Tag Archives: Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Dan Hinkley’s Top 25 Plants

Last week at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show there were some amazing seminars and Dan Hinkley was one of the best.  He presented this list of his top 25 plants, or the plants he will always have in his garden.  I’m excited about these plants, especially my favorite, the Dove Tree!  Check out some old favorites from the Pacific Northwest as well as the strange and unknown from the far corners of the world.

Pacific Northwest Natives
Erythronium revolutum   Glacier Lily
Camassia leitchlinii   Quamash
Arctostaphylos densiflorus   HE McMinn Manzanita
Arbutus menziesii   Pacific Madrone

Pink Fawn Lily

Glacier Lily

Davidia involucrata   Dove Tree
Magnolia wilsonii   deciduous and fragrant
Sassafras tzumu   Chinese Sassafras
Stachyurus salicifolia ‘Sparkler’   Winter Spike
Hamamelis mollis   Chinese Witch Hazel
Hydrangea aspera   Plum Passion
Hydrangea angustipetala   Golden Crane fragrant
Mahonia   Lionel Fortescue
Helwingia japonica and Helwingia chinensis   ( berries form on leaf blade )

Herbaceous Perennials
Beesia deltophylla   purple new growth, clumping, evergreen, for shade only
Disporum longistylum Green Giant, bamboo like effect to 5′ in height, non spreading
Cypripedium formosanum  the best terrestrial orchid for use in the PNW
Mukdenia rossii   Crimson Fans, for moist soils, brilliant red foliage color as summer progresses

The Dove Tree

The Dove Tree

Corydalis solida George Baker ( brick red flowers, late winter, spring ephemeral
Cyclamen hederifolilum autumn flowers, winter foliage

Magnolia insignis  evergreen, large pink goblets for a long period in early spring
Schefflera alpinia   Hardy Schefflera (Schefflera taiwaniana from Taiwan )
Edgeworthia chyrsantha   deciduous ‘daphne’ used for paper production

Holboellia coriacea ‘Cathedral Gem’
Holboellia brachandra white flowers, large edible fruit
Aristolochia kaempferi   (clever pollination strategy of ‘collecting’ living gnats inside flower )

Grevillea victoriae winter flowers, hummingbird attracting, orange/red flowers
Acacia pravissima evergreen tender, late winter soft yellow flowers, quick to establish
Leptospermum scoparium  evergreen, lovely bark, summer flowers of white



New Zealand
Olearia cheesmanii white flowers fragrant of coconut oil, self cleansing, evegreen
Pseudopanax crassifolius and P. ferox  lancewoods with long narrow foliage with clever protective strategy from predation by Moas

Embothrium coccineum  Chilean Fire Tree
Drimys winteri ‘Pewter Pillar’
Gunnera chilensis  Giant Prickly Rhubard  (herbaceous perennials with enormous foliage )
Lobelia tupa  Red flowers on tall stems, highly attractive to hummingbirds

South Africa
Eucomis pole-evansii   giant pineapple lilly
Melianthus major ‘Antanow’s Blue’  Giant Honey Bush
Agapanthus species and cultivars, Lily of the Nile with late summer flowers of rich blue
Dierama pulcherrimum   Wand Flower
Rhodocoma capensis   a hardy ‘Restio’ grass relative with graceful arching stems of evergreen foliage to 5′

Helwingia japonica

Cymbidium iridioides

Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2013

Today was the first day of the Flower and Garden Show in Seattle and there were beautiful plants (I loved the Itoh Peony in full bloom!) creative displays (Hobbit house!) and informative seminars (Thomas Hobbs has an amazing garden!).  Here is a teaser of the Washington Park Arboretum’s  A Hobbit’s New Zealand Garden.

Hobbit House (Can I move in?)

Hobbit House (Can I move in?)

Guess This Plant


I will shamefully admit, I have no idea what this plant is! I took this photo at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February in Seattle.  But I didn’t write down a name.  Falaroy distracted me.  So I’ll keep searching and please keep guessing!


***Update***  The ‘Real Botanist’ award goes to Cathy at Words and Herbs for identifying this as Australia’s native fuchsia, or Correa.  When I saw that name it rang a bell….I probably read the sign at the garden show.  And the flower is spot on for the pictures Cathy found.  Thank you Cathy!  Now see if you can solve my Plant Pursuit Game, it’s one of the pages at the top of my blog!

Plant Picks From the NW Flower and Garden Show

Pink Forsythia

Pink forsythia, or Abeliophyllum distichum, grows 3-6 feet tall in full sun to part shade.  It flowers in early spring and has a light, sweet fragrance.

Harvest Moon?























Beautiful foliage on this shrubby pine.  There was a little note by it that said ‘Harvest Moon’, but I can’t find it, still looking.  It contrasts well with the PJM rhododendron on the right.

Keiko Itoh Peony











It was a nice surprise to see this summer bloomer in February. Itoh peony is has sturdy stems and really big blossoms.  Happy day!

Flowering Quince












Flowering Quince was hard to photograph. My camera did not want to focus on the closer buds.  The beautiful big, fat buds are almost just as good-looking as the flowers themselves.  The plant itself has a pokey, crooked shape which looks great in a container.

Bloomerang Lilac











Lightly scented, this lilac blooms in spring and again in late summer until frost.  Fantastic!  It grows 4-5 feet tall and I want one!

Container with Agonis











It’s hard to see in the photo, but the tall reddish plant in the background is Agonis flexuosa ‘After Dark’, the shrub is Coprosma ‘Caro Red’ and the Sedge is ‘Rekohu Sunrise’.  I really like this combination, there were some new things for me.  Agonis is a tree from Australia and Coprosma a shrub from New Zealand.

Japanese Umbrella Pine

This unique tree was featured in several displays at the NW Flower and Garden Show.  Sciadopitys verticillata, or the Japanese Umbrella Pine, has lustrous, thick dark green needles that spread in whorls from the ends of the branches.  Once you see this tree, you won’t forget it, it’s unlike anything else, this living fossil.   It makes a great container tree, only growing about 6 inches per year.  Mature trees reach 20 to 30 feet and grow best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.   Endemic to Japan it’s called Koyamaki in that part of the world.

WSNLA Display Garden

Cornelian Cherry

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show had lots of blooming, fragrant flowers in the display gardens.  One of these was the bronze medal winning WSNLA garden designed by Gregory Smaus of Native Root Designs.  Here are some words from the creator:  “Our innovative design utilizes a culturally sensitive plant palette, permeable paving, recycled glass, and a living wall. It embraces the dream of spring from the window sill of a childs playhouse through the timber framed arbor and themed gates. It would be a welcome sight anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.”  

The plant that caught everyone’s eye was the Corneliancherry, Cornus mas.  It was in full, bright yellow bloom.  Obviously not a flowering cherry, neither a flowering plum, what was that winter wonder?  A dogwood.  Cornus mas is a large multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, hardy in zones 4-8.  When not visiting the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, it blooms in late January through March and grows in sun to partial shade.  It’s not seen frequently in the landscape.

I really liked the vertical gardens below created out of pallets.  It’s a good way to reuse materials and create a space in which to grow.  Why not grow a garden on a fence or a wall where no garden was before?  They were made by lining the inside of a pallet with landscape fabric, filling with soil and cutting openings.  Then any number plants can by inserted and grown in this slim square garden.  So many ideas, so little time!

Vertical Pallet Garden