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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Fabulous Frondrosa Frolic 2014

An apology:  I so enjoyed this event that I forgot to take pictures of the vendors on the other level.  There was a great sempervivum grower who also had bulbs for saffron crocus.  Their farm produces saffron and it must be beautiful in the fall.  I also didn't take pictures of the artists present, maybe because my hands were too full of a flat of assorted sempervivum and  my latest purchase from Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest. Love her fiddlestix! My mule was there but was already busy carrying plants to the plantmobile.

That being said, the day was gorgeous, the setting, as always, beautiful and the plants - oh the plants!  Several of my favorite growers were in attendance.  The Frondrosa Frolic is, for me, kind of the last hurrah of summer plant sales.  The fall sales are fun but the frolic is a festival of high summer fun where it's easy to believe that the warm weather will last forever!

 Here we see some of the offerings of Celestial Dream Gardens.

The event was well attended and as you can see from the wagon (not mine) that people were happily buying plants!

Wind Poppy Farm and Nursery is a regular vendor at the frolic but I've never visited them.  Must rectify that situation!

Part of Far Reaches Farm area, fabulous as always.

The Desert Northwest had incredible xeric plants including some splendid Australians.
Here we see Sean of Cistus knighting a customer.   "You are now Sir Yucca Linearifolia!"

Kelly from Far Reaches entertaining shoppers.

The Frolic is as much about people (plant people, hurray) as it is about plants and it's fun to see folks from Washington and Oregon all together in this one place.  Once the sale closes, the vendors have dinner and most spend the night before heading home, great fellowship opportunity!

You never know who you'll run intohere!  This lovely lady is waiting to purchase plants from the Fern Madame herself, Judith Jones, the organizer of this fun event!
Alison, Nigel, Tom and I arranged to meet here, enjoy the Frolic and rendezvous at the Maltby Café (an unforgettable experience in large and delicious breakfast food - You must go!) before heading to Flower World to look at yet more plants. 
Judith's garden is full of mementos of her twenty six years of creating gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  Do you suppose discs are giant Sluggo pellets?

Judith is a fern grower/exprt and her garden has some lovely examples of those but she's also a plant addict (I say that with a great deal of respect and admiration) as is clear from her other collections.
There are several large greenhouses on the property of which only one was full of ferns for sale.  This one, into which I peeked,  houses Judith's growing collection of abutilons among others.   
This newest addition to her garden was from the garden,  Judith created for the 2014 Northwest Flower and Garden Show.   
Unfortunately, she says that this was her last year to create a garden for the show.  What a legacy of participation and creativity she's left and how wonderful for her to have mementos such as  this one of her many creations!

I've always loved chimney pots in gardens and these are very nice!

So many areas to sit and visit or simply ponder the meaning of life in this peaceful garden full of  interesting objects.

I don't remember seeing the bees in previous years but it's possible that I simply missed them.  It was great fun to stand and watch the busy inhabitants of these hives coming and going in a fairly predictable pattern.  I wonder if there are air traffic controllers on top of those rocks?

Another spectabulous memento of a NWFGS garden.  This could come live with me whenever they get tired of it there!

Banners adding a jolt of color to the otherwise green scene.

This area of the garden, where the roots of new trees grow down  from the tops of ancient stumps, is magical.   There are several of these.  Were the trees chopped down at some point?  Forest fire?  Curious. 

There are always surprises in this garden!

The back lawn where meals are served to vendors and friends.   

Tools being this well organized is a sign of a disturbed mind.  Or maybe they just knew that hundreds of people would be traipsing through the garden. 

One last look back at the sales area before we head out for brunch!
 There are lots of great businesses on the way to Gold Bar and, as has become our tradition, we stopped at a local grower's roadside stand to get our years supply of fresh peaches.  The freezer is now full of sliced peaches for smoothies, cobblers, and crumbles, and enough peach freezer jam to feed a third world country.  It's kind of pretty in there with the colorful jars of peach and strawberry jam artfully lining the door crammed into every nook and cranny available.  BTW, I found the best peach crumble recipe ever here. Just make it and don't skimp on the butter. 
Oh well, as another school year is about to begin and my carefree summer vacation draws to a close, it's fun to look back on another Fabulous Fronderosa Frolic and look forward to the next.  Do plan to attend!
See posts about previous Frolics here.   Happy Labor Day to my friends in the U.S.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Whatever You Want to Call it Now is my Favorite Plant - This Week

So, there I was, innocently looking up information about this weeks plant fave when the rude interweb informed me that the name I was using was that of a defunct genus and is now considered a common name. 

Coleus blumei (his friends just call him Coleus)  is now Plectranthus scutellarioides and Coleus is now considered a common name for this plant  along with Painted Nettle which I've never heard it called.  (Refers to it's relation to the deadnettle family.) Although, Wikipedia also says that the scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides so I guess you just get to choose.
Much as I love Latin -  botanical, liturgical and classical(each has it's own rules for pronunciation so you should know if you're talking to Dan Hinkley or the Pope!) I'm getting too old to keep up with all the name changes they keep throwing at us.  So, I'm going to call this plant Coleus and be common as dirt.

I love bright color that lasts all season long and Coleus provides it in spades. 

They look great in mixed plantings or in pots by themselves.

The images in this post show the ones that are in my garden this year.  I used to note the names of the ones I really liked but they're usually not available the next year. This fall I will take cuttings (you say that every year!)

 Some of them look stunning when backlit by the sun.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of capturing how gorgeous this looked.

Like stained glass.
Sometimes it's a good thing to read  plant labels.  This one is growing in a mixed pot

with this one that picks up the colors of the veins of the former  and echoes the colors of the cordyline.

With yellow creeping jenny to pick up the gold of the leaves and a small begonia boliviensis for an orange pop.  Unfortunately, the Yellow and purple one is a monster (drooping here a little because it wants water) and pretty much covers up the purples behind.  Hmm, that info on the label is helpful but only if you read it.  Oops.  Maybe I should just turn the pot around.

A perennial hardy in zones 11 and above, it's grown as an annual here but makes a nice houseplant (if you remember to water such things.)  There are trailing medium and large sized varieties in a kaleidoscope of colors.  Go ahead, throw a couple in your garden next year and pretend you're in the tropics.  (Or an older relative's dining room where she grew one as a houseplant.)
Check out the article in Fine Gardening Here.
Here's some interesting information from Wikipedia:

"Coleus blumei (now known as Plectranthus scutellarioides) has been reported to have very mild relaxing and/or hallucinogenic effects when consumed.  The effects of the Coleus plant have not been explored very much by modern scientists but the plant has been known to have been used by the Mazatec Indians of southern Mexico who have a history of consuming this plant for its mind-altering effects."

I'm joining with Loree at Danger Garden in her Favorite Plant of the Week Meme.  Click on over and see other bloggers' faves this week!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kathy's Corner - An Explosion of Color!

After visiting Colvos Creek and Dig!  we just kept going up the road a piece to Kathy's Corner.  This place always has something in bloom and in late June when we visited, it was ablaze with blossoms!

Variegated Lithodora is so sweet up close.

As beautiful as it is common, Digitalis will always be welcome in my garden!

Oh the blue of those delphiniums!  Notice the sprinkler head.  Kathy was worried because her water district was practicing involuntary conservation by cutting the amount of water it would allow through its lines.  So, there is not enough pressure to run sprinklers.  Kathy opened one up all the way and water just ran down the side of the pipe. She was worried that she'd loose a lot of her stock without the ability to water it all.  Kathy's place is huge and she grows a huge mount of plants on several acres. 

Snapdragons always make me smile.

Someone's always got to do his own thing!
 Kathy is much loved on the island.  Her home vegetable garden is large and she invites folks to come and spend time weeding or otherwise tending the garden.  At harvest time, they are free to take all they need.  Anything that is left over is brought to the nursery and sold at lower than grocery store prices.  Let's hope the water rationing didn't adversely effect that project.

Eryngium and phlox.

Coleus comes in so many great color combinations! 

When you visit Kathy, ask her to tell you the sweet story about the surprise gift of this elephant!
 Amaranthus Pigmy Torch and a red salvia make an eye popping combination.
 Color on the softer side.

Kathy always has my favorite fuchsia 'Autumnale' which does bloom but who cares.  The foliage is the star here.

When it comes to containers, I'm mostly a one plant, one pot kind of gardener (well, with the exception of succulents) but the sight of this stunning combination hanging pot had me swooning.

Lovely hanging fuchsias.

Tuberous begonias

Kathy's Fire Flush begonia is the lushest I've seen in person!

 As Loree says, There's always an agave!

Do you see the other elephant facing away from the one on the left?

Even more green goodness growing out back. 
Vashon Island is a great place to spend a day (or several) shopping at these great nurseries, and at the farmers market and  many cool shops and galleries in the area!