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We are basically ready for Christmas. We are trying to adhere to a less stressful approach than past seasons. Aside from getting a new Christmas photo taken for our cards, wrapping stocking stuffers, and baking this weekend (we freeze cookies until Christmas Eve delivery) , we are done. We decided to forgo our annual Christmas party and host an open house instead – so much easier! Our oldest daughter will be home for Christmas which is the best gift. All five kids have not been home together to celebrate Christmas since 2009. One daughter arrives on Christmas day so only four of the five will be attending church with us on Christmas Eve. Our church recently acquired a beautiful historical church building located in downtown Seattle. We attend a satellite across the pond but will go down there for a special Christmas message then open gifts after second oldest daughter arrives the next day. My heart is full.
Mosaic2007 will visit in February for our annual trip to the NW Flower & Garden Show. Chris has been so successful with her greenhouse efforts that she is going to help me get ready for another attempt at germinating seeds. Other than a zillion heirloom tomato plants, last year was a bust in the growing department. I became proficient at various forms of propagating plants other than by seed. It was a fun experience and I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge from Chris. I was careful to not overload my greenhouse with tender plants so I will have more room for seeds. DH allowed the Brugs and a few other large tender treasures to stay in a small corner of one garage bay. I sneaked more in than I thought possible without any resistance! Whew.
Living in the PNW can be beautiful, but soggy. The rains have started, but no snow yet. Our backyard is too mushy to walk on, but I need to rake the remaining leaves – have to do it fast & efficiently so as to not compact the soil too much. The hummingbirds always dive-bomb me whenever I walk out back. I hope we have some babies next season!
To get me through the downpours we have been experiencing, I have been planning our road trip to San Francisco in May. My sweet husband is indulging me for my birthday which is in the same month. We are driving so we can bring home treasures from the annual plant sale at SF Botanical and visit various nurseries in the area that specialize in the rare & unusual plants I collect, plus several in Oregon on our way home. I even joined SF Botanical so we can attend the “Members only sale” the night before the public sale. I wish we had enough time to visit Lotusland, but that will have to be done separately…….. .such an illness.
It has been another great year of spending leisure computer time enjoying so many lovely photos GG members have shared, gaining knowledge on forums and blogs, plus many hours spent coveting Carolyn’s lush plants she grows in Louisiana. Please let me know if anyone will be visiting the Seattle area in 2013. I would love to meet you!
Merry Christmas to all and a Blessed 2013 as well.
P.S. I started my seed spreadsheet and it looks like I will have a decent assortment of seeds left-over. I will post a list for grabs once everything is accounted for - still trying to locate some varieties.
OMGoodness, aptly named event for certain! My non-gardening friends, (yes, I have a few) tease me to no end, obviously I did not ask them to attend with me. The event was held at the Mountaineers Club
in Seattle. The name originated in
Portland and seems to be spreading…. I
took a sweet friend from my MG training, she turned out to be one of those persuasive
types…. “Oh, you neeeeed that”, “go get one, ahhhhhh, , look at that, you
should get one of those too.” I really like her, DH may not.
The vendors present all had solid reputations, many rare & unusual treats with limited stock on hand = frenzy. There were oodles of new introductions, many yet unnamed, my head was spinning. I finally set my purse down and just carried my wallet around. Taping my cash to my sleeves would have saved more time.
So here is my list:
Boquilla trifoliolata HS 066 - "Extremely rare
Chilean relative of Akebia, evergreen, long chains of lavender berries,
excellent texture, used for basket making in S. America"
Pseudopanax laetivirens DJHCh 0345 - "Hardy araliad w/palmate schefflera like foliage from mountains of S. Chile, handsome evergreen foliage, Spring green.15' "
Schizophragma sp. DJHS 8071 - "A beautiful, little known Chinese species with reddish new growth and distinctive glossy green leaves, narrow white bracts surrounding large flower heads."
Viburnum sp. add. henryi DJHC 4266 - Hinkley collection from Sichuan forms uptight stems to 15' clad with narrow 6" evergreen foliage, cymes of honey scented flowers late Spring then red fruit.
Callistemon "Woodlander's Hardy Red' x 2
Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron' -x 4 The large one in my garden but it was sooooooo slow to increase that I did not want to divide the thing!
Dryopteris lepidopoda '
Kniphofia 'Orange Crush' x 2
Lobelia tupa x 2 This will be my 2nd yr trying to get this to bloom for me! I think my original 2 are toast.
Polystichum x dycei
Kelly Dodson from Far Reaches Farm is a hoot. He also has a way of describing his plants that puts me in an almost drug induced state; I always buy more than I expect but am usually quite thrilled when I get home. This morning I have regret (maybe too strong of word) over one slow growing fern that needs winter mulching. Other than overwintering plants in my greenhouse, I rarely coddle plants in the ground, I hope to remember to mulch this little beauty – I will be on guard the next time I visit his nursery. Far Reaches is so cool that I am not quite certain I can keep that resolve. Really, my only saving grace (plant wise) is that it’s located in Port Townsend – about 1.5hrs away. Whew. They do have mail-order though....
Dan Hinkley is always so generous with his knowledge, quite personable, very humble. He had some new introductions that I nabbed. One of which he doesn’t even know the color of flower – I bought it anyway…nuts I tell you.
I had a riding lesson in the morning, Plant Nerd Night in the evening, great Thursday! It's pouring today so I am going to hunker down and clean this house reallllly well in record time. My 21yo daughter & I have a date at 2pm. We are going to the observation deck at the Smith Tower in Seattle, dress shopping downtown then sushi. I need to stay focused and the rain is helping otherwise I would be planting my new treasures, ignoring the dirt inside! I hope the rain stops at 1:45pm.
Happy gardening all!
I have been so delayed in editing our photos from our trip in October. My dad is coming to visit tomorrow so I thought I better get going since he treated me to the trip. Unfortunately, I only had 1.5hrs tonight - not enough time. Why am I such a procrastinator at times? Don't answer that. ;) The memory card also has photos of garden shops in Germany, gardens in Austria, plants in Rome & Pompeii plus my new greenhouse. I am hopeful I will have time next week to add some photos to my new album. Sadly, I wore glasses much of the trip which doesn't work for me when I am focusing my camera. It resulted in many very blurry photos. I focus better wearing contacts, lesson learned the hard way-again. Thankfully, I took a zillion photos so there are enough decent ones.
I did take time tonight and posted a photo for Bill Mitchell. I saw the most gigantic Amaryllis bulbs in Amsterdam. I have completely forgotten how to add a photo to my blog so it's in my Europe 2011 album. My lense cap is 2+" in diameter. It would take three of my fists to equal the size of one bulb. Oh how I wanted to bring some back!!!
Tonight I sat down to write about our recent trip and post some photos, but realized that it has been so long since I have written; I missed out on sharing the treasures I found over the season! Not many people get excited over plants unless you have the sickness. I know GG members are sick with the disease so I will write about the trip later.
DH & I took a weekend over the summer and visited the Washington Peninsula. If you have not visited our fair state, please put it on your bucket list. There are soooo many stunning areas in the state, the peninsula is just one of countless sites. You can drive around from Seattle or take a ferry (which we did) , both routes are beautiful. Anyway, we went to meet a Cavalier breeder in Sequim because we are looking to add another one to our family. The timing was perfect because DH wanted to attend an open house the same weekend at a specialty wood supplier he uses and they recently moved to Port Townsend (close to Sequim), so I found myself within a mile of a nursery I have always wanted to visit…… Far Reaches Farm. They specialize in rare and unusual plants and BONUS - they were open that weekend (often open by appointment only as they are frequently away on speaking engagements). Mosaic2007 & I always beeline to their booth at the annual garden show in Seattle. Gracie & I were in heaven as we roamed the sweet little nursery surrounded by unusual cultivars. The owner gave me a tour of his new finds from Asia that are in the propagation stage - OH MY, names I have never heard nor can even pronounce!!! When DH returned for us he was a bit taken back at the boxes of plants I had purchased. We stuffed the car and he was a great sport as he helped haul my treasures to the lanai in our hotel…… I was able to return another weekend before they closed for the season and yes, filled the car again! I also had time one day to pop into the annual Northwest Horticultural Society Plant Sale which I always seem to miss – oh my what a season!
As many of you know, we recently added a greenhouse to our backyard. So, I made my purchases over the season knowing that it would be available to overwinter more than what our garage can hold. I intend to multiply my sweet finds by propagation. I have even ordered some rare & unusual seeds that I hope result in plants and not spindly wisps that fall over (less than successful seed grower in the past). I am hopeful the 5’ Pro-Gro mat will be helpful to that end.
So, I expect to have seeds &/or starts from many of the following:
Acacia previssima – Winged Acacia
Adiantum venustrum - Himalayan Maidenhair Fern
Amsonia hubrichtii – Threadleaf Bluestar
Asclepias physocarpa – Bladder Fruit – what a hoot!
Bletilla striata ‘Albrostriata’ – Hardy Chinese Ground Orchid
Cassia corymbosa – Buttercup Bush
Cautleya spicata ‘Robusta’ – member of the ginger family
Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ – Orange Peel Jessamine
Commelina dianthifolia – Birdbill Dayflower
Dichroa fibrifuga - Sooooo beautiful, in bloom right now
Diphylleia cymosa – American Umbrella Leaf
Disporum sessile ‘Variegatum’ – Fairy Bells
Ercilla volubilis – Self clinging evergreen climber from Chile
Fuchsia ‘Dying Embers’ – Hardy Fuchsia
Fuchsai ‘Fulgens’ – Hardy Fuchsia
Grevillea ‘Ruby Clusters’
Hedychium gardneranum ‘Fiesta’ – Hardy Ginger
Hedychium greenei – Hardy Ginger
Iochroma –Royal Queen
Kniphofia ‘Peachy Cheeks’
Kniphofia ‘The Rocket’
Paeonia daurica subsp. Mlokosewitschii
Polygonatum verticillatum ‘Rubrum’
Spigelia marlandica – Indian Pink
Triosteum himalayanum – Horse Gentain
Vitex agnus-castus – Chaste Tree
PM me if you are interested in something for next season.
Last week my husband said he wanted the garage back and that I needed a greenhouse. My plant room tucked in the back of our garage did not work so well due to low light conditions. We have glass garage doors so I slowly moved the plants into one whole side of the garage for better light. Eventually, it was filled with plants/dirt/supplies for most of the year.
We have absolutely no room for a greenhouse, or so I thought. When I originally designed the backyard I had little experience, I neglected to leave any room for future changes...oh how I wish I could redo the whole area. Anyway, we went outside to measure, he went to his office and plotted a design (residential/interior designer). All of a sudden he became a garden designer for ten minutes and it worked .....So, I get a greenhouse!!!!! He is amazing, he found enough space for an 8x12' condo! He very seriously said it had to look like it belonged and I would have to add plants around the base, the platform must match our Ipe deck and have similar stairs....I was giddy inside, I was being told I HAD to have a greenhouse and I HAD to buy more plants~heavenly bliss!!!! My suggesion of using the same stone as in the courtyard for the stairs was met with hesitant acceptance but I think it will fly. The only downside will be rehoming my Cornus kousa koreanisis 'Ruby Slipper.' My late husband and I bought two as Valentine's presents for each other when they were first introduced by Wells Nursery in Mt. Vernon. This one is the better of the two and I have no other place to transplant it.
I have always wanted to grow plants from seed but usually encounter some problem or another. My sweet friend Mosaic2007 grows tons of fun annuals, etc in her greenhouse. The natural light really makes a huge difference. I have not started looking at seed catalogs yet but can hardly wait! Overwintering my tender plants will be a snap and I can even try some new ones. I would love to have plumeria again.
So any suggestions on what type of greenhouse to purchase will be greatly appreciated. All I know is that I want a black one. We will start the project in September.
or so I thought…..I had a truck scheduled to blow in ten yards of beautiful black compost tomorrow afternoon. I kept today & tomorrow completely open knowing full well I would be in the garden getting everything ready – rain or shine. When I woke up this morning the sun was out and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
One of my least favorite things to do in the garden is trimming the hedges & shrubs. I decided to trim first so I could enjoy the majority of the day/evening doing the fun stuff. ….Anyway, long story short, you know when you do something and immediately say to yourself “Oh no, that’s not good. I can’t believe I just did that. Reallllllllly stupid, stupid, stupid” Well, that’s what I have been saying for several hours now. You see, I was stupid enough to use my left hand to pull some branches back while I came from underneath with the stinkin electric trimmers….Yep, almost cut off my left thumb. Just another reminder of how fast YOUR plans can change.
My DH will be attending a men’s retreat with others from our church this weekend, DD will be away house-sitting …boy was I going to enjoy the garden and a list of other things which did not include cooking for others!!! Now, I have to keep my left hand elevated for three days…grrrrrr…no tidy garden today, no compost tomorrow, house will not get cleaned tomorrow morning, no lifting weights, no hike on Saturday, have to spend time w/a hand surgeon next week. On the bright side: I did not cut the thing off!!! The nerve damage kept me from feeling the local anesthetic and I have no pain(really hard to make nerve damage a positive!), instead of a hike w/my friend on Saturday we will have lunch then hit Christianson’s Nursery in Mt Vernon (bonus), I will have time to read, I can type almost as fast w/one hand, I knew the nurse, her daughter graduated with my youngest daughter, the doctor had taken care of my late husband multiple times and we had an interesting conversation about ALS & MS research, I am insured, I know how to remove sutures, my slip up might serve as a reminder for others, I realize this is just a blip in my day.
The experience showed me what a sweet kid my daughter’s new boyfriend is; he was helping me outside when it happened. He was a jewel. He was so helpful-even tied my shoes & offered to drive me to the ER (I drove myself. He initially wanted to call 911!)
In closing, the giddy excitement for spring garden clean up is quickly replaced by nausea once you see something bloody & mangled on your body....so please be careful when you are using your garden tools!!!! Wear work gloves.....I did not ...stupid stupid stupid.
It’s starting to rain again, tomorrow might not be the best day for compost anyway…..it all works out ;)
My annual romp through the show with Mosaic2007 will take a different twist this year. Mosaic (Chris) became a first time grandma two weeks ago to a lovely pink bundle named Katherine!!! Chris stayed with her daughter for two weeks and just returned home to Oregon. It is too soon for her to turn around and come back to Seattle soooooooo we will hit it together in 2012. I will miss her but am so happy for her!
The twist will be attending the show alone tomorrow morning from 9-12; then popping over to the Seattle Home Show to work in my husband's booth while he flies back to the office for two client meetings. Once he returns around 5pm another sweet friend of mine will pick me up at the home show and we will go back to the flower show to walk through the displays. I will spend my time alone in the morning scouring the "Marketplace." Chris & I have found many unusual plant treasures at small vendor booths over the years. I promised Chris I would buy two of anything super rare or unusual so she will not miss out! Another friend & his wife own an amazing nursery in Mt. Vernon. They usually have a booth full of great items and every few years they participate on the display floor. This is their display year which I am excited to see as well. Actually, I am just plain excited to see it all!!!!
I will let you know what is "new" to the scene....
Oh, I hope I can sleep tonight ;)
Have any of you ever kept them? Mason or honey? I almost dove in last year, but had not researched enough to feel comfortable with the decision. I am leaning toward Mason bees.
There was a great article in The Seattle Times this morning about intentionally creating a pollinator haven. Environamental designer Sarah Bergmann realized how much agriculture will need to rely on native pollinators due to bee colony collapse so she launched a mile-long pollinator pathway program in 2006. Using a grant she received she replaced many Seattle parking strips with mostly native plants. The first garden was completed in 2008. After receiving a second, larger grant, there are plans for 16 more! Bergmann (www.pollinatorpathway.com
a>) was just invited to consult on a pollinator pathway for Niagra Falls, N.Y. She is hoping to replicate the program in other cities as well.
The whole idea fascinates me; simple idea on steroids! So I have been reading more about bees and what type of home to provide, etc. Please let me know if you have had experience with orchard mason bees.
Thanks in advance!
Have a great Sunday ~Andrea
Wish you all could have joined us! We had enough food to feed everyone, that's for sure! I kept the menu simple with appetizers, three salads(fresh corn & blueberry, spicy Asian noodles, yam/caramelized onions& shallots w/curry), pita & watermelon. The music was a perfect addition to our gathering.....
I posted the photos under my album "Family Fun/Garden Party 2010."
Another day of sunshine in the PNW. We cleaned up until wee hours so we are rewarding ourselves with a nice afternoon at the Bellevue Art Festival before church at 5pm-too pleasantly exhausted to get moving for the early service today! Oh and the icing is that before we leave, someone is coming to look at my car that's for sale!!!
Enjoy your Sunday~Andrea
Today is home & garden prep day. We will be having approximately 45 people over for a garden party tomorrow including an amazing guitar duo.
We love to entertain but as we have been prepping for this party I have learned to appreciate even more about my DH. My focus is always the same for every party-primping the garden, cleaning the house, food prep, decorating for the event, etc. DH's focus is on the little projects that have been hanging around and do not seem important (to me initially!)-almost a waste of time to me, but when done make such a huge difference!
While I would prefer he focus on the big things first like mowing, edging, quick-wash the deck, and sweeping the courtyard, he on the other hand, has a different approach. He currently has a huge ladder out in the kitchen to razor blade and clean the two small streaks of paint off the skylights that nobody noticed for 3yrs, washed our cars last night, painted the bottom of a downspout the painter missed 3yrs ago, etc. We have had oodles of parties since our remodel, but for some reason now is the time he has chosen to finish these details-for which I am thankful-just makes me smile.
We each have our unique gifts and when the time comes, everything is always done and looks smashing. While he may approach the "to do list" differently, he gets it all done according to his priority system. Even though he is not interested in gardening, he is the best courtyard sweeper around and he is meticulous about edging the yard. He adds the polish to our yard & gardens.......We each just travel a different path to the same goal, his is 7:05pm tomorrow(party at 7:30), mine just happens to be 5:00pm.
Off for a run then race through my "to do list."
I will post photos soon.
Enjoy the day!
We are planning a whirlwind trip in September and wanted to include a stop at Cheekwood. Chihuly has an exhibit there that I would love to see. After that we would visit friends in Knoxville, pop over to the Biltmore, stop by our friend's home in Waynesville, OH then zip back to Chicago to celebrate my mother-in-law's 90th birthday with a huge party.
My husband is not as excited about the Cheekwood stop as I am so I was wondering if any of you had some feedback for me. It really is a tight schedule but I am only expecting to eke out two hours from the whole trip for a quick run through. Is it worth the stop? We are ready to book our flight to Nashville & car reservation.
Since we are on the subject; has anyone been to Lotusland in Santa Barbara, CA?
We are leaving at 6:30am tomorrow (actually today since it's 1am) for a lonnnnnnnnnng car ride to Idaho. We will visit a son in college and a daughter living in the opposite end of the state. We will stay at my dad's in Eastern Washington Saturday night before heading back over the pass Sunday afternoon. I am soooo looking forward to seeing the kids! Better finish packing-DH will be pulling out at 0'dark thirty ;)
Thank you in advance!
If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal online you may have read this yesterday....had to share. I believe we can all relate to the majority if not every word of this article. I am especially guilty of #3-Lamium is evil:
I wish someone had warned me.
When I first started gardening at my weekend house 11 years ago I had lots of enthusiasm but little knowledge. A longtime city-dweller with little experience, I read a few lawn-and-garden books and mastered some basics, such as the difference between an annual and a perennial. But mostly I just barreled ahead.
I was clueless about what it meant to maintain gardens in upstate New York (or anywhere, really) and the hobby threatened to monopolize my limited time. I made lots of mistakes. I planted sun-loving trees and shrubs in too-shady spots, loaded up on problem plants that need too much maintenance and didn't consider how things would look when they grew up.
I've spent the past few years fixing my dumb moves—ripping out invasive vines, moving massive shrubs that grew too close, carting clumps of misplaced irises and daylilies across my yard—and now I offer some advice. Specifically, 10 things I wish a garden expert had told me back then:
1. Yes, they will get bigger. Sure, I read the plant tag that said the viburnum tree would grow 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. But it was a sad little one-branch twig about 18 inches high when I rescued it from the end-of-season sale at a garden center. It couldn't possibly get that big in my lifetime. So I planted it two feet from the picket fence in my front yard.
Now standing that promised 10 feet by 15 feet, the tree's branches poke through the fence pickets like unwanted arms and crowd out nearby shrubs. My advice: Believe the labels and space plants accordingly, even if things look too sparse the first few years.
2. If one is good, six may not be better. I'm a sucker for deals, and couldn't resist a six-pack of summer squash for my nascent vegetable garden. It turns out those zucchini jokes are true. Not only did the enormous leaves turn much of the vegetable patch into a jungle, shading out the nearby peppers and beans, but no one could possibly eat all the foot-long squash that kept inflating like water balloons that summer.Bart Ziegler
My echinacea, which multiplied so freely I had to thin out much of it.
3. If the label says "can be aggressive," you've been warned. Early on, I was enthralled by plants that multiplied with bionic power. Faced with a bare yard and freshly-dug beds, I want to fill them fast. But some plants are downright evil. Take artemisia 'Oriental Limelight.' This tall, spiky plant has mottled yellow-and-green leaves that are colorful and fresh-looking all summer. But it spreads like, well, a weed, both by its runner roots and seeds it spews each spring. I'll be ripping this one out until the day I die.
4. Roses are red–and brown and spotted and buggy. Like almost every new gardener I wanted roses–they're the quintessential garden flower. But in the humid summers of the Northeast and many other regions roses can be a mess. The list of ailments they can contract sounds like a medieval book of spells: black spot, powdery mildew, botrytis blight, canker and mosaic virus, to name a few. And then there are the bugs they attract: aphids, thrips, Japanese beetles, leaf hoppers and more.
Bottom line: Unless you live in a dry, sunny climate avoid roses or stick to newer varieties such as Knock Out and Easy Elegance, which are bred to avoid most (though not all) of these ills.
5. Keep it simple. It's easy to go crazy when confronted with the thousands of choices in trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables. I used to spend hours perusing garden catalogs and circling the scores of plants I wanted to try. But if you plant too many varieties, your yard and flower beds can end up a confusing hodgepodge. Instead, plant in a cluster at least three of each variety of flower, and preferably more, so they will form a big, visible clump. And when installing a row of shrubs or trees limit the number of types to a handful, repeating some of them rather than going for endless variety.
6. Start small. Sure, sprawling flower beds can be beautiful. But each plant can suck up your precious free time, what with weeding, watering and trimming off dead flowers. Limit the size of your beds until you know what you're getting into (I sure didn't). And avoid plants that require maintenance such as spraying or covering to prevent winter damage.
7. Befriend an expert. Find a good garden center with helpful employees and a big selection (most big-box stores don't qualify). Tell them what kind of light your yard gets, whether deer and other plant-destroyers stalk your property and what time of year you'd like to see blooms. Ask lots of questions, even if they seem dumb. Most local plant experts are happy to share, and they're the ones who know which plants will thrive in your area and which are troublesome.
8. Admit mistakes and move on. It's hard to pull out a plant—a living thing!—and throw it on the compost pile. But some purchases just don't work out. Their flowers may have turned out too garish or clash with nearby plants. They may require too much pruning or attract bugs. Or maybe a plant never thrived and limps along from year to year. If you can't bear to toss it give it to a gardening friend.
9. Don't be afraid to cull. After years of expending untold amounts of money and time to fill my yard it was tough to accept that I eventually had too many plants, thanks to the way perennials multiply. But crowded flower beds and shrub borders can look more like overgrown messes than the "English country cottage" style that's in vogue. Last year I ripped out several dozen echinacea plants (also called coneflowers) and tall phlox that had multiplied on their own by spreading seeds from a few plants I bought years ago. While dependable and colorful, these blooms overwhelmed the flower bed and pushed out less-hardy plants.
10. Relax—it's just a garden. Goaded by the lush pictures in shelter magazines you can set unrealistic standards that only homeowners with hired staff can uphold. Learn to live with imperfections such as a few weeds and flowers past their prime. Those gardens in magazine layouts have been primped by professionals and, like fashion spreads, the photos sometimes are even digitally doctored.
We have talked about this in the past; GG members love rich, beautiful, black compost. Every year I add between 4-6 yards of this gold to my gardens (down from the previous 10!). Unbeknownst to me it turns out my husband dreaded the yearly delivery of black gold. You see, it takes us a couple of weekends and hundreds of wheelbarrow trips to move it around the yard. Now that all the children are all adults they are either away at college or seem to have some other excuse-regardless, they undoubtedly disappear when the gold is delivered.
Last year my husband said he resigned from hauling my gold. He wanted to have the compost blown in, but I knew he wouldn’t do that considering the huge expense. Plus, the added $ would buy a ton of plants and I would rather do sweat labor any day……
Well, last Friday I started planning my March calendar. My dad is taking me on an adventure to China on April 9th. We will be gone for 10 days so I realized we had to get the compost down asap. When I told my husband I needed to have it delivered by Monday (today), he repeated he was not going to haul it and to have the blower service come out! Soooooo, today I woke up extra early-all excited for the delivery. Two nice men arrived bright and early with 10 yards (their minimum) of compost. They had it blown in place in an hour!!! They even moved the truck for no charge (usually $25 extra) to my neighbors and off loaded the last 2 yards on a tarp for her. Absolutely amazing to have the whole project done in basically 3 hours-after moving it away from the siding/fence/delicate plants already coming up and rinsing the remaining plants, etc.. I am in awe.
I am now a total convert and feel the extra expense was sooooo worth the time involved in my old approach. Considering I had to occasionally bribe the kids to help it was probably a wash. They do offer a service for less where you blow the compost yourself and I will absolutely do that next year. The nice man did blow it a bit deep in places and decimated a few tender plants…(hoping they will rebound). Hard work is important for children, but I am certain mine would have paid me to have it blown in years ago…lesson learned!
The oddest thing happened while I was watering after they left. The weather was very pleasant and sunny then it started to snow!!! Really just a sputtering, a hummingbird flew by and then the sun came out-goofy weather in the PNW!
I feel like I am so ahead of the gardening game now, I can hardly believe it! The time savings will allow me to focus on my moss filled lawn in the backyard. Plus my youngest daughter is transferring colleges so she will be home for a few months attending a local college before she moves. She needs to earn $$ so she said she would do whatever I want-even in the garden! I made her list today. If all goes as planned (does it ever?), we will have a lovely summer entertaining family & friends in the garden because it will be ready early!!!! I am going to hold on to that pleasant thought for a bit!
Hope you’re all gearing up for a tremendous spring! ~Andrea
My sweet friend, Moasic 2007, arrived from Oregon on Tuesday so we could attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Show on opening day Wednesday. Over the years we have established our tried and true plan of attack. Once inside we make a beeline to the Market Place where the most amazing plants are waiting for new homes. We hit our usual favorites; deGro, Far Reaches, B & D Lilies. Sadly one of our favorites, Christianson’s Nursery, was not there but another grower I have been oogling over online was! Keeping it Green had a tremendous amount of rare & unusual treasures that found their way into our canvas bags. We almost bought hardy orchids from Keeping it Green, but we both walked away without any. Does anyone have experience growing them?
These are the treasures I brought home:
Alocasia ‘Calidora’ – Giant Elephant Ear (thought I would try one already 1' to see if I can get it "Giant" before Sept)
Alstromeria bromarea ‘Fred Meyer’ – a climbing variety
Agapetes serpens – in bloom!
Begonia fuchsioides- red – Fuchsia Begonia – in bloom! (will propagate & over winter this year)
Dichelostemma ida-maia – Firecracker Flower x 6
Impatiens ‘Congo Cockatoo’ – in bloom!
Polygonyum oppositifolium – Evergreen Solomon’s Seal
Tetrapanax papyrifer – Rice Paper Tree (already have some & love them)
Trumpet Lily – Hardy “Golden Splendor’ x 3
After we look at every plant for sale, all the while talking each other out of "needing" one more......(fill in the blank w/plant name), we head over to the vendors. My favorite artist for garden glass has a new design, Fiddlesticks-so pretty (http://www.glassgardensnw.c
om). We will absolutely be waiting in line at her annual open house in April where we save 50-75%.
Lastly, we view the display gardens. The display gardens themselves were less than stellar which happens about every three years. The show changed ownership last year so this was the new owner’s debut. We were just happy they found a buyer for the show in the nick of time; otherwise, many people would still be suffering from the winter blues and our annual tradition would be over.
Spring is almost here!!!!!!!
My sweet friend invited me to Val Easton's book launch at the UofW Center for Urban Horticulture this evening-what a treat! If you haven't read anything by Val, I highly recommend her books and articles for this winter's garden reading.
Val's new book "The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden" is full of new concepts and oodles of beautiful photographs. Empty nesters, Val & her husband moved to a smaller home on Whidbey Island a few years ago at that same time her husband announced he was done being the garden boy; he was going to enjoy kayaking, and other activities outside the garden(I am soooooo not mentioning that part to my DH!)! She said it took her three years before she finally decided he was seriously not going to help her any more so she designed a garden she could manage herself. She now has time to enjoy the same activities.
Several years ago I attended Bible study at my sweet friend's house-she lived right across the street from Val in her Seattle house. I was honored to tour her lavish gardens back then-all the while thinking - oh my....tons of work. We have very similar taste-fewer flowers than most, prefer foliage of various texture & colors. Seeing Val's new, smaller garden certainly has my mind whirling tonight....
The book is chock full of fantastic ideas to help simplify your garden (and your life) including how to incorporate edibles into your garden and installing smart, sustainable hardscape.
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