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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fertilizer Friday -- Making up For Lost Time

Well, I didn't post for Fertilizer Friday last week, because of the Fling, so I have a lot of lost time to make up for! And in the four days that I was away from my garden, lots of new flowers emerged.

My front porch pots are looking good, but these two especially.

Tithonia 'Torch', also in pots, has finally started blooming. I grow it in pots in a protected spot, otherwise it would drown in our rain.

The lilies that I bought at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show have started flowering.

Asiatic lily 'Eyeliner' -- See the delicate dark edge on the petals?


Can't find the tag.
 My daylilies are flowering up a storm too.

Going Bananas

I can't find the tag for this one either.


Barbara Mitchell

I thought I only sowed black HHs here, but I'll take pink!

My floppy Tidytips is flowering

The plants around the stream are looking quite lush and pretty.

Are these two Agastaches trying to muscle in on the red twig dogwood?

My Dahlias are starting to flower. I got this one from a spring swap. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the flower is enormous!

Dahlia 'Kelvin Floodlight'

Fuchsia magellanica

Penstemon 'Firebird'

The hummingbirds are loving the Jacob Kline Monarda.

The delicate flowers of a gold-leaved Filipendula, against chocolate Joe Pye foliage.

I have a whole row of Sempervivum that are flowering like mad. According to what I've read online, they will die after flowering. Bummer!

Coreopsis grown from seed last year

I have many clumps of Shasta daisies flowering all over the yard, a few different varieties.

Shasta 'Crazy Daisy'

Some are crazier than others. Kind of like gardeners.

Some new purchases, not yet planted.

Canna 'Tropical Bronze Scarlet'

Love the freckles on this Canna. There was no tag.

Please visit Tootsie Time for more Fertilizer Friday posts!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The 40-Pound Chicken Challenge

I've started a new blog. It's called the 40-Pound Chicken Challenge. You can get to it by clicking on the scale on the left hand side of this blog.

It's going to chronicle my journey toward getting chickens when I've lost forty pounds. I hope you'll come with me on my journey.

Wildflower Wednesday -- Ocean spray

This month for Wildflower Wednesday I'm featuring a PNW native flowering shrub that has been flowering up a storm on hillsides and roadsides everywhere. It's called Ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor).

I see it when I go for walks in my neighborhood.

I see it when I drive to the grocery store.

And, although the Epping garden, which I visited while on Garden Bloggers' Fling this past weekend, had many interesting, beautiful and exotic plants, the Ocean spray that ringed the garden in all the wild places beyond the edge of the cultivated areas was the very first thing I noticed.

Ocean spray is one of those plants that is the first to reclaim devastated areas after a burn or forest clear-cut (along with Fireweed, another PNW native flower). It is often found as an understory shrub to large stands of Douglas fir.  The flowers have a faint scent and age to a chocolate brown.

The shrub grows throughout the Northwest and western parts of North America, from British Columbia to California and Arizona. It's a member of the rose family. The flowers attract swallowtail, azure, and Lorquin's admiral butterflies. It can be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings, suckers and seeds and grows in either sun or part shade in moist but lean soil.

Native Americans used it in many ways -- the leaves, berries and flowers as medicine, the wood and bark for tools, furniture and weapons.

I have two specimens of this shrub growing in my newly established back garden. But the garden is too new and the plants too young to flower yet. Maybe next year.

Please check out Wildflower Wednesday, which is hosted by Gail of clay and limestone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Final Fling Day Four -- The Bloedel Reserve and Dragonfly Farms Nursery

On Day Four the group crossed the Sound on the Bainbridge Island ferry and visited The Bloedel Reserve, and then went on to Dragonfly Farms Nursery in Kingston, WA. The day started out overcast and cool, but as we arrived and alighted from our tour buses at Bloedel, the heavens opened, and it began to rain quite hard, precipitating a mad dash into the gift shop to borrow umbrellas.

I have visited Bloedel previously, this past spring for a tour and a marvelous plant sale. You can see photos from that visit and read about it here and here. Their spring woodland ephemerals such as trillium and trout lily were blooming (and it wasn't raining that day).

So this time I decided to try to see and photograph areas that I missed on that previous visit  -- the wilder areas called the Bird Refuge and The Woods, as well as the Japanese Garden, which I strolled through briefly last time but got very few pictures.

While at Bloedel I also attended a short class/workshop on photography given by David Perry, a Pacific Northwest-based photographer. He had given us a "make believe' assignment for the day, to shoot a cover photograph for a magazine known as "Insert Your Blog Name Here," as well as a picture called an establishing shot, that could serve as a two-page spread. He was an entertaining speaker with lots of wonderful advice about f-stops and apertures and many other photography terms that unfortunately went right over my head. Anyway, many of the photos I took at first were all verticals.

Here's my cover shot. Dreadfully trite.

This time I took the road less traveled, at least by me.

This marvelous stump right beside the path was being eaten up by some colony of insects.

A nurse stump with two new trees growing from it.

The woodland path meandered through a wetland area that required raised wooden platforms.

And here's my establishing shot. It's not an overview, but I hope it gives you a sense of place.
This should give you some idea of how much it was raining.

Fungus and moss abound.

They say it's bad luck to cross paths with a black cat, but I've never heard any admonitions about slugs.

The view from the back of the visitor center (formerly the Bloedels' house).

This Japanese maple sits on the bank of the pond in the Japanese Garden.

It has fascinating, mossy, twisted branches.

The path to the teahouse is lined with ferns.

You can get an overview of the pond from the teahouse.

The second half of the afternoon was spent at Dragonfly Farms Nursery in Kingston, WA. Dragonfly is a marvelous nursery with an amazing selection of rare and choice plants. Yes, I bought some.

It also has stunningly beautiful display gardens, with an interesting mix of garden art.



Why is it everyone's poppies stand straight and tall, but not mine?

This gorgeous Abutilon was for sale; one of my fellow Flingers snagged it..

Purple Angelica in the display garden; I hope mine looks this good next year.

Hardy Geranium

Isn't this the coolest rusty metal nest?

I love this bottle border, with the bottles laid on their sides, instead of stuck vertically in the ground.

Well, I am back home now. I had a blast, visiting all the gardens I've shared with you, and meeting other bloggers. It's time to check out my own gardens and see what flowered while I was gone. I'm sorry I am so behind in visiting other blogs, I will try to catch up!