Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monrovia's Demise May Be a Sign That Corporate Owned Nurseries Just Don't Grow

I keep reading these articles and blog postings about Monrovia. 'The Death of Monrovia', 'Goodbye to Brand Names'- I have a few thoughts about that and I feel comfortable sharing with you. I know you may, or may not agree.

Poor, poor Monrovia.
I really want to say that some people are only half informed. Sometimes even me.
Monrovia may have to sell their product to the box stores. If they do decide to go this route then they should choose to strip off all the Monrovia taggage and Monrovia pots should be replaced with basic black.
This quick sell is the fast way the banks are seeing that Monrovia can save itself, but maybe the bank just doesn't look at reality.
The reality is most box stores do not have to pay for the plant until it is purchased. They have that much buying power. The box store will not take care of the plant. Box stores tend to put their "garden center" on the sunny end of the building where plants can sit and bake on the concrete. Sales associates, which are basically cashiers, do not have to water plants. I have been to Home Depot and watched as a lonely cashier just sat in their "toll-booth" style cash-wrap and watched the plants droop, wither, and expire.
A friend of mine who happens to work at Lowe's, and sometimes works for me when she wants plants, told me one day, "If a plant is wilting, or even a group of them, we are not allowed to water them. We are not allowed to get out a hose and fill a bucket and drench a plant we can see is struggling." This is exactly how box store management sees things. So this may turn out be a loss for Monrovia, not a real benefit.

Many have written Monrovia products give IGCs an edge. I say yes and no.
They have a beefy minimum to open an account with, and they sell to places such as ACE Hardware giving them a percentage off because they are a buying group. All this, while people who work at most ACE Hardware stores are comparable to those working in the box stores. Admittedly there are a few ACE stores that take a garden center approach and commit staff to it. I worked in one myself, so I know what I am speaking about in this instance.
That percentage off which Monrovia offers buying groups allows places like ACE Hardware to undersell IGCs. They do not offer the percentage off to small Mom & Pop retailers.

Monrovia is facing what a lot of large production nurseries are having to face. When the times were good they expanded and expanded. They over-expanded like so many. More land, more plants in production, more personnel to take care of the plants. This also results in more fuel, more pest and weed control labor, and more chemicals being used- all at greater costs.
So, Monrovia needs to cut personnel-which they did- but not the high cost executives and administration. Lots of the little guys went- mid management as well. Popagation people, nursery labor, people who tend the plants and make the nursery facilities look neat and clean.

Liquidate some plant materials-maybe large items or decorative/ornamental perennial lines which may have royalty cost associated with them. Keep items such as basic perennials- day lilies and such.
Liquidate some of the land. Yes, they bought it high. They can also pay the bank some of the money and keep their doors open while taking a smaller loss.

Now don't think me a hard ass.

Yes, Monrovia is a name brand recognized nationwide. The name a lot of people equate with quality- that is what they have going for them.

In reality, the market has cut back. Plants are luxury goods.
Housing has slowed and people are not working on their homes as much.
The financial resources are not there as banks are not lending for home building or many improvements.
Most home owners have already planted trees and basic shrubs and they have moved on to inexpensive, quick seasonal color. They may add a few special items to their landscape, but the key word is few.

I feel sorry if a trusted name like Monrovia goes to the wayside (no pun intended). They have helped to build what America views as a reliable name in nursery products. The bank will not get their money back if Monrovia closes entirely. Liquidators will be sent in and blocks of plants auctioned off for pennies on the dollar.

Other large nursery growers struggle at the moment Iseli Nursery has filed for Chapter 11 as of October 5, 2010. America's largest suppliers of roses Weeks Wholesale, and Jackson and Perkins have joined the ranks of  troubled nurseries. An article on, an anonymous reader know as Hort Guy commented. "The rose business is on the edge and the 'National Flower' could be without growers."
Who will grow these roses for Americans? I say the small growers will. Breeders will have to pick up and do the production work themselves. We will return to what our roots in the nursery business have always been- small nurseries, in house production, local suppliers.
Perhaps mail order will rise like a phoenix?

Maybe these unfortunate events will create a movement in localized nurseries with more of a personal and hands on approach to what they sell. Can this be the catalyst that moves the the nursery business away from corporate America?
So many of us have taken this stance with the farmer. We try so hard to support local farming, farmers markets, food co-ops. Should we ask this of the nursery trade and our gardening communities?

Support local nurseries, local tree growers, small greenhouses growers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thinking a bit more GREEN (an article on living the way I do)

Alright, something dawned on me as I was pondering what I could do to live more "green".

I thought I could just be using food tat I have grown, well, I do that and it's a bit limited because of the season. So I need to start canning, just not freezing things.

Then I had another revelation. I have been living the concept for years. I mean way back when I got my drivers license kind of years.
Getting my drivers license was like personal freedom. I could go to garage sales. I could gather and amass whatever I could get into my vehicle. I gathered yearly in the beginning and had sales of my own. I learned to take what I had and make a profit with it in one feel swoop.

Think about it, garage sales are sort of like selective recycling. I look around my house and try to find new furniture- well, it's new to me. Dishes? Found in a thrift shop. Glasses? Goodwill and other thrift shops. Tables, lamps, chairs, bed frames, more lamps, benches, vases, mirrors, objects and plant stands. Trash baskets, book cases, end tables. They all are used and I am reusing them.
I seem to have new kitchen things as I don't care for used spatulas and wooden spoons. I have pans that I have purchased, but all my cast iron is second hand.

Bedding and towels I buy new as well. I am not into used towels.

Books, most of them are second hand as well. DVDs- used. CDs- used.
I do not subscribe to newspapers, I borrow magazines or check them out of the library- for a treat from time to time I 'treat' myself to some publication. I am not big on paper towels, the one role I own is maybe 5 years old and kept in a drawer. Napkins are cloth, dish and bar towels are aplenty.

Even the house- I am wanting to move in a small Victorian cottage- think about it. When it comes time to fix the old girl up, yeah, I will use low VOC paints. I will look at more sustainable material. I will not feel bad that I slaughtered hundreds of trees to build my house. I will try to save as much of the material that I can. I will restore the floors. They are wood on both levels.

Tiles, vintage light fixtures, wool carpets and things to hang on the wall.

I will not stop buying things the way I have. I can always have my own garage sale and let someone else enjoy that I have used and no longer wish to live with.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Old Reliable has Been Updated Again!

I know the title sounds like it should be a car add, but it's not.
I am speaking about tall garden phlox, Plox paniculata. There are many, many hybrids now and some of the old standards still exist. I must rub it in that I do not particularly have a rust or mildew problem in my area so sometimes I don't watch for those that are resistant to such things, but most varieties on the market are.

I like most tall phlox, I do. They are dependable plants. I have had in my gardens such wonderful varieties as 'Mt. Fuji', 'Prince of Orange', 'David', 'Franz Schubert', and the wonderful variegated forms- Love the display of 'Becky Towe'.
For the nursery I have had at times 'Orange Perfection', 'Blue Paradise', 'Goldmine', 'Starfire'. This year I am going to be growing a subtle beauty named 'Jade'. Now when we hear the name 'Jade' we think green. Though these are not solid green flowers they do have an edge of pale celadon on crisp white petals making them very attractive to combine with other phlox and silvery plants.

I just can't imagine a perennial boarder without late summer beauties such as Phlox paniculata. Some are deliciously fragrant and others are just shocking in color. Some are so fade proof in my hot desert sun that I love to design with them as well. They are hardy, rapid growers that will grow into a divisible clump within three years. And though the tag may say 18-22 inches, with a good spring mulching they should jump up to a good two feet or more by the end of the season.

To stake or not to stake? I should be staking mine, the winds we have out here are just disastrous at times, and if you get a good rain they could just turn into a heap of blooms flopping in all directions. So I might suggest creating some form of support for them by the end of the summer. When I say support it does not have to be some wire basket contraption, it could be something as easy as some twigs and garden twine. Subtle and organic is most often times less detectable as dark green wire hoops on rod-like legs.
If you like the cottage look- either English cottage or the Victorian American- these are highly recommended plants for your garden. Plant them behind daylilies (Hemerocallis) and along side Echinaceas to create a soft and colorful look. I think about using Orange Perfection with Silvermound Artemisia or Santolina in the foreground to give it a more electric look.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Geranium 'Orkney Cherry'

I have had a lot of success with this beauty here in Eastern Washington. Placed along driveways, sidewalks, gravel paths, and rockeries it has been very prolific. The color was described to me as burgundy chocolate but I find it to be more of a burgundy/violet foliage with hues of copper. There is almost this strange otherworldly feel to the color. I know this could be the result of both heat and soil, but it's simple marvelous.
This foliage is exceptional at creating a mood and then the violet pink flowers, small blossom but with a big punch add a sparkle to the overall effect. Just imagine the use of this with other bold and shocking colors, splashing through your perennial border and frolicking among the grasses.

This hardy geranium is one of my three favorites. Seriously, the foliage alone is worth everything. Tight mounds up to 10 inches high and maybe the plant gets 24 inches wide. I think this and Geranium Rozanne are the top two that I use and grow here at the nursery.

Hardy geraniums are excellent filler plants and add so much to both the residential and commercial landscape. Such versatile and useful plants.

Other suggestions that I read about was to use them in containers, baskets and window boxes. I think this would be great if you were in Western Washington, but this may not really be suited for the east side of the state. Well, let me rephrase that. They would last the growing season but being strong enough to be perennial in an unprotected container is something else altogether.

This is a Plant Haven introduction.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hydragea quercifolia 'Amethyst'

Alright, just when I thought I was running out of quercifolia Hydrangea forms along comes this beauty.
Now the sales people are telling me this shrub is smaller and more compact, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Yeah, sure.
This shrub is medium sized at 6' x 6'. The blossoms are like 'Snow Queen' as they are held aloft and upright. They are creamy white and appear to have a nice shape to small sized heads.
What I feel is the real selling point is the fact that the flower heads turn such a dark and glowing shade of cherry amethyst when they age and dry. I am continually reassured that they hold their color, and that the rich burgundy and purple leaves set everything off.
Useful in shade plantings or as a spectacular foundation plant. I would recommend planting this somewhere where it might be noticed.
Attributed to Dr. Michael A. Dirr

Friday, September 24, 2010

Paint that desert!

Fallugia paradoxa, what a name! I sometimes can't resist a plant because of it's Latin name and how it roles off the tongue. Apache Plume, Turpentine Bush are a couple of common names this plant has.
This is fantastic and fascinating plant for a garden that is on the dry side. A a small to medium sized bush that has ghostly stems, fine foliage and glaring white flowers with sometimes a hint of pink in them. Now, yeah, it is a blooming machine once you establish it, but the most remarkable thing about this shrub is the when it goes to seed. This is where is earns the name of 'plume.' This shrub is all about the seed heads. I would liken them to the seed head of the Clematis, or that of Geum triflorum. Feathery and pink, wisping in the wind they create a glorious multi season interest to this once overlooked plant.

The leaves have a fine textural quality, or as I like to tell people quillity, as they are dark and small and lace-like. And when I say small I mean just that. This plant knows how to conserve it's own resources.

This is a glorious native of the American Southwest. Xeric, and grows 4-6 feet high and just as wide.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the ideas behind my madness- steampunk driven and a need to fuse with the the past

Alright already.
I have been asked a few questions and some of them are-
What is Steampunk? I consider the whole genre to be an aesthetic of taking a contemporary object such a computer monitor and keyboard and making it have a more 'Victorian' or 'Edwardian' but it can also be the revers of taking an object from the 19Th century and updating it as I have seen done with old victrolas and radio cabinets.
I have this compulsion to collect older things, vintage items, antiques. I also have a compulsion with plants. Bringing these things together is not really that hard. What has been had is setting the stage, but I have sort of rectified that situation. Recently I acquired an older home-1880s very small Victorian. I need to move this house to its new setting.

Now comes the steampunk staging. I have this idea to gut this house from the inside. Insulate, rewire, re-plumb, and add in some things that would not detract from the aesthetic of the house. Restore the porch, add on a new kitchen, but make the house feel more like it was when it was built. Find papers that are to period, add in a strong use of color, create an eclectic sense of style.
Now the outside of the house should also reflect the feeling of the inside. I am not just talking paint and trim, I am talking gardens as well.
The gardens should be colorful, have multiple seasons of interest, species, old world plants and some great containers. There should be an area for walking through or a circuit. A few places to sit and take pleasure in the view from the seat.
I can see a fountain, a pergola, an alle', and maybe a bowling green.
The garden should also draw in birds, butterflies, and be comfortable enough for my dogs to run about.
Antique apple and other fruit trees should be mingled as well as almond, walnut, filbert. Berries should be in hedgerows and grapes, paw paw, and other vines.
Cutting garden, vegetable garden and a smoke house should be considered as well.
The house should be a sanctuary, a place to entertain friends, a crown jewel among the garden as well as a bold statement. The house should be Grenadier Red, trimmed in charcoal and gray. Shutters should be chartreuse and the doors should be a dark English green. If I were to use dog-eared shingles I would create a decorative boarder on the roof otherwise I will use metal roofing as I like the durability.
The original door is still hanging, and most of the origian trim remains.
The front porch was removed and I thought destroyed when I first looked at the house, but I found out it was removed and stored in a nearby building. How nice for me.
Inside the house most all of the original woodwork is still intact and most unpainted. Original doors with the steal knobs are intact. The staircase, banister, rails and newel posts aslo remain intact.
The floors are straight fir and are intact on both levels of the house. My only major change to the flooring will to be replace the flooring in the entry hall. I am thinking that stone would be a good choice though if I could find something that looks like Minton tile I would pick that up in a heartbeat.

Rooms on the main floor should be color filled, even dramatic. Papers and wallcoverings should be representative of the era and not dominate, but set the tone for the room. Light fixtures should be refective of the time of the houses construction as well. TBC...

Amsonia hubrichtii

OK, this is not your normal perennial. In fact it will be the 2011 PPA Plant of the Year.
I started using Amsonia about 8 or 9 years ago. It was an odd thing then, considered more of a native plant than anything else and a few of my designer friends were unsure how to deal with it. I too thought it was an odd duck of a plant as it wasn't in bloom when I purchased it and it wasn't in its fall color stage.
So here I am with this rangy looking plant and putting it into a client's garden asking them to trust me as it will be quite a show in the future, even near future. Rangy, and a plant without shape when its young is a tough sell sometimes.

The 'willow-like' foliage is upright, but wispy, and adds softness to the more rigid looking panicums. I thought it would have a couple seasons of interest but my client is one to trim her garden back in the spring (they do listen from time to time) and she was amazed at how it added a texture to her wintry landscape.
Late spring blossoms are blue to blueish white, and fall the foliage becomes intense and bright mustard yellow.

I would say to keep it in an area where the soil is slightly moist, but not soaked all the time. I figure it naturally goes through periods of drought as it is.
It will be exciting how we as garden writers, nursery people, garden designers, and gardeners will help to promote this plant this coming year.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That isn't a Lilac, it just can't be.

Syringa pekinensis is a true master of deception.
So many of us are so used to the lovey French bred Syringas that we don't seem to stop and look at species forms. This lovely shrub, or small tree as it may tun out to be has some unique seasonal interest.Commonly called Peking Tree Lilac, or China Snow Lilac, this beauty has some added surprises that give it a multi seasonal interest. The foremost of these interests to is the unique cherry like bark,copper-colored and exfoliating, it reminds one of Acer griseum. This 'tree' has an upright habit with large pinnacles of white flowers in June. So think of it blooming a month later than your 'Frenchies.'

A strong point that really helps sell this lilac is that it is drought tolerant once you establish it. This can take up to five years, but will be so worth it in the long run.
For those of you in more Northern climates you should also know that it will tolerate some things like de-icing salt, but not poor drainage. Hardy USDA zone 4-7.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cuphea- that's Koo Fee A, Cuff ee Ay, I am not sure any more

OK, charmers, intriguing, and bewildering.

Here is a plant that has some of the most interesting range of blooms in a wide selection of colors.
The past couple of years I have noticed them more, bought them more, and watched the people I have planted for ask more often- 'What is this?'

Now, I can openly admit, in the past I have bought Cuphea as just an accent in a pot or as an occasional oddity. This year it seems like I can't keep one around. I have bought Cuphea llavea Tiny Mice, Cuphea ignea, Cuphea David Verity , Cuphea 'Ballistic'. I like that they have variety in their growth pattern, shape of the blossom. Plus with common names like cigar plant, firecracker plant, batface, Mexican heather how can you go wrong?

Tough as nails they seem to be fast growing and blooming fools.
Cuphea llavea is native to Mexico, and forms small mound that is a perennial subshrub.
Attractive to hummingbirds, bees and other insects.
Drought tolerant and needing good drainage this stunner will bloom from spring till late in the fall when temps will drop into the 20's.

I did not realize till recently that there are test being done on the oil production from the seed??? Wow, looks like some place is going to have beautiful fields of one color or another!

dianthus, pinks, carnations, and gillyflowers

I have a dear friend who has developed over the past two years a lust with dianthus. Her pots, containers of all sorts and planting beds are filled with them.
I, myself, have fallen for a few. I like the old fashioned sweetness, the clove scent, and putting them into small bedside arrangements.

One of my favorites is Charles Musgrave. It is a white (shocking for those who know me as you know I am not a white flower fan, but I have something up my sleeve for that.) This variety with its single white blooms has a mysterious green eye. I can groove on that. It, when not wind blown, blooms in stems 10-12 inches long. I think this may be one of the sweetest 'glaring' flowers I truly enjoy.

Another Dianthus I seem to like the looks of is a variegated bloomer named Chomley Farran. This oddity with its smokey mauve purple blossoms striped and splashed with a hot cherry pink, or is it more like some sort of Barbified blossom of couture fashion?

There are many great hardy Dianthus out there, many great hardy annual varieties as well. I think we all have favorites. I still enjoy the darkness of Dianthus barbatus nigrescens 'Sooty' and some the great new introductions with their silver blue foliage.

Finding the one that is right for you is the important part. We have colors we like that is true, but ones that are good for your garden without having to reconstruct bed and tear into established plantings.

I must say one of the things I find admirable about my friend is that she has so many containerized. She can move them at whim, enjoy them at table, smell them on her patio or front step. I guess I have been too busy stuffing containers with annuals and tropicals that I missed this little idea to make something you enjoy more accessible.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

whose hat did you say that was?

I wrote a post on roses a while back and then a friend asked me to send her a list. I send a list of woody ornamentals and roses. I can't tell what I will end up getting in the department of perennials, but roses I sort of have an idea.
I sent my friend this list and on it she was amazed to see this one rose- Chapeau de Napoleon.
A crested moss rose, having been discovered growing on a convent wall in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1820 from my understanding. So is this actually a found rose? Interesting.

R. centifolia cristata

I would grown this rose for it's odd sepals alone. It is also very fragrant and has a spicy almost damask like fragrance- so a double whammy.
Fully double blooms are a cabbage like and I have heard the color described as deep silvery-pink? What is DEEP silvery-pink? I would say it is a nice strong, pure pink with some deep tones to it, but also a sheen, that might be the silvery-pink in reference?
The rose shrub itself is not as full as other antique varieties like bourbons, but it does grow to five feet tall and do I need to rehash about the blossoms? I would suggest using this rose in mixed borders as it gives that old world/English look so many desire.
The moral of the story is that I went out and took more cuttings of it, it might be just the unique rose some gardener needs, wants, lusts for?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Japanese maple you should rely on.

Often I am asked to plant a Japanese maple ,Acer palmatum,by a client. Seldom do they think of the care this special tree needs. Just because we live in Washington doesn't mean it will grow. We live in Eastern Washington, the ever brown side of the state and sometimes plants don't look the same as they do on the Puget Sound side of the state.

I have seen many maples burn during the summer. I have seen them burnt after the winter. I have watched as the buds swell and leaves start to emerge only to see them wither up and have to leaf out again.

Here are a few tips.

Water your Japanese maple later into the fall. I recommend this with all trees really. We are a drought area, high desert, and winter is even dryer with freezing winds. Remember- If the ground isn't frozen them maybe you need to water it.

What one needs to remember about maples and spring. Maples tend to start drawing up moisture in late February and early March. If the moisture is not there then its not going to be good. (And please remember how much you paid for that little tree!) The other spring thing to be aware of is that maple leaves are tender and can freeze in the frost. It's a fact, and one has to deal with it and take that chance.
The other thing I highly recommend here is that you do not plant your Japanese maple out in the open. I would protect it from a couple of things. Direct burning summer sun and drying winds. So plant it somewhere in the easterly side, north or south, but not on the hot west side of your house where it will get twice the heat because it is being reflected off of your house.
ow I do have a secret tree I like to use. This was the point of this blog wasn't it?
Yes, I like Acer p. 'Shaina', and have recommended Acer p. 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'. The tree you should look at for many reasons is Acer palmatum 'Emperor I'.

Now here is why- It has excellent color. Everyone loves those burgundy leave! and the second is a strange reason, but it leafs out 2-3 weeks later than most varieties? I don't know why, but it does. This offers a few more weeks of protection because it is not leafing out during the frosty times. I am not saying that it can't get bit by the frost, it just has an advantage because it it a few weeks later then all cousins.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quercus robur 'Concordia'

Quercus robur 'Concordia' is such a lovely, golden thing. Bright acid-like, sulphur colored leaves shine all season. I have not seen any burning on the leaves as of yet. We get hot summer sun here and the heat to go with it as well. It might be regular watering that helps maintain the leaves. The leaves will green up just a shade or two in mid-summer. But the overall look is one of golden magnificence.

It was introduced during the 19th century it was originally raised in Van Geert's nursery at Ghent, Belgium in 1843. A moderate grower though I have have ready that some folks this its extremely fast, it will reach 30-35 feet in 15-20 years. (Annual growth rate is 12-18 inches.) I have seen a second flush of leaves come on later in the season.

Being this in and 'English' oak it should tolerate highly alkaline soils and hardy to zone 4! Folks leaving in Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle should be happy about this one!

so mighty the oak...tickled with a feather

Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida' also know as the Cutleaf Daimyo Oak or Japanese Emperor Oak, is an unusual specimen tree that would grace any home landscape. The deeply incised leaves are eye catching and seem to generate questions from the casual passerby. They almost look like feathers!

Slow to get started(roots are essential to trees,)but a moderate grower in my zone 5, this will be a tree enjoyed for generations.

It has been related to me that this tree will get 40-60 feet high and 30-40 feet wide but I cannot find out if that is actually a 15, 20, or 50 year growth? I would figure the lack of photosynthetic surface really is a factor in how a tree may actually grow and what shape it may achieve.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Xanthocerus sorbifolia

What did I say? Xantho what? Isn't that an ingredient in processed foods?

Xanthocerus sorbifilia is an uncommon bush. The common name that I have found for this shrub is Chinese Yellow Horn. This is the hardy member of a somewhat tropical family. Zone 5 hardy, maybe a zone 4b with protection.
I stumbled across this plant a few years ago in Portland and luckily I saw it when it was in bloom! Little orchid-like white blossoms, marked with yellow and red toward the center, cover the this shrub in summer. It likes long periods of summer heat and though it may die back somewhat it winter it does come forth year after year with the blossom. And looking at the last part of the name, sorbifolia, it is going to have sorbus-like foliage.
In my reading, and you cannot hold me to this, the pea like pods when dry contain 'nuts' or pea size seeds that are sweet and good to eat. I have been instructed that the nuts are usually roasted and taste like a macadamias? I find this interesting. I have also read that the flowers and leaves are edible.
They make great Hedgerow, are great for honey production.

If you know more, please feel free to let me know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

She aint heavy, she's my sister

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
My friend Linda has called this hardy girl a 'THUG.' She is temperamental, tells you know when she is thirsty, likes some sun, but not too much-or that could be me not watering her enough. Her heads are about a foot across if you fertilize her enough (kept wanting to write 'fertilizer enough.'
On size I have been told many things. I have been told she is only 4 feet high and others tell me 8-10 feet. Guess it all depends on the gropwing conditions.
I was informed for years this is the only variety of H. aborescens you could find in any garden center and was sur la facture at most specialty nurseries. Now you can find 'White Dome','Hayes Starburst', 'Incrediball', and the lovely new introduction 'Ivinciball Spirit'.

I might as well start with the Invinciball Spirit. Here it is at last, a pink H. arborscens. This sweety will continually bloom during the season I am told. The flower buds are produced on new wood, not like Hydrangea macrophylla, so you are going to get bloom even if this pink darling gets winter damaged down to the ground.
So, again, summer it will start blooming all the way till frost!
I will try posting a picture up on the website once that is up and going.

Incrediball was the first dwarf introduction. So for those who would like something mid boarder or closer to the front, or this plant can work nicely as a foundation planting without getting out of hand.

'Hayes Starbust' I am attracted to because of the texture it gives the flower head. Now this a completely sterile form or flower head and the blossom petals are pointed instead of the typical round. It is also a double flower blossom, so it has this puffy, shaggy, just other texture that I find irresistible.

I tend to push Hydrangea paniculata forms for most gardeners around here, but if you must have a mop head style hydrangea I would say your best money is on Hydrangea arborescens.

To those of you who are struggling to grow blue hydrangeas in alkaline soil. Just surrender your frustration. We have a high PH here, in the 7 to 8 range, and they need acidic soil that is more like PH 3 to 4 to achieve that nice blue shading. Don't keep pouring chemicals into the ground. Let's talk.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Elderberry wine anyone.

Now for the boring part. Sambucus is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence.
The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere. Thank you Wikipedia.

Now let's get this show in the road.

When you think of elderberry most likely you conjure up thoughts of homemade wine or some large, white flowered shrub growing in the road as you drive around the mountains. Few of us think of elderberry as a ornamental plant for the landscape. Or maybe you have seen one in someones garden and it didn't dawn on you to think about what that shrub was.

Sambucus nigra - European Elderberry
S. n. BLACK BEAUTY This plant has outstanding satiny purple-black leaves and is the first elder I ever saw that has pink flowers. Black Beauty is perhaps a plant best reserved for cooler climates, but I grow it out here in the high desert. I have one when you first walk into the nursery that is only a couple years old. Let me say-it gets noticed. The blossoms are scented and smell of grapefruit.

S. n. BLACK LACE is in my opinion the most unique ornamental shrub that stands out in my mind. This beauty has velvet-black leaves that are finely cut and lacy. At first glance moat people mistake this plant for a Japanese maple, but it's not and the big pink flowers prove it.
It is an exciting new plant that comes by way of the breeding program at East Malling Research Station in England.

S. n. MADONNA This selection brightens up the garden having green leaves splashed with gold. Or is it gold leaves splashed with green? This is a slightly slower growing form, good to brighten up the shade garden, though mine is in full sun.

Red-berried , Sambucus racemosa, is native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Medium sized, this shrub grows 8 to 12 feet in height. This is a very hardy plant (zone 3).
S. r. 'Sutherland Gold' is a colorful shrub with beautiful, deeply cut, acid yellow foliage, the new foliage has a slight amber tint and if you grow it in the shade it is more lime-yellow. Red berries are quickly eaten by the birds.

There are a few other varieties I will mention, though I do not sell them at the moment.

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea' There are fewer cultivars of Sambucus canadensis, this one is gold and should be in production at the nursery in 2011.

S. nigra 'Laciniata' A beautiful cut leaf elderberry. Unique, finely dissected deep green foliage. Large flat topped sprays of white flowers. Will grow easily to 10 feet.

S. nigra 'Linearis' Lacy, twisted leaves that are almost threadlike add an interesting texture to this smaller form. I would say 5 feet tall and maybe 5 feet wide. Definitely an interesting texture.

S. racemosa 'Tenuifolia' This is a small, compact, deciduous shrub with finely dissected leaves. In spring, it bears sparse amounts of small, cream flowers, followed by red berries in summer.

Blooming it's little head off

Leptodermis oblonga? Have you ever heard of it? I hadn't till about four years ago.

Here is a shrub that doesn't get to big, 24 inches maybe, and blooms from the heat in June till frost in October! I really like the size and look of this little charmer. Lavender purple star shaped blossoms that are lightly fragrant just really shine for summer. To me the blossoms look like daphne to me.

Placing this shrub along a walkway or in the front of the border is where I would recommend it.

This is a zone 5 plant and needs to be watered well the fist few season, then I would allow it to acclimate.

Monday, January 18, 2010

anitique and vintage roses

I tend to say I am not much of a rose person. This is sort of false statement.
I don't care for most hybrid teas (notice I didn't say all) and the slew of contemporary roses that they keep flooding the market with.

I am not a fan of the grafted rose. I have read far too much disease is associated with what the rose is grafted to. So there is tendency to like 'own root' roses. These are just roses grown from cuttings and allowed to develop their own roots, and are usually more healthy and more vigorous. Some I do here at the nursery and some I get from sources depending on the situation.

The few roses on the market that I tend to use and sell are Rosa 'Knockout', otherwise it is older forms that are in the rugosa, polyantha, and antiques such as the bourbon roses.

<,Rugosa,the wild roses- Flamingo (pictured) is one of the rogosa roses I really feel is stunning. Give it lots of room because it a big rose that demands space, but it returns the favor by flowering tirelessly all summer.
Purple Pavement, Frau Dagmar Hastrup, Robusta, Rosa a Parfum , Roseraie de l’Hay, Therese Bugnet, Blanc Double de Coubert, Rugosa sp.

The Polyanthas - Seafoam, The Fairy, Ballerina, Red Ballerina

Bourbon and Antique roses- Rose de Rescht Crested Moss 1827 Charles de Mills 1746 Tuscany Superb Pre- 1837

And wonderful species roses such as Rosa glauca though it may only bloom once a season, it is stunning in the border or in a shrubbery display.

Rosa moyesii 'Geranium' is a my folly. I have tried to take cuttings of this rose several times and failed...though I thought I had a small batch take root, but it rotted away. I will be buying this treasure this year. I love the red flowers, that last two I bought turned out to be pink-off they went to the burn pile. And it is the hips that I love. Yes, yes, the pink had the hips, but I want the red flower. Fickle, fickle, fickle.

moving things in/cleaning up

Today was a bit of a work day around the nursery. A couple of other able bodies souls and I worked diligently to bring in all the hardy Hibiscus, Hibiscus 'Fire Ball'pictured, then we brought in a good portion of Hydrangeas, as well as Sambucus and a smattering of other shrubs that I can be getting ready for the few shows I do in April and May.
Also brought in were several roses that I had made from those old garden roses and antiques and several lovely perennials that I like to jump start and that were in 3.5" pots and not will be moved to gallon were brought in as well.

Outside it got to be an unheard of 54 degrees and inside was in the 60s as the doors were open. There will be trimming to do, get things in shape. I am chomping at the bit already. Cleanup time is always exciting and if this weather keeps up I may have to have a few early bird sales.

I like to start the hibiscus early as it is, they tend to be bushy for so long and are quite the whores when it comes to the fertilizer. I will let them set up and them lightly give them a little weak tea this month. Re potting them all into gallons will be the next step, some into #2s, and then a good dose of slow release mixed with topping mix, alfalfa, and tipple meal blend.

One of the nursery workers worked on cleaning my van. Yes, I drive a mini van. Think about how many plants you can get into one if you remove the back seats? Anyhow, he worked diligently cleaning gathering-slowly he removed 5 five gallon buckets of soil. No laughing Linda Beutler, you have ridden with me several times, but yes, there was a lit of dirt in there. It's remarkable how much better it looks, his goal is the front two seats later on this week.

Clean up will continue around the nursery. Fencing will be going in next month if things remain the same, so should the water and electrical lines for the house, and the new graved sales area north of the pump house. I might be ready for my opening in the middle of April.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

OH, I can't stay away from them

Lush leaved and responding so well to our hot summers. I just cant water them enough and adding the extra manure around them sure seems to help.
Cannas are not for the demure gardener. They are bold and sometimes flashy with leaves that I would classify under HUGE and LUSH. The flowers sometimes range in the smaller side but there are those that are large and frilly.
With a tendency to like those with colored leaves myself, I take pride in having them in containers. Smokey or striped, amber, plum, or chartreuse just love to see them grow.

Plant your cannas in hot spot. Here we have to dig them every fall as we freeze rather hard being zone 5b. It is like trying to shuck clams though when you plant them in containers. They fill the container in a season and then hold firm. Having to hack and pry them out more than once is enough to discourage the timid gardener, but be brave.

Canna 'Intrigue' Lovely leaved smoked purple to perfection. Apricot orange flowers add so much, Both are colors of copper to me and really set a mood.

Canna Australia Mahogany leaves with hot red flowers make people stop and turn their heads. Good height and the color is always strong.

Canna Bengal Tiger You see this one under trademark names now. Its a shame about that...but also a completely different subject.

Canna Phaison (Tropicanna)Hey, this canna looks so familiar. I know the look, but I it's not the same, or maybe it is? Debates amongst gardeners continue. 'Tropicanna' says it's not the same, but are we going to have to call in a big gun to find out?

Canna Pink Dawn Looks sort of like a mini 'Tropicanna' but the flowers sure do set it apart. Great for containers. Personally I like this variety in front of Australia.

Canna Tropicanna Have I said anything about this one yet? Does it need repeating?

I have a few others but I don't have enough of them to sell as of yet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hardy Geraniums..not those red things in window boxes

Geranium Rozanne - Perennial Plant of the Year 2008

OK, aside from that I had my doubts.
I have never been one to use a lot of hardy geraniums, though I have the few I like, but those were varieties that required some shade.

I was amazed that this was not some obnoxious rambler and had to see it in a few gardens before I myself was ordering in plugs and liners of this garden-worthy hardy Geranium that anyone can grow. Large 2½" saucer-shaped flowers just never quit. Glowing violet-blue blooms with white centers flower profusely from late spring until frost. Unlike many Geraniums, 'Rozanne' has great heat tolerance as well.
Plant this wonderful plant in the front of borders. Use it around daylilies and shrubs. I have a design I am working on right now where I want to use it inside boxwood hedges in a more commercial application. Think about it, I can plant thousands of bulbs. These bulbs will fill in the framework of the boxwood for a couple of months and then what do I do? Plant! I will fill these in with Geranium 'Rozanna' and still have the great fall foliage to appreciate as well.

I just can't emphasise how usefull this plant is. I have even mixed it in with summer pots and let it fill in and bloom its little heads off.

Try it in your garden, or along a front walk. I am going to also try it at a clients house around their pool patio just for the greate amount of summer bloom as well.

When smokebush gets in your eyes

There is nothing like the look of Cotinus. Most people are familiar with the purple form because that is what they think of when they see into their minds eye. Silver dollar sized (the type of silver dollars we had when I was growing with President Eisenhower in the the face) foliage that looks like suede or painters velvet.

Cotinus coggygria 'Purpureus' was probably the most common form found in garden ceters for decades. It is nice, deep wine-like leaves with a plum cast. Not really something that gets me going, but a good background plant.

Cotinus c. 'Velvet Cloak' is a deep, dark, and lush variety that I use to stand out and create that darkspot with a garden. I like to use it next to Cornus a. 'Variegata' and creata a bit of mystery. Its not a plant I hide in the back thats for sure.

Cotinus c 'Grace' is such a unique for. the leaves are more translucant, it has great fall color, and it also seems to have some sort of metalic caast to it at times. No, not metalic in the fact that it is shiny, but next to something like Rosa glauca or Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa' it shows some sort of highlight there that the blue colors emphasizes. It's just wonderful. Cotinus Grace adn Rosa glauca are also a standard planting in most gardens in England it seems. Linda Beutler seemed to point this out when I was there with her a few summers back.

Cotinus c. 'Golden Spirit' syn. 'Ancot' with the yellow or acidy-chartreuse leaves with a touch of amber peaking through. Slower growing in my area, but I do put it out in full sun. I would like to plant a few more in an all gold area. The texture it gives is nothing short of incredible. Its also great in the mid boarder plantings because it is slower and to me a tad more dense. I was also told that this form does not flower- they lied. Soft pink infloresence that aren't as frothy, but do add to the unique look of the shrub.

Cotinus coggygria 'Pink Champagne' is a sweet form. Green leaved with a froth of pink that seems to fade cream. And froth doesn't quite cut what I am trying to express. The other unique feature I enjoy about this green leaved variety is the fact that it has an almost mauve color margin to the leaves, especially the new growth. The other thing I like about it is a nice display of fall foliage more in the amber and orange spectrum.

Here in high desert Cotinus make a wonderful addition to garden. They are heat resistant, do will in our winds, and after they are established they are moderately drought resistant (though will have smaller foliage.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the garden- what I want it to do for me, say about me, how it makes another person feel.

Let me start right off by saying I am building a new garden on the same 2.5 acres that I have my nursery on. I have not started to build a house, but know in the general area where I want it.
To the south of the house site I have placed a double row, alle, of flowering pear trees, Pyrus calleryana 'Whitehouse'. This alle at over 200 feet long, is parallel to the south side of the house hoping to provide shade for the house. Or at least filtered shade. I also am using this alle as an area to divide the house from the nursery, so a buffer zone in some sort of way. Plans are in the works to fill the alle with spring bulbs and a small growing collections of Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia, Hydragea arborescens, plus a wide variety of Viburnums.

The garden area I have divided into the area where there lawn or meadow, tree and shrub planting, and the vegetable/cutting garden. In front of the house site there is a tight circular drive with a rondel. These are things I think the garden needs, but I have also been thinking about the chicken coupe and yard, smokehouse, tool shed, small barn. The pump house is in the middle of the nursery sales yard. At present there is one 100'x30'greenhouse, and I have plans on adding two 20'x40' smaller greenhouses this year. One of these will be heated for overwintering tender thiing and tropicals. Between them maybe small potting area that is enclosed?

Alright, so what to I want my garden to do for me. Not in any order really.
1. Needs to feel tranqil and calm even though it may be under construction.
2. Have plenty of interest going on in it and not be full of plants that that just create static. i.e No treelines of Geijera parviflora or Populus deltoides.
3. The garden has year around interest. Bloom, bark, friut, structure, leaves....
4. Be a personal showcase.
5. Draw in birdlife and plenty of other small creatures that are benificial.
6. Have formal aspects, but be comfortable and cassual to anyone that enters.
7. Provide food and flowers for the myself and entertaining.
8. Be an oasis. -I live in the desert and don't need to be reminded of that in my garden. Denial is a healthy part of anything isn't it?
9. Want people to feel that they are at home in my garden.
10.That it feels big, but has cozy spots in it as well.
11. It must be dog friendly...anything around my place should be dog friendly. I have dogs, my friends have dogs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What is it? is it ...? or?

Here is a great antique for your garden. I should say species shouldn't I?

I just couldn't resist when I was first given this lovely shrub in a 2" liner pot.

I like the name. We know it is a honeysuckle (Lonicera), but then we see lilac (syringantha)? So this lilac blooming honeysuckle is a true sweety.
Being once told that the species Lonicera syringantha was introduced around the turn of the century and people went gaga. I can also tell you from personal experience that it is a rapid grower in a pot and the nursery trade probably couldn't move it into larger pots fast enough.

Sweet scented, not the recognizable form of flower we associate with honeysuckle, but small sweet trumpets or lilac rose. It is moderate in size.
Well, moderate I guess.
This shrub is zone 4 hardy, reaches 5 feet tall, though I have read reports of 10 feet so no-one can make up their mind. Mine and the few others planted in clients gardens have rebloomed during the season.The initial flush is in late May/early June and then sporadically during the summer. It just always seems like there is bloom on its branches.

If you have had any experience with this sweet shrub please let me know.

Your Grandmother's Salt Cedar

Now some of you are going to love this shrub while other claim that it is a noxious weed.

Tamarix ramosissima 'Pink Cascade'

I personally love the softness in texture and the hardiness (zone 3a.)
I also like the fact that they can be rather rapid growers.

Pink masses blooming along the stem give what is refered to by most an ostrich 'plume' effect. Its a rather open and airy shrub and I would almost call it cloud like when in in bloom-a cloud made of cotton candy that is.

Spectacular when in bloom! Foliage is soft and feathery to the touch.
I have been asked at times what type of Juniper this is? Or what type of evergreen is it?

I have seen trunks on this shrub that make it look like old trees, maybe 18 inches in diameter. I would recommend letting it grow for three to five years after you plant it and then coppice the shrub in late winter every other year after that initial coppicing. This should improve the flowering display and keep the growth habit in check. An interesting addition in the perennial border for sure.

I don't seem to see this shrub around in many nurseries. I have sold this in the past and it went pretty fast even in the #1 pots it was in.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Philadephus 'Belle Etoile'

The English seem to love this American Native.
Philadelphus lewisii is a great native plant here in Washington state. You can find it on both sides of Washington, we are divided by the Cascade Range. I think the idea of bringing native plants into the garden is a viable thing and where applicable it should be encouraged.

The hybrid I fell in love with several years ago is the much sought after true ‘Belle Etoile.’ Abundant or profuse flowering can't even start to describe the cloaking of this shrub when in full bloom. White flowers with a burgundy center inside highlighting the soft gold stamen.

P. 'Aurea' This lovely golden leaved variety is sometimes prone to summer burn but will be fine if you water it through that hot spell.

P. 'Innocense' Very fragrant white flowers appear in late June. Leaves mottled and splashed cream, more of a painterly look. Height and Spread about 5-6 feet.

P. 'Variegatus' Very fragrant, single flowers that are creamy-white, again blooming in June. The leaves are broadly edged in creamy-white. About 6 feet tall but it seems a bit tighter than 'Innocence.'

These next two varieties I do not have in the nursery, but hope to obtain them in the near future.

P. ‘Virginal’ Clusters of double highly scented white flowers in mid to late June. I tad larger at 7-10 feet tall and wide.

P. ‘Frosty Morn’ Fragrant clusters of double, almost fringy looking flowers that are highly scented. Blooming in June through July. Shorter at 4 feet tall and can reach up to 6 feet wide.

I just had to get these out as my last posting I had mentioned Philadelphus and knew that there was information I wanted to share.

In my garden I am thinking how to arrange them with Hydrangeas and Viburnums. True that is a lot of summer blossom, even heavy on the cream side here with my soil type, but I feel that it could create a spectacular view.

Calycanthus, not like any other shrub you grow

Calycanthus a great shrub, hardy, and a wonderful addition to any home garden landscape.
Calycanthus Venus. Sweetshrub I believe is a common name, this one lives up to that name without being common at all. Orchid or magnolia-like blossoms of white with a heart of purple and gold have a wonderfully sweet fragrance, I have been told that the blossoms can get up to five inches across, but I have only seem them about three myself.
In our hot summers it might be best to plant this one with a break from the sun in the afternoon.
Another great variety is Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine', or Sinocalycalycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'. This one is lovely. I was amazed a few years ago when I grew them in one gallon pots that it bloomed the first year and the blossoms were almost two inches across. This variety has a more subtle fragrance not like its parents- C. sinensis and our American native C. florida ( and just to more technical-Sinocalycanthus chinensis (Chinese Sweetshrub or Wax Plant) and Calycanthus floridus (Carolina Allspice or Sweetshrub) to produce what was considered a new bigeneric hybrid that was later named ×Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’) A lot of information just for one shrub but I don't want to insult anyone in the mean time.

Both are great as specimen plantings, but they do differ in size. I have been in a nursery in the Bellevue, WA area ,not dropping names, and have seen eight foot tall specimens of 'Hartlage Wine' but have been told it may reach fifteen feet all and ten feet wide. It has been mentioned that Venus will only reach about eight feet tall and ten feet wide. I am unsure but either here in Central/Easter Washington. I guess it would depend on your growing conditions.

I do like the fact they are both summer blooming, and can be sporadic, but a few blossoms that linger are better than no blossom at all.

Another thing one might concider doing from a design pount of view is to echo the blossom color in the garden, or punctuate that echo.
To echo the blossom color you would want to plant somewhere in your garden, mainly in the same viewing area a plant that has some like charteristic. I might plant Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile' in the same garden area ad Calycanthus 'Venus'. Both have creamy white blossoms with a darker eye. But maybe to punctuate that echo I might plant a Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' next to Venus to make that dark eye sing and stand out when it is blooming. I might use Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' to make 'Hartlage Wine' even more wine and less rust in color. But those are just my thoughts, you can invent your own combinations.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Syringa 'Bloomerang Purple'

I am excite this year to have many new and interesting flowering shrubs. One of them is is Syringa 'Bloomerang Purple'. This new variety promises to bloom not just once, but twice or more per season if treated properly and taken care of.

There are many shrubs I will talk about. I do not carry many Syringa as I think they are a bit to pushy in the pot. I have a few Syringa 'Sensation' and am on the look out for some antique and properly labeled varieties.

The one strange shrub that I have that crosses over this direction is Lonicera syringantha, but that is a separate posting altogether.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Daylilies-my top picks

Daylilies, I just like them. You can abuse and neglect them as much as you want and they still bounce back.

I am making a list of what varieties I would like to sell in the nursery this year. In my zone 5/6a its not always about hardiness. Where I live is also high mountain desert, open, and sunny hot summers that fade flowers. Pastels are not first choice.

Hemerocallis flava- A good species and a top notch plant. Sweet citrus scented blooms in a nice shade of yellow. Though not a repeat bloomer they tend to sway me.

Strutters Ball- Deep, luscious purple, big blossoms, with a chartreuse throat.

Elain Strutt- Cantaloupe, melon, large and surprisingly a nice large blossom as well.

Hyperion- Classic yellow, clear, and a great bloomer.

Outrageous- Mango with a huge red eye...just huge!

Christmas Is- I can't believe I was asked why they named it 'Christmas Is?'
The name says it all. Red with a very green/chartreuse eye. it repeats and is just a good, good, daylily. See image.

Sunday Gloves- A good white, softly fragrant and just a sweet sounding name.

Green Flutter- A clean yellow with an apple green fading throat. Really shines in the landscape.

Chicago Apache- Here is a good red. These are large blooms, full and tall. It really looks nice with other perennials. An easy 30 inches or taller.

Spider Miracle- Yellow, huge and floppy. It reminds me of big Easter hats or big summer straw hats that ladies wear. I just couldn't believe when it got almost three feet tall.

Tigerling- A smaller echo of 'Outrageous' and not as mango in the outer edges.

Corky- Wire like stems that are darkish brown, hold a continual flower wand of golden yellow. The outside of these small beauties are bronzed. Short foliage. I like this variety near the front of the boarder.

Alabama Julbilee- Reddish Orange huge blossoms that have hints of gold toward the throat.

Hemerocallis 'Barbary Corsair'- Though small it has a wonderful blossom with lots of punch. Wine with a green throat.

I am looking for suggestions and I am looking for intense color, good form. Repeat bloom, size of blossom are also good factors.

Again, there are so many great daylies out there and we all have favorties, I am trying to create a list of varieties that I think will stand up to our desert summers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do the gods think this Seattle?

Rain, rain, and more rain.
Since I woke up this morning it has been nothing but rain. No, this is not the sweet mist of early spring, but a continual driving drizzle that that creates little likes in shallow depressions, streams in the gutters till they plug because they are frozen, and wet dog that want to climb onto your lap!

This is rain that keep paint from drying indoors, and makes your cars windshield wipers work overtime. (Honestly too happy that I do not live in a metropolitan area where this is the type of rain that causes accidents.)

I should have kept my big mouth shut when I said this was going to be a wet winter.

O gosh, big wet clumpy flakes of snow in the mix- Are they sticking?

Am going through the catalogs and I made a choice to raise and offer Lagerstroemia indica Dynamite. I have put a few into the gardens of a client and though they do not bloom till August or September I might as well offer them to people here. Don't I actively sell Xanthoceras sorbifolia? Interest people in Hibiscus moscheutos and tell them to screw the rules and just try things?

Starting to sketch how I want to display plants around the nursery this year and thinking about the ease of watering them as well. I know I don't like walking into a nursery and having everything in the same exact spot as last year. If you are a nursery and can move things around, then by all means please do.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Post AVATAR, work to do

Alright, the movie visually was a feast. The Botany, though familiar was individual as well.I think if you are a closet Treckie, sci-fi film nut, like the aspect of good CGI, and a first for me 3D, then you might might like this film though it has a very predictable storyline.

I am heading out to the nursery to start bringing in the hardy hibiscus. I am have about 400 of them potted up and need to have another 300+ for my HOT FOR HIBISCUS weekends. Color varieties are amazing now and they have ceme so far from thier basic couple.Thank goodness for people like the Flemming brothers and their passion for Hibiscus. July 30&31, August 6&7.

Colors, or named cultivars include MOY GRANDE, FIREBALL, FANTASIA, ROBERT FLEMMING, KOPPER KING, BLUE RIVER II, PLUM CRAZY, PEPPERMINT SCHNOPPS, SWEET CAROLINE, TORCHY, LUNA RED, PART FAVOR, SUMMER STORM, TURN OF THE CENTURY, SULTRY KISS, CRANBERRY CRUSH, PINK ELEPHANT , and maybe OLD YELLA. There might be some seedlings on dislay if not for pre-sale next year. So this should be a great event. The Friday and Saturday evening of the first weekend should also hold promiss of a class or presentation. More details as I develope them.

Have a good rest of the day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jan 2- recovered and dinking around

Forty degrees- and though the ground is still frozen I am have taken a little walk around the nursery and ranch to see what is really going on.

My mother would like me to replace the small Pinus nigra with a more substantial Picea pungens. I think the Pinus is a much better choice, but she is being insistant.

As I walk around the nursery I am choosing a site for the shop/potting shed and I already know that it will be on the west side of the sales area. I am unsure if I will paint the building chartreuse with red trim, or paint it barn red and put chartreuse trim onto it. Suggestions have been made to change my building color, but I do like the bright (almost electric) look of things around here.

I have received confirmation of Proven Winners shrubs, and am combing through the Select Seeds catalog looking for fragrant annuals that would make good cut flowers.

As some of you have known me for several years, and others not long at all, you may or may not know that I am involved with the local farmers market here in Moses Lake. I vend as well as serve on the board for the past five years. Actually our farmers market board is made up of the people who vend at the market. Quite different from some of the other farmers markets I have visited. This year instead of just selling plants I am also thinking about selling cut flowers- people can brighten the inside of their homes, not just the outside.

I am starting to plan out an event calendar for the year and though I have a couple strong events for the nursery I am trying to think of a couple more that might be equally as strong.

Mothers day weekend I am ususally out of town for Garden Expo, but I think I am going to try to have some large baskets brought in and doing some sort of container class.

Sometime in June I would love to have a two weekend, though it might be two day class (this also might work better) 'Building a Better Boarder' -Designing and installing a colorful boarder that you can enjoy all year.

July 30 and August 6 will be a two weekend event-Hot for Hibiscus Weekends

Late September I would like to try a 'Thinking of Fall' container class

Late November- Creating arrangements for your front steps. How to use cut greens and the containers you have as welcoming arrangement outside your door. I know a couple friends of mine have had success with this in other areas and I should as well.

Off to see Avatar! -will let you know about the plants.