Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May in the Northwest Territory

Longview Ranch has two distinct garden areas in the backyard. There's the MulchMaid's eclectic, xeric and tropical south end, and there's the Mulch Man's Northwest Territory, where most of the plants are regionally native.

This year, the Territory is really coming into its glory. Trees are still modestly sized, but shrubs and wildflowers are finally achieving some size and coverage. And lots of the perennials that were added over the past several years are in beautiful bloom this month.

Here's Iris x pacifica 'This Ring'.
Camassia quamash, flanked by the last of the Cornus 'Eddies White Wonder' blooms.

The Pacific Coast irises are a beautiful mixture of subtle blue and violet tones.

Penstemons in the Northwest Territory range from tiny cliff-dwellers like Penstemon rupicola, below, to big leafy ones like Penstemon speciosa that aren't yet blooming.


Penstemon davidsonii.

The mat-forming Penstemons look wonderful growing down over boulders, like the P. davidsonii in the lower left of this overall shot. There's a Heartleaf Buckwheat in there, too, (Eriogonum compositum) that's just about to bloom.

The tiny flowers of Lewisia columbiana v. rupicola, below. You can just see the plant to the middle right in the image above.

In the top half of this image is an unidentified Penstemon. It was the "companion plant" that came along when we acquired our Indian Paintbrush.

And here's the Paintbrush (Castilleja species). It's little, it's red, and even though it clashes with every other bloom in this part of the garden, it's very precious.

The Mountain Hemlock is a slow-grower but even if it hasn't gotten much taller, it seems to have settled in nicely and filled out a little over the past few years.


Erigeron glaucus swooned every time the sun came out last year. This spring it it has been much better at handling the heat. Its blue daisy flowers will be welcome when they show up, too.

The past weekend saw our first al fresco dinner this year. The Northwest Territory is finally becoming the verdant space with the privacy we sought since our move here eight years ago.
When baby sword ferns start to move in of their own accord, I think it's safe to assume you must be doing something right.

Happy May from the Northwest Territory!



23 comments:

  1. The northwest territory is quite nice! I love seeing all the ferns pop up this time of year! I always look forward to it!

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    1. Ferns are wonderful in our climate!

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  2. Yes, I'm getting baby sword ferns too, and had the same thought. That certainly is a bright red on your Indian paintbrush. Mine is much more orange, and not quite so delicate-looking. Mulch Man has done an excellent job putting the Northwest Territory together. I love Pacific Coast Irises, I'm always just delighted to see the first flower on them.

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    1. I'd like to have more Indian Paintbrush and orange-er sounds scrumptious! I read that there are about 200 species, so apparently there are a lot to choose from.

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  3. Looking beautiful! I've gotten to the point where all the baby ferns just get pulled and composted. Unless they come up in a great place, like next to your rock.

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    1. Baby ferns don't always grow where we want them either, so we have a few that need to be moved when they're a little larger. I look forward to being blithe enough to compost them!

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  4. Beautiful! Love them all...thanks for sharing!

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  5. To hear you describe the split personality of your garden is deceiving as in person it really does flow together wonderfully. Oh and that moss in front of the Mountain Hemlock, wow! It's fabulous!

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    1. That moss is not a regional native, but it ties things together beautifully and helps conserve moisture, so we enjoy it.

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  6. I love how peaceful and green the Northwest Territory is. What a delight to relax in the great PNW and be able to walk through your side garden to sunny California! Your garden rooms are wonderful, well planned and contain lots of interesting plants!

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    1. Thank you, Peter. It's at this time of the year, before the sun-seekers really get going in my part that I especially enjoy Ben's Territory.

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  7. The Northwest Territory looks fantastic! My native penstemons are coming into bloom, too. Your unidentified penstemon looks like P. cardwellii.

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    1. Thanks, Evan. I did wonder if my mystery Penstemon might be P. cardwellii - I appreciate the possible ID!

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  8. Kudos to Ben for creating such an inviting oasis.
    I often long for a crew of gardeners, but when I learned that Joy Creek's crew inadvertently dug out all of the Indian paintbrush my envy faded.

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    1. Ricki, Ben has the patience of Job when it comes to crafting his vision. I admire, with not even a sliver of the ability to emulate.
      So sorry to hear of the Paintbrush loss!

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  9. You are DEFINITELY doing something right. More like everything! I love your NW Territory. The little Penstemons are so cool. I have one that looks very similar to your NOID but mine tends to be more prostrate. I'm pretty sure mine is P. cardwellii but I am behind on logging my plant tag info onto my plant list. Where did you get your Paintbrush? I purchased seeds of the pink species but so far despite being consistently warm on a heat mat, they're a no show. I'd love t get a few plants. But not the red ones. :) Great post.

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    1. Thank you, Grace! The Indian Paintbrush came from Bosky Dell Nursery. It's such a great, funky, fun place for natives.

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  10. The NW Territory is a land after my own heart. Beautiful irises and Camassia! And I didn't even know there was such a thing as creeping penstemon.

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    1. It took me a while to appreciate our native penstemons, Jason - we have a lot!

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  11. Looks wonderful! Nice to be outside again? :^)

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