Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Growing Rapidly

Tetrapanax papyrifer
With ground-soaking rains in April, summer-like sunshine in the first half of May, and now back to rain, the garden seems to be changing by the hour.

Gunnera manicata
Just when I started to panic about the ground drying out this early in the season from all the warm sunny weather, the reality of living in Seattle came to the rescue: rain is forecast for six of the next seven days.  That at least makes the gunneras happy.

Fatsia polycarpa
This is my new toy.

Strelitzia reginae
Strelitzia reginae or Bird of paradise is a really good reason to have a greenhouse.  It started blooming in March and should last into July.  I bought this one a couple years ago and is now blooming for the first time.  It doesn't have any major pests that I know of, although sometimes spider mites or aphids will feed off its leaves in the greenhouse, but a monthly spraying of neem oil solves that problem.  I keep it outside April-October.

Brugmansia or Angel's Trumpet is another great subtropical plant that is unfortunately not hardy.  But that's no reason to not grow it.  The foot-long trumpet-shaped flowers are visually stunning, but even more stunning is their fragrance, which is only released in the evening.  They root easily from cuttings any time of the year.

Azalea 'White Lights'
Speaking of fragrant plants that are in bloom right now, Azalea 'White Lights' is a great one.  I've never been a huge fan of azaleas but this one has won me over.

Clematis x cartmanii 'Blaaval' growing on the trunk of Trachycarpus fortunei
The day has come when the 30 Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill palm) specimens I planted four years ago are big enough to have vines growing on them.  I just planted this Clematis x cartmanii 'Blaaval' (aka avalanch clematis) a few months ago.

Schefflera delavayi
Now that my hardy schefflera count is up to five different species (all surviving this past winter no problem), I'll have to consider joining the hardy schefflera society...

Schefflera taiwaniana


  1. Ha! Where does the "Hardy Schefflera Society" meet?

  2. Glad to know I wasn't alone in fretting about the rains never returning!

    1. I remembering that happening about five years ago, but this spring is definitely more plant-friendly.

  3. No posts for a month. What's going on in your garden?

    Do you grow any Colocasias? I have tried many varieties, but can only get three to pull through the winter well (black pearl, pink panda, and one other - Thailand Giant or something like that). A couple more varieties look like they will make it, but don't look strong. What's your experience?

    1. I do grow both colocasias and alocasias. We barely get enough heat in the summer to get them to grow big. I've had success growing them in pots, giving them plenty of fertilizer. Starting them off in a greenhouse is the way to go.