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Salish Sea gardens and landscapes

Category Archives: Gardening

February spring flowers

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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

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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

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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.