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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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One Gift That's Still Wrapped


You may remember these photographs from last year's Winter Walk Off:



This is Tacoma's once-grand Elk's Hall.


You may also remember that Mcmenamins purchased the building and plans were made to restore and repurpose the building.  Last year a bit of activity got locals excited and then everything came to a halt as the company concentrated on other projects.


Not to long ago, work began  again on the building, which I see every day on my commute and just after Christmas, scaffolding was erected around the building and it's now wrapped like a huge gift for the city of Tacoma.


There's not a lot of space for both parking and gardens but I know that Mcmenamins will do something really special with the space. 

It even looks like they're working around this old Monkey Puzzle Tree. 
Along with the rest of the city, I eagerly await the grand reveal,  the unwrapping of this splendid gift!

Monday, January 22, 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Keeping Warm

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click on the link to see what she and other participating bloggers have gathered from their gardens or foraged nearby to plop in a vase and bring inside to brighten their week. 

On Sunday, there were a few breaks in the rain although the wind continued to make the bamboo writhe and the windows rattle.  As I see images of gardens covered in ice and snow in other parts of the world, I feel fortunate to live in a climate that permits there to be something in bloom in my garden in every month of the year.  As garden time is  limited, more hours are spent indoors sipping warm beverages in flickering candlelight and having a bit of the outdoors inside is even more welcome.

Today's vase is one of the crystalline-glazed ceramic collection.  It's contents are three: Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn,’ Jasminum nudiflorum, and our native Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum.)


Joining the vase are a capiz-shell tea light holder which glows beautifully when lit and a teapot ornament that forgot to get packed away with the other decorations.
I hope you're all keeping warm and enjoying winter's beauty. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Saintpaulia Anyone?

With both winter and houseplant sales in full swing, anything in bloom catches the winter-weary eyes of gardeners.  African Violets (Saintpaulia) are ever-blooming plants that, along with Christmas cacti, seemed to appear on every grandma's windowsill. 

Native to Tanzania and Kenya in eastern tropical Africa, these plants were introduced to the U.S. in 1894.   No interesting folklore, just sweet little continually-blooming plants.

I remember growing a few of these in my room under a fluorescent grow light when I was in high school.  I still have that grow light, a Christmas gift from my eldest sister.  However, the African Violets are long gone. 

Picotee-flowered plants always draw my eye for some reason and I was tempted to take some of these home but they don't really like drafty old houses and, unlike cacti and succulents, they don't respond well to weeks of neglect.

Do you grow them? 


For a great deal of good information about these sweet little plants look here





None came home with me but I'll continue to enjoy them at nurseries, grocery stores, and other people's windowsills.

Have a blooming beautiful weekend all!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Visiting Vassey Nursery

The wind and rain have returned but over the weekend we had some absolutely gorgeous, warm and sunny days.  On the way home from work on Sunday, I felt the need to visit a couple of nurseries.  Really, if it wasn't meant to be, they wouldn't be right there on the road home, right?  It's a great idea, if one is lucky enough to have nurseries open year round, to peek at what's looking particularly good this time of year so that our gardens can be full of plants of winter interest. The fact that there are all kinds of sales going on at this time of the year doesn't hurt, either.


Ah, red!  Such a cheerful color which I used to avoid in my garden.  Now I simply can't understand why.


Hardy Cyclamen.  I remember when these were first planted and now they've become a very attractive carpet of winter gorgeousness.



Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'

 H amamelis 'Sunburst'

Aronia melonocarpa 'Autumn Magic'  would be in my garden if there were more space. 

Salix gracilistyla 'Mt. Aso' has charming pink catkins.  

Filled with lovely plants for three seasons and now hosting an arrangement of evergreens.  Potting soil full of roots makes an excellent anchor for such things.




So much evergreen goodness!

Nandina is overused for a reason.  Look how gorgeous that foliage is.


Sheltered camellias are a bit ahead of those in the open garden. 


Leucothoe 'Rainbow' 

70% off on select items.  

One should collect this thing to remind him/her not to collect it?  

More fun stuff.


All ready for spring!


Golden acorns anyone?

These metal walnuts spoke to me.  The detail is really nice as is the finish.  They're some sort of metal poured into a mold. Bonus: they are holiday merchandise and therefore on sale! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday Vignette - House Plant Sale Time


January is the month during which many nurseries in this area offer discounts on houseplants. After all of the holiday decorations are put away people find that there's space that can be filled in with potted plants. This young shopper was spotted at Watson's recently.  It always makes me happy to see little ones enjoying plants.  It gives me hope for the future of gardening and the enjoyment/appreciation of the natural world to see something other than a cell phone in a child's hands.   
Wednesday vignette is hosted by the wonderful Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join the party.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Foliage Follow-Up January 2018

Foliage Follow-Up is hosted by the inimitable Pam Penick at Digging on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month to remind us of the important role foliage plays in our gardens every day of the year.

Here are some random shots of foliage that caught my eye while wandering through my garden.

This hardy begonia is in a sweet spot outside, still in it's nursery pot, and hasn't died back.  Yet.

Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' is looking very happy.  I'd failed a couple of times with this plant before and am elated that there are now two thriving in my garden.

Trevesia aff. palmata, a hardy relative of Trevesia palmata.  It's also still in it's nursery pot.  Must find a place for it in the garden!


Disporum cantoniense 'Moonlight' is an herbaceous perennial.  Please don't tell this specimen as it looks like it wants to be evergreen.  I certainly don't mind.

I never tire of the seemingly endless variation of patterns of cyclamen foliage.


Pelargonum deciding not to die.  


My sister and niece bought me a Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine for my birthday years ago.  It got some sort of insect pest beneath the bark and I thought it was a goner but isolated it in a pot and did a little chemical intervention, and in a couple of years it revived.  Finally got it in the ground last summer and it's now coloring up nicely.

All the other Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon' in the garden are nothing but leafless stems but this one, a division, pulled as a weed and thrown in a shady corner to die, doesn't seem to know it's winter.


A really cool variegated shrub from Cistus (the tag is around here somewhere) along with a cool miniature mondo grass from somewhere.  Please ignore the dead stuff and the now exposed orange pot in the background.

Finally, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Pelt’s Blue' is really very blue.  Now if I can just get Tropaeolum speciosum to grow up all of these in my garden, my life will be complete.
What foliage is thrilling you in your garden this month?