Friday, August 26, 2016

Plants for Parking Strips

 Hebe recurva

Epimedium colchicum

Iris douglasiana

Erigeron glaucus 'Sea Breeze'

Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei'

This is a list of plants under 3 feet tall for parking strips. None of these plants need a lot of water. Some of them are xeric plants. The shrubs & perennials don’t spread very much. The groundcovers do spread, but not very widely. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) requires that plants in parking strips are not more than 3 feet tall. This helps keep pedestrians & cars visible, increasing safety.  Don't plant anything but very low groundcovers near fire hydrants.

Shrubs (evergreens for sun, except as noted)
Berberis thunbergii ‘Bagatelle’ (Japanese Barberry): deciduous
Calluna vulgaris (Heather)
Daboecia cantabrica (Irish Heath)
Dorycnium hirsutum (Hairy Canary Clover): xeric
Erica erigena (Irish Heath)
Erica x griffithsii (Griffith’s Heath)
Erica manipuliflora (Autumn Heath)
Erica terminalis (Corsican Heath): to 3 feet tall
Hebe ochracea (Whipcord Hebe)
Hebe x pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’ (Quicksilver Hebe)
Hebe recurva (Recurved Hebe)
Hebe ‘Red Edge’ (Red Edge Hebe)
Helichrysum italicum (Curry Plant): xeric
Hypericum x moserianum ‘Tricolor’ (Tricolor St John’s Wort)
Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ (Blue Star Juniper)
Pieris japonica ‘Bisbee Dwarf’ (Bisbee Dwarf Pieris): shade
Pinus mugo ‘Valley Cushion’ (Valley Cushion Mugo Pine)

Perennials (deciduous plants for sun, except as noted)
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow): xeric
Agapanthus campanulatus (Lily of the Nile)
Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle): shade
Anemanthele lessoniana (Pheasant’s Tail Grass)
Aruncus aethusifolius (Korean Goat’s Beard): shade
Bergenia (Elephant Ears): evergreen, sun or shade
Campanula glomerata (Clustered Bellflower)
Carex (Sedge): many species & cultivars
Crocosmia crocosmiiflora ‘Emily McKenzie (Flaming Iris): xeric
Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern): shade
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower): xeric
Epimedium (Bishop’s Hat): evergreen, shade
Erigeron glaucus (Beach Aster): xeric
Festuca ovina ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue): evergreen, xeric
Geranium cantabrigiense (Cranesbill)
Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill)
Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican Hellebore): evergreen, sun or shade, xeric
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten Rose): evergreen, shade, xeric
Helleborus x sternii (Hellebore): evergreen, shade, xeric
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Liriope muscari (Lily Turf): evergreen, shade, xeric
Luzula sylvatica (Wood Rush): evergreen, shade
Iris douglasiana (Douglas Iris): evergreen, xeric
Iris, Pacific Coast Hybrids (Pacific Coast Hybrid Iris): evergreen, xeric
Pennisetum setaceum (Fountain Grass)
Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern): evergreen, shade
Rudbeckia hirta (Blackeyed Susan): xeric
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Stonecrop): xeric
Sedum ‘Matrona’ (Stonecrop): xeric

Groundcovers (some spread modestly, others quite a lot)
Armeria maritima (Thrift): xeric, forms small mats
Aubrieta deltoidea (Rock Cress): forms mats, spreads by seed
Aurinia saxatilis (Basket of Gold): xeric, forms low mounds, spreads by seed
Campanula carpatica (Carpathian Harebell): forms slowly spreading mounds
Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei': forms low mats
Helianthemum nummularium (Sunrose): xeric, forms low mats
Hypericum cerastioides (St John’s Wort): xeric, forms small mats
Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft): xeric, spreads moderately to form mounds
Juniperus procumbens (Japanese Garden Juniper): xeric, forms mats
Juniperus squamata 'Blue Carpet' (Blue Carpet Juniper): xeric, forms mats
Pratia pedunculata (Blue Star Creeper, formerly Laurentia fluviatilis): very low, wide-spreading
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ (Trailing Rosemary): xeric, spreading shrub
Sedum reflexum 'Angelina' (Stonecrop): xeric
Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' (Stonecrop): xeric
Thymus serpyllum (Creeping Thyme): xeric, forms very low mats
Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme): xeric, forms very low mats

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rosa rugosa

Rosa rugosa 'Hansa'

Rosa rugosa is one of the easiest, most drought tolerant, disease resistant & low-maintenance roses you can grow in Seattle.  It bears attractive flowers, foliage & fruits.  The fruits are large & resemble tomatoes.  Rosa rugosa doesn't often need pruning.  The canes grow to a height of about 3 to 4 feet covered in numerous spines, not the thorns typical of many roses.  Wear gloves when pruning.  The highly fragrant flowers may be single or double in the standard rose colors of red, pink, white & yellow.  Rosa rugosa 'Blanc Double de Coubert' is a popular white rose.  Rosa rugosa has many common names including sea tomato & beach rose.  The name I hear most frequently is rugosa rose.  Rugosa means wrinkled, or rugose.   Rosa rugosa is native to eastern Asia in China, Japan & Korea along the coast, often on sand dunes.  It is considered an invasive species along the coasts of northern Europe & New England.  But this shouldn't be a concern in an urban garden setting.  As with all roses, grow this plant in full sun, in well drained soil.  It blooms in July & August.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Japantown in San Francisco

Japantown in San Francisco in April 2014

Japantown is a fascinating piece of urban landscape for those interested in both the cultural history of San Francisco & the history of architecture.  Here is an example that is uncommon in North America: mid-century modern Japanese commercial architecture & public landscape design.  I've never seen anything else quite like it.  It could be the set for a Japanese film made in 1968, the year Japantown opened.  The modern design of the pagoda is bold & intricate, while the fountains are minimal, yet accommodating in their seating.  In addition to the short streetscape pictured here, there is a mall.  Both are filled with shops & restaurants.  A few other, taller mid-century buildings provide some backdrop.  Japantown is near the Fillmore Street business district in Pacific Heights, also filled with shops & restaurants.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Acanthus hungaricus

Acanthus hungaricus

Acanthus hungaricus is a fairly common species of Acanthus in Seattle.  It is more tolerant of dryness than Acanthus mollis, which is much more common.  Acanthus hungaricus has beautiful, holly-like foliage that is not at all spiny.  Flowers come in midsummer, with purple bracts forming hoods over white corollas, which line the stems in many tiers to present quite an impressive display of flowers.  The stems may reach 4 feet in height, but more usually 3 feet.  This plant spreads continually, but not very aggressively & will need to be divided when it begins to crowd its neighbors.  Acanthus hungaricus is a perennial plant for full sun in well drained soil.  It is native to Europe in Romania, the Balkans & Greece.  The common name for Acanthus is bear's breeches, in this case Hungarian bear's breeches.  I hear it called Acanthus more often.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Butchart Gardens

Cafeteria & gift shop complex near the entrance

3 photos above of the sunken garden, the main part of Butchart Gardens

The rose garden.  All photos were taken in August 2014.

Butchart Gardens is the principal tourist attraction on Vancouver Island near the city of Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia.  It receives over 1 million visitors a year. It is the tackiest garden I have ever seen. The fact that it is a huge garden makes it all the more difficult to bear. In August, it was very crowded with tourists. And to top it off, it cost more than $30 per person to enter.  I suspected I might not like it, but felt I must see it at least once. I had been to Victoria at least 5 times before & never gone. It was mostly filled with annual bedding plants in the style that was popular in the early 20th century. These same plants are used over & over again in different combinations. It looks best from above & at a distance.  The main part of the garden was created between 1909 & 1921 in an old limestone quarry. Other gardens were added later. There is a reasonably interesting Japanese garden, as well as less interesting Italian & rose gardens. The Italian garden displays the same endlessly repeated bedding plants in a formal design.