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, 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.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday Vignette

The upside of February being the coldest on record is that we still have snowdrops blooming and the crocus seem not to mind the cool temperatures.  While I love warm summer weather, there is something special about the warm-up taking it's time to arrive.  The flowers of late winter/spring are such a pleasure and it's a delight to revel in their presence for a while instead of barely noticing them as they fly by.

 For years a few inherited crocus bloomed by the front door for just a day before the neighborhood squirrels would descend upon them and destroy the flowers.  For the past couple of years, the squirrels have left the blooms alone but are usually busy digging and replanting the corms in the fall.
Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there to join the fun.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Random Shots from a Walk

Construction crews have finished with our new sidewalk ramps but now the paving folks are out grinding and repaving the streets in front and on the side of the house.  Thank goodness they don't work on weekends so we have a bit of a breather.  Time to take a walk up the street.  (There are countless infrastructure projects happening in our neighborhood presently.  Seems like they've been fiddling with some areas for months already.)

This accidental color combination glowed in the sun.

Across the street, this rhododendron, usually in bloom for Valentine's Day is just beginning to open. 

So peaceful looking even though during the day when the crews are working the noise and vibrations are so strong that the house shakes.

Hmmm...are these discarded?  I wonder WWLD?  (What Would Loree Do)  She'd need a bit of help as these are pretty heavy.

There were several of these much-easier-to-carry steel pipes littering parking strips up and down the street.  Seems like tidying them up would be the neighborly thing to do. 
The walk did end at the Seymour conservatory but we'll save that for another day.  Now, what do you think would look good planted in those rusty pipes? 

Monday, March 11, 2019

In a Vase on Monday - Magnolia Update and Trying Something Different

For a couple of weeks now, my Monday vases have included budded branches of a deciduous, spring blooming Magnolia that had broken by February Snow.  While I've appreciated the fuzzy buds on the tree, cutting them to bring indoors never crossed my mind as the blooming tree is such a joy.  Many of us were wondering if the blooms would open indoors in water.  Today I have an answer:  Yes and no.

The fuzzy bud covering falls to the wood floor with a sweet little sound that makes you think that mice have invaded the house.

The buds do open but the flowers are not as large, robust, or as deeply colored as those left on the tree will be.

Nor do they last as long in the vase as they would on the tree but that's to be expected. 

There is also a strong fragrance.  We'll see if leaves emerge as the flowers fade. While I wouldn't intentionally bring many of these inside to force, a few would be a nice breath of spring a few weeks early.

Trying something different - I'm mostly a cram-it-in-a-vase-and-hope-for-the-best participant in Cathy's meme In a Vase on Monday.  Today, I decided to try my hand at something asymmetrical using only a few elements that had already fallen to the ground.  First up was this camellia.

Moss fallen from the roof covers the round horizontal part of the usubata.  Pretty sure that's against the rules of Ikebana but since I'm ignorant of the art form, we'll let it stay.  It's harder than one might think to depart from a more-is-better arranging aesthetic.

It might be better without the moss and with a few parts of the contorted filbert branch cut off.

The arrangement should be left alone but it's always fun to throw in some things from the hoard.  Here's a cute Japanese netsuke with a carved frog.

Also thought it would be fun to once again drag out one of my favorite thrift store finds, this japanese plate.

To see more Monday Vases, click here to go to Cathy's blog, Rambling in the Garden.  

Thursday, March 7, 2019

My Greenhouse in March - About the Same

Last week, Chloris asked about a tour of my greenhouse.  It's a rather crowded space in the winter and I often think of it as a place for plants to sit and do nothing until spring wakes them from their slumber.  For the most part that's true but there are a few things that still happen during the winter.

Billbergia nutans 'Variegata' is sending up some flower spikes.

So are the Clivias

I admire the way these  plants tolerate deep shade and neglect.    Lots of buds on this one .

The last of the Christmas cacti but some of the others that bloom  around Easter and Pentecost are starting to form tiny buds.

More of the plant hoard.   The dark green lacy leaves in the upper right are Trevesia palmata. 

Too. Many. Plants. 

Every surface is covered with plants until they're allowed to go back outside for their summer vacation. Well, some of them will travel outside. For a better look at the greenhouse, look here.
Hurry up, Spring!