Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today's Favorite Plant - Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'

My favorite plant today is Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'.

The reason it is my favorite today, is that I originally planted it in 2010 and every year it has come up, I have accidentally stepped on it!

I don't know why I keep stepping on it really?!?

Some cosmic force makes me smash the life out if it each year after it starts coming up.

It's slightly hidden behind an Azalea where it is planted and the foliage is so dark, I guess I don't notice it among the bark mulch.

BUT this year I "just said no" to going anywhere near it. I haven't even really cleaned up in that entire garden section this spring. I was positive I wouldn't crush it this year with my clumsy big man-feet. 

'Night Heron' is a lovely, easy to grow perennial for shade. The foliage emerges black and unfurls into a bamboo-like shape arching to about 3'. The flowers are chartreuse bells in late April/early May.

It handles dry shade well and likes rich well-drained soil in woodland conditions. No problems with mine growing under the black walnut tree either, well, other than me trying to snuff out its life. 

Hardy to Zone 6. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bee Heaven

We had a smattering of sun over the weekend mixed with a little rain and wind.

The wind had me a little worried about some of the tree peonies flopping over and breaking. They were staked up, but you never know what will happen.

Watching massive wet flowers getting pummeled by the wind and rain is a bit more than my gardener's stomach can handle.

The thing about tree peonies in Portland is that their beauty is transient and their timing is poor.

When the buds bust open in late April, either it rains and the yellow pollen gets wet and stains the flowers or we have a freak early heat spell and it's 85 degrees and the flowers fry in the heat and sun.

There can never be a happy medium. 

During the sun breaks, I had to get out and admire them and all the busy bee activity around them.

Paeonia ostii 'Feng Dan Bai 鳳丹白'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代'

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Shima Nishiki 岛锦'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Rou Fu Rong 肉芙蓉'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Yin Hong Qiao Dui 银红巧对'

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today's Favorite Plant - Fire in the Shade!

Currently "on fire" in the shady front corner of the yard under the black walnut tree, today's favorite plant is Rhododendron x azalea Gable Hybrid 'Stewartsonian'. A semi-dwarf azalea with vivid, brick-red 2" single blooms.

It's very hard to ignore its densely packed, fire engine red, mass of flowers. The flowers are so dense that I can barely see the leaves. 
This shrub can be 5-6' tall by 4' wide. Generally, they seem to be more upright, but mine has been sprawling, with occasional entire branch pruning by my rambunctious Assistant Yvette.

Out of bloom, the leaves are 1" long, dark green and glossy.  

Best grown in organic-rich, moist and well-drained soil in a part sun to part shade exposure.

Hardy to -20 degrees, so perfect for Portland.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

So the Peonies Begin...

I get so excited when my peonies start blooming. It's hard to contain myself.

They bloom for such a short time, but I sure love them in my garden.

Asshole BugSlug is back. I had previously baited for slugs, but just noticed that the buds of 'Shima Nishiki' were being eaten again. Boy that's aggravating!

So one night I went out after dark and found an earwig on the stem of the plant. That earwig immediately met "The Big Earwig in the Sky". Then just to be safe, I used a not so good, but effective on earwigs, pesticide. 

Here are a few of the early flowering tree peonies.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代' (Glorious Reign Tree Peony)
Paeonia ostii 'Feng Dan Bai 鳳丹白' (Phoenix White Tree Peony)
Paeonia suffruticosa
Paeonia ostii 'Feng Dan Bai 鳳丹白' (Phoenix White Tree Peony) looking lovely.
Paeonia delaveyi - A baby on the far right poking out?
Nobody nibbles my buds and gets away with it!
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代'
Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii
Paeonia ostii 'Feng Dan Bai 鳳丹白' buds are popping.
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Seidei 聖代'
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Shima Nishiki岛锦' with bug nibbles on the bud.