Monday, November 18, 2013


Black walnut fall color at its best!
I was in the garden over the weekend cleaning up leaves, but trying not be too fussy with the clean up. Just getting the "big chunks" as it were. There are still so many leaves to fall yet, it's not worth the effort to do too much more.

As I grabbed handfuls of leaves out of pokey juniper plants, part of me was lamenting the coming of winter, darkness, rain and all the work in the yard that still needed to be done.

So many things to do and not enough time, strength, or money to do them.

That's when I started to worry about silly things, like being alone for Christmas for the first time in nearly a decade, second guessing my recent decision to change to a new medication (the former regimen keeping me alive for the past ten years), and whether I could afford to go to my little brother's wedding in the Riviera Maya, Mexico next year AND see my ailing father in Wisconsin. I can't do both unfortunately. 

Must remember to use those long tweezers to remove these leaves and not a bare hand!
What snapped me out of my worrying blues was removing some dead leaves from the stem of a tree peony and seeing the fat, pink buds underneath. It was next spring on a stick! So much to look forward to in those chubby buds.

That's when I realized, I shouldn't be sad about winter - I should be daydreaming about spring, the special "crazy plant" person who has recently come into my life, and all the future that's out there just for me.

Life is the hope held in big, fat, flower buds and not in that pile of dead leaves on the ground.

Do I still have to clean them up...???

Basket Case Kitty

At a local greenhouse over the weekend, I was wondering the cactus and pots, looking for some little thing to bring home.

I came across a display of hanging baskets with a coco fiber liners.

While I don't generally do hanging baskets (they dry out too quickly and require too much daily watering), it did seem like a good way to keep the dirt in the basket and have perfect drainage. Next time I have a greenhouse, I will definitely try one out perhaps with an orchid. 

In the neighboring basket liner was this: 

Kitty seemed quite happy in it's coco bed - just the right size for snuggling/lounging in.

So if you have any extra coco liner baskets, they apparently make excellent kitty beds. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

An Evening of Lights at Al's

OMG - it can't be Christmas time just yet!

We've barely past Halloween and already it's time for Christmas trees and holiday lights.

Saturday was "An Evening of Lights" at Al's Garden Center in Gresham. This was my first time to visit this particular Al's, and boy it's located in the boonies of Gresham.

My plant pal John and I bought a beer and a glass of wine and wandered through the greenhouses, soaking in the holiday entertainment and displays of Poinsettias (all for sale, of course). I don't think either of us was quite ready for the festive holiday spirit.

There were a few decorated trees to enjoy, as well as a small selection of real trees and shrubs in Santa's Tree Farm. Since Christmas is still so far away, they were not selling actual cut trees just yet.

It is interesting to note that Euphorbia pulcherrima (aka Poinsettia) is indigenous to Mexico and Central America and was introduced into the U.S. in 1825. Now bazillions of them are cultivated (and later murdered) around the world - just for Christmas. 

There are so many new colors and varieties of Poinsettia, that there is something for everyone.

'Premium Picasso'
'Arctic White'
Such a cute squirrel!

'Cortez Electric Fire'

Vancouver Chrysanthemum Society Show

On Saturday, I popped over to Vancouver to see the 68th annual Vancouver Chrysanthemum Society show held at the Clark Public Utilities Service Center.

It was a lovely little show with some pretty spectacular flowers.

I'm afraid that I was too busy looking, smelling, and admiring the flowers, that I didn't really notate too many names. 

The tables in the back of the room had all the formal floral arrangements.

'Satin Blue'

'Hoka Honon'

Monday, November 4, 2013

Curses You Wrong Tag!

You know that feeling when you see a lovely healthy plant and you just have to have it, but then you see the price tag and decide that although your love for plants is great, so is your desire to eat and have a roof over your head.

So, then when you happen to come across the same plant, only in a tiny pot, for a fraction of the cost, you scoop it up, do a little "happy dance" and then hug the plant to your chest, while smiling all the way to the check out counter, where you hand over your retirement money to the nursery cashier.

I recently had this experience with a cactus, a Huernia to be exact. The nursery had a lovely big hanging basket with an amazing, and stinky, Huernia for $35.99. 

It was similar to this flower - I forgot to take a picture at the time.
I found among the long bench of cactus, a smaller plant for $5.99 that had the same tag, with the same information on it.

That's when I got that feeling and grabbed the plant for my cart.

I got gypped! But, I also kinda like it! Huernia procumbens?
Fast forward a month and the bud on the plant I brought home opened and it was clearly not the same flower.

I was a little bummed, but if I had not seen the big plant, and only saw this pink starfish cutie, I'm sure I would have bought it anyway and been just as happy.

Have you ever been gypped (bought a mislabeled plant) and how did it turn out?

Chrysanthemum 'Gertrude'

Last week, Portland had the first frost of the Fall.

The cold immediately got to the more delicate plants and turned them to goo (goodbye Red Tiger Musa, Dahlias, Coleus, and Impatiens).

I picked a bunch of Mums in anticipation of the pending cold. I had a feeling they might be toast after two days of morning frosts. The plants came through fine, but the frost burnt the petals on the lovely Chrysanthemum 'Quan Yon Hung' I had been following, turning them into doodoo.

My assistant Yvee say's "What's this stuff? My butt is cold!"
But, 'Gerty' made it through and is still opening her lovely flowers and with a furriness that's quite charming.

Gerty has lots of buds to open yet!

Chrysanthemum 'Gertrude'