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

Friday, January 26, 2018

Getting Out More

A corollary to my New Year's goal to blog more is to get out more. After all, if I remain a recluse in my house, I won't have as much fodder for blog posts, will I?

So, in pursuit of getting out more, I decided to attend the Northwest Perennial Alliance's get-together last weekend at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, called "The Promise of Spring" event. There was a sale of Hellebores and flowering Cyclamen, followed by two presentations. The first was a slide show of photos from last year's Open Gardens by the two chairs of the Open Gardens Program, Julia Graham and Donna Bogumill, called "NPA Open Gardens: Highlights of the 2017 Garden Tours--and gearing up for the 2018 season." It was an excellent show, with some lovely shots and good points, very enjoyable and inspiring, and was standing room only. I even saw some photos of my blog buddy Peter The Outlaw Gardener's garden!

I also saw friends there -- Tatyana who writes the blog My Secret Garden; Jan Jensen, who used to be the head of the NPA group Petal Pushers (which I really should become a more active member of this year); and Camille Paulsen, whom I met with Peter when we toured her Open Garden in Puyallup last year, and whose garden I wrote about in yesterday's post here.

Some of the plant offerings for sale:

'Ice N' Roses Red' Hellebore

I found myself quite drawn to the 'Ice N' Roses Red' Hellebore, but interestingly, by the time I left, the only two plants left unsold on the table were both that variety. I might have been tempted to buy them, but I've been looking for black Hellebores lately, and there were none to be had.


Bright flowers, great splotchy foliage -- what's not to love?

During the break between presentations, a member of the audience came up to me and said that she read my blog. I want to apologize now for not being more forthcoming. I'm always dumbfounded and humbled when people say they read my silly scribblings. If I were not so empty-headed, I would have asked her name, what her garden was like, and where it was, what her favorite plants were, if her garden was on the Open Gardens program last year or if she planned to open it this year, etc. In fact, I woke the next morning and sat straight up in bed with questions I should have asked running through my dopey head. Too late to ask them then.

By breaktime, the room was very crowded, and because I hadn't found the Hellebore I was looking for, I decided to make my escape. The second presentation of the day was by Karen Chapman, on "Foliage First" about establishing a framework of interesting foliage in the garden. I bet it was good, her two books are inspiring, full of great photos and great ideas. I've met her and heard her speak before.

Since I was in Bellevue, so close to Molbak's, I decided to continue on to Woodinville and go plant shopping.

Molbak's was having a houseplant and pottery sale -- 25% off. They had some very nice Bromeliads, and I was tempted.

I've grown this one before, and I might even have a pup from my previous plant somewhere in the greenhouse.

Great stripes!

This one is almost like stained glass!

Colors a little too reminiscent of Christmas, which I am so over

Euphorbia trigona red

Agave 'Blue Glow' look-alike, but I think it might be an Aloe

Agave 'Blue Glow' -- the real thing

One thing Molbak's excels at is displaying plants:

The leaves on those Primroses look good enough to eat

The color echoes are enough to make you swoon

I found lots of Hellebores.

They had hordes of 'Ice N' Roses Red'

I've been to a few more places since this trip to Molbak's, and they all have 'Ice N' Roses Red' Hellebore. It seems to be a popular one this year.

'Penny's Pink' looks great with that red-tipped Euphorbia, but I'm not sure they like the same growing conditions

'Madame Lemonnier'

'VavaVoom Pink' -- who comes up with these names?

'Double Pink Petticoat'

Look at the red stems on that Drimys!

My big regret of the day

My biggest regret of the day was that I didn't buy a Camellia. I've been wanting another one, now that I seem to have managed to coax the one I have to at least bud up (we'll see if the flowers open). The Camellias in the photo above are Vestito Rosso 'MonBella,' which has big beautiful deep red flowers and deep red, almost black, new foliage. But they were $180 (yes, that's right -- $180), and I wasn't sure I wanted to haul such an enormous shrub all the way home from Molbak's in my new car.

The Hellebore that came home with me -- 'Midnight Ruffles' from the Winter Thriller series

The Hellebore that I bought isn't quite as black as the blackest ones I've seen, but I was seduced by those ruffles. I bought 6 of them, and because I had a $10 off Reward from Molbak's, one was basically free. They're smallish quart-size plants, but they'll bulk up in a few years' time.

I really enjoyed seeing the photos of last year's NPA Open Gardens. I let my membership lapse last year and missed out on seeing some great gardens. I saw Peter's many posts about them and salivated and griped about it on all his posts. This year I joined as soon as the New Year came around, and I've also already signed up for the Hardy Plant Study Weekend on June 22-25 which is taking place in Bothell this year, with a Saturday evening soiree at McMenamin's Anderson School. They are going to have some lovely gardens on those tours, as well as interesting speakers and lecturers. If you're a member of the NPA you can sign up for it now, but if you're not, you can wait until Feb. 1, when registration opens to the public. It's limited to 400.  Can you tell I'm excited about it?

So, that's my weekend report. Do you have plans for the coming weekend? I hope you're going to do something fun.