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.

Monday, September 26, 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Sometimes the Flowers Win

It's officially autumn and the migration of plants from outdoors to in has begun.  When my niece visited she bet that I wouldn't have space in the greenhouse for all the plants that need to come in. Some plants have made their way into the people house for winter and more shelving has been erected in the greenhouse.  I'm hoping to prove her wrong but it seems that someone may have too many tender plants.  How could this have happened?  It would appear that, like puppies, plants don't stay the same size as they were when you brought them home. Go figure.    In keeping with the migratory theme, I chose three ceramic birds that I got when I was in seventh grade and had my very first job in a gift shop.  (They aren't migratory birds but suspend disbelief for a moment.)

The contents of the vase simply wouldn't cooperate and kept flopping all over the place.   A wiser person might have tied the stems together before putting them in the vase.

The hardy fuchsias are still blooming like there's no tomorrow, bless them.  Japanese Anemones, and a few sprigs of Calluna vulgaris 'Peter Sparks' which had to come home with me because of the name.

A late bloom of Parahebe perfoliata, and foliage from Lonicera nitida, Senecio vira vira, and Sambucus nigra got thrown in.

 Oh yes, and a bit of Origanum 'Kent Beauty' caught my eye as well. 

Would any of this stand up in the middle of the vase?  No.  It all wanted to flop over to the sides.  Oh well, sometimes the flowers win.
 Hopefully you were more successful in exerting your arranging ability over the contents of your vase this week.  In A Vase On Monday is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  Click here to see what others have found to bring inside to brighten their week. Thanks again Cathy for hosting and inspiring!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Steve and Claudia's Paradise Part Two; The Place

And now for something completely different.  Here's a brand new collection of bog plants just outside the dry greenhouse.

Sempervivum-filled hypertufa troughs also came west with the Casebolts.

Steve built this Martha Stewart-designed structure for one row of grapes.  If it is as functional as it is beautiful, he'll build more for the rest of the vines.

Tomatoes looking healthy and happy.

In the summer, sleeping outside on the upper deck outside the bedroom is a special joy. 

Pieces are judiciously placed in the shade gardens.  Although the couple have owned this magical place for twenty five years, they've only lived and gardened here for the last few.  It was a joy to hear Steve and Claudia talk about their plans for each area.

The choice to augment the native growth in many areas rather than pulling it all out gives the place the feeling of an ancient wonderland.

Katie, the official tour guide was as warm and friendly as her people. 

Rose hips and asters adorned the beach.

When the tide is in, this boat dock comes in handy!

Happy Madrone heavy with berries.  Can you imagine how stunning this will be when the berries turn red?

Ah, that beautiful bark...

Steve must have heard Loree saying that ferns are the new succulents as he started all of these from spores to use in the stumpery on which he's currently working.

This tree top snapped off in a storm and somehow landed perfectly vertically upside down.  

Doesn't this seem like a beautiful place to spend an afternoon?

The good news is that you can stay  even longer.  Click here to see the Airbnb listing.

Thank you so much Steve and Claudia for opening your beautiful garden and home to me and for sharing so many cool stories about your travels and artistic creations!

Happy first weekend of autumn everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Steve and Claudia Casebolt's Paradise Part One: The Plants

I met Steve and Claudia when the Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society came to visit my garden. They're delightful people with whom I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon last month.  Steve is a retired science teacher who began his career in pacific northwest but then took what was to be a one-year job in the Boston area.  Twenty years later, Steve and Claudia returned to the home they'd bought all those years ago bringing with them Steve's collection of cacti and succulents for which he built a greenhouse.  Today, we'll look inside the greenhouse at some of that bicoastal, swoon-worthy collection; tomorrow, we'll venture outside of the greenhouse into the garden.

Table after table of wonder.

Look at all of that great work space!  

Haworthia truncata 'Lime Green' was new to me.  Aren't those patterns incredible?   Steve was very kind and gave me an offset of one of his.

Ceropegia bloom hanging over a cactus. 

Steve grows many plants from seed and also makes his own pots.  Is there anything he can't do?


This had the most interesting tongue-like texture. 


Here Steve is separating  plants to pot and give to me.  Plant people are so generous!  Steve was also generous with his knowledge.  The potting mixture he uses for these beauties is equal parts of pumice, soil, and Turface,  (a soil conditioner. It is a calcine clay product used to improve drainage, reduce compaction, and hold moisture,)

The tray in the foreground is one that Steve had prepared to take to a talk he was giving.  Can you tell which ones are cacti and which are not?  Click here for a bit of help.

Aloe ferox

Tune in tomorrow to see the beautiful setting in which this collection resides.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

" Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
 Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
  Ah me, this glory and this grief
  Agree not well together!"

  -  Thomas Parsons, 1880, A Song For September

"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel- 
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush, 
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed ham,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. " 

- John Updike, September