Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

last summer I planted two Alstroemerias, one in bright dry shade under a pine tree, one in full sun. They are supposed to like sun, but I think it was Annie's Annuals that said 'The Third Harmonic' will take dry shade (admittedly dry shade in California is quite different from Seattle). Both survived our very cold winter (I got down to 10 degrees, which starts entering zone 7 territory). Here are the blooms which I LOVE. The colors are more complex than I have captured. The one in the shade bloomed for less than a month, but we will see what happens in future. The yellow one has been blooming about 6 weeks, still going strong. Both are a bit floppy, and could use a peony ring next year.
Both are healthy, and not a big slug problem so far. I might try some other varieties. They are both planted in about 6" of commercial bulk 'planting mix' over my native clay.
#1- 'The Third Harmonic', in dry shade
#2- 'Friendship Yellow', in the sun.

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Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Beautiful! I love the speckles on those. Good idea to do an experiment with what conditions they might prefer in our climate.
Do you use a 3-way (topsoil/compost/sand) mix to build your garden beds? I am in the process of putting in some beds, and bought several loads of plain compost. I'm thinking I might need to add something else to it, not sure. In past years, I have taken the time to sheet compost with leaves, manure, compost, grass clippings to create new beds. I'm being impatient this year, and want to get a bunch of plants in the ground that I bought at a nursery going-out-of-business sale a few weeks ago.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I got a truck load of a 'planting mix' from a local company (topsoil/compost/sand), I spread 6" on top of the existing crappy clay to make 2 new flowerbeds. The planting mix had a nice 'tilth' (texture). Like you, I also was running late in the season, and I found my plants put on no growth at all, although I was watering enough. Finally in August I put some chemical fertilizer on and everything started growing right away. I probably should have got a little soil test kit when I bought the mix, and fertilized as needed immediately. I had some losses of borderline plants (Agapanthus, Kniphofias) over the hard cold winter. One suggestion I got from a plant nut who has a nursery was that by fertilizing so late I caused too much 'soft' growth too close to winter, so they died. Or that the problem was just that I planted them too late.
Let us know what you do. How sad the nursery is going out of business, but how nice you got things cheap.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

I am looking to move to the PNW this fall, or maybe spring. What areas would you recommend? We are looking at Longview WA, Astoria, OR and Moscow ID. I am thinking that along the coast might stay cold all year, and too far inland would be too hot, like it is here.

We get snow in the winter and it is much hotter in the summer than when I moved here almost 30 years ago.

So I guess I am looking for that "goldilocks" zone where it is warm enough for tomatoes, but cool enough for blue poppies. Any suggestions?? (Besides, "Go fly a kite!") ??

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Oh Hi Evelyn-I just answered on the other thread, but you didn't mention these three places. I don't know about Moscow except cold winters, hot summers, and dry. Longview seems exactly right (greater Portland area seems like the climate you want. Astoria is nearer the coast, so cool all summer and not a good tomato growing location at all, it is usually 'sweater weather' there even in August.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Thanks so much for your prompt reply to my query. I really needed to get the perspective of someone who actually lives there.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

I have a friend in the Salem, Oregon area who almost always has a better tomato crop than I have due, I think, to her warmer summers. So you might want to add the Willamette valley to your list of possible places. However, for comfortable summer weather (usually not too hot except for the occasional day over 90) I personally prefer the Puget Sound region. That said, I agree with mlm, Longview could be the place you mentioned that most closely matches the characteristics you want.

This message was edited Jul 20, 2014 4:33 PM

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Although I am tired of the long, hot dry summers here, maybe along the coast might be too cool all year long. It would be a nice place to visit in summer, but then all the tourists would be there as well.

OK the Puget Sound region. I will keep looking. I appreciate your input!

Seattle, WA

Now, Evelyn, don't be too hasty! Personally, there is nothing I adore more than the pasoral scenes of the Sierra foot hills in the summer. The very cool boulders, the occasional cattle, the photo ops of all sorts of decaying fences and old windmills. Love it. Of course I did grow up around there and hated the heat, which is why I now live in Puget Sound. If you're a retired person who can still drive, you are but a hop, skip and a jump from the cooler National Parks above.

Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

Beautiful alstroemerias! My daughter got me a bouquet of alstroemerias once. When they first came, they were almost like sticks....yucky. But as the days went by they opened up more and more and more and turned into a beautiful bouquet! And they lasted almost a month in the vase!!! Amazing flowers. I need to get some in my garden! Here's the only photo I could find of my bouquet.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Sherry- I had never tried them here before, because the Sunset Garden book said they were not hardy here. So glad they were wrong. Let us know what happens if you try them in Pasco.

( Pam ) Portland, OR

Hardiness depends on the variety.

I haven't posted on DG in quite awhile, but I want to warn you..the orange one in the first photo looks exactly like the one I can not eliminate' and have been trying for many, many years. Every single little bit of root can and will come back. But the real problem is if you let the seeds mature on the plant. During the seeding season, on warm summer evenings I hear, through the kitchen window, the sounds of the seed pods bursting open, knowing the seed is flying some distance.

Pick off all the fading flowers and prevent the pods from forming you say ?
If I had done that before the plant spread and got so thick, that would have probably worked fine. But I didn't know back then. Keep the plant contained and be extra positive you prevent any root fragments from getting in the compost or in a place you are not actively gardening and watching.

The pink, white and purple forms have not wintered over for me, other that a pink that manged two years long , long ago.

Proceed at you own risk.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Thanks citybusgardener I will watch like a hawk. I did a bit of reading before ordering these two, and multiple sites said these new hybrids are not invasive. But-it does make me nervous that the orange one looks to you like your problem Alstroemeria. I will report back on the thread! The orange one has blue-purple tips on the leaves, that did not show up in my photo. I cut off the developing seed pods and threw them in the trash. The yellow one I have not cut off seed pods, for the amazing reason that the flowers are still there! They look a bit faded but haven't ever dried up.
I am not above using Roundup on an invasive plant (I had to do it once on a Euphorbia that wanted to take over the world and it had toxic sap). But for the most part I find that repeatedly pulling out sprouts for a season usually does them in.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Oh dear. I planted a cute little fernlike Euphorbia, bluegreen foliage with maroon tips, and chartreuse flowers. Now it is spreading somewhat rapidly via root stolons, and I have only had it about a year. It is really pretty, but I can see it might invade the whole bed in short order. I wish nurseries would tell you when you buy a potential invader if it is given preferable conditions.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I gave up on the Euphorbias after that single attempt. I did not keep a record as to which variety I planted. The caustic sap caused weeping sores where it touched when I pulled them out (I had not heard about that possibility and did not wear gloves), they took a few weeks to heal. I went around with the Roundup about every week for the rest of the summer, and zapped all sprouts. In a single season the stolons were popping out across about a 10 foot area. But I still drool at the photos. I am sure they can't all be like that.

So. Puget Sound, WA(Zone 8b)

I ordered 8 Alstromerias from Easy to Grow Bulbs for shipment in late March. I plan to put them in pots on my deck and porch. Both get partial sun, porch in the AM and deck in the PM. When I found this thread I was delighted. Never thought to check PNW Forum first. These will come in 4" pots. Will they grow well the first year or should I plant other things in the pots this year? I want to save some seeds to try in a problem spot under a large maple. It looks like I can try winter sowing them. The maple is the center of a raised bed with lawn all around it so I won't worry about them spreading. LOL Talk about counting your chickens!

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Pistil - Lovely alstromerias. It seems as though, in our travels, we have fallen for the Oregon coast. Nevertheless, we plan on renting for a while, in our selected areas, to see which area we prefer. I would happily trade growing tomatoes for blue poppies.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

Do blue poppies grow real easy here? Sorry I am an amateur gardener in the PNW and still learning. Anything special that I would need to do to try them from seed? Thanks!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I too long for the Himalayan Blue Poppy.
They are considered a "challenging" plant to grow.
I tried them once, when I lived in Poulsbo, and was just dipping my toe into gardening, before the internet so very hard to find out what to do. I did everything wrong and of course they died. But yes, this is apparently the only place in the US where they like the climate, and this year I plan to try again, and do things right. I have been reading a lot-
I am going to make a raised bed, on the east side of the house, so they get morning sun. The soil there will be good (I will buy bagged mix), plenty of organic matter. I WILL water regularly all summer, it will be near the hose. I bought some seeds of the variety 'Lingholm' from Plant World Seeds, this variety has been established in Great Britain as is considered more reliable.
We shall see...

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

Great I am ordering 'Lingholm' too from Swallowtail seeds. Let's see how it goes. I will try to follow the research you listed. Its just hard to water regularly in the summer though. I tend to forget or get busy with something. But the flowers are amazing. So gotta try it out :)
Thanks for the info !!

Coos Bay, OR(Zone 9a)

Pistol....Your Alstroemeria plants are both beautiful. Much prettier than my maroon and pink ones. This is their 3rd year and not too impressive. Very slow growing, too. I was afraid of the gold and yellow ones because of the rampant growth factor, but glad to know the hybrids aren't aggressive. I think I like your old-fashioned original looking one the best.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

This year the Orange Alstroemeria 'The Third Harmonic' is struggling. Last summer it did not get watered due to house remodeling in summer. So I think a bit more sun and a bit more water would be good for it. I will try to take a bit better care of it this year. I might plant it somewhere else, I love the flowers.
The 'Yellow Friendship' Is thriving in sun. Also not watered last year but not under a thirsty Pine tree either!. Only problem, it is a bit floppy, but I kinda like how it intermingles with the neighbors. Here it is a few weeks ago, it has a long bloom period.

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Coos Bay, OR(Zone 9a)

Beautiful. So pretty with the blue lobelia and the yellow poker. (Can't remember it's real name)
Alstroemeria have a long vase life, too.

Seattle, WA

Isn't it funny how your garden thug causes no one else any problems? That's what I found with Jupiter's Beard. So many bright pink blooms, also available in white and other pinks. The seeds are like little feathers and go everywhere. Soon it was sprouting in the lawn and cracking the pavement in front of the house! (OK, that last part is a lie, but nearly true.) My friends all love theirs, which happily stay where they were planted.

My gorgeous papaver, the floppy hot orange ones did NOT know where to stop. At least I found out that It was best to simply break off the nasty dried plant after blooming was done. It would still come back full force come spring. When I decided it was time for them to go, I dug and dug. You would NOT believe it: like some crazy magic trick, each one that was uprooted had a little clone that came up right behind.....into infinity, I think.

And now the euphorbia. It came with the house, and it really seemed just fine. The new growth in spring is delightful. The variety is a mystery to me, but I thought they were so great that I planted them up by the road in an effort to head off the weeds. I was not disappointed, but too late I realized that this one is a thug with a capital T. It is everywhere, and spreads by seed AND an alarmingly efficient underground network. There seem to be hundreds of varieties of the upright green euphorbias, all of them quite attractive and evergreen, but only MINE seems to be out of control. I seriously want it gone, and don't want to use chemicals. Sounds like a lot of serious digging coming up for me. Tip: if someone has one you covet, ask for a start. Be certain to ask if it knows its boundaries.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I have to say that Euphorbias have been really invasive in my garden, too. Then, when
I try to get rid of them, they have that terrible sap!

My worst thugs:

Leucanthemum vulgare (Ox-eye daisy or Marguerite) looked sooo pretty in my garden as a single plant volunteer one year million the next...

Myosotis arvensis (Forget-me-not) also looked sooo pretty, and blue, too ...unbelievable in its come-back power...

Allium vineale (Allium 'Hair') looked so great in its odd little way ....until the third year when it went absolutely nuts...

But, the worst of the worst has been Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley), with its spreading, dense rhizomes that go down forever. Leave even a teeeeny piece of root in the ground and it comes back with a vengeance. I have been trying to get rid of it for years.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Both the Alstroemerias are still blooming. They bloom in flushes all summer long.

velveteena- Euphorbia ruined one summer of mine- Roundup killed those invasive roots, which could grow 10 feet in all directions in a single summer! I never planted Jupiter's Beard due to it's reputation. My mom had some in Bellingham, it did spread, but not thuggish (on soggy boggy clay). I had the yellow-orange California poppies when I gardened on beach sand, they popped up everywhere (but not to the point where I was swearing, and on sand a tap root is easily pulled), now here on clay I cannot get them established.
momlady- My neighbor has a little patch of Convallaria, I have worried for years they will invade, but they have never jumped over the invisible property line. I wonder if the lack of summer rain here keeps them from being so aggressive?

Beesbonnet- Actually the blue flower shown in July with the 'Yellow Friendship' Alstroemeria is Salvia forsskaolii, the only Salvia I seem able to keep here on clay. It is very floppy and weedy, but I love the flowers which bloom for months. The Alstroemeria and the Salvia lean drunkenly on each other, and are quite the friendly pair, holding each other up.

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Coos Bay, OR(Zone 9a)

Thank you, Pistil. It looks so much like the blue lobelia with the white eye. I think I should look for that one. I have a gorgeous blue salvia, though, called Gentian Sage, Blue Angel that I saved seed from this year. Happy to share if anyone is interested.

I absolutely hate that hair allium. It comes up all over the place, even in the cracks of the patio. I would love to gather it all up and send it back to the catalog company from which it came as a free gift...with a 'nice' little note attached. Ha!

I have another gorgeous glad that makes a trillion babies each year and no matter how hard I try to get them all, I don't. Every spring here they come, wanted or not.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

A kidding! I didn't know they could be thugs.

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