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

Monday, August 27, 2018

In A Vase On Monday

My purchased vase of flowers from last week has lasted, although I did have to remove the Dahlias over the weekend. I replaced them with Dahlias from my own cutting garden. After last week's post I followed Linda's advice, and renewed the stems by cutting them, and realized that the red and purple/blue flowers that I at first had assumed were small Dahlias were in fact probably China Asters (Callistephus chinensis).

I did a Google search on China Asters and found a handful of seed sources that I'm going to follow up on for next year's cutting garden. The only caveat to growing them seems to be that you have to use a different spot each year as they are susceptible to soil-borne diseases. I remember growing them from seed easily back when we lived in Massachusetts, but of course that's no guarantee that they'll grow well in the different climate of Washington state.

Chiltern Seeds Semi-dwarf Jewel Asters

Select Seeds Giants of California

Johnny's Selected Seeds Tower Custom Mix

The tall Amaranthus spikes have lasted, but are less vibrant than they were

'Totally Tangerine' Dahlia and NOID Dahlia

'Totallt Tangerine' Dahlia looks good with the purple Aster

Red and purple China Asters

I popped into my local thrift store during the week and found this funny little head vase, so I thought I'd stick a single stem of a Dahlia into it as well. That's all it holds, as the hole is very small and narrow.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In A Vase on Monday. Check out her post here and all the other posts from bloggers who like to plonk flowers in vases.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Visiting Seattle's Own Eccentrica Gallumbits

So, class, that title is an obscure science fiction reference if I ever heard one, isn't it? Who knows who Eccentrica Gallumbits is, raise your hand...

Anyone? Anyone?

A character in Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books, Eccentrica is the famous triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six. So, where in Seattle would you find a whore with three breasts?

Those do kind of look like boobs, dontcha think?

Oops, wrong Amazon

I've been wanting to get into town to check out the plantings outside the Amazon Spheres (there are three of them), ever since they opened this past winter. Loree at Danger Garden visited during her trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival, and posted about it here, and I really wanted to check up on those cool plants.

I usually do a "day in Seattle" every summer, so this year I figured it would be my visit to the Spheres. But I've had to put it off over and over all August, because of the wildfire smoke. I knew it would entail a lot of walking, and I wasn't up for inhaling all that smoke while engaging in physical exertion. All the air quality maps said the air was unhealthy to breathe for everyone, not just for the sensitive or those with compromised health. Finally on Thursday, the breezes blew through and cleared the air, and I thought "I'll do it on Friday."

Of course, when I got up on Friday, it turned out that some of the smoke had returned to the area in a  kind of meteorological backwash. But I went anyway.

It was pretty fabulous. Lush and green and wonderful. There's a lot I can't identify, but if you know, tell me. Also, there's lots of photos in this post, so get comfortable.

A combination of Pseudopanax ferox and Pseudopanax crassifolius at the entrance to the Understory exhibit, which tells you a little bit about the construction and philosophy behind the Spheres

Fuchsia speciosa

Tree ferns everywhere

There was quite a lot of this plant also, which I don't recognize -- so I'm going to call it Eccentrica gallumbitsii -- in fact, that's what I'm calling everything I don't recognize

Pyrrosia sheareri -- I thought it was P. lingua, but Loree IDed it as P. sheareri, and she's more knowledgeable than I, so I'm going with what she said

Another lush tree fern

Beesia and maidenhair fern

Nice to see even their Podophyllums are burnt

Huge clumps of Pyrrosia

Many weren't looking their best after our long, dry, hot, smoky summer

This looks like some kind of Bromeliad

This was IDed in Loree's post as Ochagavia carnea


Nice form echoes in the Mahonia, tree fern and maidenhair fern

Bloomed out Cautleya?

I should know this, it looks familiar -- something salicifolius?

Aralia-like fruit

Plenty of lush new growth

Fascicularia pitcairnifolia

Agave parryi at the foot of a restio

The area was absolutely crawling with people and dogs -- Amazon's corporate culture is very dog-friendly, they encourage their employees to bring their dogs to work. And they were celebrating International Banana Split Day, so the courtyard area had a huge tent set up where they were handing out free bananas and ice cream, and people were lounging everywhere. Normally, this many people would freak me out, but I was so engrossed in the plants I didn't care. Besides, they were busy eating and talking and walking their dogs. They weren't looking at the plants at all.

I was the only freak doing that.

I'm afraid this flowering plant is another Eccentrica gallumbitsii -- I have no clue

The bees were all over those flowers, which remind me of St. John's wort

This cutie is looking longingly down into the doggie play area, where three other dogs were romping




Sorry for the out-of-focus photo, this area was a bit breezy

Another plant I have no clue about, other than to suspect it's some kind of Aralioid

A closeup of the seed capsules and the new growth

Schefflera delavayi and Sinopanax formosanus growing into each other's space

A Bigleaf Magnolia had a good few leaves that had seen better days, they were a bit chewed up by being in a spot that might be perhaps a bit too breezy

Hardy Ginger

Papery bracts and seed capsules of Dierama -- all the while I was photographing it, I was beset to the right of me by a woman encouraging her pup to poop

Calycanthus, possibly 'Hartlage Wine' -- I couldn't detect a scent

One more plant that I have no ID for, but it does have beautiful blue flowers

Woodwardia and Blechnum were everywhere in this bed

Many of the Woodwardia had colored up, but this one was especially intense

I'm curious to know what this grass is -- I saw Sporobolus heterolepsis at the Hardy Plant Study Weekend for the first time, and this reminds me of it

I don't know either of these next two plants, but they have some nice bronze new growth.

Ginger flower closeup

What beats a Schefflera taiwaniana?

How bout two of them?

A nice foliage vignette -- I know Mahonia eurybracteata and Astelia, and maybe some kind of hardy Begonia-- but the rest are question marks

And that brings us full circle back to the entrance to the Understory exhibit

That Eccentrica! She is one luscious lady. And I haven't even ventured inside yet.

Amazon is now opening the Spheres to the public on two Saturdays a month. I have a reservation for September 15. Hopefully I'll get some good photos, even if I'm in a crowd being led around by the nose. And maybe I'll learn something.