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!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday vignette - hot frost

I'm joining Anna at Flutter and Hum for her Wednesday meme, in an effort to warm up with the warmer, dryer days of summer. Although now I see that these massed Tillandsias do look a little frosty, in spite of the sweltering evening on which I took this shot.

I love the ferny smaller Tillandsias up high, and the clematis winding itself up and through the T. xerographica curls, as well as the little cactus punctuating the low wall. The comfy chairs and umbrella in the background hint of languid summer evenings spent outdoors.

This scene is in the garden of JJ DeSousa, a wildly inventive and talented interior and garden designer. If you attended the 2014 Portland Garden Bloggers Fling, you saw her distinctive garden, but I can assure you she is constantly recreating her mix. Every visit is different, and I enjoy keeping up with her changes each summer during the Hardy Plant Society Open Gardens.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Now I'm not so sure...

The patio and path project is finished!
Of course, as in any project there are a couple of loose ends that can't be done right now, like acid washing and sealing the concrete, and power washing the deck. But all the serious work is done, the contractor has taken the last of his tools and equipment home, and I get to put the garden back together. 

I've been lusting after this day since ground was broken on the job September 28th - longer, if you count the weeks my plants spent out of the ground when the project was initially delayed.
All I wanted to do was put each plant back where I dug it up. But wait...
That's a lot of open ground. There's more planting area than before and I know the plants need to go back in the ground ASAP.  But do I really want to put everything back exactly where it was?
This is a golden opportunity to do it right ... well, at least better. Where the plants did well, and happy pairings occurred in the past, I'll probably replant them. But I need to learn from the plants that did less well or weren't well sited. I need to accommodate them better on this go round.

They're all sitting along the north side of my house, waiting patiently.

Especially so late in the year, don't I owe it to my plants to give them the best second chance I can? I guess a few more days of thoughtful re-arranging and siting before I plant won't make such a big difference.
And as I plant, I get to enjoy our re-worked hardscape. I'm loving the crisp intersections and the little details that are so noticeable in a smaller space like ours. I'll be doing a full post on just the project hardscape later on.

But I'm a gardener, and I've been thinking about the garden plants during this whole project. If I do this right, my plants will thrive and look good their new digs as much as - or even better than - the places they left in September.

I can't wait to see how the replanted beds pull everything together into a beautiful whole.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A rain-soaked Wednesday vignette

Before I moved to Portland (back in the stone age) I imagined Oregon to be exactly as I experienced most of today: misty, gentle precipitation that gradually soaked my green surroundings. I fantasized it hydrating me at the same time as it fed the earth. And I thought it would be ecological nirvana.
Since living here, my Oregon reality is a lot more balanced. After all, we have these dry Mediterranean summers. But seeing this piece of my creative neighbor Julie's retaining wall today brought me back to my imagined future habitat. It's a moist medley of stones, marble, salvaged iron, a big cast-off shellfish, succulents, nasturtiums and a tiny white-flowered begonia. The wet, shining Liriodendron tulipifera leaves add a seasonal stained-glass accent I love.

I'm joining my friend Anna at her blog Flutter and Hum today. Check out other Wednesday vignettes, including hers, by clicking over.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2015

I'm a day late in posting for Bloom Day, but it will be a quick read as I only have a few flowers blooming this month. Here's your brief tour:

Abutilon megapotamicum may deserve this year's award for the longest bloom period. Since April of this year, it's been continuously pumping out blossoms.
Just like me, Punica granatum 'Nana' is happy that the days are still warm and sunny.
The tiny mallow-like blossoms of Sphaeralcea 'Newleaze Coral' pack a colorful punch once they open in the sun each day.

I'm cheating a little with Cuphea 'Tiny Mice' since I picked it up in bloom from Pomarius Nursery this week, but it's so cute I just had to include it.

Rosa 'Sally Holmes' has just a few bloom trusses left.

Likewise, Rosa 'Darlow's Enigma' is on its last legs but deserves mention as it brightens up the area under a Trachycarpus fortunei.
A couple of random Ceanothus blossoms were this week's surprise.
All the Rosemary plants around the house are quietly doing their fall bloom thing.

Also vying for the title of longest blooming plant, Erigeron glaucus flowers on.
A fun development in the Northwest Territory is a couple of Digitalis that matured to bloom this year. I know these are biennials, so I'm wondering how I managed to miss their little rosettes last year.

Click on over to May Dreams Gardens to see flowers from gardens all over.
Happy Bloom Day!