Saturday, October 23, 2010

Almost too late!

Our cold spring & cool Summer have meant that some of our plants that crave warmer temperatures are only just getting around to flowering!

(Not holding my breath for any bananas!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Windcliff Garden

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to visit Windcliff the garden of Daniel J. Hinkley & Robert Jones. Walking around the garden with Dan & looking at all his wild collected plants from around the world is a plant nuts dream!


The Eucryphia

The Eucryphia are in full flower this week, there are about 7 species of this small tree from Southern hemisphere most are from Australasia but a couple come from the Andes of Chile & Argentina. They are well suited to the mild zone 8 climate of the UK, Coastal BC & Washington state. Our Oregon garden is 100 miles away from the coast & though officially zone 8 only 1 species thrives here, Eucryphia glutinosa which is a reliable zone 7 plant.

      Eucryphia glutinosa

Several other species grow in our garden including the English classic Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Nymansay' from Nyman's Garden Sussex. While it still flowers profusely it has a much harder time than the more robust E. glutinosa in our climate.

Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Nymansay'

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tabaco del Diablo

Lobelia tupa
The Devils Tobacco
Looking great in the garden this week is Lobelia tupa, this Chilean native is know as Devils tobacco probably because of it's hallucinogenic properties. It's considered a sacred plant by the Mapuche Indians of Southern Chile. Our plants come from seed that was wild collected in Chile in 2005. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just Wierd

Platycarya strobilacea flowers a just a bit weird! These obscure members of the Walnut family are growing in an out of the way corner of the the Hoyt Arboretum. The central cone like catkin is the female part of the flower surrounded by the male pollen producers.

Not your old Ohio Buckeye!

Had a chance to spend a few hours at the Hoyt Arboretum yesterday afternoon & a couple of Summer flowering Buckeyes really stood out! In the foreground is Aesculus californica & in the background Aesculus wilsonii from China. Though very similar the Aesculus wilsonii had the better shape & form.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Star Anise

Star Anise are small evergreen trees that are native Asia, South Eastern North America & the West Indies. They should not be confused with the Anise herb Pimpinella anisum

Japanese Star Anise Illicium anisatum is one of the more commonly seen species. It is used to make incense in Japan but the fruits are toxic if eaten! 

Flowering for the first time in our garden this year is the very cool Illicium henryi from Southern China.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Venus Dogwood

Cornus 'Venus' a cross between Cornus kousa & Cornus nutallii has been flowering for about 3 weeks now & still looks great in the garden.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Chilean Fire Bush

I wish this Embothrium coccineum was growing in our garden but it isn't! It started out it's life on our Nursery but is now growing just down the road at Norbert Kinnen's Big Phat Plants Nursery.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sinocalycanthus chinensis

One of our favorite June flowering plants is the Chinese Sweetshrub a close relative of the American Sweetshrubs Calycanthus floridus & Calycanthus occidentalis. The flowers look like they are almost artificial which would help explain another of it's Common names the Chinese Wax Shrub. Can be grown in full Sun or complete shade.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pink Yellow & Blue!

In the garden this week, the shrimp pink new foliage of Acer palmatum 'Geisha', the tiny yellow flowers of Corokia x virgata 'Sunsplash' & the cool blue flowers of Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls'

Friday, May 14, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

In Search of the Dove Tree.

Few trees have been searched for with as much zeal & resource as the once elusive Dove Tree. First discovered in 1868 by French missionary and naturalist Père Armand David (He was also the first Westerner to describe the Giant Panda!). In 1899 Sir Harry Veitch of Vietch Nurseries England commissioned Plant Collector Ernest Wilson for three years. His Goal was to travel to China & search for interesting plant material in general but it was always understood that the main focus of the journey was to find & bring back Dove Tree Seed.

So in 1899 Wilson set off for remote Sichuan province with only a hand drown map to a single tree that had been seen 11 years before in 1888! This was no easy journey he survived an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in Hong Kong before even getting to China. Once there he escaped local bandits, and nearly drowned when his boat overturned. Finally in 1900 with the help of locals he arrived at the location marked on the map only to find that tree had been chopped down!!!

Undaunted he continued his search and was finally rewarded a month or so latter when he found several trees that were heavily flowering. In the Fall of that year a large quantity of seed was collected & sent back to England in 1901.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dogwood Heaven

It's Dogwood Heaven in Western Oregon this week! With all those new fancy cultivars out there it's still hard to beat the old faithful Cornus florida 'Rubra' when it's in flower! This one grows in our garden & is about 50 years old.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Indian Rhubarb

One of our favorites in the garden is Darmera peltata, native to West side of Southern Oregon & Northern California is makes a great garden perennial. A slow but steady grower with stunning pink flower stems before the foliage emerges in the Spring.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Koto Strings & a Creature's Red Face!

With the return of Spring come the fantastic colors of new Japanese Maple foliage. Here are a couple that are leafing out in our garden this week.

Acer palmatum 'Koto No Ito'
楓 ’琴の糸’
Koto Strings (a Japanese string instrument)

Acer palmatum 'Shindeshojo'
楓 ’新出狸々’
Shojo is a mythical Chinese creature with a red face!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Signs of life!

Wisteria floribunda 'Black Dragon'
The first Wisteria we grafted 6 weeks ago & potted 2 weeks ago are now showing signs of life! Next we have to go through them all & remove the flower buds so that they don't flower themselves to death before they have enough new roots.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ribes sanguineum 'Brocklebankii'

Flowering in the garden this week: Ribes sanguineum 'Brocklebankii', native to the Pacific Northwest but this cultivar arose in the UK then traveled back to America! The pink flowers are set off by the yellow foliage. Brocklebankii is significantly slower growing that most green leafed cultivars of the species.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Osmanthus delavayi

Osmanthus delavayi is often given short shrift in favor of some of the more exotic members of the Osmanthus family but it's hard to beat when in flower! But then so many of the plants discovered & collected by Jean Marie Delavay in the 1800's are still hard to beat even today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Aesculus Liners

Aesculus hippocastanum 'Lacineata', A. neglecta 'Erythroblastos' & A. glabra 'Nana', grafted last month & now leafing out! Here are a few more Aesculus pics from our garden.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Potting begins!

So while I spent Saturday grafting Wisteria & listening to BBC Radio 4 podcasts Chiyoko began potting up the grafts that we put on the callus bed 3 weeks ago. Beginning with about 25 cultivars of Hamamelis!

Stewartia monodelpha is up!

The Stewartia monodelpha that we sowed last fall has finally made it through the perlite! Looks like the S. rostrata, S. sinensis & S. pseudocamellia are going to sit & wait until next year though!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wisteria grafting

This weekend we began grafting our 2010 Wisteria crop. We cleft graft bareroot seedlings & put them on our callus bed for a couple of weeks before potting them up.

Azara microphylla

Our favorite & toughest Azara is flowering in the garden this week. Our coldest winter temperatures in more than 20 years (10F) didn't do it any harm!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Watering Time...

With temps in the high 50's & low 60's over the last few days our plants are waking up & demanding water! Many haven't had a drink since last November.

Hellebore Heaven

It's Hellebore heaven here in the Plantmad Garden at the moment! Here are a few more pics!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cyclamen trochopteranthum

Probaby the two most available species of hardy Cyclamen are C. hederifolium which flowers in the fall & C. coum which flowers in the Spring. However there are a great many more. One of our favorites is Cyclamen trochopteranthum. Native to the to rocky areas of Southwest Turkey it's certainly tough! Our plant has lived happily in this pot for about 10 years or so. Every so often I remember to throw a bit of fertilizer on top and this last winter they froze solid in the pot during our coldest weather in 20 years!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Distylium racemosum

Distylium racemosum
A rather bland and nondescript plant most of the year this Hamamelidaceae does have its good points. Its an excellent hardy evergreen tree & it flowers in February!

Cornus officinalis 'Kintoki'

Cornus officinalis 'Kintoki'
山茱萸 (サンシュユ)
Flowering in our garden this week is Cornus officinalis 'Kintoki', the Asian version of Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry). Cornus officinalis flowers are just a touch deeper yellow in color and the bark is more exfoliating. The cultivar Kintoki is a semi dwarf selection.

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring, the Stewartia monodelpha seed Chiyoko sowed last November is now beginning to germinate.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This Chinese cultivar of Wintersweet looks very similar to the cultivar 'Luteus' but for us it grows a little faster. Like 'Luteus' the flowers have a fantastic winter time scent. Began Flowering in our garden this year on January 15th.