Manito Park Greenhouse

These green orchids caught my eye not just because the green is unusual, but also because they were perfectly grown. www.alantowerphoto.com Spokane Photographer Alan Tower

These green orchids caught my eye not just because the green is unusual, but also because they were perfectly grown.

This fuchsia is one of many beautiful blooms persisting through the winter (January photo).

This fuchsia is one of many beautiful blooms persisting through the winter (January photo).

The Manito Park Greenhouse (conservatory) is located in the heart of Manito Park, the undisputed jewel of our city with respect to gardens.  It’s worth a visit if you are planning a trip here, and it is worth a trip back to see it again if you live here.  I can find new and interesting things every trip I make.  There is never a shortage of material to fascinate or inspire. The Greenhouse is just across from Duncan Gardens, our most popular summer garden/annual display. Even in summer, if you visit the park be sure to go indoors to see another world of flora.

The veins in these leaves were so graphic and beautiful that I highlighted them in the photo. Two large leaves with prominent veins in Black and White. www.alantowerphoto.com Alan Tower, Spokane Photographer

The veins in these leaves were so graphic and beautiful that I highlighted them in the photo.

This post will feature pictures from the winter display since it is ray of hope in the dead of winter to the gardener missing vibrant blooms.  Orchids, plants with amazing foliage and veins, cacti and succulents…..a tropical paradise awaits.  I love the many kinds of foliage represented, and show you a few items with cool looking veins as well as the beautiful blooms that are found within.

The greenhouse has lots of equipment to assure the temperature and humidity are appropriate as well as good air circulation.

The greenhouse has lots of equipment to assure the temperature and humidity are appropriate as well as good air circulation.

The greenhouse also has a lot of equipment that you might barely note if you get absorbed into the plants.  But it does take work as well as heat and air circulation to make the greenhouse function.  They get the right soil mix for each type of plant, and they choose containers of appropriate sizes.  You may note that many greenhouse plants are in fairly small containers, but most indoor plants don’t want a giant pot or they have trouble with root rot. If you copy that idea at home, your house plants will do well.

Here's another great foliage plant...I just love the texture in these veins.

Here’s another great foliage plant…I just love the texture in these veins.

The staff of the greenhouse do a wonderful job keeping the plants healthy, which is why we have many very ancient specimens to enjoy.  The barrel cactus display is one of the long term ones, and it’s a treat to behold. Thanks!

The barrel cacti have been growing long enough to make a beautiful colony.

The barrel cacti have been growing long enough to make a beautiful colony.

Winter Interest

Now that is officially winter, it is time to look at some plants for winter interest.  Many plants provide structure and definition in the winter garden.  When the snow is deep, the plants of interest tend to be the trees, shrubs and evergreens that … [Continue reading]

Red Twig Dogwoods

In winter, we become much more aware of the reason that red twig dogwoods have been given that name.  In summer, the twigs are a standard gray/brown with a slight red twinge, but in winter the color shines.  Not only are there red twig dogwoods, but … [Continue reading]

Santa Fe Botanical Garden

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden offers inspiration to those of us living in a cold and dry climate.  Though they got more rain than us last summer, most years we're nearly the same and given their 7000' elevation the winter is cold much like ours … [Continue reading]

Rock Placing: Setting the Stage

Rock placing is a key and early element in constructing a landscape.  First is remove eyesores/trash, second is to do major earth moving and tree removals, and then we get to the rock placement. This can be done with a variety of tools, but … [Continue reading]

Ornamental Grass: Beyond Calamagrostis

Looking at the urban landscape in Spokane one might think that Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' is the only ornamental grass that thrives in our city.  It's a lovely plant, and sometimes just the plant for the job, but it is not the only one out there. … [Continue reading]

Controlling Weed Seeds

Late summer is the main time for controlling weed seeds in the garden, because nasty weeds like thistle or wormwood and so on develop most of their seeds in August.  Obviously, there are weeds that are much quicker than this, so it's important to … [Continue reading]

Weeding tools

The battle against weeds is particularly brutal for the dedicated gardener.  We need to enter the battle with our mace, our sword, and our AK-47 of the gardening world.  So which weeding tools do we bring to the foray? First, there's glyphosate. … [Continue reading]

Rudbeckia: Garden Sunshine

Rudbeckia as a genus is perhaps the single most colorful perennial offering for the late summer garden.  Gardens featuring this plant are sometimes prone to "too much of a good thing" (such as my own home garden where we let a few too many come to … [Continue reading]

Evening Primrose: Oenothera macrocarpa

Huge, delicate blooms that last only 1 day...that seems like it might hardly be worth growing. However, there are many every day all summer and the plant persists even with deer herds and drought.  Not delicate after all! Though there are a number … [Continue reading]