s e m p e r v i r e n s 206

Salish Sea gardens and landscapes

February spring flowers


February 11th, hummingbird working a big Rosemary shrub that almost makes English lavender look rather pedestrian:


Spring is by far the longest season in Seattle and begins early every year.  Seattle horticultural spring arguably stretches from about late January and into June.  The winter-blooming shrubs start even earlier and include Mahonia x media, Pink Dawn Viburnum, camellia, manzanita, and Rosemary, all ringing-in New Years Day with spectacular blooms.  All are hummingbird magnets and a critical winter food source. Not only are they winter-blooming but they’re some of the very showiest shrubs and totally brighten up gloomy Seattle winters.  Fragrant sarcococca flowers follow a bit later in January along with witch hazel.  The winter-blooming shrubs are followed several weeks later by early spring flowers including crocus, snow drops, paper white narcissus, Daphne odora, daffodils, some Rhododendrons and even Ceanothus “Dark Star”. 

Pics taken February 10, 2018:


December flowers


Dark days and dreary weather doesn’t mean gardens are dormant. Even though November began with wet, soggy snow; there hasn’t been a frost as proven by a these salvias and California fuchsias still blooming. And a few of the earliest spring indicators have appeared including Rosemary flowers and shoots of the earliest bulbs, including paperwhite narcissus. A handful of hummingbirds were seen when taking these pics. They’re still feeding on remaining salvia and fuchsia flowers, and take cover in nearby small trees and shrubs. In January they’ll begin feeding on the Arctostaphylos densiflora Sentinel Manzanita after it begins blooming.

I’ve found a wide array of succulents take Seattle’s rain in stride so long as good drainage is provided.  Sempervivums and sedums are a sure bet, but I enjoy more exotic and dangerous choices like Dudleya, Echeveria and Graptopetalum or even Opuntia prickly pear cactus. 

California fuchsia


My favorite late summer and autumn flowering plant has to be California fuchsia, aka Epilobium canum, or formerly Zauschneria. The red trumpet flowers are extremely popular with hummingbirds and bloom from about mid-July to November. They require no water and bloom continuously. The plants die back over winter, and reemerge the following spring.


winter Daffodils


Clump on left was spotted in late December. It’s located at the 15th Ave NE / NE 40th street entrance to the University of Washington campus. Most years I spot this clump blooming in January. This was actually the very first time I’ve noticed any Daffodils blooming before January.

Clump on the right seen today in Madrona.

Palm tree seedlings


Windmill palm seedlings transplanted to larger containers for the coming spring and summer.  The seeds germinated over August, into September and October. They spent the fall and winter in a seedling tray. There’s about 70 seedlings, they’re really easy. I collect the seeds from now and into February. I wait until the bean-shape seeds fully ripen into a blackish color, mid-winter in Seattle.  Another person I know collects the seeds from Thanksgiving into December while they’re still green, but I’d recommend waiting until they’re mature and black. My germination rate was around 80-90% for what it’s worth. BTW, these seedlings are from last years seed.

February flowers


February pink, yellow and white flowers, Capitol Hill

Nootka rose seedlings


In late September I collected Nootka Rose hips from the bluff above Puget Sound at the Kingston Ferry. I squeezed the seeds out of the hips and surface planted them in 4″ pots. I left them uncovered, outside in full sun all autumn and winter. The seeds germinated in late January and early February. Previously I read wild rose seeds can take up to two years to germinate, but these were really quick and easy. It looks like there’s a mix of red and green stems, so it will be interesting to look for genetic diversity as they grow. I’m already excited to do more next year.

Nootka rose seed germinating

Nootka rose seed germinating