Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Manito Park and Botanical Garden

Last month after dinner, my two friends and I decided to spend our monthly girls night out walking and visiting at the Manito Park and Botanical Garden in Spokane, Washington. Manito means 'spirit of nature' in native American language. The 90 acre park is more than one hundred years old and still managed to live up to its name. I come here often to see what's blooming and what I imagine will look good in Lola's Garden.

The Rose Hill above is an All American Selection test garden and the home of 1500 rose bushes representing 165 varieties of hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora and miniature roses. But no close ups or macros until I acquired the nerve to upgrade my point and shoot camera.

The Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden is the flower lover's favorite place to stroll from early spring to fall. During our visit the Moonshine Yarrow, the white Shasta Daisy, the purple Garden Monkshood (above) and the Globe thistles (below) were in full bloom.

The thistles were 6-7 foot tall, and were swarming with bees. It looked really cool but probably not a very practical plant for a home garden unless the area is big enough to accommodate the prickly and aggressive plant.

The Duck Pond used to have more than a hundred ducks and geese but most of them were adopted and relocated during the 2008 duck round up. It was once a tradition for people to bring their stale bread when they visit the park. Feeding the ducks is pure entertainment. They will jump, dive and do all kinds of acrobatic move to get the stale bread as if they had nothing to eat all week. We think we are doing them a favor and we feel good feeding them. Unaware that we were doing them more harm than good. And people continued to give them junk food until there were too many wild birds staying in the pond year round just waiting for the hand out. Too many birds and too many stale bread equals too many bird poops. And the pond's ecosystem suffered. This is the reason for the duck round up and relocation. And feeding the ducks is no longer allowed.

I am not sure what this aquatic turtle is trying to tell me. My guess is that his world, the water is still too murky. "Help!"

Please go to Friends of Manito for more information about the park and gardens

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Favorite Annual Flower # 2 is a Zinnia

My favorite annual flower # 2 post is a Zinnia. Zinnias are one of Lola's Garden's favorite annual because they are heat tolerant, low maintenance and are very reliable bloomer all summer long. They also come in so many different colors, shapes and sizes. The Benary Giant series are the largest and most vigorous with fully double dahlia-like bloom that are 4-6 inches in diameter. They have excellent vase life and the bees love them.

An Orange Benary Giant next to a Nicotiana.

Three Zinnia varieties showing its range of colors, shapes and sizes.

Top left is a white carefree Zinnia from the Profusion series for ground cover and containers. It's an All-America Selection (AAS) Gold Medal and FleuroSelect winners. The bicolor one is Zowie Yellow Flame, another AAS winner. It's taller than the Profusion and a foot or two shorter than the Golden Yellow Benary Giant. These are the varieties available at Lola's Garden at the TIEG Garden Expo in Spokane, Washington.