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

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Happy Halloween! Here are some spooky things in my garden.

This spider web has been abandoned for quite a while now. We've had quite a long string of cold, frosty nights lately, and I'm pretty sure all the cross spiders have long since laid their eggs and gone into hibernation.

I like putting masks and glasses on some of my pots in the greenhouse. I found these cheap cat-eye sunglasses at the thrift store a few weeks ago. I'm not convinced they're really right for Buddha.

The creepiest thing in my garden is this real possum skeleton, which has been sitting beside my shed near the compost bins for a few months now. I know it's a possum because when I first found it, probably a day or so after it had died, it still had flesh (and bugs) on its bones and reeked of decay. I haven't dared to go near it to clean it up, because possums can carry some of the same diseases, such as leptospirosus, that raccoons carry, even in their carcasses. It scares the bejesus out of me. The smell of rotten meat hung around in my nostrils for hours after I found it.
Ew, ew, ew

This seemed fitting, I am definitely abbey normal

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Recent Visit to Watson's Nursery

Nigel just got back from a train trip to California, a little vacation on his own. He had a rebate voucher from Amtrak that paid for a trip there and back on the Coast Starlight, so in between he spent a couple of nights (and one day) at Disneyland. While he was away, Watson's Nursery posted on Instagram that they were having a 40% off sale on houseplants, so I decided to take myself over there to check things out.

They had some interesting ferns.

Some lush staghorn ferns

Simply labeled Pteris sp.

Eyelash fern/Actiniopteris semiflabellata

I was tempted by this heart fern/Hemionitis arifolia, but I've heard it can be finicky to keep alive.

Button fern/Pellaea rotundifolia

Variegated brake fern/Pteris ensiformis

Technically not a fern, Cycas revoluta (Sago palm) looks a lot like a fern
I also considered the prayer plants.

And this remarkably colorful Cordyline.

Cordyline terminalis 'Cherry Cordial'

A couple of months ago, I was visiting Watson's when they had just started putting a green wall together. If you scroll down through their Instagram feed here, you'll find a couple of videos about the process of putting it together. It turned out fabulous.

The Bromelaids in the wall reminded me to check out their Bromeliad area, where I found some wonderfully lush specimens.

This flowering Vriesea had babies popping up already in the center

I found a small but interesting selection of Dyckias from Little Prince of Oregon on their succulent table.

'Grand Marnier'

'Grape Jelly'

'Burgundy Ice'

Most of these were simply labeled either Aloe or Gasteria, including that strip in the center, which I'm pretty sure are Aloe aristata.

Mangaves! 'Inkblot'

One Mangave 'Falling Waters'

Rows of fluffy Echevaria

Various tiny pots of cactus and succulents

I liked the look of that chocolatey, wavy Echeveria, but there weren't many to choose from

Crown of thorns/Euphorbia millii

Little knobbly, stripey Gasteria

They had some intriguing wooden containers and driftwood pieces, but of course, they weren't part of the sale.

I wasn't sure if these were included in the sale or not, but they gave me ideas.

Cool, but not $90 worth of cool, especially since I could get the plant for considerably less

I don't know if those fungi are real dried specimens, but it's an interesting use for them

Unfortunately, perusing the sale also meant having to endure this...

I'm old school, seeing Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving doesn't just make me shudder, I find it annoying

What did I bring home? One of those little chocolate Echevaria, a Crown of Thorns, a staghorn fern, two Aloe aristata, and a few Dyckia, two 'Grand Marnier' and one 'Burgundy Ice'.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wednesday Vignette

Last month I had the privilege of touring behind the scenes at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend, WA. I haven't posted any of my photos from my visit, it's only been a few weeks and yet I have already forgotten most of what I heard there. Of course I took plenty of pictures, but took no notes and everything Kelly and Sue said has pretty much flown the coop of my increasingly old brain, which retains little nowadays. The main point of the trip was to get a glimpse of the work they are doing with their Far Reaches Botanical Conservancy, whose purpose is to acquire and introduce plants that are being threatened by development. Right now, in fact, I believe they are away in Asia on a plant hunting expedition.

I really should get my photos together of that behind the scenes visit, but for today I'll just share a  couple of shots of lush Podophyllums that were growing on in pots in one of their Off-Limits-to-most-customers greenhouses.

Isn't that serrated edge just fabulous?

And here's a shot of Kelly Dodson telling the tale of the plant that got away -- just like a fisherman, it was "this big."

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fall Color

There are some very striking fall colors out in the garden, as well as in the trees and shrubs that I see on my way to the grocery store every day right now. Is it just my imagination, or do they seem more vibrant than in recent years? I wonder if the rain in August, as well as in September, has caused the trees and shrubs to hang onto their leaves longer, whereas in a more normal year, with summer drought that lingers well into September, the trees have usually lost most of their brown, crinkly, dried-up leaves early as they shut down in August from months of summer drought.

Of course I'm not a botanist, or meteorologist, or climatologist, basically I know next to nothing about anything. These are just the musings of a home gardener with some photos to share.

Amelanchier alnifolia

Oemleria cerasiformis

Ribes sanguineum


Peony closeup

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

Acer circinatum

Oak tree


Amsonia hubrichtii

Geranium macrorrhizum

Eucalyptus bark


Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant'

Viburnum trilobum

Have you noticed how vibrant the fall foliage is this year? Am I just not remembering that every year it's this beautiful?