a vase, a fave & a happy new year!

I have to go off subject a little bit to share something with you. Richard tends to be a creative speller (a source of some good belly laughs from time to time). He also leaves little notes. The day after the election, I found this one on the kitchen counter: “Keep clam and carry on.” It has become our anthem with every new preposterous event.

Picea o. 'Barnes'

Now back to the business at hand. I shared this little cutie last month here, as part of Danger Garden’s last Friday of the month party. I bought it with the intention of using it as our Christmas tree and here it is, all dressed up to help us celebrate the season.

I didn’t want to overburden it with baubles so only the red ornaments (most of them tiny) and lightweight tin icicles made the cut, with the addition of a few clip-on red birds. It is planted in a favorite big red pot, where it shall remain for a couple of years, at least. It would have been moved back outside by now but I fear the shock of the coming cold snap might do it in. We keep our house pretty cool so I think it will be OK inside for another week. Anyhow…consider this our belated Merry Christmas to you.

Our house has a split personality at present. While the Christmas tree remains, over on the dining table Monday’s vase strikes an entirely different mood. Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden keeps us on our toes by inviting us to forage for something to put in a vase every Monday all year long. The idea, of course, is to find material in our own gardens but when a lunch guest showed up bearing these lovelies, I knew I had to share them with you. At first, I plonked them in a tall cylindrical vase. It didn’t come close to doing them justice but I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of lunchtime chatter.

Roses, Stargazer lilies and Eryngium are more like something we would put together from our gardens than coming from Safeway.

Richard came to the rescue, arranging them in this big glass bubble with room to breathe. Brook, I do hope you see this and know that your spectacular flowers finally got the treatment they deserve.

And with that, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and to remind you, when things get rough, to “Keep clam and carry on”.

favoritism friday

Picea o. 'Barnes'

Picea o. ‘Barnes’

This gardener’s pets tend to come from the conifer category this time of year. Barney (above) will be pressed into service as our Christmas tree this year. I may keep it in a large pot close to the house, where its unique form and color can be truly appreciated. You may get another peek at this guy once he’s decked out in lots of bling.

Chamaecyparis 'Boulevard'

Chamaecyparis ‘Boulevard’

You wouldn’t know it now, but the above adoptee passed for dead (playing possum). Once the deadwood was trimmed away and wiggle room provided in a bigger pot, this guy got his handsome on. He wants to be BIG so I’m holding off releasing him into the ground until the right spot makes itself known.

Thujopsis dolobrata 'Variegata'

Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Variegata’

Look familiar? The only one of this trio to have been planted out is making an encore performance, cuz I love, love, love him. Danger Garden is the place to see what Loree is loving right now. Be sure to follow the comments at the end of her post to find other favorites in the month of November.

october fave

Schefflera davidii

Schefflera davidii

My favorite plant this month is not in my own garden but in the display gardens of Joy Creek. Just get a load of that enormous Schefflera.

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I couldn’t begin to get a photo that would do it justice, but believe me when I say that when the light catches the blooming stalk and dewdrops spangle the leaves, it’s enough to make one’s heart stop beating for a moment. On the last Friday of each month Loree, of Danger Garden fame, invites us to post about our favorites of the month.

last friday faves

Brunnera 'Alexander's Great'

Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great’

I’m crazy for these patterned leaves.

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I was just thinking that I needed more of these, when lo and behold: Baby Brunneras popped up nearby.

Rosa moysoii geranium

Rosa moysoii geranium

Finally, a nice crop of the shapely hips for which I purchased this rose from Roger Gossler at the Portland Fling.

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It’s not half bad in bloom, either…and the leaf shape is nice. Lots here to earn it “favorite” status, even though I claim not to be a rose person.

Hypericum 'Brigadoon'

Hypericum ‘Brigadoon’

A ground cover where you never need to weed? That’s favorite material right there. Then there are these fun flowers to seal the deal…plus it seems to escape the deadly rust that plagues its brethren.

The last Friday of each month is the time to round up your favorites (at the moment) and leave a link at the Danger Garden. I’m late, but there’s still time to join in or even just check it out. Warning: your list of must-haves may grow.

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And now for my favorite August sighting: see the little green guy hiding out in the pot of Sedums and Haworthias? He even hung out there long enough for me to fetch the camera and snap his pic.

friday faves

Begonia 'Polka Dot'

With Joy Creek Nursery just one hill over from our place, regular visits get to be a habit. That’s where I found Begonia ‘Polka Dot’. Next stop: Fred Meyer, where I spotted a pot with red glaze to match the undersides of PD’s leaves. I needed something to fill and spill and just happened to have a sedum on hand to do just that. It was a good day.

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Milkweed pods are bursting, releasing seeds equipped with shimmering paragliders to take them to parts unknown.

Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’

Pearly purple berries of the Beautyberry will be earning their name until the birds discover them.

Callistemon pityoides

Callistemon pityoides

Earlier in the month I celebrated the first time my Bottlebrush has bloomed. I look forward just as much to the gnarly pod thingies that will be left behind. Loree (Danger Garden) does a roundup of favorites on the last Friday of the month. Click through…you won’t be sorry.

month-end favorite

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My favorite plant in the garden right now is Artemesia versicolor. I ordered this a few years ago from High Country Gardens, one of my few ventures into the world of mail order.

Artemesia versicolor

Artemesia versicolor

I love the way it roils over the stone edging of this berm, reminding me of the crest of a wave breaking on a rocky shore. Loree (Danger Garden) brings us a chance to strut our favorites on the last Friday of each month. Won’t you join in?

these are a few of my favorite things

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Things can become favorites for any number of reasons: one being that they are new, so get more attention. Those tall metal fluted containers came from our Bloggers’ Bazaar.. from Loree (Danger Garden), who, coincidentally, hosts the roundup of favorites on the last Friday of every month. I knew immediately that the shorter of the two would be the new home of a small Agave that had been suffering from sunburn in the garden proper. It has a stripe down the middle of each leaf that matches the chartreuse of the pots.

Begonia rex ??

Begonia rex ??

My next assignment was to seek out a plant for the larger pot (I know…poor me). I had some preconceived ideas about what that would be, but at Drake’s 7 Dees I happened upon this begonia with heavily textured leaves in just the right colors. Running into Tamara (Chickadee Gardens), was a delightful surprise. She showed me around and pointed out a few plants that needed to come home with me. She joins Anna (Flutter and Hum) to make your shopping experience at the Scholls Ferry shop as fun as it is tempting.

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Having house guests is always one of the perks of summer, especially when they know you so well that they gift you with items like these. See that little guy in the front?

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Let’s zero in on him and see if anyone can tell me what he is, besides cute as a button. There are a couple of swelling nodes there that might be developing flowers to adorn the spiky hairdo, in which case I may have to reevaluate his gender (if that is even relevant in this day and age).

Astelia nervosa 'Westland'

I wasn’t sure the begonia was to be the perfect choice for that pot. Besides, I needed an excuse to visit Xera Plants. Astelia nervosa ‘Westland’ was closer to what I had in mind. When I got it home, I decided it belonged in a corner where a collection of metal containers holds sway…the better to show off its explosion of silvery leavesTanacelum densum ssp amani.

No way could I get out of that place with just one plant. Among others, this Tanacelum, with those feathery white leaves, spoke to me.

Stachys albotomentosa

Stachys albotomentosa

This peachy Stachys refused to be left behind. I asked Paul if I should wait until fall to put things in the ground and he assured me that this is a good time to plant if you do it properly. See his blog entry (HERE) to see what that means. His observations are fascinating but if you are impatient to get to the planting part, scroll down to the last couple of paragraphs.

kniphofia ‘percy’s pride’ is this week’s favorite

Kniphofia 'Percy's Pride'

Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’

I thought I was keeping pretty good track of this, strolling by it almost daily. Starting to worry that it might fail to bloom this year, suddenly, boom…there was the first bloom, fully formed. When did that happen?

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Encouraged, I checked on the one I had transplanted to Delusional Drive. See those little pokers poking through?

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I was worried about it because it is being invaded by a running bamboo (the lighter, almost yellow leaves). I think I’ll have to move Percy in the fall to get him out of her clutches, but for now he seems to be holding his own. Next Friday will be the last Friday of the month, so be sure to catch Loree’s (Danger Garden) roundup of favorites for July.

favorites roundup…yee haw

Euphorbia spiralis

This is my favorite plant this week: Euphorbia spiralis. The little plastic pot it lives in exactly fits into the decorative metal container that has a story of its own. When my mom was a girl, her dad had an East Indian friend (turban and all) who often had dinner with the family. As a thank-you for the many meals shared, he brought this (vase? tumbler?). My mom was a great “user” of things, so, being metal, it was one of the few treasures that lasted long enough to be handed down. I had tried to use it as a vase, but flowers wilted almost immediately…some kind of chemical reaction, I guess. I’m trending toward metal containers for Agaves and such, so this fits right into the scheme.

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On May 22, I included this Iris ‘Mahogany Beauty’ – thanks, Evan (Practical Plant Geek) for giving it a name – in a grab bag post.

Nectorosecordum siculum

Taken from my Bloom Day post for May, my favorite was nectaroscordum siculum. I haven’t done favorites posts throughout the month, so I decided to pull favorites from the month’s posts in order to join Loree (Danger Garden) for her favorites meme. Her garden is filled with rare and unusual plants, so it’s always interesting to see what she singles out as a favorite on any given week.

friday surprise

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This popped up in a mature bed and I nearly got rid of it. Sometimes sloth pays. I have no idea what it is, but I see a few of them along the roadside. Guess it must be a native. Ideas? I’m also going to call it my favorite this week, because I love surprises.

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Now for a little of this and a little of that. Our neighbor lost this cedar tree in the last big windstorm.

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After sawing the greater part of the trunk into logs (there in the background), the rest got ground into chips and those chips got dropped onto our side of the fence (I told you Jim is a great and generous neighbor). Three guesses how I have been spending my time. That prodigious pile of chips means many trips with the wheelbarrow. I don’t think I have ever done quite such a thorough job of mulching.

Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans'

The first Ceanothus to bloom is ‘Blue Jeans’.

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Delusional Drive was planned to depend on foliage for year-round interest, but the blue flowers are a welcome seasonal extra.

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On the other side of the drive, mounds of Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ pick up the blue note as a background for ‘Thalia’ and a smattering of other Narcissi.

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Get a load of that blue sky. Perfect background for the early (isn’t everything?) blossoms of the pear trees.

The first of the Rhodies to bloom is always PMB. This year is no exception, but the foliage is so ratty looking that the flowers haven’t a chance to make up for it. Instead, I give you ‘Janet’, in all her beauty: from bud:

Rhododendron 'Janet

to budding,

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to full blown, all happening at the same time on the same shrub. I hope your Friday held some wonderful surprises as well. Won’t you please tell me about them?

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