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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alpines and Trough Planting

Trough building has become very popular in recent years and most gardeners I know have at least a trough or two in their gardens.  We are no exception.  We have a collection of large and small troughs and have grouped them together into a trough garden.  Some of the larger troughs are new this year and we are still in the process of planting them.

Planting a trough is a creative process.  Plants selected for grouping in a trough should look good together and also need to have similar cultural requirements.  Rock accents can be placed in a variety of ways to create different effects.

We created a crevice garden using broken flagstones in one of our new large troughs.  We planted it with Western native plants including small scale Penstemons, Eriogonums, and Drabas.

Another trough uses tufa accent rocks and is planted with silver and dwarf cushion saxifrages.  The porous tufa retains moisture and releases it slowly over time, creating an evenly moist root zone for the Saxifrages.

As part of our summer class series, we are holding a class on Alpines and Trough Planting this Saturday, June 25th at 1 pm. If you live in our area and would like to learn more about Alpine plants and trough planting, we invite you to join us. 

On Saturday, July 9th, we will have a class on building and planting a crevice garden.  Both classes are free of charge.  You can register by phone or email.  We hope to see you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vancouveria hexandra

Vancouveria hexandra, Inside Out Flower, is a noteworthy N.W. native woodland groundcover.  It has pretty green foliage with interesting ternate leaves, giving it another common name, Duck’s Foot.  The delicate sprays of distinctive white flowers in late spring resemble it’s close relative, Epimedium.  Both are herbaceous members of the barberry family that also gives us other interesting genera including Podophyllum and Jeffersonia.

Inside out flower resembles a shooting star 

Vancouveria hexandra is found at low to mid elevations in our local forests and is a tough and adaptable perennial.  Often evergreen in mild winter conditions, it is deciduous when grown in colder weather .  It is also quite cold hardy and is reported to thrive in gardens in Pennsylvania and Vermont, far from its Pacific NW native habitat.

Vancouveria hexandra spreads slowly by underground rhizomes to form a charming groundcover to 18” tall.  Grow in part to full shade in humus rich, moist to dry soil.  Because of its drought tolerance, it is a welcome addition to our dry shade garden.

Dry shade garden with Menziesia ferruginea

Available now at the nursery.  We also expect to offer it in our 2012 online mail order catalog.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Classes

We are offering a series of classes at the nursery this season. 

The first class “ Western Native Plants” is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th at 1 pm.  We will be taking a closer look at the definition of native plants and how to evaluate your garden situation and select appropriate plants for it.  Site preparation, ongoing care and maintenance issues will also be discussed.  Of course, we will be sharing some of our favorites and we encourage participants to bring their questions!

Another class will be held on Saturday, June 25th at 1 pm and is entitled “Alpines”.  This class will focus on our wide selection of dwarf and miniature plants suitable for troughs and containers, alpine gardens and other small garden spaces. 

Rock Garden Techniques” - Saturday, July 9 at 1 pm
During this class, we will focus on specific techniques for creating and planting rock crevices.  Plants growing in crevices are some of the most attractive areas in alpine gardens, rock walls and even containers.  We will show how these spaces are created and discuss plant choices.

Plant a Succulent Container” - Saturday, August 13 at 1 pm
Create a succulent garden in a container.  Bring your own trough or other container or purchase one here.  $15 fee includes potting mix, accent rocks and three plants.

Late Season Flowers” - Saturday, September 24 at 1 pm
This class will focus on late flowering perennials that extend the gardening season while supporting our bird and insect populations. 

Perennial Seed Propagation” - Saturday, October 8 at 1 pm
During this hands-on class, participants will have an opportunity to harvest and sow seeds of hardy perennials.  We will discuss how to store seed, when to sow and how to handle perennial seedlings.

We hope you will join us for one or more of these topics.  Please RSVP.