January 12, 2014

Garden in Winter

Snowdrops

There was a slight break in the rain and wind so I took a quick walk around the garden. It was gray and dark so I decided to use one of my old fixed-length lenses which was fun and different. My old 28mm which used to be wide-angle is now closer to 42mm but was fast and allowed me to shot pretty well in the dreary day.

I saw a little bit of life and some interesting winter plants. The first sign of life is always the snowdrops. We really need to get more - we have a small patch in the back but it is a nice sign that Spring is on its way.

The other plants that were interesting were the Mahonia. We have four different plants. They are always interesting in winter since they bloom and attract the hummingbird in addition to be evergreen.

I am a little concerned about one of our Knophofia northiae. This plant has been a survivor over the years but it looks to really have taken a hit. We do have two so we will have a plant but we will have to see. I have a soft place in my heart for this plant since one of my pictures of this plant was published in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle (it is the second photo in the slideshow). We grew it originally from seed and have had these plants for over 10 years.

Kniphofia northiae knocked down by cold weather
The sad looking green leaves of Kniphofia northiae knocked down by the freeze


Musa basjoo in PNW winter
Banana - looks bad but we know this will come back. The damaged leaves are actually protecting the plant even if it only comes back from the ground and new pups

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'
Yucca gloriosa Variegata

Agave parryi
Agave parryi looks like it survived the freezing in the rock garden which is pretty close to the house

Cyclamen hederifolium
I love the carpet of green Cyclamen hederifolium leaves in winter


The Hellebore buds are starting to appear

Helleborus occidentalis
Helleborus occidentalis

Helleborus argutifolius -  Corsican Hellebore
Helleborus argutifolius

Helleborus niger
Helleborus niger


Mahonia

Mahonia gracilipes
Mahonia gracilipes

Mahonia bealei
Mahonia Bealei

Mahonia bealei and Rhododendron sinogrande
Mahonia bealei and the Rhododendron singogrande looks fine.

Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'
Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'


And for comparision - let's check out how the garden compares between August and January - we really need a bit more 'structure' in our garden

Front garden in January
Front in January

Front Garden in August
Front in August

Backyard in January
Backyard in January

Backyard path in August
Backyard in August


January 1, 2014

Buttermilk Waffles

I used to always make waffles. I have a Vitantonio Five of Heart waffle maker that is now for sale on EBay as 'vintage'. Where does the time go? My favorite waffle breakfast was a package of Bette's Oceanview Diner Pancake and Waffle mix. The Buckwheat Waffles are outstanding. But the mix disappeared from the stores here in the Seattle area and then the store disappeared. The waffle maker gathered dust in the garage.

Last winter I pulled it out and tried to make waffles from scratch. No luck. They stuck to the maker and it was a disaster. I put the maker back in the garage. I considered buying a new one. But at Christmas, I decided to give it one more try.

I scrubbed it really well, heated it and sprayed it PAM to season it. I wanted a recipe that would be a 'sure thing' and I had some buttermilk so I went with Martha Stewart's Buttermilk Waffle Recipe. I had to cut it in half since I only needed two servings. I also could not go with the 1/4 cup of butter so I cut that the amount of butter even further. Success! G loved them. I asked him what he wanted for breakfast on New Year Day - pancake or waffles? Waffles!

Buttermilk Waffles
Based on Martha Stewart
Serving 2

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbs butter, melted
1 egg

1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Stir in the buttermilk and melted butter.

3. With a fork, stir the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined. The mixture will be lumpy.

4. Heat the waffle iron. Spray with PAM and pour ~ 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mixture on the iron. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until there is just a little steam coming out of the iron.

5. Remove from iron. Put a pad of butter on the waffle and keep warm in a 275 degree oven.

Serve with maple syrup and fruit of choice.


December 13, 2013

After the Freeze

Bajoo Banana Frost

This morning I was reading my favorite garden blogs. The Outlaw Gardener had posted that his Basjoo banana had collapsed. I was pretty shocked because he had just posted yesterday pictures of it still standing. I remember looking out on Thursday and checking our Basjoo and it was bronzed but still standing.

I forwarded on a copy of the blog to G and we were talking about it at lunch today. We finally took a look outside to find that ours had also collapsed. We were shocked. We had thought it made it through the week of freezing temps. Just last a week ago on Friday we had lows of 17 degrees.

But no, the stalks are not going to make it through this winter. They were a mess laying all over the oak leaf hydrangea and hardy hibiscus. G got to work right away to remove most of the fallen stalks and leaves. Sigh... it probably will not bloom again next year.

Bajoo Banana Frost
Just over a week ago - December 4th - it was still standing. We were hoping the leaves would just fall and protect the stalks

Bajoo Banana Frost
But no - between the temperatures down to 11.7 and a bit of rain - the whole plant just collapsed. Tonight it is 45 degrees!

Bajoo Banana Frost
The Fallen Giant

Fall 2013
Standing tall on November 17th - less than a month ago

Musa basjoo
In its glory in July


December 9, 2013

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

We have had a string of arctic freezing temperatures the past week. We spent Saturday downtown Seattle enjoying the light, music and festive times. We decided to also visit the Garden d'Lights display at Bellevue Botanical Garden. I have been trying to find when the display started. I think it was in the mid'90's. We have visited one other time soon after the first year it started. I also remember getting a tour of the basement of the Short's house where they stored the lights. It is amazing the amount of work that goes into each year's display.

We arrived shortly after they opened. The temperature was very cold but the lights were beautiful. I was amazed at the size of the display. The path goes around the top the of the perennial beds, along the visitor center and then down along the botton the perennial bed. I love how they were able to make a large lake with a swan floating and surrounded by flowers. It was also fun to find all the 'hidden' animals, ranging from frogs, spiders, dragons, parrots, monkeys and squirrels.

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights

Garden d'Lights


November 30, 2013

Slouching towards winter

Preparing the garden for winter
Vegetable beds

Two weeks ago, we had not had a freeze yet. It wasn't but 3 days later that the first freeze arrived and we had 6 nights below freezing including two nights down to 23 degrees. Almost overnight the garden is now brown and mushy. G has done a bit of clean up clipping down the salvia, covering the gunera and digging up a few of the tender bulbs. Fortunately, the tropicals made it into the greenhouse and garage. We had to run the propane one night.

We also had to clear out the vegetable beds. We had a few carrots and beets left but something had been gnawing on them.

Now we are waiting for another arctic blast. One of those Fraser River blasts where the Canadian cold slips down along the west side of the Cascades. The forecast has been a moving target. Right now it is a little bit of everything starting with heavy rains and winds tomorrow and the freezing temperatures arriving into the week. How soon they arrive will determine if we have snow or not. For a while, temperatures down in to the teens was predicted but right now the forecast is for mid-low 20's. We will be a little bit colder.

Here's what the garden looks like now

Preparing the garden for winter
Melianthus major took a hit

Preparing the garden for winter
Milkweed

Preparing the garden for winter
We cover the crown of the Gunnera with the leaves to protect it from the cold temperatures

Preparing the garden for winter
We will let the leaves collapse around the main stalks of the banana to protect it

Preparing the garden for winter
Remnants of the blooms

Preparing the garden for winter
Phyllis' Fancy - cut back. Hard to believe it was in bloom just two weeks ago

Preparing the garden for winter
Lobelia Tupa

Preparing the garden for winter
Saliva regla

Preparing for Winter
Fading salvia blossom

Preparing the garden for winter
Mahonia x media 'Charity'

Preparing the garden for winter
Kale

Preparing the garden for winter

Winter

Preparing the garden for winter
It's a jungle in there - the cool greenhouse

Preparing the garden for winter
Agave pups

Preparing the garden for winter

Preparing the garden for winter
Aeoniums

Preparing the garden for winter
Echium

Preparing the garden for winter
Echium

Preparing the garden for winter

Preparing the garden for winter
Brugmansias in the garage

Preparing the garden for winter
Brugmansias and agaves in the garage

About Me

I live in the suburbs of Seattle with my husband. I love traveling, photography, hiking, cooking and hunting for wildflowers. Read more

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