank goodness, and the garden is filling in nicely. Without further ado...here we go!

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If April is all about Tulips, then May is the season of the Iris and Allium. I inherited 4 or 5 different varieties with the house and have slowly been thinning them out so I just have a few of each now...instead of a million of one type and practically none of another. The bicolor one in the foreground is my favorite...very floriferous, but delicate...and with an intoxicating fragrance, to boot!

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Another legacy Iris from the previous owner, I really love the delicate creamy-yellow blooms.

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And yet another Iris we got with the house...which bloomed for the first time a few years ago, to my surprise...a delicious, deep, velvety purple!

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I also have quite a few Iris I've purchased from Schreiner's over the years...but, admittedly, I've quite forgotten what most of them are...so, let's just enjoy the show...here, a really nice bicolor in the parking strip.

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This one, I believe is 'Dracula's Kiss'.

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An Iris that Norm piked out (even though he swears he doesn't remember, 'Sultan's Pride'.

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And the last of the currently-blooming Iris (the late bloomers are yet to come), another wonderful bi-color...just ending it's bloom period.

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Most of the Columbine in my garden have crossed and ended up in various shades of yellow...when I saw this yellow/purple (pinkish) Columbine at a recent plant swap, I snapped it up!

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The other flower that really dominates the garden right now is the Allium...I have quite a few and just keep adding more...like this tall, white variety (maybe 'Mt. Everest').

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Allium 'Globemaster' is my go-to Allium for most spots...great color and stature...and high enough that you can really see it over plants as they grow taller.

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My favorite, however, is the shorter (I do wish it were taller) Allium cristophii...just love those amazing exploding fireworks of metallic-lavender blooms...and they dry beautifully, lasting all winter if you're lucky.

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One of the newer Allium varieties I planted a few years ago, 'Graceful' is anything but graceful when it first emerges, looking like nothing so much as weedy grass, however, when it blooms, it's pretty spectacular.

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Thanks to their overlapping bloom time, you can enjoy Allium and Iris together...and they make quite a pair.

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And while it's nothing like the spectacle at Joy Creek, I'm pretty happy with how the Allium in the front parking strip are starting to multiply and create quite a show.

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Of course, there are also the not-quite-alliums, the Nectaroscordum...which I adore...with their romantically dangling, duskily-colored petals.

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Randomly, I also have purple culinary sage blooming (I know, you aren't supposed to let it bloom, but oh, well).

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Persicaria 'Purple Fantasy' has tiny little off-white (nearly pink) blooms that are barely noticeable...but are a nice little pointillist features.

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The oldest of my Amsonias is reaching massive proportions...love it!

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I've finally managed to secure a volunteer Queen Anne's Lace in the garden (Daucus carota)...here's to hoping it re-seeds and becomes a perennial member of the garden...but not a pest!

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The blooms of Lamium orvale aren't the showiest in the world...but they're nothing to sneeze at, either.

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Geranium season is also upon us...with 'Anne Folkard' leading the way...

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...and good ol' 'Rozanne' joining the fray.

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If you don't have a Baptisia, you need one...this is my favorite, 'Purple Smoke'.

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I actually removed most of the Knautia from the parking strips last summer after they fell apart and looked dreadful. Of course, they will always be with me in the form of self-seeded volunteers...and I can't complains...there are worse weeds out there ;-)

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Another plant I often toy with the idea of removing, Sildacea oregana...which, while lovely, is a bit on the sprawly, lanky side. However, it's one of the few natives I grow in my garden...and I need at least a tiny bit of "native cred", right?

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A plant I thought had croaked over the winter, Monarda bradburiana, was just VERY slow to emerge (like 2 months later than usual). Of course, I had already purchased replacements...which are now blooming, several weeks earlier than the returning plants. There is quite a bit of variation in the blooms. This one, with hasn't actually pushed out petals yet, has really colorful bracts.

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This one, just opening, is a darker pink than usual.

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While those fully-opened blooms on another plant are the soft, clear pink I remember...time will tell if these are all just variations...or stages of opening.

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Like the Monarda, the Astrantias have been slow to wake up this year...and don't seem quite as vigorous as I remember them in years past...still, some are starting to bloom, like this 'Roma'.

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I loved my blue Camassia so much this spring that I decided to plant more this fall...but I got impatient and bought some already-growing a few weeks ago at Portland Nursery. They were labeled as 'Danube Blue'...but, upon opening, are obviously not that! Still, I actually really like these, so it's a happy accident.

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While I'm sure I forgot a few things, that's most of what's blooming...so it's time for some wide shots...this is the front border looking north.

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The same looking south.

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The side border looking west.

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And the side border looking east.

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The Side border walkway...finally completed after removing the privet last fall.

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And a wide view of our whole corner property (new paint job and all)!

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I hope you're haivng a great spring so far...especially as summer is practically breathing down our necks...although, if we're lucky, the rest of our spring will be cool and pleasant before the heat arrives. Happy Bloom Day...and for more posts, visit our host, Carol, at May Dreams Garden.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Trio of PCI's (and two extra)

PCI's...what are those, you may ask? They are Pacific Coast Iris...although mine aren't the species, but rather hybrids of our native Iris. Every year seems to bring a few new introductions, and while I'd love to have them all, I have just a few in my garden (space is limited). Still, they are tough and beautiful, increasing in size fairly reliable each year.

The ones I have that are currently blooming are:

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'Little Survivor'...this is my favorite at the moment...it's steadily getting bigger and bigger...and those SUMPTUOUS, velvety purple blooms are perfection, IMHO.

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'Ami Royale'...this one was a gift from good friend and fellow plant lover, Riz Reyes. I had forgotten about it as it's in a pot with a rapidly-expanding Molinia 'Cordoba' that is threatening to totally overwhelm it. Still...it's increased in size over the past few years and blooms beautifully. I'm thinking of moving it to a spot where it will have a little more breathing room.

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Last, but not least, an unnamed hybrid, again from Riz, which he gifted to a few of us plant nerds several weeks ago...isn't it fabulous!

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I have a few more PCI's in the wings that are about to bloom...including a seed-grown hybrid from friend and fellow blogger, Alison, which, if memory serves, is a muted buttercream color which fades to off-white (above) AND 'Sea Admiral' (below), which doesn't seem to be blooming this year, sadly.
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Do you grow any of the PCI hybrids (or even the species)? Which do you recommend?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fall Plant Sales!

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For those of us who are OVER summer this year, we are just counting the days until cooler weather (and rain) return. To help kick-start my favorite season, luckily, there are a few wonderful plant sales that I simply HAVE to alert you all to.

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The first up, this weekend (Sept. 13), is the Salem Hardy Plant Society's annual Fall Plant Sale. It's a short drive out to the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall, OR. Heather and I went last year and were really impressed by the quality of the vendors...so many great nurseries with some amazing plants! It's where Heather met her new conifer love, Pinus strobus 'Louie'. I'm hoping to scope out the grasses at this time of year...and if last year's selection was any indication, I'll not be coming home empty-handed!

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The following weekend, (Sept. 20) is the HPSO's fall plant sale, PlantFest, which is held out at PCC's Rock Creek Campus. The plant sale is from 11-3, but there is also a lecutre, given by Gary Lewis of Phoenix Perennials entitled "Weird & Wonderful Plants." The lecture starts at 9am and ends at 10...those who go to the lecture get a whole hour to shop before the sales areas open to the general public!

I hope to see you at the sales...I know I'll be there :-)