This is the month to be in the mountains in Washington. The berries are ripe, the bears are out on the slopes and the frosts have killed off the bugs. I’ve been basking in the glory of our Cascades and Olympics instead of writing blog posts and I’m about to head out again, but here are some pictures of plants and some art that was recently installed and will remain in the garden until some time in October. Don’t miss it and the rest of the art pieces around campus. This city needs a lot more public art and this collaboration between Mad Art and Arts UW is setting a good example.
Hortus Curiosus art installation by Saya Moriyasu and Maki Tamura in Cascara Circle. It’s part of the Mad Campus series and it is a delightful addition to the garden. I wish there were art installations rotating through campus all the time. http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/
Six Swans art installation by Tory Franklin section D, also part of the Mad Campus series. We are always honored to have art in the garden. http://madartseattle.com/exhibits/mad-campus/
Cynanchum auriculatum (bai shou wu) section A. This is the only plant I see covered with Dolichovespula maculata (bald-faced hornet) sucking its nectar. I’m not sure if they’re effective pollinators but it’s a pleasure to watch them feed. They appear quite docile. Maybe the nectar is narcotic.
Pycnanthemum pilosum (mountain mint) section B
Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (unicorn plant) section D
Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (unicorn plant) section D. The green fruit are edible. Later, the fruit becomes woody, and the husk splits away to reveal large seeds which are also edible. Depending on which taxonomist you ask, unicorn plant is either in the Pedaliaceae, the same family as sesame (Sesamum indicum), or in the Martyniaceae.
Ipomoea tricolor (grannyvine, morning glory) section C. Don’t worry, it’s an annual. It draws a lot of attention and gets its picture taken all day long when it’s flowering. It is also an entheogen, used traditionally by native peoples in tropical and subtropical America.
Helianthus mollis (downy sunflower) section D
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) section E
Momordica charantia (ku gua, bitter gourd) section C. When ripe, the fruit split open to reveal the seeds, covered in red pulp.
Lycium chinensis (gou qi zi, goji berry) section C. It’s an easy plant to grow and can be cut back each year and still produce a lot of berries which ripen from late summer into winter. Why go to the health food store for goji berries when you can grow them yourself?
Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) section B
Belamcanda chinensis (she gan) section B. When in fruit, you can see how it gets its other common name, blackberry lily (though it’s in the iris family, not the lily family)
Astragalus membranaceus (huang qi) section A. Flowers are on the upper branch and emerging fruit are on the lower branch.
Passiflora incarnata (maypop) section D. On rare years when the plants set fruit early enough, we get a few ripe ones (when the color changes from green to tan and they get puckered and fragrant, they’re ripe). They have a tropical taste like nothing else you can grow here. If you have a very sunny and protected spot and you don’t mind that the vines will emerge from the ground wherever they please each year, build a trellis for them and stand back.
Lathyrus latifolius (perennial pea) section C
Sesamum indicum (sesame) section C. You can see flowers above and immature seed pods below. When the seed pods turn brown, the sesame seeds are ready to harvest.
Collinsonia canadensis (horse balm) section E
Grindelia robusta (gum plant) section D
Verbesina alternifolia (yellow ironweed, wingstem) section E
Penthorum sedoides (ditch stonecrop) section D.
Silphium perfoliatum (compass plant, cup plant) section D
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan) section C
framed by dewy boughs
backlit by the morning sun
garden art, behold
See you in the garden.