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April 5, 2004

My Nemesis

Garden weeds!

I just spent the last three days working on the garden. The weeds and grass have gotten the best of me this year. I am late getting out and working in the yard. I have not been inspired to do any work especially since many of the weekends have been cloudy and rainy. (I know... I live in the NW ... what else should I expect?) But this weekend was sunny and warm so I tackled it. I got one of the three beds done and part of the second bed. I just don't know where some of the grass came from.

We have a perennal garden and some of the plants have been there for several years. The crab grass have over taken some of them. I almost gave up on the Perovskia filigran (Russian Sage). It was choked with grass. Hubby convinced me to dig it up and weed it. That was an effort. It is now potten in a large (20 gallon) tub waiting to be planted back. We are going to see if the grass invades the bed again and see how it does after the shock of getting up rooted. I checked today and it looks good. Fingers are crossed.

I was pretty sore yesterday after all the digging and lifting. I got a backrub which felt so good and a nice hot bath. I feel fine today. Yippeee... Conditioning is working. Now I just need to work on the endurance since I did go to bed pretty early last night.

Today was the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. I actually remember where I was ten years ago when we heard the news. We were just getting ready to fly out to Tucson on our first vacation to Tucson. I remember following the news from there and missing a bit of the action back in Seattle. Nirvana's music has been on the radio all day, there was an article from the author of his biography and I suspect there will be some type of vigil at either the park near his house or Seattle Center. We had gotten into grunge quite a bit at that time since hubby worked with someone who was in a band. We used to go to the Crocodile Cafe to hear them play. It was great time. We got out of it after they broke up and grunge was pretty dead by then. Too bad. At least we got acknowledged on their album.

On the dinner plate: Goat cheese and carmelized onion ravioli
In the wine glass: Albert Mann Riesling Cuvee Albert 2001

February 24, 2007

Gardening in Seattle

This winter has been so dreary and cold. I need something to lift my spirits and what better than way than to observe the seasonal changes in the garden. It is early and I will try to track what is in bloom along with what is happening in our garden.

The annual event to start off the gardening season is the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. It has been going on for over 20 years. In the early days when G worked at the garden store in downtown Seattle, he would regularly work the booth. Working a show and going to a show for please are two very different things so occasionally I would come down after work. But there were many years that I didn't attend.

After a break, we did finally get interested in the show again. One year we even went to both the NW Garden Show and the SF Garden Show. The lectures are often good but they can be so crowded on the weekend.

Last year and this year a fellow plant geek has come over from Spokane and we've gone together. What fun! He really loves plants and it is a blast. But I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed this year. The two plant geeks like it but I found it much smaller and the displays were not very creative. I did really like the Marginal Madness display by Fancy Fronds. Lots of tender semi-tropical plants to tempt us plus a wild theme. But I was so turned off by the sports theme display. A garden with a TV in it! And the fence gate with baseballs to top the spikes. That was too much.

We saved the best for last - the plant vendors. The orchids were so tempting but I was able to pull G away. He did get several arisaemas and I was couldn't resist the huge Casablanca oriental lily bulbs from B&B Lilies. It is going to be so nice in July to sit on the deck and smell their sweet fragrance.

March 2, 2007

Witt Winter Garden

One of my favorite gardens in Seattle is the Witt Winter Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum. It is a wonderful feast for both eyes and nose. Even on a rainy day it can brighten your spirit and inspire you.

It is located just across from the Graham Visitor's Center. The parking lot at the visitor's center is very convenient for the garden. There is a sign with a list of what is in bloom. Definitely check out the plants around the visitor center. There is a stunning Viburnum X bodnantense on the south side and it was in full bloom.

The path winds up through low growing winter jasmine which unfortunately have no scent. We saw a smattering of crocuses with their gaudy purple sticking their heads up through the undergrowth. At the top of the path is a nice planting of Crape Myrtle. The mottled looking bark is striking on the drizzly day. There are a few early azaleas also in bloom.

But our noses lead us on. The witch hazel is in full bloom along the path to the left. I love their spicy perfume. And their wispy spiral flowers that look like little bows on the branches. The yellow Hamamelis mollis has a lovely scent. The red flowered trees are more spicy but the yellow has the best perfume.

The witchhazel is definitely the star of the garden but looking closely you can see many other winter gems. Underneath some of the trees are Helleborus orientalis in shades of pink and purple. The silky tassles of a Garrya brings a festive look to the dark green leaves. In addition to th Crape Myrtle trees, there are several other good examples of plants with interesting bark; the yellow bark of Cornus alba contrast nicely with clumbs of black mondo grass. Nearby is a nice grouping of two trees with interesting bark; the Himalayan birches Betula utilis var jacquemontii and paperbark maples, Acer griseum. Bringing more scent to the trail are Wintersweet Chimonanthus praecox, winter honeysuckle Lonicera Fragrantissima and Sarcococca ruscifolia.

On a dreary day, the smell and color reminds us that spring is not far.

March 9, 2007

Nurseries

Today we visited two popular nurseries in the Seattle area; Flower World and Swansons. G likes to visit to see how other nursery businesses are run and what is available.

Flower World is located on 15 acres near Malby. They grow most of their plants so they are able to offer lower prices than many other nurseries. It is also a very pleasant nursery to visit because it is well laid out with wide gravel paths and a display area with winding paths. They even have a small farm near by.

My biggest complaint about the nursery is also one of their advantages. They have large quantities of popular varieties and not a lot of unusual plants. If you need a typical bedding plant or tree, you can get a great price on locally grown stock. But if you are looking for the latest hot hybrid or something rare and unusual, Flower World is not the place to find it.

I took advantage of the great price to pick up a few primroses. I couldn't resist getting a couple to make a cheerful pot of yellow primroses. I have it out on the deck so I can see them from the kitchen.

Swanson's is a gardener's paradise. They are currently building a several new greenhouses but it doesn't seem to disrupt the business. Spring can be so chaotic.

The displays were gorgeous. Right now, they have pots of variety of different bulbs. They even had a few Lachenalia which brought back memories of South Africa. They also had several tempting containers. We enjoyed meandering through the selection. But as expected, it is not inexpensive.

They also have a conservatory, excellent gift shop and a small cafe. Perfect way to spend an enjoyable morning although it is very hard to leave without a car full of plants.

March 11, 2007

In bloom this week

It is warming up and plants are starting to bloom. Tuesday was so nice and warm. Today is rain but that brings us April flowers.

This week the flowering plums and some early cherries are open. I love it when the pink clouds start opening on the hills. Forsythia has added yellow to gray days. The crocuses are just peaking and the early daffodils are now blooming. They are excellent when planted in clumps. The white and red sprays of Pieris is brightening up their evergreen foliage. Adding texture and exoticness to the gardens are the hellebores and Euphorbias. It will be another week for Euphorbia characias wulfenii and Euphorbia myrsinites to be blooming.

March 16, 2007

Sugar Snap Peas

It has been several years since we had a vegetable garden. But this year we want to get back to growing a bit of our food. The farmer markets are so good and I like supporting our local farmers but I also like the ability to walk into the yard and pick fresh produce.

Today I planted sugar snap peas. They are one of my favorite peas. I remember when then were first introduced in the late '70s. One of the pathologists in the medical lab I was working at the time introduced me to the pea. We've grown them on and off ever since.

President's Day is the traditional time to plant peas here in the NW. I never get my peas in that early but I'm not doing too bad this year getting them in just before St Patrick's Day. We have an obelisk in a sunny spot so I planted them thickly around the base. I gave them a nice watering and now I'll wait. I'll want to watch out for slugs and cutworms also. I lost a crop one year to cutworms.

Package says they will be ready in 70 days.

March 17, 2007

Wearing of the green

The garden is dressed in green just in time for St Patrick's Day. The shades range from the light creamy green Corsican hellebore flowers to the dark hunter green of tulip leaves. And the varied textures. The interesting chartreuse bell shape flowers of Euphorbia characias sp wulfenii, the unfrilling lacy leaves of Paeonia ludlowii, and the sprawling blue grey lefted Euphorbia myrsinites.

Here is a montage of the March green in the garden.

Spring Montage

March 24, 2007

Blue in the spring garden

Blue Spring

Blue is the color this week. The dark muddy soil is starting to be accented with patches of blue from bulbs and early perennials.

The first plant in the montage is pulmonaria also known as lungwort. This is a lovely spring bloomer which comes in shades of blue, pink and white. This one is Pulmonaria longifolia 'Bertram Anderson'. In the summer it has long dark green lanceshape leaves which are speckled with grey. This is an older hybrid but we have found it to be very reliable.

The second plant in the montage is Puschkinia scilloides var. libanotica. This little beauty is native to the Middle East and Asia and is quite easy to grow.

The last is one of my favorite little bulbs, Muscari armeniacum or grape hyacinths. These naturalize wonderfully into carpets of blue. Plus they have a light fragrance. They make wonderful small bouquets for the window sill.

March 27, 2007

It is time for Spring plant sales

The Spring plant sales are starting up. One of the first ones of the season is this weekend at the Rhododendron Species Foundation in Federal Way. This is a great sale if you are looking for unusual Rhododendrons or perennials for your garden.

While you are there, also check out the gardens. It has been located on the Weyerhauser corporate campus since 1975. We made our first visit to the garden in the late '70s while G was at school. It contain beautiful species Rhododendron from throughout the world along with lovely woodland plants. We have several species plants in our garden such as the following R. irroratum Polka Dot.

April 15, 2007

Rhododendron Species Foundation

Rhododendron Species Foundation

We had a chance to visit the Rhododendron Species Foundation this weekend. We first started visiting the garden in the late '70s while G was at school. The history is very interesting. We were very interested in Rhododendrons after we returned to Seattle and learned a lot about the original plant explorers who collected the plants in the Himalaya mountains for gardens in England. The garden influenced a trip we made to England. We designed our 1985 trip around the gardens in Cornwall to see some of original Rhododendron collections.

But our interested wanned in Rhododendrons and we stopped visiting. It was only recently that I had a chance to visit the garden again. G was doing a plant sale and I stopped in. Gorgeous absolutely gorgeous.

I really enjoy the woodland plants that have been collected and added to the garden. Slowing down and looking closely at the beds - you can be amazed at the woodland wonders that can be found.

April 27, 2007

FloraBundance Spring Plant Sale

It is time for the biggest plant sales in the Puget Sound region; FloraBundance Plant Sale for the Arboretum Foundation. SmartyPlants Nursery will be there.

We're busy setting up our tables with an outstanding selection of salvias and other interesting perennials. The sale is Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 10-3. Come by early for the best selection.

April 28, 2007

Tomatoes

My snap peas are coming along fine. A slug took the leaves off of a few but they survived the attack. I put out some Sluggo so hopefully that will protect them. I also re-planted a few. Otherwise they are about a foot high and starting to climb.

We are also going to grow tomatoes this summer. We haven't had a tomato patch in a while and we have missed it. I don't mind picking up the tomatoes at the farmer's markets but there is nothing like a warm tomato right off the vine.

This year we are going to put the empty greenhouse to work and grow them in the greenhouse. It is pretty empty now that Smartyplants sold out of salvias at FloraBundance Arboretum sale. We need to have early ripening tomatoes so I can have a few before I leave for my French school. We picked up a 'Celebrity' a couple of weeks ago and have it going already in the greenhouse. But I waited to get the rest from Langley Fine Gardens at the Arboretum sale. They grow the most and the best tomatoes for the Puget Sound region.

After a bit of consulting, I decided on 5 other tomatoes; French Carmello, Yellow Perfection, Black Prince, Sungold, and Green Grape. These will give us a variety of different colored tomatoes and most are early ripening. G potted them up into 2 gallon plants and now I wait. It is supposed to be 70-75 days between when they are set out and ripening. Maybe we'll have tomatoes by mid-July. I know... wishful thinking for Seattle.

May 1, 2007

May Flowers

April showers bring May Flowers

How true. The cherries have finished blooming and the trees are leafing out. It is now on to the next wave of blooming plants. The neighborhoods are a riot of color; filled with hybrids of our state flowers, the Rhododendron.

It is interesting living in the suburb. Many of the yards still have some of the original plants used for landscaping. Another example of a bulk purchase - similar plants. Unique is no long a unique Rhododendron in the neighborhood. Everyone seems to have one. If it isn't Unique, then it is either 'Mrs Furnival' or 'Hino Crimson' evergreen azalea.

Lilacs
Lilacs are also in bloom. Their scent is perfuming the neighborhood. White, lilac and dark magenta in color. Lilacs are bittersweet for me. They herald the height of spring but also bring memories of a good friend who died of breast cancer in 2002, Surain. She was the same age as I am when she died in spring of 2002. I never knew the origin of her name until her memorial service. There was a lovely wreath of lilac and roses. Before she was born, her father had walked around the garden with a relative from Sweden identifying the names of the plants in Swedish. They came to a lilac bush and he said "Syren". He thought this would be a wonderful name for a girl and from the phonetic spelling came Surain. She was such a vibrant person. I miss her.

The peonies are also coming in bloom. The early
Paeonia mlokosewitschii is in full bloom. The other peonies are budded and should be in bloom in a couple more weeks.

May 4, 2007

Dunn Gardens

Dunn Gardens

Sometimes you will find the most amazing surprises right in your backyard. Today we found the Dunn Gardens.

I had heard of the garden but never really knew much about it. We stopped by their booth at the Seattle Flower Show this year and picked up a brochure. We realized the garden was located in Broadview neighborhood of Northwest Seattle.

The Dunn Gardens was the summer estate of Arthur G Dunn Sr. Dunn Sr had made his fortune in the early 1900's in the Northwest fishing cannery industry. His friend, John Agen, owned 20 acres just north of the city limit. The land had been recently logged with expansive views over the Puget Sound. Agen convinced Dunn to build a summer home on half of the property. It would provide a nice retreat from his home in the city on First Hill.

Dunn Gardens
The Olmsted Brother landscape architecture firm was very active in Seattle region in the early 1900's. They designed the majority of Seattle Parks, created a master plan of parks and boulevards that run along Lake Washington and designed the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. They also designed The Highlands, an exclusive gated community just north of the city limits. Agen and Dunn hired the firm to landscape their summer estate in 1916.

The plan took advantage of the natural features of the property. Paths and drives curve through the property opening to vistas and small garden rooms. It included a croquet court and a tennis court although the tennis court was never build. Dunn requested that the plantings included several Eastern deciduous trees to remind him of New York state. There were also groupings of bulbs, shrubs and other flowering trees. Arthur Dunn supervised and did much of the original plantings enjoying his garden and summer estate until his death in 1945.

Over the years several houses were built on the property. A separate house was built for his daughter Dorothy. The main house was replaced in 1949. It was moved a bit east in the property and a large meadow lawn area replaced the original summer home.

After Dunn's death, the property was split among his children. The eastern parcel was sold to developers but the remaining 8 acres are still intact. His second son, Edward, was also an avid gardener and spent much of his time turning his portion of the property into a wonderland of rhododendrons and woodland plants. Dorothy renovated the croquet garden and hired Fujitaro Kubota designer of Kubota garden to design in install a series of ponds.

Today, the gardens are maintained by the E.B. Dunn History Garden Trust and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can only visit the garden on a tour. The weekends were booked but they also have tours on Thursday and Friday. These are a great way to take advantage of a more quiet tour. We met our docent in a lovely garden room off the garage. After a brief overview of the history of the garden, we headed out along the path to the west. Most of the views of the Puget Sound are long gone. But there is no need for a vista since most of what you want to see is right there along the paths.

The Rhododendrons were is full bloom. There are several large 'loderi' hybrid Rhododendrons lining the first meadow after leaving the patio. We had just missed the Erythronium revolutum. They must have been spectacular since lined many of the woodland paths. But there were many triliums still in bloom. The Podophyllum pleianthum was also spectacular. The croquet court is now bordered with heathers and a summer perennial bed. New landscaping is going in around the house that was formerly Dorthy's home.

I really enjoyed the pond garden. The water cascaded down the ravine with benches placed on small shelves for relaxing and reflection. We will return again to see the different seasons.

Dunn Garden Website
History of Dunn Gardens from HistoryLink
Olmsted Park Plans Cybertour from HistoryLink


May 11, 2007

Lakewold Garden

Lakewold Garden Vista

We finally had a chance to visit Lakewold Garden, a well known Puget Sound garden just outside of Tacoma. I don't know why it took so long.

The garden consists of 10 acres bordering Lake Gravelly near Fort Lewis. It was originally purchased by Emma Alexander in 1908. Her son created gardens to enhance the view of the lake and Mt. Rainier. The original backbones of the gardens were created at this time. There is a rumor that the Olmsteds had a hand in the design but there is no evidence. The property changed owners but it wasn't until it was passed to Corydon and Eulalie Wagner in 1938 that it took on today's design.

Lakewold Gardens
In 1958, Eulalie hired Thomas Church, a noted California landscape designer. He embraced principles of abstract modernism taking elements of cubism and Bauhaus into the garden. He took the basic lines and expanded them with the wonderful quatrefoil pool, cleverly placed statuary and small garden rooms. Eulalie, an avid plantswoman, filled the garden and rooms with wonderful plants.

The entrance to the garden is along the curving driveway. It passes through large groves of rhododendrons and specimen trees. The large loderi hybrids were in full bloom along with many species rhododendrons. Interspersed through the trees, we caught glimpses of the spacious lawn, house and lake. From the house entryway, there is a wonderful view of the front lawn bordered by beautiful trees such as a Princess Tree Paulownia tomentosa, copper beech Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea' . On each wide of the wide entry are statues which give the garden a classic English feel. They are a nice counterpoint to the lushness of the NW garden.

From the house, a lovely brick walkway exits towards a pavillon. On one side is a small shade garden filled with ferns and native woodland plants such as Vancouveria and mouse plant Arisarum proboscoideum . On oneside of the walkway is a boxwood framed parterre border filled with bulbs. Framing the brick walkway are two lovely Mount Fuji flowering cherries. Their blossoms were just finishing and the gentle winds blew the flowers around us like snow.

Off to the side was the quatrefoil pool. Thomas Church designed the four left clover style pool providing reflections from each angle. At the end of the brick walkway was a covered shelter providing another interesting vista of the garden.

From here we took a winding path down to the shade garden. A lovely pool and stream is shaded by several different specimen Japanese maples and Parrotias. We glimpsed the bright orange red blossoms of a Chilean flame tree up above. Also along the path to Picnic point were several Stewartia pseudocamelias with their beautiful bark. From the point, you had a nice vista across the lake.

Lakewold Gardens
Under the 'Wolf Tree', a large douglas fir, is another shade garden. Here we found many varieties of trilliums and other interesting bulbs and woodland plants. We even found a woodland orchid Cypripedium parviflorum in bloom along with several alba white forms of Camas.

Continuing along the path we came to the rock garden. From here, there was a wonderful view up the lawn to the house. Along the side were interesting and unexpected gardens. The patio at the house was covered by ancient white and purple wisteria in full bloom. The scent tickled our noses. Off to the side was a lovely herb knot garden bordered with brick creating a lovely belvedere back across the lawn to the lake. The peonies were just starting to bloom. In a month, it would be filled with roses.

A lovely garden combining the natural beauty of the Northwest with beautiful plants.



Lakewold Gardens

May 19, 2007

How does my garden grow?

This is a planting weekend. The sugar snap peas are coming along nicely. They are just about 2 feet high. We have the tomatoes in the greenhouse but they are growing slowly.

We took advantage of the nursery sales and bought a bunch of annuals. This is the first year that G has actually encouraged me and suggested that I plant some annuals. I got two 6-packs of rudbeckias; Indian Summer and Prairie Sun. We put each type in a large pot. We combined the orange rudbeckias with light blue salvias. It should look great. I also got a few other traditional annuals; yellow snapdragons and Lilliput zinnias. I made small display bed and it should be nice for cutting. Zinnias are so cheerful.

Today we picked up a few rose colored calibrachoa. They look like little miniature petunias and will be much better in our rainy weather than the large petunias which can look terrible after a rain storm. G put the in a small metal tub with a miniature purple fountain grass and some sedums.

And it was warm enough to plant green beans. This year's varieties are Blue Lake pole and Romano pole. We set up a teepee out of rebar for them to climb on. It will be 6-8 days before they germinate. I'll put some sluggo out tomorrow to keep the slugs at bay

May 20, 2007

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Whenever we want a perennial fix, we make a trip to the Bellevue Botanical Garden . This is a relatively new garden which opened 1992. The Northwest Perennial Alliance worked with the Bellevue Parks Department to create the garden.

The highlight of the garden is the 17,000 square feet perennial border. It is broken out in to sections by color; gold, pink, variegated, hot, blue, black lavender and more. Along the top of the border, a filbert-shell covered path winds through old apple trees and climber roses. Everywhere you turn there is a delight for the plants person. South of the main border, under several large conifers, is a shade border.

There are several other areas for exploring. Near the entrance is the alpine garden. We loved the Centaurea fischeri related to bachelor buttons. The bees loved it also. Next is a waterwise garden showing how to use evergreen ground covers. This leads into a small herb garden lined with interesting mediterranean plants.

One of the new areas is a tumbling stream area focusing on ground cover plants. Next to it is the Yao garden, a Japanese inspired garden which has potential but always seemed lacking to us. And the newest garden is a northwest native plant garden with a lovely pond-bog. It has recently been planted and it should be nice in a year or so.

Here is a slide show of some photos from our recent visit.


May 24, 2007

So how are the tomatoes coming?

This season's tomatoes

G moved the tomatoes up today. They are now in their 20 gallon tubs and located in the sunny corner of the greenhouse. A few of them are already flowering but it will probably still be a while before they set fruit. We're still on track for August.

May 26, 2007

Blooms of the week

Here is what is in bloom this week in the garden .

June 1, 2007

Pot Roundup

Pot roundup

There is a special plastic recycling collection for farmers in Snohomish county next weekend. Northwest Ag Plastic recycling will be collecting plastic nursery pots along with hay bale bags and twine. They will recycle these into black nursery items, pipes and truck liners. This is perfect for us because we have a lot of round plastic nursery pots that we have no plans on using and we don't want to dump them into the garbage.

The closest collection site is up in Marysville. We also have some old chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, batteries and paint so we'll make a stop in Everett on the way to drop off those items at the Snohomish Hazardous Waste drop off.

But the pots have to be sorted and loose dirt dusted off before they will be accepted. So that was my job this afternoon - sorting and dusting old gallon pots. It took me about 3 hours to go through all the pots. They had been sitting under the nursery benches in a dark corner. Not only were the pots dirty and dusty but they also had a fair amount of spider webs, eggs and live spiders. Fortunately, I'm not afraid of spiders but I did yell a couple of times when I came across a large wolf spider. A good stiff whisk broom cleaned them up and kept the critters at arms length.

By the end, I was hot, dusty and dirty. I couldn't wait to finish and take a cool shower.

June 2, 2007

In bloom this week

June 24, 2007

In bloom this week

We were gone last week for Fathers Day and the garden seemed to erupt while we were gone. Many of the salvias are blooming and I hope to get a slide show next week when I get my new macro lens.

I'm trying another Flickr slideshow generator. This on is SlideFlickr which is really easy to use. It has an advanced option so you can select photos with a tag and the viewer can display the titles by clicking on the photo. I can't decide if I fully like the way the titles are displayed but it is one of the better ways of handling it.

Enjoy! (and don't forget to click on a photo so you can see the name of the plant).

June 29, 2007

Old City Cemetery - Sacramento

We didn't get a chance to get down to California at Mother's Day this year. I had a business commitment which took me out of town. We missed the salvia sale at Cabrillo College. G was disappointed but it was probably good to miss it and have a break from salvias.

We decided to go Father's Day instead. It also gave us a chance to celebrate my in-law's 55th wedding anniversary. I thought it would be nice to explore the gardens and nurseries of Sacramento. I checked with Chris for recommended nurseries. She recommended Busnell's Nursery near Roseville. It had Annie's Annuals so G was interested.

I also checked the Sacramento Bee before we left and came across a wonderful article on the Old City Cemetery. The Hamilton Square area is a planted with many plants from the Mediterranean area. Perfect!

Bushnells was wonderful. It has a great collection of daylilies. G had to pick up two plants of course. We were running late when we finished but still had time to stop by the cemetery.

The afternoon was hot - 105 degrees. The valley was having their first over 100 heat wave. So here were two North westerners out in the mid-day sun. Mad-Dogs and Seattlites! But we loved it. G was in plant heaven. There were many salvias in full bloom. One plant stumped G. He finally identified it yesterday as a dianella.

For more information on the cemetery, check the link above or read this article from SF Gate.

Here are a few photos of the day:

July 20, 2007

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia My rudbeckias are just starting to bloom. They are one of my favorite summer flowers. I have them in a pot with blue salvias. They also make great bouquets. I'm looking forward to cutting some soon.

July 21, 2007

Last harvest of Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas

Today we harvested the last of the sugar snap peas. They were starting to crowd and shade the green beans so it was time to go. They did well this year. We got about three weeks of harvests off our little patch.

January 25, 2008

Seattle Arboretum

Frosty leaves

It has been cold and frosty this past week. The lows have been getting down almost to 20 degrees. The low sun does not reach into the backyard and icicles are coming out of the ground. But usually the frost comes with brilliant clear days.

We took an opportunity on the clear sunny cold Friday to check out the winter garden in the arboretum. Last year we visited it at the end of February. But we heard the witch hazel was in bloom.

It was gorgeous. The sun had warmed a few spots and the fragrance of the witch hazel and daphne was intoxicating. Here are a few shots.

Witch Hazel

Frisky squirrel

Click through for a slide show at Flickr

January 26, 2008

Planning a vegetable garden

It has been several years since we have had a real vegetable garden and not a few tomato plants in pots. This year we are using the space G used for his nursery and we are going to put in a few raised beds.

G decided to use the tables he had for raised beds. These originally came from Ballard Market. They were used in the produce area for displaying potatoes, etc. They have been great tables for the past 10 years. But they are also good frames for small beds for vegetables. Just turn them over and cut off the legs.

We are going to have to lay them out on landscape cloth because that area has a bad case of horsetails. Hopefully the landscape cloth will keep them down a bit. As soon as the ground thaws a bit from our recent freeze, G will level the ground.

Now to decide what to plant.

Soon to be veggie garden

Soon to be veggie garden

Raised bed frames

Frames for the raised beds

The original tables

The former table

February 10, 2008

Early Spring Garden Photo Walk

WestSussexBird posted on Slowtalk that spring was in the air in the UK. It has been colder than normal this year in Seattle and we are still deep in the winter. Occasionally by February, you might see a few signs of spring but not this year. Everything is still asleep.

The days are getting longer which has helped. It is nice to have it still light around 5:30pm. G is convinced that we have seen our last long period of freezing. I'm not so certain. I remember periods of snow in February. But yesterday it got above 50 degrees, the first time in a month or more.

I did a walk though the garden to see if anything was in bloom yet. Not much. The hellebores are budded but none are in bloom. A few of the bulbs are in bloom, cyclamens, a few crocuses and the earliest of our bulbs, the snowdrops.

The birds are also very active. The pine siskins and sparrows are jocking for a perch at the feeder. They love the black oil sunflower seeds. The suet feeders are popular with the juncos, woodpeckers and bushtits. We also still have a couple of Anna's hummingbirds at our feeders. We love having the bird activity in the yard when the plants are asleep.

Here's a walk through the garden.

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen Coum

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen Coum - a white variant

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrops

Crocus "Gypsy Queen"

Crocus

Euphorbia martinii

Raindrops on Euphorbia martinii

Junco

Junco at the suet feeder

February 23, 2008

Northwest Flower and Garden Show

NW Flower and Garden Show 2008

It is the time again - for the flower show. Time to dream and plan for this years garden. Our friend from Spokane joined us again this year. We got there about 10am on Friday and it was already crowded.

We were disappointed this year. The exhibits have been more focused on patio design than the flowers. We did enjoy the display by Fancy Fronds as we did last year. It had a good sprinkling of tender perennials and interesting mixture of black and white plants. Otherwise, it was so-so.

Of course, we did pick up a few plants. G got three new orchids, a couple of arisemas and four epimediums.

NW Flower and Garden Show 2008

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February 24, 2008

Vegetable garden progress

Garden in February

It was warm and sunny this weekend. Perfect for getting out into the garden especially after attending the Flower show. The delphiniums needed weeding. Something is is nibbling on the young growth. I sprinkled some Sluggo but I think it might be cutworms. I also fertilized the roses.

G worked on the raised beds for the vegetables. On Thursday, he hauled 26 wheelbarrows of planting mix to fill the beds. On Saturday, he constructed trellises for the peas and a teepee for the pole beans. They are ready now.

Garden in February

I had the fun of choosing the seeds. I poured over the websites of several companies but focused on what is available from Territorial Seeds, the best company for NW seeds. We will buy starts for some of the plants - mainly the warm plants like tomatoes and eggplants.

We had some purchases to make at a local store. We checked out the seeds and they had them 40% off. Yeah! I purchased beets, carrots, chard, radishes and wax beans. We have sugar snap peas and green beans from last year. I gave G a list of other vegetables to check at work. I want another type of pea, some different beans, cukes and lettuces.

We are ready to start planting. First will be the peas. We may start them inside this year since they didn't germinate outside last year.

Here are a few pictures of the beds. Check out who had to inspect the beds!

Garden in February

Wire mesh for the pea trellises

Garden in February

Rebar teepee for pole beans

Garden in February

The feline inspector

February 25, 2008

Spring is closer

crocus

We have had a string of sunny days. It has been so nice. Even today, a Monday, it was wonderful to see the sun out. It has spurred the plants along. The crocus and snowdrops are doing well. I have also seen a few daffodils in bloom in the warmer areas of the city.

And did you realize that daylight time starts in 2 weeks! Yes, it starts the 2nd Sunday of March which is March 9th. I'll have to give up waking to sunlight for a couple of weeks but it will be worth it to have the longer light in the evening.

February 27, 2008

Seed order

I placed my seed order tonight from Territorial Seed. I checked around a bit at the local seed racks but I didn't see the ones I wanted so I decided to go ahead and place an order. There was no sales tax since Territorial is located in Oregon but the shipping was about 1/3 of the cost of the order. But it will be fun growing the vegetables I want to try.

I ordered 3 different types of beans; Maxibel French haricot beans, Etna shelling bean and Helda romano beans. I was disappointed that I couldn't find Goldmarie; a yellow romano pole bean. I did see a couple of providers on the web but I didn't want to order just one seed packet.

For salads, I ordered three types of lettuce. Nevada lettuce which several of the farmers grew last year at University Farmer's Market. It lasts a long time after harvested and G can use for his sandwiches. Sunset - a red leafed lettuce and Mascara, a red oak leaf. To go along with the lettuce, we also ordered Orient Express cuke and Momotaro Tomato. We'll get some other tomatoes plants later in the year but G wanted to grow this specific tomato.

We're soaking our snap peas tonight and G will start them tomorrow indoors. I'll plant the starts out in a week or so.

March 2, 2008

The seeds have arrived!

Territorial seed order

My seed order arrived on Saturday. That was quite quick. I place my order on Wednesday and the seeds arrived on Saturday. Territorial is located in Cottage Grove, Oregon which means they don't have to come far but 3 days is great turnaround time on our order.

G will be planting up a couple of 6-pack seed trays of the lettuce. I think he is also going to be starting the tomatoes although we won't be able to plant them until May.

March 4, 2008

Favorite Spring Plant - Daphne mezereum

daphne

I love this plant. It blooms brilliant fuchsia colored blossoms along the upright stark bare branches. The perfume fills the air on a sunny late winter day with the most intoxicating scent. It is always a harbinger of spring and very hardy. Here in Seattle it blooms at the end of February and is commonly called February daphne.

It is also an extremely poisonous plant. The blooms turn into brilliant red seeds along the stems. According to some of the websites, 10 seeds can cause death. Fortunately, we do not have children and pets are not attracted or affected by the seeds. There is also an 'alba' white form which has creamy yellow seeds.

G remembers even seeing it in the wild above Lake Misurina in the Dolomite region of the Italian Alps.

March 5, 2008

Favorite Spring Plant - Crocus

crocus_bluebird2
Crocus chrysanthus var. Blue Bird

Crocuses or is it Croci?

I love it when the crocuses bloom in our yard and fill the beds with Easter colors. I'm not too partial to the common gaudy large crocuses in purple and white also called Dutch crocus or Crocus vernus. The rain knocks them down and destroys them here in Seattle.

I much prefer the Crocus chrysanthus hybrids or snow crocus. They are smaller and more resilient in the rain. We have three that come back every year for over 10 years; the yellow and maroon stripped 'Gypsy Girl', the white with lilac stripes and tips 'Snowbunting' and magical violet-blue with white margins 'Blue Bird'. I also like another spring blooming species - Crocus tommasinianus.

Crocus are native to the European mediteranean countries - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy and Greece. We have seen the fall crocus in Italy but never the Spring crocus. Another dream on my list - hunting for wild spring croci.

A great source is McClure and Zimmerman


crocus_snowbuntingjpg
Crocus chrysanthus var. Snowbunting

crocus_bluebird
Crocus chrysanthus var. Blue Bird

crocus_gypsy_girl
Crocus chrysanthus var. Gypsy girl


March 10, 2008

Favorite Spring Plant - Euphorbia

Euphorbias in Villefranche
Euphorbia in Villefranche
Euphorbias are a very unusual plants. There are over 2000 species worldwide in the genus, ranging from weedy annuals to trees. They originate mainly from tropical and desert climates of Africa. I saw many large tree specimen plants in the exotic gardens of the French Riviera. They love the Mediterranean climate. You have probabaly even purchased one at Christmas time without knowing its heritage. Poinsetta is a euphorbia.

Unfortunately they are also somewhat toxic. Euphorbias have a white milky sap can cause reactions to skin, eyes and should never be ingested. Care should always be taken when working around Euphorbias as the milky sap can cause mild to severe dermatitis and blisters. The sap will also irritate the eyes so care should be taken not to rub your eyes. I always wear gloves and long sleeves when I work around this plant to prevent myself from getting any sap on my skin. They are also known as spurge and many are considered weeds in many areas.

So why do I love them? In the spring they bring a lovely chartreuse green with their blooms and foliage. The airy chartreuse blooms on the cover of Martha Stewart's gardening issue is a euphorbia The plants also provide nice structure in the garden from their spiky leaves.

Euphorbia

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June 17, 2008

Vegetable Garden Update

Sugar Snap Peas


Here it is in June so it is time for an update. We have had some very cool - okay unseasonably cold - weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Our garden has been planted but it has been struggling due to the cold.

We have a great crop of lettuce. We planted three types; red leaf, green leaf and oak leaf. I really like both the red leaf and green leaf varieties. I'm not crazy about the oak leaf lettuce variety Mascara. It has grown much larger than I thought it would. It is rather bland also. We had been having some great salads.

Nevada Lettuce

Lettuce

The peas are coming along fine. The bush snap peas have a few pods.

Garden in June


The Swiss Chard was attached by leaf miners. G build a cloche out of reemay and chicken wire. I think it is working.

Reemay on Swiss Chard

The warmer plants that are outside are struggling. The eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes that were hardened off are doing okay. But the green beans are just barely growing and are rather yellow. We didn't harden off the patty pan squash and it is really having a hard time. It turned yellow due to the cold. We've put a cloche around it and it is starting to green.

Patty Pan sqash

Eggplant

Zucchini

Tomatoes are in the greenhouse and they are doing fine. In fact we have our first tomato on the Stupice.

Tomatoes in Greenhouse

Our first tomato

March 16, 2009

Spring Garden Planning

Getting ready to sow

It is that time again. Time to start our seedlings for this year's vegetable garden. We are going to change some of the items that we grew last year. Some things didn't work well.

We are going to try to grow more determinate tomatoes. The favor is not as good but we have been having problems getting our tomatoes to ripen. Determinate tomatoes are earlier so we hope to have better luck.

Here's what is on tap:

  • Carrots - These did great. We even had a few that we left and overwintered. They were still sweet and crisp
  • Radishes - These are so easy. We're also going to do some Cherry Belle this year in addition to French Breakfast.
  • Lettuce - We didn't like Mascara oak leaf. It just didn't do well. So we are switching to another leaf - dark ruby red Merlot. We'll grow Nevada (green) and Red Sunset again. We're also go to try a tangy mesculin mix. Hopefully we'll stagger the plantings so we don't have 18 heads ripen at once.
  • Pea - We're growing the Sugar snap peas again - both pole and bush since they ripen at different times. We're also going to try some bush sugar peas.
  • Green Beans - I love these. Maxibel was a great haricot vert producer. We're growing more. We're not going to do the shelling beans - just takes up too much space and probably not any of the yellow. We'll do the same two pole green beans - Blue Lake and a Romano. And experiment with a yellow leaf scarlet runner bean. If it does well, I can use it as a shelling bean.
  • Zucchini - we're trying two different ones. One that is self pollinating and another yellow one.
  • Cucumber - same one last year since we had good luck - Orient Express.
  • Pepper - It was a disaster last year. Not a single blossom. We might try Gypsy which is an earlier pepper but haven't been able to find the seed.
  • Tomatoes - Looks like we are going to have a lot. We'll have some in the greenhouse but we are also planning to put a few in the front on the hot driveway. Yes, we are determined to get some ripening before the end of September. Momotaro, Siletz, Oregon Star, Sun Gold Cherry, Stupice, Fraziers Gem, Taxi yellow.

I thought we were a little behind sowing our seeds. That is one of the great things about having a blog - you can look back and see when you started your seeds. We started them almost exactly the same time in 2007. We started them the first week in March in 2008. We started the first set of peas about a week ago. By July - we will have this.

April 8, 2009

Spring Menagerie

Male Rufous Hummingbird

We had quite the menagerie in our garden yesterday.

It started out when we saw a pair of mallard ducks walking down our street. We've seen this in the past and I think it was around this time in the Spring. They just didn't seem to care much and just waddled down the center of the street. Fortunately, our street isn't too busy.

But what was really surprising is a short time later, we saw the female mallard in our backyard. Our house is next to a local pond and storm runoff area. Right outside our yard is mostly wild area and just beyond that a pond. So it is not surprising that we get a lot of wildlife. But the area directly behind our house is actually a storm runoff area and the street drain in front of our house outlets to a rocky area beyond our yard. It is good because our garage doesn't flood but bad because we don't get frogs any more. Too much street pollution. But we have always seen some interesting animals. And spring increases the occurrences since there are a lot of new babies.

Female Mallard Duck

Female Mallard Duck

It was very unusual to see a duck in the yard. She found the corn that we put out for the squirrels. She just sat down and scarfed up. She was pretty timid (or hungry) also. I walked out and put more corn out and she just walked right up to the area and started eating.

We do have several squirrels. They do drive G crazy at times because they love to dig in the garden. He had to put caging over our peas because the squirrels were starting to dig in our vegetable garden. But they are so fun to watch.

One of our local squirrels

We also have two species of hummingbirds that visit our garden. We have several Anna hummingbirds that live year round in our garden. We have lots of plants that they love in the garden such as salvias. We also have two feeders that we keep stocked with sugar mixture throughout the winter.

But recently, we've seen a new visitor to the feeders - a rufous hummingbird. These are seasonal and smaller than the Anna's. It is a male and he's been rather timid flitting around the feeders and also feeding on some of the early blooming plants such as pulmonaria. We were so distressed yesterday when he got trapped in our greenhouse. We open the hoop house where we keep our winter blooming salvias during the day. The Anna's have figured out how to get in and out of the greenhouse. But the Rufous hasn't figured it out yet. He went in and then couldn't figure out how to get out. He flew up towards the light from the sun and he didn't see the door. We turned off the fans and put some Salvias down in the doorway to temp him down so he could see how to leave. But after two hours he was still in the greenhouse - flying back and forth. We could tell he was getting tired. We finally went out and tried to get him out with two brooms. He got onto one of the brooms and we could hear him crying. He was breaking our hearts. We took him out the door and he was still on the broom. We were worried that he had impaled himself on the broom or hurt himself. But he finally took off and flew up to one of the trees. We knew he was low on energy and just hoped he would recover.

We didn't see him again yesterday. Would he be okay? I was sitting at the computer this morning and something caught my eye outside the window. He was back! He was at the feeder again. He's been back several times today drinking up and restocking. I'm so glad to see him.

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Male Rufous Hummingbird


April 9, 2009

Colour My Spring Garden: Blue

Primrose

I love spring. It has arrived late this year here in Seattle. Normally by mid-April we should be into the prime tulip blooming time. But it has been cold and everything is two weeks late.

I had an opportunity to take a walk around the garden and several different colors jumped out at me. The first was lovely blue.

Pulmonaria - this lovely plant from the same family as borage loves to naturalize and seed itself throughout the garden. We had several named varieties but they have since crossed and naturalized throughout the garden. The spotted leaves also make a nice accent around the garden.


Pulmonaria

We also have several several patches of Scilla tubergeniana. They are not as invasive as the traditional English bluebell which can be quite a pest here in the Northwest. They definitely have seemed to taken over several gardens in Ballard. This light blue variety has behaved itself in my garden. I've also called it Puschkinia scilloides but I think it is Scilla.


Scilla tubergeniana

Another blue bulb which seems to take over is Muscari - Grape Hyacinth. I love it so I don't mind that it pop up here and there in the garden. I love dense patches of the bulbs. I love to cut a dozen and pop them into a small vase. The scent is heavenly. Not cloying like regular hyacinths.

Grape hyacinth - Muscari botryoidesi

The other two blue plants I found in bloom today are more tender Mediterranean plants. Rosemary which was in my herb pot was in bloom - lovely light blue flowers. And Echium fastuosum or Pride of Maderia. This is a stunning plant if grown in the right conditions. It is a little too cold here in the Pacific NW. We winter it over in the greenhouse and then move it to our south facing warm door enclosure. But in California - especially the Bay Area and along Big Sur - it can grow into brilliant blue mounts. It is a native of the island of Maderia.

Rosemary

Echium fastuosum

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April 10, 2009

Colour my Spring Garden: Chartreuse

Helleborus argutifolius

Helleborus argutifolius

Chartreuse - a color half way between green and yellow. To me, it is the color of many young spring buds. Full of texture from smooth hellebore blooms to wrinkles of leaves. You can see it lightly painting the hillsides of Seattle from the catkins of the alders to the samaras of the Big Leaf Maples. It is such a great accent and beginning to Spring.

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia myrsinites

Euphorbia characias hybrid
Euphorbia characias hybrid

Hacquetia epipactis
Hacquetia epipactis

Ribes sanguineum 'Brocklebankii;
Ribes sanguineum 'Brocklebankii'

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’
Dicentra spectablis 'Gold Heart'

Helleborus orientalis
Helleborus orientalis

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May 7, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #1

Vegetable Garden 2009

Amy's May flower post reminded me that I need to post how our vegetable garden is coming along. I like to blog about it so we can keep a record of when we plant our garden and how it well it is growing.

We started our first seeds mid-March. In mid-April, we put out the first set of lettuce and radishes. On Tuesday, we setup our tomato pots. This year we have 6 in the driveway. This is where we used to grow them. It is south and gets lots of heat from the asphalt on the driveway and reflected from the garage doors. For good measure, we also have 5 in the greenhouse.

The peas are coming along fine. They are about a foot tall. The lettuce is just sitting there. It has been too cold. We have two sets of leaves on the radishes. Maybe we'll have a salad by June.

Here are some pictures.

Vegetable Garden 2009
Tomatoes setup in driveway

Vegetable Garden 2009

Greenhouse tomato

Vegetable Garden 2009

Lettuce and peas

Vegetable Garden 2009

Pea tendrils

Vegetable Garden 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009

Lockdown lettuce - Gotta protect that lettuce from the squirrels

Vegetable Garden 2009

Apple blossom

Related posts

May 18, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #2

The weather has started to warm up. Finally! Lows are still into the mid-low 40's but we have had a couple of nights of low more around 50 degrees. High temperatures - a couple of days into the 60's but mostly in the 50's.

The vegetable garden is coming along. We have started and planted our green beans; both Maxibel bush and Blue Lake poles. The radishes, lettuce and peas are coming along. The peas have started to climb more. We have just put in carrots and potted up the squash and cucumbers.

Today we took the plastic cloches off the tomatoes in the front. They have gotten pretty big and it has been staying a bit too humid under the plastic. We are worried they might get blight so we're going to risk the cool nights slowing them down instead.

Oh yeah, mesculin mix is up.



Vegetable Garden 2009
Peas & lettuce
Vegetable Garden 2009
Squash
Vegetable Garden 2009
Bean teepee
Vegetable Garden 2009
Romano Beans
Vegetable Garden 2009
Momataro in Greenhouse
Vegetable Garden 2009
Stupice
Vegetable Garden 2009
Outside tomatoes
Vegetable Garden 2009
Bud on Stupice
Our resident duck
Our resident duck
Our resident duck

June 5, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #3

Our first of the season harvest
First harvest - lettuce

Wow! What a different three warm weeks will make. We have been having gorgeous weather here in Seattle. It has been up in the 80's this week. You can almost see the garden growing.

I did my first harvest today. The lettuce is ready and I picked an assortment of leaves. We are growing 4 different varieties; Nevada: a slow to bolt green leaf lettuce, Merlot: a deep purple red leaf lettuce; Red Sails: a typical red green leaf lettuce; Mascara: a red oak leaf lettuce. I also have a spicy Mesculin mix. I picked an assortment of the leaves. Aren't they pretty.

Everything else has leafed out well. The pole beans are starting to twine up the rebars. The bush peas are starting to bloom and pod. The tall snap peas are a little sparse but well see, they may fill out. They are starting to bloom although they are only about 5 ft tall. Seems a little early to me.

Tomatoes are doing well. They are flowering but still no fruit. The nights have been warm enough - low 50's so hopefully we will have some fruit setting soon.

Garden - first week in June
Garden
Bush Haricot Vert
Bush Beans
Lettuce - ready for harvest
Ready to Harvest
Flowers of dwarf grey sugar pod peas
Dwarf Grey Sugar Pod Peas
Sugar Sprint Peas
Sugar Sprint Peas
Greenhouse Tomato
Greenhouse Tomato
Tomato blossoms
Tomato Blossom
Tomatoes
Outside Tomatoes
Mesculin Mix
Mesculin Mix
Vegetable Garden 2009
Peas - Lettuce - May 18
Peas and Lettuce
June 5
Vegetable Garden 2009
Pole Beans - May 18
Pole Beans
June 5
Vegetable Garden 2009
Squash May 18
Zucchini
June 5

Related Posts:

June 7, 2009

Arum Dioscoridis

Arum Dioscoridis var dioscoridis

G loves unusual plants. Can you tell from our travels? We have orchids and loads of salvias. Arums and the related genus like Arisaema is another plant family he loves. He worked many years at Seattle Garden Center in the Pike Place Market. The store always had a wonderful selection of bulbs and tubers. One unusual bulb that they sold was Voodoo Lily - Sauromatum guttatum. Of course, with a name like Voodoo Lily - he couldn't resist it. Not only did it have an unusual name but it also had a unusual smell. Like so many other plants that are maroon to dark brown, it is pollinated by flies and has the smell of rotting meat. He knew about the smell because sometimes they would bloom in the boxes without being planted in soil and stink up the store. He became curious and it led to him investigating the arum family.

Arums are a Mediterranean plant native of Greece, Cyprus, the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East. They are tubers. The flower is a hood like spathe which wraps around an erect spadix. A cob of seeds are produced after pollination which turn red in the fall. The leaves can also be very attractive. They are dark green triangular heart shaped leaves. Some have white marbling which gives an exotic accent to the garden.

He has collected several different species over the years. One which has a large maroon spathe is
Dragon Lily - Dracunculus Vulgaris (aka Arum dracunculus). We lost it a couple of years ago but it does do well in Seattle. It has become wild in parts of Ballard.

One Arum that has come back reliably is Arum Dioscoridis. It has a beautiful mottled hood but a disgusting odor. G and I were working in the yard today. The weather has been dry and warm for the past couple of weeks. Today was no different. I was weeding and I kept smelling this odor like steer manure. Our mulch has some in it but it doesn't smell. We finally realized it was the Arum. Man, did it stink! Peter Boyce who wrote the monograph on the genus described the fragrance as "a mixture of dung and rotting flesh". Exactly!

Here are a few more pictures:

Arum Dioscoridis var dioscoridis

Arum Dioscoridis var dioscoridis

Arum Dioscoridis var dioscoridis


June 9, 2009

Colour My Garden: Yellow

Fremontodendron 'California Glory'
Fremontodendron 'California Glory'

I love this time of the year in the garden. The garden just erupts in color. Yesterday I took the opportunity to walk around and take some pictures. I noticed right off that yellow was the predominant color right now. Let me share them with you.

Halimiocistus - 'Merrist Wood Cream'
Halimiocistus - 'Merrist Wood Cream'

Halimium lasianthum
Halimium lasianthum

Cytisus battandieri - Pineapple Broom
Cytisus battandieri

Corydalis lutea
Corydalis lutea

Phlomis fruticosa bud
Phlomis fruticosa bud

Phlomis russeliana
Phlomis russeliana

Phlomis russeliana
Close up of Phlomis russeliana

Phlomis russeliana bud
Closeup of top flower of Phlomis russeliana - I love the chambered design

Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerows Gold’
Cornus sericea "Hedgerows Gold"


June 14, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #4

Our first tomato

Yes, we have tomatoes! Three of the tomatoes on the driveway and one in the greenhouse have fruit. The first one to fruit is a new variety for us, Oregon Star. The plant looks a little funky. The leaves are skinny and the plant is a little limp but we think that is the way it is supposed to look. The Oregon Star in greenhouse also has tomatoes. Siletz and Stupice, both early varieties, also have fruit.

And the weather continues to be great. It has been over 25 days without rain. If it doesn't rain before Wednesday, it will be a record! Temperatures have also been around 70 degrees in the day and 50 at night. If this continues, we will have tomatoes before the end of July. Fingers are crossed.

And I'm turning into a rabbit. The lettuce is going gang-busters and we have a salad every day. Can you tell I'm getting a little tired of green salads? Any other ideas of what to do with lettuce?

We also had snap peas last week. The Sugar Sprints produced enough for a vegetable for dinner. They were yummy. And the rest of the veggies are doing great.

Garden0614-001

Lots of Lettuce
Lots of lettuce

Bush Beans
Bush Green Beans

Lookin' good

Sungold May 17th
Sungold May 17th
Sungold 06/14
Sungold June 14th

Related Posts:

June 16, 2009

Colour My Garden: Blue & Purple

Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'>
Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens'

I don't have any particular color scheme in our garden. Our garden is totally a plantsman garden. No design. No rhyme. No scheme. There are plants scattered through the area. I love to walk the garden and see the different colors and patterns.

Last week, Yellow was dominant color. Lots of interesting plants. This week the blue and fuchsia are coming on. Let's look at a few of the blues in bloom right now.

Anchusa capensis
Anchusa capensis

Campanula garganica
Campanula garganica

Salvia sp. (Rome Forum)
Salvia sp (seeds collected at the Rome Forum)

Geranium maculatum
A wild geranium - possibly Geranium maculatum

Geranium splish-splash
Geranium splish-splash

Scutellaria alpina
Scutellaria alpina

Salvia sp. (Verona)
Salvia sp. (from Verona)

Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'

Garden Kitty

Garden Kitty - oops this one isn't blue or purple. :)

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June 21, 2009

Colour My Garden: Pink & Fuchia

Rosa glauca
Rosa glauca

Our streak of rain-free days has come to an end. It rained Thursday bringing the streak to an end. We matched the previous record of 29 consecutive dry days in May-June. It was nice to hear the rain again. Fortunately it continues to be warm and we have partial sun.

Our garden is mainly a Mediterranean drought tolerant garden. We do not water it much in the summer. Some plants don't do as well and eventually they are moved out or die. There is also not a lot of order. G often plants things just to get them out of containers and into the ground. But there is usually something in bloom.

The blues and yellow continue but we have streak of pink to fuchia to purple blooms now.

Delphinium "Millenium"
Delphinium "Millenium"

Phlomis tuberosa
Phlomis tuberosa

Lavandula stoechas
Lavandula stoechas

Geranium maderense
Geranium maderense

Bletilla striata
Blettilla striata

Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'
Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara'

Salvia verticillata "Purple Rain"
Salvia verticillata 'Purple Rain'

Salvia semiatrata
Salvia semiatrata

Teucrium cossonii
Teucrium cossonii

Hummingbird on Salvia
Anna Hummingbird visiting a Salvia

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June 22, 2009

Garden Tour

I was inspired by WCS video garden tour. He did a tour of his vegetable garden that was fun to watch. My small Canon SD800 has a video mode so I made the following video of the garden in front of my house. You might recognize a few of the flowers from my recent posts. It was a lot of fun to make.


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July 3, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #5

Oregon Star tomato

Wow! what a difference in just three weeks! My last update was on June 14th. We had just had seen our first tomatoes - little tiny Oregon Stars. The weather turned a little cool about two weeks ago but soon it warmed up again into the 70's. This week it is hot. Today we were up to almost 86 degrees - tomorrow more of the same. I'm lovin' it. And so are the tomatoes.

But first let's look at how everything else is doing. We've harvested about 1/4 - 1/3 of the lettuce. I really like the Nevada. The Red Sails and Merlot are fine but I'm certain that I do not like the Mascara oak leaf. It just doesn't do anything for me. Also both the Merlot and Mascara have little spines on the stems. Just like little slivers - I cut off the rib/stems. I'm a very fussy greens eater.

We got about 1 more serving off the Sugar Sprints. They produce well but we just don't plant enough. The pole Sugar Snaps are still producing although one has been yellowing and is almost past. The Grey Sugar Peas are so-so for me. They produce a lot but they are not real great in taste. You can also use them as a shelling pea and I noticed that they seem go to seed fast. You have to get them really young for snow peas. Another gardener didn't like them either - but I found the history interesting. I can see why they were favored a century ago since they could be rather versatile since you can eat them at several stages. I probably won't grow them again.

The bush beans - a haricot vert variety is just blooming and just starting to put on pods. Soon. The pole green beans still have a ways to go.

The squash are coming along great. Cavili is doing great. It is parthenocarpic (self-pollinating) summer squash - lighter than a zucchini. We harvested a small one and it had good flavor. Another one is starting to turn into a short stubby baseball bat - got to get it off soon. The yellow zucchini - Butterstick is also starting to produce. What is so weird is the first few butterstick squashes have ended up looking similar to the Cavili even though they start out yellow. One is even half yellow half light green. I'm wondering if it is getting pollinated by the Cavili. The cukes are also starting to fruit.

The determinate tomatoes are going gangbusters. The Oregon Star is fruiting like crazy and so is Siletz. The indeterminate are still coming along - just one fruit on Momotaro and not a lot on the cherry tomato -yet. The other determinates - Stupice and Taxi - are fruiting but a little less. If this hot weather continues - homegrown tomatoes soon.

Cavili squash
Cavili Squash
Butterstick squash
Butterstick - Check out the two colored one
Greenhouse garden
Toms in the greenhouse
Greenhouse Garden
Toms & Cukes
Oregon Star tomato Tomato Blossom
Garden in July Orient Express Cucumber
Driveway garden
Driveway tomatoes
Oregon Star tomato
Oregon Star
Grey Sugar Peas
Grey Sugar Peas
Siletz tomato
Siletz

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July 19, 2009

Vegetable Garden 2009 #6

Vegetable Garden

The tomatoes are fattening up and some are getting lighter but we still do not have our first ripe tomato. We went out of town last week and they got a little stressed while we were gone. It has been warm - in the 80's with lows in the 50's. It is still early for NW but with this great warm weather, you would think, no?

We are starting phase two in the garden. The lettuce started to bolt so we pulled it out. Most of the peas are done although the pole sugar snap peas are still producing. The second batch got really tall - almost 8 ft. I'll give them another week and then we'll take them down also. I harvested the sugar grey that had gone to pod and froze them. It may have been too late for sweet peas but I'll see. I could maybe use them in soup.

We just seeded a fall crop of Sugar Sprint Peas. We should be able to get a crop done before the frost. Last year as an experiment, we put planted a few in late September and about 6 weeks later they were just putting on pods. We get our first frost mid-October or later so hopefully, we'll get peas by mid-September. We are also seeding some lettuce. The Nevada did the best so we'll start some indoors and put it out in a week or so.

The green beans are coming on. I've gotten 4 meals already from the Maxibels and lots more. I may try freezing a batch also. The Helga Romano beans are on so we'll switch over to those soon. The Blue Lake poles are just starting to bloom so they will be a bit more.

I can't keep up with the squash. I removed the big ones. Our cukes are doing great so we'll have lots of cool sliced cukes and I may make a soup. Our carrots are doing well - we'll leave those for late fall.

Now, if the tomatoes would only ripen. I have mozzarella waiting.

Vegetable Garden
Toms in Greenhouse
Vegetable Garden
Toms in driveway
Vegetable Garden
8ft Peas!
Vegetable Garden
Preparing for next crop
Vegetable Garden
Preparing for next crops
Vegetable Garden
Squash
Vegetable Garden
Maxibel Haricot Vert
Maxibel Haricot Vert beans
Today's harvest

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August 16, 2009

Home Canned Tomatoes

Canning tomatoes

The hot weather has given us a bumbercrop of tomatoes. I decided it was time to can some tomatoes. I had a dozen pint jars and we had way enough tomatoes to fill them.G said he wanted to help and I gladly took him up on his offer.

This is my second time canning tomatoes. I used the instructions on PickYourOwn. I like PickYourOwn site because it has a lot of pictures and helpful tips. I also had a copy of Preserving Tomatoes from Clemson Extension which I used last time. I use a water bath which is pretty easy to do.

I've also been following Canning Across America and the Canvolution. There are a lot of events coming up the last weekend in August. Our tomatoes were ripe so I couldn't wait to join in Canvolution weekend. The forecast is for hot weather this week so we'll probably have another harvest ready in two weeks and I can do another batch.

It did not take too long. I prepared the jar and lids and then we set up an assembly line to peel and pack the tomatoes. The second batch took half the time. They are cooling tonight on the counter and we'll put them away after we check the seals tomorrow. This winter we'll have a nice reminder of the warm summer.

Canning tomatoes
The Equipment

Canning tomatoes
The Harvest

Canning tomatoes
Ready for a water bath

Canning tomatoes
Canned Jewels

October 15, 2009

End of Vegetable Garden Season

End of Veggie Garden 2009
Last of the tomatoes
We are shutting down our vegetable garden for the season. We have a few more vegetables left to harvest but it is mainly done for the season. This has been a good year especially for the tomatoes. We have also learned a lot.

We started another crop of snap peas at the end of July which have done terrible. They got to about 1 foot and then died. When we pulled them out we noticed that there were no root hairs so we were able to diagnosis that they have Pea Fusarium Wilt. This explains why we had such a poor crop earlier. It is soil born so we will rotate where we plant the peas to another bed next year. There are no varieties of sugar snap that are resistant so we may change to either snow peas or regular English shelling peas next year. It is so disappointing because I love sugar snaps.

We started another crop of lettuce which is still growing. We have harvested several heads in September and October from an early August sowing. We are just waiting for the first strong frost which may be any day now. We also grew another set of radishes but had to pull them out because they got too large. We were not eating them. But we did learn that the problem we had with our earlier crop being too pithy was because of lack of water.

The carrots are still in the ground. We can leave them for a while more since they will tolerate the freeze.

The cucumbers ended around the end of July. They produce a lot at once and then they are finished. One or two of our plants wilted and I'm not certain what caused that. The squash lasted until mid-September although the production had slowed down especially since we were not harvesting. I did not like the varieties we choose this year although one was pretty good. We may try another variety next year and go back to at least one patty pan which did well for us last year.

We took down our green beans earlier this week. There were a lot of beans still on the trellises. They were no longer any good for using as green beans since they had gotten tough from the cooler weather. I was leaving them on for fresh shelling beans and dried beans. Part of the beans pods had dried and were yellow. These produced about 1 cup of dried white beans. Most were small like navy beans but a few were bigger white kidney beans. I am saving these for a soup in the upcoming days.

The rest of the green beans I snapped to look for larger green shelling beans. This was a tough job. Most of them were still too young to have plump beans. These I just tossed into the compost but I was able to get a good bunch that I could split open like a pea pod and extract the younger shelling beans. I got about 2 cups that I boiled up with garlic and sage. It only takes about 20 minutes boiling to soften these beans and then I pour in a good flavored olive oil. They make a great side dish. I had them with lightly breaded rock fish.

I would love to grow more romano style. Helga variety which have grown the past two years seem to go to seed pretty fast. The seeds are great because they are large white kidneys but it shortens out usage of the romano green pod. I may look around for another type such as Musica next year. I would love to find Gold Marie again which is a yellow romano. We will definitely grow a bed of the bush haricot verts again. Maxibel is great.

The tomatoes plants lasted until after the beginning of October. The ones in the drive way went first - around mid-September - especially the determinates. I canned 2 dozen pint jars and then I was able to freeze about 4 quarts. I still have two large trays in the cool downstairs that I am using to cook with and serve with mozzarella. I suspect we'll eat our last fresh tomato next week.

End of Veggie Garden 2009
End of September in the Garden

End of Veggie Garden 2009
Mid October - just lettuce and carrots left

End of Veggie Garden 2009
End of the Green Beans

End of Veggie Garden 2009
Some produced wonderful white kidney beans

End of Veggie Garden 2009
All the greens beans - yellow had dried beans and about a third produced fresh beans similar to those seen above.


January 8, 2010

House Orchids

Maclellanara Pagan Lovesong "Ruby Charles"Maclellanara Pagan Lovesong "Ruby Charles"

It can be so dreary, dark, gray, cold here in the Pacific Northwest in winter. You get occasional days of sun. But so often it is depressing. The current temperature is 'warm' - 45°F or 7°C. Today it is a steady beat of a light rain. I have to turn on the lights in the afternoon. The warm glow of a candle can give a cozy feeling but otherwise it is just damp and cold.

But one thing that does add joy and warmth to the winter are orchids. Many of the species bloom in the winter and their blooms can bring joy to a room. Our local supermarket has had many on sale for around $10 - $12 US. That is almost less than a bouquet of flowers - and they last much longer.

We have a greenhouse which helps to grow them but in the winter once they have come into bud or we purchase them, we move them into the house. The cooler species such as Oncidiums, Miltassia - we can have in the living room. Others that take a little bit more humidity such Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis, we keep up in the bathroom. It has a skylight and high humidity and they bloom throughout the winter months. Their beauty brings us joy on the gray days.



Colmanra Wildcat Colmanra Wildcat

Miltassia Dennis Kleinbach 'Crowhurst'Miltassia Dennis Kleinbach 'Crowhurst

Oncidium Sweet SugarOncidium Sweet Sugar

Paphiopedilum hybridPaphiopedilum hybrid

Phalenopsis hybridPhalenopsis hybrid

Phalenopsis hybridPhalenopsis hybrid

Phalenopsis hybridPhalenopsis hybrid

Orchid Greenhouse in WinterOur orchid greenhouse in the gray

January 19, 2010

A Taste of Spring - Witt Winter Garden

Witt Winter Garden

I've been reading about the ugly weather that has been happening this week in California. Heavy rain, wind, thunderstorm - so typical of an El Nino year. The storms that normally swing farther north to the Pacific Northwest come barreling into California and the Southwest. It is good for the drought but unfortunately, it seems to always come at once which creates chaos.

We have been having a 'non-winter' here in the Pacific Northwest. We got a freezing blast the first week of December while we were in Hawaii and then it turned to rain. This past week it has been rather warm and gray - highs in the mid 50's. Quite balmy for this time of the year. I'm not really complaining but you don't know if it is just a tease and it will turn cold and stormy tomorrow.

But I've also started to notice small signs of Spring. The sun is coming up a little bit earlier; buds are getting fat; winter flowering shrubs have started blooming.

We made a trip recently to the Witt Winter Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. I blogged about it several years ago. A trip to the garden always cheers us up mid-winter. It is not a garden to rush through but instead take some time and stroll around. Perfume surrounded us as we got closer. Sweet smelling Sarcococca ruscifolia was in full bloom underneath the witch hazel. We were surprised to see the witch hazel in bloom. Typically we visit in February and did not expect to see much in bloom this early in January.

Some of the plants in bloom;

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'
Sarcococca ruscifolia
Daphne bholua
Daphne mezereum alba
Hamamelis mollis 'Pallida'
Camellia japonica
Chimonanthus praecox
Lonicera Fragrantissima
Helleborus foetidus

Witt Winter Garden Witt Winter Garden
Witt Winter Garden Witt Winter Garden
Witt Winter Garden Witt Winter Garden

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March 4, 2010

Spring seeds are sown

Vegetable Garden 2010 #1
'

January and February have been amazing. Just under normal rain but record setting temperatures. We are risking all and going for an early garden. We have lettuce and pea starts. We put these out today! We do have some reemay ready just in case the temperature drops. There is still strong chance for a frost. We have had snow in March and even April. But all the signs point towards a warm and early spring so we're going for it.

We did also lost part of our pea crop last year to fusarium wilt. It is soil born so we took half of the soil out of our beds and we're giving it a try. I'm a doubter so G also potted up a pot with peas just as back up. Yeah!

March 11, 2010

Frost!

Vegetable Garden 2010

Well, we tempted the fates and it looks like we survived. After weeks of low temperatures in the 40's and sunny days, the weather turned to the north and we got a frosty blast on Monday. The low at our house was 26 degrees overnight. We knew it was coming from the weather forecasts but I was still a bit worried about your young little lettuce starts.

But G covered them up with reemay on Monday. That is a picture of the lettuce under cover at the top of this post. They made it! Yeah!

The weather is still cool but the lows are staying above freezing so that is a good thing. We are not totally safe yet. The last frost date is widely variable in my region due to the microclimates. Area closer to the water are usually towards the end of March. The UW in Seattle is March 22 but farther out it can be later. For example, Everett, north of me, is April 9th. We have had snow once in mid-late April. But usually by April 1 it is pretty safe. So I still have three weeks were we need to watch the over night temps.

Here is the garden under their blanket of reemay and what they looked like today.

Vegetable Garden 2010
Reemay covering the early lettuce bed - We also have two pots of blueberries.

Vegetable Garden 2010
What they look like today - no signs of damage

Vegetable Garden 2010
We also bought some raspberries this weekend. Here they are potted up.

April 18, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #1

Vegetable Garden
Tomato starts

April has been very unpredictable. We had a beautiful February and then suddenly mid-March - we've had a wild ride of weather. Some days beautiful. Other days freezing or torrential hail. It got to a low of 27 degrees on April 9th. Our Magnolia had started to leaf out and many of the leaves are frost damaged. We had several other tender plants burned. We did not cover our lettuce and it survived although the older leaves were stressed. We cut those off. Today it is 70 degrees.

We are hoping that the worst is past. We moved our tomato plants to the unheated greenhouse today. This will harden them and we will move them up to larger pots but keep them in until mid-May. G started some carrot seeds and we may start some radishes. We need to plant them where they will get more water because they typically are pretty pithy due to lack of water.

Our peas are still growing. I'm not certain how well they will do since they got fusarium wilt. They are still green so my fingers are crossed. The lettuce is starting to look pretty good although very small.

Now all we need a little heat.

Related Posts:

Vegetable Garden
Lettuce and peas

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden
Raspberry, blueberry and apples

Tomato starts
Tomato starts (The blue plant is a salvia we collected in France)

Backyard in April
Our greenhouses and yard - blue is mostly muscari and pulmonaria

April 25, 2010

Lilacs

Spring lilacs

To me, lilacs are a true harbinger that spring has arrived. We have an old scraggly bush just on the side of our deck. Throughout March and April, I watch the leaves slowly emerge and buds swell. I will get whiff of their sweet scent even before they bloom. They have waiting to burst open the past week but the off and on weather has kept them tightly budded.

The days are long and slowly warming. The sun has been out but covered hazily with high clouds. But the sun has been strong enough the past to days to push them open.

Lilacs are very fascinating. Driving through the country side it is common to see them planted near old homesteads. One of the reasons is they were planted were to remind the Northern European settlers of their home country. Another reason is they are an indicator plant. The plant is sensitive to the temperature and not length of daylight. The changes in the lilac, when it leaved out were used by people to know when to plant crops. Here in the Northwest, when the lilac leaves are the size of mouse ears, you know the ground is warm enough to plant peas. Phenology is the science of studying natural changes or phenophases to chart the seasonal calendar. Lilacs are one of the plants that have been studied and tracked over the years. Scientists are now using records to also track climate changes. Project Budburst is a great site for finding out more about this science and getting involved.

Mothers Day has always been lilac time here in the Northwest. I've notice more and more that they are finished by Mothers Day and the mid to end of April is the time when they are at their peak. There is a wonderful garden devoted to lilacs in Southern Washington - Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. We stopped one year on a trip to Portland but we were too late for the blooms.

We planted our lilac about 20 years ago. It has been battered over the years by the wind and has grown tall and scraggly. We may replace it soon but until that time, I'll continue to enjoy it every Spring.

Spring lilacs

Spring lilacs

Lichen on Lilac tree

April 28, 2010

Hulda Klager Lilac Garden

I came across this video today from the Portland Oregonian on the lilac garden I mentioned earlier. Take a video tour of the garden and some tips on growing lilacs.

A video visit to Hulda Klager Lilac Garden plus tips for revitalizing lilac trees

May 16, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #2

Vegetabke Garden May 16

We had a cold April so it has been a little slower getting the vegetable garden going. The lettuce which we did start early and have babied it through the cold is finally paying off. It is almost time to eat which is about 3 weeks earlier than last year. The peas are a little behind. We are still having problems with the peas especially in the first bed. We have started to give that bed heavy doses of fertilizer (20-20-20) to get it going.

We started the beans inside and just transplanted them outside this year. We are trying a different arrangement. Instead of Teepees we have a trellis. I'm not certain how this is going to do. The bush Maxibels are up and so are the Blue Lakes Poles. Our yellow Italian variety of Romanos did not have a good germination rate so we have seeded some directly in the ground. We have an extra bed so we may directly sow some yellow wax bush.

We started the carrots in plugs and they were planted out last week. they seem to be taking so it may work. The radishes are up. The squashes and cukes are going in the pots.

We are definitely two weeks behind on our tomatoes. They are pretty tall and budded up but still in the greenhouse. We had put them out with cloches last year which we removed just about this time last year. But we may keep these in the green house for a bit more. It has been cold still at night - in the 40's - so it may benefit us to keep them inside until it is warmer at night. All of the tomatoes are going to be outside this year. We are only growing the cucumber and a Gypsy pepper in the greenhouse this year.

The big surprise and shock is our columnar apples. They were in bloom last year at the beginning of April. We realized several weeks ago that they were not blooming. Either the sever 11 degree temperatures in December or the 28 degree night in April has damaged both the buds and even some of the wood. They have not leafed out and are actually starting new bud branches. So no apples this year and we hope we can at least save the trees.

Vegetable Garden May 16
Nevada green leaf lettuce almost ready

Vegetable Garden May 16
Peas on the climb

Vegetabke Garden May 16
Peas, radishes and carrots

Vegetabke Garden May 16
Squash ready for planting

Vegetable Garden May 16
Tomato starts still in the greenhouse

Vegetabke Garden May 16
Blue Lake green beans

Vegetabke Garden May 16
Damaged Apple Tree

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June 6, 2010

What's Bloomin in June

What's Bloomin' in June

This has been such a dismal end to May. I'm still waiting for the temperatures to reach 75 degrees. Some of the plants have enjoyed the warm rain. The days are long up here above the 45th degree parallel. Sunrise is nearing 5am and sunset is after 9pm. That makes for a very long gray day.

Lady Washington Tall Ship But talk about turnaround. Yesterday was cold and drizzly. I went down to the waterfront to see the tall ships in for the Edmonds Waterfront Festival and got drenched walking back to the car. But early morning the clouds started to break up and out came the sun. It got up to 70 degrees and it was nice to be outside.

I took advantage of the sun to take some pictures of what is in bloom now in the garden. Mid-May to Mid-June is always a fun time with lots of plants blooming. My favorites are the delphiniums and peony. The delphiniums have loved the extra water from the rain and the cooler temperatures. My peony is doing okay but seems a little tired. I probably need to give it some fertilizer this year.

Here are a few of the flowers in bloom now in the garden:

What's Bloomin' in June
Delphinium
What's Bloomin' in June
Delphinium
What's Bloomin' in June
Spanish Lavender
What's Bloomin' in June
Salvia 'Hot Lips'
What's Bloomin' in June
Cistus
What's Bloomin' in June
Delphinium - love the 'bee' center
What's Bloomin' in June
Peony 'Festiva Maxima'
What's Bloomin' in June
Magnolia sieboldii
What's Bloomin' in June
Allium karataviense
What's Bloomin' in June
Allium gigantium
What's Bloomin' in June
Fuchsia speciosa
What's Bloomin' in June
Echium wildpretii
What's Bloomin' in June
Nepeta Six Hills Giant
What's Bloomin' in June
Nepeta "Souvenir d'Andre Chaudon"
What's Bloomin' in June
Columbine
What's Bloomin' in June
Astrantia major
What's Bloomin' in June
Petunia "Pretty Much Picasso"

June 9, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #3

Vegetable Garden 2010
Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We are still on a 75 degree watch here in Seattle. Today is the current record for the latest day in the year to hit 75. The sun has partially come out but it is not going to break 75. Heck, it ain't hardly going to break 70. We'll definitely break the record.

The picture above was taken on Monday. It was another record - the wettest two-week period in the May-September season ever. We had measurable rain on 13 of the previous 14 days on Monday. It was also an 11 consecutive day rain streak tying another record. It sould be worse; Portland had over 3 inches since the beginning of June. Nearly double the average for the whole month.

But you can tell it is summer; the rain is warm. So are the nights. The garden is lovin' it. The tomatoes are blooming and the Stupice has set fruit. We continue to harvest radishes. The rain has solved the issue we have had in the past with them getting pithy. Our french breakfast radishes have been succulent and not very hot. The Sugar Sprint bush sugar snap peas have pods on them and we may be ready for a harvest soon. The beans have leaved out and the pole beans are starting to twine up. We even have a few raspberries on our new plants.

Forecast is for sun and warmth this weekend. We may finally break 75!

Vegetable Garden 2010
Tomatoes to the first rung of the cages
Vegetable Garden 2010
Our first tomato of 2010
Vegetable Garden 2010
Looking healthy
Vegetable Garden 2010
Yellow pole bean tendril
Vegetable Garden 2010
Bush beans leafing out
Vegetable Garden 2010
Raspberries
Vegetable Garden 2010
Zucchini
Vegetable Garden 2010
Sugar Sprint Sugar Snaps
Vegetable Garden 2010
IZ IN DA GARDEN - INSPECTIN TEH KATNIP

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June 15, 2010

Garden Conservancy Open Day - Garden #1

Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington

The Garden Conservancy is a wonderful organization. It was established to recognize exceptional gardens. It helps preserve selected gardens and transition them to public gardens. The Chase Garden is a local garden that is in the preservation process.

Saturday was an Open Day for the South Sound Region. Six local private gardens were open for viewing with the proceeds going to the Chase Garden Preservation. The list sounded very interesting. And the forecast was for a sunny warm day.

I made it to four of the gardens. They were all wonderful but Edgewood and Ernie and Julia Graham gardens were my favorites.

Edgewood Garden was definitely the highlight. There was a buzz about the garden since an article was published in the Pacific Magazine in the Sunday Seattle Times. I was looking forward to seeing how the owners renovated the property and took advantage of the views.

It did not disappoint. I wish I had researched more on the garden because I realize now that I missed one or two sections of the garden. It is located on 32 acres between Seattle and Tacoma. It is on a hill overlooking the Puyallup Valley with a killer view of Mount Rainier in the distance. They have created several different diverse areas of the garden.

Located near the house entrance is an extensive Asian garden. It includes a Japanese bridge, gate, wall and several statues. It is a wonderful reflective area near the entrance.

Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington

Also near the front of the house is a large pond - almost a lake. It is surrounded by lovely banks providing gorgeous vistas of the different sections of the garden. Along the banks are also several interesting art pieces.

The paths lead you to a large border area - on one side are shade borders and on the other side sun loving borders. The borders flow into the lawn where the rose garden is located. A large pergola and gazebos are located on the lawn spotlighting the climbing roses. The border is lined with roses and perennials.

Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington

Behind this area is the potager vegetable garden. I loved the fences lining the area for the climbing vines and roses and the door and arches which invited you into the garden. The beds are raised and terraced. Behind the garden, the owners were doing some creative vegetable plantings. Tomatoes and squash were planted in hay bales - the latest trend from England. There were numerous 20 gallon pots filled with potatoes. I wondered how many people the garden was feeding.

Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington

Moving on from the potager garden and back into the border garden, you come to the piece de resistance - a large open vista of Mount Rainier raising up above the Puyallup Valley. Chairs scattered in the area invited you to relax and admire the majesty of the mountains.

The garden has a wonderful website with gorgeous photographs of the sections of the garden. I totally missed several of the garden features such as the labyrinth and the well house. I hope that I will have another opportunity to explore more of this beautiful garden.

Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington
Garden Conservancy - Edgewood Gardens - Washington Day Lily

June 16, 2010

Garden Conservancy Open Day - Garden #2

Garden Conservancy Open Day

Yesterday I wrote about Edgewood Gardens which was open during the recent Garden Conservancy Open Days South Sound Garden Tour. The other garden I really enjoyed is Ernie and Julia Graham's garden in Puyallup. It is a one acre sloped garden that has been constructed with winding paths which take you to different areas and vistas of the garden. I normally don't like gardens with bits of whimsy but this garden definitely changed my mind. I loved how the garden was personalized.

The show piece of the garden is the pool terrace. It is a treasure trove of tropical plants and pots designed to handle both the poor soil and hot temperatures. The pots and plants are coordinated to the turquoise pool and patio is accented by a purple fence. I loved the golden catalpa tree that is coppiced. Early in the season the young leaves almost look tinged in purple. There is also a tall windmill palm. I saw several gunnera plants just emerging at the base. There are many colorful pots filled with topical plants such as cannas, calibrachoa, sweet potato vine and elephant ear plants. The pond area is so different from the earlier area which is filled with shade and textures. A cool seating area surrounded by maples, ferns and other woodland plants.

Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day

A pathway and arbor covered with kiwi and actinidia vines leads from the front of the garden to the gardens in the rear of the home. The pathway is lined with hostas, rogersia and other shade loving texture plants. Along the path are openings to different small gardens including a small fun pond.

These lead to Ernie's vegetable garden - the second show piece of the garden. Tomatoes, peas, potatoes and other vegetables are being grown in raised beds. I loved the twining and hoops over the tomatoes and the clever chicken wire fencing used for the peas. It is all organic and looks to be extremely productive.

Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day Garden Conservancy Open Day
Garden Conservancy Open Day

I think what I really enjoyed about the garden is how each gardener's personality showed in the different areas. There was so much to explore and discover.

June 22, 2010

Now in the garden - Golden and variegated foliage

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola’
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola’

On these dark June days, one of the "bright" spots of the garden has been the golden and variegated foliage plants. They seem to glow on the gray days bringing a lot of interesting and light to the garden. I took a photo-walk during a break in the drizzle and here are a few of the plants that caught my eye.

Pleioblastus viridistriatus
Pleioblastus viridistriatus

Brugmansia 'Miner's Claim'
Brugmansia 'Miner's Claim

Daphne x burkwoodii 'Briggs Moonlight'
Daphne x burkwoodii 'Briggs Moonlight'

Pseudolarix kaempferi
Pseudolarix kaempferi

Euphorbia longifolia
Euphorbia longifolia

Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum'
Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum'

Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'
Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit'

Cornus sericea  ‘Hedgerows Gold’
Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerows Gold’

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'
Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'
Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'

Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’
Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’

Canna 'Pretoria'
Canna 'Pretoria'

Iris pallida 'Variegata'
Iris pallida 'Variegata'

July 1, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #4

Dahlia Sunshine
Dahlia Sunshine

Here we are - the first of July. Not much has happened in the vegetable garden in the past month of June. It has been cool and gray. The flowers love it but the vegetables are just plodding along. We have harvested a couple of meals of sugar snap peas before they are wilting. The lettuce continues to produce. We had two nights of lovely composed salads similar to Nicoise salads with sugar snaps instead of green beans. It is nice to be eating a salad with lettuce from your garden.

The zucchini seems to be doing really well so far. We have a few small squashes. The beans are slowly growing. We should have lots. The tomatoes are leafing out and growing but not too many actual tomatoes setting. Our pot of Dahlia Sunshine with Melianthus major (honey bush) is going gang busters.

Also along our drive way are several Eryngium giganteum - "Miss Willmott's Ghost". I love this plant although it does seed everywhere. It is so beautiful with its spiky edges. It also makes a wonderful dried flower. I wondered who exactly was Miss Willmott. She was Ellen Ann Willmott, a gardener protege over 100 years. Unfortunately her garden, Warley Place, fell to the wayside - too early for the National Trust. We have her tenacious 'ghost' to live on. Here is a fascinating essay on her life and time - The Essay: Miss Willmott's ghost.

Miss Willmott's Ghost - Eryngium giganteum
Eryngium giganteum - "Miss Willmott's Ghost"

We started a small project in the far back by the vegetable garden. We are fortunate (and unfortunate) to border on a street storm run off wetlands. We love not having any neighbors living behind us. The birds are always in the wetlands. Unfortunately, it has also brought us horsetails - a true nemesis of the garden. Nothing kills it but sterilizing the soil which we don't want to do. We have decided to make a small patio in the area and are putting down a few pavers. Nothing fancy. We have to put them together so the horsetails don't come up between them. It will be our little retreat in the late afternoon sun.

The Patio


Building Patio

Building Patio

Building Patio

Building Patio


The Vegetables

Vegetable Garden>
The Beans

Vegetable Garden
Zucchini
Vegetable Garden
Tomatoes


Other plants

Golden Smoke Tree
Golden Smoke Tree
Melianthus major
Melianthus major

July 13, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #5

Little leaf Linden - Tilia cordata
Linden Tree blossom

I'm sitting here and the herbal smell of the Tilia tree is wafting in on the warm breeze. Tilia, also known as linden or lime tree, is one of my favorite summer trees. It always reminds me of France. Every small village always had Tilia trees in bloom in early summer. It is also a favorite tisane or herbal tea. It is a little too grassy for me but I do love the scent in soaps. I always will buy one of the French soaps Tilia scented to remind me of summer in Provence. I have a little leaved Linden in bloom at the end of my deck. It always blooms just shortly after the 4th of July.

Summer also arrived and the garden is growing by leaps and bounds. Oregon Star tomatoes are a winner again this year. They have plumped up almost over night and are way bigger than the Stupice. Our Sungold are blooming like crazy and have small toms but nothing turning orange.

The zucchini is going gangs busters. We have already had several harvests. The peas are over. They were very disappointing this year. The green beans are growing by leaps and bound. The bush haricot verts are in bloom so it won't be long now. Several harvest of radishes and lettuces and there are also carrots.

Prime time in the garden. I can't wait for the beans - my favorites.

Vegetable Garden 2010
Tomatoes

Vegetable Garden 2010
Oregon Star tomatoes

Vegetable Garden 2010
Sungold blossoms

Vegetable Garden 2010
Sungold zucchini

Vegetable Garden 2010
Our new patio in the sun

Vegetable Garden 2010
Pole beans climbing to the sun

Salvia sclarea - Clary Sage
Clary Sage blossom - I love this flower but it is a noxious weed in many locations

Smelling the wind
Smelling the summer wind

July 22, 2010

Weird carrots

Weird Carrots

We did an experiment this year. We started the carrots in seed pots and then transplanted them into the garden. We thought this would be a great way to get a head start and not have to thin the planted seeds. I wondered why no one did this. Well... now we know.

Transplanting the carrot seems to disrupt the main tap root - ie: carrot - and results in many crooked and forked roots. They are perfectly edible. A little bit of a pain to peel but made a lot of little baby-like carrots.

And they made great interesting photographs.

Weird Carrots

Weird Carrots

Weird Carrots

Weird Carrots

August 11, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #6

Vegetable Garden - August 11

I was looking over the vegetable garden posts from last year and we are almost a month behind where we were last year. By August 16th, we had enough tomatoes to can a dozen jars. This year we only have a few Stupice that has ripened. I'm really surprised that none of our Sungolds have ripened yet. They are usually the first. I think they are slightly shaded where they are next to the garage door. Amazing how just the small amount of overhang from the eves will delay them by at least a week.

The zucchini is almost finished but the cucumbers are coming on strong. We have been harvesting our Maxibel bush green beans for about 2 weeks. I love these beans. They come on first and are so tender. They are not as meaty as Blue Lake but good flavor. They do ripen all at once since they are bush beans. Our pole beans are just starting to put on fruit. The first is the golden romano beans. This is the first year that we have planted these so well see how they do. I wanted to grow Goldmarie but couldn't find any seed. We didn't have anything else to order from Territorial so we decided to try an Italian variety. The Blue Lakes are just starting to come on. We also have some yellow wax bush beans and they are just flowering. Nothing yet. We also have some blueberries and strawberries.

Vegetable Garden - August 11

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Pole Green Beans

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Maxibel bush green beans

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Yellow Romano Pole Beans

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Stupice

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Still green Oregon Star

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Still green Sungold

Vegetable Garden - August 11
Cucumbers

September 8, 2010

Vegetable Garden 2010 - #7

Fall is coming
Fall is coming!

Yes, in fact, I think it is here! The weather usually changes pretty dramatically here after Labor Day. This year it started just before. The clouds have rolled in. They days are gray and wet. The temperatures are just cracking into the 60s. And our vegetable garden is starting to close up for the season.

This has been a very very cool year. Some things did very well. We harvested the last of our lettuce just this week. This is the first year that we have been able to grow lettuce throughout the summer. Yep.. that cool. The beans did very well although the seeds are starting to plump so I may not be able to get fresh beans much longer. But I do love freshly shelled green beans.

The tomatoes have been pitiful. They produced a lot of tomatoes but not a lot are ripening. The rain is causing a few to rot and a few to drop off. G decided to go ahead and harvest all that he could. He is an anxious guy. It doesn't look like enough to really can so I may cook them up and freeze them. I did drop by a local city farm stand to see what was the price of a case of tomatoes. Not too bad. $18 for 25lbs. I may get a box and can them with what I have. Next week's forecast is for more drizzle so I don't think many more will ripen. Anybody have any good recipes for green tomatoes?

September tomatoes
Look how many are still green!

September tomatoes
Stupice was the only one to ripen but very small - at most 3 inches across

September tomatoes
Look at all that are still green!

September tomatoes
September harvest

October 4, 2010

Autumn in PowellsWood Garden

Powellswood Garden

I returned to Powellswood Garden this weekend. I visited earlier this year on Mothers Day when the garden was just waking. I had good intentions to visit again this summer but days flew by. We were in the South Sound to visit a couple of nurseries and stopped by on Sunday.

And the garden is still beautiful. The Parrotia persica at the entrance has just started to turn red. The cooler days has the Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet) in full bloom. The large leafed Petasites are just starting to show a little beating by the weather but still look good. Leaves are bronzing over but there is still a lot in bloom; Hydrangeas, Asters, Sneezeweed, abd Sedums like Autumn Joy and Frosty Morn. But we really loved the wide variety of fuchsias. The colors were stunning especially against the chartreuse of the leaves and grasses.

The weather is getting cold so hurry soon and catch its Fall glory. Don't forget to check their page on Facebook.

Powellswood Garden
Entry Garden
Powellswood Garden
Parrotia persica
Powellswood Garden
Arbor to House Gardens
Powellswood Garden
View back to Entry Garden
Powellswood Garden
Petasites lined stairway
Powellswood Garden
Border Garden
Powellswood Garden
Sneezeweed
Powellswood Garden
Brugmansia
Powellswood Garden
Hydrangea
Powellswood Garden
Sedum 'Frosty Morn'
Powellswood Garden
Fuchsias
Powellswood Garden
Fuchsias
Powellswood Garden
Fuchsias
Powellswood Garden
Fuchsias

October 21, 2010

Putting the garden to bed

October in the Front Yard
October in the front yard
It is time to put the garden to bed. We have been enjoying the last few sunny days. This October has actually been very good. We have had several days of rain and overcast but we have also had several streaks of 3 or more days of sun.

The tropical plants have appreciated the long season. Many of the salvias have bloomed accenting the garden with their hot bright colors. But the forecast is for torrential rains and wind on Sunday. It may not happen but we're preparing. Plus it could freeze at anytime. Sometimes we get a hard freeze the week before Halloween. Other years it has gone almost until Thanksgiving. But more often than not, we should get a hard freeze in the next week or so.

We have moved our potted tropicals into the garage. These are cannas, abutilon, fuchsias, brugmansias and agapanthus. We cut back the cannas, fuchsias and agapanthus but we do not cut down the brugmansias and abutilon. We move them in, strip off the leaves and keep them dry over the winter. They go into hibernation.

G is also adding more insulation to the greenhouses. He has heavy bubble wrap on the ends of the greenhouse and he wanted to add another layer. We ordered a regular shipping grade roll of 1/2" bubble. It is pretty thin but probably will help since we have another layer already on the greenhouse.

Not much left in the vegetable garden. We have moved a few pots of salvias to make a nice grouping. Otherwise we have a few carrots and some lettuce or endive. We can't figure out which one it is.

Now, we just wait for La Nina.

Hardy Bananna - Musa basjoo
Hardy Bananna - Musa basjoo

Burgundy leaves of Oak leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia
Burgundy leaves of Oak leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia

Oak leaf Hydrangea blooms
Oak leaf Hydrangea blooms

Bishop of Llandaff Dalhia
Bishop of Llandaff Dalhia

Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'
Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne'

Hedychium gardnerianum (kahili ginger)
Hedychium gardnerianum (kahili ginger)

Late blooming Salvias
Late blooming Salvias

GardenOct12
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

Salvia involucrata
Salvia involucrata

Salvia tubifera
Salvia tubifera

Full Moon Maple

Brilliant Fall colors of Full Moon Japanese Maple

October in the Backyard
October in the Backyard

Carrots
Carrots

Lettuce
Lettuce

Overwinter plants in Garage
Overwinter plants in Garage

Bubblewrap for insulation
Bubblewrap for insulation

Bubblewrap insulation in Greenhouse
Bubblewrap insulation in Greenhouse

February 26, 2011

Dreaming of Spring

Sky Nursery - Shoreline
Sky Nursery

This is the Northwest Flower Show week. Time to start thinking of Spring and our garden. We have had cold icy snowy weather this week also. But Friday dawned sunny. It was deceptive - from the house it looked warm but the minute you stepped out of the house the icy windy chilled you to the bone. Our friend J from Spokane is visiting. G and J went on Friday but I stayed home and worked.

Today it was snowy but that didn't stop us. It was time to go nursery shopping. We headed north first to My Garden Nursery in Mill Creek. G used to work there over 30 years ago when it was Wileywood Nursery. We loved the bright displays with the wonderful garden statues and cheerful colors. Next up Sky Nursery where G works. They were busy in the new greenhouses. They were full of colorful potted bulbs, wonderful winter garden plants such as hellebore and sarcococca. I went out to check out the nursery which was full of still-asleep roses waiting to go to new homes. Last up was Swansons where we met up with J's sister for an excellent lunch in the greenhouse cafe.

We shopped the seeds, early vegetables and lovely potted plants and dreamed of Spring. It will be here soon.

PNW Flower Show 2011
Alice in Wonderland display at PNW Flower Show

PNW Flower Show 2011
Weird display with a high heel

My Garden - Mill Creek
Colorful Primrose display at My Garden Nursery

My Garden - Mill Creek
Love the Chartreuse Green chairs - My Garden Nursery

My Garden - Mill Creek
Fun and whimsical statues - love the fat squirrels - My Garden Nursery

Sky Nursery - Shoreline
Lovely spring bulbs - soon to be in bloom - Sky Nursery

Sky Nursery - Shoreline
Hellebores on display - Sky Nursery

NurseryHopping-022
Hellebore

Sky Nursery - Shoreline
Roses waiting under a light blanket of snow - Sky Nursery

Sky Nursery - Shoreline
Love the lavender - Sky Nursery


May 7, 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011 - #1

Garden 2011

God this has been a terrible April. It has been cold with several days of snow and hail. We did not even have one day above 60 degrees until almost the end of April. But it was a tease. It turned around and went back to the rain and col. We even broke a record for the coldest April. May isn't turning out to be any better. We had a nice day on Sunday but like before Monday was windy cold and rainy. I am craving heat and sun.

Everything is behind about 3 weeks this year. The tulips are still in bloom in the Skagit Valley. They are usually finishing up by the end of April. The cherries are still in bloom and many of the trees have not yet leafed out. And our vegetable garden is behind by almost three weeks.

We created a new bed for our peas this year hoping to avoid the problems we have had the past two years. We planted the peas mid-March but they didn't even germinate for three weeks. They were tiny two inch plants until just this week and a few of them are starting to grow.

We got brave and put the lettuce out this week. The tomatoes are coming along fine in the greenhouse but we don't expect to put them out for at least three more weeks. Sigh... who knows if anything will even ripen.

There has been lots of talk about how our springs are getting colder. It turns out that it is actually a cycle and we are going back into a pattern of cold Springs similar to 1960-1970s. Bah.... I can't believe I'm actually wishing it was like the '80s!

The one bright surprise was the lovely blue mecenopsis poppy that is blooming behind the greenhouse. We got it last year at Lakewold Garden. Unfortunately it is a biennial so it will probably bloom and die. But such a beauty.

Vegetable starts on April 23rd

Garden 2011
Lettuce and Rainbow Chard

Garden 2011
Tomatoes moving up to 4" pots

Garden 2011
Peas waiting for the heat

Garden Beds and plants - May 7th

Garden 2011
Lettuce planted

Garden 2011
Peas finally starting to grow now that the nights are above 40 degrees

Garden 2011
Tomatoes coming along in the greenhouse

Garden 2011
Everything else waiting

Blue Poppy

Garden 2011

Lovely sky blue in color

Garden 2011
It really is that color!


Previous Year Gardening posts:

Vegetable Garden 2009 - #1 May 7, 2009 (look at those tomatoes!)
Vegetable Garden 2010 - #1 April 17, 2010 (Even ahead of this year!)

June 9, 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011 - #2

Vegetable Garden 2011

I feel like I'm in a time warp. Or maybe like the movie "Groundhog Day". You know.. the one where you wake up and it is the same as the previous day. It has been like that all Spring. You wake up and it is still gray, cold and drizzly. You know it is bad when it is mid June and you can count the days that have gotten over 70 on one hand.

I didn't realize how bad it was until I've started comparing garden pictures from the previous years. We are 4 weeks behind 2009 and 2010. Take a look at these pictures:

Vegetable Garden 2010 #2 - May 16, 2010
Vegetable Garden 2009 #2 - May 18, 2009

I think we're just about the same stage as we were mid-May the previous years. Here is where the garden should be.

Vegetable Garden 2010 #3 - June 9, 2010
Vegetable Garden 2009 #3 - June 5, 2009

G did plant the beans out this week and we may be able to harvest some lettuce soon. But if we continue this cold, it will be a poor year for a tomato harvest.

Here's where we are this week.

Vegetable Garden 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011


June 10, 2011

Study in Green

The vegetables may not like the cool damp weather but leafy perennials sure do. I was amazed at the shapes and colors of the various green perennials on my walk around the garden this week.

From the dry shade garden:

Hosta Great Expectations
Hosta Great Expectations - it is a bit fussy and hasn't grown a lot

Hosta Patriot
Hosta Patriot - I love how the white edges brighten the shade

Hosta Sum and Substance
Hosta Sum and Substance - this one is huge. I'd hate to see how big it would get if we fertilized it. Hosta love fertilizer

Hosta Sum and Substance
Here is the whole plant

Salomon Seal - Polygonatum biflorum
Salomon Seal - It doesn't run much in our dry garden but it can be invasive

Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'
Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona' - I love the leaves of this plant although it does like a bit more water than the hostas

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis
Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis - the white flowers come up in the spring before the leaves but I find the shape of the leaves just as interesting as the blooms

From the sunny dry front garden


Eryngium giganteum, Miss Wilmot's Ghost
Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Wilmots Ghost' - now this can definitely be a pest. It seeds like crazy but fortunately, very easy to weed out.

Golden Spirit Smoke Tree
Golden Spirit Smoke Tree - it would probably appreciate a bit more shade

Gunnera tinctoria
Gunnera tinctoria - sometimes called Dinosaur food or Giant Rhubarb. A native of Chile that is a favorite of the tropical garden look. We finally figured how to mulch it to make it through the winter. It does prefer lots of water also.

June 25, 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011 - #3

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25

The weather continues to be mostly gray and overcast. It has been frustrating this year because we'll have a gorgeous warm day and then the next day will be back to gray and rain. We have had a couple of nights down into the 40's but it has started to stay above 50 degrees at night. And it has done the trick. The Stupice tomatoes have already set fruit!

The lettuce and chard are doing very well and the peas are finally coming along. Surprisingly the beans are already starting to twine up. We may actually have a compressed season with a few summer items at the same time as early cool spring vegetables.

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
This lettuce needs harvesting

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
Beans starting to climb

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
Peas getting tall but no pods yet

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
Apples have set

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
Stupice tomatoes

Vegetable Garden 2011 - June 25
Tomatoes are coming along fine


June 26, 2011

Study in Yellow

Echeveria
Echeveria

This week - yellow is the predominant color in the garden. Lots of different shapes and textures in bloom.

Halimium lasianthum
Halimium lasianthum

Phlomis fruticosa - Jersalem Sage
Phlomis fruticosa

Phlomis chrysophylla
Phlomis chrysophylla
Cytisus battandieri - Pineapple Broom
Cytisus battandieri

Aconitum vulparia - Yellow Monkshood
Aconitum vulparia

Abutilon 'Canary Bird'
Abutilon 'Canary Bird'

Zinnia
Zinnia

And a little deviation - yellow bee

Bee on Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'

July 30, 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011 - #4

Vegetable Garden - End of July

I has been a month since I updated what is happenin' in the vegetable garden. It is very interesting to see how the vegetables are reacting to the weather. We have had a lot more gray days but the night temps have been above 50 degrees.

The tomatoes have been marching right along and our cool weather hybrids have paid off. We already have a couple of ripe tomatoes from the Stupice. It actually beat out the sun gold for ripening. They continue to put on more fruit and a couple of nice warm days may push more to the ripen. But the majority of the crop will be late as expected.

We moved the zucchini out front to get more heat and they have started producing like gang busters. I cut three off today and there are a couple more that could have come off. We can't turn our backs on them now or else we'll have zucchinis the size of baseball bats.

The peas in our new bed have done extremely well even with the late start. It is pretty strange to have tomatoes and zucchinis ripening at the same time as the peas. If it stays cool which it probably will we should have the peas for another good week or two.

The Swiss Chard has done really well. No leaf miners and the four plants have taken over the bed. I've given up trying to keep up but happy with the crop.

We've harvested one crop of lettuce and we have two more in. We'll see how they do. We lost one batch of starts so we weren't able to keep them coming.

The beans are way behind. We had a couple of sets that didn't germinate and we finally have them coming up. The bush beans are starting to flower. I'm disappointed that we didn't have any Maxibel left and we didn't want to order any. G was able to get a similar variety called Nickels which we have grown in the past. We'll see how they do. The two romano beans are climbing well and starting to blossom. I'm really surprised that the Blue Lakes are taking so long to get going. They are still pretty sparse on the trellis.

We also have beets and carrots coming along. The garden is ready for the dog days of summer.



Vegetable Garden - End of July
Tomatoes coming along fine

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Zucchini blossoms

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Bean Trellises - notice they are kinda sparse

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Blossoms on Nickels Bush Beans

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Bumper crop of Sugar Snap Peas

Vegetable Garden - End of July
These went into a Pesto Pasta Salad today

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Beets and Carrots

Vegetable Garden - End of July
The Chard that ate the garden.


February 20, 2012

February signs of Spring

Primrose
Cheerful Primroses

Do I dare talk about Spring again? I asked if it was going to be an early Spring and what happened - we got 8 inches of snow the next week! I’m hesitant but I going to be brave and write the ‘S’ word again.

I have been watching the early bloomers in the garden; the snowdrops, cyclamen and crocus. The snowdrops and cyclamen are right on schedule but the crocuses seem a little behind. Maybe it is because we have not had a sunny day in a couple of weeks. But they are budded and there is promise.

We visited our first nursery at the end of January. Bouquet Banque specializes in cyclamens and had their once a year open house at the end of January. We loved talking with the owners who were very passionate about cyclamens. We have been curious and intrigued with the plants after our trip to Turkey last fall. We only saw one or two of the fall blooming species but were curious to see more. We loved the variety of colors and shapes on the leaves. We purchased a lovely Cyclamen coum with silvery leaves and a dark green Christmas tree pattern on the leaf. G planted it within view of our kitchen window to brighten up the dreary February days.

I also love snowdrops. We had a nice group way in the back of our yard and we moved them to the front. Unfortunately, we planted them too deep and only a few have come back. We found a few more from the far reaches of the garden and moved them into the bed close to the kitchen. We definitely need to get some more varieties and plants.

I did a walkabout in the garden today to see what else is waking up. The crocuses are in bud which has just happened this past week. It will not be long now until they open. The hellebore plants are budded. One or two primroses left over from last year are in bloom and the daffodils are budded. It will be another month until the daffodils open.

G has also been busy in the garden today. He pruned our rose and did some weeding. General cleanup on this cold February day But it won’t be long until we start our vegetable seeds. Come on Spring.

Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen coum - common variety with green leaves

Cyclamen Coum
Cyclamen coum - from Bouquet Banque - a seed variety with silver leaves and dark 'Christmas tree' centers - from the 1988 Cyclamen Society expedition to Turkey

Common Snowdrops - Galanthus nivalis
Common Snowdrops

Helleborus argutifolius buds
Buds of Corsican hellebore - Helleborus argutifolius

Crocus
Crocus

Crocus
Crocus

March 18, 2012

Vegetable starts 2012

Vegetable Starts 2012

Well, it is time to start our seeds for our vegetable garden. We took a look at what we had left in our seed storage and what items to tempt us from the Territorial Seed catalog. I really wanted to grow Maxibel green beans again. Nickels that we raised last year was okay but not as great as Maxibel. I also wanted to grow some yellow broad (aka Romano) beans that we grew about 10 years ago called Goldmarie. G was able to special order the seed at Sky Garden Center and save a little by not paying shipping. I'm so excited to be growing Maxibel again.

It feels a little late but I think we are right on track. We started our seeds last weekend on March 11st. Most of them have already sprouted. We planted two varieties of lettuce; Nevada and Red Sunset Lettuce. They are a little slow coming up since the seed is pretty old but as long as we get a couple to sprout we will have enough. For tomatoes, we are only doing 4 varieties this year; Gills, Oregon Star, Stupice and Taxi. We have a 6 plants of Sugar Snap Peas and a dozen Sweet Peas for flowers. The tomatoes and peas are germinating.

G is so meticulous when starting his seeds. He pours them out onto a folded piece of paper and carefully places the seeds with tweezers on the pots. A little extra care - results in a good crop.

Vegetable Starts 2012

Vegetable Starts 2012

Vegetable Starts 2012

Vegetable Starts 2012



April 2, 2012

The peas are planted

Sugar Snap Pea seedlines

What a wet March. But it was a beautiful start to April today. Warm. Sixty degrees. Sun. G got a chance to mow the lawn for the first time this year. He also planted out our pea starts. Sugar Snaps for eating. And sweet peas for cutting.

March 14, 2013

Sowing Seeds for 2013 Vegetable Garden

Sowing Seeds

It is time to start a vegetable garden. G wanted to take last year off so we only planted a few peas and tomatoes. But after a year off, he is back enthusiastic about the vegetables.

He started some seeds yesterday. First up are Super Sugar Snap Peas, a couple of plants of Lettuce and a couple of plants of Swiss Chard. For lettuce, we are doing our old reliable varieties; Nevada - a green leaf variety that is slow to bolt with huge heads and Sunset, a red left variety that is also a good producer. For Swiss Chard, it is Bright Lights.

The pea trellises went up today also. We usually do not put the tomatoes out until after Memorial Day so we'll start those later. I'm not certain what varieties are on tap for this year. There will also be the usual selection of bush and poll green beans, zucchini, a pepper, beets and carrots.

I'm hoping for a good spring although the forecast is for another cool gray long spring.

Sowing Seeds
If you are wondering what is in the background - they are lithops also known as living stones

March 27, 2013

Vegetable Garden Update

Peas are up

Peas are up! So is the swiss chard. Lettuce is a little slow yet. Tomatoes seeds are planted Peas will be going outside soon.

We are growing potatoes this year. It is the first time in many many years. I wanted to give them a try and G had some extra pots. We are growing three varieties; yukon gold (early), Satina - another yellow fleshed potato that is supposed to be mid-season, and Carmine which is a later red. We'll see how they do.

Tomatoes have been seeded. This year we are growing Stupice, Sungold cherry, Taxi, Oregon Star, Siletz and trying Early Girl for a change. We also seeded some lacinato kale. And we did a new herb pot. Costco has a great deal on large plastic pots. Our previous terra cotta pot has chipped up by the cold winter and the thyme is real ratty. So out it went and we bought all new.

Herb Pot
Herb Pot

Potato pots
Potatoes

Muscari
Muscari

Musa basjoo
Our banana - Musa basjoo - which is hardy did really well this winter. Also note we cut down a huge evergreen Magnolia behind the house. It was shading our backyard too much. You'll see it above the chimney in the next picture.

Front yard in summer
The banana in full glory. The magnolia had gotten huge behind the house. It was about 20 years old. It was sad to see it go but it was for the best.

Sanguinaria canadensis
Blood root - Sanguinaria canadensis


April 2, 2013

Vegetable Garden 2013 - Update 2

Spring Sun

What a gorgeous end to the month of March! And so different from the endless wet gray days. The sun arrived and brought warmth - up to mid-60's. I hope that way do not have to pay for this gorgeous week.

We got a little gardening done. The Nevada lettuce has not sprouted. The seed is several years old and may not be viable. So we bought a pack of lettuce starts - $3.00 for 6 large healthy looking green leaf lettuce. That will get a jump start. A few of the red leaf sprouted so we will have a bit more to plant later.

The sugar snap peas are in the ground and already twinning their way up the string. No sign of activity in the potato bins. The greenhouse has several spots of color from our South African bulbs. I love to see them because they remind me of walking the fields in Nieuwoudtville.

Here's this week's activity.

Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar Snap Peas on the rise

Green Leaf Lettuce
Healthy looking green leaf lettuce starts

Planting Lettuce

Hesperantha vaginata
Hesperantha vaginata

Gladiolus tenellus
Gladiolus tenellus
paraxis tricolor
Sparaxis tricolor
Goodbye Linden
Goodbye to our Linden tree

Former Magnolia Tree
The former Magnolia tree

April 26, 2013

Late April in the Garden

Euphorbias along the driveway
Euphorbias along our driveway

Seattle residents fuss over the weather. In the early 90's, we had rather predictable Spring weather. You knew when to plant and what to expect. But recently, you really have not known what to expect each winter and spring. In the past five years, we have had three rather cool, gray, late springs. This year seems to be back to normal. We have already had one or two days get to 70 degrees. Two years ago, it did not get to 70 until late May. There have been more sunny days. I am starting to not wear sweatshirts everyday. Live is good.

And the garden is doing well. The lettuce is hanging in. We had to buy another pack of lettuce because our old seed did not germinate. I scored a bargain by finding a pack of "Nevada" lettuce for 79 cents. It is what we usual grow since it is slow to bolt. Tomatoes are coming along. The potatoes are interesting. The Yukon Gold which were supposed to be early have yet to show any leaves. We dug around and they are there but just not up yet. Carmine, the late red, is showing some plants but the Satina is going gang busters. It is a mid season yellow.

Lots is also blooming in the garden. The winter was also not as cold so many of the less hardy perennials are starting to leaf. Matilija poppy has run and spread around the bed and the stalks from last year have started to leaf out. Our Basjoo Banana did not need to be cut back to the ground and is starting to leaf out. A few items still are tender such as our Chilean Firebush. It is going to have one bloom. Our Echium wildpretti is also doing something strange.

Here are some pictures of the garden taken at the end of April.

First up - our vegetable garden

Leaf Lettuce

Satina Potatoes


Sugar Snap PeasTomato seedings


Next views in the backyard

Shade bed

Rhododendron edgeworthii

Michelia platypetala

Michelia platypetalaHosta Great Expectations
Arisaema griffithiiArisaema ringens


The Front Yard

Front yard

Side bed

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'

Columnar appleApple blossom

April 28, 2013

Bellevue Botanical Garden

We have a wonderful botanical garden here in Seattle. It is located in Bellevue and it is managed by the Northwest Perennial Alliance. They have recently (past couple of years) redone the perennial border. I have to admit - I had a lot of concern when I first heard that they were going to redo the beds. I loved the old apple trees and the meandering trail through the lush plantings. But I have to admit - after a couple of years - I am stating to love the new plantings. There are some very interesting plants and some good color swatches. The steps and paths allow for more discovery of unusual plants. We have made two trips this year to watch the progression. Nice job!. Here is what we saw on our most recent visit mid-April. (check this post see the beds before the change in 2007).

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical GardenBellevue Botanical Garden
Bellevue Botanical GardenBellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden


May 18, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 4

Meconopsis 'Lingholm'
Meconopsis 'Lingholm'

Things are coming along very well in the garden. The main flower garden starts its spring glory right around Mother's Day on into the first week of June. Everything is right on time this year. I don't see much from last year in my archives but I found 2011. Everything was late. This post from June 9th 2011 - and our garden is already where it was after the first week in June in 2011. This bods well for tomatoes.

Here are some shots of today's garden.

In the Veggie garden

The first crop of lettuce is coming along well - as are the peas, chard and kale. The red potatoes are going gang busters and the yukon golds are finally - finally coming along.

Lettuce
We'll harvest a head or two this week or next.

potatoes

Peas, chard and kale



The tomatoes are still in the greenhouse. We have repotted them a couple of times and they are in gallon pots. They are about a foot high and some have blossoms ready to open. We'll probably wait another week (Memorial Day) to plant outside.

Tomatoes

Tomato blossom

Chives
Chive blossoms

We also started our 'warm' vegetables on May 9th. The beans, squash and cucumber have sprouted. Corn - a new entry in our garden - has yet to sprout.

Green Beans sprouting

Elsewhere in the garden - I'm waiting for our peonies to open. The side bed and banana are looking great. A few special blooms - the Mecenopsis is in bloom as is the Ixia in the greenhouse. The front porch with the tropics looks great. The Chilean Fire Bush made it through the winter but only has one blossom. Let's hope it gains some strenght.

Magnolia sieboldii
Magnolia seiboldii

Ornithogalum nutans
Ornithogalum nutans

Side garden
The side bed is leafing out nicely with lots of different colors and textures.

Hosta "Patriot"
Hosta "Patriot"

Musa basjoo - hardy banana
Hardy Banana

Embothrium coccineum
Embotrium coccineum

Tropical front porch
Tender tropics such as Protea Safari Sunset and Crinodendron hookerianum

Latest pot design
Latest container garden

And two unusual blooms in the greenhouse

Ixia viridiflora
Ixia virdiflora from South Africa

Aristolochia sempervirens
Aristolochia semprevirens

Our Echium wildpretii is blooming but did not develop a spike like last year. We don't think it was broken. We didn't think it was going to bloom but it just started these short spikes.

echium wildpretii

But compare it with last year mid-May - It got above the roof!

Echium wildpretii 2012

May 19, 2013

Construction at Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Seattle is a riot of color. The Spring weather has been typical, a little rain, a little sun but overall not too cold. But the biggest difference was the mild winter. Everything is in full bloom without any winter damage. The Rhodies are the best that I've seen in a couple of years.

We spent Sunday visiting gardens. We had not yet been to Lakewold Gardens this year. Lakewold is our favorite garden estate in the region. We might be a little late for the rhododendrons but we could catch the Chilean Fire Bush in full bloom. The irises were blooming in the neighborhood so we wanted to stop at the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden to hopefully catch the bearded irises in bloom. The King County Iris Society has a nice display bed. And we wanted to return to Bellevue Botanical Garden to see what it looked like a month after our last visit.

I'm going to start with the last garden - Bellevue Botanical Garden. Wow - were we in for a surprise! Our last visit was about a month ago. The garden was filled with early spring flowering trees and bulbs. We had noticed something was changing in the entry bed but we had no idea the extent of the change.

We drove up Main Street and were shocked when we saw the cyclone fence, the backhoes and stacked logs of fallen trees. The entrance and area next to the rock garden is now fully under construction. And so is the parking lot. The signs directed us back to Wilberton Hill Playfield and the back entrance to the Yeo Garden.

We reviewed the information sign in the lot. They are constructing a new Visitor and Educational Center along with redoing the parking. It is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The garden is open and still beautiful so do visit.

But we were still surprised. We were a little sad to see the Davidia tree at the entrance was gone and we suspect the great Stachyurus praecox in the parking lot may also be gone. But what is a garden without change! We look forward to watching the completed garden grow.

Here are some shots of the construction areas.


Bellevue Botanical Garden
View from the Alpine Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden
The old entrance area. The Sharp Cabin will be moving

Bellevue Botanical Garden
We think the Sharp Cabin will be moving to this area

And now for some flowers - Lots of beautiful color especially alliums and irises

Bellevue Botanical Garden
Waterwise Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Bellevue Botanical Garden


May 25, 2013

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

The Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is a little sleeper of a garden. It is located just under the take-off path north of SeaTac airport. The highlight of the garden is the Elda Belm's Paradise Garden. This is a re-creation of her garden which was condemmed in 1997 to make way for the third runway at SeaTac. Thousands of her plants were relocated in 2000-2001.

It is also the site of the King County Iris Society beds. We visited on May 19th mainly to see the irises but also to enjoy the spring blooms in Elda Belm's garden.

We missed the miniture iris but the large bearded irises were in full bloom as were many rhododendrons. It is worth a quick visit if you are in the South Seattle area.

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical GardenHighline SeaTac Botanical Garden
Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

May 26, 2013

Lakewold Garden

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold is our favorite garden in the region. It is wonderful early in Spring but a visit around Mother's Day is also a time for many surprises. We were hunting for the Embothrium coccineum and we were not disappointed. The unfurling ferns were a delight but the best discovery of the day was a gorgeous lady slipper orchid. We visited last weekend on May 19th.

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens

Lakewold Gardens


June 7, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 5

End of May

I'm a little behind. We have been having wonderful weather and I have been busy at work. This update is actually from last Sunday.

The vegetable garden is doing very well this year. We have harvested 2 heads lettuce - in fact - it has been a week of salad at our house. And lots more to come on. The Swiss Chard and Kale are also ready.

G planted the corn, the squash and the beans. We did not get good germination on our Goldmarie broad beans so he is seeding them direct. He is seeding some more carrots and beets. The tomatoes were also moved out to the front years just after Memorial Day. I actually found a little tomato on our Stupice.

In the flower beds, the iris, alliums, peonies are in bloom. Everything has leafed out and the tender plants have been brought out of the cold greenhouse and planted for the season.

We also visited two gardens on Kitsap Peninsula on Sunday - Celestial Dream Gardens in Kingston and Far Reaches Farm. We really enjoyed talking with the owners of Celestial Dream Gardens and walking around their property. They have a great selection of interesting plants for a warm sunny location. We discussed the challenges of growing borderline plants in the region. Far Reaches is amazing. They have the most wonderful shade garden with lots of exotic plants that they have collected on plant trips especially in Asia. We picked up several plants at both locations mainly for shade. G wants to plant a dark shade area under the trees. More later in the season.

End of May
Lettuce ready to harvest

End of May
Green beans planted

End of May

End of May
We're trying corn again - last time years ago, the racoons ate it. But we haven't seen any racoons recently so we have our fingers crossed.

End of May
Beds are looking good

End of May
Tomatoes are out!

End of May
First tomato - a Stupice

End of May
Eryngium agavifolium and Euphorbia wallichii

End of May
Iris pallida 'Variegata' - These bloom for such a long time and have a lovely scent

End of May
Echium pininan - we got a bunch of these from our friends at Langley Garden and we're trying them outside - this is near the deck - it may be too shaded

End of May
The shade area that will be planted - Hosta "Sum and Substance", Epimedium, and Weigela

End of May
We'll be planting this area soon

End of May
Another shade area on the east side of the house - Dicentra spectabilis Gold Heart which is greening up in the shade, Fothergilla "Blue Mist", Aconitum ‘Stainless Steel’, Astrantia "Hadspen Blood' and Rhododendron sinogrande in the back.

End of May
Our new grill and bistro set - the deck may be another project.

End of May
Neo out on his leash.


June 23, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 6

Garden


I'm behind a week again. I have just gotten around to uploading some pictures of the garden from last Sunday -16th of June. This is a great year for the garden. June has been warm and sunny many days. But it is dry. We just got rain this week but still not enough so G has been busy watering every day. One day he will learn and install drip.

We have continued to eat salads during the week. It is warm enough that we are enjoying them. I usually have a protein in the salad to make it a complete meal - Nicoise salad with Tuna, Mexican Shrimp salad with a tangy cilantro dressing, warm goat cheese in panko crumbs. This week I got some large beets that I've roasted and plan to have with some blue cheese.

Here's some pictures of the veggies:


Garden
Lettuce

Garden
The radishes are great this year - not woody and very spicy

Garden
Maybe the corn will be knee high by 4th of July and we'll get a crop

Garden
Yes! we have tomatoes

Garden
Snap Peas

The flower beds are doing well also. The spring blooms are just finishing and summer flowers are coming on.

Garden
Mary, a David Austin hybrid, has done wonderful this year.

Garden
Martagon lily - I couldn't resist this at the flower show.

Garden
Phlomis fruticosa

Garden
Euphorbia longifolia

Garden
Exotic foliage of Arisaema taiwanense

Garden
Eryngium giganteum
'Miss Willmott's Ghost'

Garden
Carpenteria californica

Garden
Salvia 'Hot Lips'

Garden
Echium wildpretii flower

Garden
Phlomis tuberosa

Astrantia "Hadspen Blood"
Astrantia "Hadspen Blood"

Garden
Epipactis gigantea

Brugmansia sanguinea
Brugmansia sanguinea


July 20, 2013

Garden - Study in Red

Garden in Red - Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Summer is in full swing and the garden is really blooming. Right now the dominant color is mostly red - along with the the shades of pink and orange. Here is a bit of what is blooming right now in the garden.

Garden in Red - Salvia involucrata
Salvia involucrata

Garden in Red - Dahlia 'Sunshine
Dahlia 'Sunshine'

Garden in Red - Rudbeckia
Rudbeckia

Garden in Red - Tigridia pavonia
Tigridia pavonia

Garden in Red - Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'
Bishop of Llandaff

Garden in Red -  Hydrangea serrata 'Kiyosumi'
Hydrangea serrata 'Kiyosumi'

Garden in Red - Phygelius × rectus 'Salmon Leap'
Phygelius 'Salmon Leap'

Garden in Red - Begonia boliviensis
Begonia boliviensis

Garden in Red - Salvia 'John Whittlesey'
Salvia 'John Whittlesey'

Garden in Red - Asarina
Asarina

Garden in Red - Scarlet Runner Beans
Scarlet Runner Bean Flowers

Garden in Red - Sweet Peas
Sweet Peas

July 21, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 7

Vegetable
Tomatoes new home

The vegetable garden is doing great. This is an amazing summer. Very little rain in the past 3 weeks and lots of sun. It has not been too hot - the nights are a little mild so that is probably why we only have two ripe stupice tomatoes. But we have been eating lots of zucchini, our first cucumber. lots of peas, lots of lettuce and soon green beans.

We did have to move the tomatoes and peppers to the backyard. We are going to have our house re-roofed and G wanted to move them before they got too big. Hopefully everything will ripen as well.

Vegetable
Doesn't it look so different from 7 weeks ago at the beginning of June?

End of May

Vegetable
Corn looking good

Vegetable
Romano beans coming along great

Vegetable

Vegetable
Look at those tomatoes!

August 3, 2013

Basjoo Banana in Seattle

Musa basjoo
Musa basjoo bloom on July 6, 2013

We have been very proud of our Basjoo Banana this year. It has actually bloomed for us. Basjoo Banana - botanical name Musa basjoo is also known as Japanese banana or fiber banana. It is one of most hardy bananas. It is a native of Ryukuy islands of Japan of which the largest island in the chain is Okinawa. Although this chain of islands is at a latitude father south of Seattle (26 degrees north versus 47 degrees north), it is hardy down to -10 degrees. Did you know that the banana's botanical family - Musa - honors Antonia Musa, Roman physican of the 1st century B.C?

Basjoo Banana 2007
Taken May 2007 - that's them on the far right

I don't remember when we first planted the banana. I looked over my pictures and came across this picture above from June 2007. The banana had already started to send up several 'pups' so I think we had planted it either in 2005 or 2006.

Typically in the years from 2007, it has died to the ground and sent up several new pups. It would grow to at least 10 feet or more (the height of our roof) by September every year. But it has never bloomed - until this year.

Last winter was very mild. The stalk which is basically a coiled group of leaves did not die or crumple over the winter. When G checked it this spring - he saw a green sprout. So he just left stalks instead of cutting it to see what it would do.

June and July have been very warm and it has grown to way above the roof. It was around the 4th of July that I noticed the flower. Two stalks have blooms and produced bananas. They are not edible. In fact from the pictures on the web, it looks like they will produce large seeds instead of the small almost invisible seeds in commercial bananas.

The bees and flies love the blooms. There is quite a bit of activity in the area. The flowers have slight tropical scent. It has been over a month since I first noticed the flower and it continues to bloom. The flower bracts each unfurl somewhat like an artichoke with a row of flowers at the base. These become a bunch of bananas.

We continue to water it well and wait to see what happens. How exciting to have it blooming in our garden.

Basjoo Banana June 2009
June 2009 Look at all the pups

Basjoo Banana Fall 2012
September 2012 - The usual height by September

Front yard
This is what they looked like this spring - April 28th 2013

Musa basjoo
Just after I noticed the bloom - July 7th 2013

Musa basjoo blooms

Musa basjoo blooms
Two stalks blooming

Musa basjoo flowers
Close up of the flower

Musa basjoo fruit
A row of immature fruit


August 6, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 8

Vegetable Garden 2013

Zucchini anyone?

Yep we have an abundant crop. We planted 3 plants of parthenocarpic (self pollinating) and we've been trying to harvest them soon. You can not turn your back on these guys else they just fatten up.

We are harvesting a lot of beans - both yellow romanos and bush. The beets and carrots are ready but I'll leave them. The second crop of radishes failed - they became woody probably because we didn't give them enough water or it has been too warm.

The corn is doing great. I am a little worried that we'll have some type of critter that will show up just before it is time to harvest. The birds have started attacking the tomatoes. We have some great large tomatoes ripening and I think it is the Blue Jays that peck at them. The blue jays loved the plums we had in a box last year. Hopefully they tried them and found them not to their liking.

It will be a great August.

Vegetable Garden 2013

Vegetable Garden 2013

Vegetable Garden 2013

Vegetable Garden 2013

Vegetable Garden 2013


August 25, 2013

Garden 2013 Update 9

Rudbeckias still going strong

This has been a warm dry year. Everything has done well... if it has gotten water. We just can not keep up watering especially since we do not have anything on drip. G spends about 2-3 hours watering almost everyday. The vegetables definitely are getting watered everyday. They seem to be drying out fast in the pots. Some of the areas look absolutely horrible. But the fall bloomers are starting to come on strong especially the Salvias. We still have a lot of Salvias from when G sold at the local plant sales as 'Smartyplants'.

We have been harvesting lots of tomatoes. I canned my first batch today. The zucchini is starting to finish. We have harvested the potatoes. The two yellow ones - yukon gold and satina did well. Carmine the red variety - so-so. But not too bad for first time and a 20 gallon pot. We are a little disappointed with the green beans. I think it got too hot. The bush beans were great. The Goldmarie Romanos - some good some tough. But the Blue Lake pole beans - another year of tough tough beans. Maybe now that it is a little cooler they will be better. We haven't had gone pole beans in 3 years.

Here's a few photos of around the yard,

Vegetable Garden in late August
Zucchini is finally starting to finish

Kale
Kale

Oregon Star
Some huge tomatoes on the Oregon Star

Gypsy Pepper
The peppers have done extremely well - these are Gypsy peppers

Yukon Gold potato harvest
Yukon Gold potatoes

Harvest of Siletz tomatoes
Nice harvest of Siletz tomatoes

The Salvias
Salvia dombeyi
Salvia dombeyi

Salvia 'John Whittlesey'
Salvia 'John Whittlesey'

Unknown Salvia from Szechuan China
Salvia - unknown species from Szechuan China

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

Salvia fulgens
Salvia fulgens



Crocosmia Solfatare and Severn Seas
Crocosmia Solfatare and Severn Seas

Crocosmia Solfatare
Crocosmia Solfatare

Crocosmia 'Severn Seas'
Crocosmia Severn Seas

Tired dried up front area
The horrible dry front area - it faces south and gets really hot.

Cotinus golden spirit and Cortaderia richardii
Cotinus 'Golden Spirit' and Cordaderia richardii - they take the heat a bit better but look how washed out the yellow smoke tree is.

Painting
Our never ending summer project - painting


November 17, 2013

Waiting for the Frost

Fall 2013

We are in that holding waiting pattern - waiting for the first serious freeze. It can come any time from mid-October. One year just before Halloween, we had several hard freezes. The salvia bed in the picture above looked like someone had taken a blow torch to it.

The freeze has come later and later the last couple of years. Here it is the 17th of November and we still have several Salvias blooming. It is interesting to see what bows out for the season and what stays around. One of our favorites is Phyllis Fancy Salvia. It is about 3-4 feet high and 6 or more feet wide. It doesn't start to bloom until September and really comes on strong as it cools down. It is very similar to 'Waverly' but we have repeated lost 'Waverly'.

We also wait and hope for some of the other late bloomers. We had high hopes that we might get our Salvia madrensis to bloom. We have it sheltered on the porch and it is in bud but I just don't think it will open before the freeze.

The tender perennials - brugmansias, Tibouchina, Michaelia, cannas - are already in the garage. G took cuting of some of the tender salvias and the others he has dug up. The bird feeders are out and we are ready for the frost.

Overall, it has been a pretty good year. We need to do some serious work on irrigation next year. It takes too much time to water. We will probably lay down soaker hoses again and maybe look at doing some drip.

Salvia Phyllis Fancy
Phyllis Fancy Salvia

Salvia Phyllis Fancy
Phyllis Fancy's bloom

Fall 2013
Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus' - this was looking wonderful a week or so ago. It was golden in color.

Fall 2013

Melianthus majorm Pseudocydonia sinensis (False Quince) in red, Miscanthus grass, Zauschneria and Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

Fall 2013
Bajoo Banana and Hydrangea quercifolia

Fall 2013
The dogwood 'Hedgerow Gold' no longer has any leaves. A mixture of textures below.

Gunnera manicata
Gunnera manicata

Yucca
Our Yucca bloom late in the year

Fall 2013
A fun pot combo - Black mondo grass and a varigated geranium

Hot Lips Salvia
Salvia 'Hot Lips' still blooming close to the house.

Fall 2013
Looking out our front porch - Arbutus unedo is in bloom and fruiting.

Fall 2013
Arbutus unedo fruit - no wonder it is called the 'Strawberry tree'

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

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


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


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


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