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
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)

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)

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
ACE = Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
AME = Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon)
ARB = Arbutus menziesii (Madrona)
PINE = Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine)

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)

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
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)

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

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

Enkianthus campanulatus

Hebe salicifolia

Hydrangea paniculata 'Zwijnenburg'

Magnolia ashei

Weigela florida 'Variegata'

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)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wave Hill

Wave Hill November 2007

Wave Hill November 2007 Hudson River

Wave Hill November 2007 Trough Gardens

Wave Hill November 2007 Conservatory

 Wave Hill November 2007 Aquatic Garden

Wave Hill November 2007  Perennial Garden

Hudson River from Riverdale Station November 2007

I visited Wave Hill in the Bronx in New York City on November 11, 2007.  From my journal:  On Sunday it was cold & the sun shone brightly.  I spent over an hour at the Harlem Station while changing from the Harlem Line to the Hudson line.  I went a short way up the Hudson River to Riverdale.  The river was beautiful.  In Riverdale I visited Wave Hill.  It was lovely, but modest in scale.  The design was very good.  There were glimpses of the Hudson River between the colorful trees.  According to the New York Times, fall color was peaking, although it was not a particularly colorful fall.  At Wave Hill there was a water garden, a courtyard full of trough gardens, a conservatory & an alpine house, & several terraced gardens on the slope overlooking the river. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden November 2007

New York Botanical Garden November 2007 Conservatory

New York Botanical Garden November 2007

New York Botanical Garden November 2007 Gift Shop & Cafeteria

New York Botanical Garden November 2007 Restrooms

I visited the New York Botanical Garden on November 8, 2007 with my friend & host.  It was cold & raining lightly.  We got off the Metro-North Harlem local line at Botanical Garden Station & walked a short distance to the Mosholu Gate entrance.  I was very impressed with the structures there. The buildings housing the cafeteria, gift shop & restrooms where beautifully clad in field stone.  It's seldom I take a picture of the restrooms.  The garden here was lovely in fall.  The massive conservatory was nearby.  It was an architectural marvel, but the planting design was poor.  (I'm spoiled by the Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, where the planting design is impeccable.)  Just outside the Haupt Conservatory, there was a sheltered display of kiku, or Japanese Chrysanthemums.  There were also some fantastical woven bamboo art structures.     

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Dryland Garden

Echinocereus reichenbachii in Seattle June 2009

Yucca harrimaniae in Seattle August 2008

Sedum palmeri in Seattle December 2009

Tulipa turkestanica in Seattle March 2010

 Lewisia cotyledon in Seattle May 2010

Drylands are ecosystems with limited water, including scrublands, shrublands, grasslands, savannas, semi-deserts & true deserts.  A true desert garden is impossible in Seattle.  But you can give the impression of desert-like landscapes with carefully chosen plants, a very spare planting design, & plenty of rock & gravel.  This type of xeric garden is excellent for south or west-facing slopes, because it requires little or no irrigation.  If you’ve ever walked in a desert, you were probably surprised by the richness of the plant life.  There are some relatively barren deserts worldwide.  But the deserts of North America are filled with cactus, shrubs & small trees, perennial & annual wildflowers & grasses.  Below are images of natural drylands I have visited.  My ideas for the dryland garden are a synthesis of these landscapes & others I have seen.

 Joshua Tree National Park in California March 2009

Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon September 1999

Frenchman Coulee in Washington June 2010

Cactus are nearly impossible to grow in Seattle.  I grow Echinocereus reichenbachii (Claret Cup Cactus) against the south side of a large stone, the only cactus that has worked for me.  Agave are somewhat less difficult.  I’ve tried at least a dozen, had success with Agave palmeri, Agave parryi var. huachucensis & Agave toumeyana var. bella. Yucca are similar to Agave & closely related.  Yucca filamentosa is widely grown in Seattle.  Native to the southeastern US, it tolerates dryness & moisture.  Western dryland Yucca that have grown well for me are Yucca harrimaniae, Yucca kanabensis, Yucca glauca, Yucca neomexicana & Yucca schottii.  I was amazed to find that Yucca whipplei, which grows in the very dry mountains near Los Angeles, grew to 4 feet  from a mere 6 inches in just 4 years.  It is both striking & alarming with its needle-tipped, sword-like leaves.  Plant Agave & Yucca well away from paths.  Agave, cactus & dryland Yucca should be grown in a raised area of gravelly & rocky soil.  Other successful succulent plants are Lewisia cotyledon & many Sedum.

I saw scrub oak growing in the Mojave Desert.  Scrub oaks include Quercus berberidifolia, Quercus john-tuckeri & Quercus vaccinifolia.  Shrubby pines such as Pinus edulis also grow in drylands.  A well-pruned Swiss Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo) will have a similar appearance.  Other dryland shrubs include manzanita & juniper.  You must to prune juniper, manzanita, oak & pine to give them a dryland appearance. To mimic sagebrush, use shrubs with gray foliage such as Brachyglottis munroi, Helichrysum splendidum & Santolina chamaecyparissus.  Rosa glauca & Rosa sericea var. pteracantha (with tall, thorny canes) give the impression of desert plants, especially in winter:

Wildflowers & grasses are always found in western drylands. Festuca idahoensis is a common grass from drylands of the Pacific Northwest & California.  It also grows west of the Cascade Mountains.  Try grasses with blue foliage such as Festuca ovina ‘Elijah Blue’ & Helictotrichon sempervirens, or with bronze foliage such as Carex comans ‘Bronze’ & Carex tenuiculmis ‘Cappucino’ .  For flowers use Achillea, Anthemis tinctoria, Erigeron, Penstemon x mexicali & Zauschneria californica.  Bulbs native to the western US are Calochortus & Triteleia.  Certain species tulips will also fit into this garden, although they are wildflowers from central Asian drylands.

Dry Garden Plant List
Agave palmeri, Agave parryi var. huachucensis, Agave toumeyana var. bella
Echinocereus reichenbachii (Claret Cup Cactus)
Hesperaloe parviflora (Red Yucca)
Lewisia tweedyi, Lewisia cotyledon
Nolina nelsonii, Nolina parryi
Sedum divergens, Sedum oreganum, Sedum obtusatum, Sedum oregonense, Sedum palmeri, Sedum spathulifolium
Yucca filamentosa, Yucca harrimaniae (aka Yucca nana) Yucca kanabensis, Yucca neomexicana, Yucca glauca, Yucca schottii, Yucca whipplei

Shrubs & Small Trees
Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita) Arctostaphylos bakeri, Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine Hill Manzanita)
Brachyglottis monroi
Calluna vulgaris ‘Kerstin’, Calluna vulgaris ‘Silver Knight’
Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Buckwheat)
Helichrysum italicumHelichrysum splendidum, Helichrysum tianshanicum
Juniperus californica, Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’, Juniperus squamata ‘Loderi’
Lithocarpus densiflorus var. echinoides (Dwarf Tanbark Oak)
Mahonia fremontii (Desert Holly) Mahonia pinnata
Penstemon pinifolius (Pineleaf Beardtongue)
Pinus aristata (Bristlecone Pine) Pinus edulis (Pinyon Pine) Pinus monophylla (Singleleaf Pinyon) Pinus mugo (Swiss Mountain Pine) Pinus quadrifolia (Parry Pinyon)
Quercus berberidifolia (Scrub Oak) Quercus gambelii (Gambel Oak) Quercus john-tuckeri (John Tucker Oak) Quercus vaccinifolia (Huckleberry Oak)
Rosa glauca, Rosa sericea var. pteracantha
Santolina chamaecyparissus (Lavender Cotton)

Perennials & Grasses
Achillea ageratifolia, Achillea clavennae, Achillea kellereri, Achillea serbica, Achillea tomentosa (Yarrow)
Anthemis tinctoria (Marguerite Daisy)
Briza media (Rattlesnake Grass)
Calochortus superbus, Calochortus venustus (Mariposa Lilies)
Carex comans ‘Bronze’ (New Zealand Sedge) Carex tenuiculmis ‘Cappuccino’
Coreopsis verticillata (Tickseed)
Deschampsia flexuosa (Crinkled Hairgrass)
Erigeron glaucus (Beach Aster) Erigeron karvinskianus (Santa Barbara Daisy) Erigeron lineraris (Desert Yellow Fleabane)
Eryngium variifolium (Moroccan Sea Holly) Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master)
Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
Festuca idahoensis, Festuca ovina ‘Elijah Blue’ (Fescues)
Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass)
Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (Fountain Grass)
Penstemon x mexicali (Beardtongue)
Triteleia laxa ‘Queen Fabiolia’ (aka Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’)
Tulipa dasystemon, Tulipa saxatilis, Tulipa turkestanica (Species Tulips)
Zauschneria californica (California Fuchsia) Zauschneria latifolia

Groundcovers & Trailers
Arctostaphylos x media, Arctostaphylos nevadensis (Pinemat Manzanita) Arctostaphylos nummularia
Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis (Carmel Creeper)
Plan for a Dryland Garden
This garden must be very well-drained.  It is best on south & west-facing slopes, in full sun.  The center area can be a raised bed enclosed with a stone wall.
Shrubs & Small Trees
AC = Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy Manzanita)
MAH = Mahonia fremontii (Desert Holly) or Mahonia pinnata
PINE = Pinus aristata (Bristlecone Pine) Pinus edulis (Pinyon Pine) Pinus monophylla (Singleleaf Pinyon) or Pinus quadrifolia (Parry Pinyon) or use Quercus berberidifolia (Scrub Oak) Quercus gambelii (Gambel Oak) Quercus john-tuckeri (John Tucker Oak) Quercus vaccinifolia (Huckleberry Oak)
SAN = Santolina chamaecyparissus (Lavender Cotton)

Perennials & Grass
ACH = Achillea tomentosa (Yarrow)
ERI = Erigeron glaucus (Beach Aster)
ERY = Eryngium variifolium (Moroccan Sea Holly) Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master)
ZAU = Zauschneria californica (California Fuchsia)


Mulch with crushed granite, gravel, lava rock, or other crushed rock.  Place smaller plants such as Achillea ageratifolia, Achillea clavennae, Achillea kellereri, Achillea serbica, Agave toumeyana var. bella, Cerastium tomentosum, Erigeron lineraris, Hirpicium armerioides, Lewisia tweedyi, Lewisia cotyledon, Sedum divergens, Sedum oreganum, Sedum obtusatum, Sedum oregonense, Sedum palmeri, Sedum spathulifolium, Yucca harrimaniae, Yucca nana &/or stones in open spaces as desired.  Agave & Yucca should be grown in a raised area of gravelly & rocky soil.

You can get Achillea ageratifolia, Achillea kellereri, Achillea serbica, Erigeron lineraris, Hirpicium armerioides, Mahonia fremontii, Pinus edulis, Yucca harrimaniae & Yucca nana by mail from High Country GardensPinus aristata, Quercus berberidifolia & Quercus gambelii are available from Forest Farm (other pines & oaks have been available in the past, may be in the future).