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

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.


  1. I still have so much I want to do, but I lost steam after my big October planting. I think eberything I have left to do can be done anytime from now to spring, though. I suppose I should take advantage of the relatively dry weather today to get a few things done. Mushy foliage is my least favorite thing ever. I should tackle those plants, I guess. Hmm, not a very inspiring theme for the show. I'm picturing a lot of standard floral displays. Hopefully there will be some creative ones mixed in with more foliage and cool plants.

  2. Yesterday I was looking around the garden with an eye to how it will look post-freeze. I like this version so much better!!!

    Glad you'll be at the NWFG Show this year.

  3. Good for you for getting all of that hard work done earlier! February isn't far off at all, is it? I used to think of that show being in the middle of winter but lately, it's signaled the beginning of another garden season. Looking forward to the NWFG show!

  4. I love the color of that Calendula - those I sowed from seed never took off because the devilish raccoons uprooted all the seedlings. I wish I was as focused as you are on my next plans for the garden - my back slope is the obvious candidate for an overhaul but I think I may need some professional help there (my body will, certainly, either on the front-end or the back-end of the project).

  5. We have had a couple nights in the high 30's here in Napa but so far all plants continue to survive. I'm hoping to plant my tulips this weekend and make some pro-active cutting back before we get more rain and everything is drippy and yukky. Like you I will work on clean up all winter -and the weeds are legion.

  6. I like how you are planning out your gardening activities through the winter months. we are about finished with the clean up and plant division or relocating. There will be winter pruning to do, and probably more lawn raking as wind brings debris put of the trees, but for the most part I will begin my winter gardening hiatus now.

  7. 30.7 here as i read your blog. Daily radiation treatments have wrecked my plans to plant a ton of bulbs. Now i have three days off in a row from radiation appointments and i am going to get on that if the ground stays unfrozen. just like you, i looked around the garden today thinking of how different it will look after the first hard frost. Except the hellebores just getting started. I love them. Gardening is so much about letting go.

  8. Amazing that you haven´t had a frost yet. I already had a couple in my garden this year. The flowers are looking beautiful!
    It is great that you will be able to attend the NWFG Show!

  9. 2/3 of an acre sounds like a lot to me! We have a little over 1/8 of an acre. Nice that you have the NW garden show to look forward to.

  10. I like your plan to do cleanup in small chunks through the winter. I always pressure myself to get everything done by the end of fall, so this is a good reminder that I don't have to do it all at once!

  11. Three inches of snow today; I can finally pack up the garden chores for another few months and forget about it. We gave it our all on Saturday but still fell short of the mark. I love the flowers still blooming in your garden, what a treat to see their colorful faces. I can't wait to see your garden show photos. February is really quite close.

  12. Arctic blast--stay warm! Here the last figs wait out the winter and ripen in late spring.


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