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A slave to the Goddess Flora shares his garden adventures.
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    Recently, en route to tour a garden in Seattle, I saw something on the side of the road that made me request that Tom stop the car.

    One doesn't see that every day!

    I salute the individuality of this statement!
    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my blogging pal Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join in the fun!

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    It's always a pleasure to wander through the gardens and retail area at Joy Creek Nursery. It's like strolling through a friend's garden.  The space is as spectacular as the staff.   I fondly recall a visit several years ago with Alison.  We'd arrived just before closing and did a quick bit of shopping. We were getting ready to leave when Mike, a co-owner, offered to give us a guided tour of the gardens.

     Oh, that driveway!

    With views like this, it's surprising that there aren't car crashes in the parking lot.  

    Clematis, one of the specialties of Joy Creek.  Was it calling my name?  Someone was.

    Turns out, it was my pal Anna (Flutter and Hum.)  Blogging pals Tamara and Ricki also now work with Mike and Maurice. I'm sorry I missed them but it was, as always, a pleasure to visit with Anna who was very excited to share her new favorite plants.  Her stash was on one of the front tables.  Do you think you'd actually make money working at a nursery?  

    So many shady characters.

    More varieties of hardy fuchsia than you could shake a stick at.

    Primula 'Green Lace' 

    Golden Hops Vine looks handsome with just about anything. Persicaria virginiana (maybe 'Lance Corporal') is likewise a great team player.  Together they're quite a knockout.

    While admiring a new Farfugium japonicum 'Shishi Botan' leaf,  someone yelled, "Anna, come here quickly." What could the excitement be?

    It was the largest and most beautiful garter snake I'd ever seen!  Anna seemed very excited and not fazed by this sight at all.  Snakes are beautiful but I don't often see them and they can move so quickly which makes them a bit scary to me.  Unbeknownst to me, Anna, who seemed thrilled at the sighting shares my fear.  It's all here in her post.

    After that encounter, I kept wondering if there were more snakes lounging about in the plants.  

    That didn't keep me from finding some treasures to take home. 

    Meanwhile, back in the gardens... 

    Although Ricki wasn't there in person, her arrangements graced the inside of the old barn/checkout area.

     New this year is the large vegetable garden.  Oh to have this kind of space to play with..

    Another exciting visit to Joy Creek drew to a close.  If you don't live in the area, Joy Creek also sells by mail order
    Up next: Portland Nursery on Starke.

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    You may recall visiting this garden on the fall color tour in October. The gardens on that tour were opened this spring for the Northwest Perennial Alliance.  What a treat to see the garden in two seasons and this time to meet Scott and Patricia!

    "Scott and Patricia have a mature Northwest garden that has been evolving for 28 years.  The front yard is stone terraced and features Japanese maples, dogwoods, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, salvia, and hinoki cypress, ferns and ground covers.

    "The expansive side yard is surrounded by mature coral bark maples, mountain hemlocks, hydrangea trees, rhododendrons, along with many varieties of ferns and ground covers.  A miniature Japanese village adds a note of whimsy."

    "The small back yard is a terrace dotted with roses, eeonies, dahlias, climbing hydrangea, and clematis."

    "A private courtyard and shade garden is accessed by several stone steps."

    "Beyond the backyard, one views a large, low maintenance slope sprinkled with heather, Japanese maples and dogwood that is edged with smoke trees and rhododendrons."
    It must be a delight to live in a neighborhood with so many passionate and delightful gardeners! Thanks, Scott and Patricia for opening your garden for our enjoyment!

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  • 06/26/17--05:18: In A Vase On Monday
  • Yesterday was the warmest we've had this summer.  with temperatures in the mid 90's.  For us, this is very hot as our summer temperatures here on the Puget Sound usually stay in the seventies.  I reveled in both the heat and having an entire day to do nothing but work in the garden.  What a perfect day to play in the water - cleaning the pond, hosing the muck out of the pond filter, doing a little pressure washing.   During the night, the marine layer, nature's air conditioner, blew in and it's now a cool 58 degrees. Since I'm spending more time outside than in recently, today's flowers get to stay out there too.
    Sinocalycanthus chinensis is a Chinese cousin of our native Calycanthus floridus or Sweetshrub. Love these flowers which actually have more of a delicate pink cast to them with the yellow in the center being a bit more of a butter yellow.

    The Chinese Sweetshrub flowers were joined by a fallen begonia too pretty to just throw into the flower bed (my brand of lazy composting) just yet.

    The three are floating in a birdbath and being admired by Mr. Frog. 
     Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting IAVOM. 

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    Back to the May trip to Portland. The last visit on day one was Portland Nursery on Stark Street.  See previous visits here.  This is a large, full service nursery with lots of everything.  Here is a tiny fraction of what I saw:

    Planet Max Potheads.  The handsome fellow on the bottom right called my name.

    Interesting vases but something smells fishy. What do you think on a scale of one to ten? I'm just glad to be fin ished with school.  Would taking one home be a gill ty pleasure? Okay, I'll stop.

    As always Portland Nursery has exquisite displays with great plant combinations. 

    Remember when the peonies were blooming? 

    Color; it's not just for sunny spots.
     Streptocarpus AKA cape primrose.  

     What fun these  animal planters are and each has a name. 

    Trachycarpus fortunei nicely "underplanted" with potted plants.  I do the same with some of my big pots.  It's a great place to stash plants waiting to be planted.  Sometimes they end up staying.

    Major lust for this circular arbor and for a garden with sufficient space left for one.  

     Pelargonum (Geraniums) must be the single most popular bedding plant judging by the huge numbers of them carried at just about every nursery.  There's much to love - perpetual summer color, some have really cool foliage, and  I love the scent of the leaves. How about you?  People seem to love it or hate it.

    Hey look an agave and other prickly characters. 
     Echeveria 'Black Prince' 

    The kind of pot that's legal in all 50 states.

    Chondropetalum tectorum, one of the Restios native to the Fynbos on the western cape of South Africa.

    Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' is now again widely available after a few years of being a bit difficult to find.

    This gave me an idea of what to do with some of the ferns I've been hoarding.  The area where I want to plant them is full of bamboo roots but putting them in large pots disguised with wood might work really well.

    Disporum cantoniense 'Moonlight' looks great in a pot.

    The nursery goes on and on with a large selection of Acer palmatum, shrubs, trees, edibles, etc.

    Evergreen goodness. 

    Caged succulents.  Hey, someone on the right is trying to escape.

    What a great way to display ground covers.

    Agave, Succulents, and Cistus. Oh my. 

    Annie's comes to Portland.  

    This little cutie can reach four to six feet tall?  It's already potted up and in the Danger Gardenette. 

     Pinus contorta 'Taylor's Sunburst' has such striking new growth and is a favorite of  Phillip of Dirt Therapy

    Speaking of striking new growth, check out Spring Gold Colorado Spruce.

     Lupinus 'Westcountry Manhattan Light' has a grand purple and gold color combination. 

    The indoor plant selection isn't just the run of the mill common houseplants. 

    Sexy bromeliads singing their siren song.  However, since Rare Plant Research, where they grow a wide variety of these, was to be the first stop the next day, these remained in the shop.

    Resist, resist, resist!  Until tomorrow. 

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my friend, Anna, at Flutter and Hum. Flutter on over there to see what all the hum is about this week.

    Private Eyes Are Watching You!

    Can you see them? 

    How about now?

    The top of our Dr. Seuss tree had become way too large for the rest of the tree.  Last fall, I decided to create another smaller ball, the one just underneath the right eye and drastically reduce the size. That worked okay but left a big brown, ugly gap which I thought might fill in.  Alas, no.  What do do with the space?  I thought about making a large bird nest and throwing some sort of bird in it peeking out. Tom thought that eyes might be just the thing. Fortunately, I had some styrofoam balls down in the glass room along with some tiny metal mixing bowls for pupils.

    It's a bit goofy but now the huge gash in the tree looks less like the horrible mistake it was and more like it might have been planned.  Shh, don't tell anyone, okay? 

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    On June 27, 2012, I decided to give this blogging thing a try.  Five years of posting at least five days a week - 1,336 posts later and I'm still enjoying being part of this wonderful, talented, intelligent, supportive community of gardeners. The best part of doing this is the incredible people I've met in person or online that would have never crossed my path otherwise.  I've learned so much from  and been inspired by you.  Weather you visit and comment every day or just drop by once in a while and never say a word, thank you for sharing this adventure with me!  It's been a grand five years.

    Lately I've been visiting a lot of gardens and nurseries and have a great backlog of images in my camera to post but today I've decided to share some pictures of my own garden taken for myself to make a checklist of things to do in the next few weeks before my garden open on July 22. Sorry, it was starting to get a little dusky so the light isn't great.  Please feel free to make suggestions. (Moving isn't an option.)  

    Part of one of the hell strips. 

    These were taken a week or so ago and now the Romneya coulteri  have begun blooming. 

     Did something decide to die out there?  No, it's just Dracunculus vulgaris blooming.  

    More of the hell strip. 

    Do you suppose I should cut those brown fronds from beneath the sword fern built up over years or just continue to leave them as natural mulch?

    It's a long sidewalk.

     Back out the other end .

    The front hell strip.

    I suppose it would be a good thing to trim back that English Laurel a bit and maybe cut the volunteer columbines growing between the brick path.   

    Side steps up to the back yard. 

    View from the top of the side steps.

    Yes, I will remove the hoses from paths.

    Plants encroaching over half of the path.  Oh well. I've already weeded between the bricks. 

    the old old man and the "C." Must straighten out that "C"

    I sure hope that people don't mind walking through Petasites foliage. 

    Should I paint the side of the garage Majorelle Blue, terra cotta, or just leave it as is so it kind of fades into the background?

    The warm days really helped the last of the colchicum foliage in this bed ripen off.  Since this picture was taken the dried foliage has  been removed and a fresh layer of manure has been applied.  Googly eyes now fill the gaping gash at the top of the topiary. 

     Deutzia is now dong blooming and has been trimmed back away from the palm.

    This space has been rearranged (yes, that black plastic pot sitting in the middle of everything  is gone.) and the debris removed so one can actually see brick again.

    Still need to tidy up the pot ghetto, maybe even plant a few things. 

    Messy Deutzia!

     Meanwhile inside the greenhouse.

     The haze of neem oil from winter spraying has been cleaned off of  the glass table and mirrors. Really looks gross in this picture.

    Let's hope no one from Gnome amnesty stops by. 

    Should I remove that coat of algae on the floor or leave it? 

    Summer's work continues but I can happily report that this temporary potting area is now clear. Okay, there are still buckets but now they're full of bamboo litter which will be falling constantly until autumn.
    If you made it through all of these pictures you are a truly patient person!  
    Happy gardening everyone! 

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    On June third, I had the pleasure of touring Alison and Andrew Johnson's Garden in Redmond, a Northwest Perennial Alliance open garden.

    Let's hope this alarm doesn't go off!

    "Originally from England and a Master Gardener, my garden has large borders of perennials and shrubs in the English Cottage garden style."

    "I try to emulate the perennial borders of English country gardens but get distracted so I have herbs in with the roses and apple trees in the borders, and bananas next to the foxgloves."

    Love this chair!  

    "We have been here for 11 years. It was just lawn and conifers when we moved in and each year we chip away at the lawn making the borders deeper."

    "The central feature is a little cottage which is actually a chicken coop!" With leaded glass windows no less!

    "Behind the chicken cottatage is a fenced vegetable garden."

    "We are lucky enough to have Rutherford Creek run through our property and this part of the garden is kept blackberry free but is left natural.

    "I have a greenhouse where I try to grow a lot of my own perennials from seed and from cuttings."

    "In the kitchen garden garden west of the property is where the honey bees live."

    This kind of hive, a top bar, was new to me.  Andrew slid back the wood slat revealing a window through one can observe the bees at work inside the hive.  It was fascinating to observe.

    Thanks Alison and Andrew for opening your gorgeous garden for us all to enjoy!  
    Happy weekend everyone.  I hope yours is filled with lots of garden fun!

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    The warm days of summer that we in this neck of the woods dream of all year long are here!  I'm out of school for a few weeks and so there is lots of time to work outside which makes me happy so I decided to use this mug that my eldest sister sent an arrangement in for my birthday last year.  The patio table is crowded with tools and things are getting done little by little.  Even a few things that have been sitting in the pot ghetto for a couple of years are finally in the ground or at least in bigger pots:)

    Another thing that makes me happy is that the Romneya coulteri (Matilija Poppy, Fried Egg Flower) has begun blooming.  Years ago, just two small plants were planted and now they've taken over the front parking strip and have moved under the sidewalk to start growing in the side parking strip as well.  White and yellow it is.  Joining the Matilija Poppies are a couple of daisies, Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) which seeds itself around in different places each year, and fennel foliage and flower.

    Here it is posing on the branch of the contorted filbert. However, since squirrels like to play here and raccoons might be curious, the arrangement came inside to brighten the kitchen.

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

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    Happy Independence day to everyone in the U.S. I hope you get to spend the day enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!  This neighbor's house, all decked out for the holiday, is a delight.  

    So, back in May, on that visit to Portland to have a plant play date with Loree,  I visited Marbott's nursery on the way to her house.  If I didn't need to visit another nursery, they wouldn't have put it right there on the way, right?

    Marbott's is a long established (since 1930) Northeast Portland institution. An old fashioned nursery that grows much of what it sells, there's always something exciting happening!

    Another bear sighting in Northeast Portland!

    Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous combination of foliage texture and color.  Hey wait, I have a burgundy Acer palmatum with a space at it's feet.

    There are those who're really not fond of this plant and even call it names (Spider Mite Fatsia) but oh, that new growth is so amazingly white.

    Tropical lovelies in the houseplant area. 

    Woody wonders. 

    Annuals a-go-go.

    A small part of the geranium area.  

    Succulent stone planter.

    Speaking of succulents...

    A few nice days had everyone excited for a while. 

    For some reason, Delphiniums don't like my garden here.  In my Alaska garden they grew like gangbusters. Oh well, I don't have space for them anyway.


    That's real moss, the one thing that adored our wet, cold winter and spring.

    For some reason, I didn't take any pictures of the tuberous begonias.  The Marbott's Man (if you've visited, you know who I mean) and I had a delightful conversation about the 'nonstop' begonias all over the market these days, and the nice large tuberous begonias that used to be more widely grown. He gets seed from California and plants it in November to get blooming-sized plants by spring. They're glorious and a couple more came home with me even though all of mine from last year made it through the winter as pots of dirt in the basement.

    Next stop:  Rare Plant Research.

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my friend, designer, blogger, and self-proclaimed plant whore, Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join in the fun!

    The gifted horticulturalist, plantsman, garden and floral designer Riz Reyes used to write a blog called The Next Generation Gardener. He's now busy with his business,  RHR Horticulture and being the head gardener at McMenamin's Anderson School in Bothell, WA.  I recently had the pleasure of strolling around the gardens there and was blown away (post to come.)

    Today's  vignette is of a next next generation gardener caught here doing a bit of plant shopping at Cornell Nursery in Portland.  The torch has been passed.

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    Over twenty years ago, for the Fourth of July, my friend Chris and I decided it would be fun to make something for our gardens.  She'd read a magazine article about making hypertufa pots and we thought it would be fun to try. We had a great time but the results were less than stellar as we really didn't have the right supplies or forms to do such a thing but we tried anyway and decided to also make stepping stones.   This was before the internet and before taking then teaching classes on making stepping stones.  We both still have the sad products of that experiment in our gardens which make us smile when we see them.  We'd unintentionally started a Fourth of July tradition of creating yard art.

    Another Fourth, after seeing the fabulous Little and Lewis Dinosaur Eggs, we thought we should be able to make them as neither of us could afford to buy one.  Having little experience with cement and apparently a limited understanding of the law of gravity, we purchased  concrete mix, which includes gravel and simply tried throwing a wet mix of this on an exercise ball.  Thinking that the aggregate in the mix was what was causing the problem, we thought of making a trip to Home Depot to pick up some sand mix but we were both pretty filthy by then so decided instead to sift the stones out using a colander which took forever. It was hot as hell and the dust was sticking to us and everything around. Anyway, mean old Mr. Gravity seemed to still want to pull the sides of the sphere to the ground. Chris named the bowls we were able to make dung domes.  Since that attempt and after reading a book about making concrete objects, I did make a couple of semi-respectable spheres.  You know, do it first, read the directions after making a total mess of everything, the Lucy and Ethel school of yard art.

    Projects over the years have included leaf castings, glass flowers, and mosaic bowling balls.  This winter, Chris found a concrete hand project online and we decided it would be a great craft for the Fourth.  There are several  tutorials online about how to make these.  If you're interested in making them, look here or here.  Again the concrete and fun flowed.  When we were finished...

    Yellow concrete-filled gloves were everywhere.

    A bird in the hand is worth three hands in the bush?  Wait, I never get those proverbs quite right. 

    Because it's a handrail. 

    Chris wisely is waiting an extra day to come and un glove her hands but I couldn't wait to see how mine turned out.  Laid down, they could hold a small succulent.

    This one was meant to hold a pot. 

    This pot to be exact. Now, what should I plant in there? 

    Where will these end up?  

    Another enjoyable Fourth of July playing in the mud with an old friend. Aren't traditions fun? 

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    Two words:  Blown Away!  Anna (Flutter and Hum) said of Riz Reyes, Garden Manager of the gardens at McMenamin's Anderson School, " Everything that man touches turns beautiful!" I couldn't agree more.  From his fabulous floral designs to his stellar display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, everything he creates is stylish, beautiful, and chock full of enough unusual plants to make a plant nerd giddy.  The gardens at The Anderson School are no exception.  The gardens have only been in place since 2015 but look well established!

    Colletia hystrix is also known as Crucifixion Thorn and is one sharp character!

    Several passersby were transfixed by the Eryngium, they'd never seen anything like it.  Notice the opuntia in the bakground.

    Callistemon AKA Bottle Brush.

    Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' 
    The grounds are those of a former school and contain a hotel, three restaurants, an indoor saltwater pool, a couple of pubs, a stadium and vegetable gardens to supply the restaurants.  Between all of these are the gardens.

    A caged Agave ovatifolia AKA Whale's Tongue Agave.  Free Willy!

     This xeric garden makes one wonder what part of California he's visiting.

    In front  of the Tiki Bar and pool building, the mood swings to some larger leaved tropicalismo.

    Moving on past the Tavern on the Square and toward the hotel are paths lined with fabulousness and a meadow garden. Clover is used as one unifying theme of the meadows.  It took me a moment to adjust my thinking from an if it's in the lawn mow it or if it's in the beds, pull it mentality and simply enjoy the beauty of clover which fixes nitrogen in the soil and really is a lovely plant.

    Oops, back to California. 

    In the jungle, the mighty jungle the metapanax sleeps tonight. 

    How lucky the future inhabitants of this building going up next door will be to have the pleasure of looking out on such gardens and being able to stroll them as often as they wish. That's really low maintenance gardening eh? Hey, I'm seeing a retirement plan:)

    These huge allium seed heads are everywhere.  Is this 'Globemaster'?  I've seen it in other gardens recently and I want to grow it next year!

    We parked near California so I got to pass these gardens a couple of times. 

    Riz has worked his magic again.  These pictures don't do justice to the scale and beauty of these expertly designed and planted gardens.  I stopped inside some of the buildings and they are, in the inimitable style of McMenamins, over the top amazing. Superlatives fail  when describing the experience of the entire complex.  This place is worth the trip for the gardens alone but the interiors are equally top notch.  Just go!

    Speaking of just going, Justin Galicic is hosting the sixth annual Normandy Park Garden Festival on Saturday.  This is a fun and free event for the whole family in a truly amazing  garden.  This year's guest speaker is Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery in Sauve Island, Oregon.  Of course there'll also be a plant sale... For more details, look here.  To see posts of some previous festivals look here.  Hope to see you there! 

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    A busy weekend of garden touring and trying to keep potted plants hydrated left little time to bring flowers inside.  Since I'm spending more time outside these days, I decided to do an arrangement to enjoy in the garden.  Several Christmases ago, my dear friend Florence gave me this delightful  Italian cherub holding a basket.  It sat in our entryway where I very much enjoyed it.  My plan was to pump water through the base and have it tumble over the sides but that never got done. While strolling through Molbak's on Sunday after touring several fantastic gardens in Snohomish, my eye caughtFestuca glauca 'Beyond Blue.' Hey, that looks a bit like a fountain.  Throw in some Sedum forsterianum 'Antique Grill' and Sedum spathulifolium 'Silver Moon' and there you have it a dry water feature.  If one can have a dry creek bed, why not this?

    The exposed soil was covered with some glass bits I had around and a bit of Spanish Moss was gathered from the greenhouse to cascade even lower.  This is by far the easiest water feature I've ever done.  Yes, I'll sweep up the spilled soil and ever present bamboo litter on the ground beneath.
    In A Vase On Monday is hosted by the talented  Cathy at Rambling in the garden.  Click here to join in the fun!

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    So, way back in May, after shopping at Marbott's I met my pal Loree at her Danger Garden to have a plant shopping play date.  Our first stop together was the Rare Plant Research annual public open.  A wholesale grower of unusual plants, RPR is only open to the public once a year and visiting the sale has become a bit of a tradition.  Previous posts with more information here. Both Loree and I were in the market for a few bromeliads and as we parked we joked that this guy had bought all of the ones we wanted.  Why didn't we get there sooner?  Let me just say that I know how to get to Loree's from Marbott's but let the lady in the phone tell me where to go.  It seemed like I was going the wrong way but sometimes the GPS knows a better route.  It became apparent that something was amiss as I crossed the bridge back into Washington State.  Did you know that there's an address identical to Loree's  in Vancouver, WA.  Oops.

     Fortunately there were still plenty of plants for us!

    Euphorbia  mammillaris

    Aechmea odorata

     Cryptanthus 'Elaine'

    Agave americana variegata

    Aeonium 'Sunburst' 

    Gasteraloe 'Ox Tongue' 

    More Echeveria than you can shake a stick at.

    You want to be pretty careful walking through a field of opuntia!

    Scadoxus puniceus just beginning to bloom.  Glorious flower for a while. The meh foliage of mine is now about five feet tall, has produced offsets and is once again setting seed. It's hardy to zone 7 but needs excellent drainage.

    More agave.

    Loved the color of this stressed specimen.  

    Canna 'Tropicanna' 

    This sphere came home with me.  Still haven't found a really good place for it. 

    "Once, ownership of this banana was restricted to Hawaiian royalty, but today anyone can own one. Despite its widespread release, Musa 'Ae Ae' is still one of the most highly sought-after bananas for ornamental purposes." -Description from Plant Delights Nursery.

    Part of Burl's personal collection of caudiciforms, what Alison (Bonney Lassie) calls "Fat bottomed girls."


    An even bigger specimen. These are so gorgeous. I've kept mine alive for a couple of years but it doesn't look as good as either of these. 

    Inside the solarium. 

    Folks enjoying themselves.  The grounds are also home to a winery, Villa Catalana Cellars, and wine is available by the bottle or glass.  No wonder everyone was in such a good mood.

    Recent studies have shown that a moat and a dragon are a greater deterrent to potential burglars than posted home security signs.

    Loree and I got a few things and there were still more nurseries to visit!
    Plant shopping is so much more fun with an enabler like-minded plant enthusiast, don't you think?

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  • 07/12/17--06:00: Wednesday Vignette - Botany?

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

    Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor

    My friend and work wife, Julie, sent me this picture.  Words of wisdom from Urban Earth!  

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  • 07/13/17--06:00: The Sandy Eacker Garden
  • "The modest Kirkland yard we inherited 27 years ago was more or less undeveloped, with large rock work creating some basic structure, virtually no flowerbeds, and a lovely, wild greenbelt out back.What a wonderful and challenging blank canvas!"

    That once-blank canvas is now painted with beautiful flowers.  I always admire gardeners who can grow such beautiful disease-free hybrid tea roses.  My attempts have always been a bit spotty (black spot, that is and let's not even speak of powdery mildew.) Mrs. Eacker certainly has the magic touch!

     "Over the years, both the garden and my passion for it have evolved into an ongoing garden of delights for me. Shaping the space, creating expanding beds and finding interesting plants to fill them has become an increasing focus of my attention and expression.  Finding ways of incorporating the forested green space behind the property has been both challenging and inspiring."

    Barefoot and lost in a book in the garden.  Ain't summer grand?

    These dark blue spiral supports are a perfect compliment to the delphiniums.  

    "One of the aspects of gardening that has become most exciting to me is the discovery of interesting perennial varieties. Penstemons, unusual asters, campanula, ornamental oreganos have found their way into the garden to take their places among the roses - my first loves!

    "This is truly a garden in progress, always with new demands and rewards."

    Thank you, Sandy, for opening your garden for us all to enjoy!  Now, take a well-deserved rest!

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  • 07/14/17--06:00: Playing With Fire
  • Many years ago, I thought that having fire in the garden would be delightful.  A clay chiminea was used a few times but usually just to dispose of branches from pruning.  I also worried as the instructions said that the thing had to be dry or it could break apart.  After a while, I used the two parts as plant stands.  Enter the cast iron chiminea which could be used regardless of moisture.  Don't know if that got used very often but there was always the worry of where it could be placed so that sparks wouldn't hit foliage above.  You guessed it - the base now holds a large water bowl and the top is a plant stand.  One would think that a person would realize that this fire in the garden idea might not be such a good one but no.

    Suddenly fire bowls and tables with gas flames and the like were all the rage in gardens so I jumped on the band wagon about ten years ago when I found one on sale.  It was used all of three times and then moved into the garage.  When the garage turned into a greenhouse, everything had to be moved out of the garage and I tossed and donated a lot of stuff but couldn't bring myself to get rid of the fire pit thinking that someday we might have guests stop by on a summer evening and enjoy watching dancing flames while sharing stimulating conversation...maybe a guitar would come out of the attic and we'd sing camp songs by the fire, toast marshmallows,  and laugh into the wee hours.  Oh well, a goal without a plan is just a dream and since I'm too lazy to actually invite folks over, that probably won't happen.  The fire bowl was languishing beneath a table in the greenhouse so the other day, I dragged it out and looked at it for a while.  I remember seeing a "fire" made of wood and Japanese Blood Grass at Watson's Nursery a year or so ago.  Maybe I'd give that a try.  The grass available locally was a bit tall but I bought some firewood and a few little pointy Crotons anyway and thought some more.  In the greenhouse, there was a Canna 'Tropicanna' that wasn't going into the ground this year.  Maybe that would work?

    Not too bad.

    Marshmallows, needs marshmallows.  Hastily cut styrofoam from the basement to the rescue.

    Still needed a bit more.  Everything's better with a touch of glass, right? 

    I'm hearing the strains of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore,""Five Hundred Miles," and "Tom Dooley" already.
    Hope you're enjoying playing in your garden! 

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    Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted on the fifteenth of every month by the inimitable award-winning blogger, published author, and accomplished gardener, Carol from May Dreams Gardens. Click here to join the florapalooza and see what's blooming in gardens all over the world.  Many thanks, Carol, for continuing to host the party!

    In my zone 8 pacific northwest garden, July is so full of blooms that this photo-heavy post missed quite a few like Tropaeolum speciosum which, knock wood, seems to be here to stay - finally.

    Brugmansias are in full flush right now but will most likely be bloom free in a week for my garden open.



    Hanging around the pot ghetto.

    Inherited Daylilies, daisies, and Salvia 'Amistad'

    "Wild" Sweet Pea.

    Cotinus and Feverfew.
     Agastache and Dasies.

    Romneya coulteri


    Some Campanula or other.

    Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

    More Daylilies

    Oriental Lilies

    Being choked here by a Passion Flower vine.  Got to get these out of the pot and into the ground one of these years.

     Asiatic Lilies.

    Abutilon megapotamicum made it through this winter in a pot elevated off of the ground. Took it a bit longer to come back and start blooming though.

    A. 'Victor Reiter' wintered in the greenhouse.


    Geranium 'Ann Folkard' gets around. 

    Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'

    Forgot the name of this one.  Saw it blooming at Windcliff today and another visitor asked me it's name.  Duh, I dunno.  Got home and saw it blooming in my own garden.  Still don't remember. Class? Anyone?  Anyone? Bueller?

    Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

    Clematis, Fuchsia, tangle of vines. 


     Fuchsia 'Delta's Groom'

    Dichroa febrifuga


    Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' If this is hardy, many of the others will be ripped out.

    Fremontodendron and orange Alstoemeria.
     Another Alstroemeria.   


    Some dahlia or other that made it through the winter outside in a pot.

    Kalmia latifolia is just about finished blooming for this year. 

    Some of the many Pelargonum (Geraniums.)

    Most of the roses are taking a bit of a break.  This one, mislabled 'Playboy' is a sweetly fragrant beauty.  

    Forgot the name of this one too and it's too late to go tag hunting. 


    Hydrangea season is just starting. 

    The peachy- orange flowered one is Stachys hidalgo whose leaves smell like 7-Up when brushed. 

    Ligularia somethingorother.


    Origanum 'Kent Beauty'

    Clerodendrum trichotomum

     Genista aetnensis AKA Mount Etna broom

    Amaryllis in the greenhouse are now on their own schedule and pop out blooms when they feel like it.

    Calycanthus chinensis
     Slavia  clevelandii 'Alpine'

    I'm very excited that this Gasteria that I've had for many years and is now quite sizable has thrown up several huge wands of these boom spikes (scapes.) The plant name (gaster means stomach) comes from the stomach-shaped blooms.

    Allium schubertii 'Spraypainteum' 
    How I wish that July could last forever! 

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  • 07/17/17--06:00: In A Vase On Monday
  • The idea for today's vases was stolen borrowed from Sylvia at DIG Floral and Nursery on Vashon Island.  There were a couple of tall cylindrical glass containers kicking around the greenhouse in which I'd forced paperwhites during the winter.  The contents are some water lettuce and in the small vase is a water hyacinth. We don't often get to admire the grace and beauty of roots and these will last for months.  They remind me a little bit of those specimens of animals and body parts floating in formaldehyde-filled jars that used to line the shelves of of science classrooms.  Since Tom calls the greenhouse my laboratory (5 syllables; flipped R's) these really needed to go out there.

    Speaking of forcing bulbs, I planted these several weeks ago and still haven't seen a thing. Am I doing something wrong?  The instructions on the interwebs were very simple and the nice lady at the store directed me to the bulb aisle where I found these. Having never grown 25 Watts before, I figured I'd experiment.  Certainly these will brighten up a dull corner if they ever decide to glow grow.

     Here they are, specimens and experiment together in the laboratory.

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

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  • 07/18/17--06:00: The Garden of Peggy Walton
  • I truly love the Northwest Perennial Alliance Garden Open Days.  Each weekend from May through September, there is an array of gardens held open for members.  The Open Gardens Directory organizes the opens so that all of the gardens in a given date are in proximity to each other so that one can easily take in all of the gardens at a leisurely pace and enjoy chatting with their gardeners.  Back on the garden open road, let's take a peek at Peggy Walton's Garden in Kirkland.  

    "When we built our house 20 years ago we retained many lovely older plants from the garden of the 1930's home that was originally on the property."

    "Over the years we have creatively combined perennials, herbs, fruits and vegetables

    (and a fairy garden for the grandchildren) that provide interesting views from every window."


    "Although not a large property, we have many inviting places to sit and enjoy color and scent and an abundance of edibles in all seasons!"

    Very inviting indeed!

    A delightful view of  Lake Washington to boot.  

    Peonies in bloom in July?  No, this garden was open during the first weekend of June.

    Such a lovely rose. 

    This interesting group of tiles was hanging on the fence.  
    Thanks, Peggy, for opening your garden for us all to enjoy!  As an added bonus, just as we were leaving this garden, Linda and Tom (Linda Letters) drove up.  It's always a pleasure to run into blogging friends!  

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    Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there to check it out!

    Silent Noon
          -Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, -
       The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
        Your eyes smile peace.  The pasture gleams and glooms
    'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
    All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
        Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge
        Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
    'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

    Deep in the sun-search growths the dragon-fly
    Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:-
        so this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
    Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
    This close-companioned inarticulate hour
        When twofold silence was the song of love.

    Isn't summer grand? 

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  • 07/20/17--00:05: Sorticulture 2017
  • Last year, after hearing so much about Everett's garden arts festival called Sorticulture,  I finally attended and swore that I'd never miss it again.  What an amazing feast for the senses with all sorts of fabulous garden art, plant and food vendors, plant talks, and live entertainment.  You know how sometimes when you attend an event the first time it seems over-the-top amazing but when you see it again, it doesn't seem so grand because you know what to expect?  That certainly was not the feeling I got going back to Sorticulture.  It seemed just as fabulous as my first visit.  The park in which the event is held is large and one can easily loose track of where everything is.  The sheer volume of eye candy can be overwhelming so it's best to plan on spending an entire day.  This year, I spent less time taking pictures and more time just taking it all in and enjoying the experience. See previous posts here.   Here are just a few images of the fun:

    There are some garden vignettes put together by local landscape companies.  

    Fun art was everywhere!

    Carnivorous Plants From Mars.  Really, check it out here

    Lots of glorious glass.

    This adorable dog by Justin Bergevin (The Rusty Bolt)  garnered much attention and praise. 

    There were smaller pups available as well.

    Sorry, I don't remember which glass fuser came up with these. 

    Beth Wright's wire and bead baskets are perfect for succulents. 

    Portland-based Katy LaReau's glass flowers and bugs are cheerful and popular. 

    Cacti but no metal agaves this year. 

    Merrilee More's glass drops look grand in large groups like these. 

    Bedrock Industries makes everything out of recycled materials. Their motto is "Specializing in trash beautification since 1992."

    While I love the pieces they create, I equally enjoy visiting their shop to find materials for all sorts of projects.

    Shannon Buckner's Bent Productions with their graceful organic lines have always caught my eye but I never fully appreciated their beauty until seeing them in garden settings.  How on earth can a blacksmith create such delicate-looking pieces from metal?

    All decked out for the occasion.  A few of these fish swam home with me. 

    So did a metal flower or two.

     or cut, flowers abounded.

    Plant vendors, oh yes!  Is that a Wollemia nobilis by any chance?  

    Albuca spiralis 'Frizzle Sizzle.'  
     Many of the plant vendors were independent growers who brought specialty plants.  River Rock Nursery of Carver, Oregon once brought a lot of swell plants including Quercus alnifolia, an evergreen oak whose common name, Golden Oak, comes from the golden color of the undersides of the leaves and is the national tree of Cyprus. RRN brought them to the Rhododendron Species Garden sale this spring,  there were specimens at Hortlandia.  this time, they had tiny ones and one of them came home with me.  Yes it's already in a bigger pot and no, I don't know where I'll plant it eventually.

    Just when hope seemed slim -   Yes Virginia, there is always an agave thanks to Marcus Harper Glass Works.

    Taking a break from all the excitement, this fellow relaxes 'neath a Podophyllum parasol. 
    This was an iota of the artwork and plants at Sorticulture.  I certainly plan to attend again next June and hope you do too!

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  • 07/21/17--06:00: Laura Sevonty's Garden
  • Another weekend, another great group of Northwest Perennial Alliance open gardens.  Today, stroll with me through Laura Sevonty's Garden.  A beautiful sunny afternoon in June is a perfect time to visit a garden, but not the best time to take pictures.  I'm afraid that these images don't do Laura's garden justice.

    "I am very fond of container gardening and have many pots that are planted for both summer and winter.  My brother, a professional landscaper, and I have been the primary designers, managers, and caretakers of the garden."

    What an attractive and welcoming entrance!

    This area had a desert southwest theme.  

    "I consider my garden to be a free style, naturalistic garden. My house is on one third of an acre and is totally landscaped."

    "The first major landscape was about 25 years ago.  The front and back lawns were completely removed and replaced with trees, shrubs, paths, raised beds, sitting areas, and garden art."

    "Subsequently I've redone courtyard areas in the front and back yards."

    "It is an ever evolving garden, designed for year round interest, and I believe provides a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere in which to relax, entertain, and work."

    It certainly looks relaxing but keeping this space looking this great wouldn't leave a whole lot of time for relaxation.

    Did you notice the variegated English Laurel? (Prunus laurocerasus variegata 'Marbled White?' It's really beautiful in person.

    Laura and her brother aren't the only ones who've been busy in their garden.

     Oh my goodness, look at that perfect potting bench!  I can only dream of such tidiness and organization.  The magic of Laura's garden is that it's magazine immaculate and yet  full of great plants, garden art, and other objects.  

    Laura was full of energy but someone else seemed a bit tired.  Perhaps this is the real gardener.  
    Thank you, Laura for opening your garden for us all to enjoy. Happy weekend and happy gardening all.  I'll be holding my own garden open for the NPA tomorrow.  Yikes!  

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  • 07/24/17--06:00: In Sandy's Vase On Monday
  • My neighbor and friend, Sandy, recently gave me this fun vase by local artist Christopher Hoppin.  I'd long admired the piece and during one of her periodic purges, this was among the things she'd set out on a table to give away.  Lucky me!

    The piece wasn't meant to hold water but luckily, I had slender glass vase which was the perfect size to fit inside.  Usually the flowers dictate the container but this Monday, it was the other way around. What could one put in such a vessel that won't compete with it?

    There was a jug of palm fronds and Hydrangea quercifolia,  pruned to make paths more passable, sitting in the butler's pantry.  Too pretty to simply go directly into the yard waste bin, they'd come inside a few days ago.  Even one entire palm frond was a bit overpowering so I gently tore it apart.  Next came a fig leaf which, once picked, would not stand up and a couple of wood skewers which were brought out in a failed attempt to prop the leaf.

    Sorry about the lighting and wrinkled background.  Thanks, Sandy, for the cool vase and the challenge to fill it. Perhaps next I'll try some dried Allium schubertii seed heads spray painted red.

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