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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, April 28, 2016

The Rhododendron Species Garden 31st Annual Spring Sale 2016

This year, the sale promised more vendors than ever and they delivered very well on their word! This is a great sale that I never miss but this year was especially wonderful.  The R.S.G. is on the Federal Way campus of the Weyerhauser company.  Many of you know that this expansive quintessentially Pacific Northwest campus with it's iconic building has been sold to a developer from California.  The R.S.G. is a separate entity and will remain where and as is but the sale itself has taken place in one of the parking lots which may or may not remain depending upon the future use of the space.  I remember fondly the first time I set foot in the building.  With panoramic views of the lake and woodland nearby, eagles soaring above and an open and gracious feeling, it's a very special and impressive space.  But I digress in sentiment as I am wont to do.  Suffice it to say that the sale held a bittersweet note for me.   "Change and decay in all around I see."

One might think that the RSG is all about rhododendrons.  While they do that family very well, they also regularly carry a lot of garden gems.  Here we see some blue meconopsis which grow fairly easily here.  Most of the rest of the country is envious of this!

Ypsilandra thibetica and Pleione formosana.

Schefflera minatistellata can form a small tree up to 20 feet.  Very rare plant from collected seed.  I got one last year and potted up it quickly doubled in size. 

Rhododendron 'Wine and Roses' is nice in bloom but is even more wonderful when the undersides of the leaves, a deep wine red, are viewed from below.

I lost track of all of the vendors as there were so many great ones there!  Trillium.

This is such a sweet plant with cute round leaves and nifty purple tassel flowers.



I resisted.

Nice to see this one as it can be elusive when you're actively seeking it!

My relatives in Alaska, where this is considered a weed, still laugh at me for including it in my garden.

Riches abound!


Never met a Pacific Coast Iris I didn't like.  I don't grow any in my garden but surely love seeing them in those of others.

Acer palmatum 'White Peaches' swoon...

New to me is this vendor.  Love the name for a grower of carnivorous plants. 

As my friend Loree says, "There's always an agave."

Melianthus bloom surprised me but when I got home and looked, my own was in bloom.  


Ah, the luscious leaves of Rodgersia.

From across the parking lot, the leaves of this croton blared like a visual brass band.  I couldn't make out exactly what it was but made my way closer post haste. Was there some new hardy variety of this gorgeous thing?  Turns out that these are from Weyerhauser surplus.  They won't have space in their new Seattle office building for these huge houseplants so here they are.  Quite a bargain at only $50.00.  The planters themselves would retail for more than that.  I thought long and hard about this becoming a permanent resident of my greenhouse but it would take up so much space and wouldn't fit in my car so it's still there along with the others.


This was Far Reaches Farms first year doing this sale and they brought with them some interestingly colored/patterned seedlings of Podophyllum delavayi.  These two walked around with me for a while but then, in keeping with my buying fewer plants this year, one of them went back on the table.  Now I wish I'd taken both.  Oh well.

Kelly took me to Far Reaches Farm's fancy new van to see a newly discovered polygonatum which was interesting but what really caught my eye was this  Podophyllum 'Red Panda'   brought down for someone else.  The price caused me not to ask him to save one for me but now I'm re-thinking that decision.

Ginkgo 'Snow Cloud' 

Gentian is so very blue!


Even these!


One last look at part of the sale and part of the building as I take my two plants home with me, proud of my restraint.
Hope you're enjoying spring plant shopping!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

Wednesday Vignette is hosted each week by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to see her post and those of other participating bloggers.

I couldn't find the location of the image intended for today's post so I quickly searched through some from the past that had never been used and decided to use this.

The spring anticipation of a new beginning or painted concrete that will remain the same from season to season?

Today is the day that the answer to my decision is due and as I was posting, a Mary Chapin Carpenter song played:



"You've been saying for the longest time that the time has come
You've been talking like you're of a mind to get some changing done
Maybe move out of the city, find some quiet little town
Where you can sit out on your back porch step
and watch the sun go down 
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on
For every choice that ends up wrong
Another one's right
A change of scene would sure be great
But the question begs why would you wait 
And be late for your life.

Now you might never find that perfect town
But the sun still sets on a rooftop where the city
Sounds like a Gershwin clarinet
And you might still be searching every face for one you can't forget
Love is out there in a stranger's clothes
You just haven't met him yet
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on
For every day that ends up wrong 
Another one's right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
And the question now is why would you wait 
Don't be late for your life.

While the anticipation of something new and potentially wonderful is exciting, the thought of leaving something else you truly love and have become a part of makes the decision heart wrenching. So... I've decided to stay. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Where Did They Go?

This 40 or so foot long bed in the mystery garden near the church where I work has been filled with species tulips for years.  Admiring their seemingly care-free nature, I've been waiting to photograph and perhaps get an ID on them.  However, this year, no tulips so far nor any signs of foliage.  Lots of horsetail, a few grape hyacinths and Spanish bluebells though.  A swath that large didn't just vanish and there aren't signs of digging.  Maybe they're later bloomers than I thought.

There are still signs of gardening happening but at a decreasing rate.

This double lilac blooms are so large that they are falling sideways.  The color and scent are glorious.

The lawn is still being mowed, the really interesting house continues to fall into disrepair.  I'm so tempted to knock but haven't yet.



How long has this tree peony been in place?

Some things look like they may have been added in the last few years. 


It's always sad to see a place that has been a home and garden abandoned and left to the elements. Here, in a community that I work near during the week, this place is right next to a well maintained home and garden of similar vintage.  Someone thought that a bit of wisteria growing on the entry would be a lovely idea and it was.  Notice how it's taken over the roof and is running along the top of the trees.

It then takes over this large tree a bit further left.  

From the other side. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to seed about in our climate and is relatively easy to eliminate. 


Looking toward the back of the property.  Must have been some garden not too long ago.

Although most of our homes will be sold to and loved by new owners, many of our gardens will not outlive the presence of their gardeners for very long which makes enjoying them while we're together even more precious.   Wishing you many glorious days taking pleasure in your Eden!




Monday, April 25, 2016

In A Vase On Monday: Indecision

For a few weeks, the pink/purple tulips and the foliage of Persicaria 'Red Dragon' have been begging to be combined in a vase.  Due to our recent warm weather, Chelsea Chop time for the latter came early this year so there was a lot of it available.   Then the red, white, and green parrot tulips really looked smashing so they were going to come in this week.  For them, I chose this feathery vase, a cast off from my friend, Sandy.  Also a small cloth embroidered with a parrot and other colorful bird props came out of the hoard.

However, when I went outside, the wind and rain had done quite a job on the purple/pink tulips which were now all akimbo, some flopped over on a path where they would surely be stepped upon if not staked.  Tulips in bondage  are so sad so out went the parrot tulip idea and back came the purple/pink combination thought for which I might have chosen a different vase, and out went all of the parrot props. Sometimes we make a decision but fate throws tulips on our path and tells us to go with an original thought.

Outside, with the sun shining through it, this foliage is a beautiful shade of wine red that would perfectly compliment the tulips.  Inside, it looks a bit brown.

The idea of a simple arrangement containing only this one foliage and the tulips was discarded as the result was heavy, oppressive, and needed something airy or grassy to lighten things up a bit.

 Bracken fern and golden variegated bamboo joined the somber duet and livened/lightened a bit.

The tulip stems did NOT want to cooperate at all and kept flopping wherever they wanted to.  The whole thing ended up being a bit lopsided to preserve the view of the half-naked winged cherub (or is she a fairy?)  on the left. The pink flower on the bottom is made of seashells and came from Tom's trip to Mexico.  It got added because it was sitting nearby and was the right color. 

Then again, maybe the parrot tulips would have been a better choice and the  pink tulips in the path were a simple coincidence. However, once a decision is made, there is a finality and the rejected choice lies forever unexplored. By choosing one, the other is eliminated.   What does she think who holds the whole thing together?

I'm facing a choice in my life between two equally appealing options, one easy, comfortable, and familiar, the other a bit of a change, a new challenge, and a bit unknown.  Indecision is difficult for me.  Like this arrangement, I'm a bit scrambled and unsure.  By this evening, I've promised a decision and am hoping that something will be blown across my path today to tell me what to do.
In a Vase on Monday is sponsored by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see her vase and links to those of other participating bloggers.