Floretum’s Most Recent Contribution to Edmonds
This drinking fountain is now front and center in the new Veteran’s Plaza at 5th and Bell.
It was donated by Floretum members as a gift to the city.
See also the new plaque to the east of the fountain.
From our December meeting:
“Rain Gardens — Why They’re Popular & How to Get One Started” by Philomena Kedziorski, WSU extension agent, educator and Rain Garden Program Coordinator.
There’s a lot of talk about rain gardens in the Pacific Northwest, and our speaker made the case for why they are important. The essence of private rain gardens is that they filter the runoff that goes into Puget Sound.
Snohomish County Master Gardeners will help homeowners design their rain gardens. The Snohomish Conservation District will come out to evaluate your property for rain garden suitability. You can buy rain garden bioretention mix at most soil suppliers. For more information, see 12000raingardens.org. Adding woodchips will improve stormwater infiltration and plant health. For free woodchips, see getchipdrop.com.
Reprinted from My Edmonds News:
Where’s there’s smoke, there’s…a potluck? Bubbling Floretum Garden Club casserole forces City Hall evacuation
It was then that things went awry.
“What’s that smell?” someone said. Then “oh my gosh, there’s smoke coming out of the kitchen!”
The City Hall smoke alarm system took over from there, automatically relaying the signal to fire dispatchers and setting off the alarm to evacuate the building.
“The elevator shut down the minute the alarm was triggered, so we all took the stairs,” said Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty, as he, Mayor Dave Earling and the rest of the building staff followed their well-practiced emergency protocol and calmly gathered across the street.
In moments the sound of sirens filled the air as fire equipment pulled up in front of the building and firefighters in full gear raced through the door. “They wanted to check out the situation before snaking hoses in,” added Doherty.
The culprit according to Floretum’s Marty Ronish, who organized the potluck: a cauliflower-Parmesan casserole that bubbled over onto the warming oven heating element.
It only took a few minutes for firefighters to declare the building safe to reoccupy, sending workers back to their desks and Floretum members back to their potluck.
Earling, ever the fiscal conservative, was overheard joking that perhaps Floretum should be billed for the lost staff time.
And the casserole in question? After a quick inspection it was brought out to the buffet table, where all who tried it proclaimed it “delicious.”
— By Larry Vogel
CHRISTMAS FLAIR was a great success for Floretum the first weekend in December. We made and sold wreaths to benefit the Floretum scholarship fund.
Saturday Workshop: Floral Design in a Mug
Edmonds Floretum Garden Club member and floral designer Priscilla Krueger guided attendees in the creation of small holiday arrangements suitable for table decor or hostess gifts.
Edmonds Tree Board
The Edmonds Tree Board, sponsored by Edmonds Floretum Garden Club, presented a workshop called
“Right Tree for the Right Place.”
From the workshop, here is a list of best and worst trees for the Edmonds area, compiled by city horticulturist and Floretum member Debra Dill:
A few of my favorite trees:
Debra Dill 10/4/17
- Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese stewartia)
Beautiful, low maintenance tree with 4 seasons of interest from the camellia like flowers to the exfoliating bark. Zone 5 to 8. Height: 12-40’. Width: 8-25’. Water: medium
- Zelkova serrata ‘City Sprite’ (City Sprite Japanese zelkova)
I love Zelkova for their interesting zig-zag branchlets and overall structure. However, they are fairly large trees. City Sprite is the perfect way to get a Zelkova into a small space. Zone 5. Height: 24’. Width: 18’. Water: medium
- Koelreuteria paniculate ‘Coral Sun’ (Coral Sun golden raintree)
Golden raintree has an interesting leaf texture and beautiful flowers that come out in summer. The seed pods look like Chinese lanterns giving this tree a fun 3-4 seasons of interest. Coral Sun is a smaller variety with red new growth and great Fall color. Zone 5-9. Height: 20’. Width: 20’. Water: dry to medium
- Picea omorika (Serbian spruce)
Even though this is tall tree it’s narrow form allows it to fit into smaller spaces. Also, I love the swept-up branches that show their silvery undersides. The young cones are purple. A very attractive spruce. Zone 4-7. Height 40-60’. Spread 15-20’. Water: medium
- Parrotia persica ‘Persian Spire’ (Persian Spire ironwood)
Tough tree with a great upright habit. New leaves have a purplish cast in the spring and the exfoliating bark provides great winter interest. Persian Spire has a finer texture than the species as well. Zone 5-8. Height: 25’. Width: 10’. Water: medium
- Abies koreana ‘Silberlocke’ (Korean fir)
The recurved needles that are dark green above and silver underneath give this tree a striking texture. Pyramidal form. It’s a little picky, but would make a great specimen tree. Zone 5-7. Height: 20-30’. Width: 10-18’. Water: medium
7. Acer japonicum (full moon maple)
What can I say? These are amazing, beautiful trees. Zone 5-7. Height: 10-30’ (depending on cultivar). Width: 10-30’ (depending on cultivar). Water: medium
8. Calocedrus decurrens (incense cedar)
One of our native conifers, however, unlike our other natives, Incense cedar is columnar. The foliage is very fragrant and the branchlets sit in interesting, fern-like sprays. The cones are very distinctive. Zone 5-8. Height: 30-50’ (n cultivation). Width: 8-10’. Water: medium
- Cercis canadencis ‘Forest Pansy’ (eastern redbud)
This tree has a lovely structure which is often multi-stemmed. This tree has wonderfully purple leaves, and rose-purple flowers that run along the stems in spring. Great tree. Zone 5-9. Height: 20-30’. Width: 25-34’. Water: medium
- Davidia involucrata (dove tree)
The flowers of the Davidia are what make this tree distinctive. Large, white bracts cover the red anthered flowers. The bracts are quite showy and flutter in the slightest breeze. Zone 6-8. Height: 20-40’. Width: 20-40’. Water: medium
A few of my least favorite trees
Debra Dill 10/7/17
- Prunus (ornamental plums and cherries)
These trees can be lovely when in bloom. Some also have nice leaf color, adding wonderful interest to any garden. However, they are so prone to insect infestations and diseases that you will not (with rare exceptions) have a long-lived or nice-looking tree.
Issues include: fire-blight, brown rot, bacterial canker, crown gall, shothole and peachtree borers, scale, and tent caterpillars to name a few.
- Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ (Bradford pear)
Although the beautiful snow-white flowers, wonderful Fall color, and tolerance of poor soils and pollution make this pear an enticing tree to plant, it has a number of problems worth noting. Poor structure and weak wood makes this tree very vulnerable to breaking in wind and ice storms, often splitting it in half. The flowers, as pretty as they are, unfortunately, do not have a nice smell and can be downright unpleasant in the spring.
Issues include: weak wood and bad smell, prone to suckering, pear rust and fire blight, and insects such as the pear slug (sawfly).
- Eucalyptus globulus (blue gum)
The most commonly planted Eucalyptus, blue gum is fast growing with interesting leaf shape and color, and exfoliating bark. These features make for an interesting tree in any landscape. However, because of their fast-growing nature, these trees are often structurally weak and, when mature, will drop large branches at random, making them very dangerous. Also, these trees have been declared an invasive species in California, especially in riparian areas. This should give us pause and some food for thought as climate change is increasing the range of species that can grow in the PNW.
Issues include: weak structure, potential for invasiveness, toxins reduce the vigor of other native plant species, and they are potentially harmful to hummingbirds and a few other nectar-feeding birds (although this still is somewhat controversial).
- Ilex aquifolium (English holly)
What can I say about English holly? Interesting texture? Beautiful, dark, evergreen leaves? Pretty red berries in winter? I could say all of that, but this tree’s incredible invasiveness detracts from all of its assets. Spread by birds who love the berries, and by rooting in wherever branches touch the ground, English holly easily out competes our native trees and shrubs. This tree should not be planted in the PNW.
Issues include: This escaped ornamental is threatening our native habitats. Birds love the fruit, helping this tree to spread. Also, the sharp pointed leaves on this tree make it difficult to garden under. The dried leaves that fall really hurt when they poke through a glove or they are inadvertently stepped on. (I know this point is incredibly minor compared to the first issue, but they really hurt!)
- Prunus laurocerasus (English laurel)
More of a shrub or small tree, English laurel needs to be mentioned in this list because of its invasiveness as well. Great for hedges, this tree is widely planted in urban areas as a privacy screen. When let to grow as a tree, it can reach as high as 30’ or so, and has an interesting branching structure. With all of that said, English laurel has been classified as a “weed of concern” in King County and my personal opinion is that it should not even be sold. This plant is disrupting our native plant communities as much as the English holly and should not be planted.
Issues include: This is another escaped ornamental that is threating our native habitats.
- Salix babylonica (weeping willow)
Beautifully graceful trees, weeping willow leaves add texture and the long branches add a lot of movement to a garden. However, these trees are not low maintenance and are better suited for large properties where they can grow and mature out on their own. Willow roots are very thirsty and will aggressively seek out water making it best to plant them well away from underground water sources, other than a natural stream or pond. They are constantly shedding leaves and branches as well, making them, potentially, a lot of work. Willows have weak, brittle wood that is especially prone to storm damage.
Issues include: weak, brittle branches, messy trees that continually shed leaves and branches, susceptible to fungal scab, canker, root rot, and a host of insects.
Trees I really like … but have a few issues with:
- Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)
I actually like this tree. I love the interesting, corky ridges on the bark and the stunning array of colors of the leaves in fall. Unfortunately, similar to the Eucalyptus mentioned above, these trees can become brittle when mature. Small limbs or whole branches may break in strong winds. The roots are shallow and can injure lawns and lift hardscapes. The hard fruits can easily turn an ankle and will hurt if walked on.
This is a good tree with a few bad side effects. Plant it in ‘the back 40’ where falling fruit (and branches) and shallow roots will not be an issue, then sit back and enjoy the colorful show in Fall! (A great, new cultivar to look up is: Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’)
Issues include: brittle structure when mature, shallow roots, hard fruit that is messy and a potential tripping hazard.
- Tilia cordata (little-leaf linden)
Another tree that I really like. It has a lovely form and the fragrance of the showy flowers is wonderful on a warm spring day. The flowers are also great for attracting pollinators, especially bees and butterflies. It really has few issues, except for aphids. Aphids do not really pose a threat to the tree, but they can be so abundant that anything underneath them will be covered in a thick, sticky mess. This ‘honeydew’ is also a great place for sooty mold to take hold on plants beneath the tree.
This would be another great tree to plant in an area where it can be enjoyed from a distance or in an out-of-the-way location.
Issues include: (No serious insect or disease problems.) It can be susceptible to verticillium wilt (infrequent), leaf spot, and canker. Potentially troublesome insects include: lace bug, Japanese beetle, spider mites, and, oh yeah, aphids, lots and lots of aphids.
- Picea pungens (Colorado blue spruce)
This lovely, blue-needled, evergreen tree can add interesting contrasts of height, texture, and color to any garden. Unfortunately, this tree does not live long in our mild, PNW climate. Blue spruce prefer cold winters and hot, dry summers to look their best. We are too mild and too wet. This combination of conditions leaves the tree stressed and susceptible to insects and disease making it rare to see a healthy, mature blue spruce in our region.
Issues include: fungal needle cast, spruce aphid (adelgids).
- Cupressocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress)
Leyland cypress have a lovely, blue-green color and hold their branches in a very characteristically upright fashion. These are large, fast growing trees, easily reaching 60’ or more with a 20’ spread. It is their fast growth and ability to take to sheering that has made them very popular for hedges and privacy screens. But, it is their fast growth that also makes them a lot of work to maintain. Hedging also puts a lot of stress on the tree and opens them up to insects and disease. They are shallow rooted and can topple over in strong winds.
These are actually structurally interesting trees. However, they are best planted where they can be allowed to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, most urban yards cannot accommodate their size very well.
Issues include: too big for most yards, a lot of work if used for hedging, stress makes them susceptible to cankers, root rots, and insects such as bagworms.
- Acer spp. (Maple)
I hesitate to put maples on this list. I love maples! They are hardy in so many of the urban environmental conditions that we throw at them. They also come in such a wide variety of species and cultivars that it is almost impossible to choose a favorite. Unfortunately, they are over planted. We have loved them into a near monoculture and placed them in danger of being wipe out. I think of trees such as Ash with the emerald ash borer and Elm with Dutch elm disease among a few examples of trees that were heavily planted then greatly suffered from introduced species. For maples it is the Asian longhorned beetle. This pest has the potential for a catastrophic damage to our trees if it reaches the PNW. So, as much as I absolutely love maples, and will probably still want to plant them, it would be worth considering an alternative tree that would fit your design and gardening needs.
Interested in joining Floretum? Come to our November meeting on how to deal with those pesky rodents!
IN THE NEWS
Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling proclaimed July 16-22, 2017 Edmonds Floretum Garden Club week!
Meetings are the third Monday of each month at 10 am (see Calendar) from September to May
Edmonds City Hall
121 5th Avenue North, Edmonds, WA 98020
Edmonds Floretum Garden Club has been beautifying Edmonds, Washington for 93 years. Floretum’s 140 members are active gardeners with all different levels of expertise — including more than a dozen Master Gardeners who are always available to coach enthusiastic beginners.
Crowds mob Floretum annual plant sale in support of club’s schol
Cross-posted from My Edmonds News
Look for another stunning summer of exotic blooms and foliage in Edmonds’ Hazel Miller Plaza, thanks to a very special partnership between the City of Edmonds, Petula Plants of Port Townsend, and the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club.
Bright and early Wednesday morning, the truck from Petula Plants rolled off the ferry accompanied by Petula owners Tonya Cole and Molly Malecki. They headed straight to Hazel Miller Plaza, where they were met by city parks staff and an army of Floretum volunteers armed with trowels, who went right to work putting more than 1,000 plants in the ground.
But it’s more than just a beautiful floral display. Hazel Miller Plaza is also a test garden for a collection of uncommon and exotic plants, many native to warmer and drier climes, to see how well they do in the Pacific Northwest.
“This is the third year we’ve worked with the City of Edmonds and Floretum on this,” said Cole. “We provide the plant materials and the expertise, the Floretum Garden Club donates the labor to plant them, and the city provides the space and general maintenance. We get a test garden, and Edmonds gets a gorgeous public space. It’s a real win-win! And I can’t say enough about the volunteers from Floretum. These folks are real experts at getting plants in the ground fast and right, giving them a solid start and the best chance of survival.”
Added Malecki: “Hazel Miller Plaza is really a jewel box of a garden. The planters, patio and fountain create the perfect ambiance, and the configuration of the surrounding buildings combined with the southwest exposure concentrates sunlight and warmth to create a micro-climate able to support plants that don’t normally thrive here, so we’re adding a few of these to see how they do.”
Many plants will be labeled for identification. As a wholesaler Petula does not sell to individuals, but rather to retail nurseries throughout the region, many right in our neighborhood. According to Malecki, most of the plants being put in at Hazel Miller can be found at Swanson’s and Sky. “And if they don’t have it, tell them to order it for you from Petula,” she added.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel
Crowds mob Floretum annual plant sale in support of club’s scholarship fund
May 6, 2017
The new location did nothing to deter crowds from the massively popular Edmonds Floretum Garden Club annual plant sale, held Saturday morning in the Edmonds United Methodist Church parking lot.
As in past years, the crowds began gathering early for the chance to get first pick of more than 1,000 plants, all priced to sell. At the 9 a.m. opening bell, more than 100 eager gardeners rushed in, jostling to be first get their garden-gloved hands on the choicest specimens.
All plants in the sale are donated, and most come from Floretum Club members’ gardens.
“Our members are all avid gardeners,” said club president Sally Wassall, “and each year as their gardens grow they divide up plants that have spread, put them in pots, and store them for this sale. This year we have more than 1,000 plants on sale. I brought more than 100 from my garden alone!”
But the sale has a bigger purpose than just sharing plants.
“It’s our primary source of money for the club’s annual scholarship fund,” explained Wassall. “Last year’s sale brought in more than $2,600, and we were able to offer two scholarships to horticultural students, both of whom could not have paid for college without them. This year’s turnout is amazing, and I’m hoping we can top $3,000. That would mean at least two scholarships, maybe three.”
Previously held in the PCC parking lot at Westgate, this year’s move to the Edmonds United Methodist church at 9th and Caspers did nothing to deter the crowds, and drew all positive comments from club members and plant shoppers.
“I love the new location,” said Floretum Club member Graham Humphrey. “There’s plenty of parking, and it’s safer because the lot isn’t busy with shoppers pulling in and out. Plus we’re right on the main street and visible to anyone driving by. And even the weather cooperated!”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel