Friday, December 31, 2010

Larrabee State Park

Samish Bay Larabee State Park October 2010

Polystichum munitum on Chuckanut Mountain at Larabee State Park October 2010 

Thuja plicata on Chuckanut Mountain at Larabee State Park October 2010  

Fragrance Lake at Larabee State Park October 2010  

 Fragrance Lake at Larabee State Park October 2010  

 Fragrance Lake at Larabee State Park October 2010 

On a sunny Saturday in October I hiked the Fragrance Lake Trail in the Chuckanut Mountains at Larrabee State Park near Bellingham, Washington. Larrabee State Park lies on the shore of Samish Bay, a part of the Salish Sea north of Puget Sound.  There are views of the San Juan Islands from the park.  The Chuckanut Mountains drop down to the edge of the bay.  Chuckanut Drive is a narrow road carved into the side of the mountains. Larrabee State Park extends from the bay well up into the mountains.  The Fragrance Lake Trail is 1 of the most-used trails in the state.  The trail follows switchbacks & more gentle slopes through moist native forest for 2 miles to Fragrance Lake.  There is a 1-mile loop trail around the lake.  I found the hike tiring, but not terribly strenuous.  The forest is dense with Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) & Pseudostuga menziesii (Douglas Fir).  The understory is mostly limited to Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern) & the occasional Vaccinium parvifolium (Red Huckleberry).  The flora is much more varied around Fragrance Lake, which is quite beautiful & well worth the hike up the mountain.  This hike took about 3 hours.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Coenosium Rock Garden

Pinus parviflora 'Ara Kawa' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

The Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010 

Pinus sylvestris 'Jeremy' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

Cedrus deodara 'Prostrate Beauty' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

Pinus flexilis 'Wyoming' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

Tsuga canadensis 'Kelsey Weeping' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

 Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph' at the Coenosium Rock Garden October 2010

The Coenosium Rock Garden at the South Seattle Community College Arboretum is a very pleasant place to visit on a rainless day, even better on a rare sunny day, in winter.  It is filled with dwarf conifers that look their best then.  The arboretum is a great place to visit at any time of year.  It will be even better when the Seattle Chinese Garden opens there.  Dwarf conifers are a welcome addition to any Seattle garden, because they look so good in winter, when most other plants are bare, bedraggled or gone.  The conifers at the Coenosium Rock Garden are labeled, so that you can identify favorites to add to your collection. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pacific Northwest Dry Forest Garden

Arbutus unedo October 2010

Pinus monticola August 2008

Mahonia repens July 2010

Trillium ovatum March 2010

 Ribes sanguineum March 2010

Unless you have very many acres, this garden would more accurately be called a bosque, than a forest.  A bosque is a grove of trees, either in nature, or in landscape design.  I’m not sure how the word crept into landscaping.  It is a Spanish word meaning forest in the larger sense, as in the bosque amazonico, the Amazon Rain Forest.  In American landscape design, the word is pronounced ‘bosk,’ while in Spanish it has 2 syllables.  The French use the word ‘bosquet’ to describe a grove, usually contrived.  There are famous bosquets at the château de Versailles

This garden (or bosque) is designed entirely with plants from dry forests of the coastal Pacific Northwest, although some also grow in moist forests.  Plant this garden in sun with some slope (so that is sure to drain) or on ground that is already known to be dry.  The understory (everything but the trees) will grow in shade.  The trees want sun.  This is intended to be a garden of light, dappled shade.  Don’t plant the trees too close together.  Arbutus menziesii (Madrona) does not form a dense canopy.  Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine) is an open & slender tree.  Thuja plicata ‘Fastigiata’ (Hogan Cedar) is a columnar form of Western Red Cedar.  Pinus monticola (Western White Pine) & Quercus garryana (Garry Oak) are more spreading.  Use fewer of them, spaced widely apart.   This garden won’t need irrigation beyond the 1st few summers.  

To read more about these plants, get a copy of Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Jim Pojar & Andy MacKinnon.

Pacific Northwest Dry Forest Garden Plant List
Trees
Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon)
Arbutus menziesii (Madrona)
Pinus monticola (Western White Pine) Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)
Quercus garryana (Garry Oak)
Thuja plicata ‘Fastigiata’ (Hogan Cedar)

Shrubs
Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) Mahonia nervosa, Mahonia repens
Holodiscus discolor (Oceanspray)
Juniperus communis (Common Juniper)
Oemleria cerasiformis (Indian Plum)
Philadelphus lewisii (Mock Orange)
Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific Rhododendron)
Ribes sanguineum (Flowering Currant)
Rosa gymnocarpa (Dwarf Rose)
Symphoricarpos albus (Snowberry)
Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen Currant)

Perennials
Achlys triphylla (Vanilla Leaf)
Allium cernuum (Nodding Onion)
Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue)
Lilium columbianum (Tiger Lily)
Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern)
Tellima grandiflora (Fringecup)
Trillium ovatum (Wake Robin)
Viola adunca (Early Blue Violet)

Groundcovers & Trailers
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)
Dicentra formosa (Bleeding Heart)
Fragaria vesca (Woodland Strawberry)
Lonicera hispidula (Hairy Honeysuckle)
Maianthemum dilatatum (False Lily of the Valley)
Smilacina stellata (aka Maianthemum stellatum)

Pacific Northwest Dry Forest Garden Plan
Trees
ACE = Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
AME = Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon)
ARB = Arbutus menziesii (Madrona)
PINE = Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)

Shrubs
GAU = Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
MAH = Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape)
HOL = Holodiscus discolor (Oceanspray)
PHI = Philadelphus lewisii (Mock Orange)
RHO = Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific Rhododendron)
RIB = Ribes sanguineum (Flowering Currant)
VAC = Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen Currant)

Perennials
ACH = Achlys triphylla (Vanilla Leaf)
ALL = Allium cernuum (Nodding Onion)
ERY = Erythronium oregonum (Fawn Lily)
LIL = Lilium columbianum (Tiger Lily)
POL = Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern)
TEL = Tellima grandiflora (Fringecup)
TRI = Trillium ovatum (Wake Robin)
VIO = Viola adunca (Early Blue Violet)

Groundcovers & Trailers
ARC = Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)
DIC = Dicentra formosa (Bleeding Heart)
SMI = Smilacina stellata (aka Maianthemum stellatum)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Heathland Garden

Phlomis italica October 2010

Digitalis obscura June 2009

Allium karataviense May 2010

Lithocarpus densiflora var. echinoides October 2010

Calluna vulgaris 'Wickwar Flame' & Hebe x pimeleoides 'Quicksilver' October 2010

Hebe ochracea October 2010

Thymus pseudolanuginosis October 2010

Arctostaphylos columbiana (foreground) & Erica arborea 'Estrella Gold' May 2010


The Heathland Garden is a shrubby landscape, reminiscent of the moorlands of England, the heathlands of Scotland, & the alpine shrublands of New Zealand.  In addition to heath (Erica) & heather (Calluna), I have chosen xeric plants from the maquis shrubland of the Mediterranean Basin, plus some xeric plants from the Pacific Northwest.  The Heathland Garden combines plants from all of these places to form a dense tapestry of low shrubs & perennials, enclosed by a few taller shrubs.  This is a colorful garden, with blue-gray & yellow-gold foliage year round & perennial flowers in season.  Although it is not a highly xeric garden, it will only need occasional irrigation during Seattle summers.  I've found that Calluna & Hebe cannot go entirely without summer irrigation.  This garden must be planted in full sun.

Plan for the Heathland Garden
Heathland Garden Plant List
Shrubs
AC = Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita)
AP = Arctostaphylos ‘Pacific Mist’ (Manzanita)
BRA = Brachyglottis monroi (aka Senecio monroi)
CAL = Calluna vulgaris ‘Wickwar Flame’ (Heather)
DAB = Daboecia cantabrica (Irish Heath)
EA = Erica arborea ‘Estrella Gold’ (Tree Heath)
HO = Hebe ochracea
HP = Hebe x pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’
HT = Hebe topiaria
LIT = Lithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides (Dwarf Tanoak)
OLE = Olearia x mollis
PHL = Phlomis italica
VAC = Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen Huckleberry)

Perennials
ALC = Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle)
ALL = Allium karataviense
CAM = Camassia quamash (Camas)
CRO = Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’
DIG = Digitalis obscura (Foxglove)
ERI = Erigeron glaucus (Beach Aster)
EUP = Euphorbia rigida
HEL = Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican Hellebore)
IRI = Iris tenax

Groundcovers
HYP = Hypericum cerastoides (St John's Wort)
SED = Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’
THY = Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme)

Allow Hebe x pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’ to interweave with Calluna vulgaris ‘Wickwar Flame’ & Daboecia cantabrica.  In general, there should be very little need for pruning iin this garden.

Friday, December 3, 2010

November Garden Pictures & Bloom Times






To see a slideshow of more November pictures, click on the link: November Garden Pictures.

Very little began to bloom in my garden in November.  If you have plants that bloom in November in Seattle, please let me know.  November was cold & rainy, as usual.  There was an unusual snow storm at the end of the month, also the 1st frost at 21F/-6C.  It snowed not at all last winter.  It very seldom snows as early as November in Seattle.  Before the frost, Hebe salicifolia was blooming.  This sprawling shrub throws out a smattering of blooms throughout the year, even in cold weather.  It entered its heaviest period of bloom on 6-16-10, when the shrub soon became enveloped with white flowers.  The new foliage of Narcissus bulbocodium, Narcissus jonquilla & Scilla peruviana emerged & grew to half its eventual height.  But November is mainly the month of colorful senescent leaves. 

November Bloom Times
11-04-10  Erica x darleyensis 'Gold Rush'
11-20-10  Arctostaphylos ‘Pacific Mist’  (also 3-29-10)