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.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Spring Preview in the Conservatory

As I write this on Wednesday evening, snow is once again flying and there's a powdered-sugar dusting on the grass and trees.  The white stuff started about twenty minutes before school was out and more is predicted for a while tonight as temperatures drop well below freezing.  Sigh.  Spring interrupted. Over the weekend, I walked over to the Seymour conservatory to get a breath of warmer air.  Outside, popping up through the dessicated banana leaves were these charming Leucojum (vernum? aestivum?) 

Inside, spring has already arrived.

A nice jolt of color in the seasonal display area is especially welcome during the cold months. 

Unusual orchid foliage.  Unfortunately, the plant wasn't marked so I'm not sure which one. 

Tephrocactus strobiliformis (guessing.)

If the weather ever warms up, this will be happening outside.

I know I've seen this one in catalogs but it's even nicer in person.  Such a sweet and subtle yellow color.

Once again, the huge NOID agave labeled simply, "Century Plant."  

There were some brown-edged leaves on some of the permanent large tropical plants including some tree ferns.  Upon inquiry, I learned that the furnace went out on one of the coldest nights of the year and it wasn't discovered until the next morning, the tree ferns, "haven't been happy for quite a while," and someone over fertilized a few things.  Sad news but it does make me feel better that even the pros have problems sometimes.

Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss) looks very happy!

The gift shop is well stocked with Tillandsias at the moment, including this impressively large and blooming T. duratii. 

It's nice to know that no matter how much snow falls or how low the mercury falls, one can always visit Spring at the conservatory or in my own greenhouse.
Only 26 more days until spring!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday Vignette - Time for a Garden Party!

This garden party comes from the vintage market at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.  While winter still holds us firmly in it's icy fingers, this kind of garden party will have to do.  Only 25 more days until spring!
I'm joining Anna at Flutter and Hum, the host of our Wednesday Vignette meme.  Click here to join the party.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Four-Letter Word Beginning with "S" followed by the "F" word.

That's right, snow.  What were you thinking?   After our warm January and a cloudy  wet Candlemas we all thought that spring was arriving. 

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,  The half o' winter to come and mair. If Candlemas's day be wet and foul.  The half o' winter gane at Yule.  Seems that modern weather forecasters pay little attention to ancient Scottish wisdom.  Sunday morning brought big beautiful snowflakes.

The flakes were were joined for a time by hail.

Not a lot of snow but instead of melting off as usual, the mercury plummeted and brought that "F" word, freezing.  Again, where was your mind.


This was the only kind of snow drop I'd hoped to see.

Truth be told, the other two "S" and "F" words may have been uttered by more than one gardener in the PNW.

Even the early-blooming "Tommies" (crocus tommasinianus) are closed against the cold and look a little frost-bitten around the edges.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' doesn't seem to mind but the Camellia japonica flowers are frozen and will drop.  Fortunately, there are more buds to take their place.  Magnolia buds have started to fatten up and I worry that they might succumb as the temperatures get even lower over the next couple of days.

I've never seen hellebores do this before.  Hopefully they'll pop back up when the weather warms. 

Stachyurus praecox doesn't seem to mind. 

I keep throwing boiling water on top of the frozen bird baths so that our feathered friends can have a drink.  Interesting how fast it refreezes.

Rhododendrons do this when it gets cold but it's still sad to see. 

I was planning on bringing the dormant begonia tubers out of the basement and putting them into the stained glass room this weekend but why try to heat that space when it's so cold? 

Meanwhile, there ares some bright spots in the greenhouse even though it's a bit messy out there at the moment. 

Scadoxus puniceus is popping up and soon it's happy orange pompom blooms will open.  Maybe spring isn't so far off after all. 
How's your garden faring this winter? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Recently, my garden blogging pal Alison (Bonney Lassie) gave me this sweet vase she'd purchased at Disneyland.  She'd noticed that I seemed a little grumpy about the cold snap predicted (and now beginning) and needed a little cheering up.

For those of you in cold winter climates, predictions of temperatures in the high teens may seem downright balmy but here it  felt as if spring would arrive early and plants, usually much later to make an appearance have begun to show their faces because of our warm January.  For those of you in the Pacific Northwest who are fretting about your plants, I offer these winter blooms from my garden in Alison's vase to pass the cheer along.

Joining the vase is this bird nest, a symbol of hope that spring will, indeed arrive...eventually.

A visit to Vassey Nursery (in the snow!) yesterday found the folks there busy protecting plants and unpacking all sorts of new merchandise like this cool and inexpensive head pot.  She's wearing a primrose dragged in from the cold.

The little red cyclamen begged to be added to the picture.  Who could say no to such a sweet redhead?

The crocus opened in the warmth of the house and,  like a cherished friendship warmed the cockles of my heart. 

As I write this, the wind is howling outside, the snow and hail on the ground are frozen and the temperature is below freezing (Accuweather says the real feel is 10 degrees) but inside there's a little pot of spring.

Perhaps this head pot's name should be Alison.  Thanks pal for the thoughtful gift, it made my day!
Cathy at Rambling in the Garden is the inspirational host of In a Vase on Monday.  Click here to see her vase this week and to find links to those of other participating bloggers.

Friday, February 16, 2018

February 18 Foliage Follow-Up

Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Follow-up on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to remind us of the important role of foliage in our gardens.   Join me in wishing this spectacular person, longtime blogger, inventor of the Garden Bloggers' Fling, and author a very happy twelfth blogging anniversary!

Here's some of the foliage currently thrilling me in my garden at the moment. 

This begonia, purchesed at a fall plant sale from Windcliff Plants never made it into the ground.  The pot is in a sheltered area outside and the foliage never died back.  Crazy!

Likewise, Darlingtonia californica, the carnivorous Cobra Lily, never died back this year.

I love the pink tones that this Hebe takes on in cold weather.

While it weeps during the winter, this Cylindropuntia, a cutting found by the side of the road beneath a free sign, will perk up again as the weather warms.

Arum italicum has looked glorious all winter long and, as warmer temperatures arrive, it'll die back for the summer. 

 The big excitement is that some  plants have decided it's time for spring.

Syneilesis palmata

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'


Persicaria 'Red Dragon'

Begonia pedatifida

 Tree peony 


Mecanopsis 'Lingholm'  How grateful I am to live in a climate that is favored by the glorious blue poppy.  They like it even better in Alaska!

I keep forgetting the name of this ground cover but love the hairy new growth.

Join the party and show us your foliage!