Late Bloomers, Dr. Huey and Cecile Brunner

Late Bloomers

The botanical name for Chrysanthemums changed to Dendranthemums about seven years ago. Good idea, changing the name…it caught on much like our easy adoption of the metric system. That said, Chrysanthemums continue to be the main flower for color when fall rolls around. And let’s face it, all Chrysanthemems are pretty. But, consider this when you’re drawn to those deep red, rust and maroon colors. Up close they’re spectacular. Back away about 15 feet and the dark colors disappear into the leaves. Go with the lighter yellows and whites. Their paler colors“pop” with shorter days and longer dusks.Perk up autumn with colors that show up long after sunset.

Calling Dr. Huey

So…your beautiful light pink Cecile Brunner rose has turned into a maroon semi-double rose on a long thin cane? You have inherited Dr. Huey. In 1920, a strong rootstock was found and used extensively in many hybrid teas. It was chosen for hardiness and disease resistance. Now, around the South Sound you’ll find a great deal of Dr. Huey’s where there used to be a rainbow of hybrid teas. Dr. Huey is a stunner in its own right though. Don’t yank it out just because…Dr. Huey is dark red and velvety with a golden stamen and blooms way into the fall. Think of it as a bonus, not a bother.

He’s a She

And speaking of Cecile Brunner…she is an old rose whose other names are Sweetheart Rose and Buttonhole Rose. And it’s girl, not a boy. It isn’t Cecil., It’s Cecile. Ulrich Brunner, a rose enthusiast from the 1920’s named it after his daughter, Miss Cecile.

Best Time to Plant

Fall planting is absolutely the best time to plant any perennials, trees or shrubs in the garden. The weather is cool; the soil is warm and moist, not soggy yet. The best sales are now too. Think about your purchases as a helpful hand to the garden centers. They’re glad not to have to take care of them throughout winter. You end up a winner….everybody’s happy!

HELLEBORES: A Comprehensive Guide

It was only a matter of time. In April 2006, Timber Press published a monograph that focused on Hellebore’s, still the hottest plant in the South Sound. “Hellebores” A Comprehensive Guide, by C. Colston Burrell and Judith Knott Tyler (foreword by our own Dan Hinkley), is the first and last word about the current and long lasting Hellebore craze.

Another subheading could be, “everything you ever wanted to know about Hellebores but didn’t know what to ask”. Perfection is hard to come by with plants but according to the authors, Hellebores come just about as close as anything to perfect perennials.

Along with the usual how-to-grow-and-propagate secrets, Burrell and Tyler squeeze in some fascinating history accompanying each featured Hellebore star, both species and cultivated varieties. If you are one of the Hellebore nuts that dot the landscape of the South Sound, this is a book not to be missed. It could come with a hazard label though. May Cause You to Buy More Hellebores!

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