Friday, August 26, 2016

Venturing Further Afield on An NPA Garden Visit

In July, I finally started going somewhere other than the grocery store and the therapist's office. Out for lunch or dinner to a restaurant. Down the hill to Windmill Nursery or even all the way across town to Watsons's in Puyallup.

I joined the Northwest Perennial Alliance back at the beginning of the year, intending to go garden visiting like I have every year, but with the gall bladder surgery, and then the daily headaches and anxiety issues, those plans had fallen by the wayside. So I thought perhaps since I was showing improvement, it might be time to visit a garden. Just one little visit. Just sticking my little toe back in the water.

I looked in the NPA booklet and saw a brand new garden that had never been shown before, within reasonable driving distance, and it sounded marvelous.

Art Converse's garden is "on one acre in an enchanting area called May Valley. The garden has many themes to enjoy, including a rose garden which contains 600 roses, a large vegetable garden, many palm trees and tropical plants, nine ponds, a spawning creek and various guest cottages."

My friend Peter The Outlaw Gardener also visited Art's garden that day, although we missed seeing each other. Peter's post is here. You can get a good overview of the garden there, and some history on the many little cottages and garden structures.

I concentrated on the beautiful flowers.

Hummingbirds were whizzing all around this Crocosmia

There were several large, heavily blooming Brugmansias in pots

Oh, heavenly scent!

This seating area was backed by Dahlias and lush bananas

I was astounded by the sturdiness of the stems on these enormous  flowers

Then, the rose garden, enclosed by a fence and gate. You could smell it as you approached.

One of the many ponds, this one tucked up right close to the house, near the front door

A bed full of Hydrangeas greets you as you pass into the back garden

This cute little fella sits on one of the back yard structures

Looking across the garden

Grape arbor

Looking back across the garden (the little lizard was on one of those round beams



A  bed full of Gladioli, that I hadn't noticed coming in, struck me as I left. They were behind a stone wall and hard to reach to photograph well, but this one was intriguing enough to try. I love two-tone flowers, of any kind.

Thanks, Art, for showing your beautiful garden and for sharing it with NPA members, and with me. It was a successful outing, topped off with coffee and a scone at a nearby coffee shop with Nigel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

I have a gardening companion who doesn't actually come outside with me when I garden. He watches me from the windows.

I'm not sure what he's looking at, but I guess Ronin loves his mommy -- or maybe he's pining for the fjords

When I went outside recently to take those photos I shared of my front porch succulent display, he jumped up onto the window sill and ducked underneath the slatted blinds to watch me. He was paying close enough attention that he jumped back down and was waiting by the door when I came in.

Friends on Facebook heard about his little adventure a couple of weeks ago, when we had our vents cleaned. The front door got left ajar, and he got out. We found him frightened and cowering in the side yard, whereupon he raced back to the front door and scooted inside. That was frightening for all of us. He doesn't seem eager to repeat that experience.

Anna at Flutter and Hum hosts Wednesday Vignette. You can see her current post here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -- August 2016

The garden in August is a bit burnt up, to be honest. Although it has been a cooler and less droughty summer than usual, I also haven't been watering as much as I should, so there's probably less flowering than there has been in the past. I spot-water when I see something I really care about looking limp.

If I don't really care, well, tough love, baby. That plant's on its own. We'll see what lives till next year.

I wonder if anyone remembers the Hydrangea border I tried to plant last year. Man, they didn't like our summer drought. I ended up digging them all up and potting them up. Now the pots get babied and I move them into a spot in one of the shady borders that's full of Dicentra 'Gold Heart' in early spring, after I cut it back to the ground.

Late summer wouldn't be the same without black-eyed Susans.

Eucomis aka Pineapple Lily

Ornamental Oregano is so carefree

Echinacea 'White Swan'

Blue Flax is reblooming

Fuchsia magellanica blooms all summer and into fall, and I haven't watered it even once yet

Geranium phaeum 'Samobor' is reblooming too

California Fuchsia planted last fall is blooming (I didn't think this would survive the winter, but it did -- then again, it was a mild winter)

One of the overwintered Begonias that survived my winter of discontent is blooming

There is more, but not all the photos turned out in focus, and I'm too lazy to go out and try again. So you get what you get. Be satisfied.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the fifteenth of every month. She's been doing it for years and years. Check out her blog here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Potted Plant Display on My Front Step This Year

I usually display the tender plants that I overwinter inside the greenhouse on my front porch step, which is concrete and under an overhang with a western exposure. Most years I start bringing plants out of the greenhouse as soon as I'm reasonably sure that we've passed the point of last frost. They are usually well out long before the true start of summer, by the fourth of July.

But not this year. I was a very neglectful plant steward, I didn't even start bringing them out till the beginning of July, and only just finished a few days ago, in early August. Things were complicated by the fact that I had to sift through the dead bodies to find the living, and in most cases, then trim up the living to make them look presentable.

 Of course, most of the survivors are the cacti and succulents. They don't mind neglect.

My Aloe 'Christmas Carol' is even flowering

That cylindrical Sanseveria had actually started to shrivel a bit, but it seems to have bounced back

The Agave next to it, which I'm pretty sure is Agave bovi-cornuta, is thriving

I noticed for the first time this year that it's variegated -- it has a lighter green stripe down the center

I'm pleased this tiny Aloe polyphylla was one of the survivors

No sign of spiraling yet, but it's just a baby

It seems appropriate that I have a zombie gnome captured in a birdcage on the table. I brought a lot of zombie plants out of the greenhouse this year. And I often felt a bit like a zombie while I was doing it.

I don't mind that some of them didn't survive. Now I have room for seed-starting, which was one of the reasons for getting a greenhouse in the first place. Acquisitional plant hoarding had started to get in the way.

Who knows? Maybe I'll even find room for a little table and chair this winter. Coffee and seed starting is a nice combination.