27 August 2016

🌿 PHORMIUM SPECIES cookianum 🌿 New for 2016

("Mountain Flax" / "Wharariki")
Summer 2016 discovery:
A well-established specimen of this plant bloomed summer 2016 in
the garden of an early home on Shaw Island.
It is one of only two species in the Phormium genus.
Photo from the University of Washington Botanical Garden.
Thank you, Kathleen DeMaria.
I missed viewing the flowering period of this plant, 
happy in its private garden;  
but the fat, seed-filled Phormium cookianum pods were a
treat to find, measuring 4.5 inches. The first time in my life
I have seen seeds from any Phormium growing in the PNW.

These were harvested, with landowner permission, 
from an area familiar with salt spray of Shaw Island winters.
Hmmm, a plant I'd like to know better.
San Juan Archipelago, August 2016.

Common Name: "Mountain Flax"; "Wharariki"

Life cycle: Evergreen perennial

Native Growing Region: New Zealand. One of the first plants to be described for science by the botanist on Captain Cook's second expedition to New Zealand that landed in 1773.

Flower Color: Yellow

Blooming: June and July in the Pacific Northwest. This year of 2016 is the first time the specimen bloomed at the UW Botanical Garden in Seattle. Their plant was raised from seed.

Height: 3'-4'

Width: 3'-4'

Exposure: Sun or Shade

Winter Hardiness: 15°-20°

Seaside: Yes.

Water Needs: Medium

Tolerates: Deer and rabbits.

Attracts: The flowers produce a lot of nectar that attracts birds and pollinating insects to the garden.

A versatile plant that tolerates a wide range of conditions. Historically, a hugely important fiber plant for fibers for clothes, baskets––


"The handmade flax cording and rope had such great tensile strength that it was used to bind together hollowed-out logs to create ocean-worthy canoes. It was also used to make rigging, sails, roofs for housing, and frayed ends of leaves were fashioned into torches for use at night. Roots yielded materials to make medicine, and nectar and pollen were obtained from the flowers to make face paint." from UW Botanical Garden site

The Maori carefully propagated their own Wharariki nurseries and plantations throughout their land. The quality of their rope materials was widely noticed in the world, dating as early as the beginning 1800s. Their industry thrived until artificial fibers caused the demise of their Phormium fiber work. Wharariki is still used for craft papers.

For a dramatic ornamental with tropical foliage in the garden; seed pods add flair to large flower arrangements. 
Nice strong understory plant that is non-poisonous to humans and animals. The root system is good for erosion control.

Best sown in late autumn. Sow in plug trays under glass to increase germination rate in spring. (It can take 1-6 months.) Temperature c. 63°F.  Supply a weak potassium permanganate solution to prevent die back.

AKA 'Mountain Flax" or "Wharariki" (Maori)
from a well-established plant growing in the marine climate
of Shaw Island. Seed packets will be for sale at the
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.

18 August 2016

🌿 CHARLOTTE'S YELLOW HOLLYHOCKS 🌿 (Alcea rugosa) New for 2016

Alcea rugosa
"Russian Hollyhocks,"
Now giving up some seeds from the 7-ft stalks.

this listing honors Charlotte Lamoureux (1911-2004)
who shared her yellow hollyhock seeds
with many island friends. Charlotte & Mahlon Lamoureux

bloomed where they were planted on Shaw Island, full time 
from 1966 to 1999. We aren't positive she grew the 
rugosa species but it is the best Hollyhock for its rust resistance; 
nurse Charlotte would want us to grow the healthiest species.
Anno eighteen August 2016.
Shaw Island, WA.
Un-enhanced photo.
Common Name:  
Russian Hollyhocks.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Zone: 4 to 8.

Native region: The original species is from Ukraine and Southern Russia. 

Plant height: 4-feet

Flower height: 6-feet.

Bloom: Midsummer to early fall. Showy, buttery yellow.

Culture: Sun.

Water: Medium.

Seeding: One source says direct seeding on the surface.

Days to Sprout: 14-21.

Viability: 2-3 yrs if kept cool and dry.

Notes: Excellent but rarely encountered hollyhock. The tall, sturdy 6'-7' spikes begin to shoot up in Spring. Bottom half of the stock is clothed with typical Hollyhock foliage while top half is adorned all summer with large 4 inch, single butter-yellow, classic mallow flowers. Short-lived but can self-seed so that a colony can persist in a garden for years. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions except for winter wet. 

Sowing: Indoors in early March/April or outdoors in May or later in autumn.

Attracts: butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Resists The ugly rust (Puccinia malvacearum) that normally attacks foliage of other Alcea species. 

Recommended for vertical accent and general garden use and bouquets. Self-sows in optimum conditions, if allowed, but never a problem.
The Shaw Island connection continues––
These scrumptious Hollyhocks captured on film and in 
 pockets of gardener Ingrid L., bicycling in France in 2000.
She brought home some of these seeds to plant at her 

new Shaw Island garden, just purchased from Charlotte.
Photo courtesy of Ingrid.
Alcea rugosa
"Russian Hollyhocks"
Seeds for sale at the Gatehouse, Shaw Island, WA.

12 August 2016

🌿 CLEMATIS seeds 🌿


Clematis "Helsingborg"

Life Cycle: Herbaceous Perennial Vine

Plant Height: 12' to 15' at maturity

Plant Width (Spread) 10'

Zone: USDA 5 to 9

Flower: Purple color.

Light Exposure: full sun to light shade.

Seasonal Interest: Spectacular spring show of rich purple flowers followed by fluffy seed heads in late summer.

Notes: Prefers rich, well-drained soil. Plant vines that are well-rooted & minimum 2 years old. Clematis are heavy feeders and appreciate fertilizer in Spring.
This Clematis blooms on old stems AND new growth, so best to prune lightly in late spring once the first flush of flowers is finished. Easy to grow and easy to control the small vine.

Well established, overgrown plants can be cut back to 12" tall in winter to remove tangles, allowing robust new stems to fill out the plant, but will not flower the next year.

These notes are from the Elizabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden where they list Clematis "Helsingborg" on the list of "Great Plant Picks" with cultural information, a great guide for PNW gardeners. The list contains the best plants for the maritime climate of the Puget Sound area. 

And here is what the great gardener/book author had to say regarding the soil this plant enjoys:

"The best kind of soil from every point of view is that which is rich in humus: decayed vegetable matter like leaf mould, peat, farmyard manure, garden compost, straw, spent hops, sewage sludge, road sweepings, ground bark as a forestry by-product, deep litter chicken manure based on sawdust or wood shavings. When I am asked what I recommend as a soil conditioner for Clematis, I think of all these things but which to recommend depends so much on the individual's locality. What she can acquire or make most conveniently at the lower cost." Lloyd, C. Clematis. Capability's Books. 1989.

03 August 2016

🌿 Wordless Wednesday

Seeds coming in,
anno two August 2016.
I've never seen a Shaw Island Phormium 

plant produce seeds, (upper right.)
Thanks, Chris C!