Archive for the ‘Hunting Brook’ Category

Native plants far from home

August 31, 2010

It never fails that when we go on tour to England, Scotland, and Ireland we see lots of North American native plants in gardens – Oregon grape, red-flowering currant, salal are all ubiquitous in the Pacific Northwest, but cherished ornamentals when they travel across the ocean.

Sometimes the North American natives don’t even cross state lines very often. I have yet to see Veronicastrum (culver’s root) in a Seattle garden – not even my own – and yet it’s glorious in the gardens abroad. In early July we caught this sight at June Blake’s garden, which we visited before we headed to her brother Jimi’s garden Hunting Brook.

The Veronicastrum stands up to 6 feet high with whorled sets of leaves up the stems; its inflorescences form slender lavender (or white) flames snaking toward the sky. What’s not to love?

Oh wait, this just in – “How to grow” advice from the Missouri Botanic Garden says: “Soil should not be allowed to dry out.” No wonder it looked so good in June’s garden. With my cavalier attitude toward watering, I’d better take a pass.

Black is the new black – black Tuscan kale

July 20, 2010

at Hunting Brook

Edibles and ornamentals – the new hot celebrity couple. The top honors for the most popular edible to plant in an ornamental bed must go to the Tuscan black kale, seen everywhere but to greatest advantage at Hunting Brook in County Wicklow, Ireland, where Jimi Blake paired it with this fabulous Bupleurum longifolium subsp. aureum. The combination of the dark, chunky, textured leaves with the airy sprays of flowers made a good show.

More on Hunting Brook to follow.