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 23, 2018

The Two Words Every School Kid Lives For: SNOW DAY!

Teachers, on the other hand, much prefer the words "late start" which the automated phone message announced at five a.m.  We'd much rather be at work when it's too miserable to garden outside than on a sunny day in July.  (Missed days must be made up.)  However, as time progressed and it seemed as if road conditions wouldn't improve,  school was canceled altogether yesterday. 

Many of  us who live in this region  like to put pumpkin spice everything, eggnog, hot spiced cider, mulled wine and snow away when we drag out the Valentine's Day decorations so this late February freeze isn't particularly welcome.  Oh well, might as well take a little stroll through the snowy garden at dawn before spending a lazy day at home.

It's always winter in this stained glass panel created by my pal Florence. 

Frigid temperatures and ice-covered roads are an uncommon occurrence here so sand trucks and snow plows are equally scarce, 

One doesn't often see a snow-covered parakeet.

 Buddha doesn't seem amused in the least.

Stoic Camellia japonica.  Don't know if it doesn't mind or if it's just frozen.

Until the recent polar blast, it looked as if this Tetrapanax might just bloom; not so much anymore.

Someone has quite a dandruff problem. 

The sun's rising.  Time to go inside where it's warm and bask in the sun streaming through the windows.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Spring Preview in the Conservatory

As I write this on Wednesday evening, snow is once again flying and there's a powdered-sugar dusting on the grass and trees.  The white stuff started about twenty minutes before school was out and more is predicted for a while tonight as temperatures drop well below freezing.  Sigh.  Spring interrupted. Over the weekend, I walked over to the Seymour conservatory to get a breath of warmer air.  Outside, popping up through the dessicated banana leaves were these charming Leucojum (vernum? aestivum?) 

Inside, spring has already arrived.

A nice jolt of color in the seasonal display area is especially welcome during the cold months. 

Unusual orchid foliage.  Unfortunately, the plant wasn't marked so I'm not sure which one. 

Tephrocactus strobiliformis (guessing.)

If the weather ever warms up, this will be happening outside.

I know I've seen this one in catalogs but it's even nicer in person.  Such a sweet and subtle yellow color.

Once again, the huge NOID agave labeled simply, "Century Plant."  

There were some brown-edged leaves on some of the permanent large tropical plants including some tree ferns.  Upon inquiry, I learned that the furnace went out on one of the coldest nights of the year and it wasn't discovered until the next morning, the tree ferns, "haven't been happy for quite a while," and someone over fertilized a few things.  Sad news but it does make me feel better that even the pros have problems sometimes.

Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss) looks very happy!

The gift shop is well stocked with Tillandsias at the moment, including this impressively large and blooming T. duratii. 

It's nice to know that no matter how much snow falls or how low the mercury falls, one can always visit Spring at the conservatory or in my own greenhouse.
Only 26 more days until spring!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday Vignette - Time for a Garden Party!

This garden party comes from the vintage market at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.  While winter still holds us firmly in it's icy fingers, this kind of garden party will have to do.  Only 25 more days until spring!
I'm joining Anna at Flutter and Hum, the host of our Wednesday Vignette meme.  Click here to join the party.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Four-Letter Word Beginning with "S" followed by the "F" word.

That's right, snow.  What were you thinking?   After our warm January and a cloudy  wet Candlemas we all thought that spring was arriving. 

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,  The half o' winter to come and mair. If Candlemas's day be wet and foul.  The half o' winter gane at Yule.  Seems that modern weather forecasters pay little attention to ancient Scottish wisdom.  Sunday morning brought big beautiful snowflakes.

The flakes were were joined for a time by hail.

Not a lot of snow but instead of melting off as usual, the mercury plummeted and brought that "F" word, freezing.  Again, where was your mind.


This was the only kind of snow drop I'd hoped to see.

Truth be told, the other two "S" and "F" words may have been uttered by more than one gardener in the PNW.

Even the early-blooming "Tommies" (crocus tommasinianus) are closed against the cold and look a little frost-bitten around the edges.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' doesn't seem to mind but the Camellia japonica flowers are frozen and will drop.  Fortunately, there are more buds to take their place.  Magnolia buds have started to fatten up and I worry that they might succumb as the temperatures get even lower over the next couple of days.

I've never seen hellebores do this before.  Hopefully they'll pop back up when the weather warms. 

Stachyurus praecox doesn't seem to mind. 

I keep throwing boiling water on top of the frozen bird baths so that our feathered friends can have a drink.  Interesting how fast it refreezes.

Rhododendrons do this when it gets cold but it's still sad to see. 

I was planning on bringing the dormant begonia tubers out of the basement and putting them into the stained glass room this weekend but why try to heat that space when it's so cold? 

Meanwhile, there ares some bright spots in the greenhouse even though it's a bit messy out there at the moment. 

Scadoxus puniceus is popping up and soon it's happy orange pompom blooms will open.  Maybe spring isn't so far off after all. 
How's your garden faring this winter?