It’s Spring Time Again at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

Despite the wettest weather we've had on record, signs of spring are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. I visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden at this time of year to admire the plants, flowers and trees that remind me that this is the season of rejuvenation. The garden is undergoing extensive renovation to improve the visitor's experience. Remarkably, admission... Continue Reading →

Iris Explosion in Oregon

We were en route to Los Temos Taqueria in Salem, Oregon, when we saw them. Blooming in the fields were millions of irises laid out in swaths of almost every color imaginable. If it weren't for the season, we would never have noticed, as we hadn't in all our previous drive-bys. But, there they were in all... Continue Reading →

Rhododendron ‘Unique’—Harbinger of Spring

When the 'Unique' variety of rhododendron (R. campylocarpum hybrid) starts blossoming, it's the signal in the Pacific Northwest that the rhody season will be in full swing. It's extremely popular locally, not only for the flowers but more importantly its handsome ovate leaves and compact shape that make it a valuable landscaping specimen throughout the year. I... Continue Reading →

Of New Zealand Dahlias

Not only was I captivated by Hagley Park's begonia display but its dahlia border garden, too. The dahlias occupy a small strip along the periphery of the much larger rose garden, a great attraction in itself. The stunning variety represents the hybridizer's craft. On one end are the single-row specimens from their native Mexico. How they were hybridized... Continue Reading →

Double-Flowered Begonias, Townend House (Christchurch, NZ)

In January-March, flower lovers are treated to one of the most spectacular displays of begonias in the world. Townend House, part of the Hagley Park Conservatory, has a seasonal exhibit of double-flowered begonias, many of them hybridized by New Zealand horticulturists. All I could do was gawk—and snap away with my camera.

Bellevue Demonstration Garden Dahlias

The King County Master Gardeners manage the Bellevue Demonstration Garden, also known as the Lake Hills Greenbelt Urban Demonstration Garden. Among the many plots is a section devoted to dahlias. There were two varieties that stood out. One of them had cream and ivory petals tinged mauve on the outer edges (top image). The other had peppermint candy... Continue Reading →

Botanical Ordnance: Cannonball Tree

A more fascinating tree I've never come across. It's more commonly known as the cannonball tree because its russet-colored fruits are shaped like and almost as heavy as cannonballs and give off an explosive sound when they fall and hit the ground. The fruit pulp inside is bluish-gray and attracts wild animals which eat the seeds that get propagated through droppings.... Continue Reading →

Hydrangeas

I have never paid much attention to hydrangeas until fairly recently. Now when I see them, I marvel at their complexity, at how each plant can have flowers with variegated colors, how each head unfolds from neutral-toned buds to petals bursting with color. The lacecap varieties intrigue me the most. I came across a patch of mophead-type... Continue Reading →

Flower Power: Hmong Success Story

In the Seattle area, it's impossible not to see stalls run by Hmong growers at the farmers markets. Say what you will about their omnipresence at Pike Place Market, but their cut flowers and arrangements bring incredible color to an already vibrant local attraction. The Hmong now have stalls at farmers markets throughout Puget Sound. For many... Continue Reading →

Signs of Spring at the Farmers’ Market

It won't be soon enough for summer produce, which will begin to appear in earnest next month. Still, the Issaquah Farmers' Market is drawing customers with spring flowers and vegetables.

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