Friday, January 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - January 2016

Alas, I have even less blooming this month than last! I don't consider myself a flower gardener, but I'll admit that flowers are a really enjoyable part of growing the plants I like - except the Agaves, who perish after flowering - not that I have ever had Agave blooms here in Portland.  But I digress.

There's no denying that in the dead of winter we all look for that tiny, bright, tell-tale sign that life is continuing. So here, for the record, is what's blooming indoors and outdoors at Longview Ranch, with a few "almost in bloom" and "maybe for February Bloom Day".

Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' is blooming its heart out for the third month in a row, delighting the Anna's Hummingbirds who check it multiple times a day. I can see it from my breakfast room, and it's a sight for sore eyes on these wet, short days.

My Hellebores have always been really late, and this year is no exception. I guess I'll check back in February.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that Abutilon megapotamicum, for all the blooms that got whacked by the snow and ice, had two new blossoms that were perfect.

Three dwarf Pieris japonica 'Prelude' are ramping up for their spring show. But how many months will it be before they actually bloom?

Good ole' Rosemarinus prostratus 'Bonny Jean', again this month. It was sold as a cold hardy prostrate selection, and it's proving itself.

Mahonia repens blooms are still tightly closed. I don't think we'll see them before March, at the earliest.

Likewise Camellia japonica 'April Kiss'. The buds look like they're showing color, but I think it's a fake out. Whaddaya think - April maybe?


Our recent "silver thaw" did its worst work on the emergent Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' blossoms.

But afterward, the life force of these great winter shrubs prevailed. Now we have multiple, newly-opening flowers.



Moving indoors, here are the tiny bloom spikes of Ledebouria socialis.
Streptocarpella sports one perfect bloom in the very best blue.

And we finish with another "next month?" One of my Sarracenia is sporting its first flower bud!

Bloom Day is sponsored monthly at May Dreams Gardens. Click over to see flowers from across the nation and around the world.

Happy Bloom Day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Vignette - more baby ferns

I'm endlessly drawn to ferns. Good thing, too, since we have an abundance of them here in the Pacific Northwest.

The best part is when they grow themselves, sometimes appearing in the most charming of places. The ones below are growing through moss on the trunk of an Acer negundo 'Variegatum' on my hell strip. I'm pretty sure these are baby Sword Ferns, Polystichum munitum. ("Anonymous" thinks they may be Licorice ferns,  Polypodium glycyrrhiza, and I'm starting to think that's right.)


If you see raindrops on my lens, it's because we are back to the wet winter conditions that encourage these sweet wild things to thrive. If it has to rain, at least I'm glad we can enjoy this kind of result.

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna, at Flutter and Hum - check it out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday Vignette - a summer flashback

It's still cold here - no surprise in the early days of January - so I rather desperately need this sunny, bright reminder of last year's warmth and lushness. The Penstemon rupicola and self-seeded Sisyrinchium californicum are sweet reminders of what's in store for me and my garden again this summer.

For more Wednesday vignettes, hop over to Flutter and Hum where the lovely Anna hosts this meme each week.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wednesday Vignette - real frost!

We've had weeks of dark, cold, rainy days, with night-time temperatures hitting the mid-to-high 30s. Suddenly, it's become sunny and about 5 degrees colder overnight. And for the first time this winter, frost appeared in my garden.

For Anna's Wednesday Vignette over at Flutter and Hum, here are a couple of Mahonia repens modeling this morning's frost quite attractively, I think.
Just visible in the background above is our Western Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) still decorated for the holiday season. In that vein, I wish each of you a very happy New Year, and a bright and fulfilling 2016!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wednesday Vignette - greens for the season

I was coming back into the house when I saw all the greens the Mulch Man had cut for me to use in the house.
Although they had been artlessly tossed on an outdoor chair awaiting my needs, they managed to look perfectly arranged.
I love decorating my ancient aluminum tree for the holidays, but I couldn't do without the scent of pine and cedar in the house, too.
Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, here's just something special about real greens during the holiday season, don't you think?

I'm joining with Anna at Flutter and Hum to celebrate Wednesday Vignette. Check out the links to other delightful vignettes you'll find in the comments.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - December 2015

Here we are at the midpoint of the month again. Since last month's Bloom Day, we've had rain to the point of flooding, and high winds as well. But as I walked around my waterlogged garden, I was struck by how long-lasting several of last month's bloomers were in spite of the challenging weather they'd endured. In fact, some of the flowers I'll show you today are the actual blooms I showed last month.

Case in point: this Daphne x transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance' - this is the exact flower cluster I pictured in mid-November, still in bloom.
Remember this lone Digitalis purpurea bloom from last month? It's a little ragged, but still flowering through our downpours.

A hungry hummingbird led me to discover that Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' flowers are opening all over the plant. And these blooms are early - last year at this time the buds were still tightly closed.

Abutilon megapotamicum is another of last month's bloomers that just keeps eking out a few more flowers - or are these the same ones, miraculously preserved by our cool, wet month?
It's really no surprise that the Rosemaries are still blooming from last month: this is their time to shine.


Indoors (and I'm anticipating here) a bud is developing in a pot of Sarracenia. The flower will likely be brown and unspectacular, but it's always fun to see a plant bloom for the first time.
In the spirit of the season, a Schlumbergera bridgessii or Christmas Cactus, is putting out a few bright blooms. This one used to bloom at Halloween (making it a Halloween Cactus?) until an unfortunate accident involving a very bad cat apparently shook up its flowering time.
The blooms looks even more festive with the backing of my mid-century aluminum Christmas tree.
Let's go back outside for the finale: Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' is doing its best to brighten up the back garden in Christmas color.

I'm especially glad to see these flowers since the summer heat was hard on the three plants we have in this corner: One may need to come out and only this one has produced any buds or blooms.

It's a lovely, bright note in a soggy space.
I'm joining May Dreams Gardens to celebrate Bloom Day. Check out Carol's post there for lots of other December blooms from all over. 

Happy Bloom Day!




Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday vignette - the calm before the holiday storm

It's the day before Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season with all its attendant fun.

Although the colors in the image below don't say autumn, the simplicity of the arrangement speaks volumes to me as we wind up for the coming seasonal activities. It's a gentle reminder - courtesy of Jeffrey Bales' summer garden - to slow down, appreciate the moment, and just breathe.
I'm joining Anna at Flutter and Hum to celebrate her Wednesday meme today. Check out the comments to see other bloggers' vignettes.

I wish each of you a happy (and calm) Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2015

I'm a day late and a flower or two short for this Bloom Day post, but I want to record my garden for the month anyway. We've had weeks of intermittent rain. Between that and some community obligations, I haven't been out in the garden as much as I'd like to be, putting my plants back to bed. But I have a few flowers to show, so let's get to it.

First up is a new Loropetalum chinense 'Fire Dance' - full of bloom. I hope it likes its digs in one of our newly created beds and grows to cover the lower bare branches of Rhododendron x 'Ahna Krushke'.


In the Northwest Territory, the surprise Digitalis purpurea from last month is bowed down from the rain, but still blooming.

Erigeron glaucus has a few blossoms left this month.

All the Rosemaries around the house are doing their winter bloom thing.

A last, waterlogged Rosa 'Sally Holmes' bloom truss droops down from the plant.

Daphne transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance' went in late this spring, and it's surprising us with its enthusiastic growth and now, blooms.

I love the occasional, off-season blooms that appear on Ceanothus 'Victoria'.

I spy a few last blossoms on Abutilon megapotamica.

New this month is the froth of sputnik-style flowers on Fatsia japonica.


I'll leave you with the beautifully-colored blossoms of an indoor Streptocarpella.

For a complete survey of November blooms check the May Dreams Gardens blog where Carol faithfully sponsors this monthly flower event.

Happy Bloom Day!