Blooms and foliage – August 2017

This has been a terrible summer for me, in terms of keeping up on blog memes – I have missed several months worth… Once (or was it twice?), I even missed my own, and had to play catch-up later in the day…  jeez… This glorious August day, I’m a day late for Bloom Day, but right on time for Foliage Follow-up. I don’t have a whole lot of current photos to offer you, but considering we were gone for almost two weeks during a record-setting heatwave, the garden is still alive and the plants thriving. I have someone to thank for that – 14 year-old Jasper, who did a SPECTACULAR job watering, and caring for my garden. I’m dedicating this post to him – that young man is a treasure!

First out – stunning Canna ‘Stuttgart’ capturing the day’s last rays of sunshine beautifully.

A NOID Echinopsis working its way through an overbearing Melianthus major. Keep up the good fight, Echi. You are so pretty, I might try to move you! The bumble bees LOVE this plant!

The sweet flowers and pearly buds of Myrtus communis – common Myrtle, which will eventually turn to blue, oblong berries. The evergreen leaves look fantastic year round.

What is the plural form of Clematis? Clemati?? Anyway, here is Durandii mingling with Rooguchi. Neither is happy, as they were in too much shade until I pruned back a Rubus lineatus, the other day, but there are a few blooms and buds on them.

A smaller type of Gladiolus (G. nanus ‘Atom’) needed my help to stand up to reach the nearby silver foliage of Brachyglottis greyii. I get the hint – not quite enough sun for this one.

By now, as tall as the original one, the supposedly shorter Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ quickly reverts to its taller version after the first year. I didn’t really mind. It adorns my hell strip.

Cute little flowers of Mahonia gracilipes. Not that the photo shows it, but he leaves have lovely, silver white undersides, which glow in the shade. Take my word for it – this is a great plant!

The many suns of Potentilla gelida are open. I really grow this plant for the foliage, but the flowers are kind of cute, too. Artemisia ‘Seafoam’ in the foreground.

A cute little annual – Thunbergia alata. Couldn’t resist – it cost me all of 80 cents! I think it was worth it, don’t you?

The wonderful yellow bells of Kirengeshoma palmata are opening up!

Green, dangly flowers of false Cannabis – Datisca cannabina. Such a stately plant!

My annual splurge of the summer – a Bougainvillea – which would not survive a winter here. The fab foliage in the background belongs to a Thuja plicata ‘Whip cord’.

One of my many Clematis crushes – Clematis ‘Kiri-te-Kanawa’.

Crappy photo, but the glossy and glorious leaves of Arisaema ringens make me happy every time I see them. Our native Adiantum draping down from above.

The airy foliage of Adiantum microphyllum juxtaposed with a couple of far heftier Aspleniums.

A slightly manhandled Octopus agave and some supporting friends in a pot, so it can be moved to wherever the sun is.

A young Eryngium – also in a pot, for easy migration.

Same with this Manfreda/Bolax gummifera combo, currently housed in a disintegrating remnant of a pot that didn’t survive the winter.

Head over to May Dreams Gardens and Digging for more goodies from around the globe.


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Wednesday Vignette – climbing wall

A gentle reminder that how we experience the universe, is largely a matter of scale.

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Wednesday Vignette – horizon lines and reflections

The past week was filled with new impressions from new (to me) places. A walk through a harbor isn’t necessarily a new experience, but it is one that every time I do it, makes me sadly aware I know next to nothing about either boats or sailing. Or about what is proper etiquette in a marina setting, for that matter. But, what I do know is that those sleek sailboats make me long for adventure – I wonder if it’s too late for this old dog to learn how to sail…? I like the smell of the sea, the sounds of the gulls, and the slight rocking of the dock. The few times I have actually experienced being onboard a sailboat gave me the same kind of rush I get from being on skis, so I know I would absolutely love sailing. But of course it takes both resources and a lot of time and work to adopt that kind of lifestyle. So for now, it will just remain a daydream…

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, may have seen one of the ones I’m posting today, but the other two are new.  In addition, I would like to introduce a couple of work samples of a new aspiring photographer – my youngest son who, on this vacation, suddenly took a rather acute interest in using my camera. He took the first two shots in today’s vignette. I must say, I enjoy the way he plays with perspective, and look forward to seeing what else will catch his eye in the future.

He said he was trying to photograph jellyfish, but I like the unintended part of the photo better. I like the reflection of the boat as much as I like the contrast of the bicycle in the aft.

Here, he crouched down to emphasize the water – to great effect, I think!

This was taken after the glowing red sun had disappeared over the horizon. The world was still, and the air hazy from surrounding forest fires. Apologies if you’ve seen this before, on IG. I thought It was worth repeating!

These fiery Heleniums were just an irresistible contrast to the wet waters behind them!

The train, the dry strip of grass, and the vast, cloudless sky made me pause.

Anything fun grabbed your attention this week?

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Wednesday Vignette – something in the air

I don’t have allergies – at least not yet. Other members of my family do, and when pollen season sets in, I count my blessings. The other day, if you stood just right, so the ridge of the roof on the old barn covered the ball of  incandescent gas that is our sun, you could see a remarkable sight. Thousands upon thousands of feathery seeds ethereally floating high up in the sky, making the sun appear almost as if it had a halo, as the light reflected off each one. Of course it was beautiful. But, as I marveled at the sight, I also sent grateful thanks to the Universe for – out of all the possible flaws it could have dealt me – it did not give me that particular one. (Plenty of others though, mind you…)

Close-up. Well, as close as I could get it, zooming in…

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Wednesday Vignette – foliar flair

This week’s vignette is a couple of snippets of what stirs up happiness in an otherwise overwhelmed heart. It seems my days are currently broken up by gazillions of little things that need tending to. Some near home, others clear across town. In terms of what I WANT to do, nothing gets done – and time just keeps on moving on. Meanwhile, I slip deeper and deeper into the backwash of life.

Anyway, enough whining… At least I got to have breakfast in the garden this morning, before I had to step on the hamster wheel. It was brief, but I enjoyed it very much. Here are a couple of shots of what aggravated my longing to spend more time out there…


Yucca rostrata and Brachyglottis greyii reaching for the sun.


Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ and Holboellia angustifolia engaged in conversation.

I hope to spend some quality time out there soon. Hope you all have a great week!


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Wednesday Vignette – where are the young’uns?

This past weekend, the annual Hydrangea walk/talk took place at Joy Creek Nursery. Maurice – one of the co-owners, and Hydrangea connoisseur exceptionel – walked a rather large group of interested gardeners through the expansive collection of non-trademarked Hydrangeas, telling stories and offering tidbits of great advice as well as interesting trivia. I was there too. Even though I wrote a post about them a few years ago, I still felt like I knew pitifully little about what makes one Hydrangea different from another, so I figured I’d learn a thing or ten. I did.


Do you notice anything peculiar about this picture?

Yup – I thought so. Me too. Very few – if any – were under 40. Which brings me to today’s conundrum… My question to you on this day of Worthy Vignettes – how can we bring young people into our merry fold? How can we show todays relatively nature averse youth the joy that can be had in being a gardener? Yes, I know gardens are not “natural”. In fact, they can even be thought of as being constructs of artifice. Even so, I like to think of them as our own little refuges – a place of solace where re-grounding of our scattered minds is allowed to take place. Maybe gardening is just something one adopts later in life? Either way, it just felt like there is no one to pass the baton to, and it made me sad. I’ll attach some shots from the tour as well, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter…



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Wednesday Vignette – missing the Rustbelt…


Went shopping for metal yesterday. It was more of a curiosity trip as I had no real goals to fulfill – I just wanted to see what was available. It’s been years since I shopped for scrap metal, and in those days I lived in Ohio – smack in the middle of the Rustbelt. As you can imagine, it was marvelous, and the selection was fantastic! And back then, at steel costing only 12 cents per pound, I was in heaven, even though the pounds tend to add up quickly.

This was a different experience. By now, scrap steel sells at 50 cents a pound. I’m not sure if that price is both reflective of rising costs on the commodities market, and the fact that steel industries aren’t half as abundant out here in the west, but I imagine both those facts have to do with it. Anyway, I had a fun hour there, and found one thing I can probably have some fun with.


There were abundant and varying lengths of piping that I though could be very useful to a cramscaper like myself, but the thick gauge of the steel made the cost rather prohibitive. A 1-foot piece of a 13″ diameter pipe clocked in at $22. Not too bad considering what one normally has to pay for a decent sized planter, but still… it’s scrap metal, for heavens sake!  Even though they can be relatively easily moved by rolling, the thickness of the metal made them both cumbersome and more expensive than they needed to be. And honestly, too heavy for me to lift. The staggered tubular planters I had in mind would no doubt look great, but, at that gauge, be way over-engineered, so I abstained. That will be a project for another day, with skimpier pipes. Next time…

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