Who Sez? NW Climate Change and Orchid Fear

Who Sez?

Every year, like horticultural magic, a Perennial Plant of the Year appears after being voted on by The Perennial Plant Association. This year it’s Geranium “Rozanne”. Keep in mind that it’s a hardy geranium, not one of the bright red-orange annual plants we usually call a geranium. (Those are really pelargonium). Since hardy geranium “Rozanne” is this year’s winner, you’ll find it in a lot of nurseries at a premium price. Like all hardy geraniums, “Rozanne” is long blooming and always fresh looking if you keep cutting it back after each flush of bloom. “Rozanne” blooms June-September in sun or part sun. It is a spreading geranium, not a “sprawling” one. Beware of hardy geraniums like “Claridge Druce” that “sprawl”.

Sprawling means you plant it in the NW corner of your yard and before you know it, it’s in the SE corner.

The Perennial Plant of the Year is chosen for its reliability, not its excitement. If you want excitement, try growing something finicky like Meconopsis betonicifolia, the Himalayan blue poppy. It’s ten times the trouble with one hundred times the reward.

NW Climate Change Stats

America’s Alps (the North Cascades) are melting. Glaciers lost nearly a third of their mass in the past century. All 117 North Cascades glaciers monitored since 1984 by researchers from Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., have receded. Seven are gone entirely. Just the facts…


Orchids are more plentiful and less costly now. Trader Joe’s always seems to have a good selection and they’re cheap enough to be guilt-proof if your reputation hovers in the regions of the “brown thumb”. Orchids are far easy to grow and easy to keep blooming.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Start out with the easiest to grow. Try Phalaeonopsis or Paphiopedilum if your room light is low; Dendrobium if you’re not good at remembering to water and Cymbidium if you have a warm room, bright light and you’re a disciplined waterer. Prices are somewhere between $15 and $20.

Gardening Withdrawal

If you need a “gardener’s fix” for the winter months, try taking some cuttings. According to “Cuttings Through the Year” by the Washington Park Arboretum, ($4.95), now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings of heaths, heathers and mophead hydrangeas; and softwood cuttings ofDoug firs, hemlocks, spruces, junipers, Fuchsias and willows. www.arboretumfoundation.org.

Heavy Sigh

Timber Press, longtime publisher of arguably the best horticulture publications in the country and located in Portland, sold its thirty-year-old business to Workman Publishers. Workman has some large garden boots to fill.

Jackson and Perkins, a Medford, OR, company and a staple in NW rose gardens for decades, has been sold to an investment group in California.

Column reprinted with permission, Premier Media Group, South Sound Magazine