Garden Photo of the Day

Ocean Air Provides Good Plant Medicine on Puget Sound

By: Kim Charles

Liz Sanborn from the Pacific Northwest, enjoys the beauty of her lush gardens that sit on the ocean's edge.

"I have a 1/2 acre garden near the Puget Sound and grow a variety of perennials, shrubs, flowers and trees. My plants seem to thrive in the marine air, and I can't even kill tropicals! My favorite plant is Melianthus right now."

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  1. user-7007498 10/16/2017

    Liz, your garden is a great way to start the week. The melianthus is gorgeous and pairs well with the sedum and dried alliums. Does it die back to the ground as a perennial, or can you grow it like a shrub?

    Your hydrangeas are wonderful. Robust blooms. This was a great year for hydrangeas in the mid-Atlantic, as well.

    I love the photo of the rudbeckia, with the backdrop of the physocarpus. You have a great skill at plant pairings. Thanks for the garden tour.

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      The Melianthus does die back at the first hard frost- I then clean it up and it pops back up in the spring.

      1. user-7007498 10/16/2017

        I love the fall color. I’ve thought about growing it in a container in my climate. Beautiful.

  2. user-3565112 10/16/2017

    Good morning Liz, Your plant combinations & photos are terrific . Bob Ross said you need dark colors to bring out the light & your combinations in photos 2 & 3 are perfect illustrations of that. Kevin has answered my questions about the plant names but I would like to know where you bought the melleanthus.
    Thank you for your photos this morning & good luck, Joe P.S. Thank you Kevin ,good luck to you also.

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      I bought the Melianthus at Swanson's Nursery in Seattle several years ago. It was a one-gallon container. It is now six feet tall and wide. I would be happy to divide it if you are close by. I think it would do fine in a container in a colder climate if you protected it in the winter in the garage or shop!

      1. user-3565112 10/16/2017

        Thank you for the offer but I am on the other side of the country in central Md. I really appreciate the offer. Good luck, Joe

  3. NCYarden 10/16/2017

    Good morning, Liz. I'm always jealous of you PNWers. Seems there is nothing you can't grow. Great plant combinations with striking contrast. I wish I could grow Melianthus here. I certainly get your adoration for it. I really like the photo with the hydrangea and Tetrapanax papyifer(?). They appear to be having a good time together. Thanks for sharing.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/16/2017

    Rich, lush colors and foliage: wow! Looks awesome. Melianthus is definitely a gorgeous plant. Certainly wish I were able to grow it!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/16/2017

    Hi, Liz, hope you are enjoying the popular refrain in the comments about your garden photos...let me join in..."sigh, such gorgeous plant combinations". I'm in love with every photo. What is the blue evergreen that serves as such a handsome backdrop behind the pink blooms of the hydrangea in the last picture?

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      It is a small blue Spruce that shot up from 3' to 6' this last spring due to our heavy winter rains.

  6. cheryl_c 10/16/2017

    Liz, your photos were a great way for me to start a crisp sunny fall morning. You've nailed the color/texture combinations and it is fun to just let my eyes wander over each shot, picking up all the echos and contrasts. Hope you share more photos soon.

  7. DarliBarli 10/16/2017

    Liz, Simply lovely. I had forgotten about Melianthus and thank you for reminding me. It didnt thrive in my Vancouver Island seaside garden but am wondering how it would do here in Bowling Green Kentucky...maybe too hot in summer and too cold in winter. US ZOne 6b.

  8. sheila_schultz 10/16/2017

    I can't even imagine being able to grow anything I wanted... you are one lucky gardener! Your combos are great and the intense colors are downright dreamy. I'd love to see some overviews!

  9. user-4691082 10/16/2017

    Greetings from Disney World! I will look at all of the GPOD entries, sometimes late at night. It is stinking hot here. I convinced my family to go without me today. The Magic Kingdom wore me out yesterday. Liz, we are all just plain old jealous of your climate. Your photos are magical! Love that meelianthus. What is the large leaf plant next to the white hydrangeas? I love it all. Thanks for sharing.

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      Tetrapanax - a large leaf tropical that has turned out to be a bully in my garden. It also produces a dust on it that makes me sneeze if I handle it.

    2. user-7007498 10/16/2017

      I hope you enjoy the time with your family in Orlando. I have to rub it in, 62 degrees and sunny today here in PA. ?

  10. user-7007140 10/16/2017

    Really lovely garden by the ocean. Its is all beautiful but am loving the melianthus, but zone 5 might not let me grow it. Looking at the foliage and having no reference material handy, i am wondering if it may be related to Senna - which thrives in my garden. Anyone know?

    1. user-7008735 10/16/2017

      Hi Eddi, Senna is in the Fabaceae (legume or pea family) while Melianthus is one of 6 species in the Melianthaceae, so they're not in the same family. Melianthus will die back over the winter in Zone 7, but won't come back if it gets colder than 23 degrees F. Some people grow them as an annual just for the fun of their peanut butter scent and, of course, those gorgeous leaves. Hope that helps.

  11. Maggieat11 10/16/2017

    Love your photos and terrific plant combinations! Please do send more photos! We'd love to see more. :-) !!

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 10/16/2017

    Good morning, Liz. I’m not sure where you are in relation to me but we probably have a similar growing zone, the difference being that here on Whidbey we only get about 20” of rain/yr. It’s obvious from your photos that you get more. Such lushness and great color combos. Is your tetrapanax evergreen? It shows off your hydrangea beautifully. I have a pink/red hydrangea like yours in the last photo that was here in our garden before us and I’ve been trying to identify it. Do you have a name for yours? Thanks for the tour.

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      The Tetrapanax sort of dies back in winter- loses it's leaves. But I cut it back hard regardeless and have been pulling out babies like mad. It is a bully in my garden and even is coming up in the lawn. The double hydrangea that is so lovely is unnamed - I bought it as a "gift" hydrangea at the local Safeway store years ago because I loved the blooms. I have had really good luck propagating it. If you get hold of me in spring and head over to this side I will take several cutting for you to take home. Several of my friends have it in the gardens now from this original plant.

      1. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 10/17/2017

        Thanks for the heads up on the tetrapanax. Maybe I’ll skip that plant. I have had similar luck with my red/pink double hydrangea as far as propagation goes. We have a few now from our original and I guess if I don’t know the name of it, I could make one up. I’d probably call it “Old Faithful” for it’s reliability.

  13. user-7008735 10/16/2017

    Thanks for sharing these photos of your lovely garden, Liz. I agree with you that Melianthus is a beautiful plant though I haven't made a space for it (yet!). I wasn't sure how it would withstand the winter wet here in North Vancouver, BC (not too far north of you), but I've seen it growing in two local gardens where it has overwintered for a few years, so I'll probably try to squeeze one in next spring. Is that a young Albizia (Summer Chocolate?) tree in the third photo behind the allium seedheads or a look-alike?

    1. liz_floyd 10/16/2017

      Yes- that is a Chocolate Albizia - about four feet tall now- that I have been babying for a couple of years now. The Melianthus should do well in North Vancouver - I have had mine for several years and it has withstood very cold freezes.

      1. user-7008735 10/16/2017

        Good to know, Liz. I may need to add the Albizia to my wish list, too! If it survived last winter, it should be able to handle anything we are likely to get.

  14. JoannaAtGinghamGardens 10/16/2017

    So beautiful. I love the pink tones picture with the shrub rose and hydrangeas. Thanks for sharing.

  15. greengenes 10/17/2017

    Lovely, lovely, lovely Liz! Every photo is so lush and full! Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  16. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/17/2017

    Oh, my. Amazing!

  17. Cenepk10 10/17/2017

    Truly amazing

  18. user-7007940 10/17/2017

    Hi Liz, Nice garden!! This is Joe from the Renton McLendon clinic. :)

  19. user-6536305 10/17/2017

    What a plant combination Liz. What is the name of the purple foliage plant in the second photo. Your garden is so lush and vibrate. Love this PNW garden. Thanks for sharing Liz!

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