Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Greetings!

Cheers! I hope the holidays bring you and yours many small joys...

... and a peaceful and rewarding New Year full of LOTS of gardening!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A very late Bloom Day post for December

Yikes! I am four days late posting my bloomers for December. I actually ran out and took these pictures during a rain break on the 16th, but it's taken me two more days to put the post together.

So what did I find out there?

I'm still grooving on the recently planted Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' I showed last month. All three are blooming now, and their amazing flowers have held on through torrential rains and some pretty substantial winds as well.

A few Evergreen Huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) are already opening. Our lack of cold weather is encouraging growth of all kinds, but I wonder what the downside may be later.

Abutilon 'Tangerine', still pumping out a surprising number of blooms.

There are a few blossoms on Salvia 'Black and Blue'.

This is the exact same Kniphofia 'Timothy' bloom I showed a month ago for November's Bloom Day. Clearly, it has weathered, but it's still hanging on.

Fatsia japonica is such a kick at this time of year.
 An unknown rose.
A couple of random Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Victoria' flowers surprised me.

And it wouldn't seem like December in my garden without a few Rosemary blossoms. Rosemarinus prostratus 'Bonnie Jean' is reputed to be hardier than most prostrate varieties, though last winter and what we've seen of this winter have not been much of a test.
Visit our host Carol, at May Dreams Gardens, for a look at mid-December blooms in gardens all over. Happy Belated Bloom Day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bud Patrol

Yes, I know it's just early December. We haven't even passed the winter solstice yet. Leaves are still hanging on the trees around us. But thank goodness many plants are preparing themselves attractively for Spring's blooms and foliage, so here's what I'm seeing as I look hungrily for signs of that renewal. It just can't come fast enough for me!

Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'. Many of these buds have already opened as you can see in the background.

Camellia 'April Kiss'.

Mahonia aquifolium.

Gaultheria shallon.

Pinus contorta.

Daphne odora 'Marginata'.

Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths'.

Embothrium coccineum with its fuzzy red buds. It's years from flowers, but I'll settle for new growth this spring.
 How about you? Can you "be here now", or are you already jonesing for Spring?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Belated November Bloom Day

Things at Longview Ranch are much quieter this month. It's mostly a case of falling leaves and more falling leaves. But I have a few blooms to share with you - and a surprise appearance.

I've qvetched about the plume color on this Cortaderia selloana and apparently it heard me: they have bleached out to a nice pale white. It makes me happy to see them against this rare blue sky.

I wish there were more hummingbirds around to enjoy the constant and continuing bloom of Agastache 'Acapulco Orange.

Kniphofia 'Timothy' has sent up one last flower head.
There is the usual complement of almost-microscopic blooms, like these tiny flowers on Parthenocissus tricuspidata.

Here's a closeup. The open blossom is less than 1/4-inch wide.

Another small bloom on a species Rosemary.

And tiny Delosperma 'Oberg'.
The blooms on Rosa 'Sally Holmes' get bedraggled in the rain, but give her a few dry days and she comes back nicely.

Of course, the rain is excellent for fungi. If I knew more, I'd be tempted to harvest these for the kitchen.

One of the happiest plants in the garden right now is the Fatsia japonica. Its fat, sputnik-like blooms are attracting both me and the bees.

And here's the surprise: one of three Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' planted in the Northwest Territory last month has burst into bloom. All three were covered in buds when we bought them, but I didn't expect flowers until late December or January. I'm enjoying their unexpected cheer in the garden this month.

I'm a day late for Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, so take a look: I'm sure there are lots of flowers already there to enjoy. Happy Belated Bloom Day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

More of my favorite color

I love warm colors and autumn orange reigns as my current favorite. I want a lot more of this seasonal color at Longview Ranch, but here are the few glowing examples in my garden right now.

Cornus x 'Eddies White Wonder'.

The fast-growing pin oak next door is showering the garden with bronze leaves that contrast nicely with the green foliage of Acanthus mollis.

New foliage of Vaccinium ovatum.

Nandina domestica 'Moyers Red'

Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Veitchii'.

Okay, not orange, but this Syneilesis hybrid is moving in a warm direction...

An Erica hybrid warms up an adjoining Yucca rostrata.

The beauty of maple leaf litter.

My neighbor's unusual Cornus.

My favorite new shrub, Langerstroemia 'Natchez', is coloring intensely this month.

If I can't have summer temperatures, I'll just have to warm up looking at all this bright foliage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Foliage Follow-up in the Northwest Territory

It's no secret that my gardening style is pretty different from that of my husband (aka the Mulch Man).  In his area of our back garden, he is focused on recreating the lush, green Pacific Northwest look he fell for when he moved here from California back in the 80s. It has been a gradual process with several partial re-dos over the past few years, but the layout is finally working to his satisfaction.

A month ago, we made some last tweaks to the beds and paths, and this past Saturday (taking advantage of our rainy Friday) we planted out all the residents from the Northwest Territory temporary nursery into the beds.

It's all about the foliage. We now have a total of eight huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum and V. ovatum 'Thunderbird'.)

The established huckleberries are full of glossy berries that contrast with the shiny leaves.
I can't count the number of Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) we now have, both the established ones and eight new ones.

We moved some plants around, including this Mahonia nervosa.  It didn't appreciate the amount of hot sun it was getting  in late afternoon. The foxgloves aren't Northwest natives, but they have naturalized in the wild so we enjoy them in the Territory garden, too.

The Mahonia foliage is getting that pretty purple coloration. I think it's partly from autumn, partly from sun stress and partly from being in a holding pot for a month.

We moved a few small forbs to places where we can appreciate them better. Here are Iris tenax, I. x pacifica 'This Ring' and Sisyrinchium bellum 'Rocky Point' (I believe). I can tell the genus apart, but when they're not flowering, I'm not sure on IDing the species.

We took out three 'Winter's Snowman' Camellias, because they just weren't doing the job in creating a privacy screen in the northeast corner of our back garden. To replace them, the Mulch Man decided on three Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide".  It's tricky to find an evergreen shrub that can withstand that area where they get no morning sun but bake in the late afternoon. 'Yuletide' were reliable and healthy in our last garden so we're giving them a try. That's a couple more huckleberries out in front of them, and our neighbor's blueberries in seasonal color behind the fence.

It will take the camellias some years to get to any size, but the denser habit of 'Yuletide' is much better for the job of screening.
A hybrid of the native Eastern Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius 'Summer Wine' adds a colorful note behind the Mountain  Hemlock and will grow fairly quickly.

It's hard to start over in an area that was recently green with shrubs, even if the overall result wasn't what we were looking for. But as I look at the space I try to imagine it in just a few years, filled with glossy, healthy foliage that beautifully screens us from the neighbors.  I think it will complete the Northwest Territory and add a nice twist of Pacific Rim. And there's still lots of room for more foliage this spring!

Foliage Follow-up is hosted by Pam at Digging. Pay her a visit to see other foliage stories for October.