137 posts in Plant Profiles

July 2008 Plant Profile: Disporum cantoniense ‘Night Heron’

“Sleek and sophisticated” many say about this outstanding perennial from Dan Hinkley of the former Heronswood Nursery. The emerging stems of this much sought after perennial are strikingly deep red, almost black, stalks with pink sheaths that give it the appearance of a rare and enticing bamboo. The slender stalks are then topped with interesting green, bell-shaped flowers and the plant “greens up” eventually. 

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June 2008 Plant Profile: Hosta ‘June’

This month’s perennial plant pick is appropriately named ‘June’. This has been one of the finest variegated Hostas ever introduced because of its exceptional color, substance and humble vigor. It is a mutation of the ever popular blue cultivar ‘Halcyon’ (in fact, you can see both varieties growing next to each other in Bed 7 to see the resemblance). Hostas are hot right now with such a diverse selection available. 

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May 2008 Plant Profile: Allium schubertii

Ornamental tumbleweed onion
One of Ciscoe Morris’s picks is this early summer sparkler that’s starting to bloom  as we speak.Bed 6 is home to several flowering onions that begin to open in late may, but this species is the most impressive of all with it’s huge “beach ball” size inflorescence composed of over 200 florets. What’s striking of all is the fact that when the entire seedhead dries, it is still highly ornamental in the garden and, yes, looks like a starry tumbleweed, but far more decorative. 

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April 2008 Plant Profile: Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

“So good, it’s almost too good” my friend and colleague Richie Steffen, Curator at the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, said about this plant when it was selected as a Great Plant Pick (www.greatplantpicks.org).  This is a fairly new addition to the Soest garden as part of a collection of various silver-variegated cultivars. ‘Jack Frost’ is, by far, the most popular of these selections for its large heart-shaped silver leaves netted in green, profuse “forget-me-not” blooms in mid-late spring, and remarkable vigor and hardiness. 

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March 2008 Plant Profile: Anemone nemorosa x nemorosa ‘Vestal’

Another early season charmer, this sweet little ground hugger has captivated avid gardeners for years and we’re fortunate to have several clumps of this spring ephemeral under the new Shade Bed under the large Oak in the Soest Garden. Topping out at only 6 inches in height and forming a clump about a foot wide, the tight buds burst into pure white with a single row of guard petals encasing a central tuft of frilly pompoms. 

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February 2008 Plant Profile: Helleborus Ivory Prince (‘Walhelivor’)

Helleborus Ivory Prince (‘Walhelivor’)
Introduced a few years ago, Skagit Gardens kindly donated three plants of this lovely hellebore. Developed by English plant breeder David Tristram, this fabulous perennial is strikingly evergreen with blue green foliage faintly marbled in silver gray. In January, pale maroon-pink buds emerge from the base and slowly develop and come into bloom in February when it opens to a 3” cream white flower with a green base and over a period of several weeks, it gently ages to a pale green with a pink cast. 

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October 2007 Plant Profile: Chrysanthemum ‘Apricot’

Chrysanthemums or simply “mums” have always been frowned upon by savvy gardeners for being so common, disposable and overused. However, when sophisticated gardeners come across ‘Apricot’ in the Soest Garden, nothing else makes them fall to their knees begging to have this profusion of bloom and warm delicate color in their autumn landscape. Starting in mid-October, deep pink buds burst open like a fireworks display of peachy pink petals and continue through frost! 

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September 2007 Plant Profile: Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’

Known in the trade as Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, it certainly lives up to that name come fall. This “tough as nails” perennial thrives in fully exposed sites, poor soil with very little irrigation once established. Another beautiful quality about this plant is its winter interest as the leaves fall and you’re left with the dried slim stems and clusters of flowers that persist until basal new growth commences in the spring. 

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August 2007 Plant Profile: Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’ and ‘Black Negligee’

Black-Leafed Snakeroot/Bugbane
Formerly called Cimicifuga, these sexy dark-leafed selections have taken the perennial garden world by storm with its elegant form and architectural habit in the garden.
The fine fern-like foliage emerges a deep green that ultimately deepen in color as the summer progresses and by late summer, strong erect stems catapult spikes of curvy, voluptuous, creamy-white blooms that have a soft fragrance. 

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July 2007 Plant Profile: Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ (Blue Sea Holly)

The sea hollies put on quite a show every June and July and this selection, by far, has been one of the most outstanding ever introduced to the Pacific Northwest. While many Eryngiums sulk and flower poorly in our mild and often wet Pacific Northwest conditions, ‘Sapphire Blue’ not only holds up under these conditions, it actually flowers prolifically in full blazing sun and dryish conditions once it is established making it quite drought tolerant and relatively carefree. 

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