13 September 2017


Lilium lancifolium 'Splendens'
These Asian Lilies (aka 'Tiger Lilies')
first reached U.S. gardens in 1804.
The ones reaching up to taunt the Dragon

are the first 'Tiger Lilies' at the Gatehouse,
Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.
Anno thirteen September two thousand and seventeen.

No seeds for sale but bulbs when the
new bulbils are more mature.

06 September 2017

🌿 Summer Rose from Shaw Island 🌿

Rosa 'Abraham Darby'
Crow Valley handthrown clay pot
For Raymond & Claudia.
Thanks for the visit from Portland, OR.
Summer 2017

31 August 2017


Gatehouse Garden Foxglove 
Digitalis purpurea 'Alba'
At least 7 feet.
This happy mother plant has produced

lots of fresh seeds that are now
processed for the seed rack.
Anno thirty-one August 2017
Growing on Shaw Island, WA.
The seeds of this offering were collected from the robust, large leaved plant growing unstaked on the north side of the Gatehouse after ripening in the long dry summer of 2017. For this gardener, it is a cherished white bloom without spots that climbed at least seven feet towards the sky. No other foxglove was blooming in the garden for the bees to cross-pollinate so I'm hoping the majority of seeds will yield white flowers. In any case, the color of the future bloom can be determined by the color on the lower leaf-stalk in the first year of this biennial and rogued out if it is not to your liking.
The culture for the 'alba' seeds will be the same as for Carol's Digitalis purpurea also listed for viewing  here.
Ideal for: cottage gardens, cut flower garden, woodland garden.
Ease of Sowing: EASY for all.
Keep soil damp until germination takes place. Thin to 6". Transplant to 24" apart into flowering site in autumn for flowering the following year. They grow in most soils and prefer part shade. 
Harvesting flowers: Pick the top king flower out and you will promote the production of more side flowers, which is how it is with this one lush, "tall drink of water" at the Gatehouse. 
Gatehouse Garden Foxglove 'Alba' 
Seeds for sale while they last, 
at the Gatehouse shed,
Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island, WA.

12 August 2017

🌿 Great White Heads 🌿

"...in the midst of which Leaves, sometimes in the middle
of autumn, and sometimes sooner, there rises up a
great white Head of white hard Flowers closely thrust together,
sometimes they are of a Milk, or Cream, or yellowish
White color." 

The English Herbal by William Salmon, M.D., 1710

And Shaw Island cauliflower this day of 12 August 2017.

28 July 2017

🌿 New Flower Seed Variety for Summer 2017 🌿 Love-in-a-Mist

Nigella damascena
Botanical Name: Nigella damascena
Common Name: Love-in-a-mist
Life cycle: Hardy annual.
Native Growing Region: Southern Europe and northern Africa.
Zone: 4-8.
Height: 12"-24"
Bloom time: mid-summer. 
Maintenance: Low.
Water: when dry and fertilize monthly.
Flower: Showy flowers open pale but mature to an intense pure shade of sky-blue such as we all find irresistible. Self-sowing but not a thug. Deadheading spent flowers will extend the bloom period, but will also prevent the development of the attractive post-bloom seed pods.
Cut flowers in the morning to minimize water loss. 
Culture: Should be sown directly by broadcasting seed in the autumn or spring. Resents transplanting.
Days to Sprouting: 10-15.
Uses: Mixed borders, cottage gardens, cut flowers, dried fruits, bedding and containers. Stems with dried capsules make excellent additions to dried flower arrangements.

Notes: A popular cool weather annual. Flowers are followed by pine green, globular seed pods that have reddish brown markings.
They like full sun to part shade and ordinary garden soil with excellent drainage. The drying seed capsules can be viewed here

Van Dusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, B.C:
"A favorite of Victorian gardeners, adds a delicate touch to almost any planting scheme. Seeds of Nigella damascena are NOT edible. The edible Nigella seeds are Nigella sativa."

      Here's a passage from An Island Garden by American author and poet Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), who wrote primarily about the Isles of Shoals, a group of nine small islands located ten miles off the coast of Portsmouth, N.H. Her family operated a large resort hotel on Appledore Island and Celia's presence helped to attract many of the leading artists, musicians, and authors of the day. Celia devoted uncounted hours to her spectacular flower garden. 

"I hold a flower of the pretty Love-in-a-Mist, the quaint Nigella, and scan its charming face. It blossoms late and long, and is a flower of most distinguished beauty. It is star-shaped, in tints of white, blue, and purple, with full rich stamens and anthers of warmer red-purple, the petals on the back delicately veined in each variety with fine lines of faint green. The rich luster of stamens is surrounded at the base by eight smaller inner petals in different tints, so wonderful in detail, so ornate in decoration as to be simply indescribable. Each large outer petal is curved and cup-shaped, yet each has its finishing point that makes the blossom starry, and these eight inner petals radiate from the centre within, above the larger ones. The foliage, whence it gets its old-time name, Love-in-a-mist, is like a soft green vapor, and in the double varieties, runs up and mixes itself with the petals. The single varieties are much the finest. They have a faint perfume of anise, and they are among the quaintest and most interesting flowers I know."
Nigella damascena
Seed packets now for sale at the
Shaw Island Gatehouse,
Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island, WA.

25 July 2017


"Love-in-a-Mist "
Summer harvest for Gatehouse Seeds.
Ripening seeds releasing from Nigella damascena capsules.

Shaw Island July 2017.
"Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January." 
American writer Hal Borland

♦︎ Seeds from an island garden soon to be packaged for the seed-shed racks, at the Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.