It’s difficult to begin a post with that four letter word, however, it’s better writing about it now that it is over, and the sun is shining. When you have a great summer like this one, you tend to forget about our normal weather…rain. But we were given a reminder last week, three drenching days of them to be exact. Western Washington was actually in an official flood watch, and of course, this was a week we expected garden visits from customers and a group of garden bloggers.
As I drove to the garden in Poulsbo, I anticipated broken stems and melted blooms everywhere, but as Sally and I padded through the wet grass, we were pleasantly surprised to see what held up. Luckily, so many of the plants we trial are shrubs, trees & exotics that hail from regions like Australia, South America and California where a sudden heavy downpour isn’t unusual, so they held up great.
The annuals were the main concern. We grow many new introductions of annuals from breeders to test their performance. One thing about trialing plants: you know you need to let them experience the rigors of the real world, but it always tugs your heart just a little to watch them go down…especially when there are a few weeks of summer left.
The good news
Supertunia (petunia) Orchid Charm & Lobularia ‘Frosty Knight’ did great. They have formed a single mass of color in the front greenhouse bed. Supertunia Orchid Charm’s blooms are a bit smaller than other petunias and that has helped them withstand the weather. The color on this Petunia is really outstanding, a mauvish-lavender with a dark purple throat. I never thought I would want to see mauve again after the 80s, but this petunia color has really ‘charmed’ me (sorry, couldn’t resist).
This new Lobularia hybrid is a new introduction for next Spring, with a much more manageable growing habit than it’s predecessor ‘Snow Princess’, which tends to take over everything.
I know that no one is going to write home about a petunia-lobularia (alyssum) combination, but add a little Alstromeria & Nepeta and ‘oila‘…it’s wedding time!
The Surefire Begonia benariansis ‘Rose’, a 2014 introduction by Proven Winners, held up surprisingly well. In fact, this begonia impressed us the whole season with it’s larger size and stand up blooms in the garden. It stands taller (up to 24”) than most and that height pops a lot of color, and as you can see, it held up well to a downpour.
Still going strong, no melted crepe paper! Looks great in front of Phormium ‘Guardsman’.
Sorry about the lack of focus on this one, but I wanted to show you how the Surefire Begonias look in the garden.
Coleus: All of the varieties in the garden held up great. Another testament to letting foliage provide your garden color and texture.
Coleus Golden Dream, which is new for next Spring, is going strong after the rain, despite a few bites taken out of the leaves.
Another colorful new coleus–Ruby Dreams, offers a bright pop of color.
The Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Pomegranate Punch’ looks a little tired here, but, it’s actually holding up well. Petunias and calibrachoas usually take a couple days to recoup from the rain. This is a new introduction for next year from Proven Winners, another color to the popular ‘Punch’ series, mounding calibrachoas known for their dark centers.
This Begonia performed more as expected, as these sad little splats will attest!
This basket is getting a bit tired now, but to be fair, it’s been extremely showy all summer and nearly every garden visitor commented on it.
This new double Bidens ‘Majesty’ another 2014 intro from Proven Winners, has been outstanding all summer. Double blooms, not too vigorous, much better than it’s ‘steroidally’ huge cousins, but alas, it didn’t fare very well in the rain. It probably would have a enjoyed a bit of deadheading too, but hey, sometimes it’s tough love in the garden.
Our visitors still enjoyed their tours and the plants perked up as the the sun emerged.
Oregon growers tour the planters in downtown Poulsbo.
These garden bloggers had a adventurous tour of the Kitsap Peninsula with some great plant finds and garden surprises. Give them a read
Our sunny weather is back, so the garden can enjoy a few more weeks of summer and we’ll keep the rain as a memory, for now.
I had to include this salmon pink Canna intertwined with the leaves of Loropetalum ‘Purple Majesty’.