Justin's Plant Picks
by Justin Galicic and Eric Hsu
Photography by Justin Galicic
Justin depends more on foliage rather than flowers, although he still appreciates fragrant shrubs and bold annuals that fulfill the bold and brilliant look he aims in his Normandy Park garden. Some of these plants are adaptable and can be grown successfully on the East Coast of North America as well as maritime western Europe.
Dryopteris sieboldii - Tropical-looking evergreen fern that can handle a bit of dry shade. This Asian Dryopteris from China, Japan, and Taiwan can retains its foliage down to 5 degrees F according to Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery.
Agave ovatifolia (Whale's Tongue Agave) - Stands up to Seattle’s wet winters and still looks beautiful 356 days a year. According to Greg Star in Agaves (Timber Press 2012), this agave is a high elevation species found in two populations, one between 3000 and 4000 ft (900-1200 m) and the other between 7000 and 8000 ft (2130-2440 M). Its cold hardiness has enable its cultivation in Dallas, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina taking down to 5 degrees F without damage (Star 2012). Gardeners less daring can treat it as a decorative container plant.
Magnolia grandiflora 'D.D Blanchard' - Stunning copper-colored indumentum on huge glossy leaves. This native magnolia is equally hardy in the coastal Mid-Atlantic Region and New England as much as it is in the Pacific Northwest, and its evergreen foliage have become popular in holiday wreaths and bouquets during winter.
Eucomis 'Rhode Island Red' - Looks like ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ but gets twice the size! This hybrid between Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' and Eucomis pole-evansii from East Coast maestro Ed Bowen of Opus Nursery, Little Compton, Rhode Island, is certainly deserving for its large size, sturdy infloresences (most stalks tend to collapse in themselves), and dark foliage.
Butia capitata - Hardy in Seattle only with some occasional protection. Still, this blue pinnate-leaved palm is a fast grower and eventually reaches tree status. The jelly palm owes its light frost tolerance to its geographic range in northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Shibataea kumasaca - Averts the two worst attributes of a hardy bamboo: mites don’t bother it and it doesn't run aggressively. It keeps all the great attributes like gorgeous foliage year-round and is easy to grow.
Daphne bholua - Its intoxicating fragrance scents the dark and dreary winter air starting in January in Seattle, well before Daphne odora. Some gardeners have reported trouble getting it to establish, although the effort is worthwhile.
Ricinus communis 'Carmencita' - Everything on this plant is red. It's an annual but easy to sow. It can be thought of like an awesome, poisonous sunflower.
Schefflera delavayi - Huge, glossy foliage grows quickly into a small tree. Amazingly it's one of the hardiest scheffleras.
Sinopanax formosanus - Evergreen, palmate leaves with beautiful copper indumentum for a Taiwanese shrub. It is probably tender for much of continental North America, but likewise can be an arresting container subject.