Wednesday Vignette – now what?

Well, the inevitable happened – I am out of space on Flutter & Hum! So, until I figure out what to do to get some blog space back again, please bear with me. I wrote this week’s Vignette on my other blog – The Creative Flux – figuring I can still link to it from here. Apologies for this cumbersome mode of presentation… Hopefully I will find a reasonable solution soon!

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In a Vase on Monday – cabbage, anyone?

With some bolting ornamental cabbage “blooms”, I finally thought I had something interesting enough to share on this fun meme; In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy at Rambling In the Garden. Supposedly, the common name of this particular cabbage is “Stork Cabbage”. I still don’t know why… by now it’s certainly leggy enough to perhaps qualify for such a name. When I first bought it, they looked like giant white roses.

Here is what it used to look like, back in the autumn of last year.

I had five cabbage stalks, which was enough for two vases. I also employed a few marbled leaves of Arum italicum, and a lone broken off leaf from a variegated Stinking Iris – Iris foetida variegata. (Such a rude name for such a lovely plant, in my humble opinion.)

Here is the first arrangement…

… and here is the second.

A friend gave me this cool, yellow, ceramic pitcher. I’ve been dying to use it as a vase, and it is perfect for balancing these heavy, rangy cabbage stalks.

Maybe it’s its storky legs that gave Stork cabbage its name? Who knows, but now that I thought that thought, that leaf surely looks like an oversized Arum thong, don’t you think?

Closeup of the bolting beauty.

I really like the purple tinge that accompanies the bolting…

… and the little purple flower buds that are emerging.

Thanks, Cathy, for a fun meme!

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Wide vistas and wet closeups

We had the most wonderful long Easter weekend with friends in their log cabin on the Deschutes River, near Mt. Bachelor. The weather was wonderful, and over the course of our stay, we both skied and paddled, ate and toasted like royalty, enjoyed each others’ company, and played lots of fun games. It was just perfect! Crossing back over the Cascades, the snowy raindrops that started falling at the high altitudes served as a good indicator of what kind of weather awaited us back in Portland. Not that I minded so much – supposedly the weekend on this side was beautiful, dry and sunny, and the gardens could surely use a sprinkle or two. Besides, I’m still on a bit of a high from our time in the high desert.

Canada goose nesting

The first thing I saw when I woke up the first morning was a Mother Goose, nesting on her eggs, on top of the shed roof. We did our best not to disturb her.

Deschutes river in the morning mist

In the same golden light, the morning mist rising from the river.

Sunrise over the Deschutes River

Maybe there was just a little frost…

Paddling the Deschutes

We went kayaking one afternoon.

Trees reflecting in water

Morning or night, the river is so peaceful…

Young pine by the Deschutes

The wooded lot was full of Pines, whose long needles carpeted the ground.

Carpet of Pine needles

They were everywhere!

Deck built around a tree

This massive tree was spared when the deck was built. I really love that!

Seed heads

Yellowed seed heads from Yarrow and other flowers from the past summer remained standing. I have no idea what this one is, but its light, airy geometry was just lovely!

Easter eggs

While the others painted eggs…


Pine needle wreath

…I gathered up some of the pine needles and other finds, and made a wreath. Lesson learned is that it is far easier if you have a wire frame to start with. The wreath was meant to be round, but when hung, it turned into an oval. Oh well…

Birds nest with chocolate eggs

The eggs in the birds nest are Cadbury dark chocolate eggs – my nemesis in the weeks leading up to Easter. Thankfully, since the festivities are now behind us, it will now be another year, before those addictive little morsels are offered up for sale again.


Our host is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. This memento adorned the door.

Summit, Mt Bachelor

The view from the Mt Bachelor summit was somewhat otherworldly with the glittering snow and trails criss-crossing the sky.

Reluctantly this morning, we left this wondrous place, and headed back to urban reality again, grateful to our friends for yet another fun getaway, companionship, and new, fond memories. Almost the first thing I did when we reached home was check on the garden. It turns out, the warm days they had, did have an impact. I made a few fun discoveries:

Dodecatheon in fern table

I was thrilled to see that the Dodecatheon I snuck into one of my fern tables is waking up. Wonder what is eating it, though…

Syneilesis and Dicentra combo

A Syneilesis and Corydalis* combo, aimed at recreating a spring vignette I admired in the gardens of Joy Creek last year. Can’t wait for these two to fill out a little! Note how perfectly the half-open umbrella form of the Corydalis* flowers complement the emerging Syneilesis leaves – I just love that! (UPDATE: Pauline kindly pointed out that I had erroneously called the Corydalis a Dicentra. Mistake amended – thanks Pauline!)

Arisaema ringens

Purchased a couple of years ago from the garden gods at Xera Plants, this miracle plant thrills me to no end – from the moment it pushes through the soil in spring. It will soon light up my garden with some of the most stunning leaves you ever saw…

Unfurling Tassel fern

The croziers of a Tassel fern starting to unfurl. They have that wet, newborn look to them, like an unlicked foal.

Thalia narcissi

By now, I’m getting a little tired of daffodils, but Thalia is always welcome. I didn’t think I had any left, but there she was!

Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane'

One of my absolute favorite tulips coming on strong; Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’.

Daphne genkwa

Daphne genkwa in full bloom never disappoints.

Checkered Fritillarias

The nodding bells of a few Fritillarias make me happy, although apparently someone has found it quite edible.

Swamp orchid

Another fern table surprise… a type of swamp orchid purchased at last year’s Hortlandia is pushing up its spotty leaves. Fun to see it again!

Scopolia carniolica

And finally, last week’s black buds of Scopolia carniolica have opened into those adorable dark red bells I love so much.

It’s good to know that life doesn’t come to a halt just because I leave town for a few days. Quite the contrary, actually! 🙂






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Wednesday Vignette – twists and turns

It’s been a twisty, turny week. The good news is that last week’s vignette isn’t entirely totaled, as I had feared. So, my twisty week took a turn for the better. Wonder what’s behind the next bend in the road…

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The Pod invasion and a few other fun things

Let’s take a look at what is brewing in the garden, shall we?

The tiny emerging leaves of this little Epimedium ‘Bandit’ brought a smile to my face when I noticed it. When I stuck it in the first fern table I ever built, I wondered whether it was dead or alive. This morning, I got the answer. Gotta tell you – it made me ridiculously happy to see it!

Having in my possession a number of seemingly empty  – or struggling – 4″ pots of former goodies, I built another fern table last week. The empty spots you see are actually not empty. They are just… dormant, shall we say? I realized when putting together this table that fern tables are to pot ghettos what soups are to refrigerator cleanings – a marvelous opportunity for putting together something unique with whatever you happen to have on hand. Even if I, over the time I’ve had them, have brought them to the brink of death – here is a chance to give them a spot in the limelight, where I can observe them up close. I’ve also found that gardening is a game of patience. Given enough time, there is still some life in some of those tiny roots, and one day, I just might be delighted – like with that little Bandit previously mentioned! Trust me – this will fill in, and look lusher with time.

You see that leafy marvel on the lower right? It’s a Scopolia carniolica – previously unknown to me. Often used as groundcover, it gets these most adorable little red bells that hang underneath those leaves. In my opinion, this is a plant best enjoyed up high, where you can see those cute little flowers.

The buds look almost black – I’m so excited to see them!

Slightly below the Scopolia on the same fern table, is a recovering Haquetia epipactis nestled next to Selaginella kraussiana ‘Brownii’. Can’t get enough of those green flowers. Next year, there’ll be more!

I always thought the lung-like leaves of Jeffersonia diphylla were so fun and weird, this one got a prime spot on my first fern table. In a post I wrote a few weeks ago, I thought this plant was J. dubia. Now that the leaves are up, I realize I was wrong. Sadly, I’m still looking for the whereabouts of J. dubia. Might it have gone to the inventory of the damned?

A week or so ago, it flowered!

This little vignette caught my eye from my second fern table – a cyclamen leaf that found a way through a crack in the rotting old log.

Some of my favorite signs of spring are the fuzzy spikes of the Shredded umbrella plant – this is Syneilesis palmata against the backdrop of a floppy Farfugium leaf. (It seems I need to cut that one back and mulch the crown of the Syneilesis.)

I noticed that last year’s foliage of Disporum cantoniense ‘Fat Boy’ has taken on this striated texture that I thought was kinda cool! Since I bought it, this plant has changed name, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what the new name is. To me, it will always be ‘Fat Boy’.

This is one of those plants I specifically bought to use in a fern table; Oxalis magellanica ‘Nelson’. It blooms with the most adorable little white flowers!

I have a rather large clump of Podophyllum pleianthum – the Chinese Mayapple. You can see it emerging here, along with the ever spreading Arisarum proboscideum – or Mouse Plant.

Here it has spread several feet to invade a little vignette consisting of Arisarum, Erythronium, and Adiantum venustum.

But these are the most travel happy of the Pods. They came up right around a black Hellebore, far away from the mother plant on the other end of the garden. They must have arrived as seeds, carried by some kind of animal. I know I didn’t plant one there. Tomorrow I’m going to try to dig one up for a friend. Not a moment too soon. Before long, if left to their own devices, they would be towering over that little Hellebore!



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Wednesday Vignette – cursed like clockwork

It seems I’m blessed with a curse. For the fourth time in as many years, whatever car I was in, and I were hit by standing at, or near, a standstill. It happened again yesterday. Each time, it is in such an unlikely situation – about as odd as if a crane would drop something on you. It’s never my fault, but I have this powerful attraction to road fools. This time, I was on my little residential street, in the correct lane, waiting to turn left onto a bigger road, indicating so with my blinker. Oddly enough, I was hit from behind. How does that even happen?? I’m not sure what to do other than roll with it. At least no one was hurt. Other than my poor truck. For having been standing still, these damages are the worst ones yet. She managed to scrape the entire side – all three panels – AND hit my front wheel. It is my hope that this is it for this year. Onward, forward…

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Wednesday Vignette – emergence

“…where did the universe come from?”, he asked. Incredibly, he figured it out.

Where does anything come from? These days, things are constantly emerging, out of cold, dark, wet soils, leaves of life forms emerge, like the crumpled wings of butterflies, unfolding from a chrysalis – like thermal energy emanating from a black hole. What a great irony that the master of the universe died in spring. Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking.

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