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, March 26, 2015

Knock, Knock. Who's There?

Marcus Welby.  
Marcus Welby Who?

It Marcus Welby spring.
(sung to the tune of "It Might as Well be Spring"
From Rogers and Hammerstein's State Fair

If you're too young to remember Marcus Welby or State Fair, I'm extremely jealous of you and as soon as you get close enough, I'll beat you with my cane!

Anyway, spring is making herself known in my garden.  Here are a few signs of her arrival:

Maples and others leafing out

Hostas, some pushing up their noses and others unfurling leaves.

Muscari macrocarpum 'Golden Fragrance'

Daffodil 'British Gamble' is even better in person.  This is the first time I've grown this one and am delighted with it!

You perhaps remember this magnolia tree from a week ago.

There are a couple more magnolias adding to the show.


Magnolia 'Black Tulip,' a new addition last spring.  You can sort of see the red rhododendron  behind the yew bottom right.  I keep threatening to get rid of it but it blooms now, in the summer and again in the fall. 

The first of the new tulips are starting to show color. 

Daffodils too.  Calla foliage is pretty far along for this time of year. 

The color echoes of the pink and pink and orange tulips with Rheum palmatum atrosanguineum  (common name is That damned Rhubarb that collapses on everything and then dies in the middle of the summer leaving a huge hole in the bed.) are lovely.

Tulip 'Fire of Love' grown as much for foliage (which the slugs also seem to  love) as for flower, is popping out of the ground. There is a nice sluggo mulch around these now. 

Not a subtle plant in any way, Rhododendron 'President Roosavelt' has beautifully variegated evergreen foliage and these fabulous flowers.  Hey, if you're going to grow a rhododendron (that isn't a species)  isn't flashy a good thing?  Someone should really pull some of those damned Dicentra formosa (lovely thug) before taking pictures!

As you can see, weevils like it too.  Th only thing this plant doesn't have is fragrance.  That's o.k. the Skimmia japonica is taking care of that. 

Trillium  in a sea of another beautiful  native thug, Oxalis oregana.  Evergreen and delicate looking, this Oxalis takes the driest shade in stride and is perfect for growing there.  It'll get put to the test when some gets moved into the bamboo grove.  The copious bamboo litter may just do it in.

More tulips.  These are supposed to turn orange as they age.  

Out of control Camellia 'Scentsation' has a "delicate fragrance."  That's Latin for you can smell it if you stuff the flower directly into your nostrils. A bit painful but it's the only way.  Someon needs to do some serious pruning!

Fatsia Japonica 'Variegata'  putting out a flush of new growth.  Monrovia is marketing this under the trademarked name 'Camouflage.'  Monrovia is also now selling plants at Lowe's.  Just saw several big green pots of Stachyurus salicifolius with Mr. Hinkley's image on them there over the weekend.   I'm calling these Nerd plants on the Dan Lowe.  (On the down-low, a slang expression.)

Meconopsis sheldonii emerging from dormancy.

Someone has some work to do but if he waits long enough, the greenery will cover everything.

The church in the background which makes a lovely focal point until the deciduous trees in the parking strip obscure it, is still for sale.  It would make a fabulous restaurant.  Previously a Synagogue, it would be a great place to revive a former Tacoma business, a coffee house called The Temple of the Bean. How about K'nesset Bagels and Kosher Deli?  Seattle's Matzo Mama's  perhaps could open a second location.  It's difficult to find a real bagel in the wild west!  If none of that works, I really miss having a Mexican restaurant across the street - Mitzveh Mexican?  Another M word is McMenamins who would also be great neighbors!

For those of you who still have snow on the ground, you have my sincerest sympathy.  Have you considered moving here?  Happy spring!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Podophyllum's Progress - My Favorite Plant...This Week.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a major crush on Podophyllum, especially Podophyllum delavayi.  Previous posts here.

Late last winter, I took a deep breath and sawed in half the roots of an especially crowded pot  of  P. delavayi.  Here it was a couple of summers ago.

It could have been sawed in quarters and still been fine but  I was being cautious.  To my surprise, both halves fairly quickly filled out their pots, bloomed and set fruit as usual.  I smeared the ripe fruit around on the soil in the fall and today there are seedlings in both pots.  They'll be left to do what they will but this fall, the fruits will be spread on flats of soil and late next winter, I'll be dividing these pots again. Maybe I'll be brave and throw one in the ground. 

Here's the other pot also with seedlings. 

Years ago, I had a large beautiful pot of P. 'Kaleidoscope' which I thought should be set free in the ground.  After it was planted, it slowly died and never returned so I'm wary about planting these in the open garden.  

This P. delavayi was planted in the ground at the same time as the previous ones in pots.  It was lovely for a year but the next year was nowhere to be seen.  The third year, it came back and here it is emerging from the ground again this year.  How can a plant simply not grow for a whole year and then come back like this?

For several years there was a large pot of P. 'Spotty Dotty' in my shade garden.  Last year it decided not to grow but look what I discovered today.  Is this a seedling from the original plant or was there a viable bit of root in there?

This one soldiers on even though it's leaves have become a bit deformed.  Thinking that it might be some sort of fungus, I treated the soil with a copper fungicide before the foliage emerged.  We'll see how things unfurl.
 In the pot ghetto, there is another that grew beautifully for two years but  there's no sign of it this spring.  I've learned to simply wait and see what happens.  Crazy plants these but I love them!   Loree at Danger Garden hosts the favorite plant meme and rounds up all of the favorites at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bremerton City Nursery: A Second Look

After leaving City People's Garden Store, I considered coming home and playing in the garden in the sunshine.  Instead, the plant mobile took me to Bremerton City Nursery which I'd visited for the first time in November of last year. (Post here.)  What a treat it was to discover a new place and how sad that it was toward the end of the season.  Here are a few of the many great offerings.

I wonder if those pots get planted up later or if they're decorative just the way they are. 
 The outdoor areas are beginning to fill up.  How exciting!

Ranunculus with their many delicate looking petals fascinate me.   

 I've not grown them since my Alaska gardening days where we lifted the tubers that look like little bunches of bananas each fall and stored them inside.

They probably need the same treatment here because they don't like our wet winters and critters love to eat them.

So enjoying them at nurseries is enough.  Do you grow these outside as perennials?  What kind of luck do you have?  Do you stuff them into pots as seasonal color and discard them when they're done blooming?

On to more fun stuff from the nursery -  This sun room area was added at the same time as my garage finished its surgery to change it into a greenhouse.  It was fun to compare notes with one of the owners about our first winter with new green house spaces.

The tag from the grower said only "Octopus Agave."  Could this be Agave vilmoriniana?  This one is pretty fragile, the leaves tearing easily.  It was also inexpensive so it came home with me.

I'm seeing Euphorbia flanaganii  on the market more lately. Their unusual and a bit unpredictable growth habit makes me love them!

This idea will be copied!  Replacing votive candle holders with terra cotta pots of sedum  or tillandsias is inspired!  One more thing to keep one's eyes peeled for at thrift shops!

A nice pot of fire sticks jumped in my cart as well.  Someone left his outside last fall.  Before you tell me that I should fire the firm that maintains my garden,  (Me, Myself, and I, a lazy lot but they work for nothing.) you should know that the plant had some sort disfiguring insect pest that wasn't responding to organic interventions and I didn't want to drag bad bugs into the greenhouse.

Aloe "Blue Elf"

Of course, hellebores wer everywhere.  

Because I was busy grabbing inexpensive tillandsias, I forgot to take pictures of them but they had just received a nice assortment from Little Prince of Oregon!  Bremerton City Nursery packs a lot of quality and varied merchandise into their space and is worth a visit if you're ever in the area!

Wishing you many happy garden surprises!

The End!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stopping by City People's Garden Store

After the plant sale a couple of Saturdays ago, I decided to stop by a nursery or two.  After all, this one was on my way home - sort of.  City People's Garden Store is in the middle of a busy urban Seattle Neighborhood and there are always interesting plants and all sorts of garden-related merchandise to peruse.  (previous post here.)

The good-sized outdoor yard closes for part of the winter so it's always exciting when it opens again and the new plants come marching in.

 Thuja orientalis 'Franky Boy' has lovely thread-like foliage which is "Wonderful in winter when 'Franky Boy' turns to bronze-orange."  Tempting and now that I've seen more images on the web, I may need to go back and get one.

There's Pinus contorta 'Chief Joseph' which seems to be coming down in price a bit this season.  

Lots of cool miniature evergreens and Acer palmatum.  What a difference a couple of weeks makes.  My Acers are unfurling leaves now!

Think Pink!  And a bit of purple.


My newly-planted tulips are just starting to emerge from the ground while the ones that have been in my garden for years are blooming now.  Go figure.

Looks a bit like the holidays but heck, any color this time of year is welcome.  Of the three Hippeastrum that I put in the greenhouse before Christmas, one is completely finished blooming, the huge one with three bloom stalks is starting to wind down a bit, and the third is just now starting to show the top of a green stem.

Perfect with those red and yellow tulips!

A bevy of beautiful pots which usually seem a bit higher priced in Washington than what I've seen in Oregon.

Let's mosey inside and see what's going on.  This time of year, there are racks and racks of interesting seeds, bulbs, etc. along with everything one could possibly need to start them all. The indoor plants were calling out to be admired.
It's true, there's always an agave!  In this case, there were lots of them.  Looks like Fleetfoot and Foulweather Succulents and Cacti  have been by recently.  Wouldn't it be cool to see their growing operation?

Such cute little babies.  

No straw flowers glued to these cacti!

The indoor store goes on and on and is full of fun stuff!

Oh, Mr. Bromeliad, you are certainly handsome in bloom!

Although it doesn't quite fit my garden, I always admire this cool twig furniture.

What came home with me?   Three little oddballs:

Monadenium ritchiei

Can't find any information about this one but it's sure cute!

and Pseudolithos migiurtinus  

Happy new week!