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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Seed Starting Update

In late February (a little over a month ago) I posted about my seed starting, both inside the greenhouse and outside in plastic storage bins. You can read about that here. I figured it was time for a progress report.

I've managed to pot up many of the seedlings that sprouted in the greenhouse, although I'm running out of room, as well as pots. I still haven't sowed all I bought.

All my blue Echinops have been potted up and most are thriving

Since my last post I sowed 'New Zealand Purple' Castor Bean and they are shooting up like mad

Cardoons took their sweet time germinating, but I finally have some good size seedlings potted on

The huge amount of Lupine 'My Castle,' Dahlia 'Black Beauty,' and Erysimum 'Blood Red' that I sowed and potted on were taking up too much shelf space so I moved them into storage bins with transpiration holes drilled into them, and have set them outside for hardening off. On hot, sunny days I'll take the lids off and let them get some fresh air.

Please ignore the horribly weedy gravel

Lupine 'My Castle'

Erysimum 'Blood Red'

Dahlia 'Black Beauty,' which would be taller but I pinched them back a couple of days ago to encourage side shoots, and I'm actually starting to wonder if they need slightly larger pots

So, let's take a look inside the storage bins to see if there is any germination going on inside. These seeds have been sowed without any heat mats or lights, just using whatever heat is generated by being in the enclosed space of the translucent storage bin on the south side of the greenhouse on sunny days.

There are holes drilled in the lids to let air out and water in. You can see there is lots of condensation on the inside of the lid

Hmmm..not a lot of sprouting here

A few Butterflyweed babies

Some Knautia 'Mars Midget' but they have true leaves

So, that was a bit disappointing. What will we find in the next one?

Much better!
Rumex sanguineus aka bloody dock

Scabiosa 'Black Knight'

Eryngium 'Blue Glitter'

And the next?

Lots of babies!

Dianthus 'Black Adder'  -- a Sweet William with a dark purple/black flower like 'Sooty'

Oodles of Verbascum 'Shades of Summer'

Coreopsis 'Mahogany Midget'

Erysimum 'Blood Red'

The next bin has quite a lot of sprouts too.

Ruby Swiss Chard

Salvia nemorosa 'Violet Blue'

Let's keep going.
Plenty more sprouts

Centaurea cyanus 'Black Boy'

Ruby Red Orach

And one final look.

Sprouts in every pot

More Salvia nemorosa than I know what to do with -- actually I plan to fill a drought-tolerant bed with it

Some Shasta 'Crazy Daisy'

That's my seed report for March. It's only been a month since I sowed most of those seeds, some even sooner, and they've been outside in the cold for that entire time. We did have some sunny days recently, but for a few weeks in February we had some nasty, snowy, cold, unseasonal (for us) weather. Some of those seedlings have true leaves, and you may have noticed there is no legginess on most of those sprouts as well.

I'm pretty happy with them. I can't wait to get them in the ground.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday Vignette -- Never Can Say Good-Bye

For my Wednesday Vignette this week, I'm sharing the view out my front window when I woke up on Saturday. Like Gloria Gaynor, Winter never can say Good-Bye.

Good old Mother Nature, keeping gardeners (and everyone else) guessing. Making sure I remember I came from the East Coast, where they're dealing with much worse than this, and won't be spared a little bit of winter's last hissy fit.

Gloria Gaynor -- Never Can Say Good-Bye

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

You Can Fly!

Do you read my blog or that of my blogging buddy Peter The Outlaw Gardener and sometimes wonder how to start a blog of your own? Do you take pictures of your garden in order to keep track of what's happening there? Or of gardens that you visit, maybe as part of the NPA's Open Gardens scheme? Maybe you even share them with family and friends occasionally, by emails, or on Facebook or Instagram.

Are you an introvert who's more comfortable around plants, tongue-tied when talking about your garden in front of others, who becomes more eloquent when given time to think and write out what you want to say?

You could write a blog!

Peter The Outlaw Gardener and I are going to be telling all our blog writing secrets and teaching a class for the Northwest Perennial Alliance on starting a blog. You should come and learn as much as you can, so you can start your own blog and join the garden blogging community.

Find out all the details here. Be sprinkled with our very own pixie dust. Become a high-flying garden blogger like Peter and I.

Peter Pan "You Can Fly"

Monday, March 26, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

The main feature in my vase arrangement today was the result of an accident -- I won't say a happy accident, because when it happened I was not at all happy about it. In fact, I was really pretty peeved.

The large Daffodil in the center of my arrangement is British Gamble, and it was rescued from one of my front beds after one of the guys who cuts my grass stepped on it with his big feet. I don't know what it is about landscape maintenance guys, for some reason they get this kind of tunnel vision when they cut the lawn and don't seem to realize that they are in the midst of a big garden full of plants that don't react well to big clumsy feet. Not only did he step on the Daffodil, he managed to actually mow over a handful of Muscari in front of the Daffodil. I watched him for a few minutes and then just couldn't stop myself from running out the door and yelling at him.

Yes. I hate that I am that person, but I am that person.

After they left I went out with the secateurs and cut the unopened Daff, brought it inside and put it in a vase, hoping it would open.

Fortunately it did, but so far it lacks the pinkish tinge to the cup that British Gamble normally sports. I went out on Saturday and cut a few more items to go with it -- a handful of stems of flowering currant and two more small Daffodils that had opened (and hadn't been stepped on).

I've never brought flowering currant into the house before. It has an interesting scent -- kind of a cross between lilac and something unpleasant.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In a Vase on Monday. Check out her post here, and see what she has plonked in a vase for today, along with all the other bloggers who participate.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Little Prince of Oregon Garden Blogger Open House

I mentioned in a previous post that I went to the Little Prince of Oregon Open House for Garden Bloggers/Writers last Sunday. Little Prince of Oregon is a wholesale nursery located in Aurora, Oregon that serves retail garden centers, wholesale nurseries and landscapers. For a few years now, Mark Leichty, who has been Director of Business Development since 2014, has been inviting garden bloggers and writers to an annual Open House to check out their growing operation and shop for plants.

And they feed us a delicious lunch!

I attended last year for the first time, but I didn't get good photos and never wrote a post about it. This time I came prepared to take my time, shop first, go back and take photos (and then, of course) I went back and shopped some more.

You can read more here about the history of Little Prince of Oregon.

Their new office building, where we had lunch, must have had the windows open because as I wandered the grounds every so often a most delicious smell of food would waft through the air from the direction of the office

I'm sure you recognize that frog in a crown symbol

What could be more inviting than that row of open doors?

Maybe two rows of open doors?

All so neat and tidy -- oh goodness, look! More greenhouses in the distance!

There were lots of Sedum tiles -- multicolored

And red!

Baby tree ferns (Dicksonia antartica)

And here's the grown up version unfurling new fronds

I don't remember what this blue grass was, but I love the undulating blades

A sea of Bletilla

Bletilla 'Yokohama'

Mahonia aquifolium made a beautiful tapestry of color

Agave parryi 'Cream Spike'

Agave schidigera 'Shiro Ito No Ohi'

Albuca spiralis

They had lots and lots of Sempervivum, every conceivable size and color, and impeccably presented. Actually, all their plants were impeccably presented.

Sempervivum 'Pekingese'

Look at all those babies!

Sempervivum arachnoideum 'Forest Frost'

Sempervivum 'Strawberry Ice'

Sempervivum 'Cranberry Cocktail' (Can you believe those stripes!) is a Chick Charms Collectable Hens and Chicks cultivar selected by plant breeder Chris Hansen (the breeder of SunSparkler Sedums)

Various bloggers have left their purchases lined up beside their cars

So what did I bring home? First, the greenhouse dwellers.

Three new Agaves -- A. schidigera 'Shiro Ito No Ohi,' A. parryi 'Cream Spike' and A. ferdinand-regis

Anigozanthos flavidus 'Bush Ranger' aka Kangaroo Paw

Kangaroo Paw closeup

That day at Little Prince was followed by three sunny, warm days, and the temperature in the greenhouse soared before I realized it, which meant the tree fern that I bought and put out there got a bit fried. But I think I managed to rescue it. It's now living in the kitchen.

Kitchen-dwelling Dicksonia antarctica - fortunately still alive

Fried frond

Eight Deschampsias caespitosa 'Northern Lights'

A selection of interesting Semps -- (from the top, left to right) 'Cotton Candy (another Chick Charm), 'Cranberry Cocktail,' 'Strawberry Ice,' 'Forest Frost,' and an unidentified one that I neglected to get a tag for

No ID, but beautiful

Two new manzanitas (which join the four others still unplanted in my pot ghetto) -- Arctostaphylos hookeri 'White Lanterns,' Arctostaphylos edmundsii 'Big Sur,' and Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Six Sempervivum 'Ruby Hearts' and two Sedum 'Voodoo'

Many thanks to Mark and to Little Prince for the delicious lunch and for opening your doors to a horde of garden bloggers!