Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Windmill Gardens In December

Decorative and gift ware  items fill the inside space.

I like the combination of blue lights and white birch!

Red begonias are another nice option for the season!

I have this fountain at home but it's outside and full of water.  This treatment is great!

 As always, lots of poinsettias, the most purchased plant in the U.S.  

 They are bright and cheerful during this darkest time of the year!

Hydrangeas and Azaleas. The holiday possibilities seem endless!

Windmill stores quite a few of the plants used in the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February. Earlier this year, I heard that there was a lot of interest in having roses in bloom for the show.  I sneaked into the back greenhouse for a sneak peak of what we might be seeing in a couple of months in the demonstration gardens.  The plants have just started coming in and here are a few of them.  I'll go back in January to see more. Bougainvillea, huge Mandevilla and Fuchsias trained as standards. Very pink indeed!

Only six more days until Christmas!  How are your preparations going?  Shopping done yet?  Will you be doing any special baking?  Do you have special traditions that you never do without?  

I hope that you have some time to relax during this activity packed time!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Winter Rose

I'm easily delighted by finding good surprises in my garden.  My roses had pretty much closed shop for the season even  before our two freezes.  Somehow, this one decided to live through the sub freezing temperatures and open up even in this dark cold time of the year.  Look on the bottom left just beneath the bud and you may see another surprise.  If not in this picture, you may see her in the next one.

Lo, How a rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
               Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed,
Of Jesse's lineage coming as men of old have sung.
               Some say love it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.
It came a floweret bright 
               Some say love it is a hunger, an endless aching need,
Amid the cold of winter
                I say love it is a flower and you it's only seed.
When half-spent was the night.

It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance
It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.

This flower whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
                When the night has been to lonely and the road has been too long,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere.
                 And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
True man yet very God,
                 Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow,
From sin and death he saves us
                 Lies the seed that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose
And lightens every load.

Rosa 'Fragrant Cloud'  with a lady bug keeping it company. A couple of Sundays ago, a lady bug crawled down the side of a page of music on my stand as I was directing the choir.  I carefully scooped her up and brought her to my greenhouse where she seemed to be happy to drink some water. They're such sweet little bugs!

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming arr. Sandstrom

There is a rose that blooms so fair
It's fragrance in the air
 doth charm me so 
I ever know 
a scent beyond compare.

This lovely rose came long ago
upon a winter's night.
The angels sang
The shepherds came,
and all the world was right.

O lovely rose, be close to me as through the world I go
And bless me with thy tender love and all folk here below.

Gordon Young

Bring Me A Rose – Ernie Sheldon
Recorded by The Womenfolk (1964)

Bring me a rose in the wintertime
When it’s hard to find
Bring me a rose in the wintertime
I've got roses on my mind
A rose is sweet
Most any time, and yet
Bring me a rose in the wintertime
It’s so easy to forget

Bring me a friend when I’m far from home
When it’s hard to find
Bring me a friend when I’m far from home
I’ve got friendship on my mind
A friend is sweet … It’s so easy to forget

Bring me a smile when I'm all alone
When it’s hard to find
Bring me a smile when I'm all alone
I've got smiles on my mind
A smile is sweet … It’s so easy to forget

Bring me a kiss when my child is grown
When it’s hard to find
Bring me a kiss when my child is grown
I've got kisses on my mind
A kiss is sweet … It’s so easy to forget

Bring me love in my autumn years
When it's hard to find.
Bring me love in my autumn years
I've got loving on my mind.
Love is sweet … It’s so easy to forget

Bring me peace when there's talk of war
When it's hard to find
Bring me peace when there's talk of war
Peace is on my mind
Peace is sweet … It’s so easy to forget

I hope your garden and your holiday season are full of delightful surprises!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Van Lierop Garden Market Bedecked with Rustic Elegance

Van Lierop Garden Market in Sumner is a small, family owned gift shop/florist/nursery where one can find "Perfectly Imperfect" found objects, rustic and refined garden art, healthy live plants and arrangements that are delightfully unusual. Now they're doing up the holiday theme in style!

I love walking around this shop which is full of great ideas and beautiful displays.

Like my favorite nurseries that are set up like gardens in pots from which you can simply purchase some or all, Van Lierop displays feel like parts of someone's home only here, the hosts don't so much mind if you take a few of their things home with you.

The birds are all outside of the cages which are occupied by strings of beads.  What a fun idea!

 Uber cute!  

The warmth of gold speaks to me at Christmas.

To go to the outside and greenhouse areas, one walks through the outdoor nursery area which I've shown in previous posts.

Out in the greenhouse, the brilliance continues.

Amaryllis with coral bark maple branches supporting a bird nest was another great idea!  I've got some amaryllis in my greenhouse and a coral bark maple with a branch growing far to close to a power line...hmm.

For more information about this magical place, visit their website here.

The person who makes these birdhouses bedecked with found objects continues to produce them and each one seems better than the last!

Back inside to pat the two friendly dogs and see more great stuff.

I hope you enjoyed visiting as much as I always do!  I know I'll be going back this weekend to pick up at least one thing.

Can you guess what that might be?  Something truly beautiful and stylish?

Hello?!  Have we met?  Of course not, I'll be going back for some of these:

Ah, now I'm getting into the Christmas Spirit!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holly (Ilex) for Foliage Follow Up

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly;
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!  This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp  As friend remember'd not.
Heigh ho, sing heigh ho, unto the green holly:
most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho, the holly!  This life is most jolly.

 William Shakespeare

O reader! hast thou ever stood to see
The Holly-tree?
The eye that contemplates it well perceives
Its glossy leaves
Ordered by an Intelligence so wise
As might confound the Atheist's sophistries.

Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen,
Wrinkled and keen;

No grazing cattle, through their prickly round,
Can reach to wound;
But, as they grow where nothing is to fear,
Smooth and unarmed the pointless leaves appear.

I love to view these things with curious eyes,
And moralize;
And in this wisdom of the Holly-tree
Can emblem see
Wherewith, perchance, to make a pleasant rhyme, -
One which may profit in the after-time.

Thus, though abroad, perchance, I might appear
Harsh and austere;
To those who on my leisure would intrude,
Reserved and rude;
Gentle at home amid my friends I'd be,
Like the high leaves upon the Holly-tree.

And should my youth - as youth is apt, I know, -
Some harshness show,
All vain asperities I, day by day,
Would wear away,
Till the smooth temper of my age should be
Like the high leaves upon the Holly-tree.

And as, when all the summer trees are seen
So bright and green,
The Holly-leaves their fadeless hues display
Less bright than they;
But when the bare and wintry woods we see,
What then so cheerful as the Holly-tree? -

So, serious should my youth appear among
The thoughtless throng;
So would I seem, amid the young and gay,
More grave than they;
That in my age as cheerful I might be
As the green winter of the Holly-tree. 

Robert Southey

The holly and the Ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown. 

In ancient times, holly was considered 
magical and sacred because of its shiny leaves 
and ability to bear fruit in winter. 

The Druids believed that holly, 
with its shiny leaves and red berries 
stayed green to keep the earth beautiful 
when the sacred oak lost it leaves. 
It was believed that if you hung holly 
over your bed, you would have good dreams. 
At one time, holly was connected to the 
mythical Holly King - patron king of the winter 
solstice.  As the Winter Solstice Festivals 
evolved, holly remained a part of the 
holiday celebrations. 

Holly was the sacred plant of  Saturn 
and was used at the Roman Saturnalia festival to 
honor him. 
 Romans gave one another holly wreaths and carried 
them about decorating images of Saturn with it. 

Centuries later, in December, 
 while other Romans continued their pagan worship, 
Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus. 
 To avoid persecution, they decked their homes with 
Saturnalia holly. 

As Christian numbers increased and their customs 
prevailed, holly lost its pagan association 
and became a symbol of Christmas. 

It's pretty weedy here but it makes a great hedge and has those beautiful red berries in the winter.

I'm joining with Pam at Digging who hosts Foliage Follow Up every month on the day after bloom day to remind us of the importance of foliage in our gardens.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day December 2014

In a week, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere will come.  I love the winter solstice because it means that the daylight will be increasing.  Of course it means that winter has begun.  Fortunately, spring comes early in this climate and there are some wonderful winter bloomers that keep us going through those months.  One of my favorites is Lonicera fragrantissima or winter honeysuckle which has has started blooming a bit early this year.  Oh that fragrance!

NOID Arctostaphylos

Speaking of fragrance, Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’ smells divine and has been blooming since November.

Yes, even through our freezes, Abutilon megapotamicum has continued blooming albeit a bit slower. 

Mahonia × media ‘Charity’

 Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Valley Queen'

In the house, the schlumbergeras (Christmas Cactus) continue to be covered with color and the new orchids are blooming while in the greenhouse there are more blooms:

Many echiverias are blooming.

I haven't killed the new gardenia yet and here are the paperwhites that picked themselves up from being a bit floppy.  Go figure.

Lemon blooms.  Does anyone know if these need to be pollinated with a paintbrush if they're growing inside?

Cyclamen persicum

Still going from summer are Impatiens 'Congo cockatoo,'


And pelargonium.   

On the fifteenth of each month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to remind us that we can have flowers nearly every month of the year.  To see what's blooming in gardens around the world this December, click over to Carol's blog.   Thanks, Carol for once again hosting the blooming party and for being our favorite petal pusher.