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

Friday, February 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- February 2019 (Mostly Still Frozen)

It's mid-February, which means we're supposed to show photos of what's blooming in our gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, but right now my garden is still mostly underneath snow. I know there are some flowers out there, buried -- Hellebores, Cyclamen, snowdrops, winter aconite, and sweet-smelling Sarcococca. But it's a slog to get to them, and any that are starting to emerge from the melting snow all look well and truly bedraggled.

Snow in front of me

Snow in back of me

Cyclamen coum, weeds, and Douglas fir debris emerging from the snow

I can't even depend on the greenhouse to provide me with flowers, because few plants are blooming there. What is happening out there, however, is sprouting -- lots of sprouting seeds making little baby plants.

Sprouts, sprouts and more sprouts!

The wonderful smell out in the greenhouse is not from a flower, it's simply the welcome, intensified  smell of moist, workable soil and growing things.

Hopefully soon the snow will be gone and I'll be able to get to work redoing the bed that most of these babies are supposed to be planted in.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of every month. Check out her post here.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Locked in the Freezer of Doom

If you've watched any TV at all, you're probably familiar with the "Locked in the Freezer Together" scenario. It's used so often it's been designated a TV trope. If you don't know what it is, you can read about it here.

For the past week, and for the immediately foreseeable future, it has been and will be my life. We had snow two weekends ago, and just as it was thawing, we got more, a whole series of snowstorms, this past weekend, and now today we're getting more snow as I write, which may turn into rain, or maybe freezing rain.

It's hard to tell.

For the Northeast or the Midwest this would be a nothing-burder, but none of the towns hereabouts has the equipment to deal with snow, and it snows so seldom few people know how to drive properly in it either. Many of them crow so loudly with joy whenever it snows I wouldn't be surprised if they consider it an occasion for a joyride. Because of this everything closes down, and in fact, the governor has declared a state of emergency, and the rest of the country is laughing at us.

The first snow -- about 3 or 4 inches -- fell two weekends ago, i.e., not this weekend just past, but the one before. By Friday morning a good amount of it had melted, and to keep myself sane, I was spending a few hours every day out in the greenhouse, sowing seeds.

The view from the front door after the first snow

Still quite a lot on the back steps, even after a week of thaw

Ice in the stream

A well-worn path from the front door to the greenhouse

The Green Man looking for spring

Tulips that thought spring was here -- Hahaha! Fooled you

Eranthis popping up through the snow


Then Friday evening came. When I went out at 11 p.m. to turn on the propane heater in the greenhouse, the front garden looked like this.

That misshapen lump in the center is a normally 10-foot tall Arctostaphylos -- I had already gone out once to shake the snow off it

You can see my footprints in the snow leading to the greenhouse door -- fortunately the snow was fluffy enough that I could use the door to push it out of the way

View into the back garden from the kitchen window on Saturday morning

This was considerably more than the previous snowfall -- depending on where we measured, it was either 7 1/2 (closest to the house) or 10 inches (on top of the yard waste bins).

Nigel went out and shoveled the driveway -- he took his time and shoveled in shifts.

He also shoveled me a path to the greenhouse

I shook off the Arcto's branches and they sprang up, and hopefully it will recover. Unfortunately this was not the last time this past weekend that I had to brush it off with a broom

Palms got the snow shaken off too

This bare-limbed Styrax was strangely bent nearly double with snow, I had to shake it off too

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' also freed from snow, not for the last time

On Sunday morning we had blue skies and sunshine. Through the upstairs bedroom windows I took some photos of the Douglas firs that surround our house and tower over it.

And I couldn't resist taking some photos of my one safe haven through all of this -- the greenhouse, which smells so wonderful I would be tempted to sleep out there if I had room for a bed.

By Sunday afternoon the skies had darkened and it started snowing again, off and on. Overnight we got another 4 inches. Nigel once again shoveled the driveway, while I got the broom out and swept and shook snow from shrubs.

The snowbanks along the driveway are getting pretty tall -- not counting trips to Mt. Rainier, I haven't seen banks this big since we left Massachusetts 10 years ago

If you've seen my blog before, or have been to my garden, then you have some idea just how big that culvert planter is


Palm, free of snow, but in deeper

Arbutus unedo, free again

Tracks from a neighbor's cat

As I write this, it is once again snowing, although the weather forecast claims it will soon turn to rain.  Will it turn to freezing rain (not so easily knocked off plants)? We have plenty of food, so we won't have to resort to eating the cat, and I doubt the neighbors will discover in a few days that the cat has eaten us. Will winter life in Seattle return to normal in time for the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival next week? I have to admit, as far as brooms go, I would much rather be riding mine than using it to knock snow off plants.

Then again, perhaps I should just build a snowman and allow him to take me flying in the air.

Walking In The Air

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tell The Truth Tuesday -- Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

As if raccoons wreaking havoc and digging stuff up above-ground isn't enough of a hassle, I also have moles. They used to be confined to the beds, but have recently moved out into the lawn.

"I knew I should've toined left at Albequoiquee!"

What monstrosity, or just plain minor annoyance, is bothering you in your garden this week? Tell us about it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Vignette

It's been ages since I've participated in this meme. I want to point out as well that the photo I'm sharing today isn't mine.

My friend Camille Paulsen, who gardens in a nearby town, took it one morning recently while she was getting her youngest daughter ready to face the day. Can you imagine what it's like to look out your kitchen window and see this view over your garden?

Mt. Rainier casting a shadow on the clouds -- photo by Camille Paulsen

Occasionally at this time of year, when the cloud cover is just right, at sunrise the sun causes Mt. Rainier, a 14,000+-foot high volcano, to cast a shadow onto the sky. You can read about this phenomenon here in a Huffpost article, and see more photos from various other photographers here.

They say a red sky at morning is supposed to be a warning of bad things to come, but it's hard not to simply feel awe when you see a sight like this, isn't it? Nigel and I sometimes talk about downsizing to a smaller house and garden eventually, but if we do, I want one with a view.

Anna at Flutter & Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. You can check out her post here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tell The Truth Tuesday -- The Trouble With Gardening Under Douglas Firs

The last three weeks have been a black hole of lost time. On Christmas Day I came down with a bad cold. I thought at first it wouldn't be too bad, the first three or four days I was only mildly ill. But by New Year's Eve I was flat on my back after unbelievable congestion and a fever hit me like a ton of bricks, and turned my head into an enormous, dripping, slurping, sweating, throbbing, disgusting snotball. I spent two days in bed not eating, barely aware, followed by a long, slow claw-back to a semblance of health. I'm actually still coughing as I write this post.

On New Year's Eve we got a powerful windstorm, which Nigel says woke him up when he heard what sounded like a crowd of people running across our roof. I was too sick to be aware of it, I never heard a thing. But I did see the effect the next day. The storm blew thousands of twigs and lots of large branches off the Douglas fir trees that surround our garden, and sheared off one of our fence posts and toppled a fence panel (the fence that separates us from the angry, barky dog).

The fence got fixed within a couple of days (Latticetop Fence Company), but it's two weeks later now and I still haven't cleaned up the branches. I got out of breath just walking around taking these pictures.

Branches blew onto the porch even though it's under a roof

The lawn strewn with twigs and branches

The Douglas firs are a constant source of cones

The biggest pile

Branches in the stream

The fence, which at first looked like a bull had charged through it, has since been fixed (Nigel went out and stood the fence panel back up for this picture)

Have you ever been too tired or sick (or just plain sick and tired of gardening) to clean up after a storm? What's the longest you've left debris in your garden?

Do you have some other ugly garden truths to show us today? Or are you too distracted by what's blooming on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day? I don't have much to show on this January day.