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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today Was a Two-Fer!

Today was a Two-Fer -- Two For the Price of One! I've been wanting to join Les's Winter Walk-Off  for a couple of years. If you're not familiar with the Winter Walk-Off, here's what Les at A Tidewater Gardener has to say about it:

"On your own two feet, leave the house and share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home (if you want to drive to your walk that's OK too).  Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue, unless you want it to be.  Maybe instead you will find some unusual patterns, interesting shadows, signs of spring, a favorite restaurant or shop, questionable landscaping or local eyesores.  Whatever, just keep your eyes and mind open, be creative and have fun, but don't show anything from your own garden."

Why haven't I joined this before? Two words -- Cold and Rain. I don't like to walk in either (yes, I'm a wimp), but unfortunately, those two words describe our Pacific Northwest winter. Our entire winter. A day without either is a rarity, and I only have until March 19 to participate. Yesterday was one such rarity, but I didn't want to walk, I wanted to garden in my own garden. So I did. I managed to weed and cutback and clean out all the beds in the back garden.

This morning promised to be warm and not raining as well, but -- well, today I wanted to go to the Northwest Perennial Alliance's March Mania Plant Sale at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. could I incorporate a walk and the plant sale? I could walk AT the Bellevue Botanical Garden! Technically, it's not my neighborhood, but I'm going to interpret the "rules" loosely. Les says I can drive and then walk, so that's what I did.

If you're really jonesing for pictures of a couple of (summertime) walks I took through my neighborhood and town, you can check out this post, and this post, from my other blog The 40-Pound Chicken Challenge.

So, after that long-winded preamble --

There were plenty of vendors out today for the sale

More vendors -- in fact, there were even more beyond, around the corner of the building

Did I buy plants? yes But not Hellebores. I'm sure that surprised you. After I had paid for my non-Hellebore plants, I retrieved Nigel from his reading corner inside the building, and we set off on our stroll. Our first stop was the Water-wise Garden, which had this gorgeous stand of Epimedium, a wonderful dry shade plant.

I don't know which Epimedium this is, but it's got really pretty leaves for this time of year.

Then we checked out the Northwest Perennial Alliance's Perennial Border. At the moment there's not much blooming there except Hellebores and Crocuses.

The NPA border has a happy gnome!

After a perusal of the border, the path onward beckons

Mahonia blooming beside the path

There were lots of this favorite PNW native small tree -- Indian plum, aka Oemleria cerasiformis

I was surprised to see flowers budding already on the flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum.

This -- most likely Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' -- smelled heavenly and was blooming profusely

A moss-covered nurse log in the Native Discovery Garden

Moss covers everything here, whether it's a rolling stone or a still one

Fall's detritus still hung, captured in plenty of branches

Rather than veer off to the relatively new suspension bridge, which has been open less than a year, we ventured into the Japanese Garden, which I have never seen. For a summer-time post with pictures of the bridge, look here.

We spied this strange metal object from across the garden.

It's an enormous drainage hatch!

Someone has abandoned their post
So I'm sure you're wondering what I bought at the plant sale...

From top right, going clockwise: Epimedium versicolor, Melianthus major, Cardiocrinum giganteum yunnanense, black mondo grass, and Luzula sylvatica 'Aurea'

My baby Cardiocrinum. I hope I can keep it alive.

Have you been doing any gardening lately? Or taken any walks? Thinking of participating in Les's Winter Walk-Off? I'm so glad I finally did.