October 3, 2015

Little Prince Orchid Wanna-bes

Little Prince of Oregon grows some great plants and so when we called to see what was blooming Mark told us to stop by and see something special! We were not disappointed. One was a hardy orchid and the other was an orchid look-a-like. The first one was the bletilla. I say it is a wanna-be because it doesn’t have the huge orchid blooms like some of its cousins. Mark had pulled out three varieties for us to look at. The first was a white one called Bletilla ochracea ‘Chinese Butterfly’. The second was Bletilla yokohama ‘Kate’ and the regular yokohama. The difference was in the size. Kate gets a little bit bigger in the garden. They love partial sun and well-drained soil. They bloom from early June until the end of July or later. They will survive down to a minus 10 and will slowly spread out into a nice clump. A great plant for the shade garden!

The second plant is a true orchid wanna-be. This one was the Tricyrtis or toad lily. The common name of toad lily comes from the spots on the leaves which look like the spots on the back of a toad. These grow in the same conditions as the bletilla so you can place them in the same area and they will extend the bloom time in those garden beds. The first one that we saw was Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’, which is a shorter variety with white blooms. The second was Tricyrtis taiwan ‘adbane’ with a taller habit. The third was ‘Dark Beauty’ with a darker bloom and long flower stalks, and the final one was ‘Samurai’ with its variegated foliage. These will slowly spread in your garden by rhizomes and will also produce a nice clump. If you would like to find these great plants you can check out the Little Prince website for a retailer near you.

DebRon's Black Cherry

April 18, 2015


A few years ago one of our favorite places to visit was Monnier’s Country Gardens. Ron and Debbie are good friends and wonderful breeders of some great hardy fuchsias. They have since closed their business but the beauty of their fuchsias goes on. Little Prince of Oregon of Oregon is growing and distributing some of the ‘DebRon’ series of hardy fuchsias. To see some of the great varieties they grow we stopped by to talk to Mark and see them. Little Prince grows some of the coolest plants that are available in garden centers throughout the area, and these are REALLY cool. Mark first showed us DebRon’s ‘Black Cherry’, which has an incredibly dark corolla (that is the center petals of the flower) and deep red sepals (the outer petals that usually fold back to reveal the corolla). Getting a black corolla is the hardest thing to do for fuchsia breeders but this one is one of the best you’ll find. Next we looked at the ‘Smokey Blues’, this is also a dark colored one with more hints of blue on parts of the flower. Finally we saw ‘Snow Fairy’. This one has a white corolla and light pink sepals, and would make a bright addition to any garden.

Hardy fuchsias are different than your trailing types you would find in your hanging baskets. Those are very tender and will not survive the winter without protection. The hardy type go right into the ground and will survive from year to year with just a little maintenance. The key to success with hardy fuchsias is to bury them deep when planting them. They are like tomatoes and can have the crown of the plant buried in nice, well-drained soil. This will allow the plant to grow a nice root mass that will help them survive those cold Northwest winters. To find the nearest garden center that sells Little Prince plants you can always check their website.

DebRon's Black Cherry

April 4, 2015


This week we saw the return of our plant pick of the week from Little Prince of Oregon. Mark joined us in one of the greenhouses at the nursery to show us one of his favorite plants, Erodium. These are a small alpine geranium that love full sun. They love well drained soil and once established they are pretty drought tolerant. You can use these great little plants in rock gardens, between pavers and even in containers. They can even handle a little foot traffic. Erodiums can even rebloom throughout the season. The 4 varieties that we saw at the nursery included Bishops Form, Charm, Alba and Flore Pleno. You can look for these in your local garden center. To find the nearest one to you, check out the locator at the Little Prince website.


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