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Originally published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

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Garden lovers: Heronswood open house is May 18

Good news for garden lovers: The legendary Heronswood gardens are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 18, 2013. Also: hints on Disporums for the woodland garden.

Special to The Seattle Times

Gardening Events

Ciscoe’s Picks

The Iris Wagner Conservation Lecture: Peter Seligmann, CEO of Conservation International, will discuss “We are all Connected!,”about the connections between the health of Puget Sound, our planet and people. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at the Seattle Aquarium; $20 (www.brownpapertickets.org).

Seattle-Luouyang Peony Festival/Bamboo Festival: A double festival of Chinese horticulture with plant displays, bamboo sales, talks and demonstrations, plus arts and crafts. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Seattle Chinese Garden, 6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle (www.seattlechinesegarden.org).

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In the Garden

It’s huge news in the horticultural world: After years of neglect, the world-famous gardens at the former Heronswood nursery were purchased by the Port Gamble S’klallam Tribe, and under the leadership of Dan Hinkley, plant hunter and one of the original co-founders, the gardens are being restored to their formal glory. Now the public is invited to see the rebirth of this iconic garden filled with the spectacular rare and unusual plants that once were for sale at the nursery. The Heronswood Garden Open & Plant Sale is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday (May 18). Entrance closes at 4 p.m. The sale will feature plants from top regional local nurseries, and Hinkley will give two lectures during the day. This event will also feature traditional tribal art for sale, food vendors and a performance by the S’Klallam Singers. Admission to the plant sale and lectures is free; tickets to tour the gardens will be available for $10. Don’t miss this chance to join in on the celebration of the rebirth of a truly magnificent garden. More information: www.heronswood.com.

Disporums are attractive, hardy, woodland perennials that deserve to be planted more in Northwest gardens. The dark stems support deep-green or variegated leaves, the pendulous spring flowers are charming and the berries that follow in late summer are quite showy. Two of the most exciting Disporums are real honkers with early spring shoots that resemble bamboo. D. cantoniense ‘Green Giant’ has been known to reach 6 feet with white flowers and blue fruit. D. longistylum ‘Night Heron’ grows equally tall, but features magnificent dark stems and leaves. Grow this one in morning sun to bring out the rich chocolate tones in the foliage. Smaller in stature but big in color is D. flavens. In spring, the ends of the 3-feet-tall nodding stalks are covered with a spectacular display of vivid yellow flowers, followed by a massive display of black berries. Finally, there are some great variegated Disporums. D. sessile ‘Variegatum’ lights up shady areas with attractive white-striped foliage, while the cutie of them all is D. sessile ‘Goldbug.’ Growing only 4 to 6 inches tall, it puts on a show with eye-catching foliage of bright cream, yellow and dark-green bands. The white spring flowers are huge for a plant of its size. Disporums are easy to grow in part shade in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.

Ciscoe Morris: ciscoe@ciscoe.com “Gardening With Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.

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About Ciscoe Morris

Ciscoe Morris' column runs Thursdays. His show "Gardening with Ciscoe" airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on King 5.
ciscoe@ciscoe.com

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