Wednesday Vignette – so very pettable…

If there is one thing I regret this time of year, it is that I don’t have enough sun in my garden to make all those wonderful grasses happy. On the other hand, I love hanging out in the cool, luxurious shade I have so much of, and hide from the Death Star when it pummels the world with its rays. I think I will always opt for shade if given the option, but it sure would be nice to be able to look out from my protected perch, onto a sunny scene of soft, graceful grasses, contrasted with dramatic, spiky, architectural plants. Maybe in my next garden I can make that happen. For now, I’ll just admire their sun-drenched softness wherever I can.

This is Pennisetum purpureum (Purple fountain grass) - an annual in these parts, but still... Isn't it delicious?

This is Pennisetum purpureum (Purple fountain grass) – an annual in these parts, but still… Isn’t it delicious? The flowers are so very pettable!

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Wednesday Vignette – ocean treasures

During our last day on the southern Oregon coast, we ventured into town, and came upon this incredible fish, made with sea trash that had been washed ashore and collected. Turns out, Henry the Fish, and many other fantastic sea creatures have been created by a wonderful organization called WashedAshore.org, and its headquarter just happened to be in Bandon, where we were. We spent a good chunk of time in their nearby gallery. If you are ever in Bandon, check them out. It will be well worth your time. If not, you can learn more about them via the link above. I felt a certain kinship with this organization, as I’m one of those people that often pick up trash after others. But my efforts end there – these people are artists, and their work really makes you stop and think. Usually whatever I pick up just end up recycled (rather than re-purposed) or disposed of safely. What they do is far more fun! Their mission is well worth celebrating, so here goes – Happy Wednesday!

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Double Whammy Bloom Day – July and August 2016

Okay, so I started a Bloom Day post for July. By the time I got back to it, it was closer to the August Bloom Day than the July, so I never posted it. So, for this month’s Bloom Day, you will get a double whammy – a Two-Month Special.🙂

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Other than a heat spike in early June, our summer over here in western Oregon has been amazing, so far. I know – people who like it hot will most definitely disagree, as temperatures have fluctuated between high 60’s and low 80’s for weeks now. But to a heat-shy Swede like myself, this kind of weather equals perfection! It seems the plants like it too. For one thing, the flowers last a lot longer. Star jasmine and various lilies have perfumed the garden for over a month now. I have absolutely no complaints! Let’s take a look at what else is out there, shall we?

I planted this NOID Yucca in a tall pot with a couple of Chenille plants (Acalypha hispida). The pot cracked, so now I need to glue it back together before the roots are harmed. Never a dull moment, huh?

I planted this NOID Yucca in a tall pot with a couple of Chenille plants (Acalypha hispida). The pot cracked, and a big chunk of it fell off, so now I need to glue the two pieces back together. As if I didn’t have enough other things to do… Never a dull moment, huh?

Wonderful purple cups open up to reveal

Wonderful purple cups open up to reveal…

...this. Lovely Calandrinia spectabilis. Just learned it is only marginally hardy here in the PNW, so it might just turn out to be one of the more expensive "annuals" I bought this year.

…this. Lovely Calandrinia spectabilis. Just learned it is only marginally hardy here in the PNW, so it might just turn out to be one of the more expensive “annuals” I bought this year.

Myrtus communis - the common Myrtle is blooming.

Myrtus communis – the common Myrtle is blooming.

The buds are adorable too - like little pearls.

The buds are adorable too – like little pearls.

I think this is a male flower of my Datisca cannabina. Unless, of course, of course it is a developing female flower.

I think this is a male flower of Datisca cannabina. Unless, of course, of course it is a developing female flower. I’m not quite sure how to tell the difference. This photo is from July.

Datisca cannabina flower

By now, the flowers look like this – lovely green dangles that weep over me.

Datisca cannabina with feather

Here, one of the dangles have caught a downy feather in flight.

This daredevil spider tempts fate by weaving his web between the hungry stalks of the Sarracenias.

Sarracenias

More Sarracenias. I’m still learning how to care for these plants. Meaning, I can never be sure they will still be there from day to day. Fingers crossed I don’t kill them – I have about six different kinds, so chances are good that I screw up on at least a couple.

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This bee made me smile, standing on its head in the Clematis blossom.

Agapanthus 'Storm Cloud'

Not much beats the blue of Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’.

Clivia in bloom

So excited to see my Clivia in bloom. The poor thing has apparently been targeted both by birds and a shedding shrub, but its hot orange shines on in its shady corner.

Eryngium 'Tiny Jackpot'

A cute little Eryngium called ‘Tiny Jackpot’.

Fly on Canna

A fly making a touchdown on the showy landing pad of Canna ‘Cleopatra’.

The flowers of Canna 'Cleopatra' are as two-tone as the leaves.

The flowers of ‘Cleopatra’ are as two-tone as the leaves. Reds and yellows with orange markings.

Conca d'Or lilies

Flopping all over in half shade, there were enough Conca d’Or lilies to make a nice bouquet.

Dianella

Pretty blue flowers of the Dianella. This isn’t a plant you grow for the flowers, though. It’s the turquoise berries that develop later that will knock your socks off. Thanks so much for this, Marian!🙂

Albuca spiralis

The crazy spiral leaf of Albuca spiralis. Such a cool plant! I can pull on those leaves and watch them retract over and over and over again. It is supposed to be hardy here in Zone 8. Still haven’t made my mind up about whether I should keep it in a pot and move it indoors in winter, or if I should take a chance and plant it in the ground. Maybe if I mulch it properly, it would make it, don’t you think?

Albuca spiralis flowers

This is what its flowers looked like. They bloomed in July, and are done now.

Kniphofia 'Percy's Pride', a green flowering Amaranth, and the foliage rosettes of Echium cancans.

Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’, a green flowering Amaranth, and the foliage rosettes of Echium cancans.

Here is Percy again - such a cool plant!

Here is Percy again – such a cool plant!

I liked how the light struck this tattered Amaranth leaf.

I liked how the light struck this tattered Amaranth leaf.

More green flowers! Hydrangea 'Little Lime' is taking on a few pink tones, but is still noticeably green - hooray!

More green flowers! Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ is taking on a few pink tones, but is still noticeably green – hooray!

This will one day become a planter. I have no excuses as to why it hasn't already. I like the orange Crocosmia with the prickly thorns of the Solanum leaves.

This will one day become a planter. I have no excuses as to why it hasn’t already. I like the orange Crocosmia with the prickly thorns of the Solanum leaves.

I'm ashamed to admit that this Asclepia is still in its nursery pot, and STILL blooming its heart out. Haven't seen any Monarchs yet, though, so I'll keep trying. Maybe if I find it a good spot, they will come...?

I’m ashamed to acknowledge that although this variegated Asclepia is still in its nursery pot, it is STILL blooming its heart out. Haven’t seen any Monarchs yet, though, but I’ll keep trying. Maybe if I find it a good spot, they will come…?

Another presence I keep around the garden mostly for the color echo to the orange flowers, is my cat. Just kidding - he's my all around gardening pal. When temperatures soar, he inspires me to find a shady spot, and rest awhile.

Another presence I keep around the garden mostly for the color echo to the orange flowers, is my cat. Just kidding – he’s my BFF all around gardening pal! When temperatures soar, he inspires me to find a shady spot, and rest awhile.

Anisacanthus - Hummingbird bush

The Anisacanthus is in full bloom. Humming birds LOVE this plant – at least as much as they love Fuchsias, I’d say.

Abutilon and Amaranth

After being moved into more sunlight, all of a sudden, this Abutilon started pushing out blooms. So glad I finally figured out how to please it – here with the long tassels of a Love-Lies-a-Bleeding Amaranth.

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Chocolate Cosmos – shot in the back. Cowardly, I know, but the light through those petals was irresistible!

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‘Vancouver Centennial’ – I really liked the leaves of this Pelargonium. The hot coral flowers are totally acceptable to me too. See – I’m slowly overcoming my aversion to at least a few annuals.🙂

I'll end this post with yet another green flower. After all, I love them so! Here is Papyrus 'King Tut' looking awfully stately in the sunlight.

I’ll end this post with…  yet another green flower. After all, I love them so! Here is Papyrus ‘King Tut’ looking awfully stately in the sunlight.

Click over to Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what other August gardens around the world offer. Her post this month made me long for some more rain now that the heat has hit the Pacific NW… (I’m eternally grateful for the respite we got, with mild-mannered weather for most of the summer.)

 

 

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Wednesday Vignette – a compositional oddball

On vacation this week, spending a few magical days in beautiful Bandon, OR. Amusing myself chasing wildlife through a lens. I find animals are hard to photograph. So, I figured out that by using the sports setting on my camera, I can get a series of sequential photos, hopefully one of which will turn out. Here I was chasing the seagull. As a result of cheating with the sports setting, I end up deleting a boatload of shots, and I almost deleted this one as well. It doesn’t conform to any of the compositional “rules” I usually adhere to, but there is something about it that speaks to me. I like the horizontal linearity of it alright, and the colors are beautifully saturated. But the elements in the foreground puzzle me. The potentially graceful and elegant grasses are cut short and pushed to the front margin, the monolithic Table Rock is truncated and lumped in with the grasses on the lower left, making that corner far visually weightier than the others. I guess the soaring bird serves as some kind of counterpoint, but still, I’m not sure why I feel it works as well as it does. Maybe it’s just me, but I like this oddball shot. Perhaps it can serve as a reminder that formulas aren’t always needed, and that it is okay stretch boundaries and bend rules.

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Wednesday Vignette – some well-earned rest

My turn isn’t quite up yet, but soon. But several friends have had massively busy weeks, that ended spectacularly well. I just met up with three of them to celebrate. After juggling far too many heavy-weight agendas for far too long, enduring short and sometimes sleepless nights – now all is relatively still, and well in their worlds. I saw this resting bumble bee, and thought of the carefree bliss of its chosen napping spot. It made me think of my kids’ early years, when they would fall asleep right where they happened to be, without a worry or a care in the world. So very different from the complexities of the adult world. I wish my friends a long, dreamy, restorative night, where protective darkness wraps around them like the sunlight does this bumble bee, and allows them to recharge. They have all earned a very good night’s sleep. As for me – a few more days, and I too will be on vacation. Wo-hoo!!! I feel like I’ve earned it too.🙂

Resting bumble bee

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Wednesday Vignette – buried?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have driven past this place. Yet, I had never noticed these oddities before the other day. What are they? Well, of course they are shrubs, manicured beyond definition, but that’s not what I meant. What I meant is – what ARE they?

That obelisk thing is of course a tomb stone, but that's not the one I'm talking about. I wonder about the green tombstone. The one in the background.

That obelisk thing is of course a tombstone, but that’s not the one I’m talking about. I wonder about the green one. The one in the background.

Here are some more of them.

Here are some more of them, interspersed among their granite equivalents.

For all intents and purposes, they look like plants acting like tombstones. Their random placement and their forced, upright, polished perfection give them away. I can just hear the dialog at the funeral home; “…. A less expensive, and more temporary option is our living rock. Naturally – to make it easy on families, you understand – it comes with a standard maintenance contract, which includes watering and regular pruning…. Oh yes, fertilizer is built in, so to speak. Once the living rock has lived out its life, your plot will be passed on to a different user…. Pardon, what was that? Oh no, it is very rare that the life span of our green option is shorter than the mourning period. It is very practical that way – so much less to worry about…”

What do you all think? Is that what they really are? I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw them. So very quirky and weird… I don’t think I’ve ever seen its like before. Have you?

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Vignette – let there be light

Is it just me, or did it feel like the past few weeks were just a long sequence of utter devastation? Starting with the bloodbath in Orlando – from there, it seemed to just snowball. Wherever you looked, there was trauma, tragedy and pain – here on the home turf, as well as around the globe.

Someone (I think it might have been another blogger) wrote that she’d spent a lot of time out with her ferns, of late. When I read that, I knew exactly what she meant. Being enveloped in the soothing, cooling green of a garden, restores ones tattered senses and repairs a shredded soul. I am so privileged to have even a small garden, in which to hide from the violence of the world. I’ve spent a lot of time out there lately, chomping away at one project after the other. One night, I was playing with lighting, and managed to get this photo.

Manihot

Somehow it sums up exactly what I want to do, moving forward. I want to point my light onto what is beautiful in the world. Too many lights are highlighting the greedy, the ignorant and incompetent, the disturbed, the bizarre. (Yes, I’m talking to you too, RNC.) Instead, I would like the light to flood the already bright, the enchanted, the generous, the compassionate, and the kind. I’m not proposing that the ills of the world will go away if we ignore them – au contraire! I’m thinking if  instead we allow the good to outshine the bad, maybe – just maybe, at some point – it will push back the wave of darkness currently sweeping the world, and we can breath a little easier. Let there be light!

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