129 posts in Plant Profiles

July 2010 Plant Profile: Cornus elliptica

Taxonomically confusing and undecisive, but I am so enamored by this small tree from China.
We have this stunning specimen growing here at CUH (within the Fragrance Garden, though it’s not fragrant at all) and, each June-July, I stare in amazement at the glossy evergreen foliage blushed in deep red and bronze with a smattering of star-like bracts that cover almost the entire tree from top to bottom. 

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June 2010 Plant Profile: Rosa ‘AUSboard’ [Gertrude Jekyll]

One of David Austin’s timeless tributes to the famous garden designer. In bloom since mid-May, this English Rose is one of the most captivating and richly scented of all his hybrids and does reasonably well for us in the Puget Sound region.
Common Name: Gertrude Jekyll Rose
Location: Soest Garden Bed 5
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 4-6ft.
Spread: 5-6ft. 

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May 2010 Plant Profile: Lupinus ‘The Governor’

Lupines have long been staples in the perennial border. With their elegant line, exquisite colors and fine-textured foliage, they create accents, punctuation, and almost a wave of movement when used as a group in both the garden and in cut flower arrangements. We have just one lupine in the Soest Garden and it is a seedling strain known as ‘The Governor’. 

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April 2010 Plant Profile: Epimedium

It has taken me almost three years to get the chance to feature one of my most favorite of all blooming shade perennials and with a wide assortment of them beginning to hit their peak, I will discuss the entire genus. Known as” Barrenwort” to some, “Fairy Wings” to others and “Horny Goat Weed” to herbalist, I am talking about the enchanting Epimedium. 

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March 2010 Plant Profile: Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Ancilla’

Very VERY early this season, but the weather has been outstanding for this little gem. Having lasted a decade in these beds, ‘Anclla’ still keeps coming strong each spring with these outstanding blooms.
They are reliably perennial and stunningly beautiful as a mass or group planting.
Common Name: Ancilla Tulip
Location: Soest Garden Bed 6
Family: Liliacea
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 6-8″
Spread: Can form tight clumps after several years
Bloom Time: Usually mid-late March onto April
Bloom Type/Color: Cream colored tepals with bright orange red centers. 

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January 2010 Plant Profile: Viola odorata ‘Lianne’

The charmingly dainty Sweet Violet seems to have disappeared off the list of garden perennial favorites over the years. Having garnered the reputation of seeding themselves aggressively and being difficult to eradicate from lawns, many gardeners have come to despise violets. But modern gardeners are missing out by overlooking violets long history, their early spring show, and of course, their richly scented blooms that are best admired by taking gentle whiffs like Victorian young ladies were taught to smell their nosegays. 

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December 2009 Plant Profile: Garrya x issaquahensis ‘Pat Ballard’

Discovered in the garden of Pat Ballard in Issaquah as a cross between G. fremontii and the more common G. elliptica, this is one of the most spectacular broadleaf evergreen shrubs to have in the winter landscape. It is truly exquisite in January-February with its semi-glossy medium green leaves adorned with elegant 12-inch “silk tassels”. It is a very tough shrub that is relatively pest and disease free and it is remarkably drought tolerant once it has established. 

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November 2009 Plant Profile: Berberis (Mahonia) x ‘Charity’

This month’s plant profile strays away from the usual herbaceous perennials featured here, but the plant looks so tremendous at this time of year, it is very deserving of a place in the perennial garden as a “backbone” plant. Its size, color, texture, and form make it an ideal backdrop for spring, summer and fall perennials plants, but as everything lays low for winter, this shrub takes center stage. 

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October 2009 Plant Profile: Eryngium leavenworthii

Recommended by our own restoration ecologist, Kern Ewing, who saw this species at a restoration site in Texas, seed was obtained and sown as an experiment and transplanted into Bed 6 of the Soest Garden where it has thrived and looked absolutely spectacular as it began to do its thing. Considered an annual or short lived perennial; this striking sea holly flowers very late in the season producing a profusion of thistle-like silvery blooms that mature to a fluorescent violet pink. 

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September 2009 Plant Profile: Tricyrtis ‘Taipei Silk’

Probably because of the common name of “Toad Lily”, Tricyrtis is a genus that is still highly underutilized in the fall landscape. They are adaptable, easy to grow and just require moist shade and protection from slugs. While some selections tend to be somewhat floppy and unattractive, ‘Taipei Silk’ stays relatively tidy and in late summer into early fall, it is absolutely loaded with deep purple buds and lovely 1″ blooms that burst open to reveal a lovely blend of violet pink, blending to white in the center with a hint of blue at the tips. 

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