Gardening where the sidewalk ends

See It, Want It, Get It April 27, 2010

Sometimes the road is long from falling in love with a plant to actually getting it into your own garden. This spring, though, I was lucky to see, ID, and successfully nab a few new favorites.

Being at the Center for Urban Horticulture every week is a revelation, literally – I get to experience these amazing gardens as they unfold, week by week, with something new in flower or an interesting leaf I hadn’t noticed before, a fragrance, a composition coming to the fore, and more.

Just a few weeks ago, the Sea thrift shot up its flower spikes and burst into pinky-purple bloom:

Sea thrift in bloom at CUH

I love the way it forms spreading clumps that hang over and soften the hard line of the path:

Sea thrift drifts at CUH

Armeria maratima is hardy in Zones 3-9 and is ideal for a dry, sunny site or rock garden.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ has become increasingly popular here in Seattle. I imagine it self-seeds pretty fiercely but I prefer its form to the giganto euphorbias, and the flower color is just gorgeous, so tropical-looking in this cold-hardy variety. Since it is kind of a skinny plant, it seems to look best in multiples or coming up through other plants, as it is here through masses of daffodils:

Euphorbia grifitthii 'Fireglow' blooming at CUH

And the red-etched, veiny leaves are almost as nice, especially after a rain…

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' leaves

These two were definitely on my (too long) shopping list when I went to the annual Florabundance plant sale this past weekend, benefiting the Washington Park Arboretum. And what do you know? I found them right away and they weren’t even expensive!

Sea thrift:

Sea thrift from plant sale

Another one, with a pale pink, almost white flower, ‘Snowball’:

Sea thrift 'Snowball' from plant sale

‘Fireglow’, not blooming yet but I bet it will soon:

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' from plant sale

If that was where I’d stopped, I would have been really proud of my restraint! Are you curious what else I got that blew my plant budget for the spring??


15 Responses to “See It, Want It, Get It”

  1. YES…I am curious. You are going to tell us right? Soon?
    Funny I posted about E. Fireglow on Monday… ( now seeing your pictures I’m feeling at it tugging on my heart, again. And you would have to go and use one of my favorite descriptors! “tropical”!!!

  2. Are we curious? to quote John McEnroe, “you have GOT to be kidding!” Those ‘Fireglow’ leaves resemble Eucalyptus…it’s going on my list right now.

    • RainGardener Says:

      I love your Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ – I bought a Euphorbia last year and like it but yours really pops! And your snowball! Something got into my sea thrift that I’ve had for years and just ripped it to shreds. The squirrel has been working really hard in the front yard with fir cones – wonder if he needed a change of pace. But would you believe it’s blooming – I was just shocked to see that!!!

  3. Sweet Bay Says:

    Eurphorbia ‘Fireglow’ is gorgeous, especially with the water drops!

  4. Grace Says:

    I love Sea Thrift. These are gorgeous photos! Florabundance: I love that!

  5. Catherine Says:

    I wondered what you found at the sale. Both look like great plants. I love how the Seathrift looks in that first picture. I’m really hoping to make it to the plant sale this Saturday!

  6. Jordan Says:

    I’m very fond of Armeria maritima. It is quite tough, needs little water. It’s the perfect plant for a sunny sidewalk garden. It is circumboreal, growing around the world in the northern latitudes. I’ve seen it growing beside the North Sea in the Orkney Islands & beside the Salish Sea in Anacortes.

    By the way, I think Allium karataviense is sure to multiply.

  7. Megan Says:

    Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to finally get a plant that’s been on your wish list forever? I think it might be my favorite thing about gardening. I’ve been hearing about the orange flowering euphorbias for a while, but thought I hadn’t seen one. Then I found one…growing in the back yard. I guess I had one after all.

  8. I have always loved thrift. My mother used to grow it so it has sweet associations. Although the pink flowers are what I remember, that white calls to me. And I like your euphorbia. I have a fear of them that I’m only now beginning to get over. I’ll be interested to see/hear how yours develops.
    Those are gorgeous photos of the euphorbia, too. Your “new” camera is getting good use!

  9. Racquel Says:

    Good plant choices and yes I’m so curious! 🙂

  10. Jen Says:

    These plants are both new to me – love both of them. Great color. The thrift looks like lollipops! Are the blue flowers in the second photo thrift too?
    Very curious to know what else you got………

  11. Matron Says:

    Yes, I love the way that plants can soften hard edges in a garden, like chamomile lawns or low growing saxifrage or thymes on a garden path!

  12. Aerie-el Says:

    Yes, please tell us what other treasures you found at Florabundance!
    One of comments on Loree’s post she linked to said they had ‘eu-phobia’. I have that now too. ‘Fireglow’ is beautiful but it started to get so out of control in one of my beds that I ripped it all out. Funny, it’s ba-ack…

  13. Deirdre Says:

    In my experience, ‘Fireglow’ doesn’t seed itself around. It spreads from stolons like wildfire.

  14. I just linked to your blog in my postings about planning my sidewalk strip “verge” garden here in Philly. Great great stuff. Then as I began my spring shopping and wanted to know more about Euphorbia I came to this entry and WOW. Fireglow so trumps the euphorbia myrsinites that I was thinking of buying.

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