Thursday, January 4, 2024

Let's Wrap Up 2023!

Well here we are again, where did that time go?  

I first want to say it was mostly an uneventful year, but it was still filled with joyous moments in the garden and fun trips to see gardens.

In January, there was a cold snap and the poor Pseudopanax 'Sabre' and Daphne Bhalua both fried. Sabre tried to rally in late spring, sprouting out some sad new growths off bare stems, but really was just a goner and had to be removed. Wind was also an issue in the garden. This spring seemed windier than normal at home and there were far too many days of high winds that denuded several evergreen shrubs and trees. Some of them are still a little on the naked side. 

In March, the Pinyon pine started leaning more precariously and finally had to go. Thankfully, I could remove it myself with an electric chainsaw and I stuffed it all in a yard debris bin. It was a fun experiment, but it got too big too fast in the garden and I think at most I got nine edible seeds in the many years it grew in the garden.

Throughout spring, the garden was full of peonies, mini iris, roses and gorgeous flowering trees. I'm still in my "Rose Era", although that's slowing down too, mostly due to lack of space. A few peonies even got removed as they were not happy (not thriving) and I hate to say my romance with tree peonies has ended. 

In April and May, there were annual plant sales and repeat trips to favorite places. I had a fabulous day with my plant pal Anita attending a wet and muddy Gardenpalooza at Bauman Farms, then some overboard succulent/cactus shopping at Hillcrest Nursery, a very good patty melt in Aurora, followed by some antiquing.

In May, Alan and I went back to the Camassia Natural Preserve in West Lynn for a visit. I highly recommend a visit if you can. When the Camas are blooming in my front yard, I know it's a good time to go.

Our trip to Adleman's was again a highlight of the spring. It’s a tradition to go every year and it’s always beautiful. This year, Alan and I even got asked by Carol Adelman, how we felt about two plants blooming in the seedling area. Both gorgeous peonies. I fan-girled a little. I may have gone home with a peony too to celebrate. 

The indoor cactus and succulents went on vacation outdoors in June for the summer and several fun cactus bloomed. The collection is ever expanding and I'm doing a better job refraining from loving them too much with water and care, although I am ever vigilant for mealy bugs. 

In June, Alan, Coco and I hopped in the car and went to the Olympic National Rain Forest in Washington and then took the ferry to Victoria. We saw a few of the local gardens in Victoria and had a very pleasant visit to Hatley Castle gardens. We met and talked with one of the head gardeners there and enjoyed a stroll through the gardens.

Late summer was filled with watering and baked beige lawn. The poor lawn was dead and sad. It may be time to finally take a bunch of it out. 

In October, the neutral power line to my house that's been bent over a big branch of the black walnut in the front yard, broke on a Friday and a surge of electricity fried ALL my major appliances at 4am. PGE was great coming out though on a Saturday with several crews and the tree trimmers were surprisingly decent. I admit I watched them like a hawk, while they cleared additional branches off the tree and freed up the neighbor's power lines too. 

The rest of fall is for cleaning up leaves and putting things to bed. I have a humongous stack of garden magazines to tide me over until spring.

I wonder what my next plant craze will be? Maybe 2024 will tell me... 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Welcome to 2022!

I haven't blogged in ages, but I thought I better say that I survived 2 years of Covid gardening, fires, smoke, hail, snow and cutworms! And now I'm excited for the possibilities of 2022! So far this spring, the Mardi Gras Gardener and I attended Hortlandia and GardenPalooza at Bauman Farms and boy did that feel good! It was nice to see old friends, find a few new garden treasures and to feel something a little closer to normal. Our annual Adelman's/Sebright/SGG trip is coming up soon, but a little later than normal. I'm getting the garden ready for my first "open" garden on May 7th with HPSO's SE Gardens tour and I anticipate a lot of visitors. Part of the joy of having a garden is in sharing it with others. There are a few small projects to get done yet, some of them caused by our late April snow that caused a lot of damage. To get the garden in tip top shape, recently my neighbor helped me get 3 yards of mulch that I spread like a maniac in between rain and hail storms and then I ended up popping two ribs out of place trying to turn my head in the car to park a day later. Old age and gardening sometimes don't mix! I should be recovered by May 7th and will hopefully see dear friends and their faces! Happy Gardening! Matthew and Cosette

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Best of Season 2020

I don’t need to get into what a crappy year 2020 was. We’ve all been there. 

My sweetie (The Mardi Gras Gardener) always does a “Best of Season” post to recap the year, so I’m going to try my hand at that this post.

Here’s some of the things I enjoyed most in 2020. Enjoy!

Of course there are always peonies in the spring. They get me ramped up for the gardening season.

Alan and I managed to squeak in a road trip to Adelman's opening weekend right before Covid became a "thing". I believe I came home with only two peonies in 2020. 

Since there were a couple varieties that were newly available when we were at the nursery, I bought a few peony plants for other people by text and phone order, so I got to be "PlantUber" and pick out extra plants and live vicariously through other's orders. 

Since I wasn't saving blooms for HPSO Open Garden tours, every few days, I brought a bucket load of cut peony flowers to work, assembled the ragtag assortment of office vases laying around and made arrangements for the three of us that still came to the office.  A little bright joy during a pandemic. 

Anita's phoned in order!

'Lemon Dream' certainly amazes

'Shima Nishiki'

'Black Panther' was gorge!

'Hilary' blooming for the first time.

Then there were roses!

The last remaining bit of the vegetable garden disappeared and additional roses were planted before Covid. I had a last minute run to the nursery to pick out a couple more to even out my color palette. 

I really enjoyed taking a walk with Coco to the back yard to go see them. Rose care is a little more fussy then peony care, but I didn't mind the extra tending, clipping and aphid smooshing.  

The added bonus was again being able to bring cut flowers all summer to work. A bouquet of  cocoa-colored Koko Loko became my new favorite cut flowers. 

'Queen of Sweden'

'Koko Loko'

'Brother Cadfael'

'Sterling Silver' - sweet and citrusy fragrance

'Marilyn Monroe'  - A fabulous rose with a crazy amount of thorns.

And some orchids... 

The mishmash of terrestrial orchids continued to be a source of joy. Coco previously tried to kill 'Soryu', so seeing it bloom with it's lovely lavender color was a real treat.

Platanthera ciliaris (Orange Fringed Orchid)

A lovely Cypripedium

Bletilla striata 'Soryu'

And some random stuff...

Embothrium coccineum (Chilean Flame Tree)

Sarracenia flowers

A Freddie's find - Lilium x martagon 'P320' (Martagon Lily)

Sempervivum 'Gold Nugget'

An assortment of tropical Butterworts awaiting a terrarium

Hosta 'Venus'

Then there was a little late summer drama I could have done without, but it made for some dramatic lighting. 

It's definitely an experience to stand with your hose watering the garden in this strange lighting.

I made a lot of kimchi and got my "jar burping" regimen figured out. You don't want to forget to burp your jars...

I fell more in love with this little girl...She's my joy and without her company, 2020 would have been really terrible.

Here's to a new 2021!