Monday, January 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - January 2018 - with bonus bugs!

I didn't even post last month for Bloom Day. I guess I'd just had enough of 2017, and was happy to leave it behind. Now it's January - a new year, a new season of gardening, and I'm already stoked to get started in the garden again.

So let's see what's out there on this uncharacteristically dry day in the middle of winter.

Lewisia cotyledon 'Sunset Series' is flowering! You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw it. This just shows you how mild our winter has been so far. It's so different from last year at this time when we had the-snow-that-would-not-go.

Arctostaphylos x  'Austin Griffiths' is enticing hummers from far and wide.

He's blooming right on time, although his flowers seem a little paler than last year.
The buds of Mahonia repens are just beginning to break. It's quite early; last year they weren't at this stage until March.
Fatsia japonica is still blooming, and it's swarming with flies! I can't smell anything foul that would attract them, but something apparently is irresistible about these blossoms.

It doesn't do much for me, aesthetically, to see flies all over the flowers but I do find it oddly fascinating.

 Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' rebounded after some cold, wet days and is blooming again.
Getting up close to shoot an individual flower, I noticed that there were some ants feeding on its nectar.

In fact, there were so many ants on each open flower, they looked like a new black detail in the center of the golden stamens.

Abutilon megapotamicum blossoms are another sign of our (so far) mild winter.
A few individual flowers persist on Rosemarinus officinalis 'Bonny Jean'. In case you were wondering, I will not be calling it Salvia any time in the near future.
The faithful Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' blooms on through winter.
My Hellebores are in deep shade, so they're always later than most people's. I just have fat buds, right now.

I'll close with the colorful buds of Camellia transnokoensis. When they do finally open, the flowers are almost pure white.

Bloom Day is sponsored by the lovely Carol, at May Dreams Gardens. Hop over there to see what's blooming elsewhere on this winter's day.

Happy Bloom Day!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Five great reasons to attend the Hardy Plant Society's Winter Program

To kick off their brand-new book, co-authors Paul Bonine and Amy Campion are speaking together at the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's (HPSO) Winter Program on January 21.

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowner's Guide, is Bonine and Campion's newly-published Timber Press book.  I'm pretty excited about this guide because, looking through my copy, I can see that it will serve both as great inspiration and a valuable, ongoing reference for me and others who garden in the PNW. There's something for every gardener in this book, from new homeowners to experienced gardeners.

Here are five great reasons you'll want to hear the authors in person on the 21st! 
    1) This program is for us
    Paul and Amy will be speaking on the latest information about gardening in our area - the beautiful and temperate Pacific Northwest. If their book is any indication, they will discuss lesser-known and newer varieties that are increasingly appropriate for our cool, wet winters and dry, mediterranean summers. Based on the table of contents, they may also address garden culture and northwest garden style.
    Whatever they talk about, you can be sure it will be germane to our climate. 

    2) Hometown hero gardening speakers 
    Both speakers are based right here in Portland, Oregon. Paul Bonine has a lifetime of experience as a nurseryman in the PNW and is co-owner of Xera Plants, Inc - a wholesale source of excellent plants for our climate - and the Xera shop in Southeast Portland. Amy Campion worked for years in nurseries and is a talented writer, editor and photographer, as well as a knowledgeable and intrepid gardener.  

    3) It's January for goodness sake!
    Don't you need a garden fix? Even if you have a greenhouse, there's not a lot happening at this point in the year, garden-wise. If you're anything like me, you are already suffering from GTD - gardening-time deprivation. Why not connect with your gardening cohorts and get stoked for the coming garden season?

    4) Purchase the book and get it signed
    Paul and Amy will have copies of the book available, and will be signing it at this event. You save the shopping time, the shipping costs and get two gardening rock-star autographs at the same time!

    5) You could get in for free!
    Join HPSO as a new member by January 19, and get free admission to the Winter Program! Join here:  If you're already a member, the program is just $10. Non-member admission is $20.

    The program takes place Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 1pm, at Portland State University, Hoffmann Hall, 1833 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR.
    Registration is available here:

    As you can probably tell, I'm looking forward to attending this program; I hope to see many of my local gardening friends there, too!

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    A belated Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2017

    It was a wet and windy scene at Longview Ranch when I took these pictures, but travel meant I couldn't publish until today for Bloom Day. Some of the regulars are back and holding tough against the elements, and a few seasonal changes brighten up the offerings this month.

    Like these crazy blooms; Fatsia japonica, with its perfect, sputnik-like blooms, was just made for the garden of a mid-century modern home. My mid-century modest house will have to do for this particular specimen.

    Also new this month are the welcome flowers of Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'. They seem a little early this year, but they will carry on for months if the weather doesn't stomp them. I see the ants are enjoying them, too.
    The blooms of Abutilon megapotamicum look to me like little Chinese lanterns hanging off the branch.

    The last, sopping wet trusses of Rosa 'Sally Holmes' are still hanging on. The big seasonal chop is coming to this plant soon.

    Also bedraggled, but still quite definitely blooming, is Erigeron glaucus, commonly known as seaside fleabane, beach aster, or seaside daisy.

    Well look: it's our old friend Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance'.

    There are certain species that I don't keep very good track of when I have a number of them. Heathers and heaths are two of those species, so I can't tell you what this autumn blooming heather is. I had to pull off a layer of fallen maple leaves even to see that it was blooming.

    It's rosemary bloom time. This is another species whose cultivar names I tend to be casual about, but I remember it was sold as Barbeque Rosemary. It's a compact, upright plant with clean, simple spears, perfect for skewering veggies when done carefully.

    Mahonia 'Soft Caress' was blooming for last month's Bloom Day, and although it's nearly done, it still adds a little bright yellow to the green scene.

    I'll leave you with the blooms of a NOID Schlumbergera. Their intense coral color is the perfect antidote to our wet, windy November weather.
    I'm joining in on Bloom Day, hosted on the 15th of the month by the lovely Carol Michel over at May Dreams Gardens.

    Happy (belated) Bloom Day!

    Wednesday, November 8, 2017

    Wednesday Vignette - miniature gardens

    I am not a fan of our two Acer negundo 'Variegata' street trees. My biggest issue with them is the year-round rain of debris they produce, from samaras that just won't quit, to leaves that begin to fall in spring as soon as they are open, to brittle branches that scatter all over the front yard when they break. And sadly, they have been poorly pruned for years due to power lines that travel through their canopies.

    Although I would never recommend the species to anyone, I have to admit that our trees do have their positives: they are large, so they create good shade for our house in summer, and they provide a place for wildlife to flourish. And once in a while, one of those brittle, dead branches falls and is a source of exquisite beauty.
    The mosses and lichen on this branch create tiny gardens I can explore in detail.

    How do they manage to arrange themselves so perfectly?

    My thanks to Anna of Flutter and Hum for hosting Wednesday Vignette and reminding me to look a little more carefully at the world around me.

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - October 2017

    October is not a flowery month around Longview Ranch. But a few seasonal offerings and some stalwart bloomers are brightening up little corners of the garden.

    For example, Impatiens omeana, blooming for the first time for me in the newer shade bed.

    The non-native Mahonia are blooming this month, too. First, there's M. fortunei 'Dan Hinkley'.
    A newer addition to the garden is Mahonia 'Soft Caress'. I like this one a lot.
    M. gracilipes has very different (and almost impossible to photograph) flowers. These aren't quite open yet but they don't get much bigger than this.

    The tiny pink flowers of Cyclamen hederifolium 'Xera's Sterling' are perking up the Northwest Territory. One plant bloomed in the garden this year, and that compelled me to go out and get several more to add in the same location.

    Abutilon megapotamicum, still blooming strongly.

    Agastache 'Coronado Red', encouraged by our recent rains, put on a new flush of blooms.
    And it wouldn't be Bloom Day at Longview Ranch without our old friend Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance'.

    Check out other Bloom Day posts from all over at May Dreams Gardens.

    Happy Bloom Day!

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    Wednesday Vignette

    Here's a sight I haven't seen for months. Even if you didn't know this photo was taken this morning, you could probably guess we are no longer in high summer here in Portland. Yesterday afternoon I dumped an two-day accumulation of .7 inches of rain out of my rain gauge. Then this morning I emptied just over an inch! 
    Do you see how the dirt (ash, dust, pollen, whatever) has coalesced under each drop of water below? That shows you that things were getting a bit grimy over summer, and how welcome the rain is for cleansing the air and the plants.
    But as much as my garden needs it, I hope the rains will not be constant from now until June; I need a little transition time to make my peace with autumn and winter. And I have plants that, after waiting seemingly for months, I can finally put in the ground.

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - September 2017

    Each month when I wander in the garden looking for Bloom Day flowers, I'm reminded yet again that I don't really have a "flower garden".  In fact, I just reviewed a Bloom Day post from two years ago to discover that I have almost the same set of flowers - hmmm.

    But there are the August stalwarts, so here's a brief recap of what's blooming at Longview Ranch on this 15th of September, starting with the late-summer flowers of Helianthus maximiliani. I have to wait all summer for these bright faces.

    California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) self-seed each year. This year they have lots of room where the big Ceanothus used to be.

    The tiny flowers of Berberis verruculosa are almost unnoticeable, unless, like me, you are searching for blooms.

    In nice timing for the overwintering humming birds, Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinkley' is beginning its flush of flowers.
    With more room to grow, Solidago 'Lemon Baby' has exploded this year.

    After dying to the ground over winter, Sphearalcea 'Newleaze Coral' has bounced back this summer.
    A new Punica granatum 'Nana' has put on lots of growth, and flowers, since I bought it a few months ago.

    My neighbor's Campsis radicans is still going strong and delighting me.
    Abutilon megapotamicum.

    Lagerstroemia 'Natchez' is on its last few flower trusses.
     A surprise white Foxglove popped up in the Northwest Territory.

    I figured it out: this cultivar of Daphne x transatlantica is called 'Eternal Fragrance' because it never stops blooming.
     Hardy Cyclamen emerge from the dusty dry rocks. I don't know how they do it.
    Tricyrtis formosana var grandiflora 'Wa-ho-ping Toad'. Not really "whopping" but very welcome in the shady bed.
    They're almost over, but the little, papery blue blossoms of Limonium speciosum 'Blue Diamond' make me happy.

    The sweet blue blossoms of a prostrate Rosemary. Rosemary usually blooms in early winter around here, but it's been an odd year.

    Surprise fall blooms on Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink', as well.
    Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden' is pumping out more flowers this month.
    Lastly, Erigeron glaucus won't say goodbye to summer yet. And neither will I.

    See all the flowers from all over today courtesy of Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

    Happy Bloom Day!