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The Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle

The Sunny Bank I was very excited to get the opportunity to visit this garden because I've heard so much about it. It did not disappoint. The garden was created by Elisabeth Carey Miller and her husband Pendleton who purchased the house in 1948. Mrs. Miller was a self-taught gardener who used her artistic skills (she majored in Art History) to create the stunning garden which features a dense canopy of native conifers. She became a plant collector and tracked down unusual specimens and was known as a well-respected plantswoman in the horticultural community. The front entrance Visiting this garden is not exactly easy. It is situated in a restricted community and there is a limit to the number of visitors per year. You must make an appointment on the website at designated times or you can find a tour group like I did. The address isn't listed either although even if you had it, you would have to get past the security guard at the gate to the neighborhood. I think if I lived in

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May 2021

Parahebe perfoliata and Cotinus (Smoke Bush) 'Golden Spirit'

The May garden is coming along nicely despite the record drought. It always amazes me how things change in just under one month. This is such a busy time in the garden and elsewhere that it seems like I barely have to time to keep track of all the blooms. Do you feel a twinge of guilt when you've failed to notice a lovely blooming plant? I do!

So here are blooms that I have noticed this week -
Exbury Azalea 'Klondyke'

Peony 'Shima Nishiki'


Enkianthus campanulatus 'Showy Lantern' - one of my favorite shrubs but very slow growing.

The first ever bloom on the Honey Bush (Melianthus major)

Ceanothus 'Black Diamond' (or is it? - the tag read that but I can't find any mention of this cultivar anywhere. A mis-label or just something rare?)

Lilac 'Palibin'

Peony 'Boreus'

Peony 'Paula Fay'

Exbury Azalea 'Mandarin Lights'

Million Bells (Callibrachoa)

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'

Rhododendron 'Jean Marie de Montague'

Rose 'Olivia Rose'

Rhododendron 'Percy Wiseman'

Saxifrage 'London Pride'

Rose 'Darcey Bussell'

Pacific Coast Iris 'Lavender'

Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and Rose 'Darcey Bussell'

Rose 'Playboy'

Visit May Dreams Gardens to see more garden photos from other bloggers.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. You've got some beautiful blooms Phillip, and that ceanothus is magnificent.

  2. I did a google search and several entries popped up. This one says it is varigated.

    1. Barbara that is it - thank you! I don't know how I missed that. So it is 'Black Diamond' (it is variegated). I laughed at the size dimensions of 5' - ours is at least 8.

  3. The blooms in you garden are amazing. I make rounds in my gardens everyday, but there are always the more demure plant blooms that get overlooked at times until I see the seed pods forming. Your Rhododendron 'Percy Wiseman' is gorgeous.

  4. So many beautiful plants that I can't grow ;) I can grow Ceanothus, though, and wish I had one like yours!

  5. Hi Phillip, I'm so glad it was the right plant. I wonder if you had a typo when you searched that created a problem finding it. I highlighted the name in your post and right clicked to search with Google and got hits right away. I'm glad I tried - I almost didn't but I guess it was the years working in the library that made me try.

  6. That Canopus looks like a fake tree with those blue blooms. I haven’t seen such a plant before. Gorgeous.


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