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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, June 26, 2017

In A Vase On Monday

Yesterday was the warmest we've had this summer.  with temperatures in the mid 90's.  For us, this is very hot as our summer temperatures here on the Puget Sound usually stay in the seventies.  I reveled in both the heat and having an entire day to do nothing but work in the garden.  What a perfect day to play in the water - cleaning the pond, hosing the muck out of the pond filter, doing a little pressure washing.   During the night, the marine layer, nature's air conditioner, blew in and it's now a cool 58 degrees. Since I'm spending more time outside than in recently, today's flowers get to stay out there too.
Sinocalycanthus chinensis is a Chinese cousin of our native Calycanthus floridus or Sweetshrub. Love these flowers which actually have more of a delicate pink cast to them with the yellow in the center being a bit more of a butter yellow.

The Chinese Sweetshrub flowers were joined by a fallen begonia too pretty to just throw into the flower bed (my brand of lazy composting) just yet.


The three are floating in a birdbath and being admired by Mr. Frog. 
 Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting IAVOM. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Garden of Scott Satterthwaite & Patricia Warren

You may recall visiting this garden on the fall color tour in October. The gardens on that tour were opened this spring for the Northwest Perennial Alliance.  What a treat to see the garden in two seasons and this time to meet Scott and Patricia!

"Scott and Patricia have a mature Northwest garden that has been evolving for 28 years.  The front yard is stone terraced and features Japanese maples, dogwoods, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, salvia, and hinoki cypress, ferns and ground covers.




"The expansive side yard is surrounded by mature coral bark maples, mountain hemlocks, hydrangea trees, rhododendrons, along with many varieties of ferns and ground covers.  A miniature Japanese village adds a note of whimsy."





"The small back yard is a terrace dotted with roses, eeonies, dahlias, climbing hydrangea, and clematis."

"A private courtyard and shade garden is accessed by several stone steps."

"Beyond the backyard, one views a large, low maintenance slope sprinkled with heather, Japanese maples and dogwood that is edged with smoke trees and rhododendrons."
It must be a delight to live in a neighborhood with so many passionate and delightful gardeners! Thanks, Scott and Patricia for opening your garden for our enjoyment!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Portland Visit Continued - Joy Creek Nursery

It's always a pleasure to wander through the gardens and retail area at Joy Creek Nursery. It's like strolling through a friend's garden.  The space is as spectacular as the staff.   I fondly recall a visit several years ago with Alison.  We'd arrived just before closing and did a quick bit of shopping. We were getting ready to leave when Mike, a co-owner, offered to give us a guided tour of the gardens.

 Oh, that driveway!

With views like this, it's surprising that there aren't car crashes in the parking lot.  

Clematis, one of the specialties of Joy Creek.  Was it calling my name?  Someone was.

Turns out, it was my pal Anna (Flutter and Hum.)  Blogging pals Tamara and Ricki also now work with Mike and Maurice. I'm sorry I missed them but it was, as always, a pleasure to visit with Anna who was very excited to share her new favorite plants.  Her stash was on one of the front tables.  Do you think you'd actually make money working at a nursery?  

So many shady characters.

More varieties of hardy fuchsia than you could shake a stick at.

Primula 'Green Lace' 

Golden Hops Vine looks handsome with just about anything. Persicaria virginiana (maybe 'Lance Corporal') is likewise a great team player.  Together they're quite a knockout.

While admiring a new Farfugium japonicum 'Shishi Botan' leaf,  someone yelled, "Anna, come here quickly."  What could the excitement be?


It was the largest and most beautiful garter snake I'd ever seen!  Anna seemed very excited and not fazed by this sight at all.  Snakes are beautiful but I don't often see them and they can move so quickly which makes them a bit scary to me.  Unbeknownst to me, Anna, who seemed thrilled at the sighting shares my fear.  It's all here in her post.

After that encounter, I kept wondering if there were more snakes lounging about in the plants.  

That didn't keep me from finding some treasures to take home. 

Meanwhile, back in the gardens... 









Although Ricki wasn't there in person, her arrangements graced the inside of the old barn/checkout area.




 New this year is the large vegetable garden.  Oh to have this kind of space to play with..

Another exciting visit to Joy Creek drew to a close.  If you don't live in the area, Joy Creek also sells by mail order
Up next: Portland Nursery on Starke.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Vignette - Good Clean Fun!

Recently, en route to tour a garden in Seattle, I saw something on the side of the road that made me request that Tom stop the car.


One doesn't see that every day!



I salute the individuality of this statement!
Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my blogging pal Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to join in the fun!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Confessions of a Lazy Gardener # 768 Making a Garden in a Day

Out in front of our house between the intersection of two streets and the intersections of the two sidewalks, there is a roughly 8 foot by 12 foot space where an inherited classic Pacific Northwest lawn (green in the winter, brown in the summer except the vibrant green dandelions)  There is a fire hydrant close to the sidewalks so I'd never though much of doing anything in that space other than keeping the weeds mowed and averting my eyes.

This year, I decided that I'd replace the weed bed  with Acaena inermis 'Purpurea.'  a sweet little plant that does well in my parking strips with practically no summer water.  It doesn't look like much in the little pots or when it's first in the ground but once it becomes established, it's lovely.

Back in my misspent youth, when I wanted to create a garden bed, I marked off the space, cut out sod, shaking out as much soil as possible, amended the soil, raked it all level then planted.  Now that I'm old and lazy and inspired by  "lasagna gardening," I use a less labor-intensive method that gives much quicker results.

1) Cut the sod from the outer perimeter of the bed.
2) Scavenge through the house for cardboard. (A saved collection of nursery boxes works well.)             Decide that you need more  and go scavenging through your neighbors' recycling bins.
3) Cut the sod away from where you'll place the new plants.
4) Cover the rest of the sod with cardboard, plant the plants sticking out of the soil a bit.
5) Cover the cardboard with whatever you have on hand like compost or manure.
6) Water everything well.

A friend calls this technique "Garden in A Day" and it's been used to create lots of areas in my garden.  The upside is that it's fast; the downside is that you have to have pretty good existing soil for plants to be really happy.  

But wait, what if you decide that it would look really sweet to have a bit of Acaena saccaticupula 'Blue Haze' for contrast?  Simply use your shovel to remove some cardboard, cut out the sod below, plant and fill.

But then, you're at a nursery and see this adorable and drought tolerant Tanacetum haradjanii whose little fern-like foliage would be charming with the others.

Oh yeah, there are those three Carex testacea sitting in pots in the ghetto from the fall sale at Watson's a couple of years ago. Orange and purple with touches of gray - pretty.

Also hanging around were several pots of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens.'  The pots at nurseries are usually very crowded and expensive so I always divide them and make several out of each one and have divided my own that are growing in the ground.

So, there you have it, the uneven garden in a day. It looks hideous now but once it fills in, I think it'll make me much happier than the former brown lawn.  Most of these plants can take foot traffic once established so hydrant access won't be an issue.

Best part?  No mowing!  
One does enjoy being lazy!