Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Flowers

Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin' January 2010

Erica australis February 2009

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' February 2009

Hepatica americana February 2010

Pieris japonica February 2010

Camellia japonica March 2010

 Chionodoxa luciliae March 2010

There is not a huge number of plants that bloom in winter in Seattle.  But it is a real treat to walk in the garden on a sunny winter day & find plants in bloom.  Winter blossoms are often fragrant.  The sweet scent of Hamamelis x intermedia (Witch Hazel) fills the air with enchantment.  Many Mahonia bloom early in the year.  Some of the earliest are listed below.  Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ can bloom before the winter solstice, other selections bloom later in winter.  Early-flowering Camellia japonica also bloom in winter, but fully double flowers can rot in winter rain.  1 of the earliest perennials to bloom in Seattle gardens is Euphorbia rigida in January.  It is followed a few weeks later by Euphorbia myrsinites.  A stunning combination of purple & yellow flowers is Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’ & Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ in February.  

Visit the Witt Winter Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle for color & fragrance on a sunny winter day.  I’ve gathered these names from sources including the Cascadia Garden, the plant list for the Witt Winter Garden, Bulbs by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix, Perennials by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix, Shrubs by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix.  These encyclopedic books by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix have are ordered by bloom time rather than alphabet, making it easy to find flowers for every season.  During very cold winters, some of these plants may be pushed toward spring bloom.  Many spring-flowering plants bloomed during the very warm winter of 2010.

Winter Flower Plant List
Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry)
Corylus maxima 'Atropurpurea Superba'
Hamamelis x intermedia, Hamamelis japonica, Hamamelis mollis (Witch Hazel)
Prunus mume (Japanese Apricot) Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ (Winter Cherry)

Abeliophyllum distichum (White Forsythia)
Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’ & others, Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ & others
Chimonanthus praecox (Wintersweet)
Corylopsis glabrescens, Corylopsis pauciflora, Corylopsis sinensis, Corylopsis spicata (Winter Hazel)
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ (Hazel)
Daphne mezereum
Edgeworthia chrysantha
Erica australis, Erica carnea, Erica x darleyensis
Forsythia giraldiana, Forsythia ovata
Garrya x issaquahensis (Silktassel)
Jasminum nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine)
Lonicera standishii
Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’, Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) Mahonia bealei, Mahonia mairei, Mahonia repens
Pieris japonica
Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’, Rhododendron cyanocarpum, Rhododendron barbatum, Rhododendron dauricum ‘Midwinter’, Rhododendron lutescens, Rhododendron moupinense, Rhododendron mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink', Rhododendron ririei, Rhododendron strigillosum
Ribes laurifolium, Ribes sanguineum
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
Sarcococca confusa, Sarcococca hookeriana, Sarcococca humilis, Sarcococca ruscifolia
Viburnum x bodnantense, Viburnum farreri, Viburnum tinus

Corydalis cava
Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’, Crocus tommasinianus, Crocus vernus
Cyclamen coum
Euphorbia myrsinites, Euphorbia rigida
Chionodoxa luciliae (Glory of the Snow)
Eranthis cilicica, Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)
Erythronium dens-canis (Dog-tooth Violet)
Galanthus (Snowdrops)
Hacquetia epipactis
Helleborus foetidus, Helleborus lividus, Helleborus x hybridus, Helleborus niger, Helleborus x sternii (Hellebore)
Hepatica americana (Liverwort)
Iris histrioides, Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, Iris reticulata
Leucojum vernum (Spring Snowflake)
Narcissus ‘Little Gem’, Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’, Narcissus ‘Small Talk’, Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’, Narcissus ‘WP Milner’ (Daffodil)
Primula elatior, Primula x juliana, Primula vulgaris (Primrose)
Trillium ovatum (Wake Robin)
Tulipa turkestanica (Tulip)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tukwila Pond Park

Tukwila Pond October 2010

Arbutus menziesii bark at Tukwila Pond Park October 2010

Arbutus menziesii fruit at Tukwila Pond Park October 2010

Pseudotsuga menziesii cone at Tukwila Pond Park October 2010

Rosa gymnocarpa hip at Tukwila Pond Park October 2010

Tukwila Pond October 2010 

 Tukwila Pond October 2010

I found Tukwila Pond Park on the web.  I don’t know how that happened, because there is very little information about it there.  However, I learned that the pond was behind the Target store, just across from Westfield Southcenter shopping mall.  After that, I saw the sign every time I drove on Strander Blvd.  I would tell myself that one day I would stop.  Years passed as I imagined a tiny pothole lined with cattails.  When I finally visited the pond in October of 2010, I was amazed.  Tukwila Pond is huge.  The park covers 25 acres.  The pond is lined with cottonwood trees (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) so that very few of the surrounding retail & industiral buildings are visible.  2 spacious viewing platforms extend into the pond.  There is enough land on the western shore for a pavilion with restrooms, shelter & information about the park.  Picnic tables are spread thoughout the area.  The very brief description at the City of Tukwila website says that the park was financed & organized by volunteers.  This strengthens my feeling that the Tukwila Pond is the step-child of the Tukwila parks system.  The path from Strander Blvd has been covered by the edge of an asphalt parking lot.  No parking is provided. (You can park in the Target lot.)  An attempt was made to plant native species.  But these are mixed with a hodgepodge of uninspired, older plantings.  Even so, the pond is an amazing & beautiful work of nature.  It formed in a low-lying area when water began to run off from the hard surfaces of buildings, streets & parking lots that replaced farmland starting in the 1950s.

Friday, January 7, 2011

December Garden Pictures & Bloom Times

Collards December 2010

Corylus avellana 'Contorta' December 2010

Crows, clouds, Cascades December 2010

Helleborus argutifolius December 2010

Pieris japonica 'Variegata' December 2010

Very little began to bloom in my garden in December.  I included dates from previous years.  If you have plants that bloom in December in Seattle, please let me know.  December was wetter & warmer than usual, although the last few days were below freezing at night with frost on the ground throughout the day.  Leaf & flower buds began to form on many plants.  New shoots of Helleborus x hybridus grew to 3 inches.  Flower buds of Helleborus argutifolius & Helleborus x sternii were the size of my thumb.  Flower buds of Magnolia stellata were fuzzy gray olives.  Sedum 'Matrona', 'Brilliant' & 'Autumn Joy' were delicate, gray rosettes densely clustered on the ground.  Hemerocallis foliage emerged.  Still-very-solid catkins of Corylus avellana 'Contorta' began to droop from twisted branches.  

December Bloom Times
12-22-10  Erica x darleyensis 'Mary Ellen' 1-18-10, 12-05-08
12-27-10  Cyclamen coum 1-06-10, 12-05-08, 1-01-08
12-28-10  Primula x juliana ‘Wanda’ 1-28-10, 2-14-09