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A slave to the Goddess Flora shares his garden adventures.
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    In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click on the link to see what she and other participating bloggers have gathered from their gardens or foraged nearby to plop in a vase and bring inside to brighten their week. 

    On Sunday, there were a few breaks in the rain although the wind continued to make the bamboo writhe and the windows rattle.  As I see images of gardens covered in ice and snow in other parts of the world, I feel fortunate to live in a climate that permits there to be something in bloom in my garden in every month of the year.  As garden time is  limited, more hours are spent indoors sipping warm beverages in flickering candlelight and having a bit of the outdoors inside is even more welcome.

    Today's vase is one of the crystalline-glazed ceramic collection.  It's contents are three: Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn,’ Jasminum nudiflorum, and our native Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum.)

    Joining the vase are a capiz-shell tea light holder which glows beautifully when lit and a teapot ornament that forgot to get packed away with the other decorations.
    I hope you're all keeping warm and enjoying winter's beauty. 

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    You may remember these photographs from last year's Winter Walk Off:

    This is Tacoma's once-grand Elk's Hall.

    You may also remember that Mcmenamins purchased the building and plans were made to restore and repurpose the building.  Last year a bit of activity got locals excited and then everything came to a halt as the company concentrated on other projects.

    Not to long ago, work began  again on the building, which I see every day on my commute and just after Christmas, scaffolding was erected around the building and it's now wrapped like a huge gift for the city of Tacoma.

    There's not a lot of space for both parking and gardens but I know that Mcmenamins will do something really special with the space. 

    It even looks like they're working around this old Monkey Puzzle Tree. 
    Along with the rest of the city, I eagerly await the grand reveal,  the unwrapping of this splendid gift!

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  • 01/24/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette
  • All is not green in "The Evergreen State" but everything is certainly wet.  On my commute to work, windshield wipers working to keep up with the rain, a voice on the radio said of the day to come, "Rain everywhere and always." 

    Fortunately last Saturday saw less rainfall.  These pictures were taken by the side of a road which was only about a few inches  above the water. By now parts of the road are probably flooded. 

    Moss loves this weather and I believe it's starting to grow on my limbs as well. 

    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by pal Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there to see more!

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    Branches Nursery is as as close or closer to my home as many of the nurseries that I frequently visit but for some reason I seldom find myself going in that direction.  I must make a point of visiting more frequently!

    Winter blooming plants make it seem as if spring has already arrived in our gardens and at Branches!  It's a good idea to visit nurseries every month  to assure that there's always something of interest in your garden.  That is unless you live in an area where nurseries close for the winter and your garden is covered with snow for five months of the year. 

    Branches has a large indoor retail area loaded with an extensive array of  gift items, house wares, candles, women's attire, food items, etc.  All holiday decor was on sale for 75% off.  It was easy to say no to any more holiday stuff as there is already too much in my hoard.  (Okay, I may have bought a container that will appear next year in an In a Vase on Monday post.)

    Tillandsias seem to be everywhere these days and why not, they're such cool plants.  

    A few house plants. 

    At this time of year, we're gearing up for another outdoor season and enjoying our evergreen and winter-blooming friends that beckon us out into the garden again.

    A nice selection of hellebores. 

    The hummingbirds wasted no time finding nectar-bearing blooms and the  feeder.  Nothing like looking at beautiful plants with the sound of the little cuties buzzing around.

    Why are these such solitary birds that spend way too much time fighting over territory.  Don't they know how cute they'd look in a sweet little flock?

    Separating the sheep

                                                                                                               from the goats.

    Spring is just around the corner!  For many of us, spring starts with the Northwest Flower and Garden Show which is only two weeks away.  On the other hand, I remember years when there was snow on the ground for the show so one should probably not count his chickens before they're hatched.

    This Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane'  caused me to check on my own which is also in bloom!  Hooray!

    This spherical fire pit is gorgeous!  Too bad I'm out of space in my garden.

    Another kind of winter interest.    

    The Tacoma Home and Garden Show opens today!   It's always fun to go to see the Vintage market and the Olympic Landscape Garden.  Looks like there'll only be one plant vendor there.

    So pretty!  Must make one of these next year!

    All too soon it was time to head out but I look forward to visiting again!
    For more information, visit their website.

    Also, the Tacoma Home and Garden Show opens today!   It's always fun to go to see the Vintage market and the Olympic Landscape Garden.  Looks like there'll only be one plant vendor there this year though.  

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    The Tacoma Home and Garden Show opened on Thursday and there was much to see. More posts will follow but today I'll focus on one space.  As I entered the Tacoma Dome, I was eagerly anticipating what Olympic Landscape would dream up this year for their display garden.  What a delightful surprise to see Italian statuary which immediately brought to mind my dear friend Florence Welborn's Garden.

    It came as no surprise that the statuary came from Howard Welborn Antiques.  (Howard is Florence's husband.) 

    One of Olympic's designers is and old acquaintance from years ago when he worked at Vassey Nursery. It was a little like walking through the garden of friends.

    These display gardens are thrown together fairly quickly and I'm always in awe of all the work and the ability to conceive , design, and create a garden  rather than having design evolve over years of trial and error.   

    Team of gardeners?

    Someone's lying down on the job.  It's so hard to get good help.

    Carved marble lions anyone?

    This pot had me drooling a bit.  Fortunately there was a tissue in my pocket and I was able to stem the flow before anyone noticed.
    The show visit was off to a great start.  Stay tuned for more fun and if you're in the area, drop by the Tacoma Dome and enjoy the event yourself.  The show is open through Sunday, January28.  Spoiler alert: This is primarily a home show but there is also an artist's row, vintage market, several garden tool sellers, yard artists, and  a couple of plant vendors. 

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    Hey there, old man winter, the minutes are ticking away until spring. You've only got 50 days left.  The Northwest Flower and Garden Show Festival is only a week away and daylight hours are increasing every day causing winter blooms to burst forth.

    Something old, something new.  The ornamental cabbage from fall is getting tall as it prepares to bolt as the hellebores begin to bloom.

    Lonicera fragrantissima lives up to it's name as it pours forth lemony sweet fragrance.

    Something borrowed- We're all living on borrowed time, right?  A metronome audibly ticks away along with a pocked watch that had belonged to my father.  The sparkly glass jewels remind us that time is precious. 

    Something blue:  The vase looks a bit like an older Fenton piece.  The frilly edged top is obscured by the contents.  In reality, it's a really cheap vase I found at a discount store a few years ago. (Don't know where I was going with the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue but realized it fit today's offering.
    Oh yes, the dangly star of the arrangement is Garrya that had to be cut so it didn't dangle in the faces of passersby.

    The addictive meme, In a Vase on Monday is hosted by the fabulous Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to join the floral fiesta!

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    Years ago, the home part of this show occupied the main part of the dome and the garden part filled the entire exhibition hall.  As interest or at least sales of plants declined, the garden/plant part of the show was moved into the main part of the dome with the home stuff.  In this year's vendor list, there was only one nursery listed, Mak Lilies and Perennials from Stayton, Oregon. This vendor has been doing the Tacoma show for eleven years.  B & D lilies retired from doing shows last year but they still have a great online catalog. 

    They had lots of great bulbs and dormant perennials available.

    I was prepared for them to be the only plant peddlers there but was surprised to see the big Plant Sale banner hung and tables of plants on display.

    On closer inspection, these plants mostly came from T&L with a few from another grower.  I asked the person (someone I didn't recognize) working the space and was told that the show had brought these plants in. 

    It's difficult for a nursery to bring a lot of plants in for a show, especially if they don't sell, because at the end of the event, they're stuck with a lot of merchandise with a limited shelf life to try and move.

    It was nice to see beautiful plants but there was nothing really exceptional here.

    The fellow working the show said that anything that didn't sell here would be going up to the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival next week.

    Lewisias in bloom at this time of the year? 
    January is a tough time for plant sales.  Many non-obsessed gardeners don't think of gardening until later in the year when they want to decorate their patios.and a lot of perennial plants are dormant at this time of the year.  The prices here were very reasonable.

    Other vendors did try and include a bit of green like these planters by the cedar grove (compost/potting soil) display.

    Father Nature Landscapes

    And finally, Marenakos Rock Center always puts together a nice display to show off their large boulders.

    Impressive that they don't rely on forced flowers to make a statement but instead utilize plants with great winter interest.

    I like going to this show.  It can be done in a couple of hours and is not as crowded as the big show next week. To be fair, I went after work on the opening day of the show.  It's much busier on the weekend.  Stay tuned for a look at the vintage market, artist's row, and some garden ornaments/tools.

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  • 01/31/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette
  • It's the last day of January, the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival née Show starts next week, and the first camellia japonicas are blooming.  Let's just decide that winter is over shall we?

    It starts with one far off bloom.
     Soon this old camellia will be so covered with pink that the leaves will barely be visible but for today, this first glimpse of pink gives the dark and soggy days a little lift.

    Before long it'll once again be time to be outside more than inside, for summer vacations, the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer.  This scene from the Vintage Market at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show breathes hope for the seasons to come.

    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to see more!

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    A few years ago, I planted three Yucca 'Bright Star' and an Agave ovatifolia in a little heart-shaped raised bed that could never hold enough water to support the annuals I kept trying to grow in it.  At that time all were in gallon pots and I really didn't expect the Agave to survive its first winter.  One of the yuccas kicked the bucket, one remained relatively small and the third took off like nobody's business.

    The Agave not only survived that first winter but three more as well and grew beyond my expectations. Now the plants have become a bit too close.  It was, after all, an experiment to see if the agave would even live through our wet winters. If it did, it wouldn't get very big in our climate, right?

    I'm going to have to move the yuccas once the weather warms up a bit.  It shouldn't be a problem as they seem to transplant well.

    We all love it when our plants "knit together" but this is a little too cozy.

    The smaller yucca is almost entirely covered by the agave.  The  combination of these plants is delightful and I hope to simply move the yuccas a bit further out.  Who knew that Agaves would grow so quickly?  Oh well, live and learn.
    One would think that the gardener would have cleared all of these fallen leaves away by now.  Some people are just so neglectful.

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    Although plants were not the main focus of the Tacoma Home and Garden Show, there was still much to love about this event.  Yes, there are a lot of  home improvement-related displays but this year, the hot tubs seemed to occupy less  floor space and I even considered buying a couple "My Pillows." 

    The Vintage market consists of all local vendors and this year they really brought their A game.  I was especially taken  with the vintage wedding themed display by The Urban Gardener

    I seriously considered buying two of these floral baskets.  I remember two like these that lived in the turn-of-the century church I attended as a lad back in the Victorian era.  They were usually pressed into service for weddings and funerals.  Fortunately, The Urban Gardener is not far from my house and maybe they didn't sell.

    A clever touch!

    Speaking of local vintage treasures, thews two plaster ornaments came from the interior of the local Scottish Rite Masonic Temple whose demolition I showed in posts earlier this year.  Second Use, the salvage company displaying these also had, on display pictures of the wood floors and beams being salvaged from the building.  They reported that all the wood had been sold for reuse locally.

    This lady may have come home with me.  Thanks, Kristi, for the chocolate kisses you added to the bag.

    Brandy's Attic had this piano bar on display.  

    Mr. Big Mouth

    I remember doing research using one of these. For anyone too young to identify it, this is a card catalog or rather the piece of furniture housing the actual 3x5 cards.  Think of it as an old-fashioned google home page.

     Once a paper was hand written in pencil on paper and edited several times, this device was used to create a typewritten copy.  I never owned my own electric typewriter.  In high school, I went to my eldest sister's house to use hers and in college, a housemate had a machine very much like this one with the cartridge that could be changed between ribbon and correction tape.  No erasing!  Would wonders never cease.

    These macrame beads made me laugh out loud.  Did you also do Macrame in the 70's?  If not,  how did you hang your plants?

     I'm very sorry that I don't remember the creator of these adorable and very shiny snow people made using antique bottles.

    New to the Pacific Northwest this year is The Rose Gardener. Owner Wendy Tilley has moved here from Atlanta and her husband, Ryan, will be following her as soon as he's finished installing the rose garden at the President Carter Library. She'll also have a space at the Northwest Flower and Garden Orgy (as my friend Alison has named it) next week. There were lots of useful items that are also available online.

    These lightweight pots are covered with the same Vinyl wrap that they use on vehicles. 

    Bionic gloves.

    Barnel pruners made in Portland, OR.  These felt wonderful.

    Rusty Birds are always coming up with fun new designs

    and finding creative ways to use existing ones. 

    These rusty spheres can be opened to allow each half to be planted and then rejoined to make green spheres.  Every garden needs a few succulent balls, right?

    It was a delight to see Marcus Harper GlassWorks at the Tacoma show.  I'd first seen his work at Sorticulture.  Marcus is a marvelously talented glass fuser who has my admiration for pushing fusing in fun new directions. 

    Katie Dean's colorful linoleum block prints are all so wonderful that it was hard to choose a favorite.  Fortunately, one can buy them as cards and mat and frame a whole wall full.

    Urbansoule's "Ultra modern livingwares"  made me stop in my tracks.   Check out more great stuff on their website!

    As Tim Wistrom's  site says, "People may not know his name but they know his paintings."   If you've been in this area for a while, you'll probably recognize some of Mr. Wistrom's surrealistic, often northwest-themed work.  For me, seeing his work at the show was like unexpectedly meeting an old friend.  This one was new to me.

    Happy weekend all!

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    The garden clearly doesn't understand that wearing white is only acceptable between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Or maybe this is winter white.  In any case, the garden is sending forth winter blooms in several shades of white.  Perhaps because they're accompanied by a lot of green, it's okay.  For those of you in colder climates, I'm sorry that your winter white is an entirely different thing.

    The sun broke through the clouds for an hour or so this afternoon making the snowdrops open happily.  Lonicera fragrantissima continues to send clouds of fragrance over the garden when the wind isn't  howling through.

    Hellebores in all shades are brightening the gloom.  These got plunked into an old medicine bottle.

    White camellias and more hellebores made it into another old bottle.

    Here they are together.

     One more little stem of white hellebores got plunked into yet another old bottle. I have a hard time discarding anything that's been picked.

    Was it the sun, the blooms, or the medication once in these antique bottles that made me feel happy and hopeful today?   Who knows?  The brain is a complicated organ.

    It'll do your psyche good to click on over to Rambling in the Garden where the host of In a Vase on Monday, Cathy will have a vase to share and  links to other participating bloggers. Do it, it's more fun  than therapy, cheaper than medication, and easier than exercising!

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  • 02/06/18--06:00: That Time Just Before
  • It was late January, the sun was shining sideways through a break in the cloud cover casting a golden light against the gray.  The garden was full of sprouting bulbs, camellia buds, snowdrops ready to pop open.  It was a time just before the hellebores were fully open, before the floral parade of 2018 began in earnest.  So much of the garden on the verge of springing back to life.

    Pumpkins from fall are still hanging around.  They either need to rot in place soon or they'll be moved into the yard waste bin.

    It's still wet and moss hasn't been cleared from the paths for summer.

    The canna fire in the fire pit now looks like smoke but the glass flames continue to blaze away.  I like it this way.

    The anticipation of spring is palpable as is the excitement over the 2018 Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.  I'll be attending a preview of the gardens today and will try to post some images upon my return to whet your appetite for this year's show.

    Ophiopogon japonicus, new to me this year has the coolest and most long lasting blue fruits.

    In the greenhouse the Schlumbergeras continue to pump out flowers.  They're much later this year but who'd complain about any blooms in winter.

    Just about time to head on out to the show preview.  Will I see you there this year?

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to see her vignette and those of other participating bloggers.  This newly-published book about cacti and succulents had a catchy title that caused me to laugh out loud. This Ravenna Gardens display is my Wednesday Vignette.

    The rest of today's post is a preview of the Display Gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival while the gardens were still being put together. I'd planned on putting this together earlier but had to pick up one of the furry kids at the vet where she had to spend the night.  She's fine but gave us a little scare.  There will be lots more to come from the show, this is just an appetizer.

    This is the thirtieth year of the show so the theme was a celebratory one:  "Cake and Cheers for Thirty Years."

    Flower Growers of Puget Sound "Cavalcade of Color"

    Northwest flower & Garden Festival and Terra Firma Hardscapes 2018 Theme Garden.

    Washington Park Arboretum:  "Arboretum Carnavale: Wonders of the Winter Garden."

    West Seattle Nursery/Devonshire Landscaping "Wabi-Sabi, Embrace Flawed Beauty."

    Treeline Designz "Soiree of Reflections"

    Hope he doesn't fall in! Issaquah Landscaping/ Designs by deLeuw "Contained Excitement."

    Because the garden shed is made of a container.

    Choice Landscapes LLC "Celebrate and Reflect."

    Northwest Orchid Society "Vanilla Farm."

    Avid Landscape Design & Development LLC "For the Apple of My Eye."

    Redwood Builders LLC, Landscaping "Pot Party."

    Fancy Fronds/ALBE Rustics "Celebrate Form: Art Imitates Nature."   Do these plant stands crafted from stainless steel bowls and sewer pipe look familiar?  Similar planters can be found in Potted; Make Your Own Stylish garden Containers.The planters were inspired by the dish planters of my pal Loree Bohl.  It's cool to see how different people interpret an idea.  My own dish planter is made of concrete pipe and a Webber Grill lid.

    The preview is a great time to see the gardeners working and while there are no crowds with which to contend, one does need to watch out for other kinds of traffic.

     Giant chess board  from Nature Perfect Landscape & Design's "Father's Day."
     Marenakos Rock Company "A Stone Forest"
     There's no water here but the polished tops of the stones make them appear to be covered with water.

    Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association "Kache Un Bijou: A Hidden Jewel."

    Richie Steffen and Ciscoe Morris having a good time talking about their impending Container Wars competition.  They're pitted against each other.

    A sweet surprise was seeing blogging pals Linda and Tom Reeder at the preview!  Tom was just here somewhere...

    Susan Browne Landscape Design/Perennial Lawn & Garden "Bee Simple."

     There's so much more to come! 

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    As much as we all love the drama and fantasy of the large show gardens, many of us feel more in touch with the small "City Living" spaces.  During the preview on Tuesday, these too weren't yet entirely completed nor were there signs identifying the designers so today, I'll share  views of these smaller gems with few words.  Other bloggers will undoubtedly post more information about them and perhaps after I spend the day at the show today, I'll go back and add labels.   For more information about the show, be sure to check out their website!

    I got to chat with the gentlemen working on this garden whose main idea was merging the garden and art.  The trillium on the geodesic bench was made using three cardiocrinum leaves.  Must try this myself!

    Creative front porch garden complete with door and

    A package on the mat.  In my neighborhood, packages, furniture, and anything not bolted down are routinely stolen from front porches.  It's all about fantasy at the show, right?

    Will I see you at the show today?

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    The amazing woman who introduces the speakers at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival compared the show to a spring ephemeral that blooms gloriously for a few days and is then gone for another year.  Fortunately, there are still three days of the show left.  Today was very busy so I'll  share some random cool stuff from the day before the show opened. 

    Glass glorious glass!

    Some details from Millennium Landscape & Construction's Garden "Mother Nature as Muse - Mixing Magic & Materials." 

    Loved the lighted pavers.

    Ravenna Gardens 

    Abraxas Crow - Steel Sculpture by Gunter Reimnitz

    I'd heard of Sycopsis sinensis but had never seen one in bloom in person before.  It's available at Christianson's Nursery.

    Cute little garden pests.

    The floral arrangements were all coming together nicely.

    Just thinking of how hard so many people work year round to produce this delightful show makes me tired but I'm so grateful that they do as the show is a highlight of the garden year and signals the beginning of the garden year for me. (We won't discuss the years when there's been snow on the ground during the show.)

    I hope your weekend plans include dropping by the convention center to enjoy the sights and smells and be inspired.

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    There are many outstanding vendors at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and one of my perennial favorites is Artist & Potter Cindy Jenkins.  Just about everything she creates appeals to me and fortunately her prices are quite reasonable. Cindy's introduced some new abstract work with which I was smitten.  These three came home from the show with me this year. 

    A single branch of Stachyurus praecox fills the tiny opening of the tall vase while  Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (rooted and still growing in water from an September Monday vase) hellebores and snowdrops fill the squat pot.

    In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see her Monday Vase and to find links to those of other participating bloggers.

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    The NWFGF  has a lot of great gardens big and small, some great plant vendors, and thrilling art for sale. There was so much to see and admire that it's impossible to share more than a small fraction. Here are a few  things that caught my eye:

    In the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association area was this piece by Larry Lawlor

    Bedrock Industries had some delightful new designs as well as some old favorites. All of their wares are made from recycled glass.

    Anthony Jamieson Designs had some cool architectural cast glass panels.

    Vintage Glass Gardens

    Oh those daffodils!

    Because of the texture, it feels like the white porcelain base was covered with a layer of porcelain slip mixed with cobalt and then the negative space carved away. 

    I forgot who made these but it's an imaginative use of shovels.  Probably not so great for digging now though.

    The delightful Katy Lareau is a Portland-based artist whose fused glass flowers and bugs have been a show favorite for many years.

    Much of Andy Byrne's metal sculpture is difficult to capture with a camera as it really needs to be experienced to be appreciated, the minute details that make up the whole can best be appreciated in person in the context of the entire piece. 

    Obviously a master of the material!

    More from Abraxas Crow

    Nothing quite like having a life-sized blue heron gliding just overhead.

    Unless it's a pair of fighting bald eagles. 

    Happy 30th birthday to this annual event!  Every celebration needs a cake, right? 

    A summer floral pillbox hat  supporting a  Christmas tree decorated with spring colored macarons.  A cake for all seasons!

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  • 02/14/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette

  • Happy Valentine's Day All!  My Vignette this Wednesday (Joining host Anna at Flutter and Hum) is a display of primroses from our local everything store and seemed appropriate for today.

    May your day be filled with love!

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    Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month.  Click over to her blog to see what's blooming in gardens around the world today. Here's what's happening in my zone 8 Western Washington garden.

    Primroses (cheating as these came home from the store already in bloom, those in the garden are a bit behind.)

    Camellias japonica

    My Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' seems to be happy enough now and is starting to bloom.  Isn't this a little late for those to be starting?



    There are a lot of these in my garden because they seem to thrive on neglect and don't mind dry shade.

    Really, these are all different varieties and these are only about half of them. 

     Feel free to skip ahead if you're tired of the hellebore parade. 

    Whew, you made it!

     Daphne odora.  There's nothing quite as sweet and welcome as this fragrance in the winter garden.

    Of course there's also Chimonanthus praecox (Wintersweet.)

    The parade of winter continues with Lonicera fragrantissima, a hummingbird favorite.

    Weedy but swell Euphorbia wulfenii

    Garrya's tassels are so long that the wind blows them up onto the leaves into an unsightly tangle. 

    Arctostaphylos something or other

    helleborus argutifolius

     Sweet little violets are making inroads toward taking over the lawn.  Hooray!

    Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is no slouch in the fragrance department either.  

     Jasminum nudiflorum

    Stachyurus praecox

    It must be spring if the crocus are blooming, right?  
    Happy GBBD all!

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    Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Follow-up on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to remind us of the important role of foliage in our gardens.   Join me in wishing this spectacular person, longtime blogger, inventor of the Garden Bloggers' Fling, and author a very happy twelfth blogging anniversary!

    Here's some of the foliage currently thrilling me in my garden at the moment. 

    This begonia, purchesed at a fall plant sale from Windcliff Plants never made it into the ground.  The pot is in a sheltered area outside and the foliage never died back.  Crazy!

    Likewise, Darlingtonia californica, the carnivorous Cobra Lily, never died back this year.

    I love the pink tones that this Hebe takes on in cold weather.

    While it weeps during the winter, this Cylindropuntia, a cutting found by the side of the road beneath a free sign, will perk up again as the weather warms.

    Arum italicum has looked glorious all winter long and, as warmer temperatures arrive, it'll die back for the summer. 

     The big excitement is that some  plants have decided it's time for spring.

    Syneilesis palmata

    Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'


    Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

    Begonia pedatifida

     Tree peony 


    Mecanopsis 'Lingholm'  How grateful I am to live in a climate that is favored by the glorious blue poppy.  They like it even better in Alaska!

    I keep forgetting the name of this ground cover but love the hairy new growth.

    Join the party and show us your foliage!

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    Recently, my garden blogging pal Alison (Bonney Lassie) gave me this sweet vase she'd purchased at Disneyland.  She'd noticed that I seemed a little grumpy about the cold snap predicted (and now beginning) and needed a little cheering up.

    For those of you in cold winter climates, predictions of temperatures in the high teens may seem downright balmy but here it  felt as if spring would arrive early and plants, usually much later to make an appearance have begun to show their faces because of our warm January.  For those of you in the Pacific Northwest who are fretting about your plants, I offer these winter blooms from my garden in Alison's vase to pass the cheer along.

    Joining the vase is this bird nest, a symbol of hope that spring will, indeed arrive...eventually.

    A visit to Vassey Nursery (in the snow!) yesterday found the folks there busy protecting plants and unpacking all sorts of new merchandise like this cool and inexpensive head pot.  She's wearing a primrose dragged in from the cold.

    The little red cyclamen begged to be added to the picture.  Who could say no to such a sweet redhead?

    The crocus opened in the warmth of the house and,  like a cherished friendship warmed the cockles of my heart. 

    As I write this, the wind is howling outside, the snow and hail on the ground are frozen and the temperature is below freezing (Accuweather says the real feel is 10 degrees) but inside there's a little pot of spring.

    Perhaps this head pot's name should be Alison.  Thanks pal for the thoughtful gift, it made my day!
    Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is the inspirational host of In a Vase on Monday.  Click here to see her vase this week and to find links to those of other participating bloggers.

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    That's right, snow.  What were you thinking?   After our warm January and a cloudy  wet Candlemas we all thought that spring was arriving. 

    If Candlemas day be dry and fair,  The half o' winter to come and mair. If Candlemas's day be wet and foul.  The half o' winter gane at Yule.  Seems that modern weather forecasters pay little attention to ancient Scottish wisdom.  Sunday morning brought big beautiful snowflakes.

    The flakes were were joined for a time by hail.

    Not a lot of snow but instead of melting off as usual, the mercury plummeted and brought that "F" word, freezing.  Again, where was your mind.


    This was the only kind of snow drop I'd hoped to see.

    Truth be told, the other two "S" and "F" words may have been uttered by more than one gardener in the PNW.

    Even the early-blooming "Tommies" (crocus tommasinianus) are closed against the cold and look a little frost-bitten around the edges.

    Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' doesn't seem to mind but the Camellia japonica flowers are frozen and will drop.  Fortunately, there are more buds to take their place.  Magnolia buds have started to fatten up and I worry that they might succumb as the temperatures get even lower over the next couple of days.

    I've never seen hellebores do this before.  Hopefully they'll pop back up when the weather warms. 

    Stachyurus praecox doesn't seem to mind. 

    I keep throwing boiling water on top of the frozen bird baths so that our feathered friends can have a drink.  Interesting how fast it refreezes.

    Rhododendrons do this when it gets cold but it's still sad to see. 

    I was planning on bringing the dormant begonia tubers out of the basement and putting them into the stained glass room this weekend but why try to heat that space when it's so cold? 

    Meanwhile, there ares some bright spots in the greenhouse even though it's a bit messy out there at the moment. 

    Scadoxus puniceus is popping up and soon it's happy orange pompom blooms will open.  Maybe spring isn't so far off after all. 
    How's your garden faring this winter? 

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    This garden party comes from the vintage market at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.  While winter still holds us firmly in it's icy fingers, this kind of garden party will have to do.  Only 25 more days until spring!

    I'm joining Anna at Flutter and Hum, the host of our Wednesday Vignette meme.  Click here to join the party.

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    As I write this on Wednesday evening, snow is once again flying and there's a powdered-sugar dusting on the grass and trees.  The white stuff started about twenty minutes before school was out and more is predicted for a while tonight as temperatures drop well below freezing.  Sigh.  Spring interrupted. Over the weekend, I walked over to the Seymour conservatory to get a breath of warmer air.  Outside, popping up through the dessicated banana leaves were these charming Leucojum (vernum? aestivum?) 

    Inside, spring has already arrived.

    A nice jolt of color in the seasonal display area is especially welcome during the cold months. 

    Unusual orchid foliage.  Unfortunately, the plant wasn't marked so I'm not sure which one. 

    Tephrocactus strobiliformis (guessing.)

    If the weather ever warms up, this will be happening outside.

    I know I've seen this one in catalogs but it's even nicer in person.  Such a sweet and subtle yellow color.

    Once again, the huge NOID agave labeled simply, "Century Plant."  

    There were some brown-edged leaves on some of the permanent large tropical plants including some tree ferns.  Upon inquiry, I learned that the furnace went out on one of the coldest nights of the year and it wasn't discovered until the next morning, the tree ferns, "haven't been happy for quite a while," and someone over fertilized a few things.  Sad news but it does make me feel better that even the pros have problems sometimes.

    Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss) looks very happy!

    The gift shop is well stocked with Tillandsias at the moment, including this impressively large and blooming T. duratii. 

    It's nice to know that no matter how much snow falls or how low the mercury falls, one can always visit Spring at the conservatory or in my own greenhouse.
    Only 26 more days until spring!

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    Teachers, on the other hand, much prefer the words "late start" which the automated phone message announced at five a.m.  We'd much rather be at work when it's too miserable to garden outside than on a sunny day in July.  (Missed days must be made up.)  However, as time progressed and it seemed as if road conditions wouldn't improve,  school was canceled altogether yesterday. 

    Many of  us who live in this region  like to put pumpkin spice everything, eggnog, hot spiced cider, mulled wine and snow away when we drag out the Valentine's Day decorations so this late February freeze isn't particularly welcome.  Oh well, might as well take a little stroll through the snowy garden at dawn before spending a lazy day at home.

    It's always winter in this stained glass panel created by my pal Florence. 

    Frigid temperatures and ice-covered roads are an uncommon occurrence here so sand trucks and snow plows are equally scarce, 

    One doesn't often see a snow-covered parakeet.

     Buddha doesn't seem amused in the least.

    Stoic Camellia japonica.  Don't know if it doesn't mind or if it's just frozen.

    Until the recent polar blast, it looked as if this Tetrapanax might just bloom; not so much anymore.

    Someone has quite a dandruff problem. 

    The sun's rising.  Time to go inside where it's warm and bask in the sun streaming through the windows.