Crested Gentian from the Caucasus Mountains

Blue is the color between violet and green on the optical spectrum of visible light. I love having blue plants in the garden, probably because of my tendency to red-green color blindness. To my eye, and unlike some reddish hues surrounded by green (especially at a distance), blue stands out.

Gentiana septemfida v. lagodechiana 'Select'

Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana ‘Select’

Most of the flowers in the genus Gentiana are blue. This large genus (around 400 species) is known especially for its blue, trumpet shaped flowers.

My plant was purchased from Edelweiss Perennials, a small family run mail-order nursery located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, in Canby, Oregon.  This alpine gentian is a great little plant for the rock garden or front of a border. It’s easy to grow, thrives in all kinds of soil and (unlike many alpines) doesn’t seem to mind our wet rainy winters here in the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest.

I planted it in front of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sike’s Dwarf’,which is known for foliage and blooms that extend all the way to the ground.

gentian-hydrangeaThe following plant description is courtesy of Hill Farm Nursery located north of McLeese Lake in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana ‘Select’. CRESTED GENTIAN, SUMMER GENTIAN. Perennial. Zone 3. Caucasus Mountains, alpine regions of Iran, Iraq, Turkey. This selected variety is originally from the Lagodekhi region of the Republic of Georgia (former U.S.S.R.). A beautiful and encouragingly easy alpine, which is also known as the “everyman’s gentian” because of its wide tolerance to various growing conditions. Low growing, slightly sprawling clumps of 6-inch stems are starred in summer by many clusters of rich blue flowers with white and purple highlights. Close examination reveals a cluster of intricate hairs and speckles within the trumpet throats of each small bloom. Prefers a bit of shade in hot summer regions, average soil and moisture.

Antidote to Lethargy…

…AKA, garden variety inactivity.

First of my 50 Lewisia cotyledon crosses to bloom.

First of my 50 Lewisia cotyledon crosses to bloom.

In January and February I hardly posted. I wish I could say that I spent hours pouring over seed catalogs and botany books, but that wasn’t case.

The local Northwest Flower & Garden extravaganza at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle inspired me to finally begin working in the garden regularly.

The show featured vendors selling plants, seeds and garden tools; inspiring lectures and the opportunity to network with fellow plantaholics; and a host of business, craftspeople and artists hawking their garden-related (at times a rather dubious connection) wares.

Among the plant vendors, blooming Hellebores seemed to dominate. Their popularity seems to be surging.  With a our mild winters in the northwest, it’s no surprise the Lenten Rose was everywhere. Growers are producing increasingly upright facing blooms, which is no mean feat since the plant has a drooping habit.

hellebore hellebore

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And as promised to the Puyallup gardener and her husband at the dwarf conifer vendor. Here’s a picture of my Dwarf Hinoki Cypress ‘Chirimin’ (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’). It’s been in the ground about two-and-a-half years, is waist high when I stand next to it, which makes it a little less than three feet tall.

Hinoki cypress chirimen

When purchased four years ago  in a gallon pot it was just over a foot tall.  It’s habit is quite irregular and, so far, I haven’t pruned it at all. I hope that helps confirm your choice and helps you site your purchase.

“Shot on iPhone 6”

You’ve probably seen the adds on billboards, in magazines or in other media. Apple is promoting the iPhone 6 camera’s leap in quality.  In my case I was heading across the elevated highway that connects West Seattle to Seattle proper when I first saw this photo on a huge billboard.


“Shot on iPhone 6”

I’m pretty sure this is the photo on the billboard — I lifted it from Apple’s own website. You can sample more of the photos from the add campaign’s website here.

As for me, for all the picture on this blog I’ve been shooting with my used (and slightly beat up) Cannon G10 camera.


Note the crack in the upper left of the LCD viewfinder

It’s a great little point and shoot camera with lots of flexibility and options. But just this past week I decided to give the iPhone 5 in my pocket a shot at photographing my garden. That billboard on Seattle’s Spokane Street viaduct had the desired effect, percolating in my consciousness every time I drove into the city.

So while it’s not a “6,” my iPhone 5C produced all the following shots taken in the last few days of glorious May weather.

Iris tenax

Iris tenax “Oregon Iris”

melianthus leaf after a brief shower

Melianthus leaf after a brief shower

hardy geranium

Variegated Hardy Geranium ‘white cultivar with pale blue striation’

Why I love hardy geraniums? Find out more in this post.

Tight shot of Saxifrage flowers

Tight shot of Saxifrage flowers

Shady spot under our old apple tree

Shady spot under our old apple tree