Something Old Blooms Something New

For years now we’ve called it the Pinwheel Tree.

20190706_1236455725509202097206572.jpg

It’s a rhododendron that grows from a single trunk with large oblong leaves that flap in the breeze. The visual effect is like a pinwheel that, if it started to spin, could lift itself up and hover in the air. Actually, now that I think about it, calling it the Helicopter Tree would’ve made more sense.

Subscribe to get the full story

Help keep the shovels sharp and the shears oiled. Sign up today to gain full access to Gardenkeeping’s premium, ad-free content!

1:23 Birdsong

Hello from Gardenkeeping

It really has been a while. I’ve been too busy keeping garden to get around to writing posts for my blog. I’ve taken a lot of pictures with the hope that I would get some writing in, but it hasn’t happened for one reason or another. As I write, there are 1757 pictures on my phone! Nearly all of them are plant related. Some might say that’s a good start but, for me it’s a visual reminder of all those ideas that are still stuck in my head.

Wedding Bells

20190427_0916091041334217478347036.jpg

My oldest son will be getting married in 10 days. The date was picked to coincide with the lilacs blooming. They are the favorite flower of the bride. The lilacs started blooming about two weeks ago and we’re all pretty sure they will be done by the day of the wedding. I’ve been cutting lilac bouquets so that they can be enjoyed but, time is marching on! It’s looking like the flower that will be in abundance just in time for the wedding are irises, my son’s favorite flower.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Subscribe to get the full story

Help keep the shovels sharp and the shears oiled. Sign up today to gain full access to Gardenkeeping’s premium, ad-free content!

Oh Deer, Why So Many Tulips?

Tulips are one of the spring bulbs that came with my garden,

but there were years when I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, the red ones that is. They had been planted along with the usual suspects: grape hyacinth and yellow daffodils.20180421_083004561354931.jpg These three types of bulbs are sold as a package deal every year at the nurseries and every year I wonder why. I find it unnerving when these colors come up together in the spring. They seem so out of place. This is when the season’s light is still at an angle and most flowers are blooming in pinks, purples and white.

 

The last time I wrote about color was in a previous post of mine Seeing Red? I don’t mean to pick on the color red. The truth is it’s a favorite of mine. There are just certain times of the year (OK, really just in the spring) when it is too intense by comparison to the sun’s light. Of course there are exceptions to every rule: I love the red blooms of the rhododendron when it’s in the shade.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

(Can You) Dig It

Or Not?

I know when it comes to cultivating the soil, everyone has an opinion about it. There are a lot of good reasons not to. The soil has a structure and its own little ecosystem of worms, fungus and bugs. Also, digging is hard work! A good reason to dig is if you’re putting in a new bed and you need to amend the soil. I would say that once the plants are in you’re better off spreading compost and mulch on the surface and waiting for the earthworms to work it all in for you.

The one area of the garden that I’ve found needs regular cultivation is the vegetable garden.

Maybe it’s that so much is demanded of the vegetable garden. If plants are slowly creeping along, it doesn’t seem worth the space and time. The first beds I dug over 20 years ago were the start of what is, to this day, my vegetable garden. At first it was exciting to pick a couple of green beans and a few small leaves of lettuce, even though bugs and dirt on my food were a new experience for me. Yeah, at that point I was still mostly a city girl and secretly grateful that most of what I planted barely grew.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

The Green Man-Child

So much of what I have is broken

but, since I grew up with Bob Ross, I’ve come to see these imperfections as “happy accidents”. The fact that most people do not want broken things is what usually brings these pieces into my life.

This is how the mask of a child came to me.

This story extends from a previous post about Kuan Yin, Bring Her In . My clients were moving away and I was helping to get their garden ready for viewing.  They had some very nice pieces of garden art, but had decided to not take it with them to their new home in New Mexico. The feeling and style of their new home was too different from that of a Pacific Northwest shady bluff garden. Most pieces were being given to friends. The ones they saw as needing repair were headed to the curb to be put out with the trash. That is how I got Kuan Yin. When Teresa saw how happy I was with a statue that needed repair, she asked me if I might want a hanging pot that had broken as well. She just needed to dig it out of the garage and find all of the pieces.

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Lightning Strikes, Thunder Rolls

Part 1: Thunder and Bolts

Thursday was a particularly humid day.

Even as I worked in the shade, the sweat and discomfort wouldn’t leave me alone. Who am I to complain on such a beautiful day! I finished with work and headed home. I was taking the next day off, so, off I drove toward my weekend. I’ve been putting in long weeks with long days. A typical spring, but now I was ready for a break. My only thought now was to make it to the picnic table in my backyard for a beer with David.

There we sat in the sun. It felt good to rest and chat. At the same time we’re talking, I’m watching the sky change behind David. I had to interrupt,

“The sky is getting really intense. You have to look!”

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Tra, La, La, La…Trillium!



While tripping down a woodland lane

 a whisper of spring

I tried to explain.

In the green shade

  a flower brings its own light.

After this long cold winter

 a much needed sight.



Spring has arrived in the Pacific Northwest

and not a moment too soon. Sure we’re still having stormy days but, in the midst of it all the clouds blow away, the sky turns blue, and it’s 60° in the shade.  Some days still feel similar to winter, but even if you’re not paying much attention, what you can’t miss in the spring are the flowers.

071
Forsythia

069
Thundercloud Plum

New beginnings, the land wakes up, action without reflection.

When I first came to the Olympic Peninsula there were so many plants that I was unfamiliar with.  I was barely aware of Rhodedendrons so when I saw the Madrona trees for the first time I thought I was seeing giant Rhodies! Then, with all of the beautiful forests and mountain trails to explore, I saw woodland plants that I had only previously seen in books about fairies. Where in the world had I landed?

 

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Seeing Red?

Maybe try some green for your eyes.

If you ask any kid what their favorite color is they will always respond quickly and with pride. Our favorite colors have a way of connecting us to our core selves, our identities. If we say that we love a color we are telling you something of ourselves and preferences. If you keep this line of conversation going you will inevitably hear which colors that person doesn’t like.

In working for people in their gardens the conversation will at some point come around to color.

The interesting part is that people will often assume that their color preference should be as obvious as the colors I should know that they hate. All I can say is that almost every time that person will throw in a remark that would have been impossible for me to anticipate.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Bring Her In

It’s November and the temperature is slowly creeping down.

I’ve had my first couple of work days were I had to put up my hood. It’s starting to get a little chilly out there and my ears do get cold! All of this discomfort is a good reminder to get to those winterizing chores that I’ve been putting off. I have a few pots that will crack if it freezes and a Star Jasmine that is too tender to survive a freeze.055

I got the jasmine this last spring after spotting it at a nursery. The flower’s scent brings me back to a year I spent in California when I was a kid. Our whole house was surrounded by jasmine and it’s amazing fragrance. I thought it was so exotic. Looking back now, I realize what a successful ground cover (weed) it was!

Well, I don’t have to worry about it running rampant here in Port Townsend but, I do have to worry about it freezing. Even with the different microclimates in this area, it is safe to say that we can get down into the low 20’s. You can see from the red leaves that I got it in just in time. So, there it will sit, in my shed, next to a window.

Sculpture and statues can be brought in as well if you have concerns about their integrity.

I really enjoy this change. These pieces can take on a whole new character when they are indoors. For me they become more alive and intimate. There is one that I bring in every year.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.