Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Smiles from My Garden

Here are some things that made me smile in my garden this week.

The Solanum quitoense is once again going to produce fruit.

On of my camellias produced this interesting seed pod.  I've never had that happen before.  It might be interesting to save and try to grow the seeds.

Mahonia gracilipes is blooming for the first time.

It seems to be happy here.

This tiny Mahonia eurybracteata 'Indianola Silver'  that I got at Indianola during one of  their Northwest Perennial Alliance garden opens  was transplanted several weeks ago and hasn't died yet!

I hope your garden is full of plants that make you happy!   Happy weekend all!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trevesia palmata is my favorite plant...this week.

Trevesia palmata is another gorgeous member of the Araliaceae family.  I'm fortunate to have two of them.  One is Trevesia palmata and the other Trevesia palmata 'Micholitzii.'

There are two differences  I've noticed in the two plants; one  is the color of the tomentum on immature leaves, the other is that the leaves of 'Micholitzii' are more deeply incised  so they have a lacier look.  I am in no way an expert on this or any plant, these are just my observations of my two plants grown is similar conditions.

 In the straight species, the tomentum on immature leaves is this brownish tan color.

Looks like this as the leaf gets a bit larger.
 Mature leaves look like this. 

'Micholitzii' has a paler, almost white covering of fur.

Which becomes more pronounced as the leaves grow. 

Mature leaves look like this.  Can you see how it got the common name Snowflake Aralia?  San Marcos Growers website says that these are "15 - 20 foot trees with few to no side branches and topped with a crown of long stalked 1-2 foot wide leaves that are deeply lobed with each lobe deeply cut, giving the leaf a lacy snowflake look."  Like most members of this family, you can cut them to the ground, they'll come back, and you can root the top, doubling your collection.  It's such a beautiful plant, it's a pity we don't see them offered for sale very often. 

It makes a great houseplant and is tolerant of fairly low light conditions inside which is a good thing as it's only hardy to USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)  Mine come inside during the coldest months of the year. I got tiny plants a couple of times but failed with them.  these larger plants which have been with me for 2 and 4 years have been tough as nails.  It must have something to do with the "drought tolerant once established" thing and my forgetfulness about watering houseplants in the winter when it's sopping wet outside.  

Here's more interesting information from the San Marcos website:
"This species is indigenous to northern India, southern China, Vietnam and Thailand. In its native habitat this plant can be found growing to 30 feet tall but likely no more than 20 feet in cultivation and more often it is grown as a large shrub. It is sparsely branched with white pubescent stems and a loose broad canopy of oddly shaped leaves with small yellow flowers that are followed by 1/2 inch fruit in tight ball-like clusters. The most attractive aspect of this plant is its 2 to 2 1/2 foot wide, rounded in outline, leaves of a type called pseudocompound, meaning that they look compound but actually are not. The lobes (false leaflets) are attached to a rounded plate-like area at the base of the leaf that attaches to the 2 to 3 foot long prickly petioles. These lobes themselves are so intricately and deeply lobed that they individually look like pinnately compound leaves. The genus name Trevesia was described by the Italian botanist Roberto de Visiani (1800-1878) in 1840 to honor the family Treves of the Bonfili of Padua, who were great supporters of botanical research. The specific epithet was actually from a name described earlier by the Scottish botanist William Roxburgh (1751-1815) who had described this plant as Gastonia palmata and its specific name transferred with it to Trevesia in 1842 when Visiani segregated Gastonia. This specific epithet is in reference to the leaves being palmately lobed."

I'm Joining with Loree at Danger Garden in posting my weekly favorite.  Click on over to her blog to see other weekly favorites.  What plant is grabbing your attention this week?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Garden of Susan and Guy Pittman

One of the joys of getting to fill in from time to time at Jungle Fever Exotics Nursery, a place known for carrying weird and wonderful plants, is getting to meet the gardeners who share my plant addiction.  One day this summer, a nice couple came in, we started talking and, before you know it, I was invited to see their garden.  It turns out that they live very close to the school where I teach so we arranged an after work visit. 
The garden looks much better in person than these photos show.  It was early evening and the sun was still high in the sky.

We started at one side of the house which sits on an acre of land, although it feels like a much larger space!  The Pittman garden doesn't reveal itself all at once but rather leads you further and further in through paths and raised beds to discover layer after layer of  great plants, hardscape and artwork.

This wonderful shrub, whose name I forgot to write down,  looks an awfully lot like the one many of us fell in love with at Bella Madrona during the Garden Bloggers' fling tour in July. Does anyone remember the name of it? 

How beautiful the seed heads of the rodgersia look.

A nice patch of my favorite foliage plant, Podophyllum delavayi.

Kadsura japonica 'Variegata' aka Variegated Magnolia vine and Fallopia japonica 'Variegata' make a gorgeous foliage combination.  I killed my Fallopia so will be on the hunt for a replacement this spring!

Further along the garden path.

See the structure to the right of the picture?  Guy is building a greenhouse! 
Every inch of bed space is full of treasures but nothing looks crowded or unhappy.  (How do they do that?)

Again, my pictures in this light don't do the garden justice.  There are tons of lust worthy plants at every step.
Do you see the bright blue thing in the flower bed on the left?  It's one of Barbara Sanderson's fiddlestix of which there were several in the garden. 

Phytolacca Americana is a weed in some parts of the country but we love it here!  My seed heads/ berry clusters  hang down and have single glossy berries while this one bears them erect and the individual berries are each clusters of many small berries. Fancy hybrid or natural variation?

Ornamental apples glowing in the sunlight.

More fun!

A well-placed empty pot makes a great focal point.

Great ceramic sarracenias aren't fussy about soil type or moisture.

There were nearly no plants in the garden when the Pittmans first moved in but the large cement pond and some Koi were inherited!

Guy is a concrete wiz and created a lot of pieces for the garden.  Here is one of his giant spheres.
Guy's cast concrete bench which sits on carved rock. 

I've seen this fern in several gardens lately and should know what it is but don't.  Do you?

the front garden.

Guy made these concrete lamps  to line the driveway and provide illumination at night.

Guy's favorite, and mine too, is this concrete sphere.  He used a variety of concrete pigments and spread thin layers on top of each other then ground to different depths creating an interesting mottled look.

Here we are back out front.  Notice the opening in the porch roof to allow the tree to grow through.

And a view of the lake.  Delightful!
Creators and stewards of the garden, plant addicts, and really nice folk, Guy and Susan.
It is always a treat to make new plant addict friends!  Thanks so much Susan and Guy for sharing your splendid garden with me and allowing me to post about it.  I hope to return the favor once this construction business is over and I can get the garden put back together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-Up September 2014

Another random foliage follow up post of some of the things that caught my eye in the garden today.

Pinus densiflora ' Golden Ghost ' Variegated Japanese Red Pine that I got recently on sale.  

In slightly different light  the variegation appears more golden.  Isn't  it sweet?

 Manihot grahamii that made it through the winter in a pot in the mostly unheated glass room.  Just noticed that it's flowering.  Sorry Pam but it's really a foliage plant!

Even though I mostly forgot to water it, Ensete maurelii (Red Abyssinian Banana) put on some nice growth this season.
 The tallest of my Tetrapanax  is way taller than I.  Interestingly, this is growing in a spot where I planted one years ago and tried for years after to get it to stop growing there.  Since I gave up and let it go along with my hopes of having a bed with full sun exposure, I feel much better.

Looks like it's going to try and bloom this year.  It's always a race to see if they can beat the first freeze.

Sedum palmeri looks great all year except when the gardener forgets to cut the scraggly bits, and requires very little care.

 Agaves & an aloe with some echiverias.  I laughed when I saw this faux skull with golden horns.  From the lesser known late 80's work of Georgia O'keeffe after her tryst with Patrick Nagel.

O.K. I don't need another Yucca 'Bright Star' but this one was so pretty and of a nice size and was on sale for 50% off.  It was the last one there and was in a group of  Yucca gloriosa variegatas.  It needed rescuing.

Last but not least is a variegated gingko tree with no name.  Buchholz and Buchholz  grew some of these years ago and this was one of theirs that came to me through an interesting turn of events.  It's a long story so we'll have coffee and talk about it someday.

Foliage Follow-Up is hosted by Pam Penick at Digging on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to remind us of the importance of foliage in our gardens.