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 30, 2013

Look What Came in the Mail Today!

You may recall that I said here that I was excited about  some of the new Aglaonema cultivars  coming out of Thailand and that I had ordered a seriously red one.  Well, on Saturday, I went to the post office to pick up a registered parcel.

What can one expect from something that's been in the mail for about three weeks?  Maybe a withered little slip of a thing?  A pleasant surprise awaited as I opened the box and saw this big bunch of green edged red leaves.  The full page from a Thai newspaper added to the exotic feel of the experience. 

Is this gorgeous or what?  It's as beautiful as the picture that I saw online. 

Here it is potted up, still looking a little crooked but as new roots grow and it straightens to follow the light, it will be fine.  I love these leaves and wonder how with so little chlorophyll they'll be able to survive.  The Aglaonemas are low light tolerant plants though so maybe that's why the predominantly red leaf works.   Aglaonema "RED ELEPHENT LEAF" [sic] is what it's called on ebay but I don't know if that's the correct cultivar name or not.   

I do know that I'm happy with the  plant and hope it's as happy with me as the Aglaonema 'Valentine' that I got a couple of years ago!  What do you think?  Too gaudy, tasteless, tacky?  (we're talking the plant here, not me o.k.) 

Friday, September 27, 2013

If I Were a Bird

If I were a bird,  I'd have to have incredibly huge wings to get this body off the ground.  On second thought, maybe I'd have given up and would have wings more akin to those of penguins. I digress.  The point is that were we birds, we'd view our gardens differently.  Anyway, I'm not all that keen on flying.  Maybe I was a bird in a former life who flew into someone's window.   Kicking around the old computer somewhere I have some pictures of the garden from the roof and from scaffolding which we've had up around the house at various times.  They're fun to look at and see how the garden has changed through the years.  We've no scaffolding this year and I'm also not all that thrilled about walking on the roof.  Instead, here are some shots taken from upstairs windows. What would a bird notice?

A bird would certainly see some great nesting and hiding areas and lots of buggy food.  A bird might also wonder why there doesn't appear to be any open space in which to grow sun and heat loving plants.  Caution:  This is what happens when you plant things that get big!

The bird would also notice that the square plastic buckets used when weeding should have been put away.  But really, why bother?  the plant covered thing just left of bottom center is the patio table which has been used as a plant stand all summer.  Oh well, it's interesting to sit and look at the plants.

A bird might also wonder why the potted tender succulent collection is now spilling over onto parts of the path.

 Or what this amorphous mass of green is all about.

A bird would definitely wonder why the leaves haven't been blown off the sidewalk.

This bird asks too many questions.  Anyone have a slingshot?  The garden does make a little more sense from ground level (but not much.)

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine Form' My Favorite Plant In the Garden This Week

A few weeks ago, September 7 to be exact, I was with my pal Loree standing near a table of plants at Far Reaches Farm when she said, "I smell something." Now, I'd taken a shower and used deodorant that day so after discretely checking the bottoms of my shoes, I  said, "Whatever do you mean?"   Fortunately, it was a pleasant fragrance, that of Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine Form,' that had tickled my shopping companion's nose.  Soon I smelled it as well and was delighted.    Although new to me,  this is a plant with which Loree is well aquainted see her posts about it here and see some beautiful images of the plant in bloom and additional information about it at Plant Lust.

Now I'll admit that this little guy who came back with us that day won't win any beauty contests right now but let me assure you that being with this plant in my car on the drive home was an olfactory treat of the highest order!

Having the pot in various parts of my garden before it found a home in the ground was a similar treat.  This is a special fragrance that wafts freely even if the foliage isn't touched.  I've planted it by the steps from the sidewalk to my front door because that's one of the sunniest and warmest spots in my garden and it also is on a  slope with lean soil so the requirements of the plant should be well met.  Now I'm  hoping that it lives through this winter so that in years to come it can grow out over the walk and be brushed and enjoyed even more by visitors and passersby!  (Well, at least I get to enjoy it every day as I leave or come home.) 

A perennial that grows 3'x3' and has blue flowers in May and June that are attractive to hummingbirds, Salvia clevelandii 'Alpine' is hardy to zone 8a which is the hardiness zone of my garden except when we have a rare very cold winter and we drift a little more toward zone 7b.  Fingers crossed that I'll be posting blue salvia flowers next May on Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

By the way, is it cheating to post as my favorite plant something brand new to me about which I know nothing?   

For other bloggers' favorite plants this week click on over to Danger Garden to check it out!                                                                              

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday; Cups of Fire

No editing other than cropping, this is how they actually looked.

                                                           In A Cuban Garden
                                                                          by Sara Teasdale

                                                           Hibiscus flowers are cups of fire,
                                                           (Love me, my lover, life will not stay)
                                                           The bright poinsettia shakes in the wind,
                                                           A scarlet leaf is blowing away.

                                                           A lizard lifts his head and listens-
                                                           Kiss me before the noon goes by,
                                                           Here in the shade of the cebia hide me
                                                           From the great black vulture circling the sky.

So it's not a Cuban garden, rather a visit to Molbaks  but  I better understand Teasdale's image now!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Visit to Flower World.

After spending a lovely morning at the Fronderosa Frolic and shopping at nurseries and produce stands along the road out of Gold Bar, it's always fun to skip on over to Flower World.   You can read about previous visits to Flower World here.  Also, be sure to check out the F.W. website here.
A huge wisteria-covered pergola marks one of the many entrances to the retail area.  This is an enormous nursery where they grow all of their stock on site. It's so large that map-filled mail boxes are strewn throughout the 15 acre nursery to help you if you get lost or if you want to find a certain area.

Rose of Sharon with a visitor.

See the mailbox? 

Because they grow their own stock, the place always looks full and interesting even when other nurseries are winding down the summer plant sales season and gearing up for the Holiday sales push.

Cordyline terminalis 'Miss Andrea'

Still coleus a go go.  I wonder if they continue growing these in one of the many greenhouses during the winter or take cuttings for next year?  Is it more economically advantageous to discard them and start from seeds or liners  in the spring?

Rudbeckia 'Cherokee Sunset' is lovely.

There were lots of dahlias covered in bloom.  Such happy flowers!

All of these impatiens make me think of Deanne's gorgeous variegated impatiens plantings this year!

Euphorbia lathyris

A small part of the ground cover house.

An unusual treat (not so unusual at flower world) seeing Asimina triloba or Paw Paw trees for sale.  They grow quite well here, have an interesting almost tropical look about them and produce the fruit made famous in the song "Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch."   A native of the eastern half of the U.S. it can be grown in the west as well.  If you've never tasted the fruit, it can be ordered online here. I got some a couple of years ago and enjoyed it.  The fruit has a custard like consistency and tastes a little like a cross between a banana and a pineapple. Delicious. 

In addition the nursery, there are acres of park like plantings to explore. 

I learned that Flower World extends across the road  and includes an area to view quite a few farm animals and also includes the produce stand that sells only locally grown products.  Our lunch of late season strawberries, apricots,  and fresh squeezed cider purchased here was wonderful as were the newly dug purple potatoes that came home for later.

It was lots of fun to see many of these animals wandering freely through the property.

Since you asked, yes we do know that we're  handsome!

Who had the bright idea to wear WOOL in the heat of summer?  I'll be here in the shade if you need me.

Pea fowl.

I've seen white peacocks before but this one was partly colored and partly white. Does anyone know if this is something that sometimes  happens with cross breeding?  It was really an interesting look.

Pygmy goats are so sweet and funny. 

On the way back to the car, this gorgeous hydrangea screamed out "Look at me!"  Who was I to ignore a talking plant?

If you enjoy plants, Flower world is well worth a trip to visit their huge selection of green delights for indoors and out!
Hey look, there's still time to get to Molbaks (and even Wells Medina Nursery if we hadn't just visited a few weeks ago with Alison.) The Fronderosa Frolic takes place around the second weekend of August each year so if you're starting to plan your field trip calendar for next summer, this would be a fun day to add!

Monday, September 23, 2013

When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day; The Desert Northwest

Ever think that living in the Pacific Northwest would be great except for all of that rain in the winter?  Have we got a place for you.  Sequim, WA lies within the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains and only gets 16 inches of rain a year, the same as Los Angeles.  It is in this special town that Ian Barclay operates his nursery, The Desert Northwest, which specializes in drought tolerant and rare plants.   I'd been familiar with Ian's great plants from the many plant sales at which he is a vendor but had never had the opportunity to visit his nursery.   Ian was kind enough to stay open late during his September open to allow our fun group of bloggers to see his place full of great plants!  Ian  and his wife were very kind  to have refreshments available for us!  We felt very special!  Thank you both so very much for staying late and your hospitality!
Here, Ian and his assistant, Nigel, point out how the greenhouses are organized.

So many unusual treasures that one could spend quite a while investigating each small area!  Alison and I were both delighted to find small and affordable Aloe plicatilis, (among other fab plants) having admired them both in collections here and in the ground in California.

Looking forward to this one being propagated.  This is a stock plant.  Cool, right?

So lovely in the rays of the early evening sun, one is tempted to pat this soft looking opuntia.  At least some of the others have big scary looking spines that let you know that they mean business but these softies will cover you with glochids if you so much as look at them.
And speaking of the pain of love, Anna is beside herself with love for Banksia grandis.  It's o.k. Anna, we've all been there! 
Maybe this bit of wisdom that my niece sent me just today will help:
 Leucadendrons looking very happy.  I fell for one earlier in the year and am hoping that it will make it through the winter in the little glass room.

 I've no problem with relocating slugs to another area or another life but snails have such interesting shells, that I can't bring myself to dispatch them. 

Ian seems tireless in discussing plants.  Here, Laura and her pirate follow Ian through some unusual conifers.

My dear sister in Alaska saw this plant in my post about the Fronderosa Frolic and decided to give me one for my birthday so I also picked up one of these (among a few others.)

Alison paying for her haul.

Plants loaded (yes we found more space!) some happy garden bloggers head back to our cars after a wonderfully satisfying plant-centered day. 

Of course, there's always room for more plants. 
At Ian's suggestion, we headed to the snug harbor café (good food, fun service)  for dinner and a discussion of our day of plant conquests.  See Anna's and Laura's posts  about the day for lots of cool stuff I missed.   Thank you all so much for driving up and over to share this fun adventure with me.  The energy generated by plant shopping/garden visiting with other passionate plant people is a drug that I enjoy and YES, I'm addicted, O.K?   Looking forward to our next adventure together!