Friday, June 24, 2011

Bloedel Reserve: The Moss Garden

The Moss Garden at Bloedel Reserve April 2011

In a series of coincidence, Rusty gave me the photographic book The Japanese Gardens: Kyoto for my birthday in March 2011.  The April 2011 issue of Garden Design included an article about moss in the gardens of Kyoto.  Rusty & I saw the Moss Garden at the Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge Island, Washington near Seattle, also in April 2011.  In Garden Design: A World Apart, Susan Heeger wrote of the Moss Garden at Saiho-ji, “The Garden’s most celebrated aspect, the legion of mosses in different shades of green that swath hummocks & hills & mounds around the pond, almost certainly arose on its own in the humid climate.  The verdant carpet sprouted & spread on these shady slopes, suggesting a place much more natural than designed. ‘Mosses invited themselves into the gardens of Japan & thereby invented moss gardening,’ George Schenk wrote in Moss Gardening, his authorative book.”  The famous Moss Garden of Saiho-ji is found in a grove surrounding the Golden Pond, where the growth of more than 120 species of mosses is said to have started after a flood. ‘Outside of Japan, ground-covering mosses more extensive than a few square yards remain rare in gardens,’ writes George Schenk in Moss Gardening.  I was unable to find information about the origin of the Moss Garden at Bloedel Reserve.  But the entire Reserve lies in a very moist micro-climate.  There are many ponds, bogs & streams.  Moss is everywhere, clinging to trees & shrubs, covering areas of forest floor.  In the Moss Garden, moss carpets the ground in a large, boggy area drained by small channels of flowing water & shaded by native conifers. The Moss Garden is adjacent to the Japanese Garden. The path curves through on its way to the Reflection Pool.  Unlike the Japanese Garden, the Moss Garden looks very natural to western Washington, although unnaturally open & clear of debris.  700 species of mosses grow along the Pacific Northwest Coast.  The Bloedel Reserve website provides this short description, ‘In this hushed garden room, with its dense living carpet, wiry huckleberries spring from decaying stumps and huge skunk cabbages crowd the dampest places under a canopy of lacy angelica trees, creating a mysterious  landscape.’

The Moss Garden at Saiho-ji from The Japanese Gardens: Kyoto

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mercer Slough Nature Park

The Blueberry Farm, with the blueberry field in the middle distance & Downtown Bellevue on the horizon.

 Bridge across Mercer Slough.

 Mercer Slough, blueberry field at left.

Trail through the wetland.

Rubus spectabilis (Salmon Berry)

Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch)

Lysichiton americanum (Skunk Cabbage)

Salix hookeriana (Hooker's Willow)

A large blueberry bush (Vaccinium corymbosum) growing wild at right, with Cornus stolonifera (Red-twig Dogwood) Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood) & Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch) behind. Photos taken in April 2011

Mercer Slough Nature Park covers 320 acres in the City of Bellevue, just a short drive across Lake Washington from Seattle on Interstate 90.  The slough runs under I-90 as it empties into Lake Washington.  Easy access to the park can be found very near the freeway on Bellevue Way SE, the 1st Bellevue exit, at the Blueberry Farm.  According to the Heritage Trail sign pictured above, 'Contruction of the Chittenden Locks in 1916 lowered Lake Washington’s water level about ten feet.  When farmers discovered the newly-exposed peat soils around Mercer Slough, its landscape quickly changed to a patchwork of crop fields.  Ernest Van Tyne established this this blueberry farm in 1947.  Today the field is a public asset managed by the City of Bellevue Parks Department.  Bring your family to the farm each summer from mid-July to mid-September to enjoy the fun of U-pick blueberries.'  The package design for Overlake Blueberries was a familiar sight to me, in the frozen food section of Seattle supermarkets, when I was a child.  It shows a view of the original Lake Washington Floating Bridge, looking east from Seattle.  The bridge was completed in 1940, enabling the development of the suburbs that now make up the Eastside.  Before that, passenger ferries crossed the lake.  The Mercer Slough wetlands are beautiful at any time of year, filled with birds & native plants.  Park infrastructure was designed by Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects of Seattle.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Allium in the Cascadia Garden

Allium 'Globemaster' May 2009

Allium karataviense May 2010

Allium cernuum June 2009

Allium cristophii June 2010

 Allium unifolium June 2009

I love Allium in my garden in Seattle.  I got my 1st Allium bulbs in 1995 from John Scheepers, Inc.  They were Allium karataviense & Allium neapolitanum.  The Allium neapolitanum soon became a thick mass of foliage with no blooms.  Allium karativiense slowly spread through the garden, with & without my help.  It has beautiful foliage & pretty flowers.  Allium foliage tends to dry up as the flowers begin to open.  Next up was Allium christophii, which remains my favorite.  The flowers heads are huge, the color stunning.  Then came the impressive Allium 'Globemaster' with large, dense flower heads on tall stems.  Nectaroscordum siculum is an interesting Allium relative with large, nodding bells.  The other Allium I like, but don't love.  I can see that Allium cernuum would easily spread to every sunny inch of the garden.  Now I cut off the small flower heads before they set seed.  I've included the bloom times I've observed in my garden. Allium require no care & very little water.

List of Allium in the Cascadia Garden (with bloom times)
Allium aflatunense 5-08-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
Allium cernuum  6-12-09
Allium cristophii 5-16-10, 5-26-09, 5-25-08
Allium ‘Globemaster’ 5-04-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
Allium karataviense 5-01-10, 5-09-09, 5-10-08
Allium neapolitanum
Allium nigrum
Allium schubertii 5-22-10, 5-23-09, 5-25-08
Allium senescens 9-05-10, 9-12-08
Allium taquetii  7-02-08
Allium unifolium 5-27-10, 5-30-09, 5-25-08
Nectaroscordum siculum (formerly Allium bulgaricum) 5-07-10, 5-20-09, 5-22-08

Friday, June 3, 2011

May Garden Pictures & Bloom Times

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' May 2010

Heuchera americana 'Plum Pudding', Primula japonica May 2010

Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' May 2010

Trillium luteum, Saruma henryi May 2010

Vaccinium ovatum May 2010

Below is a list of plants that began to bloom in my garden in Seattle in May 2010. I recorded the date when the 1st flower opened, not when they were in bud. I think this information is helpful in planning your garden. If you have room for more plants that bloom in May, you can choose something new that will bloom along with something you already have, or you can fill temporal gaps between blooms.  Nurseries in Seattle usually sell plants when they are in bloom. I have included dates from previous years. Weather conditions probably account for most of the difference in bloom times.  May 2011 was colder & wetter than normal.  The average daily high temperature was 59.7F/15.4C.  The normal average daily high temperature is 64.4F/18C. We had 3.2 inches of rain, 1.42 more than normal.  There were 18 cloudy days, 9 partly cloudy days & 4 sunny days.

05-04-11  Lewisia leeana 5-05-09
05-05-11  Sedum kamtschaticum 4-18-10, 5-03-09, 5-15-08
05-06-11  Syringa vulgaris 4-02-10, 4-28-09, 4-28-08
05-06-11  Tulipa batalinii ‘Apricot Jewel’ 4-22-10, 5-03-09
05-07-11  Hypericum cerastoides 4-24-10, 5-10-09
05-07-11  Rhododendron decorum 5-10-09
05-09-11  Lewisia columbiana
05-09-11  Weigela coraeensis 4-17-10, 5-08-09, 5-10-08
05-09-11  Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ 4-23-10, 5-10-09, 5-18-08
05-10-11  Smilacina racemosa 4-24-10, 5-08-09
05-12-11  Allium karataviense 5-01-10, 5-09-09, 5-10-08
05-12-11  Eschscholzia californica 5-26-09
05-12-11  Primula japonica
05-12-11  Rhododendron ‘Cynthia’ 4-24-10, 5-06-09, 5-05-08
05-13-11  Camassia quamash 4-25-10, 5-10-09, 5-10-08 
05-13-11  Campanula carpatica 5-15-10, 5-23-09, 5-18-08 
05-13-11  Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Yoshinogawa’ 4-17-10, 5-08-09, 5-10-08
05-15-11  Crambe maritima 5-01-10, 5-15-09, 5-18-08
05-15-11  Maianthemum dilatatum 5-09-09
05-15-11  Rhododendron ‘Blue Peter’ 4-24-10, 5-14-09, 5-10-08
05-16-11  Allium aflatunense 5-08-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
05-16-11  Allium ‘Globemaster’ 5-04-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
05-16-11  Geranium sanguineum 5-03-09
05-16-11  Pratia pedunculata 5-04-10, 5-16-09, 5-10-08
05-16-11  Rhododendron occidentale 4-27-10,
05-18-11  Euphorbia nicaeensis 5-16-09
05-18-11  Ornithogalum umbellatum 4-28-10 , 5-10-09, 5-15-08
05-18-11  Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ 5-01-10, 5-16-09
05-19-11  Geranium himalayense 5-10-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
05-19-11  Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ 5-01-10, 5-20-09
05-19-11  Trillium luteum 4-09-10, 5-08-09
05-19-11  Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’ 5-03-10, 5-19-09, 5-22-08
05-20-11  Rhododendron yakushimanum ‘Yaku Princess’ 5-11-10, 5-14-09, 5-15-08
05-21-11  Allium cristophii 5-16-10, 5-26-09, 5-25-08
05-21-11  Iris macrosiphon 5-01-10, 5-18-09, 5-19-08
05-21-11  Paeonia veitchii 5-18-10
05-22-11  Homoglad (Homoglossum x Gladiolus)
05-22-11  Nectaroscordum siculum 5-07-10, 5-20-09, 5-22-08
05-22-11  Sorbus rehderiana
05-23-11  Neillia affinis
05-23-11  Rosa rugosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ 5-06-10, 5-18-09, 5-15-08
05-24-11  Iris douglasiana 5-07-10, 5-18-09, 5-18-08
05-24-11  Weigela florida ‘Rubidor’ 5-10-10, 5-25-08
05-25-11  Iris chrysophylla 5-08-10
05-27-11  Heuchera micrantha
05-30-11  Allium schubertii 5-22-10, 5-23-09, 5-25-08
05-30-11  Gaultheria shallon 5-04-10, 5-20-09, 5-22-08
05-30-11  Scilla peruviana 5-03-10, 5-25-09, 5-19-08
05-30-11  Sorbus gonggashanica 5-13-10, 5-18-09, 5-25-08