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, December 31, 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Winter Incense

It's officially winter and the garden is offering some lovely small and highly fragrant blooms.   On still sunny days, the garden's heady incense is a joy.   Today's vase is a Chinese cloisonné bowl found at a thrift shop a couple of days ago for fifty cents.  Into it went Lonicera fragrantissima, Sarcococca, Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn,' some colorful calyxes of Abelia,  and a couple of sprigs of Garrya elliptica.  Just these few blooms are perfuming the entire room.

Joining the arrangement is this Japanes plate, a thrift store find from years ago.  

 Finally, a crystal cluster (milky quartz?) that looks a bit snowy and therefore appropriately wintery.  I know little about rocks - they somehow  follow me home .

As always, thanks to our marvelous host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for encouraging us to bring a little of the outside into our homes to enjoy each week.  Click over to her blog to see more Monday vases! 
Well dear readers, that's it for 2018.  May your new year be full of beauty, love, joy, and prosperity!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Night Lights

A week or so ago, I went outside to snap a picture of our new neighbor's house decked out for the holidays.  I wasn't really pleased with the image as it doesn't really convey how nice their place looks.

Oh well, I was outside with a tripod so decided to take a few pictures of other night lights.  It's interesting how different stained glass looks lit from inside at night vs. being viewed from inside during the day. 

Have a wonderful weekend all!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Searching for Life on the Darkest Day

Many gardeners survey their gardens for signs of life on the winter solstice.  I decided to join them on the twenty first and look for signs of life on the shortest day. In our climate, there's always something happening in the garden but things slow down a bit during the cooler months.We had some sub freezing temperatures earlier in the month but there was not much damage. With winter just starting, colder temperatures are possible although the weather prognosticators are talking about warmer than usual temperatures.  Time will tell.   Anyway, here's a bit of what caught my eye on the shortest day, a mash-up of leftovers from summer, evergreens, and new blooms.

First blooms of Kerria japonica 

Still a few autumn leaves clinging to the Corylus avellana 'Contorta' while the catkins grow a bit longer. 

The buds of this yucca drooped during the cold snap but now are mostly upright again.  Will it bloom?

Loving this foliage!

Pineapple sage didn't get the memo that it's winter. 

Hellebores will be in bloom soon. 

 They're coming up through organic mulch, not a lazy gardener's leaf litter.

Colchicum are popping their heads up  as are the snowdrops and iris reticulata. 

Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn' continues to perfume the air all winter. 

Random shot of one of the front parking strips. 

Garrya doing it's winter thing. 

Rhododendron 'Super Flimmer' Love that variegated foliage!

Of course, the hardy cyclamen foliage is a one of the delights of our winter gardens. 

Alpinia zerumbet 'Variegata' is supposedly hardy to zone 8 but it's always come in for the winter before.   Time will tell. 

Jasminum nudiflorum

Buds are erect on many of the Tetrapanax bu most of the leaves have fallen.  I doubt they'll open during the winter.  Do you suppose they might hold on until spring?

Euonymus europaeus 'Red Ace' hangers on.

 Dried rose hip, bloom, and leaf buds waiting for spring to burst forth.

Hebe something or other with cool pink winter color. 

Lonicera fragrantissima just starting it's bloom season.  

Abutilon megapotamicum doesn't look like it's ready for a rest yet. 
Like the abutilon, I would be happy to skip right to spring.  Must remember how lucky I am to live in this mild winter area.  Back home in Alaska, things are frozen and will be covered in snow until spring.  Are you finding signs of spring in your garden this winter?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Festival of Trees for Boxing Day.

Tacoma's Mary Bridge Children's Hospital's annual Festival of Trees is a thirty year tradition that has grown more and more elaborate.  Theme trees are surrounded by lavish gifts. In a single weekend there are gala events (at one of these, the trees/gifts are auctioned) and the displays are open to the public for a short time before the whole thing is dismantled so that the trees/gifts can be reassembled in the homes/businesses of the winning bidders.  Whew, that's a lot of work.  This year the event made $1.6 million for the hospital. 

This year, I didn't pay much attention to the descriptions in the brochure which include the designers, themes, sponsors, etc.  just wandered aimlessly snapping shots.  As an aural balance to the visual glitz, here's a lovely setting of Заповеди блаженств (The Beatitudes) by Russian composer Vladimir Martynov (b.1947.)

The festival is well attended!

The boy nutcracker in the bubble. 

I was rather fond of the blooming tree because of the exquisite cloisonné vases.

In the gift shop.

The gnome tree was clever. 

Table-top trees.


A warm beach sounds delightful at the moment. 
Hope you enjoyed looking at a few of the trees in this year's festival and that you're having a peaceful holiday season!  (Christmas, after all, lasts for twelve days starting on the 25th!)