January 2018 Plant Profile: Salix fargesii

Salix fargesii buds

Species: Salix fargesii Family: Salicaceae Common Name: Chinese willow, Farges willow Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society: 2012 This very attractive willow was “discovered” by Isaac Henry Burkill in 1899 and introduced to the west from central China in 1910 by E.H. Wilson. In 1908 Wilson collected his specimens in the woodlands near Fang Hsien at an altitude of 6000 feet. 

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December Plant Profile: Liquidambar styraciflua

Common Name: Sweetgum  Family: Altingiaceae Locations: there are 12 of these trees in our collection: for specific locations check our Living Collections database We also have some of the Asian species; Liquidambar acalycina, Liquidambar formosana and Liquidambar orientalis Origin: Eastern, southeast and lower central United States, Mexico and Central America. Height and Spread: to150 feet in the wild and 60-80 feet in cultivation After our last couple weeks of wind storms most of the leaves have been blown from the trees. 

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July Plant Profile: Hydrangea integrifolia

Originally posted July 1, 2014 An evergreen hydrangea?!!  You betcha! There are very few evergreen vines for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, but this gorgeous gem from Asia is  becoming more readily available and it’s simply one of the coolest flowers you’ll ever get to witness opening. From plump, peony-like buds, they begin to slowly crack open, a froth of fertile flowers begin to form and over the course of a few days, a flat umbel “lacecap” begins to form. 

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June "Plant" Profile: Discovering Slime Molds

Fuligo septica by Flickr user Scot Nelson

This month, instead of profiling a plant, we’ll be profiling a completely different kind of organism… slime molds! In the fall of 2015, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture held an art exhibit about slime molds: Now You See It, the Slime Mold Revelation! I had never head of these organisms and was intrigued by the art display and the amazing enlarged photographs of their fruiting bodies. 

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March 2017 Plant Profile: Corokia cotoneaster

Corokia cotoneaster may not be the first plant that you notice in the landscape, but it might be the plant keeps your attention the longest. This plant’s divaricate branching (having branches of wide angles) and its tiny dark evergreen leaves give it a sparse and angular look which is not a common sight among the green gardens in the Pacific Northwest. 

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December 2016 Plant Profile: Arbutus unedo

Except for their bright red fruits and similar common names, the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) and the strawberry (Fragaria spp.) have nothing in common.  This tree is valued as an ornamental broadleaf evergreen for gardens and it has a long history of appreciation in Western cultures. The species name ‘unedo’ is attributed to Pliny the Elder who said of the fruit “Unum Tantum Edo” (Latin) meaning “I eat only one”.   

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