29 August 2014

🐝 🐝 🐝 "Evening Primrose" (Oenothera biennis)

Angel's "Evening Primrose"
Shaw Island, 

photo date, summer 2014.

Common name: "Evening Primrose," "King's Cure-All"

Life cycle: Biennial

Growing region: Zone 4 to 9

Height: 4-6-ft.

Bloom time: Late Spring-Summer

Flower description: Clear yellow; showy; fragrant; short-lived; June-August.

Habitat: full sun; well-drained soils; 1 and 2-yr old plants grow together in localized clumps––sea-level to 2,000-ft.

According to the Xerces Society, this plant has special value for native bees.
Great description here:

Seed packets for sale at the
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road.

🌿 Golden Feverfew 🌿 (TANACETUM parthenium 'Aureum' )

Golden Feverfew
Growing on Shaw Island 2016.

TANACETUM parthenium ‘Aureum’

Common name: Golden Feverfew

Type: Hardy perennial herb
Growing region: USDA Zone: 5 to 7
Height: .75 to 1-ft.
Bloom time: June to October
Sun: full sun.
Water: medium
Maintenance: medium
Suggested use: annual, naturalize.
Flower: showy.
Tolerates: drought.
Foliage: Chartreuse, aromatic.


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, humusy soils with good drainage. Sometimes considered to be a biennial, but will usually remain in the garden through self-seeding that I’ve never considered invasive. Autumn or spring planting. Shear the spent blossoms immediately after blooming if you choose to avoid self-seeding.


Grown in medicinal gardens for centuries. Contains pyrethrin, a natural insect repellent. Suited to container growing, especially around outdoor seating areas, naturalized areas or cottage gardens where it can be allowed to freely self-seed. The Golden Feverfew is very easy to weed out if you choose. May be used in rock gardens, edging, or bedding plant. An excellent companion to roses. 
Golden Feverfew
On the rack at the Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road

🌿 CAMAS 🌿 (CAMASSIA quamash)

This photo taken on Yellow Island, WA.
A nature preserve.

Common name: Camas

Life cycle: Hardy Bulb.

Growing region: Zones 4 to 9.

Height: 12-24 inches.

Flowers: Late spring.

Bloom description: blue-violet (rarely white.) Showy; April-June. 

Habitat: moist soils, at least in early spring, prairies; meadows; grassy flats. Occurs both sides of the Cascades. 

Tolerates: Summer drought.


“Camassia species deserves wider use in perennial gardens or for naturalizing in woodland settings. They are used more extensively in Europe than in the USA, where they are native.  These long-lived bulbs are easy to establish.
The bulbs were an important food for Native Americans, and territorial battles were fought over quamash fields. The Lewis and Clark expedition also depended on boiled bulbs for food during their journey west. 
There are six species of Camassia native to N. America. There are two species native to the San Juans. 

June 1806 Meriwether Lewis came down into the Nisqually prairie and said these famous words:

"The quamash is now in blume and from the colour of its bloom at a short distance it resembles lakes of fine clear water, so completely in this deception that on first sight I could have sworn that it was water!"

One of my favourite reference books for researching this specimen, partly because the author took space to include the well-known Lewis quote, in her fine book:
A Christmas 2014 gift from dear friends.
Only available from within
Northwest Indian communities
Published by The Northwest Indian College
Vanessa Cooper-360-392-4343.
the North American Native Plant Society has good notes here.

Camas quamash seeds will be at the
Gatehouse, Squaw  Bay Road

🌿 ANGEL'S ROSE CAMPION ALBA (LYCHNIS coronaria "alba") 🌿

White Rose Campion
(Lychnis coronaria 'Alba')
Photo dated May 2015.
With a little salt splash added––
Growing on the berm of the beach on East Passage
at Point Robinson Lighthouse, Maury Island, WA.,
a historical place protected and restored by volunteers, now
owned by the Vashon Parks Department.
Easily accessed Keeper's Quarters are available for rent!
If you care to read a history timeline about this early light
named by Captain Wilkes Expedition see the link 

Friends of Pt. Robinson Lighthouse

Lychnis coronaria ‘alba’  

Herbaceous biennial favorite grown by Angel on Shaw Island.

Common name:  White Rose Campion 

Native Region: Southern Europe
Growing Region: Zone 4 to 8
Preferred Climate: Temperate
The white form of Rose Campion comes reliably true from seed and makes an attractive accent in the garden. Actually, I think it seems rather elegant at times. This erect, woolly, silver-gray plant produces a succession of long-stalked, white flowers from late spring through the summer and into autumn if deadheaded. This biennial reseeds itself reliably, but doesn't become thuggish and may survive as short-lived perennial. Height 24-36-inches; spread 18-inches.

Tolerates: deer, drought, dry soil, rocky soil.

Culture: Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun, but will take some light shade. Prefers moist soil, but will tolerate some dryness. 


Sow seed in situ in spring, or start in containers in cold-frame. Since it is classified as a self-seeder, seeds can be cast out successfully in the autumn. Nothing ever seems to bother this plant.

Another Shaw Island connection: Elizabeth Jones grew the magenta colored cultivar in her garden, where this writer observed them growing happily without deer fence protection. 

The nickname is Red Campion but it is "Alba," meaning white.
Fresh crop of these seeds are on the rack,  
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road.

🌿 Gwen's "Welsh Poppies" 🌿 (Papaver cambricum)

Papaver cambricum
"Gwen's Welsh Poppies" 
Photo: 1980s, Shaw Island, WA.

Common name: Welsh Poppies

Type: Perennial

Native region: Western Europe

Growing Region: USDA Zone 6-8

Preferred Climate: Temperate.

Maintenance: Low.

Tolerates: Will grow in damp or dry conditions.

If you are looking for an easy Papaver to grow, this is it. A tap-rooted hardy perennial, this plant produces a succession of yellow to orange blooms that will brighten any garden. Height, 18 inches.


For maximum freshness, please keep seed refrigerated in its original packaging until it is time to plant. Sow seeds where they are to be grown in spring or fall. Easy to just broadcast out. Grow in humusy, moist but well-drained slightly acidic soil in sun to part shade.
Easy, reliable, undemanding.

Grown at the well-known, exuberant Great Dixter estate garden in southern England, at the Washington State Extension display garden in Mount Vernon, WA., and then found her way across the saltwater to live happily on Shaw Island for, at least, the last 35 years. 

fresh Shaw Island seed harvest of 2018.
Botanists have officially changed the name from
Meconopsis cambrica under which we had
previously listed this specimen.

🌿 Carol's Foxgloves 🌿 (DIGITALIS PURPUREA)

Digitalis purpurea (mixed)
Carol’s Foxgloves
Shaw Island, WA.
Photo courtesy of Carol.

Native Region: Europe

Growing Region: USDA Zone 4-9

Preferred Climate: Suited to a wide range of conditions.

Description: Mixed colors of white, shell pink to deep rose, lavender, and purple. This is one of the truly grand, old-fashioned flowers of that almost mythical English Cottage Garden, that so many people strive to recreate. This biennial produces attractive rosettes of large leaves the first year, with tall spikes of flowers 3 to 6-ft or more in height the 2nd year. Handsome, large spikes and drooping bell-shaped blooms spotted inside, during their second year. 
Extremely attractive to bees.

Maintenance: Easy if watered in dry weather. Grow in almost any soil but prefers humus-rich soil in partial shade.

Tolerates: Shaw Island DEER.

Foxgloves growing on the north shore
in the Stitt family garden, Shaw Island.
L-R:  Mae, Dave M. Stitt visiting his parents,
 David P. (1862-1949) and Bertie Stitt,

 4th July 1937. 
Click photo to enlarge.
Courtesy of William B. Evans, a Stitt relative, 

 and helpful history informant for Shaw Island archivists.
      Medicinal: A classic example of a drug derived from a plant formerly used by folklorists and herbalists.
One of the few wildflowers to be well received in the garden. 
The whole foxglove plant is extremely poisonous. Fortunately, it tastes very bitter and causes irritation of the membranes in the mouth. It also causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, so if it does go in, it soon comes out.

Sowing: outdoors September to October on the surface as the seeds need light to germinate, in pots or in-situ. 
Days to sprout: 14-21.

Notes: Carol imported her original seeds from Saltspring Island, Gulf Island Archipelago, BC.Digitalis viability is 2-3 years so keep the seed in the fridge if you didn't get a chance to cast them out after purchase.

Foxglove flowers in an arrangement supposedly make the other flowers last longer.
According to Elizabeth Murray in Monet's Passion, this flower is grown at the painter's garden at Giverny.
Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea)
flanked by Linaria, 

Angel's garden, Shaw Island, 2003.

 Digitalis is an introduced species, but becoming "almost native." The bees would like to see more in cultivation.

My favorite book for research on this particular specimen:

"The best of all foxgloves is the wild species of woods and banks––it is almost impertinent to try to 'improve' a plant of such elegance and charm. A hardy biennial, with rosettes of leaves at the base, the flower is too well-known to need lengthy description. It has drooping tubes of flowers up one side of the stalk in mid-summer. The flowers are in shades of purple, white, or sometimes a pure and lovely pink, richly spotted inside.
      The foxglove is very much a cottage plant, brought in from the wild over many centuries for herbal use, and is one of the few plants still used in modern medicine, a treatment for heart disease. The cottage paintings of Helen Allingham, a friend of Ruskin, Tennyson, and Browning, which now fetch high prices in the salesroom, nearly always have foxgloves waving among the roses and pansies by the cottage door.
      There is room for foxgloves in almost every garden which boasts a tree or a few shrubs, for it likes a little shade; it prefers light soil, with some humus. Being biennial, seed should be sown in two successive years to get continuity of flower; after which it will seed itself forever. The hybrid 'Excelsior' strain, which I deplore, has horizontal flowers clumsily crowded all around the stalk, but there is a pleasant perennial foxglove, D. grandiflora, with yellow flowers.
      Foxgloves look best scattered among plants as unpretentious as themselves and the tall, pink-flowered rose species, Rosa glauca, with leaves of soft blue-green on red stalks, makes a perfect background. 
      Foxgloves require no staking, no feeding, no dosing for disease, and the leaves provide winter ground cover. What more can any plant be asked to give?"

      Pg 93-94; Published by Summit Books, a Division of Simon and Schuster, New York. 1988.

Fresh foxglove seeds for sale
at the Gathehouse, Squaw Bay Road.


Crocosmia x 'Lucifer'
Loving the heat of summer.
Angel's garden, Shaw Island, WA.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Native Region: garden origin (species is from South Africa)

Growing Region: USDA Zone 6-9

Preferred Climate: temperate

Tolerates: Deer (mostly)


A hybrid developed by Alan Bloom, Bressingham, Eng. He thought 'Lucifer' was the hardiest and most spectacular of the Crocosmias.
Large clump-forming, with pleated green leaves and bright red flowers on wiry stems in midsummer. Height 3-4 feet. Grow at the edge of a shrub border or in an herbaceous border. Makes an excellent cut flower. It does not need staking. According to Christopher Lloyd “Lucifer” will grow true from seed.

Link for growing this cultivar from seed is here
But please don't store your freshly harvested seeds in a plastic bag. A paper bag is advised to ward off mould.


For maximum freshness, please keep seed refrigerated in its original package until it is time to plant. Sow seed in containers in a cold frame as soon as ripe. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Lift and divide clumps in spring, periodically, to maintain vigor. 


For city courtyard gardens, informal cottage gardens, borders, beds. All 7 species come from S. Africa where they grow in moist grasslands.
      I have seen this plant reproduce with only 2 or 3 seedlings in the warm gravel under the raised bed where the original plant grows, but mainly it spreads gently by corm production. Angel's plant is never invasive; if it was out of control as sometimes written, it is easy to extract the young corms to grow on in the cutting garden. 
Give it room to display the fine foliage so it doesn't have to be trussed up like a Christmas goose.

“Lucifer” was introduced by the famous Blooms of Bressingham. 
It won the breeder an RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM.)

 Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Lucifer'
Sun-loving, Tropical-like foliage, hot red
flowers let us know summer is here.
Packets of this easy, island-grown flower
are for sale at the Gatehouse,
Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.