Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Visiting a Couple of Great Seattle Nurseries

Another Saturday with heavy rain and wind that make working in the garden not really an option had us venturing to Seattle to visit a couple of great nurseries there, one I'd visited before and one that I knew by reputation only.  This inclement weather does not bode well for a garden tended by a weekend warrior! 

Our first stop was City People's Garden Store.  You can see a post about a visit here that Alison and I made to this place last summer here.   Part of the nursery was closed off as they're getting ready for the season to come.  In just a couple of months those tables will be brimming with plant treasures of all kinds.  This is an urban nursery very close to downtown Seattle.  Notice all of the trees in the background?  One more reason to love the Pacific Northwest!

There were lots of great plants to be found in the other areas!  This Helleborus 'Golden Lotus'  seduced me.  There's always room for another hellebore, right?  (That's helly o bore to you, Alison)

Cute combination in this twig trug.  (try saying twig trug three times fast.  Go ahead, we'll wait.)

Helleborus 'Amethyst Glow' really did seem to glow with that thin band of amethyst around the deep purple of the petals.  Golden Lotus would have been lonely coming home alone.  It was the right thing to do.

I've admired H. 'Onyx Odyssey' for some time now.  I keep thinking that I have it so I didn't buy this one. When I get home and discover that I have a single very much like this, I kick myself for not buying it.  This has happened more than once.  Oh well, it was nice having a memory at one time. I think. 

Among the other agaves displayed outside were these Agave x leopoldii. Are these hardy here?

Baby Yucca 'Bright Stars' with their pink winter coloring.  I want them all!
I didn't get many pictures because of dodging raindrops the size of these cool glass eggs.  Once inside, it took a while for the camera lens to loose it's layer of condensation.  Lots of great house plants, including a nice variety of tillandsias and great garden and garden related merchandise populated the shelves of the mercantile part of the store that seems to keep going on and on. 

Do all gardeners like birds?  Do you? 
Next up is Swanson's Nursery which is celebrating it's 90th year.  When we visited, all perennials were on sale for 40% off! 

I love me some pots! 

Isn't it funny that once you become aware of a new variety of a plant, you seem to find it everywhere?  Helleborus 'Anna's Red'  is that plant for me this spring. 

This combination is unusual and one I plan to steal borrow emulate sometime -  Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' and Helleborus 'Penny's Pink.' Yum!

If the rain hadn't been falling so hard and sideways I could have spent more time exploring outside. Best to leave something for the next visit I suppose.

Popping inside the houseplant area to get out of the rain, we found a nice koi pond with active koi.  Ours are in their winter barely moving, not eating time so it was a delight to se these indoor guys having a grand time!

Kangaroo paws.   It's almost spring!  The radio announced today that NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is predicting a warmer than normal spring and summer this year.  The good news is that we have plenty of snow pack in the mountains to carry us through a dry season.  The bad news is.  Wait, there is no bad news!  Heat loving plants rejoice, this is your year! 

That being said, and it still being winter, there is an arctic air mass on its way down to us which is predicted to bring temperatures in the high 20's and snow in the lowlands from Saturday night  - Monday morning. Really?  Snow in March?  We are not amused!

Plastic pots in black, various terra cotta shades, brown, and...chartreuse!  Hmmm.

If you need a quick dose of saturated color...

Not the greatest picture but the combination of that heucherella and that tulip is outstanding!

I've been noticing Acorus gramineua 'Minimus Aureus' a lot lately.  It's a baby acorus, is evergreen, has nice golden color, and doesn't mind a little foot traffic or shade.  Must find a place for this cutie.

Helleborus niger 'Snow Frills'  (yes, nigers usually aren't as strong here as orientalis but aint it purty?)
Palm lined parking lot.  I look forward to visiting both of these fine nurseries again this year!

Across the street and up a block was this house.  Interesting.
I wish you a weekend of favorable gardening weather! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

And Now, The End is Near...

The end of the Garden Bloggers' Fling in San Francisco, that is.  On the final evening of the fling, there was a reception at Flora Grubb Gardens.  Before we take one more fond look back at that incredible place, here's a garden within walking distance of the store that was designed by the Flora Grubb team.  The garden is on a site which is popular with women of ill repute and their clientele.  The plants in this garden needed to be able to withstand some horizontal activity. (Californication?)  I'm thinking that the yuccas don't look too welcoming.  That must be why they're labeled "control plant."  (The full sign reads "Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant.") 

The plant choices are wonderful.  Ah, California...

Definitely a control plant! 

It's not a Bismarkia nobilis but it is huge and impressive!  Heavy sigh.

And there were several of them!

Our guide from Flora Grubb extolling the virtues of Grevillea ('moonlight'?)

This is a fairly young garden and it would be great to see it in a few years as the plants grow larger!  One more reason to revisit this area!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Giant squid on the beach? 
Pile of smelly seaweed?

Remains of an alien from outer space?

No, none of those.  Rather, this is what happened to my giant Zantedeschia aethiopica when we got our first freeze earlier this winter.  Sometimes gardening isn't pretty friends!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tough Love?

Last weekend, while driving from one nursery to another across town, we took a different route than usual.  It's nice when your travel companion is so accustomed to you hitting the brakes and pulling over for no apparent reason that he doesn't even question what you're doing.  What caught my eye was a sight that might be commonplace to many of you living in other parts of the country or even nearby Portland but here in Tacoma, I'd never seen anything like it before.

A parking strip full of opuntias! (and grass.)

Looks pretty dangerous, right?
It exists in front of the "Share and Care House."  That's tough love if ever I've seen it!

This looks to have previously been a residential property.  So, was the garden the work of a home owner at some time?  Was it planted by the folks currently using the building?  Loads of soil had to have been brought in to make the berm that allows for sharp drainage.

There were other interesting plants present as well!  Notice the mahonia in the background, one of a pair at the site.  Would you want to be responsible for weeding this?

Not only one variety of opuntia but several were represented.

Variegated yucca looking gorgeous! 
So, we've found proof of a passionate gardener  having been here at some time.  Perhaps I'll call the Care and Share House to see if anyone there knows about their parking strip.  Until then, we're left to wonder at this enigmatic sight.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show - So Many Vendors, So Little Time!

While everyone who attends the NWFGS enjoys the show, some people are especially fond of the seminars, others favor the demonstration gardens, and some revel in the shopping bonanza to be found in the vendor area.  Over three hundred purveyors of plants, garden products, and art were present this year.  For a complete exhibitor list with links to websites, go here.  What follows is a tiny taste of the many exceptional things to see in the marketplace this year. 
Clever name, eh?

Bob from Blackwaters Metal, who I'd seen a few weeks ago at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show, had more great work and amazing prices.  This green man and a few other pieces  took a walk to the parking structure with me.  There were no chandeliers at this show but fortunately B.M. is about a 30 minute drive from my house so I can pick one up later!

For the second year, Bark and Garden brought a lot of plants.  They sure display evergreens nicely in this all mixed up fashon.  For an impulse buyers, this is perfect; for those who only shop with a list, it might not be as easy to find a particular plant if they're not all grouped together. 

 Les mentioned the great leaves of Helleborus 'Penny's Pink a few weeks ago and here they were at the show.  One of these needed to find a home in my garden because of that great foliage.  Now that the flower has opened, I'm twice as glad that I got this plant!

Look at all of the metal letters/numbers/symbols!   Had I been thinking more clearly, I would have picked a few choice words. 
Hopefully Release the Flying Monkeys, the company who sells these, will return to the show next year.

 Lost in a sea of orchids!

Keeping it Green Nursery had some special plants. 

I thought of a couple of English Bloggers who are avid Galanthus collectors.
 I'm sure I looked much like my header picture when seeing this for sale!

Tempted by Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' but it's not fully hardy here so it stayed.
 Eremurus roots remind me of sea creatures - octopi, squid, star fish.

Equal parts visual delight and great shopping was the space created by DIG, a creative force to be reckoned with. 

Crystalline glazed pottery is fascinating to me.  So many gorgeous pieces!

Like me, crows like to bring home all kinds of treasures.  The one in the center, made by Jack Willoughby of Anvil Island Designs, flew to a new perch in Tacoma!

There was a lot of beautiful glass at the show.  We are, after all, in a hotbed of glass in the PNW!

Glass Gardens Northwest/Barbara Sanderson is a perennial favorite at the show!

 Barbara's "Fiddlesticks" make me smile. 

Katy Lareau's fused glass flowers and bugs are lots of fun!

 These foot and a half long drops were gorgeous!

Fish in the Garden were a hit! 

Winfield Designs flowers will find a place in my garden. 

Just for Linda, recovering from surgery,  I looked at the vintage market for early and mid century  pottery.

Need a light fixture?  How about this beauty from the 1970's?  In the right setting this would be perfect! 

Perhaps you'd like to relax in your own mini medieval  library/guest house.  Little Mansions will deliver this diminutive beauty to your property!

If you're tired of working to create the garden of your dreams, The Mural Works can make it for you once and for all. This mural was painted on light weight metal and waterproofed so it can withstand the elements outside.  I'm thinking that my garage would look much nicer with this painted on it!

Not a vendor, rather a silent guardian of the Washington State Convention Center bids us farewell as we leave the show with our treasures.   I assume that this is an ornament from a now demolished historic Seattle building.  I looked for interpretive signage but found none.