U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Peony 'Green Lotus' in My Garden

This peony was bought in Oregon in 2012. 
I was intrigued by its name. 
In May and June, I got to see its first, and so far, only flower.

The frilly flower looks very unusual. I would say it has something rebelious, dynamic and unconventional in it.
It also has some casual elegance in it and is so different from others.
I wouldn't describe the color of the petals as green but the green tint is certainly visible in the base of the bloom.
The pink toward the tips of its petals goes well with the Ceniranthus flowers surrounding it.
I like its deep green leaves too. They are noticeably thicker than those of my other peonies.

This is the plant description by Rarity Gardens (Mt. Hood, Oregon) from  whom I bought it:
(Roy Klehm 1995). Single, cactus-dahlia type flowers feature pale, pistashio green petals with brush-strokes of soft pink on the petal extremities and contrasting bright yellow center stamens. Mild fragrance. Deep green foliage and compact shrybby growth to 28". Outstanding heat tolerance and one of our most warm hardy peonies. Prized for floral design. Blooms midseason. Rare.

Doesn't the flower look exotic?

These are the requirements for growing this plant from  B&D Lilies:
Sunny, well-drained location, 3 to 4 feet apart. Can be left undisturbed for many years.
 In severe winter climates, plant with eyes 1-2 inches below surface of soil (then top with winter mulch);
 Zone 6-7, cover eyes with 1 inch of soil, and mulch lightly for winter; 
Zone 8 or 9, leave the eyes exposed to allow as much winter chill as possible, do not mulch around eyes. 
Not suitable for areas where winter temperatures rarely fall below 40 degrees F. or plants will produce plenty of foliage, but be shy about blooming.

Some sources describe this peony as very vigorous. So far, I see very modest growth. 
My plant has full sun, loose soil, but it's still very young.
The soil here is probably not perfect for it (it's not slightly acidic as they like but strongly acidic). 
I might try to add some lime (I'm not sure I did it before planting),
and also keep other perennials a bit further from it to provide good air circulation.
I know that the herbaceous peony might take three years to bloom profusely, and I am ready to wait that long.
It is worth it.

***Copyright 2014 TatyanaS

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Stop at DIG

It was a delight visiting the DIG nursery on Vashon Island during the NPA Open Garden Tour in June.
I felt like I was  in a big house without a roof  but with  a floor, 'furniture', room dividers and chandeliers.  
The  floor is gravel with  grass, groundcovers and succulents growing through. 
The ravens, sheep and other creatures watch the customers. 
The huge flowering baskets compete with several chandeliers.  
And oh, of course, the plants, plants, plants!
The place is cozy and welcoming. Here are several pictures:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Open Garden - 2014

In the middle of June, I had an Open Garden.  
Opening the garden this year as well as participating in a local garden tour last June was a great stimulus to clean the garden and finish some ongoing projects. 
The Open Garden was two weeks earlier than last year's tour, and, to my delight, more plants were blooming. 
Similar to last year, the weather brought a bit of an unpleasant surprise right before the important date. 
In June 2013, there was a heavy rain that hit the plants pretty hard. This year, it was the wind which shook tons of fir trees' blooms and covered the lawn, beds, driveway and sidewalk with a layer of rusty colored stuff which gave the surfaces a sloppy look. So, Saturday morning's main chore was to blow off at least part of them right before the first guests came.
It was a pleasure to meet fellow gardeners and talk about plants, and it was a delight to meet fellow garden bloggers Alison (Bonney Lassie) and Peter (The Outlaw gardener). 
Thank you everyone for coming and making my day!

The following are some pictures of my garden as it looked that day. Some of the pictures were included in the post about foliage (Foliage Is Ruling When Blooms Are Few), so sorry for any repetition.

Shown below is the part of the garden which I used to call Oriental, but the tour organizers called it Sunken, and I like this new name. New this year is the bird bath which came from my friend's mother-in-law's estate.  Isn't it beautiful? Simple and elegant, and it looks like if it has always been here.

The bench below was moved here from the Terrace garden since the huge trees kept dripping their sap on the wood.
So far, I am not going to plant anything around it or surround it with lush containers. I love such a minimalistic look. To the right, the hedge of rock roses was extended further to camouflage a utility area. I'm glad we put the stepping stones in place last year. It was one of the projects we finished before the garden tour.

The sitting area on the porch is a favorite place not only for us but also the dogs.
The outdoor rug stays here regardless of the weather. It dries pretty fast, the same as the cushions.
I hope the Mediterranean palm trees won't grow too fast. To keep them green and happy, I feed them fertilizer 14-14-14 as soon as I notice their leaves getting a yellow tint.
If you remember from last year, the frog with the chess used to sit under the Abissinian banana (Ensete (Musa) ventricosum).
This summer, it moved to the other side of the patio since the Alchemilla mollis plants grew big and took all the space:

Here it is, to the right from three Lion troughs which used to host evegreens. The evegreens were planted in other parts of the garden, and lobelia took their space.

Hello from June-2013. Did I get older?

I don't like how the Japanese yew looks in the blue belly pots at the door. I am thinking about a replacement for it. Before the yew, the pots used to host azalea plants:

This is my composter (in addition to two compost piles I have in different parts of the garden).
Ivy grows in the pots, and I make sure they do not escape.
I love my chicken bought for 1 dollar at the neighborhood parking lot sale.
The Ligularia plant is a favorite of slugs. Sluggo baits and coffee grounds help to reduce their population, but not terminate them. I watched yesterday as a black slug gracefully was crossing the coffee grounds strip toward a plant. It's time to go back to heavy artillery - beer in a yogurt cup. It's not cheap, but it works!

The Tetrapanax behind the garage has already given me two baby plants. I am aware of its spreading ability, but it doesn't seem too difficult to pull up the plants. So far, I keep the baby plants and move them to other places.

The Fatsia japonica seen in these pictures is one of my all time favorites and has tons of black berries right now.

The planting season is over, and my potting bench deserved to be cleaned and spruced up for the guests:

During the last year Garden Tour it was the most photographed spot:

Did I tell you the story about the tall bamboo ladder seen on the left side of the next picture?
Last year, one of the guests, after a long look, said that he would never think about placing a bamboo ladder against a tree on its own,  but he kind of liked it.
After that, I told him a saying I heard from someone: A man will buy anything for any price if he needs it, a woman will buy anything that she doesn't need but if it's a good deal. Well, I know it's not true about everyone, but in my case it was exactly that: the ladder which originally had a price of $100 was on sale for $20, and I couldn't resist.

The dragon was moved from the front entrance, and I'm happy with this move. It stands separately and nothing takes attention from it.
Several guests asked about the place where I got some of  my statuary, including the dragon.
They came  from the Lucca Statuary in Seattle that after a change of ownership became Fleur De Lis Garden Ornaments. The new owner is very friendly and helpful.

The right border is filling up nicely, although struggling with the roots of the fir trees.
I added a piece of the lawn to this border recently, right in front of the metal arch.  A cherry tree, a new tree peony, a little lilac bush and some perennials were planted in the new area.

It's time to think what to do with two California lilacs lacking sun in this corner. 
They served nicely for many years blocking a white wall, but you can see that  just a small part of their crowns stays green. A new project is coming!

The Terrace garden seen through the second metal arch, is doing well. It's an established garden with many plants that reproduce themselves and also are heat and drought resistent.

The back hill which was new last year is filling up.
Escalonias behind it are getting closer and need to be trimmed.

I showed this hill already when I talked about the foliage in the garden. Honestly, I'm surprised that many plants here are doing OK. The roots of the firs and cedars growing nearby already invaded the hill, and you can see them after a light poke in the soil, almost on the surface!

The beautiful Hosta replaced a little rose that was sitting here for several years but didn't like its location.
I moved the rose to a more sunny place. The hosta came from the garden of a hosta hybridizer, Jim King (Enchanted Garden of Hosta Hybridizer). Thank you, Jim!

Chinese Rhubarb is doing fine so far in the big belly pot.
Light green seedlings of the Heleborus foetidus are seen to the right from it,  the Meconopsis betonicifolia (Blue Poppy) is behind it and hydrangea Oregon Pride is about to bloom.

The Front bed lost a beautiful Melianthus Antonow's (Blue Honey Bush) last winter. This was my biggest  loss. Fortunately, other plants  grow nicely here, and the loss of one plant is unnoticeable.
Anyway, I do want  to get another  Melianthus because it's such a beautiful architectural plant!

The shade garden is recovering after some challenges we faced last summer, and I will tell this story later.

I was going to take a break after the Open Garden, but caught myself already the next day pulling a weed and thinking about  doing this and that. Garden never sleeps...
I could  write on and on about my garden, but I'll let you go, and  I'll go myself as its LAST CALL for slugs.

Last year July garden pictures:
My July Garden Views. Part 1
My July Garden Views. Part 2

***Copyright 2014 TatyanaS

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