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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Thoughts

Here to entertain you are some thoughts on death. Not my own thoughts, but cribbed from others.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
-- Steve Jobs

“My dear,
Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.
~ Falsely yours”
― Charles Bukowski

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

For today's Wednesday Vignette I'm sharing a photo of a Cercis leaf on top of the greenhouse. We've had such blustery weather lately, the redbud is almost completely denuded. I had to stand on a stepstool to capture this shot.

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. Read her current post here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Beauty and the Beast of Burden -- A Peek Inside the Greenhouse

A couple of weekends ago I corralled Nigel, my beast of burden, into helping me move many of the tender plants into the greenhouse for the winter. We don't actually have a frost in the long-term forecast, but I wanted to get it done in plenty of time, so that I could be methodical and not just frantically cramming plants in wherever I could on a deadline. At this moment, as I write, we are having a remarkably blustery day. However, for the most part, our weather has remained unseasonably warmer and drier than usual, but I don't think the plants mind being inside. Yes, it means the end of the gardening season, but I'm ready.

The greenhouse from the front door

Alyssum growing by the greenhouse foundation

Various ferns and Pacific Coast Iris potted up for the winter are hardy enough to remain outside to grow on

Minnie Mouse and Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'

Elephant ear from outside

Tree fern (Cyathea australis, I think)

And from inside
There's no room for a table and chair for enjoying morning coffee, but I do use my garden kneeler turned over for seating, with padding from an old green towel (you can see its purple frame in the background of the above photo).

Looking back from inside

In an effort to clear up floor space, I've decided to overwinter my big Brugmansias in the garage instead of the greenhouse. I've done it before, and it will mean they have a slower start next year, but I needed the extra space. I'm also taking a chance on the weather gurus, who claim we are in for a mild winter, and leaving my big pots of Canna 'Tropicanna' outside for the winter as well. Both of those decisions freed up floor space for two more wire racks for holding plants and for starting seeds in the spring.

Racks of tender plants on the right as you enter

Various Begonias and succulents

Two more racks on the left, with the heater in between

Alstroemeria 'Rock n Roll' may not be hardy enough to stay outside

One last Bougainvillea bud

So far it's holding onto all its leaves -- keep your fingers crossed

Pelargonium sidoides cuttings -- well rooted ones on the left, new ones on the right

Senecio mandraliscae cuttings

Tray full of Sempervivum offsets that spent the summer outside, waiting to be potted individually

I still have quite a few plants outside in the pot ghetto that really need to get in the ground, but I'm running out of energy and enthusiasm.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Morning Dew

Yesterday morning overnight rain and morning cold temps left the garden heavy with dew.


The seedheads glow like diamonds in the sun


Castor bean

Parahebe perfoliata

Pennisetum 'Redhead'

Nolina 'La Siberica'

Unopened Brugmansia

The combination of dew and spiderwebs means the garden is all ready for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

A couple of weekends ago I enlisted the aid of my very own pack animal (aka Nigel) to start hauling my tender plants into the greenhouse, which I had cleaned all the tomatoes out of the day before. Nigel described this process as a cross between Plants vs. Zombies and Tetris. I call it The Great Migration (the fall version). There's a spring version too, where we haul them all OUT of the greenhouse and figure out where they're going to be displayed in the garden for the season.

There were a couple of plants that I brought into the house, one of which was the Begonia luxurians that I got a couple of years ago, as a rooted cutting from my garden touring buddy Peter The Outlaw Gardener. Every year it gets very tall and lanky, but I think this may be the first time it has flowered. It's sitting in my only south-facing window, getting as much sun as possible. In the spring I'm planning to knock it out of its pot, scruff up the root ball, and replace some of the soil with new, fertilizer-laced potting soil, a strategy that worked wonders on my Brugmansias. Hopefully, this will encourage the plant to be more lush next year, because the foliage is the main reason to grow this plant.

The flowers are cute too, though.

Begonia luxurians

I'm sharing this photo of the flowers backed by foliage for Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum. Go here to see her post today.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Foliage Followup -- October 2015

For September's Foliage Followup I shared some photos of little spots of fall color that had appeared in my garden. Since then, my pin oak has just exploded with color. Lately our mornings have been foggy, but on Monday the sun came out and the bright morning light playing on the pin oak was just wonderful.

To me, that bright orange is the epitome of fall color.

Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Followup, which focuses on the role of great foliage in gardens. You can read her current post here.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- October 2015

I do still have a few flowers to show for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. The garden is on its last legs, although we don't have a frost in the near forecast at this time. We're having fewer sunny days, and more rainy and foggy ones, although I would still say not as rainy as a normal October. Just yesterday I was digging holes to plant some Allium bulbs, and only 5 inches or so down, the soil is dry as dust.

Anyway, here's what's flowering in my garden and in the greenhouse.

My Brugs are still going strong, but all you get today is a closeup of a flower.  They're still filling the garden with wonderful scent.

I don't recall offhand the name of this Dahlia, but it's perfectly matched with the Panicum behind it.

The same Dahlia, but a different flower with a bit more pink on the petal tips.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Calendula 'Solar Flashback' is still producing flowers. I need to get out there and gather seeds.

This pink Nicotiana sowed itself from plants originally planted over a year ago.

One of just a few last California poppies

A golden Alstroemeria (possibly 'Tangerine Tango')

Arbutus unedo compacta

Chocolate Joe Pye Weed (not called Eupatorium anymore, right? Ageratum something?)

 Fuchsia magellanica has been flowering pretty much all summer

Fuchsia magellanica aurea too. Although they're common in the PNW, no garden here that wants to attract hummingbirds should be without these great plants.

Newly planted Geranium 'Ann Folkard' has produced its first flower.

This past weekend, Nigel helped me with "The Great Migration" of tender plants into the greenhouse. I had already cleaned all the dying tomatoes out of it, and installed two more wire racks for holding plants. Some of those plants are flowering.

Aloe backed by the strappy leaves of a magenta Cordyline


Also a Begonia

Tiny Cactus flower

Pelargonium sidoides

Alstroemeria 'Rock and Roll' might survive the winter outside if we actually have the mild winter they're predicting, but I had room for it, so it came in.

Euphorbia millii (Crown of Thorns) has been flowering since I bought it this spring

And, in the category of incipient flowers, here are a couple of buds.


Christmas Cactus (or maybe Thanksgiving Cactus)

That's it for Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Check out her post here, and also the many posts from bloggers around the world.