Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paeonia corsica

Paeonia corsica in April

Paeonia corsica in September

Paeonia corsica in October

I use Paeonia corsica because it is easier to spell (& say) than Paeonia cambessedesii. Peony expert Josef J Halda lists the plant as P corsica in his 2004 book, The Genus Paeonia. It is 'one of the most charming peonies' according to Halda. I agree. The blooms of my Corsican Peonies are a beautiful pink, simple yet bold wildflower. Leaves are silver-blue on top, red below. April blooms are followed in August by large weird seed pods arranged like a jester's hat. Shining red seams split open in October to show jet black seeds against a shocking pink interior. My seeds came from the Northwest Perennial Alliance seed exchange, courtesy of Marion Raitz. It took 2 years for them to germinate. Then they grew quickly, flowering within 3 years of germination. They need a dry site. I planted mine on a sunny slope.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Magnolia ashei

Magnolia ashei leaf underside November 2009

 Magnolia ashei fall color November 2009

Magnolia ashei flower June 2009

Magnolia ashei is a small tree with big flowers & bigger leaves. The flowers are the size of dinner plates. The leaves are roughly the same size & shape as violins. The large white flowers stand out boldly, fade quickly. The period of bloom can last 2 weeks. In Fall the leaves turn golden-brown on top, white underneath. The pale leaves lie luminous on the ground. The tree grows to a height of 20 feet, naturally rounded, easily pruned to a more sculptural form. The large leaves give it a tropical look. Magnolia ashei is native to the Florida panhandle, yet tolerates the winter cold in USDA zone 8. I got mine from Gossler Farms in Oregon by mail. Gossler Farms offers many Magnolia.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ornamental Fruits

 Arbutus unedo October 2009

Sorbus gonggashanica September 2008

Callicarpa bodinieri November 2008

Rosa rugosa November 2008

Ribes sanguineum August 2008

Here is a list of shrubs & trees with ornamental fruits, some of them edible, for Seattle area gardens.  Fruits add interest to the garden, especially in fall & winter. They look particularly good planted against an evergreen backdrop or screen. Arbutus unedo  (Strawberry Tree) is very colorful in the fall when fruits appear with flowers. Callicarpa bodinieri (Beautyberry) has a unique purple fruit. Diospyros (Persimmon) & Ribes (Currant) are often grown for edible fruit production. Vaccinium parvifolium (Red Huckleberry) is a native plant with colorful & edible red berries.

Shrubs & Trees with Ornamental Fruits 
Arbutus menziesii (Madrona): sun, inedible, Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’ (Compact Strawberry Tree) Arbutus unedo ‘Elfin King’: sun or shade, edible but insipid
Amelanchier alnifolia (Western Serviceberry) Amelanchier canadensis (Eastern Serviceberry) Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny Serviceberry): sun or part shade
Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry): sun or part shade, edible but unpleasant when raw, high in antioxidants, read Aronia in America
Aucuba japonica 'Rozannie': shade, poisonous
Berberis georgei, Berberis wilsoniae (Barberry): sun, inedible 
Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry) Callicarpa bodinieri 'Profusion', Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai', Callicarpa japonica (Japanese Beautyberry): sun, inedible
Cephalotaxus fortunei (Plum Yew): sun or shade, inedible
Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese Quince): sun, edible
Dichroa febrifuga: shade, inedible
Diospyros kaki (Japanese Persimmon) Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon): sun, edible
Elaeagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive): sun, inedible
Ficus carica (Fig): sun, edible
Gaultheria miqueliana (Spicy Wintergreen): shade, edible, Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen): shade, inedible, Gaultheria shallon (Salal): sun or shade, edible
Idesia polycarpa (Idesia): sun, inedible
Leycestercia formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle): sun, inedible
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) Mahonia bealei, Mahonia nervosa, Mahonia repens: & other species, most for shade, some tolerate sun, edible but not tasty
Malus ‘Adams’, Malus ‘Dartmouth’, Malus ‘Katherine’, Malus ‘Thunderchild’ (Crabapple): sun, edible
Mespilus germanica (Medlar): sun, edible
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo): sun or shade
Pernettya mucronata (Chilean Wintergreen): sun, inedible
Prunus cerasus (Cherry) Prunus domestica (Plum) Prunus japonica (Bush Cherry) Prunus persica (Peach) Prunus spinosa (Sloe): sun, edible
Pyracantha 'Apache', Pyracantha 'Navaho', Pyracantha 'Orange Glow', Pyracantha 'Red Column', Pyracantha 'Teton' (Firethorn): & other cultivars, sun, inedible
Pyrus communis (Pear): sun, edible
Ribes odoratum 'Crandall' (Clove Currant) Ribes 'Red Lake' (Red Currant) Ribes sanguineum (Flowering Currant) Ribes speciosum (Fuschia-flowered Gooseberry) Ribes 'Titania' (Black Currant): sun or shade, edible
Rosa glauca (Redleaf Rose) Rosa moyesii (Moyes Rose) Rosa rugosa (Sea Tomato) Rosa virginiana (Virginia Rose): sun, edible but not very tasty
Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry) Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry): sun or shade, edible
Ruscus aculeatus (Box Holly) Ruscus hypoglossum (Dwarf Box Holly): shade, inedible
Sambucus caerulea (Blue Elderberry) Sambucus nigra (European Elderberry) Sambucus racemosa (Red Elderberry): sun or shade, edible when cooked
Skimmia japonica: shade, inedible
Sorbus alnifolia (Korean Mountain Ash) Sorbus aria (Whitebeam) Sorbus cashmiriana (Kashmir Mountain Ash) Sorbus commixta (Japanese Mountain Ash) Sorbus hupehensis (Hupei Mountain Ash) Sorbus scalaris: sun, inedible
Symphoricarpos albus (Snowberry): sun or shade, inedible
Taxus brevifolia (Pacific Yew): sun or shade, inedible
Vaccinium corymbosum (Blueberry): sun, edible, Vaccinium ovatum (Everygreen Huckleberry): sun or shade, edible, Vaccinium parvifolium (Red Huckleberry): shade, edible
Viburnum betulifolium, Viburnum davidii, Viburnum opulus (Cranberry Bush) Viburnum setigerum, Viburnum tinus: sun or light shade, inedible

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crocus ochroleucus

Crocus ochroleucus

At the end of October, when it seems that nothing will flower for a very long time, Crocus ochroleucus pops up among the fallen leaves. Crocus ochroleucus is native to Syria, Lebanon & Israel, where it grows on rocky hillsides. It is a natural for the Stony Slope in the Cascadia Garden. I got the bulbs from McClure & Zimmerman in 2005. They have increased every year since. This picture was taken on November 1, 2009 when this Crocus has been blooming for about a week.