'Red Dragon' Persicaria Creates Interest in the Garden

I loved Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon' the first time I saw it, but I wasn't sure if it would like me. My climate can be difficult. Happily, it has been growing in my garden for over two years now, and I am so pleased with it that I recently purchased another one. It was an end of the season bargain, overgrowing its pot and begging to be planted. I am fortunate that my mild climate allows me to plant in fall and winter, and I often take advantage of reduced prices this time of year. 

'Red Dragon' is commonly called fleeceflower. It is a gorgeous, mounding perennial with outstanding foliage, growing to about 2-3 feet tall and wide. This 'Red Dragon' persicaria has been growing successfully near my arbor garden for several years.It has 3 to 4 inch bluish-green, arrow-shaped leaves with silver and plum chevron markings, and it has striking maroon stems. If that is not enough to win your heart, it also produces airy sprays of tiny white flowers from midsummer through fall that attract butterflies and other pollinators.This 'Red Dragon' is newly purchased. It is a bit scrawny but should fill in nicely by next year.

This is an easy-care plant with few problems; it is deer and rabbit resistant and will tolerate urban pollution. It grows in full sun to partial shade in most any soil in USDA hardiness zones 5 - 9. It appreciates afternoon shade in warmer climates. It grows best in average to moist soil, and will grow well even in bog gardens. It will also do well in a container. I planted my new 'Red Dragon' in the woodland garden:My newly planted 'Red Dragon' is seen in the foreground in this photo of a side path in the woodland garden.

'Red Dragon' is an interesting plant, but not a lot of people are familiar with it. Visitors often stop to examine it and ask me what it is. It will go dormant when frosty air arrives, but I can eagerly look forward to seeing it return in the spring.


Visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle

I first saw Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures at the Desert Botanical Garden near Phoenix some years ago. Later I saw some of his pieces closer to home at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. These displays were only a tease to entice me to see the largest collection of Dale Chihuly work on public view, Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum next to the Space Needle in Seattle.

Dale Chihuly, born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941, is an internationally acclaimed artist who is best known for his fantastical glass works. Last month I traveled to Oregon to spend some time with my two sons who live on the west coast, and the three of us drove up to Seattle. The Chihuly exhibits were the highlight of our visit. Here are a few images to entice you, too, if you haven't already, to visit this wonderful museum. Most of these photos were taken outside in the Glass Garden, where it was sometimes hard to distinguish living plants from the glass ones:

Here is a view inside the Glass House, which can be rented for weddings and other special occasions:

Perhaps the most stunning displays are inside the museum. I will post this one additional image, and I hope you get to experience this amazing place for yourself!