Monday, March 18, 2019

Calanthe and Coco

2019 already has a good feeling about it. I'm not sure why, but it does.

Maybe because Spring has sprung at the garden of The Lents Farmer?

Maybe because my gardening optimism has returned?

Crocus 'Blue Pearl'
I'm finally thinking again about my garden's evolution and what needs to be done and what could be done, especially if I won Powerball. 

My calendar is again full of nursery trips and plant sales. Every weekend is something!

April is jam packed with car trips and opportunities to satiate my burning plant purchase needs. Some of these trips are now sacred annual events, something I share with best friends.

The garden will be open to HPSO member again this spring for three visits.

I have even already potted up a few plants for the Spring Garden Blogger's plant swap?!? 

I don't have anything specific on my 2019 "Must have Plant List" and I kind of like not knowing what to buy.

After saying that, I still want to increase the number of hardy terrestrial orchids in the garden and the bogs. 

Alan, the Mardi Gras Gardener, went to the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle in early March. He told me he and his sister were visiting friends in Seattle, but neglected telling me the part about going to the show. He's such a kook.

Alan made it up to me by bringing back two Calanthe ('Yellow Lipsticks' & 'Kojima Orange') from Keeping it Green Nursery, who I've been buying fancy hardy terrestrial orchids from at Hortlandia the past couple years..

I've lusted over Calanthe in the display gardens at Sebright Nursery for a long time and just knew I should try to grow them. The jury is still out on the two planted last year, but I have a good feeling about them too. They will be popping up in no time.

The Calanthe came in a plastic bag with a little soil/sawdust and I potted them immediately and gave them a nice window to relax in until they could go outside. 'Yellow Lipsticks' is currently blooming happily in my kitchen window waiting for a new shady home.

My new intern, Cosette (aka "Coco") is also beginning her spring gardening lessons.

So far she's not doing very well, but I am optimistic she will get it all in time. It's a lot to take in.

She's slowly learning to stay out of the flowerbeds, but it's going to take a while. She finds moss and bark mulch irresistible and I spend a lot of time sweeping her mouth for things she shouldn't have. 

So far, she's perfected plucking out Crocus bulbs . At one point recently, I saw her streaking across the front yard with a wad of newly unplanted bulbs. She's now the reason daddy swears a lot.

Coco ripped off a substantial portion of a tree peony because it looked like a "stick". In one fell swoop she removed one fifth of the plant and ran around the yard like she'd discovered the best toy ever! She was so proud of herself!

She also recently met the owners of Xera Plants, Paul and Greg, and as we were chatting, walked up to some for sale plants and started pulling the leaves off. Oops, sorry about that!  

We're currently learning NOT to eat bumblebees on the Arctostaphylos 'Greensphere'. Coco is torn between obeying my yelling "No!" and her desire to taste test one. She doesn't yet know they taste like "spicy lightening"...

There is just so much to look forward to this year!

I just hope Coco doesn't develop a taste for fancy orchids or bumblebees...

Calanthe 'Yellow Lipsticks'
Intern Coco mulching a Camelia flower

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Loss of Yvee

In August, I lost my best gardening assistant.

There was no warning.

There was no chance for goodbye.

It broke my heart in many places.

But her contribution to my life, home and garden is immeasurable and I cannot thank her enough.

My assistant Yvette (Yvee) was spunky, sweet, obstinate, lovable, and very patient with me.

While she was very poor with a shovel and terrible at planting, her skills with stick and rock relocation and lawn fertilization were excellent.

She was good company too.

A constant presence in my heart and mind, even when she was with her other father.
In her garden, she was often like a flower soaking up the summer sun, just sitting and enjoying being outside.

When I would sit on the ground in front of flowerbeds to pick up leaves or pull weeds, she would eventually saunter over and climb into my lap to snuggle. No amount of daddy telling her he was busy was going to get her to budge. But the reminder to take off the gloves and "just be" was important. 

While I fussed in the garden, she could often be seen wallowing in her "holler", carelessly napping under the shade of the English walnut tree.

We would sometimes sit together on the front concrete stoop bundled in blankets to watch the sun set between the Arborvitae. Something I promise to do more of now.

In spring, I took her annual picture in front of the white Candytuft, almost like her First Day of School picture. It captured the passing of time and seasons. Each year, we both got a little more gray in the face.  

In the fall, we would sit by the back door, looking out over the garden, the smell of the Osmanthus fragrans dancing in our noses, the leaves would soon be falling.

We spent many nights sleeping in Shedteau Yvette, a garden cabin I had built for both of us. After a long day of gardening, we would head to the cabin and fall asleep together watching a movie. Sometimes I would leave the door open to enjoy the evening air and she would lay in her bed and peer into the dark. 

We often played a game in the morning, Yvee would avoid going to work with me by finding a spot on the sidewalk or by the back patio and sit defiantly, daring me to chase after her to get her in the car. She wanted to stay home in the garden. I did too.

She was happy to attend all my open gardens, casually greeting early visitors. If you arrived later, she may have been a little indifferent and only given a cursory hello to get a "pet pet" before wandering off to nap.

Yvee was well known at several nurseries, often traveling around in her blue wagon or happily sitting in a chair in the shade. As long as she could see me she didn't care how long I looked at plants.

She was not much for perusing plants though, especially in the heat, preferring to stay in the shade and hopefully getting some attention from passersby.

A favorite memory is Alan, Yvee and I going to the plant sale at Sebright and the wonderful ladies of Secret Garden Growers offered to watch her and gave Yvee tastes of their strawberry shortcake and whipped cream. Yvee had them eating out of the palm of her paws.

Yvee was loved by so many.

Thank you Yvee for being my assistant all these years.

I will always love you.

Daddy Mafufu

Baby "Raisinette"


Yvette Raisinette Kozak-Hubbard (03/12/07 - 08/30/18)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hey Fern! Introducing Pallaea ovata.

I sniffed out this little truffle at a local nursery. I had never seen anything like it and thought it was adorable!

Pellaea ovata (Ocateleaf Cliffbrake)

I have to admit that just like names of grasses, I have no knowledge of ferns, even though I have probably thirty different ferns in my garden and that doesn't count the ones that magically appear here and there, because Oregon...

My current story is that my brain is so full of all these other plant names, that I just can't remember the name of any fern beyond "Ghost", "Sword", and perhaps "Japanese Painted". And as far as fern Latin names - no chance!

Who's got time to learn all those funky fern names anyway...Ain't nobody got time for that!

This little cutie is called Pallaea ovata.(aka Ocateleaf Cliffbrake). See, they have to call it a "Cliffbrake" just to make it more confusing.

In addition to not knowing fern names, I also lack the botanical knowledge to properly describe ferns.

Where as Wikipedia would say about this fern: "They typically have creeping rhizomes and pinnately to bipinnately compound leaves lacking prominent scales or trichomes on the blades", I would say: "They have zig-zaggy stems with little paddle-shaped leafy-thingies and it's adorable so you should buy at least two".

It enjoys dappled shade, well-drained soil and seems to withstand quite a bit of drought so far and still looks adorable at the end of August. I apparently planted mine too close to the edge of the flower bed and it's been casually arching out into the grass for me to mow around.

Supposed to be Zone 7, but I have not yet overwintered it.

I have a feeling we will have a long friendship in the garden.

Pellaea ovata (Ocateleaf Cliffbrake)
Pellaea ovata (Ocateleaf Cliffbrake)