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A slave to the Goddess Flora shares his garden adventures.
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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there to see what caught the eye of other participants.

    It's always nice to discover that a well-known figure shares an interest in gardening. Prince Charles, for instance, is an avid gardener.  Imagine my surprise, while shopping at Molbak's Nursery earlier this summer to see Marge Simpson looking quite at home among the plants.  While she'd dyed her trademark blue hair a different color to fit in with the crowd, the coiffure was unmistakable.  You grow girl!

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    Back on July First Greg Olsen and Avery Denise Armstrong opened their garden for the Northwest Perennial Alliance and I was lucky enough to visit.  The glare of late afternoon sun was not particularly conducive to taking good garden pictures.

    "Our garden is now 4 years old.  The previous garden had to be removed when the old house was demolished to make way for the new contemporary and accessible house that now occupies the site. Visitors to the garden are greeted by the sunny golden leaves of Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisa.'"

    "The new garden is in many ways a reflection of the house; it focuses on sustainability, ease of care, and accessibility."

    Ornamental grasses, euphorbias, and ceanothus mingle with a wide variety of colorful berberis."

    "To make your way into the sunken garden visitors can stroll or roll their way down an accessible gravel ramp that is bordered by all silver foliaged plants including multiple varieties of lavenders, sedums, and nepetas."

    "Also on hand in the front and back gardens are numerous pots filled with a combination of showy annuals and fun perennials."

    View of the house from the sunken garden behind. 

    Greg reports that this Rhodocoma capensis spent the winter outside in this pot and didn't miss a beat.

    A path leads back up the other side of the house back to the front garden.

    All too soon, it was time to go.

    Thanks Greg and Avery for opening your garden for us all to enjoy!

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    While the days are still warm, they are becoming noticeably  shorter, lawns are turning a bit less green (okay brown) and most of the perennial floral fireworks have fizzled.  Annuals are still blooming like there's no tomorrow but some plants are looking a bit tired.

    Fall is only 28 days away. Summer is never long enough is it?  Albizia julibrissin  (Mimosa) continues to pump out pom-pom blooms and throw them all over the ground and into the pond.

    Clerodendrum bungei 'Cashmere Bouquet' likes to spread everywhere but is forgiven because of it's late and fragrant blooms.  The bush with white flowers is Clerodendrum trichotomum but it's different from the other two in my garden.  The calyxes of this one are white to pink and the leaves are furrier and lighter in color. It's also just blooming now (along with C.t. 'Carnival' (dark pink calyxes, variegated widerfolaige) while the other one, is just about done.

     Soon the hardy cyclamen all over the garden will be full of blooms.

    The first Euonymus europaeus to show it's colorful seeds is always this one from the former Heronswood Nursery.   

    Seems like the Colchicum autumnale are a bit later than usual this year as they're usually going strong on the 27th. The first are just poking their noses above ground.

    Plumbago auriculata looking fresh.  Too bad I don't really have room for this sweet thing. Surprisingly, it continues to live even though it's crammed between a bunch of other plants.

    In the greenhouse, an opuntia bloom.

    It's been a good year for tomatoes!

    Musa 'Ai Ai' which pouted  (looked quite dead) when the greenhouse door was left open overnight this winter has finally made a comeback.

    Abutilons continue.

     Billardiera Longiflora is especially heavy with fruit.

    Arum italicum berries.
     Physalis alkekengi

    Paulownia tomentosa trees are heavy with seed pods and the raccoons visit the fig tree nightly for snacks.  Spiders are growing larger, their webs more visible as mornings begin to spangle them with dewy moisture. Change is in the air.

    Thank goodness for the stalwart evergreens!
    I hope you get out and enjoy the rest of this summer to the fullest!  I get to work at Jungle Fever on Saturday afternoon.  Hooray!  Happy weekend all!

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  • 08/28/17--05:37: In A Vase On Monday
  • Many thanks to the creative and dedicated Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  for hosting In A Vase On Monday!  Be sure to use the link above to visit her blog and see what others have expertly arranged or unceremoniously plunked into a container to enjoy this week.

    Can it be the last Monday of August already?  The last few weeks have been busy with getting ready for the beginning of school and the start of the choir year.  It's funny, I've done both for over thirty years and I still worry that on the first day, I won't know what to do.  It's a bit like planting a garden. Each September a new group of seeds arrives and the gardener's job is to create an appropriate environment, provide consistent attention and care, and stand back and admire what each is capable of becoming.

    On Sunday, the decision was finally made to severely cut back an Arctostaphylos in the parking strip that had stubbornly decided to fall over and grow sideways. While it looked lovely, it was beginning to take up the better part of a parking space on the street.  I'd tied, propped, begged, and cajoled it to grow in the opposite direction but to no avail.  The main trunk and several branches simply had to be cut. There is still a bit of it left and hopefully it'll grow up rather than out.  It seemed fitting that a few small bits would make their way into a vase.

    Joining the Manzanita are some seed pods of Lunaria annua, sometimes called Money Plant and a few Japanese Anemones.

    Joining the vase, which came from a neighbor's estate sale, is a bit of amethyst, a favorite stone of my grandmother, which is supposed to rid one's home of negative energy, help with grief and loss, and bring stability and inner strength.

    Also on the table are fallen petals from the anemones, and the "money" part of Lunaria annua that is rubbed away along with the seeds to enjoy the shiny bits used in arrangements. These will soon be blown away by the wind to sprout where they will.   Greens, flowers, seeds, an entire summer's work.  Things past/things yet to be.
    The end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new academic year.  
    (When the arrangement doesn't really go together, give it some other kind of meaning, right?)

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    Every great once in a while Jerry, the owner of Jungle Fever, takes a few hours off and I get to play at the nursery.  Since it's a dream of mine to work at a nursery in retirement or own one if I ever win the lottery, it's a real treat to step in and get to chat with people about the wonders of plants.  Of course the camera came with me.  Here's a sliver of what's to be seen at this magical place, a unique mix of unusual plants and garden art. While the nursery has changed over the years, the cool vibe remains constant.

    Spiky temptation.

    I have one of these that Darlene, Jerry's former partner, started before she died.  Perhaps this winter, I'll get around to finishing it.

    Jerry  has found quite a few of these painted rocks on his walks.  They're part of the Tacoma Rocks project inspired by the Kindness Rocks Project.

    While it may have started with just a few folks, there are now all kinds of people painting rocks and hiding them for others to find, keep or re hide. I've even found a couple in my parking strip.

    You never know who might be watching you here. 

    One of the things I love about the nursery is that it feels like walking through a garden except here, it's not considered poor form to pick up a plant that you like and take it to your own garden.

    My Mahonia gracilipes reliably blooms but has never produced berries.  Do you suppose they have better fruit set with two?  One of these berry-laden beauties came home with me to test the hypothesis.

    Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' is a bright spot in a shady corner. 

    While I resisted the cacti, in addition to the Mahonia, a couple native Adiantum pedatum (Northern Maidenhair Fern) came  home with me along with a Clematis and a Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty.’

    It's a pleasure to spend several hours poking around as there are so many plants that it's easy to miss a treasure or two in just a short visit.

    A new batch of carnivorous plants from Courting Frogs had me drooling but I already have quite a few.

    Jungle Fever was the first place in the area that used bowling balls extensively throughout their space about 15 years ago.

    Jerry's image on an independent film festival poster can be seen to the right of Buddha. 
    What a fun afternoon!

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my pal Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there to see vignettes from other participating bloggers!

    We're accustomed to summer drought in the Pacific Northwest but we'd all like to see a bit of rain.

    Dead eucalyptus fingers strumming the strings of a sky guitar.  Sun and blue sky are in the forecast for the next month and a half.

    The Surprise was this blog post on my pal Tatyana's blog about her visit to my garden in July. Thanks Tatyana for sharing the beautiful pictures and very kind words.

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    "The Arboretum at South Seattle College is a five-acre botanical collection with several distinct gardens throughout.  The Coenosium Garden is highly regarded as one of the best collections of dwarf conifers in the U.S."

    "Established in 1978, in response to requests from the landscape/horticulture students, the Arboretum has been designed, built, and maintained by the students over the years.  It continues to serve as a living laboratory for students of many interests and majors at the college and as a public garden. "

    I was fascinated by this large drained water feature.  The water couldn't have been gone too long as the plants inside were still green.

    Paths weave through informal shaded areas and large open lawns edged with roses.

    Here we find  a rose garden. 

    Dwarf conifers are used informally throughout. 

    This plaque brought a smile.  Cass was an amazing woman.

    Suddenly at a clearing, this surprise.   I'd no idea that The Seattle Chinese Garden was also part of this campus and the guide book said nothing about it.  Not knowing if this was a public garden or not, I approached with caution.

    Luckily there was a very nice and knowledgeable man working here who told me that there are regional differences in types of traditional Chinese gardens.  (I'd mentioned that Portland's Lan Su Garden seemed very different.)  This open plaza style originates in a different part of the country.

    The garden is only a few years old and is an ongoing project. 

    Fencing made of bamboo surrounds brush piles. 

    There's even a place where you can pose with terra cotta warriors. 

    A fish out of water. 

    When all of these peonies are in bloom this must be spectacular.  (There's a peony and bamboo festival in May.)

    Heading back into the woods. 

    Time to head back to the plant mobile.  

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  • 09/01/17--06:00: A Gardener Gardens!
  • It was a hot day in July and I'd just finished visiting some gardens up north.  Having emptied my water bottle, I decided to stop by a Seven Eleven store on busy highway 99 to grab something to drink.  On my way back to the plantmobile, a bit of color caught my eye behind the fenced store dumpsters.  

    In this unlikely place, a gardener had worked a bit of magic. 

    The juxtaposition of  joyful cottage garden full of brilliant colors against the hot asphalt parking lot and chain link fence was thrilling.

    The words of Les Brake asked about his stunning zone 3 garden (he'd moved from much warmer Texas) echoed in my mind, "A gardener gardens."

    This is just what was visible from the parking lot of the store as I wasn't bold enough to go into the garden.

    I hope you're equally surprised by joy this weekend!
    Happy gardening!

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  • 09/04/17--06:00: In A Vase On Monday
  • In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click over there to see what others are popping in a vase to enjoy inside this week.

    No blooms made it into my vase this week, just a combination that I first saw in a pot at Jungle Fever many years ago and copied: Corokia cotoneaster, Arum italicum, and Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens.' The Black Mondo Grass was growing in a crack in the path and will get a nicer home once it's time in the vase is over.

    I threw in a sprig of Jacobaea maritima for fun. 

    The vase is a thrift store find.  Joining it is a titanium quartz crystal and a bird made by Cindy Jenkins.

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  • 09/05/17--06:00: End of Month Favorites
  • Yes, it is the beginning of the month but I always forget the final Friday of the month when Danger invites everyone to share their current favorites so I'm sharing them now instead.

    Brugmansia 'Snowbank' has been pretty stingy with it's flowers this season but who cares with foliage like that?

    When the sun shines through the foliage of Begonia 'Gene Daniels,' it's glorious.  I've rooted a cutting from this big plant to hold over winter.

    New to me and just blooming now is Hemiboea subcapitata.  Common name is Glossy False Sinningia

    It was the glossy foliage of this Chinese native that caught my eye but flowering at this time of year is pretty swell too.  To learn more look here.

    What does a plant addict do in the middle of a heat wave?  Why, order plants to be put in a box and be further stressed by the heat  of course.

    But, Agave 'Snow Glow' needed to come to my house and so did Agave weberi 'Arizona Star.'
     Unfortunately, at the bottom of the order screen, a little message popped up saying that I could order  more plants without increasing the shipping charge.  It only made sense to order a few more things unavailable locally, right?  Athyrium 'Godzilla,' Equisetum giganteum 'El Tabacal' and a couple of others filled out the order.  All arrived well watered and looking remarkably good considering their heat torture.

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by the delightful and talented Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Flutter on over there and see what all the hum is about this week!

    Remember when the sky was a beautiful clear blue, the sun wasn't red and it wasn't snowing ash?  On On a beautiful day in July I had the pleasure of visiting Karen Brindley's garden in Indianola, designed by  our favorite cowboy, Shayne Chandler.  Notice the yellow Tibetan prayer flags on the left side of the image; they're a clue as to who gardens next door.  Stay tuned for a full tour of this stunning garden.  Maybe I should save it for a soggy winter day...

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    The Galicic family hosted the sixth annual Normandy Park Neighborhood Garden Festival and Plant Sale, an event to which I look forward each year.  Justin, who writes the blog Growing Steady, designed and built the garden at his parents' home and, although he now lives at his own place, he still comes back to help his parents from time to time.  The festival has something for everyone to enjoy, even children and non-gardeners.  See previous posts, with better images here and here.  This year, the midday sun and blue skies were pleasant but not so great for taking pictures.

    The first thing one sees from the street are raised beds full of some prickly characters.  It's been a thrill watching this Agave ovatifolia get larger each year.

    Is that Agave 'Mr. Ripple' in front of the Butia capitata?  I'm tempted to leave mine outside this winter.

    From the desert to the oasis.

    Into the jungle.

    Wow, look at the size of that Fatsia polycarpa Needham form.

    These boulders as well as the others in the garden are actually Justin's hollow concrete creations.  My pal Camille took a class from Justin and created a hollow boulder of her own.  Cordyline 'Electric Flash' is striking!

    Rhodocoma capensis on the right sailed through the winter and I don't see any brown foliage.   

    As if a beautiful open garden and plant sale weren't incentive enough to attend, lunch is served, a guest speaker gives a plant talk and there are activities for children.

    There were lots of great plants at the sale but I didn't take any pictures.  Seems my hands were busy doing something else.

    Past speakers have included Dan Hinkley, Kelly Dodson, and Graham Kerr.  This year, another world-renowned plantsman, Sean Hogan, brought plants to sell and then gave a talk about some of his favorites.  Conveniently, the plant sale was open after the talk.

    Oh my, that's Clematis florida var. sieboldiana in the middle climbing the trunks of Schefflera taiwaniana.

    Many thanks to the Galicic family  for another opportunity to visit their stunning garden and for this lovely annual tradition!

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    "In 1993, Karen and Warner bought a 100 year old Victorian Catholic church and rectory in the Snohomish Historic District.  They named it Angel Arms Works" began the description of this garden in the Northwest Perennial Alliance book of open gardens.  Sounded right up my alley and indeed it was!

    "The buildings were renovated for an art studio and residence, and Karen started working on the garden desing, considering this an extension of her work as an artist." (Talk about a parking strip!  Can you imagine the spectacle when all of those iris were in bloom?)

    Every detail of this garden is a visual delight.  

    "Katsura trees held by custom-made tree guards line the front sidewalk."

    The mingled feelings of peace and excitement that came over me on entering this space, the vibe of the place, is difficult to describe.

    "Karen created 'flowers' mode of industrial parts to serve as plant support stakes throught.  Look also for Warner's abstract angels."

    "Because the garden is relatively small, paths were created to weave through curving beds. A brick patio was built on a central entry axis, covered with an arbor Warner built."

    This poem, written by Karen as the U.S. was dropping bombs on Afghanistan, adorns the four beams of the arbor.

    It was about at this point that I met Karen herself and started asking questions about various objects. I'll never forget her question, "Do you like stuff?" With racing heart and dancing eyes, I wiped the drool from my mouth and calmly responded that, yes, I enjoy admiring things.

    We were invited inside the house.  Karen is an artist, yoga instructor, and the mayor of Snohomish a combination as successfully eclectic as her home's interior.  I'm usually not a fan of the marriage of modern industrial objects and Victorian-era homes but this was done in such a seamless way as to seem quite natural.  Modern and antique furnishings cavorted as if made for each other, all holding collections of stunning objects centered on the idea of harmony, glorious artwork dripping from the walls.  I wasn't bold enough to ask to take pictures of the interior but you can see a few accompanying this article in  Western Art and Architecture.  One of my favorite things about the former church rectory was a rather large antique armoire with three mirrored doors in the dining room. The two side doors opened to reveal storage for tableware.  The center door, when opened, revealed a portal to Blake's studio, probably the former sacristy of the church.

    A quote from that article: “We are very aware that this was a house of worship. Years of prayers and forgiveness put us in touch with a sense of spirit,” Guzak says. “I would call that spirit a universal life force. And, isn’t that what artists hope to capture and reveal in their work? A life force that touches our souls.”

    As Karen mentioned, the garden is not huge but it holds many spaces to relax, reflect, and enjoy the wonder of the space.

    Learn more about Angel Arms Works on their website.

    My only regret is that I don't live closer to  Snohomish so that I could pass by this garden on a regular basis.

    Thank you Karen and Warner for opening your garden (and home) for so many to enjoy!
    Happy weekend all.  The Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society Odd Plant Show and Sale takes place at Sky Nursery on Saturday and Sunday!

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  • 09/11/17--06:00: In A Vase On Monday
  • A busy week and weekend found me rushing around late Sunday afternoon to find something to quickly throw into a container.  Fuchsias are still blooming their heads off in my garden so a few got trimmed away from a path and quickly tossed into a crystalline glazed vase.  There aren't a lot of vase-worthy late summer blooms in my garden at the moment but I couldn't bring myself to do an evergreen foliage arrangement quite yet.

     Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for sponsoring In a Vase on Monday!  Visit her blog to enjoy what others are putting in their vases this week. 

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    Affiliated with the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, the CC&SS meets throughout the year and is a really great group of plant enthusiasts.  Each September on the weekend after labor day, the society has a plant sale at Sky Nursery in Northshore, WA.  I attended the sale for the first time last year and decided not to miss it again!  Here's a taste of this year's offerings.

    Okay, this was technically stuff from Sky Nursery, not from the Odd Plant Sale itself  but it was perfectly placed outside the entrance to the sale area.

    You're not fooling anyone, bilbergia!

    One of the unique things about the sale is that the plants come from private collections so there's a wide variety from specimens that are quite large to small starts.

    There are at least a couple of potters in the society who also make their own pots. 

    These little footed pots are adorable!

    Ariocarpus fissuratus (That's Latin for resembling a cow pie.)


    Love these bonsai-looking succulent groupings. 

    Somehow this wound up in my cart.  You have to watch out for jumping plants all the time!

    Nice colors on these kalanchoe leaves.

    Echeveria setosa deminuta.  Is that a great blue or what?  Unfortunately this was in someone else's box.

    Stunning plant/pot combination. 

    How'd they do that?

    Euphorbia milii 'Peppermint Candy' also in someone else's box. 

    Pleiospilos compactus canus 

    No spray paint needed!  
    So what else came home with me?  You'll have to wait and see. (Because I forgot to take a picture.)

    This coming Saturday, September 16,  is the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Fall Plant Fest and Event with Sean Hogan!  Read more here.  To add to the riches, The Heronswood Open and plant sale takes place on the same weekend here in Washington and includes talks by Andy Navage and Arlen Hill.  Learn more here.  

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  • 09/13/17--06:00: Wednesday Vignette
  • Visiting McAuliffe's Valley Nursery in Snohomish for the first time this summer, I noticed an interesting raised platform large enough for a speaker or performing group.  What was on stage at the moment?   White/cream has never been my favorite color of pot but these varied shapes against the emerald green backdrop with  elegant red side curtains were stunning.

    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my pal Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over and join the party!

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  • 09/14/17--06:00: Sometimes A Light Surprises
  • This week is a bit crazy for me with activities at work every evening.  I get used to coming and going in the dark during the winter when the garden doesn't need attention but at this time of year, it's a bit more challenging.  Tired and maybe a bit grumpy, I got home last night just in time to water some droopy plants and  take a few pictures for bloom day before it got totally dark.  The grumpiness was left from the morning when I found and cleaned up some debris and trash thrown in my parking strips and various items on my back steps.  Sometimes, when that happens  thoughts of  getting rid of all the plants out there and replacing them with gravel pop into my head.  It passes.

    Anyway, as I was out wandering in the twilight, I spotted a much nicer surprise.  A while ago,  my gardening pal, Camille, emailed me a picture of a wrought iron plant stand her mother no longer wanted and asked if I would like it.  How nice of her to think of me.  It's larger than it looks in this picture and could hold several plants or a collection of glass heads.  Anyway, there it was in my garden.  My delight at finding this helped me overcome the embarrassment of Camille seeing my garden in such disarray.

    This well timed gift made me contemplate how fortunate I am in so many ways.  The smoke-free sky put on a pink sunset show which was enjoyed from a dry and safe home.  

    Grumpiness replaced by gratitude.  Thanks universe for so many special gardening friends and for a multitude of daily blessings!

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    It's hard to believe that it's the last bloom day of summer.  Like it or not, the autumnal equinox is only a week away.  Not a lot of new blooms in my garden this month, mostly late-staying guests at the summer party, lingering until Jack Frost breaks up the fun.


    Forgot to take pictures of the toad lily blooms.  Interesting but not impressive blooms on fabulous foliage.

    Colchicum are putting on their much-anticipated show.

    For the first time ever, I've had a problem with powdery mildew on my tuberous begonias.  Many look rather dreadful  but there are a few stalwarts that continue to crank out flowers.

    Sweet Alyssum and annual dianthus.

    Sweet little single rose.  

    Salvia 'Amistad.' S. 'Hot Lips' has been blooming all summer out in the parking strip but hasn't made a single GBBD post.

    Second round of inherited daisies. 

    Agastache 'Whoreallycares,they'remostlyallthesame' 

    Tropaeolum speciosum

    Pelargonum in a loud and tasteless color.  Begonia seedlings appeared in this pot and I left them to see what they were.  Turns out they're Begonia boliviensis in bright orange.  The combination would certainly cause nightmares for proper garden colorists.

    Begonia boliviensis


    Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy'

    Grevillea 'Ivanhoe'
     Pinguicula 'Pirouette'


    I knew the name of this once.

    Fuchsia jungle.


    Japanese Anemone

    Funny, I just looked at a few previous September GBBD blog posts and the flowers are almost identical to those in this post.  Maybe I need to try growing something different.

    Clerodendron bungei

    Not really flowers anymore of Angelica stricta 'Purpurea.' 

    Persecaria 'Golden Arrow' 

    Eryngium 'Big Blue' looking a little brown. 

    Canna 'Tropicanna' 


    Hosta 'Stained Glass' 
    Oops, forgot to take pictures of the hardy cyclamen but they're also blooming. 

    Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month.  Click over to her blog to see what's blooming in gardens all over the world right now. 

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    The addictive meme, In a Vase on Monday, a weekly opportunity to gather contents for containers from our gardens or nearby to enjoy inside during the week, is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

    On Saturday, my pal Alison and I attended the fall plant sale (the final sale of 2017) and thirtieth birthday celebration at Heronswood. For the event, none other than Dan Hinkley himself created an arrangement to grace the cupcake table.  Can you imagine having a seven-acre botanical wonder as a cutting garden? Dan's arrangement was stunning so I'm sharing it today.

    Sarracenia "pitchers" punctuate the celebration  of the bounty of late summer's garden. 

    Beautiful from all angles!

    Happy birthday to Heronswood, which is once again blossoming under the care of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the garden's original creator, Dan Hinkley.
    Ramble over to Cathy's blog to see what others are putting in a vase this week. 

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  • 09/19/17--06:00: Mark Henry's Garden
  • "In'town 'Italian-style' garden found behind privet hedge and entered by gothic gate." 

    Even though there was a green NPA Open sign on the gate, I felt almost as if I were trespassing into someone's tightly-held secret garden.  The gate creaked open and many wonders unfurled one after another.

    It never ceases to amaze me that a simple hedge can separate a busy street from a garden of solace and relaxation; that a garden can surround us with beauty, quiet,  peace, and fun in the midst of  the city's bustle.

    Do you suppose a gardener lives here? 

    "Explore  the many rooms, each distinctive, but with similar emphasis on colored -foliage plants."

    What a magnificent porch!

    "There is a formal area around the Little and Lewis fountain that features hybrid lilies.  The fountain contains a collection of antique Japanese glass balls."  Mark joked that if he found one of anything that he liked, he soon created a collection.  I'd met another kindred spirit in Snohomish.

    "The garden has been featured in many publications, including Thomas Hobbs' book, The Jewel Box Garden."

    A Wardian case nestled among foliage.  There are treasures to be found at every turn in this garden of someone who clearly enjoys collecting plants as much as objects.

    Zingy bright orange Alstroemeria.

    So many happy and healthy plants!

    I was already smitten with this garden when the sight of this potted aloe deepened my affection. 

    "The chicken house is gone, and an English greehouse is in its place."

    "Other formal elements are found in a boxwood knot garden."

    On the other end of the greenhouse is this collection of agaves and other succulents. 

    An enclosed dining area lies behind the succulent collection. 

    Here's Mark sharing stories about his garden and collections. 

    Another look at that cool dining area.

     Back around the other side of the house.

    Mr. Henry pulled out all the stops in his exuberant garden.  Ornamental pipes from an organ removed from a church where Mark had sung in the choir are repurposed  here as a support for a climbing hydrangea.

    Had to circle around to the side garden once again to get a shot of this bust that looks as if it fell from the broken column. Had the Visigoths sacked Snohomish as well?

    I would have loved to stay in this garden all day.

    Too soon it was time to say goodbye to this magical world.  
    Thank you, Mark, for opening your garden for so many to enjoy!

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    Somewhere in metropolis: 
    At the hop!  The body hop that is.  Careful observers will note that this is specifically Phil's hop.  Looks like it could have been Ye Olde Body Hoppe. 

    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Hop over there to join in the fun. 

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  • 09/21/17--06:00: McAuliffe's Valley Nursery
  • For plant addicts, finding a new nursery is always a treat.  One of the Snohomish open garden hosts suggested that, while in the area, I should visit McAuliffe's Valley Nursery.  It turned out to be a great recommendation!  "A rural 40-acre garden center offering home-grown trees, perennials, and edibles with rare varieties."

    A parking lot this interesting and tidy let me know right from the start that this was going to be a great experience.

    "Rooted in Snohomish since 1999" says their website.

    Attention to detail and plant health is evident in every corner.

    The rusty touches would be lovely in many settings but look especially at home in this rural setting.  

    In addition to the retail spaces, there is an attractive demonstration garden which was a joy to walk through on a sunny and warm July day.

    I think yer tractor done sprung a leak. 

    Make gardens not war. 

    Country elegance continues inside that iconic red barn. 

     I was positively smitten with this green-roofed garden shed. 

    You may remember this image from last week's Wednesday Vignette post. 

    More green goodness. 

    I want to meet the stone mason who did the shed and the pillars of this building. 

    While this was my first visit to Mcauliffe's, it certainly won't be my last, especially since it's only a ten minute drive from Flower World!

    Happy last day of summer!  

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    While the calendar says that today is the autumnal equinox and the cold, windy, and wet weather caused me to turn the furnace on for the first time last night, I'm still holding on to those warm and wonderful days of summer and pretending that they'll return any day now.  To help with this seasonal denial, today let's relive another beautiful July day in Seattle as we tour the garden of Myrna Torrie.

    "Step down into my garden under a clematis covered arbor."

    "Stop to take in all the visual pleasures of texture, color and form in this small space."

    "Stroll around to see an array of trees, shrubs, roses, more clematis, climbing hydrangea, perennials, containers, garden art, and a small fountain to greet you."

    "I have worked on my garden for 16 years to grow some of my favorite plants to attract birds, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds."

    "Check out some of my favorites such as Double Otto hardy fuchsia, Daphne marianni, Abutillon 'Windcliff Coral', Selaginellas and much more."

    "Descend the gravel steps lined with Daphne 'Maijima,' Phlox 'Lilac Flame,' Dichroa febrifuga, red Eccremocarpus vine and small treasures like Leptinella."

    Looking like piece of garden art, the angel (with purse) descending the stairs  is pal Alison

    Even the edibles in this garden were pristine and gorgeous.

    "Continue down around to admire my 'Endless Summer,''Blushing Bride,' and 'Lady in Red' hydrangeas."

    Ledebouria cooperi

    "I hope you will enjoy your brief respite from life's hectic pace." 

    Thank you, Myrna, for opening your beautiful garden for so many to enjoy!
    Happy first day of autumn, happy weekend, and happy gardening everyone!

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    In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to join in the fun!

    It's a strange time in my garden.  Not a lot of vase-worthy blooms.  The garden has slowed down and there are, as always, plants that should go into the ground.  Fall is in the air but it's not quite time for the plant migration although I'm beginning to squash things together in the greenhouse to make space and contemplate which plants might be houseplants for the winter.  The sun has returned but I'm not feeling particularly motivated to do a whole lot in the garden right now.  Today's containers salute to cacti and succulents that don't mind being ignored for weeks at a time.

    Contents are Eryngium 'Big Blue' and seed heads of Angelica stricta 'Purpurea'

    Happy new week everyone!

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  • 09/26/17--06:00: Random Outlaw Fun
  • Recently, pal Alison and I attended the Heronswood Fall plant sale and my heart skipped a beat when I saw this Trevisia affinis palmata on the Windcliff Plants table.  Earlier this summer, exceptional gardener and plant freak, Mary Palmer,  posted a picture of hers and created instant plant lust.  Dan Hinkley says that his specimen has been hardy outside during even the coldest winters in his zone 8b garden.  This beautiful thing comes from the mountains of NE Vietnam.   My Trevesia palmata 'Micholitzii' and Trevesia palmata are hardy only to 25-30 degrees and  their even more deeply-lobed and cut leaves (Snowflake aralia is a common name)  have made it worth lugging them in and out of the house each year.

    Birthday money was meant to be spent on something frivolous, right?  Sometimes I wonder why, when there are so many perfectly fabulous, hardy, tried and true plants available,  I'm  so easily excited by something new and unusual.  Crazy.   

    Staying with palmate leaves but moving from Araliaceae to Euphorbiaceae, Jatropha multifida, purchased three years ago as a seedling from Etsy, lost it's leaves in the greenhouse a couple of winters ago so last winter, I decided to keep it indoors.  It lost it's leaves again during the coldest, darkest part of the year.  However, they keep growing back once it gets brighter and warmer again. Bare branches may not be everyone's idea of an attractive houseplant but the naked stick look is more than made up for by the foliage when it's present. 

    Hey, what's that? 

    This is the second time blooms have appeared this season.  

    Gentiana 'Alex Duguid' is an older variety of autumn-flowering Gentian.  They had me at autumn-flowering.  From the Far Reaches table at the Heronswood sale.

    There were some Valley Nursery reward dollars in my account that needed to be spent so this beauty came home with me. (Like I need another bromeliad...)

    From the Odd Plant Sale came these new additions.  Those name tags are around here somewhere...

    Many years ago, I planted Tropaeolum speciosum at the feet of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt's Blue' thinking that the brilliant vermilion blooms would look good clambering up the oh-so-blue foliage.  That Tropaeolum  never did much but this year,  one nearby jumped over and decided to climb toward the sun on the blue Chamaecyparis (A.K.A. Port Orford Cedar) which made me exceedingly happy.
    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt's Blue' appeared briefly at a couple of nurseries about eight years ago and I got three tiny saplings.  They then seemed to vanish from the trade, perhaps because of the fungal problem that beset the Port Orford Cedars.   However, recently Youngblood has been delivering them to several area nurseries.  This is such a stunning blue color which gets even better in the winter.  If you see one, snap it up as one never knows how long this window of availability will be open.  By the way, my three little saplings are now about ten feet tall and don't seem to mind a bit of pruning.