Monday, September 9, 2019

Revisiting Seattle's Pacific Connections garden; the summer after their historic snowfall

Longtime readers may remember my previous visits to the Pacific Connections Garden at the UW Arboretum. The last visit I wrote about took place in October of 2018 (here) and things were looking lovely. I didn't have time to stop by when I was in Seattle last February for the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival, something I regretted as I wanted to see how the plants responded to Seattle's epic February storm and snowfall. Finally, when I was up that way in July, I managed a walk through...

I can't remember who told me the plants I'd long thought were Puya were actually a type of Fascicularia. Maybe Evan? Or Preston? Either way this one is not looking too good. It's alive, but barely.

Oddly the one in a more open spot seems to be doing better.

Podocarpus salignus, from Chile.

Blechnum spicant, aka deer fern

Blechnum chilense, aka Chilean hard fern

Looking towards the New Zealand Forest...

Snow load damage on the phormium...

I'm not sure what caused this damage on the astelia, snow, ice, cold? I guess I could just say winter.

I couldn't find a label for that particular patch of astelia, but guessed it might be A. nervosa 'Westland'. Then last week I saw a post on the Arboretum blog about a new search tool the IT librarian, Tracy Mehlin, built. By searching astelia in the Living Collection Search I could see they do have quite a few Astelia nervosa 'Westland'. The search tool is pretty cool and I hope to be able to spend more time exploring it soon.

Hebe ochracea looks like it couldn't have cared less about the snow and cold. Ditto for the fabulous green plants I can't identify.

I wonder if cutting off the damaged foliage is something the arboretum personnel hope to do eventually, or if leaving it in place is part of the plan?

Overall things look remarkably good.

There were Phormium blooms.

And noisy critters like this wasp scraping on the stems. It was amazing how loud the sound was.

And oh my, the Daphniphyllum! So gorgeous.


Who needs clipped boxwood? (I think these are hebes?)

These astelia looked great (the dark spiky leaves at the bottom of the photo).

As did the Cordyline indivisa.

We've now moved on to the Australian section so I could check on the Grevillea x gaudichaudii...

Which was looking splendid.

Just because I can I've included a couple photos from the Pat Calvert Greenhouse, still part of the UW arboretum but just north and down the hill. I was surprised, although I guess I shouldn't be, to see the second Agave parryi var. couesii was in bloom. The one on the right bloomed a couple years ago.

The currently blooming plant still has a little life left in it.

Where as the first to bloom is rather desiccated.

Weather Diary, Sept 8: Hi 72, Low 60/ Precip .22"

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. That is such a great Arboretum. I've never seen a Phormium blossom; hadn't even thought about the fact that it would have blooms of some type. We have clipped boxwoods because we can't grow Hebes; those are gorgeous and no pruning!

    1. I've only had a phormium bloom once in my garden. They're pretty cool flowers.

  2. The arboretum looks like it shook off the effects of all that snow with hardly a pause. The photo with the river of coppery-coloured sedge? is gorgeous. A perfect mix of colour and texture.

    1. Yes, that's a favorite image of mine too.

  3. It's a great-looking arboretum and, other than the somewhat scruffy Phormiums, it looks well-maintained. The Daphniphyllums are majestic.

    1. Such a cool large shrub/small tree. I don't understand why more people aren't growing them.

  4. I'm curious about the reason for leaving the Phormium looking scruffy too. Maybe they figure we're in for another snowy winter and it might not be worth trimming them yet. Other than that, it does look like it was barely affected by our snow.

    1. I imagine it's a staffing issue. There were a lot of weeds too.

  5. If my internet didn't drop out, my comment would have been more timely.
    Jimmy cricket, Podocarps salignus is jaw dropping. I also have to wonder how to get my deer ferns to look so lush.


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