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 24, 2014

Choices, Choices

You may remember reading about this vase that I saw at Molbak's nursery and allowed to ride in my cart for a while but ultimately left at the nursery.   

A couple of weeks ago, on the day after the Hortlandia field trip, I remembered that I had to go to Molbak's because I was responsible for getting a certain plant for a coworker for her birthday and there are only two nurseries in western Washington where I've seen Aglaonema 'Lady Valentine' (Images here) and Molbaks is one of them.  Rats!  I didn't want to go, I had to.  I even left my camera home thinking that I'd just zip up and back. Of course, there were lots more plants to love that had arrived since the last time I visited a few weeks ago.  So much for the zipping in and out.
The fact that this vase was still there was just  an added bonus.    However, when I got back to the area where the vase was, she had  brought along her little brother. 
 I loved the tall elegance of the first vase but the glaze color on little brother was stunning and the flared shape that resembled a flower was pretty special.
After a long deliberation (wish I had taken pictures of them side by side...) and the helpful sales person talking about what color I have in the room (Do you know me? One color? I decorate like I garden - just keep throwing things in and it's bound to make me happy) I decided on little brother.  Besides, I have lots more plants around that would work in a squat planter than I have tall elegant cut flowers. (I'm thinking callas would look grand in the tall vase.)  

Because I used a flash, the glaucous leaf surface that makes them very much resemble the color of the jardiniere.  (What I'm calling it now because "short squatty version of the elegant vase I saw at Molbak's" doesn't roll off the tongue quite so nicely.) 
So, which do you prefer, the tall elegant one, or the shorter, flared version?  Should one have both to fully appreciate the differences?  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In Hog Heaven at Hortlandia!

I'd heard about the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO) sale, now named "Hortlandia" for several years. Various growers speak highly of the sale and mention that it's the biggest sale on the west coast.  Come to find out, it's the largest sale of it's kind west of the Rockies or was that this side of the Mississippi?  North of the Mason-Dixon Line?  Anyway, suffice to say that It's big.  I've been to big plant sales before but this was really something.  Alison and I drove down, leaving Tacoma at 7:15 a.m.  arrived well before opening, and the line already extended around the room.

The line kept growing until eventually it morphed into a mass of people filling this rather large lobby.  When the doors were opened to the sale, the movement of the crowd as a unit was an interesting thing to be a part of.

No wagons are allowed so one must hold a box and ogle plants.  There were so very many fab plants that it was difficult to pull myself away to take pictures so there aren't many in this post.  This is an awesome plant sale in the true sense of the word.  It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of and number of deservedly well-known vendors  at this happening!

This podophyllum (sorry, forgot the name) was tempting but I decided against giving it a ride home.

Everyone who can should grow an Embothrium coccineum.  Their bright flowers are a hummingbird magnet and they have attractive evergreen foliage.  I got one about this size a couple of years ago at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show and it's now at least 10 feet tall.  I'm hoping to see blooms next year!

It's impossible to show in a photograph how large this part of the expo center is and how many plant tables were present.  Go here to see a room map complete with vendor names.  The plant holding area alone is huge and filled up very quickly!

You never know who you'll run into!  Here's Jane,  the Mulchmaid

Linda, Whatsitgarden, fondles a candidate. Do you see the people in the background?

It's the dynamic duo of Heather, Just a Girl with a Hammer, and Scott, Rhone Street Gardens.  

Alison found Hannah, Weeding on the Wild Side, who we hadn't met before.  Garden people are always fun and it was lovely to meet another!

We also ran into Matthew, The Lents Farmer and Loree, Danger Garden who encouraged us to come to the sale.    Somehow they eluded the camera.  People come from all over the country to shop at this sale and it's only a little over two hours driving time from where we live.  Hello, I'm (Insert name here) and I'm a plant addict.

So, here's part of the plant holding area.  Alison and I have discussed volunteering at the sale next year so that we can shop before the sale opens to the public.  Although everyone was very nice, it would be great to take pictures without disturbing plant shoppers. Oh, who am I kidding, it would be incredible to shop early and be able to see the plants that sell out quickly and worry about taking pictures later!

 A few fun things from the art area:

Just what I need, another reason to visit thrift stores. I liked these very much and may make one or two for my garden when I have some extra time.

Cute or what?  This booth had many styles of these birds, which were reasonably priced and would be very sweet sitting on top of a fence. 

Beautiful metal trillium!

Almost got one of these sweet bats but decided  that since I haven't hung the bat I got from the Seattle Show in February that I should wait.  Hope they're here again next year!

 Here's Alison with her haul.  
 And here is mine.  (Can't believe that I bought a rhododendron! but the foliage of 'Super Flimmer' is pretty spectacular!

Also found this cool  seed pod vasey thing

And this sweet cat to replace the marker on the spot where our much beloved grey kitty (wet, this looks much darker)  was buried many years ago.  Since then, we've cremated our pets and now have  ashes in beautiful contaners all over the house.  Maybe we should consider scattering them?

So, the sale was an amazing experience and Loree was right, it took us a little over three hours to see it all and I could have stayed longer but we wanted to make a day of it and visit some nurseries (we hit 4.)  Stay tuned for more from Portland, a wonderful garden city and if you can, plan on attending the sale next year!  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's Happening at Dragonfly Farms Nursery?

As you may remember from a few posts ago, We visited the Kitsap Peninsula recently (Valley Nursery, Far Reaches Farms.)  Another of my favorite places out that way is Dragonfly Farms Nursery. To see several  previous visits go here.

Here are some random things that caught my eye on this visit:

Still in love with these metal agaves, some of which were displayed last year but not yet for sale. One that's not pictured  came home with me.  I'm so excited to have an agave that I can't kill.

They're even cooler in person. 

For more pictures of Mark's metal agaves, click here.

These rebar and recycled bottle fence pieces are protecting Heidi's beds from her new puppies.  

The fence sections are for sale; the pups, not so much.  Although, there are probably days when they'd pay you to take a dog away!

Oh to have space for a bell like this!  I rang it and the mellow, low sound was beautiful. 

Love this plant stand!  

Of course, it's not all about the art, there were plenty of wonderful plants and a great garden to explore as well.

Pyrrosia lingua 'Hiryu' just in from Japan.  Notice the cinnamon-colored indumentum.  Sigh.  Somehow one ended up in my wagon.

Heidi's is a garden about which I fantasize having someday.  Space enough for lots of trees, full of interesting garden art, great plants, and curving paths that lead you further through the garden to explore what comes next.

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  My smallish urban garden takes a lot of time so I'd imagine that several acres of garden in the country would take even more time!  Maybe if I quit one of my three jobs...

I'm always thrilled to see my favorite plants for sale and want to adopt more but resisted loading the car with more Podophyllum delavayi. My late winter experiment of dividing a pot of mine that had become quite crowded was successful.  Next year, I'll divide it again.  Meanwhile the specimen in the ground has finally become fairly large.

 Drooling over this Hebe 'Pink Elephant!'  Heidi says that it's been fully hardy for her (Dave's Garden says zone 7b) and that she'll have them for sale later this season or next spring. If you don't want to wait that long, I see that Fry Road  Nursery  has it available now.  A quick search on the web shows it widely available in England.

The color is even more vibrant than the pictures show.  Quite a knockout of a Hebe!

Each spring when I see Heidi's Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis) in bloom, I vow to add them to the bulb order that I usually forget to make.  Seems like a lot of gardeners vow to order more bulbs each year.  Well, not the smart ones who don't bother with the whole spring flowering bulb thing to begin with. Heidi cleverly had these potted up and ready to bring home for instant color. Can't bring myself to buy a plant in the spring that I could have had by simply planting bulbs in the fall.

Great sphere combo!

Further along the garden path.

Wouldn't mind having a driveway that looked like this!

 An English Laurel that everyone can love.  Look at that great marbled foliage!  Mine finally made it into the ground after spending a year in a pot!

Simple blue and gold combination of lungwort and a carex (maybe) is very effective. 

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Princess Susan' is quite pretty.  I've never met an Epimedium that I didn't like.  They thrive in dry shade, have handsome evergreen foliage and once a year produce a crop of delicate flowers that to some resemble orchids.  This plant is nearly indestructible and  needs no care.  You will enjoy the blooms more if each late winter or very early spring you give it a big haircut to make space for the blooms and new foliage but even if you don't do that, the plant will thrive. If you have none, you need some of these in your garden.

You may remember Anemone nemorosa 'Viridiflora' from a previous post.  It came from this visit. 

Finally Primula sieboldii 'Late Snow' caught my eye.  For some reason I didn't get one and kicked myself for days.  Fortunately, it's a plant grown by Xera Plants in Portland so I was able to pick one up when I visited  that city a week or so later. 

I also picked up another fairly large Cardiocrinum giganteum to add to the group. I didn't plant the offsets immediately the last time I had blooms and the plants didn't like being moved later so I had fewer plants survive.  They're truly exciting to watch bloom!   Deep hole, lots of manure & compost makes really happy Cardiocrinums!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter All!

This year, both the Western and Eastern Orthodox traditions celebrated Easter on the same Sunday.  The two branches of Christendom use different ancient calendars, which usually results in the Orthodox date of Easter falling later than  the Western date.  Whether you follow one of these traditions, another one or none at all, I wish you joy in the new life we see springing forth all around us. 

I arrived at work a little early this morning and happened to have my camera with me.

Don't know the name of this rhododendron but I love that the hot pink buds open to such delicate nearly white blossoms.

Blooms to come and foliage as well!

The building was erected in 1926  in Tudor Revival Style.

Today was the first sunny day we've had in several and tomorrow the rain is supposed to return. 

 I didn't capture it well but there's the sun passing through the stained glass illuminates flowers in an interesting way.

This tulip, illuminated from behind, seems to glow from inside.

While most of our daffodils are finished for the year, there are still some later varieties blooming. 

Puyallup, the valley where the church is located, used to be the home of many bulb farms, now only one remains but the daffodil festival and parade is still a big local tradition. 

Luckily, I got to spend some time in the garden today while it was sunny. 

Of course, the best part is finding what the Easter Bunny left! 

Did you get to work in your garden today?  Do you have any special traditions that you observe on the day?  Home made dinner with family/friends?  Brunch at a restaurant?  Happy Eastertide (The fifty days following Easter Sunday.) all!