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Persian Shield

Persian Shield ( Strobilanthes dyeriana ) is an annual with striking iridescent foliage. I used to grow it in a pot but haven't purchased it in years. This year, I wanted something for a pop of color in our shady border and decided to give it a try in the ground. Here it gets dappled sunlight but mostly shade. This, along with moist soil, suits the plant best. A native of Myanmar (Burma), it grows naturally in tropical areas and becomes a small shrub. It can also be used as a houseplant. This is a plant that always gets lot of comments. Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

A beautiful day in the garden

It is the last day of March and this past week has felt more like May here in southwestern Washington. I started my seasonal job at the nursery last week and the greenhouse was stifling at times. I kept wishing I had wore my shorts. The weather has just been fantastic and we had a full day in the garden on Sunday. Exhausted but got a lot accomplished.

Assessing the situation, the plants look like they survived the winter with flying colors. Of course, there was some winter damage, like the Hebe, but all is not lost.

It is exciting to see how things are growing. This Goshiki Osmanthus looks like it has at least a foot of new growth that shot up seemingly overnight.

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki'

And I really did not think that Camellia 'Nuccio Bella Rossa' has grown that much but when comparing to it last year's photo, it is at least twice the size.

April 2018
Camellia 'Nuccio Bella Rossa' today
Other early bloomers -

Clematis armandii 'Snowdrift'

English Daisy (Bellis perennis)

Spirea thunbergii 'Ogon'

Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) - a beautiful native plant to this region.

And, last but not least, the ironclad little Primroses. Michael bought these at the supermarket to go in our kitchen window right after we moved here. I eventually put them out in the garden when they started to sulk inside. They have come back faithfully every year. I noticed on a plant tag earlier in the week that they are hardy to -30!

I spent the majority of the day fertilizing the roses. I generally use an organic granular fertilizer (like Lilly Miller or E.B. Stone)

The fertilizer is sprinkled around the base of the rose and lightly scratched in...

Then watered in. During the season, I will fertilize with fish emulsion every 2 or 3 weeks.

Rain is on the way tomorrow but I still have much more to do, including spreading a truck-load of compost over the borders and mulching them. The grass (what little there is left) needs cutting and fertilizing. Fun times ahead!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. All simply beautiful, but I love the rubber duckies!

  2. Spring is charging into your area. Here is is slowly sauntering in.


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