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 21, 2019

Time for a Sunny Saturday Nursery Field Trip: Bremerton City Nursery

To avoid actually working in my garden on Saturday, I jumped in the car and drove west to visit a couple of nurseries on the Kitsap Peninsula.  Today, let's stroll around Bremerton City Nursery.

The colorful Euphrobia 'Ascot Rainbow' is at it's best this time of year. 

Tiny Narcissus 'Tet a tete Boucle' is kind of sweet.

Anemones always look so good in nurseries but someone usually forgets to include them in his fall bulb orders. 

Some people have tidy lists of plants they'd like to try, even nice pages on their blogs. Someone you may know has random-sized and colored post-it notes stuck to the side of his computer desk.  These are mixed with notes containing the botanical names of a few plants that I already have but can never recall.  Anyway, a few years ago I read some author's work about fragrant plants.  Cistus 'Blanche' was a favorite for the ressionous fragrance of the leaves.  I made a note and added it to the collage.  What a nice surprise to find the very Cistus I'd searched for so many years ago.   The leaves did have a pleasant fragrance but  where would I put another shrub?    I may regret not bringing one home but there were quite a few still at the nursery so who knows.

Primula vulgaris  delivers a good dose of riotous warm color that's just the thing for some spring zing.

The perennial area will have filled out quite a bit with our recent few days with  temperatures near 80 degrees.

Pink new growth of Thymus vulgaris 'Silver Posie' 

No nursery is complete without a friendly greeter!

Ah, citrus in bloom. 

Time to stock up on tender succulents if you didn't winter them over inside. 

"There's always an Agave."

Did I remember to take a picture of the tag so I'd be able to tell you which Alocasia this is?  Nope but it's visually stunning even without a name.

Here's what hitched a ride with me. The oxalis and some of the primroses are to give to the paraeducators in my program  but the succulents are for me. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday Vignette - Low Maintenance

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Be sure to click over to her blog to join the party.

Seems that many folks these days desire gardens that have low maintenance requirements.  The joy for some is not the act of gardening but the possession of a garden.  It should be, some may recon, installed in a timely manner and take care of itself for years to come, much like decorating a room in one's home.  Even a home requires a bit of cleaning on a fairly regular basis  I've been told.  (We live in rooms coated with a mixture of dust bunnies, dog hair, and cobwebs as I've totally embraced the low-maintenance zeitgeist indoors.)  However, for me, the joy of my garden comes from the process of gardening - hauling heavy pots around and dropping them on one's toe, snapping plants off while dragging the hose,  swearing at passersby throwing their beverage cans, bottles, and all manner of refuse into the plants, becoming infuriated by the brilliant aural tapestry of urban living.  Oh yes, it's the process, not the product that makes my heart skip a beat.  (Should have that arrhythmia checked out.)  However, there are times when I think it would be nice to simplify things a bit.

The cacti/succulent fad shows no sign of waning as people discover the joys of these plants that require very little attention to thrive.   On a recent visit to Valley Nursery in Poulsbo, these extremely low-maintenance plants caught my eye.

Concrete, it's the new plastic...

So there you have it, the lowest maintenance garden ever. 

I'm imagining that they're dishwasher safe to boot. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tell the Truth Tuesday - Garden Geek Card Revoked

On Tuesdays, Alison at Bonney Lassie encourages us to post images of areas of our gardens that are looking not so great.  For those of you with weak constitutions, please avert your eyes now.  If you read/look further, it's at your own risk.  You've been warned.

Out in one of the parking strips, I planted an Indian Horse Chestnut (Aesculus indica) years ago.  I didn't realize until I removed the grass and underplanted the tree with other things that the leaves take years to deteriorate and like to get caught.  Blowing them usually lodges them deeper into the branches of the euonymus beneath and raking pulls at those same hidden branches.  They'll eventually bet pulled out by hand but it'd sure be swell if they'd simply rot in place.

Oh no, not lazy, just encouraging fallen leaves to insulate the beds for winter.  Yeah, that's the story, organic mulch...

Here's the part that will certainly test your ability to hold down lunch.  (To be fair, this was taken a while ago.)  Each spring swaths of crocus bloom near the front of this bed.  While there are some grasses that fill in a bit, there are still holes here and there where potted specimens get plonked for the summer.  They're hidden by other foliage but if they're not removed, the ugly truth becomes evident.  Thank goodness for the warm weather as these have been moved back to the pot ghetto to allow the crocus to shine and the tan grasses have been trimmed to the ground.   BTW, the brown bits on the lawn are fallen buds of Tetrapanax, cut down bu February's cold temperatures.

As if being messy weren't enough, here's a confession that will cause the revocation of my plant geek card (Thank goodness, spewing botanical Latin was becoming exhausting.)   I paid  money for a pot of this noxious weed, Vinca minor 'Illumination'  Forgive me, I'm weak and, well, gold foliage... True to it's name, it brightens up this corner.  In a few weeks, it'll be replaced by the staghorn fern currently in the greenhouse. 
So, there it is the ugly truth from my garden.  Is there anything looking particularly heinous at your place this Tuesday?  Come on, tell the truth.

Monday, March 18, 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Sidetracked and Spring Cheer

Spring-like weather has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest in a big way.  Just last week we had lows well  below freezing and this week, highs in the 70's are predicted.  Most of the time in the last few months, gathering something for Monday's vase has been a quick dash out into the rainy or frozen garden but this week it was a joy to be outside in the warmth.  Got a little sidetracked and cut some Stachyurus praecox that was hanging over the greenhouse roof.  Too pretty to throw away, the branches got put in a vase.  I've learned that they dry nicely and still have some from last winter sitting around.

Maybe these will be part of an arrangement later but for now they're just hanging out alone.

One of the benefits of having such cold weather is that the Galanthus have lasted much longer than usual.  They're joined by some crocus and a couple of blooms of Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' and some fronds of Adiantum venustum.

A few pussywillows make everything better.  
A tiny bit of spring cheer to welcome the new season starting on Thursday.    In a Vase on Monday is the brainchild of the amazing and dedicated Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  To see Cathy's vase and those of other participating bloggers, click here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day March 2019

How can it be the fifteenth of March already, time for GBBD and only five days from the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere?   It's the middle of the month already and Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us all to post what's blooming in our gardens.  Thanks, Carol, for continuing to host this fun meme!  Click here to see more blooms from gardens all over the world.

What a winter it's been, warmest January, coldest and snowiest February, and colder than normal beginning of March.  Looks like more normal temperatures will be returning later this week thanks to a warm air mass from California.  (Are meteorologists implying that Californians are full of hot air?)  There's even talk of a daytime high of 65 on Sunday.  Swell!

Anyway, here's a bit of what's blooming in my zone 8 Western Washington state garden this month. (Everything from  last bloom day is still going except Iris reticulata and ceanothus which was mostly cut off in preparation for the street paving machinery.)

It's surprising how the inherited galanthus have spread all over the garden both by accident and on purpose.

Most of the hellebores have recovered from the weight of the snow but some are still lying down on the job. 

Here's a sampling of most of the varieties in my garden.

Camellia japonicas.

Cyclamen coum


Sorry for the bad picture but I was vibrating with excitement to see  daffodil blooms. 'Tête-à-tête' is always the first to open in my garden. 

Stachyurus praecox

Orchids and a few other things are still going inside while in the greenhouse, Clivias are taking center stage.
What's blooming in your neck of the woods on this last GBBD of winter?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Spring Arrived Early at the Seymour Conservatory

Last Saturday was my first day off in a couple of weeks and I'd planned to go to a plant sale, hurry home, and do lots of work in my garden.   The sky was clear and I woke up bright and early in plenty of time to get myself together and make the hour drive to the plant sale but just couldn't muster the energy to go to the sale when my garden is already packed with plants and various projects this year have been and will be causing plant trampling, cutting, etc.  Instead I lay on the couch and  played the "Just One More Show" game for most of the day, binge watching a series on Netflix.  By three in the afternoon, I became disgusted with myself for wasting an entire day so decided that a walk was in order.  The Seymour Conservatory is a short distance from my place and it's always nice to visit a garden that always looks good with no effort on my part.

There's always color here and while there is a permanent collection, color-starved eyes tend to gravitate to the rotating displays  of blooming plants. 

The blooming displays are always lovely but I'd also like to see  wider use of more unusual plants.

However, the conservatory is partly dependent on contributions from visitors so planting schemes that appeal the largest number of people is wise.  There is a current push to make the conservatory more of an event space and a whole swath of the tropical section was recently removed to make way for the addition of restrooms, the first phase of an expansion. 

There are always orchids blooming.

Not sure which bromeliad this is but isn't the bloom gorgeous?

Tillandsias tucked in here and there. 

A fun fantasy garden and an early view of some of the blooms that will be gracing our own gardens in a few weeks.

I forgot to look up while inside but noticed this as I walked around behind the building.  Is that a callistemon blooming way up there? 
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of "Crave: An Early Glimpse of Spring"  To learn more about the rotating floral displays at the conservatory, click  here.