Creating Beautiful
Whidbey Island Landscapes


that celebrate the unique history, ecology and character of our island home.

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Winter Jewel

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum is now blooming in my entry garden under a lilac and  Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’.   In summer, it is completely dormant (disappears underground) only to have the  mottled foliage reappear in late autumn and early winter.  The flowers can appear as early as late December and are usually some shade of pink through magenta with darker markings at the base, but some are white flowered as well.    It is reputedly one the few plants that will tolerate the dense shade of our native conifers and deciduous trees. I’d like to give this a try sometime.  Cyclamen coum is drought resistant and will naturalize  slowly by seed.  It grows best  in light to dappled shade and well-drained soil.    There is a lovely thick patch under the paperbark maple in the winter garden at the Washington Park Arboretum.

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Witch Hazel

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’

The exquisitely fragrant, spidery flowers of witchhazels are a welcome winter surprise . Here is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ now blooming in my garden.  The bonus of planting a witchhazel is that it also has beautiful fall color.  The wide shape and relatively high branching habit of witchhazels allows and calls for a primarily evergreen underplanting of  lower companion plants –  late-winter-interest ones  such as hellebore,  sarcococca, cyclamen coum, gladwynn iris  or summer-interest foliage such as ferns or grasses. Witchhazels thrive in rich well-drained soil, but also tolerate sand and clay if drainage is adequate. They like  a location with full sun to light or open shade.  The best flowering is encouraged with regular water during dry spells, but they can also tolerate less water after they’ve established.   Minimal pruning is needed and is preferred to maintain its graceful  form.

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Which pear are you?

I’ve been keeping an eye on these flowering pears in Freeland near Whidbey Coffee.  Flowering pears are not  recommended much anymore, likely because the popular cultivar ‘Bradford’, is very narrowly upright and is prone to splitting (as in half) and meeting its demise early – 20 years is long-lived.   There are now other, better cultivars available however and so flowering pears may deserve a second look.    Small white flowers, sturdy glossy green foliage – but pow! look at the color here at the end of November.

Pyrus calleryana – possibly the cultivar ‘Bradford’

Are these the notorious cultivar ‘Bradford’?  Only time will tell . . .

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Dahlias

Dahlia ‘Fascination’ – dark foliage

Seed grown Dahlia by my father-in-law from the Bishop series. My favorite.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’

Dahlia ‘Sandia Shomei’ – short

Dahlia ‘Bracken Lorelei’

 

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