Two Weeds

Common names are misleading.  I often talk to clients about planting regionally native plants and two standouts are Joe Pye weed and western ironweed.  Both plants are great additions to the late season garden and benefit pollinators.  However, the first question I get after recommending them is “. . . but why do I want…

Surprise & Toad

Nothing signals the start to the end of summer like seeing the surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera) bloom.  We will start to get calls here shortly from clients asking what are those pink, naked, flowers blooming in people’s yards.  Unlike most perennials that produce leaves and blooms at the same time, surprise lilies will produce long,…

Fragrant Solomon’s Seal

In the last two weeks besides being asked what to do about Japanese beetles I am getting bombarded with questions about what to plant in the shade besides hosta.  True enough there are only so many different types of green hosta that you can plant in the shade and this is where Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum…

Tiny Treasure

Bitter root or Lewisia cotyledon (loo-ISS-ee-ah kot-ih-LEE-don) is a perennial evergreen native to the Pacific Northwest hardy to zone 4 (-30 °F to -20 °F).  They form small rosettes about 12″ across and flowers that range from yellow, reds and white.  Yes this little gem can grow in your perennial garden if, and only if,…

Barrenwort For A Barren Space

Barrentwort or Epimedium (e-pi-MEE-di-um) is a perennial that is often overlooked for the garden.  As the name implies it thrives in barren locations.  This is one of the few plants that can tolerate and grow in dry shade.  The flowers are amazing and thanks to new introductions such as Epimedium x rubrum (picture shown in…

Winter Water

When we think of droughts we often think of soaring heat, lack of rainfall and summer.  We never stop and think that a drought can happen anytime of the year in any season.  Winter droughts do as much damage, maybe even more, as summer droughts.  This is because we tend to not think about our…

Boo!

A few weeks ago I blogged about plant names and how they can be misleading.  Since Halloween is only a week away I thought I would share with you three of my favorite spooky plants: Death Camass, Bloodroot and Skeleton Weed. Death Camass (Zigadenus venenosus) is a native bulbous perennial that is found throughout the…

Iris Clean Up

Bearded iris are a staple in the landscape.  They offer a burst of color when we need it the most in the spring.  Late summer is a great time to rejuvenate your iris beds.  Iris spread by underground stems called rhizomes. As they spread they tend to grow on top of neighboring plants. Before you…

Weed or Flower?

“Is this a weed or a flower?” – one of the most commonly asked questions I get here at the Extension Office.  I always answer: is it growing where it supposed to?  If not, then it is a weed.  A coneflower growing in a bluegrass lawn is a weed and bluegrass growing in a coneflower…

A Turtlehead Tutorial

Turtlehead, Chelone spp., is one of the great flowers of the late summer garden.  Flowers are either pink or white and are shaped like, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Turtlehead is a great pollinator plant, adding a tapestry of color and flight to the garden. The plant must have an impish streak too because…