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

Monday, April 30, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

Here's just a little something I threw together quickly -- three flowering stems of Dicentra 'Gold Heart.'

I almost used flowers from this plant last week, but they weren't quite mature enough yet. So I waited until this week, and pressed for time because of bad planning and (let's face it) laziness, I cut them quick and stuffed them in a small vase. They sprawl rather awkwardly but that's part of their charm, and I left the golden foliage intact, which meant I didn't have to cut any extra from anywhere else in the garden.

I know technically it's now called Lamprocapnos, but I've always known it as Dicentra. It was one of the first plants I planted in the garden when we moved here.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In A Vase On Monday. Check out her post here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday Vignette

Last weekend I went to the plant sale at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way. I picked up some new plants, not only at the sale, but also after the sale when I went into the garden and took a look around the large nursery area inside the garden. I'll tell you more about the sale and my visit to the garden in future posts.

For now, I'm just going to share this shot of a sword fern unfurling in the garden.

Ferns look great in the spring when they start to unfurl like this, especially if you're a meticulous gardener and have cut back the old fronds. I have a number of different ferns in my garden, but I haven't taken the time yet to cut back the old growth, so they don't look this good. Maybe I'll get to that chore soon. At the moment, I'm working on clearing out an old bed that has become overgrown and weedy. Our weather has turned strangely summer-like, and I have to make hay while the sun is shining.

Anna at Flutter & Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. You can check out her post here.

Monday, April 23, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

I'm late once again putting my vase together for this meme. The weather has been so good lately that I spent yesterday outside working in the garden for hours and hours. Normally I would put a vase arrangement together on Sunday and schedule a post to appear automagically on Monday morning. But I just didn't want to take the time yesterday to do that, and this morning I had an appointment.

So I'm just now getting around to it.

It centers around the Princess Irene tulips that are blooming out in the front garden. There are only a few, and every year they produce fewer and fewer flowers. So I figured I might as well cut the tallest of them and make them the centerpiece of the vase.

Princess Irene out in the garden

That left me with the challenge of finding other flowers to go with them. They are pretty splashy, hot colors, after all, and I have nothing else in my garden right now that is flowering in orange.

But I have plenty of purple, so I went with that.

Purple Pulsatilla, purple checkered Fritillaria meleagris, a couple of stems of Persicaria 'Red Dragon,' and a little ruff of caramel-colored Heuchera leaves, the closest thing to orange I could find

A closeup

I have another appointment in the afternoon, so I might not have much time for more gardening today. But fortunately, our current forecast is for some pretty nice weather this week, and as Scarlett O'Hara said in Gone With the Wind, "Tomorrow is another day!"

Cathy in Rambling in the Garden hosts In A Vase On Monday. Go check out her post here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

I started the day in a bit of a foul mood, who knows why? Our weather over the weekend was like a window-rattling monsoon, and work in the garden is not progressing as quickly as I'd like. It really would be nice if a horde of garden elves showed up and did the work for me while I pointed and drank lattes (maybe those two nice young strapping Welsh lads from Garden Rescue on British telly). Plus the news just keeps getting worse and worse. I feel a sense of alienation from my own country that actually makes me weepy. This isn't the country I thought it was, when I was younger and idealistic.

I didn't really feel like putting an arrangement together. I briefly considered throwing some dead sticks in a vase and calling that my arrangement. But there was a bit of a lull in the downpour this morning so I ran out with my secateurs and cut three Muscari and then to the greenhouse for something else to fill it with a bit of froth.


Muscari latifolium and Begonia flowers

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In A Vase On Monday. Check out her post here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- April 2018

It's the middle of the month again already -- where does the time go? That means it's time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, when garden bloggers catalog what's flowering in their gardens.

First, a peek into the greenhouse, where there are a few blooms.

A fancy leaf Begonia has put up a few spikes of flowers

Golden rat-tail cactus (Cleistocactus winteri) has been putting out a succession of blooms on different "arms" for days

Alstroemeria 'Sunset Sunrise Sun Something or Other' which I have never planted out in the garden and is still in its nursery pot after two years -- perhaps it is time to give it away

And out in the garden:



Camellia 'April Kiss' and Ribes sanguineum towering over a 5 1/2-foot fence

Camellia 'April Kiss'

Camellia 'April Kiss'

Ribes sanguineum

This Primula has self-sown all over the bed
Including right into the middle of a sea of dandelions
Dicentra 'Valentine'

Brunnera all over the garden are flowering
I've been remiss this year in cutting back the old foliage on most of my Epimediums. Some look right atrocious, but others not too bad.

Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten' with old foliage

A more delicate Epimedium with new foliage

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'


Fritillaria and forget-me-not

Dodecatheon looking a bit battered

Trillium ovatum, our native PNW Trillium, opened white on March 20, has aged to pink, plus our rain has turned the flower translucent, like fairy wings.

Corydalis lutea has sown itself into the middle of a patch of Dicentra formosa, and the leaves are so similar to my eye I can't tell where one plant begins and the other ends

Dicentra 'Gold Heart'

I forget the name of this poor rain and wind-battered Primula sandwiched here between Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium

Euphorbia rigida


Oxalis oregana

I hope you have found plenty blooming in your garden on this April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Bloom Day, check our her post here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Four Friday Follow-ups

It's Friday and I thought I'd post a few follow-ups to show how things have progressed in my garden and greenhouse.

Begonia Tubers

Back in February I posted here about potting up Begonia tubers. I had bought some new ones and pulled last year's out of the garage and into the greenhouse when they showed signs of resprouting. They're coming along just fine, most of them.

Last year's Begonias looking pretty lush

Most of this year's have sprouted and will soon have to be potted up into bigger pots and maybe given a little flower fertilizer

Fat-Bottomed Girl

My Adenium obesum lost almost all its leaves back in the fall when I moved it into the greenhouse. I posted about it here. It had an unopened flower that never did open and one single leaf that held on all winter, while the plant waited in a strange state of suspended animation. I wasn't sure if it was dead or alive. My Pachypodiums always lose their leaves after being moved into the greenhouse, but they almost immediately produce a flush of new ones.

She finally leafed out again and apparently is very much alive and getting ready to bloom.

Ruby, my fat-bottomed girl (so-named because she has a caudex)

I stuck a pair of eyeglasses around her caudex and a Black Panther figurine into her pot as an ornament (I really want a Freddie Mercury figurine, but for now Black Panther will do)

The Cutting Garden

Most of the seeds under all of those berry bottom cloches have sprouted, but I haven't taken them off yet. Something (maybe a crow) has chewed on the Lupine seedlings whose cloches I removed a few weeks ago. They only tried a few at the edge, not all of them, so possibly it's some other creature. The back garden is fenced, so I'm voting for one with wings. I'm going to leave the coverings on as long as possible.

Lots of sprouts

Chewed Lupines

I also moved some Lunaria annua seedlings into the bed since the dried coin-shaped seedheads make good vase material

The Lost Bottle Bed

I just finished redoing this bed a few weeks ago, and I'm already rethinking whether there are enough shrubs in it. The area directly behind the fence is deep shade. I've been wondering if a Hinoki cypress might work there.

Trying to decide if this is a Hinoki cypress size hole

In the photo above there is a shrub just behind and to the right of the broken pot -- a Euonymus hamiltoniana ssp. sieboldianus whose tag claims it will reach 15 feet.

The Dicentra formosa that I transplanted into this bed are thriving so far

Some of them didn't miss a beat and are flowering

Dicentra formosa is one of those plants that grows from the tiniest piece of root. I'm hoping it spreads to make a nice carpet, along with the Oxalis oregana interplanted with it.

Back Garden Bed By the Fence

I spent Thursday on my hands and knees crawling around this bed in the back garden pulling weeds -- a combination of shotweed, purple deadnettle and dandelions -- in a misty rain. But the area is underneath Douglas firs so it's somewhat protected, and I know if it's not a day of driving rain I can probably get something accomplished in the back garden under the trees if I dress warmly enough.

This bed is very wide, and has been redone often -- too many times to count -- in the 9 years we've lived here. The last time I posted about it here. I may have finally gotten the plants right, but I figure now it's time to put a path through it. It's too deep to access easily, so a path through the middle is on the To Do List.

I'd like to put a path here, up between those two rocks, past the Douglas fir and headed toward the dragon's egg at the far end

There's plenty more going on around here, but that's it for now. How bout you?

Monday, April 9, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

I'm very disappointed in the showing my 'British Gamble' Daffodils made this year in my front bed where they're planted.

Here's a shot from last year's April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post of that same bed.

I don't know what happened. I've grown Daffodils in the past, from an unnamed pack of yellow ones, that have increased delightfully every year into big full naturalized clumps. I expected my 'British Gamble' to do the same. Do fancy pink Daffs act like fancy tulips, and decrease in vitality every year?

At any rate, I decided since they made such a poor showing in the bed, they might look better altogether in a vase. Plus, we were slated to get some pretty nasty weather on Saturday and Sunday, which meant these already beat up and tossed around blooms would get even more battered if left out. So on Friday I cut them all, every one, and turned them into my IaVoM bouquet.

I kept last week's bluish eucalyptus foliage

Most of the blooms had been bent to the soil by our heavy rain and were spattered with dirt. I gave them all a good shake (in one case I managed to fling a slug off his meal into the grass) and took them inside, where I tried further rinsing them off in the kitchen sink.
Dirty and slug-chewed

Only one relatively pristine flower

They sat that way for most of the weekend, until Sunday afternoon rolled around, and I thought the arrangement looked a bit sparse. So I ran out into the monsoon and quickly cut some Brunnera flowers to beef things up.

Here's a closeup of the vase

I'm not sure what the deal is with my 'British Gamble' Daffs. Maybe this fall I'll just pick up a big bag of yellow ones and try those.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In A Vase On Monday. Check out her post here.