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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday Vignette

The vignette I have to share today is from a recent visit to Old Goat Farm in Orting. They have a wonderful shady, leafy display garden there, and I made the rounds with my camera looking for interesting shots.

They have lots of animals at Old Goat Farm -- chickens, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, dogs, and of course, kitties.

I wanted to pat him, but wasn't sure he was friendly. I might have gotten bitten, and that would have turned him into catnip.

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Vignette

Wisteria. It's beautiful when it's in bloom. But I prefer it in my neighbor's garden.

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quarterly Report -- What I've Accomplished So Far This Year

One of my favorite PNW bloggers, Erica Strauss of Northwest Edible Life, recently started a new feature -- the weekly report, in which she reports in a simple bulleted list (for the most part) what she has accomplished on her homestead for the week. I think it's a great idea, but I don't know if I'm up for doing it weekly. So I thought I'd do a quarterly one for the year, even though it's May and we're midway into the second quarter of the year already.

(As an aside: I'm not sure I can explain my affinity for Erica's blog. At first glance I have very little, if anything, in common with her. She's a young mother who home-schools her children and grows a lot of her own food, so her blog focuses mainly on edibles, cooking, and urban animal husbandry. She just came back from taking a year off from blogging and gardening because her head wasn't in it -- which was true of me for last year too. She lives with mood disorder/depression, which I do too. I've been into her blog since she started it.)

Anyway, here's a list of my accomplishments so far this year:

** Did a ton of weeding and cutting back (which hadn't been done anywhere in over a year)

With the weeds pulled and everything trimmed, you can actually make out the shapes of plants again

** Got the stream running again

View from an upstairs window of the now-running stream

** Planted water-loving plants into the gravel of the stream bed

Water Hyacinth

Two black gamecock Iris

At the base of the waterfall, a combo of chocolate creeping jenny, bloody dock, and purple pickerelweed (Can you spot Huey and Dewey?)

Huey and Dewey (Louie is all by his lonesome is on the other side of the waterfall)

** Planted new plants along the back of the stream

Cyclamen, Corydalis lutea, Hellebores and Thalictrum ichangense have been added to this area, but it still looks rather bare

** Planted new plants in the Northeast shade bed

New gold-leafed Hostas and other perennials have added bright spots to this dark corner

That empty spot in the bed on the right might be the future home of a fern table

** Started seedlings in the greenhouse (now being hardened off outside)

Too many Castor bean seedlings

Unhappy Tithonia and Cerinthe seedlings that want some heat and to get in the ground

** Pulled out plants from the front bed by the street that were inappropriate (got too tall and flopped) and planted shorter, more appropriate plants instead

** Moved the Brugmansias out of the garage onto the driveway

** Put in a new flagstone and gravel path to serve as a short-cut through the front bed along the street (photos to come in a future post)

** Took out the lilac bushes (technically I hired a strapping young lad to do this, but it counts)

Empty hole where lilacs used to be

Still to do:

** At least three more beds still need weeding and cutting back

I ignored this bramble last year when it appeared, now it has popped up again this year as well as 10 feet away and even more vigorous than before

** The Great Migration of Plants

** Plant onion starts in the raised vegetable beds

Six pots of onion starts -- why didn't I bring a couple of pots to the swap? Now *I* have to plant them all!

** Freshen the soil and fertilize the Brugs

** Plant more new plants in the front bed by the street

** Plant new shrubs and perennials where the lilacs were removed

** Renovate the gravel garden

The gravel garden has gotten wildly overgrown and weed-infested

** Install two more gravel paths

One gravel path will go through here and continue in back of the stream

A second path will curve around this tree and to the left

** Plant, plant, plant

** Stop hoarding plants

I have too many trays of plant starts set aside for use "some day"

While weeding I found a bunch of self-sown red-leafed Euphorbia, but I couldn't just toss them into the yard waste bin like shotweed

When I pruned one of my rosemary shrubs I found three branches that had rooted, so I had to pot them up

Two of those trays contain Pacific Coast Iris divisions, which have been hanging around for a while now (I bring them to swaps in groups of threes and sixes, I'd be embarrassed to bring them all at once)

These daylily clumps aren't even in pots! What's wrong with me?

So, how's progress in your garden? Are you as anal-retentive as I am?

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Mother's Day Weekend Trip to Heronswood

This past weekend Nigel and I at first had no plans to do anything special for Mother's Day. But then Nigel sent me this article in the Seattle Times about Heronswood's upcoming plant sale and garden open, and he suggested I might want to go to it. What else could I say but yes?

After dropping Nigel off at Daddy Day Care (The Clearwater Casino), I made it to Heronswood in time for the very start of the sale.  After making the rounds of the plant sale tables, and picking up a few choice plants, I grabbed my camera from the car and paid my $10 entry fee. It's been quite a few years since I was at Heronswood, and the last time I was there, it was still mid-renovation. I was there for the very first garden open and plant sale after the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe bought the property, and it was in a very disappointing state at that time.

I'm very happy to report that Heronswood is looking wonderful these days. I don't know what it looked like in its glory days, but its current state is transportative. We are so lucky to have this world-class garden so close by. Dan Hinkley and the army of volunteer gardeners who have been working so hard to renovate it deserve a lot of kudos.

Map of Heronswood -- I followed a counter-clockwise route through the garden -- wandering first through the shady woodland beds, past the Folly, to the house and the Carpinus hedge, to the potager, then to the 12:00 position and the arbor beds, and then out through the perennial border and the blue and yellow bed.

A brief history of Heronswood

Arisaema, Primula sieboldii(?), variegated Iris, sword fern, Hellebore(?) and strawberry Begonia/Saxifraga stolonifera (so, actually, neither a strawberry nor a Begonia)

Primula sieboldii


A little further along the driveway to the house is this trio of Trillium chloropetalum 'Volcano'

Trillium chloropetalum 'Volcano'

To the left of the driveway are three iconic pillars, looking in much better shape than the first time I saw them (they were crumbling)

Various perennials carpet the area beneath the pillars, including these eye-catching Primulas


Not sure of these ferns, but they were very tall (Royal fern/Osmunda regalis?)

Two impressive clumps of lady's slippers (unfortunately, the flowers were past peak and turning a bit brown in spots, so no close-ups)

Enormous Arisaema

Himalayan blue poppy/Meconopsis

Enormous skunk cabbage growing in boggy conditions

As you wander the shady pathways, eventually the Little and Lewis folly comes into view

The first time I visited Heronswood the folly was taped off from visitors with yellow caution tape

This shot illustrates how Heronswood can transport you to another world -- or at least another country. I wouldn't be surprised here to see a line of Buddhist monks trailing through the woods, or perhaps Dr. Strange floating mid-air, gesticulating towards me from behind the fan of palm leaves.

As you venture towards the house, you eventually catch glimpses of the blue and yellow border through the trees- although right now it looks mostly yellow and green


I was surprised to see what looks like rose campion growing near the house -- I have a lot of it and it self-sows like mad

The house

Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata' aka European hornbeam hedge pruned into cathedral-like arches

Hornbeam hedge and bog

Orange poppy in the potager

Looks like a Verbascum growing the stone wall of the potager, which should make an interesting sight later in the summer when it blooms

Potager beds hedged with boxwood and filled with Marigolds

Each section of the potager has a banana growing in the center

Colorful perennial beds surround the potager (you can see the hornbeam hedge in the background)

Who needs Spanish moss?

In the PNW, we have this growing in the trees

Acer griseum/paperbark maple growing near the house

Arbor beds

Epimedium and hart's tongue fern(?)

Perennial beds

Geranium phaeum and golden grass (Hakone grass? Acorus?)

Hydrangea aspera

Clematis recta purpurea

Arisaema taiwanense

Blue and yellow border

I might copy this combo of golden creeping jenny and Ajuga

Oh yes, there was a sale, and I bought some things, but surely you've seen enough photos? Maybe I'll do a post about my new purchases next week.

Heronswood is open every Friday and every fourth Saturday of the month through October, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. (last garden entry is 2:30 p.m.). Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 7 to 17, and free if you are a Heronswood member or a Port Gamble S’Klallam Community member.