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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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

In A Vase on Monday - The Fiery Sphere Climbs Higher

The first time I saw and smelled  Buddleja globosa (AKA Orange Ball Tree) it was growing behind a huge Ceanothus (California Lilac) at Dragonfly Farms Nursery.   Since they both bloom at the same time and have complimentary colors and fragrances, it was a delight.

When I finally got a specimen of the Buddleja, 

there was no space left near my Ceanothus.  

Any of the three varieties I have.  Oh well.  Since a large branch of  Buddleja  had grown out into the street, I knew that it would be in today's vase and started searching for a spherical vase, preferably black, to compliment their shape.  Alas, no such receptacle caught my eye.  Since I remembered the blue and orange combination from Dragonfly Farms, I  decided to bring them together for this arrangement.

A branch of Kolkwitzia amabilis, hanging out into the sidewalk was also pruned  to join the rest. 

This nice light blue/ periwinkle(?) vase, a thrift store find, was approved by St. Francis's head. 

The buddleja was standing up in back a bit more and I didn't notice until just now that by the time I took them into the dining room and photographed them, they were drooping and making the Kolkwitzia look like a lone player standing above a flat line of flowers. 

The fiery sphere of the sun climbs higher in our northern-hemisphere sky, our gardens are bursting with life and color as flora and fauna spring to life in the all to brief warmth to perpetuate their kind. The three glass spheres, selected to echo the shape and color of the buddleja and honor the sun, are, in real life, much more complimentary to each other.
In a Vase on Monday is hosted each week by the extremely creative Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see what she's put together this Monday and links to the offerings of other participating bloggers.


Friday, April 29, 2016

My Favorite Plants in the Garden ... This Month

My Favorite Plants...This Month is hosted by my pal Loree at Danger Garden on the last Friday of each Month.  For some reason I often loose track of the final Friday but this month remembered! How can one choose a few favorites from the explosion of growth and bloom happening in the garden right now.  I love them all but a group that wins my heart over and over is the maples, mostly Acer palmatum with their varied glowing colors that change several times during the summer before one last fireworks show in autumn.


While posting, I realized that this is only a small sample of the maples in my little garden.

Because of their popularity, a few of the more common varieties were overused in landscapes installed around new construction for a time.   I was not a fan and when we moved into our current house, inheriting a now rather large A. palmatum 'Bloodgood,' (not pictured) it nearly got chopped down.

I'm glad it stayed and those burgundy leaves (really hated them!) have grown on me.

The label on this one got lost at the nursery so I got it for a song.  The leaves start this sickly-looking color but turn candy apple red later on.

Just realized that I forgot to include images of Acer pseudoplatanus 'Esk Sunset' another stunner that I love. Here are some crazy strange leaves on an Acer palmatum 'Shiraz'

Uukigumo  looks its best where it can illuminate a dark corner. 


Forgot the name of this one but until I got 'Fairy Hair' which I also forgot to photograph, this was my laciest foliaged maple.


'Autumn Moon' sports autumn orange tones right from the beginning of spring.  

'Peaches and Cream'  


'Purple Ghost'

So, my favorite plants (this month) are the varied and beautiful maples.  Be sure to check out Loree's current faves by clicking here!

This weekend, I'll try to get some of the potted plants in the ground to make space for all the stuff in the greenhouse that wants to frolic outside this summer.  Too many plants!  Wishing you a productive weekend in your garden!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Rhododendron Species Garden 31st Annual Spring Sale 2016

This year, the sale promised more vendors than ever and they delivered very well on their word! This is a great sale that I never miss but this year was especially wonderful.  The R.S.G. is on the Federal Way campus of the Weyerhauser company.  Many of you know that this expansive quintessentially Pacific Northwest campus with it's iconic building has been sold to a developer from California.  The R.S.G. is a separate entity and will remain where and as is but the sale itself has taken place in one of the parking lots which may or may not remain depending upon the future use of the space.  I remember fondly the first time I set foot in the building.  With panoramic views of the lake and woodland nearby, eagles soaring above and an open and gracious feeling, it's a very special and impressive space.  But I digress in sentiment as I am wont to do.  Suffice it to say that the sale held a bittersweet note for me.   "Change and decay in all around I see."

One might think that the RSG is all about rhododendrons.  While they do that family very well, they also regularly carry a lot of garden gems.  Here we see some blue meconopsis which grow fairly easily here.  Most of the rest of the country is envious of this!

Ypsilandra thibetica and Pleione formosana.

Schefflera minatistellata can form a small tree up to 20 feet.  Very rare plant from collected seed.  I got one last year and potted up it quickly doubled in size. 

Rhododendron 'Wine and Roses' is nice in bloom but is even more wonderful when the undersides of the leaves, a deep wine red, are viewed from below.

I lost track of all of the vendors as there were so many great ones there!  Trillium.

This is such a sweet plant with cute round leaves and nifty purple tassel flowers.



I resisted.

Nice to see this one as it can be elusive when you're actively seeking it!

My relatives in Alaska, where this is considered a weed, still laugh at me for including it in my garden.

Riches abound!


Never met a Pacific Coast Iris I didn't like.  I don't grow any in my garden but surely love seeing them in those of others.

Acer palmatum 'White Peaches' swoon...

New to me is this vendor.  Love the name for a grower of carnivorous plants. 

As my friend Loree says, "There's always an agave."

Melianthus bloom surprised me but when I got home and looked, my own was in bloom.  


Ah, the luscious leaves of Rodgersia.

From across the parking lot, the leaves of this croton blared like a visual brass band.  I couldn't make out exactly what it was but made my way closer post haste. Was there some new hardy variety of this gorgeous thing?  Turns out that these are from Weyerhauser surplus.  They won't have space in their new Seattle office building for these huge houseplants so here they are.  Quite a bargain at only $50.00.  The planters themselves would retail for more than that.  I thought long and hard about this becoming a permanent resident of my greenhouse but it would take up so much space and wouldn't fit in my car so it's still there along with the others.


This was Far Reaches Farms first year doing this sale and they brought with them some interestingly colored/patterned seedlings of Podophyllum delavayi.  These two walked around with me for a while but then, in keeping with my buying fewer plants this year, one of them went back on the table.  Now I wish I'd taken both.  Oh well.

Kelly took me to Far Reaches Farm's fancy new van to see a newly discovered polygonatum which was interesting but what really caught my eye was this  Podophyllum 'Red Panda'   brought down for someone else.  The price caused me not to ask him to save one for me but now I'm re-thinking that decision.

Ginkgo 'Snow Cloud' 

Gentian is so very blue!


Even these!


One last look at part of the sale and part of the building as I take my two plants home with me, proud of my restraint.
Hope you're enjoying spring plant shopping!