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

Friday, February 17, 2017

One Last Disneyland Post -- What the Heck is It?

There were a few plants that I saw at Disneyland that I didn't recognize but that intrigued me. I'm hoping some Californian readers out there can identify them for me.

Sorry I didn't get a good shot of the entire tree or its foliage, but this fruit got my attention

I didn't recognize this, but its droopy flowers and heart-shaped leaves reminded me of a Hydrangea

I'm actually guessing this is a ponytail palm, but it was enormous -- I'm used to seeing ponytail palms in little pots

The caudex was the size of some prehistoric creature's foot

After our recent snow and a couple of days that teased spring-like temps, followed by more winter rain, I'm totally ready to go back to California. Who wants to come with me?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- February 2017

It's hard to believe February is already half done. Miraculously, there seems to be quite a lot blooming, in the garden, when you look closely enough.

Mahonia x media 'Charity

Garrya (could be elliptica, could be issaquahensis)

Ditto the above

Garrya will never win any awards for fabulous foliage, but those flowers at this time of year are the best. I have two in my garden, and I've lost track of which is which. One seems to be blooming a little further along than the other, but the other one has healthier foliage, and has grown much larger in the same amount of time.

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum

Sarcococca (sweetbox, smells so good)

Hamamelis (not Jelena)

Hamamelis (not Jelena)

I used to think my Hamamelis was 'Jelena' but it's not. I could look up the tag, but where's the fun in that?
Hellebore 'Penny's Pink (I think)


Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' (also smells so good)

Black pussy willow

Black pussy willow

And there's a few flowers in the greenhouse, as well.

Bilbergia nutans (Queen's tears) featured in yesterday's Valentine's Day post

Iochroma 'Ashcott Red'

Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer'

Closeup, showing beelines

Begonia 'Baby Dress'

Pregnant onion

I noticed lots of swelling buds in the garden when I was wandering with my camera. Spring really is right around the corner here. I need to get out and start doing more cleanup. Things are a mushy, ugly mess after our snow, but I'm having a hard time getting enthusiastic. I'm counting on the Northwest Flower and Garden Show next week to rev my engine up.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of the month. Check out her post here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Every year at this time the Bilbergia nutans, aka Queen's Tears, flowers, often unnoticed in an out-of-the-way spot in the greenhouse. When I see that flash of color I pull it out and put it in a more prominent spot for a while. I remember the first time I saw a photo of this flower (on danger garden's blog), I thought it couldn't possibly be natural, but it is. It's kind of effortless too. And I love the common name.

Bilbergia nutans

There's lots to love about this plant on Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stabby Plants At Disneyland

The trouble with me taking pictures of plants at Disneyland in Southern California is that the ones I gravitate toward are the ones I recognize. Back home in the Seattle area, monstrously huge Agaves and barrel cactus are an anomaly, but I suspect they're pretty typical of southern California landscaping. There might be more cutting edge (hehe) plants at Disneyland than these, but these are the ones I photographed.

Like yesterday's Wednesday Vignette photos, these Agaves (which I don't recognize, but they're wavy like 'Mr. Ripple') were in Downtown Disney, an open air mall that costs nothing to enter (although you do have to pass through a screening process, i.e., open your bags, etc.)

Yucca rostrata in Frontierland (what's that airy plant under it? Zauschneria?)

Agaves and barrel cactus

Large variegated Agaves and Mexican feather grass in Frontierland (I should have gotten a good picture of that tall plant behind the canopy on the right -- some kind of Euphorbia?)

A closer look at the Agave on the left in the previous shot

Agaves at the side of the road in Cars Land in Disney's California Adventure

Barrel cactus, part of the landscaping for the Radiator Springs ride in Cars Land (I don't understand the reason for the gravel in the depression in the top of the barrel -- anyone know?)

A trio of cactus at Radiator Springs (that one on the left looks a little squishy)

Poor thing! Rotting cactus, a victim of the recent torrential downpour, I think (we walked past two days later and it had vanished, the gravel area swept completely clean as if it had never existed)

I realized while looking through my pictures of these Agaves, it's kind of amazing, given how crowded Disneyland can get, that none of them have been vandalized. I've seen photos on other blogs of large Agaves in public places that people have tagged or marked with words or initials.

There was a large bed of flowering Aloes in Cars Land too, but I didn't see them until dusk, and it wasn't good conditions for photo-taking. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday Vignette

For this week's Wednesday Vignette, I'm sharing another couple of shots from my recent trip to Disneyland, of Agaves at Downtown Disney. I'm not an Agave expert, but these in the first pic look like 'Joe Hoak' to me. There were many more, planted en masse like this, in other beds throughout the open-air mall. It was hard to get a good photo because of the large green lighting cans, which you can just see in this shot on the right (I tried cropping it out as much as possible).

Agave 'Joe Hoak' (?)

In this same bed there was also a mass planting of (I think) Agave lophantha quadricolor, a beautiful Agave, which unfortunately also had an enormous green lighting can plunked right in the middle of it. I'm sure the lighting is lovely at night, but I wish it had a more subtle footprint during the day.

Agave lophantha quadricolor (?)
It almost looks like the Agaves are using the lighting can as a megaphone. Perhaps they're protesting.

On our next trip maybe I'll try getting a more artistically framed closeup.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Unpresidented Amount of Snow

Oops, sorry, that post title was a typo. It should have said "An Unprecedented Amount of Snow."

But, honestly, unprecedented is not really accurate, I guess it's an alternate fact. (In case you're one of those people who is confused about what an alternate fact is -- it's. a. lie.)

Maybe I should just start over.

We had a lot of snow this past weekend, which is unusual around here. The last time we had this much snow was December 2008, when we first moved here. (See NY Times story here -- hey, you know if the NY Times wrote about it, it must have been pretty spectacular.) It started snowing here sometime early Sunday morning, continued off and on most of that day, without sticking to the roads. But then, in mid-afternoon, it started coming down in earnest, in big fat fluffy sticky flakes, and by evening there were 5 inches out there. It continued overnight on Sunday, and on Monday morning we measured in several spots with a ruler and found a little over 9 inches out there covering up the garden.

I found myself surprisingly calm about it. Most of my Facebook and blogger friends already know I despise snow, having lived with it for more than 55 years in Massachusetts. I've coped with my share. PNW natives ooh and aah about it, because it's rare here. Bugger them.

The front garden on Sunday morning

Paving stones with snowy "grout" -- they're completely covered now

Mexican feather grass in the gravel garden

Trachycarpus fortunei

The view from the upstairs bedroom window just before bedtime

The front garden on Monday morning under 9+ inches of snow

In the photo above, you may be able to make out my footprints in the snow heading toward the door of the greenhouse. We lost power at about 2 in the morning, so I got up, got dressed, went out, and turned on the propane heater to keep it warm out there.

Partly shoveled driveway -- note the cap of snow on the yard waste bin

Somewhere under that layer of white are a couple of rosemary bushes

Culvert planter with a cap of snow, covering up a handful of Agave havardiana, Chamaerops humilis, and Nolina 'La Siberica'

Greenhouse with snow starting to slide off the roof

Obligatory shot of patio furniture covered in snow

Bent over English laurel

Broken and partly broken Douglas fir limbs hanging over my 'Pacific Fire' vine maple

Just enough room to open the greenhouse door

When I ventured down in the middle of the night to start the propane heater, I managed to push the fluffy snow back just enough to get the door open and slip inside. Since then, of course, there's been lots of melting, and it's no longer fluffy.

Lilac limbs bent down and leaning over the road. Once things have melted, I'll probably cut most of those off at the base, I doubt they'll straighten up.

Broken lilac branch

There's rain heading our way and warmer temps, which should melt the snow. I'm hoping it won't lead to flooding.