Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Vignette -- Pregnant

Not me, of course, but my plants. Two of them have interesting, new-to-me seedpods. These photos of them are my contribution to the Wednesday Vignette meme today.

First, my Beschorneria septentrionalis, which put out an enormous flower stalk this spring, and now has several equally enormous and fat seedpods maturing on the stalk.



Curious, I removed one and split it open, to find inside these rows of flat, white seeds. I assume they're still immature, and will turn black when ripe, rather like a Yucca or Hesperaloe seed.

And second, my Rhipsalis, bought a couple of years ago from Dig on Vashon Island. I don't remember seeing flowers, but now it has berries. I removed one and gave it a squeeze, and out came juice with teeny-tiny black seeds.

Rhipsalis berries

I'm not really interested in propagating Rhipsalis, but I might pull the berries off and bring them to the Fall Plant Swap in September to see if someone in Portland wants to give them a try.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- August 2017

I'm both astounded and discouraged that it's already the middle of August. I had high hopes for the gardening season at the beginning of the year, and don't feel like I accomplished even half of what I wanted. To me, August signals the slide into autumn. I keep coming up with new ideas and plans. Move this! Plant more of that! Progress always comes to a bit of a screeching halt when summer comes because anything I plant will need coddling over our dry summer, and I'm not really a coddler. I look forward to the fall rains returning, because it means I can start planting and moving plants again,  but I still feel like I'm behind.

Thankfully, we had some rain over the weekend, just a touch overnight. The soil is already dry as dust again. Breezes came and blew the smoke away, and the temps are lower now, so I can finally get out there and do some things, like cutting back and pulling all the ugly spent California poppies.

Anyway, here's what's flowering in my garden on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.


Echinacea is wonderfully drought-tolerant, there are some in the front that get watered maybe once a summer and still look ok.

The same can be said for this Eryngium 'Blue Glitter.'

The lilies are nearly done, the only ones left are ones that don't tend to spread, like this, which I think might be 'Stargazer.'

The bees loves ornamental Oregano 'Kent Beauty' and it's also drought tolerant, another once a summer drinker

Joe Pye Weed is flowering much to my surprise, since it hasn't been watered much, but then it also doesn't get much sun. I think I'll reward it by moving it next year to a spot that gets watered consistently.

I never remember to prop up Anemanthele before it flowers

This shrubby Clematis tubulosa is one of the first plants I planted here, but it has spread and takes up more space than I think it's flowers deserve

They're inconspicuous

Cupid's Dart seldom gets water and flowers well

This white Echinops is going to get pulled out and probably potted up for a swap one of these days -- it reminds me of an enormous dandelion gone to seed, which is not a connotation I like

I really need to plant more Geranium 'Rozanne'

Fuchsia magellanica hasn't been flowering all that long -- it died right back to the ground this winter and has taken its time producing flowers

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' looking unkempt hasn't gotten its fair share of water, it deserves a better spot

Achillea 'Moonshine' is reblooming

Lobelia tupa

I don't know if this yellow Crocosmia has a name, but it needs digging and dividing this winter

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' looking good

This clump of Echinacea has gotten consistent summer water, and it shows -- I bet it would look good with Joe-Pye Weed and Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' for companions

Tithonia 'Torch' that I grew from seed this year has started flowering, although the plants are not much to look at

Cyclamen coum in the shady back Northeast corner has been watered well all summer too, and hasn't stopped flowering


Just a few of these lilies left ('Black Beauty' I think)

I think this is Geranium 'Wargrave Pink,' another wonderful plant that has been blooming all summer with little water

Corydalis lutea pops up amongst the Geranium

I like the blue Echinops much better than the white, and the bees love it too

I startled a bee as I homed in on this bloom for a photo

Orange Crocosmia through a scrim of Nasella tenuisima



Cardoon flowers are so high, I needed to pull the stalk down closer to the camera

I added this Phygelius last fall, a new acquistion from the fall swap, and now it's flowering

This Sesleria autumnalis is the only one in the garden out of about 5 or 6 that is flowering well and has a nice bushy aspect, I can't help wondering why

Pickerel weed in the stream is beginning to flower

Golden Himalayan Honeysuckle is covered in flowers and the beginnings of berry drupes


Hydrangea quercifolia flowers have all turned to pink, and will eventually all turn to buff


Hydrangea 'Annabelle' -- a bit drought-stressed

Unknown Hydrangea in a pot, the sterile florets look fine, but the center, where the real flowers are, is fried

Another unknown potted Hydrangea

Tuberous Begonia

Pelargonium sidoides

Enormous Sempervivum flowers reach out to grab anyone who passes

Lobelia cardinalis flowering in the pot ghetto

And that's everything!

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Barbecued Pig Wearing Lipstick

We're in the middle of a heat wave here in the PNW, and my garden has become the equivalent of a smoked, barbecued pig, despite the sprinklers and hoses that I've been hauling around. Although they were predicting triple digit temperatures, it looks like the high of 95 last Friday was the worst it got. Still, for this part of the country, where it rarely hits 90 in the summer, that's hot. And we've been getting more temps in the 90s this week.

Diphylleia cymosa (I think) dying back despite getting watered every other day

Looks like it's ready for Halloween

Another leaf of something -- Astilboides? -- in the same bed



As of the end of the day Tuesday, there was a record-breaking lack of rainfall in the region as well. A record of 51 days without measurable rain at Sea-Tac airport was set between July 7 and August 26, 1951. We are now at 52 days and counting.

I freely admit to not watering this poor Uvularia

Poor Schefflera delavayi, I limbed up the serviceberry that was providing shade last fall without thinking -- too bad they don't make plant band-aids to fix boo-boos like this, Mama kissing it won't help much

Rheum palmatum collapses and dies in the summer no matter how much water you throw at it



If you follow my blog, you probably know how I feel about hot weather. That's not just a matter of dislike. It literally sickens me. My digestive system reacts badly to hot temps, I get nauseated and lose my appetite. (Don't tell me to just drink more water, it's not dehydration. Believe me -- Been there, tried that.)

If Rodgersia lives, it will get moved in the fall to a spot where it will get more water and more shade -- although come to think of it, I've made that promise before

Some of the patterns are kind of pretty


Then, of course, to add even more distress, we've also been blanketed by smoke from wildfires in British Columbia, which has aggravated my asthma, and brought on fits of coughing every time I go outside. The only good thing about the smoke is that it mitigated the heat somewhat. The sun reflected off the smoke in the air instead of heating things up as much as it would have otherwise, which is why it only reached 95 and not 105. The Weather Service has issued an air quality alert, which states in part "Many places in the interior from Seattle southward were reporting air in the unhealthy category Tuesday evening. Northerly flow aloft will continue to transport smoke into Western Washington from wildfires in British Columbia through early Thursday. In addition, atmospheric ventilation in the interior lowlands of Western Washington will remain poor." A PNW smoke map here showed air quality as unhealthy in Puyallup, which is a larger town close by. There is also a burn ban in effect, no one is even allowed to light up a charcoal grill for cooking.

You can read about the smoke event here.The smoke is bad enough, in fact, that the New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece on it this morning, which you can read here.

Foxglove that I was so proud of earlier in the spring does not die pretty

Ugly foxglove leaves

Unhappy honeysuckle


No matter what I do from now until fall when the rains return and the weather cools off, my garden is going to be a smoked and barbecued pig, and nothing I do, whether it's watering, pulling weeds, deadheading or adding new plants, is going to make it better. Like Congress a few weeks ago when it kept trying to dress up DonTCare, like a pig wearing lipstick, my garden is going to be ugly.

And now, because you have endured some ugly pictures, not to mention my incessant whining, I'm going to end my post with something beautiful -- the lovely Ella Fitzgerald singing "Heat Wave."


Ella Fitzgerald sings "Heat Wave"