Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

I'm Off to The Fling

I'm heading off to the Garden Bloggers Fling in Denver this weekend for three days of garden touring on a bus.



While the above image is (to me at least) kind of hilarious, I will in fact be the short, old, fat, white-haired lady cowering in her seat with her hands over her ears, while 80+ garden bloggers all around me yell at each other at the top of their lungs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2019

Well, amazingly enough, it is already the middle of May and time for another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. The garden is bursting with flowers, although until yesterday our weather was unseasonably hot and dry, with temperatures in the 80s. This is a very unusual weather pattern for us in the PNW, at least in my admittedly limited experience. Spring in the PNW is supposed to be a long, slow, cool ramp-up into summer. I remember when we first moved here, I heard that the rule of thumb was that it rained all spring (mostly a fine misty rain) and shut off like a faucet turning off on the day after the Fourth of July, like clockwork.

For our first handful of years here, that was true. But for maybe the last four or five, the weather has been very unsettled, with hot, dry stretches in the middle of spring. This year we had such a dry March many people were already watering. I didn't, but the first two weeks of May were so hot and dry that I finally set about getting some sprinklers set up. And then the rain and cool weather returned yesterday.

The damage may have been done, though. I've also read that the recent hot weather melted so much of the mountain snowpack that we rely on for our summer water, that our drought this summer and wildfire threat may be problematic.

Anyway, here's what's blooming right now in my Washington state garden.

Last year when I redid this bed I churned up the seeds that were banked in it. I've been pretty good about pulling the weeds, but I decided to let these Columbines with variegated foliage flower to see what I get. Unfortunately there seems to be an overabundance of aphids feeding on them, so it's hard to get a shot that isn't covered in their tiny, sesame-seed-looking bodies.


They are all this shade of blue in various states of frilliness.

I have a handful of other columbines throughout the garden flowering now too.

This pastel pink and yellow Columbine reminds me of a frilly baby dress

A bunch of  Columbines bob and sway at various heights, all different colors

Variegated Solomon's seal is flowering

Lupine in the cutting garden, with my neighbor's garage in the background

A slightly different Lupine in the cutting garden, my house in the background

Viburnum plicatum var. mariesii, planted last fall and already flowering

Thistly Cirsium rivulare


The Pacific Coast Iris are flowering. I don't know their names, but they thrive here.





Saponaria officinalis self-sows and is flowering all over now


Fluffy, airy flowers of Saxifraga 'London Pride' -- I really need to cut some of those rosettes and spread this around even more, they root so easily

False Solomon's seal

Purple flowering tobacco

Stripey lily of the valley in the garden

And in the pot ghetto, waiting to go into the garden

Purple Disporum cantoniense flowering in the pot ghetto -- must get this into the ground soon

Tiny divisions of Geranium renardii, dug and divided last summer and replanted (many given away at the recent Bloggers plant swap)

Centaurea montana

Crambe maritima

Acid yellow flowers on red Sedum spathulifolium 'Carnea' -- I don't like this combination of colors but I'm not motivated enough to cut them off

On the front steps where I've placed my tender plants an Echeveria flower stalk drapes itself over a golden rattail cactus

Adenium obesum

Monster Ceanothus -- the bees love it, but when I redo this bed I plan to take it out, or at least cut it down to the ground

It makes a nice backdrop to this Lewisia in a colander


A second Lewisia also planted in a colander, for its excellent drainage, has Alliums as its backdrop

Chives and lavender are flowering in this little herbal parterre that I planted a year ago.






Allium in the front garden

'Ray's Golden Campion' has sown itslef into this area of the front bed, unfortunately most of the seedlings are just solid green rather than the nice golden color that it's named for

Trachycarpus fortunei is getting ready to flower, an event I often miss --  not a bad thing since the flowers creep me out

So that's what's flowering here right now. I hope your garden is looking good and giving you enjoyment. Mine does, despite its imperfections.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. You can find her blog here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Little More Non-Suckage

This little area at the bottom of the back porch stairs is rather nice too.

Pots o' Podophyllums

Podophyllum flowers




Thursday, May 9, 2019

Not Everything in My Garden Sucks

In the interests of honesty I feel compelled to admit there are actually some areas of my garden that are pretty nice. Large parts of the back garden are in good shape, due to being worked on pretty hard in the last two years. It's the front garden's turn for a makeover this year. I've been working on redoing a large bed in the front to make it more in keeping with a prairie/meadow/drought-tolerant scheme, and it's been monopolizing all my time and attention. Fortunately, the back garden is in good enough shape that one day of weeding was enough to whip it into shape. It could still use some tweaking, but for right now, it's a very pleasant place to sit and read a book or sip a drink. Nigel does that whenever he can.  I, of course, seldom do.


This is the view through the back gate into the back garden

Looking across the stream into the northeast shady corner

Directly to the right as you step through the gate

To the left as you step through the gate is this path, put in last spring, that meanders in back of the stream along the fence

The gravel path is currently covered in Douglas fir debris, but it's there

View of the stream from the chairs


A couple of years ago we installed the electric fence to deter raccoons from playing in the stream. It seems to have helped, I don't see evidence of them moving the rocks around or digging up the plants that are growing in it. I haunted thrift stores last year looking for cheap/chipped insulators to top the plastic poles as decoration, they don't serve a purpose other than that.

Sharp-eyed visitors will see this scenario

There's another Jurassic denizen in the tree, can you see it?


There are also rubber duckies in the waterfall

Here's the beginning of a path that leads into the shady northeast corner



It's a bit of a wild mish-mash but I like it

Hart's tongue fern, Beesia, Heuchera, Arisaema ringens, Polypodium scouleri, Saxifraga 'London Pride' and our native PNW vanilla leaf (Achlys triphylla)

Closer look at the Arisaema ringens flower

This is the fence panel that was blown down in one of our winter storms

Schefflera underplanted with Vancouveria, Hart's tongue fern, Ajuga, Hosta, Trillium

Jeffersonia diphylla and Actaea with Mahonia, native bleeding heart, Hosta and ferns

This year's experiment involves a raccoon poop deterrent -- a ring of Douglas fir cones and sharp pointy BBQ sticks at the base of one of their favorite pooping trees -- which worked to keep cats from using my raised veggie beds as a bathroom, so I have high hopes it will work here

This is the area I wrote about in a previous post a couple of years ago here titled Gardening My Ass Off Part I. Some day soon I'll show you what I'm working on in the front.