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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: Heading over to Madrid

Greeting folks at the train station.

Aren't they fun?  Why, you may ask?

We all know that two heads are better than one!

Thanks to Tom the traveler for these shots!

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on over there right now to see what she's posted.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Last Quickie in Portland

Means Nursery is on my way home from Portland and also stays open an hour longer than the other nurseries in the area.  Since Loree and I were having so much fun together, we lost track of time and lingered among the luscious plants at Cistus leaving only time for a stop at Means. If you live in the area or have read posts about Means, you know that this is the only retail outlet for a large multi-state grower.  One never knows what might be offered here, prices are low, and there are usually special sale items that can be had pretty much for the price of the plastic pot.

The parking lot is all decked out with petunias just for Loree.  (She isn't fond of the fragrance and has a special aversion to touching the sticky plants to deadhead them.)  I find them festive, love the fragrance, and who deadheads things like this?  No longer having enough sun or space for them, I haven't grown any for many years.

Hand model Danger showing us the display of annuals.  I almost wore my "Friends Don't Let Friends Buy Annuals" tee shirt for this visit.  It features a graphic of a petunia with a no symbol over it.

One of the legendary sales here was the five dollar brugmansia blowout.  These large specimens were not that much more expensive and I was tempted to get another but didn't as I already have too many things to winter over in the greenhouse.

"What is this?"
"I believe it's called a graft."
"But why?"
"Because they can?"

What do you think of this egg in a nest or big evergreen flower thingy?

Rose 'White Eden' tugged at my heart but stayed.  

Very nicely priced Butia capita.  So many plants, so little space.

She's running the gauntlet of perennials.  I came out the other end sans plants.  Will she be unscathed?

Not when she sees how beautiful and inexpensive is this combination of Cordyline and Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow.'
I got a bamboo for which I had a plan that I'm now reconsidering.  Really?  More bamboo?  Okay, but this one is a clumper and has tiny leaves and looks really cute.  Oh well.  So, another delightful day in Portland draws to a close.  The plantmobile makes its way back to Tacoma in the golden evening light of high summer and I feel grateful to live in this nursery-rich, gardener's paradise of a  region and to have made so many special gardening friends through blogging.

Monday, August 29, 2016

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see her Monday creation and find links to those of other participating bloggers.

Walking out to the garden center at our local everything store (Freddie's) yesterday, I was shocked to see nothing.  Many of the plant tables were folded and pushed away while others remained standing bereft of plants.  It was like some sort of ghost town out there.  While there were still seasonal plants by another entrance, the garden center had never looked so abandoned.  A worker said something about getting ready for the "C" word.  Oh please, say that my ears deceived me.  This just can't be! Summer needs to linger for at least a few more months.  Much as I love autumn and every few years get sentimental and decorate for Christmas, I still want to be a carefree cricket playing in the summer sun instead of an industrious ant working day after day.   Going back inside and glancing at the Seattle newspaper, the front page article said something about a demolition a day.  As in many hot real estate markets, sweet older bungalows with gardens are purchased, demolished, and replaced with "expensive boxes" built to the property line.  Time and the changes that happen are interesting.  Seems we're always trying to speed it up or slow it down to no avail.

Today's offering started with these three things from various times of my life:

From the 60's comes a white onyx carved bookend, one of a set that lived in my parents' home.  I believe that the set, purchased on my eldest sister's honeymoon, was a gift to my parents.  (She'll correct me if that's wrong.)  From the 70's comes the ceramic weed pot on the left, created by my pottery guru.  Finally, from the 80's comes the glass vase on the right, the gift of a friend. (Yes, the newest object in the group is 30 years old.)

Today, one last hurrah before the beginning, in earnest, of the school year, I strolled in the morning sun kissed garden to search for flowers.  Not a lot of vase worthy offerings this week.

 It's interesting how time changes things.  Even the rocks have been broken, scraped, shattered, worn by years of tumbling in water.  How fleeting is the life of a flower or a person in comparison.

Angelica stricta 'Purpurea' and Japanese anemones.

What about those other flowers? More Anemones, columbine seed heads, and Lonicera nitida foliage in an antique bottle.

Everything else (lots of Phygelius) got stuffed in a blue glass tumbler.  There you have it, arrangements ready to go inside and brighten the week.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Aeonium Prize from Cistus

It's the last Friday of the month when Danger posts images of plants that have tickled her fancy during the month.  I'm featuring the Aeoniums that were waiting for me at Cistus when Danger and I recently paid a visit.

Notice the box decorated by Mr. Hogan himself!  He'd kindly watered the plants to prepare them for a long warm car ride. You may be thinking something like, "so excited he wet his plants" but I would never be so crass(ulaceae) as to write something like that.

Beauties in the box included Aeonium domesticum 'Variegatum'

Aeonium 'Blackbeard'

Aeonium 'Cornish Tribute'

Aeonium 'Jolly Green'

I forgot to photograph the label and it's dark outside now so we'll just call this one Fred.

Aren't they swell?  Many thanks to Sean at Cistus for supplying this prize and to Danger for hosting her series of challenges.  I wonder what her next challenge will be?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Issaquah Garden of Art Converse

A warm Saturday in mid July was perfect for touring the garden of Art Converse, whose impressive resume includes a career in the Marines, being a firefighter, and building houses including his own.

"My garden is located apprximately six miles south ot Issauquah on one acre in an enchanting  area called May Valley."

"the garden has many 'themes' to enjoy, including a rose garden which contains 60 roses, a large vegetable garden, many palm trees and tropical plants, nine ponds, a spawning creek and various guest cottages."

The big brugmansias in the front garden caught my eye right away. 

In past years, art would plant them directly in the ground and dig them every fall.  This year, he's keeping them in the pots which he's partially buried.  The black pot is full of potatoes which Art had recently harvested from his vegetable garden. 

Huge dahlias cavort with hardy banana leaves in this wonderful garden.

Part of the rose garden. 

This pond is right next to the house. 

Having been a builder and remodeled many homes, Art would often reuse materials that would have otherwise been discarded.  The inspiration for many of the outbuildings has been these found materials.

Art says that this is the favorite guest cottage of his children when they visit as it is heated and has two stories.

Here's the entry and porch around back.

This outbuilding contained workout equipment, a private gym.

"The house, outbuildings and gardens are a culmination of 28 years of collecting and propagating over 1500 various trees, shrubs and plants.  The grounds are very walkable and full of 'inhabitants', including thousands of frogs, koi fish, mason bees, and even an occasional owl."

The grounds are made for entertaining!

Sunken fire pit with built in benches. 

This gives a bit of perspective.  The large dining area is on the right; the fire pit on the left. 

At the back of that area, we enter the secret garden. 

This guest cottage is the favorite of Art's in-laws from Sweden who don't mind that it's not heated.

One could imagine several families residing in the guest cottages for the summer and getting together for outdoor meals and conversations lasting into the night.  More than just a garden full of interesting plants, this place feels like a wonderful retreat center in the country.

"I enjoy giving extensive tours and showing many of the rare plants I've accumulated through the years."  Thanks Art for opening your amazing garden for the first time to the Northwest Perennial Alliance!