Tuesday, December 6, 2016

First Frost

We had our first frost last night. Although yesterday morning we technically had some big fat flakes of snow falling, the air temperature didn't actually go below freezing, and the snow melted on contact with the ground and didn't stick. But last night the temperatures went down to at least 31, maybe lower (the thermometer said 31 at 7:30, just before sunrise, when we left for the train station).

Frost always reminds me of sugar crystals

Lots of water droplets frozen in place



Water frozen in its course on a Tetrapanax leaf


Like the water, my work in the garden is at a standstill until the temperatures warm up a bit. I'll probably be back out there once we get temps that are steadily in the 40s, even if it's raining.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Out and About in the Garden

We still haven't had a frost, but word is there's one coming this weekend. So I made the rounds of the garden the other day to check out what looked interesting, because by the time the weekend is done, the garden will probably be done also.

Calendula 'Solar Flashback' -- I picked it and put it in a bud vase behind my kitchen sink

Last few Erysimum flowers

Hellebore flowers, getting ready to open, will undoubtedly survive the frost since they are winter-flowering plants

Panicum's panoply of hues

Self-sown Euphorbia, possibly 'Blackbird' offspring, has such interesting colors

Holly fern spores

Eryngium 'Blue Glitter' seedheads

Bear's breeches/Acanthus mollis

Last four fig leaves

One last fig that never got big enough to ripen

I've made all the big changes to the garden that I wanted to for the fall. In late winter/early spring (i.e, late January/February) I'm planning to start a major renovation of the gravel garden. Between now and then, I'll be out in the garden most days for a short amount of time, cleaning up and cutting back. I don't have a huge garden, but it's big for me (about 2/3 acre), and if I want to keep up, I really need to get my cleanup done little by little over the course of the winter. I like to leave seedheads like coneflowers up for the birds, and colorful blades like Panicums stay for winter interest till they get cut to the ground in the spring. But mushy foliage needs to go, and anything dead needs to be cut back before things start to bud out again, which here in the PNW starts to happen in February for certain plants.

In January I'll start sowing seeds out in the greenhouse too, as well as some, like Verbena bonariensis and a few California wildflowers, that I plan to sow in place in the beds.

Also in February, not that far away now, is the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, which I plan to attend this year (I missed last year because I was recuperating from surgery). The theme this year is "Taste of Spring." It may sound kind of generic, but it does give them lots of leeway to be creative, so I'm looking forward to it, I'm looking forward to taking pictures for the blog and sharing them. And I hope you're looking forward to seeing them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

My Wednesday Vignette is a shot I took recently while wandering the garden looking for shots of berries to share for my post last week on Thanksgiving. I noticed this strange fungus that I hadn't seen before, in an area of the garden where I haven't worked in a while. I don't know what kind of fungus it is, and it looks like it's been there a while, so it may not look like this when it first comes out of the ground. But to me it looks like...a zombie penis. Actually, it looks like two zombie penises, side by side. So I'm calling it zombie penis fungus.

Zombie penis fungus

Did I have a zombie or two wandering my garden recently? Did this fall off?

Anna at Flutter & Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. Check out her post here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Have A Berry Happy Thanksgiving!


Aralia californica

Arum italicum

Leycesteria formosa/Himalayan honeysuckle

Iris domestica/Blackberry lily

Arbutus unedo compacta/Strawberry bush

Rosa glauca

Baptisia australis

Fuchsia magellanica

Sarcococca ruscifolia

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

Here's a Wednesday Vignette from the new plantings in my back garden, in the northeast corner under the Douglas firs, which I wrote about in "Gardening My Ass Off Part I." It's Cyclamen purpurascens, which has scented flowers. I planted four or five of these in the border, each with slightly different leaves. I hope they seed around and naturalize like some of my other Cyclamen have done.

Cyclamen purpurascens

Anna at Flutter & Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. Check out her current post here.




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Squeeeeee!!

That sound you may have heard coming from the PNW this past weekend was me squealing for joy when my husband brought in the mail. He was holding a box and wondering who I knew in Texas named....Penick?

Inside the box were three whale's tongue Agave bulbils from Pam Penick, who writes the blog Digging. She lives in Austin, Texas and over the summer her infamous Agave ovatifolia Moby bloomed and died, and in the process produced many, many bulbils, little Agave babies, all along the flower stalk. She posted about it here and here, and offered the babies to fellow bloggers online. I jumped at the chance to grow one. What a thrill to get three! One and two spares.



I potted them up immediately in some free-draining cactus potting soil that I had bought just a few days before, and left them on a heating mat inside the greenhouse. Now I have to decide what to name them.

Whale's tongue Agaves all potted up


Should I name them after other characters in the book Moby Dick? Ishmael, Queequeg, and Starbuck.

Or, here's an idea. I could name them after the three Puget Sound Orca pods. 

J pod, K pod and L pod. But that's not particularly imaginative. Maybe names that start with those initials, like Jessie, Katie and Libby? For some reason, I think they're girl Agaves.

What do you think? Got any ideas? It has to be something to do with whales, since they're whale's tongue Agaves.

Thanks so much, Pam! I can't wait till they're big!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Foliage Followup and Wednesday Vignette -- November 2016

Raindrops on Cotinus leaves make for interesting photos on Foliage Followup day. They also make nice vignettes for Wednesday Vignette.






Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Followup on the 16th of every month. Check out her post here.

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