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A slave to the Goddess Flora shares his garden adventures.
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    In these days of big box stores selling plants about which most of the employees know nothing and  worrying that independent nurseries might be a thing of the past, a ray of hope in the form of a new nursery is very welcome.  My friend, Camille, told me about Kent East Hill Nursery which now offers a discount to Northwest Perennial Alliance members.  (To find out more about the NPA click here.)  A weekend or two ago, Alison and I decided to visit on our way home from the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

    Located on four acres, KEHN has space to carry a wide variety of plants.  A nice selection of fruit trees awaiting homes.

    Lots of shrubby goodness.  Both Alison and I fell for a red-flowered Pieris japonica.  I was impressed with their Kalmia selection and had to drag one of those home as well.

    Since rhododendrons are only in bloom for a short time, it's good to find one with foliage that also contributes to one's garden.

    Once difficult to find, R. 'Everred' is now more widely available.  It's best planted where the red undersides of the leaves can be enjoyed.

    In the mood for the tropics but don't want to travel?  How about a topiary pineapple?

    Don't want to drive to the beach?  

    An desert escape?

    This will be a lot more impressive once the trees leaf out but it's easier to inspect branch structure without that pesky foliage getting in the way.

    Yucca desmetiana 'Blue Boy' always looks so good in nurseries.

    A forest of bamboo and palms.  Hooray!

    Maples anyone?  

    Stepping inside, Alison pointed out the begonia tubers and other summer bulbs.  Houseplants creatively displayed.

    Rural antique (Shabby Chic?) decor is comforting and something that I admire but when I try, it always ends up looking not so good.  Here, they make it work well.

    Yard art by Marva Ree

    To learn more, check out their website.

    This gazebo-esque  table is quite sweet. 
    There was lots more to see so do stop by the nursery if you're ever in the Kent area.  I look forward to watching this new business thrive!

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  • 03/21/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette
  • Over the weekend, I visited Heronswood and snapped a shot of this vine covered wall which I'd seen many times and paid it little attention.  With so many marvelous plants and favorite spots to visit, this dark corner close to the house was previously barely noticed.  I took the picture quickly and didn't give it much thought until going through my pictures of the visit.  The larger opening in the grid giving a glimpse of the garden beyond through the scrim of vines is rather lovely.  Maybe the foliage had previously obscured the view. 

    This brought to mind how our perceptions of things change over time, what we notice, what interests us during different seasons of our lives.  Interesting that since the early 90's when I started visiting Heronswood on a regular basis and until just now, this view was noticed but not really appreciated.

    Now I find it quite compelling.  The contrast between the grid and the bare vine, nature and artifice is compelling.  The center reminds me of confetti/streamer stained glass and has my mind thinking of how this could easily be interpreted in a leaded glass panel. 

    One of the many joys of gardening is experiencing new beauty every day and in every season.

    Wednesday Vingnette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to check out the posts of other participating bloggers.

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    In addition to offering a wide variety of classes and workshops, publishing a directory of members' open gardens, volunteering at the NPA border at the Belelvue Botanical Garden, and sponsoring neighborhood garden clubs, The Northwest Perennial Alliance hosts plant sales several times during the gardening season.  March Madness is the first of these and is always well attended.  (For more information about the NPA check out their website here.)

    The two words that every winter weary gardener longs to read...

    There was a nice variety of plant offerings from unusual to common and colorful.  It's the time of year when even the most jaded collector might be seduced by a vibrant pot of tulips or screaming yellow daffodils in full bloom.

    A new hardy begonia with fabulously textured leaves and red fur called my name.

     The BBG gift shop was open and always has some fun merchandise to peruse. 

    The sun was out so we didn't stay inside long.  Here are a few shots of spring in the garden.

     The Tateuchi Viewing Pavillion.  

    It's an interesting building. How do you suppose it's used?

    Looking down on the building where the sale is held.  Seems people are still finding treasures!

    It's hellebore time!

    While it may look like a plant graveyard with all of those markers, it's actually part of the fuchsia garden.  Must return later in the season to see this in all it's glory!

    A thrown-rug of cyclamen.  BTW, how big does a clump have to get to be considered a carpet of cyclamen?

    Cardiocrinum giganteum 

    The alpine garden 

    Farfugium japonicum 'Shishi Botan'  (guessing.)

    Mystery perennial.

    Hey look what else sprung up in the garden!  It's Tom and Linda Reeder standing next to Alison.  Tom and Linda are both rabid enthusiastic gardeners and tend a gorgeous two acre garden.  You may recognize Linda, Tom, and their  garden from Linda's blog, Linda Letters. It's always a pleasure to spend time with these fascinating folks!
    Gardeners are about, plants are waking up, and the days are getting longer.  Spring has definitely arrived.

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    Another weekend; another plant sale.  Someone pinch me, I think I must be dreaming.  We're so lucky in this region to have so many great growers and nurseries.  Last weekend, Heronswood hosted it's first plant sale of the season and the garden was also open.  Come stroll with me through the garden which was definitely beginning to awaken.

    When pulmonaria and hellebores bloom, spring is definitely near.



    Inside the house, there was an exhibit of the botanical art of Jean Emmons whose work graced the covers of Heronswood catalogs for years.   The art was glorious and it was a delight to view the garden through the windows of the home.

    Meanwhile, back outside, peonies were popping out of the ground.  

    In the distance, you can see a couple of the white canopies in the plant sale area.

    Originally a potager, this garden is filled in the summer with brightly-colored annuals  as the garden is now available for use as an event venue.

    Geranium palmatum

    A hardy begonia seems to have just had it's protective wood-shaving protection removed. The tag only said begonia sp. and a number.  Can't wait to visit again and see what the foliage looks like!

    I'll leave you with a view of this sweet Sinopanax formosanus.
    Happy weekend all!  

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  • 03/26/18--06:00: In a Vase on Monday
  • It started with thoughts of camellias brought on by this thrift-store find vase. 

    Joining the camellias are a couple of grape hyacinths and some Kerria japonica prunings.  

     Hastily assembled between garden tasks, it's not my best effort but will make me smile this week which is the idea behind the meme, In a Vase on Monday, hosted by the fabulous Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see more participating bloggers' vases.

    Joining the vase this week are some ceramic eggs with grape hyacinths found on the sale table of a local nursery several years ago.

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    A few years ago, an Agave 'Mr. Ripple' came home with me.  It got potted up  a couple of times but for at least two years had languished in this pot that got dragged in and out each year.  Because the plant had totally grown over the surface of the soil, it had become very difficult to water the plant so it clearly needed a new pot but being incredibly top heavy, I didn't know how I could accomplish this without harming the agave and/or the gardener.  Turns out that putting the pot on it's side on the edge of a table with the leaves of the agave worked pretty well.  Because it was so dry, it came out pretty easily.

    There were a couple of pups that needed to come off.  putting the plant in it's new pot in the greenhouse would have made it way too heavy to lug outside so I grabbed the roots and took it swiftly outside where the rest of the operation took place.

    The pups got potted.  Notice all that dirt on the table?  Not the most glamorous job.

     Speaking of not-so glamorous, here's the danger gardenette at the moment during the awkward stage when the winter pots of evergreens have been moved out but the succulents and cacti aren't in place yet.   The repotted agave (sun scars are from last year's move.) is the first one out of the greenhouse and since it's supposed to be hardy to zone 7 and the pot is to big to haul around,  it'll stay outside permanently. 

    Meanwhile, back inside, this poor Agave bovicornuta, one of my first that came to me in a four inch pot about ten years ago, had survived an attack of scale insects last year but never seemed to really perk up.  Seemed I couldn't give it enough water.  When I took it out of it's pot to inspect the roots, I felt horribly guilty for not checking earlier.  The poor plant was so root bound that no soil was visible, just a cylinder of dense roots.  Poor thing.  It got a larger pot and a good watering.  Today when I checked, it looked a bit more hydrated than when this picture was taken.  Hopefully it'll forgive me for torturing it so.

    Currently, my entire  garden is a collection of messes where projects are underway.  The joy of the process is the thing, right?   Are you a tidy gardener?  Do you approach one project at a time, getting each one cleaned up before you start the next?  

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  • 03/28/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette

  • Off to a rocky start?   Thick rhizomes of Darmera peltata are nearly ready to open umbrellas of foliage at Savage Plants.

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

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    After visiting the Heronswood plant sale and garden, I always visit nurseries in the area.  A nice young person directing traffic in the nearly full parking areas of Valley Nursery was a sign that something special must be happening.  Seems that we'd luckily happened upon the first day of their annual spring sale!  

    Customers and workers alike were in a jovial mood, enjoying a warm dry day surrounded by plants.  Well, most everyone seemed happy.  This guy wasn't saying much. 

    His Viking friend was equally stone-faced.

    All sorts of things were discounted and some plants had really deep discounts.

    Conveniently sized so that standard plastic pots can hang right inside. 

    So much to see that it was hard to decide between shopping and taking pictures.  Dancing rodent topiary anyone?

    So much color!

    It's a good thing I didn't realize that this 'Bonfire' dwarf flowering peach is the one with gorgeous foliage I'd admired in one of Loree's posts or it would have come home with me.  I don't have space for another tree no matter how small or how beautiful the foliage!

    Meanwhile, in the houseplant area...

    So much prickly goodness!

    These broken pot gardens are always fun.

    Emerging peony foliage.  Oh to have space enough to grow more of these glorious things.

    This wood-bodied pheasant was  50% off  and could hide in a back corner of a garden to surprise visitors but he decided to stay at the nursery for someone else to take home.

    Um, well,  uh.  From Design Toscano comes Oktoberfest Otto, a slightly underdressed fellow. 

    For those who prefer more refined garden helpers...

    Either way, this is pretty good advice. 

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    Savage Plants is another nursery that I try not to miss when I'm out in the area of Heronswood.  Here's a peek:

    In addition to a lot of plants arriving for spring, Savage always has a generous supply of cool garden art.

    This solitary giant rusty sphere in the center of the covered patio always elicits a giggle. 

    Hey look, an agave!

    What a fun gate!

     Striking poppy seed head bronze  candlesticks.

    These look so cool and have no drain holes.  Water feature?  Bog garden?

    Not exactly sure what these are.

    This fellow, made by an area artist and admired last year finally decided to come home with me.  You may remember him from an earlier IaVoM post.

    It's Holy week in the Christian tradition, seven days that begin with  Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) the last supper, crucifixion, and resurrection.  Whew, that's one busy week.  If you celebrate this week,  may it be a reflective, joyful, and meaningful time for you. 

    Passover, the commemoration of God's deliverance of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, begins tonight at sunset.  For those of you celebrating Passover, חג פסח שמח.  

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  • 04/02/18--06:00: In a Vase on Monday
  • Happy Easter!  The camellias, magnolias, cherries, ornamental plums,  and spring bulbs are announcing that spring has arrived.  Outside our back door  and quite visible from our perch on the back porch, a robin is busily building her nest in a mahonia. What a joy to observe  flora and fauna rushing  to fulfill, within a season, their reproductive mandate. 

    I've never cut magnolias to bring inside before but love their fragrance and decided to see how long they'll last.  A glass vase by a Seattle artist seemed appropriate for the season.  Because of the way the blooms are arranged, these might be good candidates for a sparse, ikebana-like arrangement. Perhaps that'll happen next week but for now they're just plunked into a vase.

    A few hours after being inside, they're opening up nicely.

    Peter Rabbit decided to investigate.

    There are always flowers at the church where I work but on Easter, they're so numerous that folks are asked to take some home to enjoy.  Orange/red and yellow parrot tulips  and this one with very frayed edges caught my fancy.

    The  valley where the church is located has fabulous fertile soil and was once filled with farms, quite a few of which produced daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs.  It's appropriate, then, that these reminders of the past grace the church on Easter.  Alas, the last of the bulb farms has been sold and growing fields are increasingly being replaced by industrial buildings and parking lots.  It's sad to think of loosing so much incredibly deep and fertile soil.

    The orange made me think of this vase by the same artist as the first but the oranges aren't quite a match.  Oops. The tulips do have a bit of a lavender cast to them which the flash washed out so they kind of go with that part of the vase.

    Oh well, just keep throwing things at it and maybe it'll work out.  Let's see, what else that has orange in it is lurking around the house?  How about some pysanky eggs?  Oh great, introduce yet another shade of orange and why not throw in some fluorescent pink while you're at it?  A cute duck vase and some Easter grass will make it all better, right?

    Sometimes, it's better to stop, rethink, and redo the whole thing but I tried thinking once and it hurt my head so here it'll stay for this week.
    Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the addictive In a Vase on Monday meme.  Ramble on over to Cathy's  blog to see what others have put in a vase this week!  Happy spring!

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  • 04/03/18--06:00: The Migration Begins
  • This week is my spring break so, ready or not, the annual spring migration of tender plants has begun.

    These agaves spent the winter outside but sheltered from the rain.  Even our freezing temperatures didn't bother them.  The two on the right are both Agave parryi  but one is bearing the scars of winning a battle with scale insects .  To avoid sun scorch, they've moved to a shady location first and will move down to their sunny summer home in a few more days.

    Some agaves and aloes have made their way into the danger gardenette but there are still lots more in the greenhouse to come outside.  They seem to have grown. 

    One can see a bit of space on the greenhouse tables again. 

    Four large brugmansias were hauled out and it already seems brighter in here.  Perhaps I'll take cuttings of them this year and let the big plants go.

    Potting agaves and aloes up is a bit prickly but opuntias are an entirely different level of horrible with those soft-looking but highly irritating glochids.  Maybe they'll get potted up next year.

    Aechmea blanchetiana is looking awfully green after spending the winter inside.  As the sunlight intensifies, it'll turn golden.

    Meanwhile, there's a mash up of plants that were in the danger gardenette for the winter.  They'll need somewhere to spend the summer.

    A few ladies in waiting.  I have no idea where these will be planted but I hope to have the table cleared by the end of the week.

    Oh, did I mention that the upstairs room of our house that was used to overwinter plants before we had the greenhouse is somehow full again?  How on earth did this happen?   Do you suppose there'll be space enough for these outside too?

    Okay, no more plants!  Really, I mean it.  This collection is out of hand.  Thank goodness cacti and succulents don't require much attention.

    Have you started bringing tender plants outside yet? 

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  • 04/04/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette
  • Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join the fun.

    Scadoxus punicues has started blooming in the greenhouse.  This is it's third year of living with me and it's making a nice clump.  This year, there are five blooms.  

    They look a bit like exploding fireworks or pompoms. 

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  • 04/05/18--03:03: Bremerton City Nursery
  • Okay, one last nursery stop on the way home from the Heronswood sale. Bremerton City Nursery is not the largest in the region but they sure pack their space with a lot of great plants, fun stuff, and really nice people!  I've never left disappointed or without finding some treasures to take home.

    Dragons are taking over!

    Hellebores a go-go

    Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' Calluna vulgaris  and flamingos.  

    Sweet little bunches of silk tulips.

    What a joy to see the nurseries once again fully stocked with plant offerings for the new season!

    Acacia  cognata 'Cousin Itt' looking so healthy and happy.

    My kind of wine cellar.

    These hanging vases, made in Portland, are a fun way to display tillandsias. 

    Wire and rock tillandsia holders were made in house.  Cool idea!

    I love seeing the work of Rusty Birds.  They also sell online at

    Concrete egg planters.

    It was just before St. Patrick's Day when we visited and the nursery was certainly ready. 
    There was a lot more to see but by this point my hands were busy holding plants so the picture-taking stopped.  As usual, I forgot to photograph what I found and now can't remember.  Oops.

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  • 04/06/18--06:00: A Friday Quickie
  • Let's take a quick look at part of my garden.  Why so quick?  Well because it's raining.  What is it that April showers bring?  Wet gardeners, that's what.  Although we here in the PNW have moss-covered webbed feet, electronics haven't yet adapted to  the rain quite as much.  

    Spring is a time for happy surprises like this Senecio candicans 'Angel Wings'  which is sold as a "temperennial."  When they're dry (that'll happen around July 5th) the leaves are silvery white and soft as a baby's behind.  I got this before our big freezes, left it out in it's pot and surprisingly it survived beautifully. 

    Acer  in the distance is starting to leaf out and will soon hide the house across the alley again.  Hooray.

    Maybe it's time to divide this clump as it was larger in years past. 

    Brugmansia just liberated from the greenhouse.

    Good old 'President Roosevelt' is providing color while Skimmia Japonica adds fragrance.   

    Enter smell-o-rama -  Escallonia illinita, buried somewhere in the shrubbery is pouring out the fragrance of curry.  With the camellia showering the ground with vibrant color, it feels a bit like the garden's own celebration of Holi.  Podophyllum delavayi is popping up to say hello.

     It's magnolia time!


    Somebody had better clean up this mess soon. 

    Since you're all wet and cold now, come sit by the fire and warm yourself a bit. I wonder if the canna in here made it through the winter?
    Happy weekend all.

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  • 04/09/18--06:00: In a Vase on Monday

  • It's daffodil time in the garden and I was reminded of this wine decanter/goblet set that my pottery guru in Alaska made in the 70's.  For some reason, this came to college with me and the decanter, filled with daffodils sat in the windowsill of my practice room in the music building during most of the spring.  Having only seen daffodils grown in gardens, it was amazing to me that every grocery store in the area offered bunches of them.  Little did I know then that this area, at that time, was a major producer of both daffodil bulbs and blooms.  This set has lived in the attic for years now and seldom crosses my mind but seeing bunches of daffodils in the store on Sunday took me on a drive down memory lane.

    I grabbed a bunch at the store and picked a few from my garden and they  look identical to me.

    Some glass pebbles, most of which were used inside the vessels to hold the stems, and a few glass eggs, in honor of spring, were added.
    Sweet college memories  and fresh golden daffodils will bring me joy this week.  Bringing a bit of the outdoors inside, either  from our gardens or scavenged nearby, to elicit happy thoughts during the week is the idea behind In a Vase on Monday, this addictive meme hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. Do click here to see what others have put in vases this week.  Thanks for getting us hooked, Cathy.

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    Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a coworker's new home, meeting his wife, delightful children and holding the newest member of the family, a recently-born adorable baby girl.  What a special treat.  An added bonus is that their house is very close to Portland Avenue Nursery.   It was raining outside but who would let a little thing like precipitation keep him from plant shopping? 

    Rusty vehicles, old gas pumps and topiary let us know that we're definitely at PAN.  The sign above was also a dead giveaway.

     Annuals, veggie starts, and potted bulbs fill the shelves.

    I love the foliage of Alstroemeria 'Rock n Roll' but in my garden, it doesn't  come back in subsequent years with as much vigor as it displays the first year it's planted.

    The flowers are nice too but it's really the foliage that excites me.  

    What a difference a few months make.  Here is a November view. 

    Now, perennials and potted rose bushes fill the space!

     Again, a view from a November visit.

    Now the tables are once again present and filled. 

    Love this color combination. 

    A formerly vacant area is once again full of azaleas waiting to burst into brilliant bloom. 

    There were some fun unusual surprises like Trillium sessile

    Shrubby goodness showing great twig color for winter interest. 

    Superb collection of  evergreens. 

    Camellia 'Carter's Sunburst' has huge blooms and was tempting.

    So was C. 'April Remembered'

    The soft pink color and heart-shaped leaves of 'Taylor's Perfection'  are fabulous.  As the petals fall, they litter the ground with pink hearts.  I lingered for quite a while trying to decide where this could possibly fit in my garden.  I'd probably have to get rid of one of my white camellias to grow this one and that would place this one within eyeshot of a more orange-pink  camellia with which it would clash horribly so that one would have to move but then this one could go in that spot as it would look really sweet with the white one.  Too much thinking, too much work, enough camellias in my garden already.  Although these are such sweet late winter through spring bloomers.   Maybe I'll go back sometime and see if it's still there. 

    It's reassuring to know that all the rusty old vehicles have a fuel source. 

    Oh deer.

    And as Loree says, "There's always an agave."

    While passiflora in our gardens won't be blooming for a while yet, these greenhouse sweeties (or maybe brought up from California) are  popping now. 
    Nothing made it into the plant mobile this time.  There's still a pot ghetto at home filled with plants waiting to find a home.   

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  • 04/11/18--06:00: Wednesday Vignette - SPRING

  • It's an exciting time in our gardens when changes happen rapidly and there's something fun and new to notice every day!   The emerging leaves of Acer palmatum 'Emerald Lace'  and really all the maples are covering the once-bare twigs with  a faint green (or red or purple) glow.

    To see what's catching the eye of gardeners this week, click on over our host, Anna's blog,  Flutter and Hum.

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    On Saturday,  the predicted storm blew in early and heavy rain was coming in sideways as Tom set out to meet a friend to watch Tacoma's Daffodil Parade.  I decided to stay home but just as the parade was about to begin, there was a break in the storm and the sun even made an appearance.  Tom took the below pictures.

    "The Daffodil Festival originated in 1934 as a celebration of the agriculture industry in the Puyallup and Sumner area. The Daffodil Parade became an annual event where the community gathered, and the daffodil was the exalted symbol. The celebration gradually grew to make its way through four Pierce County cities in a single day."  Quotes are from the Daffodil Festival website

    Bands from many schools were on hand.

    "Despite the loss of the daffodil farmers throughout the years, Pierce County is still fertile ground, continuing to sprout new ideas and ways of thinking, ingenuity, industry, and innovation. The parade still hosts the beautiful golden flowers, but the true celebration continues to revolve around the community from which it originates, and the people whose hands have built the festival from the very beginning. The high school bands, floats, businesses and local organizations, all hold strong ties to the streets they march, walk, and ride over in the parade. It is for this reason that the Daffodil Festival still flourishes."

    "This Festival thrives, when Pierce County is at its strongest; when the support and spirit of its diverse communities come together. When they share their talents, and take part in a grand tribute to the land they live in, magic happens. That’s the Parade, showcasing a community at its best."

    "Daffodils came to the Puyallup Valley around 1925 to replace the area’s dying hop industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended bulb growing because of the Valley’s excellent soil and ideal climate. About 200 varieties of Daffodils are grown, with the King Alfred being best known and most locally grown."

    Each high school in Pierce County elects a daffodil princess and  through some sort of contest, one is crowned queen of the festival.  However, all of the princesses act as ambassadors of Pierce County and dedicate their year of royalty to community service.  The royal court always wears daffodil yellow dresses but Tom didn't get a picture of them.  You can see one here.

    While in Portlandia they put a bird on it, in Pierce County, we put a daffodil on it. 

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  • 04/13/18--06:00: Plants Tend To Grow
  • The spring migration began a bit earlier this year in hopes of avoiding the sunscorch that damaged some of the agaves last year.  Now I'm hoping that the daily rain won't cause rot.  So, the larger agaves and aloes have made it out but there are still another half of the Danger Gardenette plants  inside and all but one of the bromeliads are still in warmer digs.  We'll see what happens.  There's still space to squeeze in some plants, the empty pots and remnants of the winter incarnation of this area will be cleared away or filled.  The plants have all grown considerably in the last three years and it's clear that there won't be room for all of them in this location anymore.  Yikes!  There may need to be a Danger Gardenette Deux.

    It all started innocently enough a few years ago with a small Strobilanthes gossypinus.  Who wouldn't fall for that great foliage?   It spent one summer outside but then didn't make it out of the greenhouse last year.

    I decided to move it from it's space in the greenhouse and was surprised by how much light it had been blocking.  I'll take cuttings this summer and see if they'll root and then maybe let the big plant go.  Do you have experience rooting this plant? 

    The wind storm that happened shortly after it was moved wasn't kind to this fellow but nothing broke so perhaps it'll perk up when warmer weather arrives.

    The puppy was small when I brought it home.

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    On the fifteenth of each month, Carol (Congratulations on the publication of your second book!) of May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  It's a great way to keep a journal of what's blooming in our gardens and to take a peek at what's blooming in various climates around the world.  To see more, click here.  Here's a look at what's blooming in my zone 8 Pacific Northwest Garden this month.

    The winter pansies have been troopers since they were planted in October. 

    Potted tulips

    I forgot that these were here but they've come back for a second year. 

    More surprises that are at least four years old. 


    M. 'Black Tulip'  and 'Elizabeth'  have  buds but aren't open yet. 


    A carpet-forming Speedwell whose name slips my mind at the moment. 

    Euphorbia wulfenii

    Pieris japonica 

    In addition to the violets in the lawn, golden violets are blooming in a pot.  I was afraid that these wouldn't be as tolerant of mowing.

    In the greenhouse, Abutilon 'Victor Reiter' 

    Scadoxus puniceus

    Ceanothus is just starting to open next to the very red Ribes speciosum (not pictured) which makes a delightful color combination.



    Inherited native Mahonia

    Daphne odora

    Akebia quinata 'Shirobana' has a spicy scent reminiscent of fragrant stock.

     Fritillaria meleagris

    Grape hyacinths

    The double primroses tend to come back for me better than the singles for some reason. 

    Saxifraga  something or other. 

    Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex'




    Hellebores are still blooming all over the place.  Here are a couple. 

    Stachyurus praecox is just about finished for the year. 

    Berberis darwinii
    Happy GBBD all and happy tax day to those of you in the U.S.

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    Many were surprised and saddened to learn that Jeff Pinto  died of pancreatic cancer recently.  Jeff and his wife, Donna, whose whimsical ceramic work had become a mainstay of local garden and art shows, were the creative force behind Marriah House Studio in Sherwood, Oregon.  At the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's recent sale, "Hortlandia,"  Jeff's familiar work was present  and signs reading "Last Show" were posted.  His daughter was selling the last of his inventory.  More of his work will be posted here in the future and you may recall this post from a few years ago.  We will miss chatting with the affable Mr. Pinto and the joy of seeing what new pieces his creative mind and talented hands had created.  These three yellow pieces came home with me from Hortlandia and it seemed fitting to use them for today's IaVoM arrangement.

    Forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts, and pansies fill the vessels. 

    Farewell, Jeff, and thanks for the lasting legacy of your work.

     In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who encourages us to bring some of the outdoors inside each Monday to bring us joy throughout the week.  Click here to see what others have found to bring inside  today.

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    Pam Penick of Digging hosts Foliage Follow-Up on the day (or so)  after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month to remind us of the important role that foliage plays in our gardens every day of the year.  Click here to see Pam's gorgeous foliage and to find links to that of other participating gardeners.

    There's a lot of foliage bursting forth in our pacific northwest gardens this spring.  It's no secret that I'm a fan of podophyllum and love the way they emerge.  Today's post is mostly about them. 

    It's interesting that some of these little darlings are fully leafed out (and one even a bit tattered by our recent strong winds) while others are just peeking out of the soil.  P. 'Red Panda'  (P. difforme, not shown is just peeking out of the soil too while P. pleianthum is already a foot high.)

    P. delavayi

    P. delavayi

    P. 'Spotty Dotty and delavayi

    P. 'Red Panda'  It's interesting how similar thes all look at this stage and how different they'll look in a few weeks. 

    Sinopanax formosanus made it through the winter above ground in this pot but it's in a slightly protected spot.

    Trevesia aff. palmata  was in a plastic pot and got put in the greenhouse during our freezes but moved back out an potted here in it's more permanent home. 
    Hope you're enjoying the foliage in your garden!

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    "I really don't need any more plants and don't want to buy anything but we should go to Hortlandia, just for the fun of the road trip and to chat with a friend or two." he said as they hopped in the car at 7:00 a.m.  "No, we don't need to get those bags of potting soil and other garden do-dads out of the trunk.  I can't imagine buying anything that won't fit in the back seat of the car."

    "Well, since we've already made the two hour trip, we really should check out some nurseries after the sale, right?"  escaped his lips after spending time at Hortlandia. (and maybe picking up a few plants.)

    One giant plant sale and five nurseries later and not only the back seat was full.

    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join the fun!

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  • 04/19/18--06:00: Hortlandia 2018
  • The rain poured down outside and was predicted to do so all day on Saturday.  No work would be done in the garden and the house is just too far gone to even ponder cleaning.  Why not take a road trip to Portland to attend Hortlandia, the Hardy Plant Society's spring plant sale, one of the largest in the PNW?  An added bonus was that it didn't rain in Portland and it was ten degrees warmer than it was in Tacoma. 

    It's been a rainy, wet spring and lots of people were in the mood to shop for plants.  This line of cars was waiting to find parking.  Fortunately, Tom was driving so I was able to hop out and walk while he waited to park.

    The crowd in the lobby of the Expo center was larger than remember ever seeing before.  But once the doors opened, folks proceeded inside in an orderly fashion. There were so many people that I didn't take very many pictures.  The educational tables are always a delight.

    Rita Lee's Nursery always has a nice selection of cacti and succulents.

    This temptation was in someone else's space.

    So many great vendors; so many great plants.  For a complete list of vendors and a map, click here

    There's something for everyone at this sale.  Acers a go-go.

     It always surprises me that potted spring flowering bulbs are so popular at sales when they can be ordered as bulbs at a fraction of the price.   These are sweet though. I didn't get a picture of the sea of blue gentians in bloom but a couple of them came home with me. 

    Cornus controversa 'Variegata'

    Rhododendron spinuliferum

    Fortunately, Gossler didn't have any of this camellia left at the sale otherwis one may have come home with me and I have enough camellias in my garden already!

    I think this creation is from Contained Exuberance.

    Scadoxus puniceus at Rare Plant Research

    More gems from RPR

    Mostly, there were people. Lots and lots of people, all enjoying looking at plants.  The show was open both Saturday and Sunday and pal Loree, who went back on Sunday to help take the show down said that there were still folks at the checkout line right up until the very end.

    I did get a few plants (only a box and 1/2.)  One of the best parts of the show was running into so many blogging friends like Matthew, (Lents Farmer) Alan, (Mardi Gras Gardener) Ricki, (Sprig to Twig) Anna, (Flutter and Hum) and Loree (Danger Garden.)  Strangely, I missed seeing Alison (Bonney Lassie)  but neither of us knew that the other was going. 

    Osmunda regalis looks so beautiful unfurling new fronds.  Yes, that podophyllum to the left came home with me.
    After we checked out, there was still quite a bit of the day left, it was bright and warm outside and still raining at home so  we visited five area nurseries before heading home.   Once Hortlandia happens, spring has officially arrived.  Now if Mother Nature would get the memo, turn up the thermostat a notch or two and cut back on precipitation a bit, we'll all be thrilled!

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    Not far from Portland's Expo Center, where Hortlandia took place last weekend, is Marbott's Greenhouse and Nursery, growing plants for homes and gardens since 1930.  Mr. Marbott, better known as Ernie, is 89 years old and still a fixture here.  It was a delight to once again discuss tuberous begonias with Ernie and to hear how excited he is with the beauties he starts from seed in November.  By now they're full grown and starting to bloom.  After all these years, starting seeds and watching plants grow still holds his heart.  Tuberous begonias are exactly what I'd come here to find. 

    While I always have surviving tubers from last year starting inside, it's always nice to add one or two already in full bloom.

    While 'Nonstop' tuberous begonias are widely available as plants, few greenhouses (I'm only aware of Marbott's and Wells Medina who grow their own plants)  bother with the large. old-fashioned kind.  Perhaps because their stems are fairly brittle and might not be the most sturdy things to transport to stores.  Fortunately, tubers are widely available.  Some of my favorites are those that I ordered from Blackmore and Langdon a few years ago. 

    These are not the trendiest plants but the big bright blooms remind me of how beautifully they grew in the Alaska gardens of my youth. 

    Another plant that I've only seen at Marbott's is Kalanchoe uniflora 'Coral Bells.'  It's a great, easy-care succulent that flowers over a long period and the dried blooms make a delightful tinkling noise in the breeze.

    Another favorite that bloomed most of the summer in Alaska is fragrant stock.  Here it stops blooming  in the heat of summer. There's nothing quite like that scent. 

    Shady characters. 

    Coffee anyone? 

    Spring color!

    Heuchera 'Red Lightening' looks good all year long.  

    Marbott's grows most of what they sell.  The promise of lots of gorgeous annual blooms.

    thes little demonstration gardens are looking sweet. 

    More annuals!

    For those who enjoy blue flowers, there's nothing quite like a carpet of gentian.

    The geranium (Pelargonium) houses are full.  

    I usually don't notice the rock garden in the front as it's on a busy street and the parking lot is closer to the retail areas.  However, Ernie called his son over to take me out front to a locked greenhouse to see some special begonia hanging baskets they'd put together.

    It would have been rude not to get one or two, right?  After all Mr. Marbott Jr. went out of his way and all.

    One last look before moving on to a few more nurseries. 

    Happy weekend all!