Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - March 2017

Holy smokes - it's mid-March and the rain just keeps coming down here in the Pacific Northwest! Let's dash outside for a quick look at the sodden blossoms finally emerging this month.

It's not in full bloom yet, but drippy Ribes sanguineum is making its presence known in the Northwest Territory.

Mahonia repens is SO ready to bloom but is only showing a bit of color so far.

My tiny Galathus nivalus 'Pewsey Vale' has sent up one lonely flower. I'm especially happy to see it since I thought I killed it over several moves. Maybe it will bulk up and give me two flowers next spring.

Camellia transnokoensis has pretty bi-color buds that open into little pure white flowers (except when they get bruised by the rain.).

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' extends the holiday season into spring.

A NOID Hellebore did well this year, in spite of being buried in snow in January.

Soggy Daphne transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance' bloomed most of last year,. It's on pace for a repeat this year, but it's too cold (or wet?) to smell any scent so far.

In contrast, Sarcococca hookeriana var humilis has been covering the front yard in perfume for weeks.
Culinary Rosemary blossoms brighten up the driveway planters.

The blossoms on Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' have been feeding the hummingbirds (and my hopes for spring) for two months now.

But the driest flowers are indoors. Here's Clivia miniata 'Belgian Hybrid Orange' making the living room sunny.
A tip of the hat to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for gathering the monthly show of blooms from gardener bloggers all over.

Happy Bloom Day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bring out your dead*

The December 14th snow started off looking so seasonal and pretty...

Then it turned into freezing rain and coated everything with ice. A second snowstorm in early January brought deep, heavy snow.

And it accumulated so fast. This shot was taken at 9 pm, after the snow had started about 6 pm.

That snow, along with the deep freeze that followed it for a week, packed one hell of a wallop. Never mind that we're only halfway through winter; this morning's tour around my post-Snowpocalypse garden has me sure the recent nasty weather has taken its toll.  I have my dead and wounded, and lots of plants that I'm not yet sure whether they're done for. Thank goodness there are a few bright survivors to cheer me on - as of January 20, anyway.
Instead of watching the inauguration, let's take a look, starting with the Definitely Dead:
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Victoria' suffered last spring and summer with the sudden demise of two of its three main limbs. The remaining limb survived the December ice storm, but then it bowed down under the January snow load.
I can see now that rot was the culprit, allowing the snow weight to rip that last limb near the ground.

A Pinus contorta was bent down by the freezing rain in December and never recovered. It looks as though it must have broken branches, but we can't get underneath it enough to figure out what's happening yet.

It's blocking the path to the corner of the garden.

It's no surprise, but this hybrid Abutilon is gone. I'll miss its tangerine flowers and spotted leaves.

The Acacia pravissima doesn't look too bad, but its coloring has changed to a darker gray and I can only say it somehow feels dead when I touch it. I don't hold out much hope that it will survive.

Dymondia magaretae is as dead as a doornail. This one was a surprise, because somehow I thought it was a Zone 8 plant. Looking it up, I see it's 9b. Dang.

Here's a look at the wounded.
Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Sizzling Pink' sustained several ripped and broken branches. This will be a sad setback for a shrub that was reaching some size and presence. I'll wait to prune it until later this winter. when the danger of more ice or snow is largely past.




As the snow melted, many plants recovered their height. The two Trachycarpus fortunei didn't bounce back quite as well. Although the newest fans look fine, the oldest ones are drooping down quite far.

Some fan removal will need to happen here to uncover a Callistemon viridiflorus and clear the pathways.

I'm not sure if Phormium 'Pink Stripe' has sustained mortal injury due to cold. It looks kind of deflated, but much better than a few other phormiums in the garden that are definitely on their way out. This nice-sized specimen will be missed if it doesn't make it, but for now I'm hopeful it will.

Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinckley' is doing the laying down thing, despite the support I had around it since summer. It's flattened, but perfectly healthy, so I'll do some pruning on it later this winter.

Luckily, 'Dan Hinkley' missed crushing a young Camellia transnokoensis near it. The camellia and its bright little buds look like they did a month ago in the 4th picture from the top in this post.

Also unfazed by the snow and cold are Agave bracteosa, and its little brother A. bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost'. I covered 'Monterrey Frost' before the snow hit, but the straight species was completely exposed, and covered with snow.



Arctostaphylos (hookeri 'Buxifolia'?) is similarly unfazed.

It's a happy denizen of the south hell strip along with several other xeric plants I thought would fare far worse. They all look fine, like this Grevillea australis and Halimium ocymoides 'Sarah' below.


I want to say I learned some lessons from this year's ice and snow storms, but the reality is I will probably keep on planting my favorite evergreen, leafy plants and taking the chance they will sustain damage when the winter weight of snow or ice is too great. That's just me!

* Channeling my inner Monty Python.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday Vignette - life force

Today's vignette is about the power of persistence. Bristlecone Pines are some of the earth's oldest living single organisms, so this craggy, blasted Bristlecone Pine has lived on the rim of Crater Lake likely for centuries. Although the tree is mostly dead, there are tufts of green needles still doggedly clinging to life at the ends of a few branches.

This image gives me hope for the future.

Wednesday vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum. Check out other comments there for some lovely images and a fresh perspective on life - and hope.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2016

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I've been a no-show for a few monthly rounds but I'm back and ready for the beauty of gardens to begin healing my soul after a week of despair and sad news.

So are you tired of seeing the lovely and fragrant Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' yet? I don't think I ever will be.

Also softly pink, and earlier than ever, a few Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' flowers are beginning to open.

After cutting them back in September, the Mulch Man has a few re-blooming Penstemon in the Northwest Territory.

The darling, sputnik-style blooms of Fatsia japonica always look festive to me; I love that they seem to kick off the holiday season for the garden.

With a cultivar name like 'Yuletide', this Camellia has to bloom during the holidays, right?

I'm especially pleased to see a smaller C. 'Yuletide' we moved earlier this year starting to bloom in the front shade bed. It had suffered in a back garden bed where it got too much afternoon sun, but it looks much happier and healthier this fall.

A few little, mallow-like flowers remain on Sphearalcea 'Newleaze Coral'. I need to look into whether I should cut this back for winter, or just let it sprawl for now.

Abutilon megapotamicum has bloomed non-stop this year, and those little red and yellow blooms have brightened up many cloudy days for me this fall.

The deep maroon petals of Pelargonium sidoides are a sweet surprise this late in the year. This South African plant is apparently used to treat bronchitis as well as cough, sore throat and congestion. I'm using it to heal my sore heart this month.

I'll leave you with this Crape Myrtle leaf that fooled me from a distance, even though I know any bloom on this agave would look completely different. I just had to include this brilliant faux flower.

On this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, I'm very grateful to my garden (and my gardening friends) for providing the beginnings of healing for my bruised soul.

Thank you Carol of May Dreams Gardens, for hosting. Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to you all, wherever you are.