Friday, February 26, 2021

Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, before it all unraveled

Going through and editing/uploading these photos was more of an emotional experience than I anticipated. This visit to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden was a stop on our way up to the 2020 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle, on February 26th, one year ago. COVID-19 was in the news, and in fact the first US case had been discovered in the Seattle area, where we were headed. I'm smart enough to have been concerned, but I had no idea what lay ahead for us all.  

The version of me that walked this garden that day was blissfully clueless as to just how much her life would change in the coming months. Honestly I tear up a bit just typing those words. I was headed to see friends, hug them, dine with them, go places with little concern about a very contagious and fatal disease. Imagine. 

Anyway... to the garden! Near the entrance...

I have come close to adding Ypsilandra thibetica to my garden. This appears to be one of those plants that is very very good when it's good. And very blah when it's not. Do you have any experience with it?

Just inside the gate there's a sales area for featured plants, and beyond that a larger area with many more plant tables. The light on these plants made them seem extra special.

I took this photo for the moss—but of course the dark leaves draw my attention and maybe yours, they're labeled as Shortia galacifolia.

Those large leaves!

It's tempting to throw out Rhododendron sinogrande as the name, but only because that's the large leaf rhododendron I'm most familiar with.

Schefflera delavayi

I know I photographed this the last time I was here, and I am confident I will photograph it next time, and the time after that.

Side view.

Wow! Podophyllum pleianthum, so early!

Rhododendron macabeanum

Matteuccia struthiopteris, the ostrich fern. All that's left standing are the dried fertile fronds. 

I love them so much!

Blechnum chilense, now known as Parablechnum cordatum.

A close up...

Unknown ID but look... it's a mahonia tree!

Helleborus argutifolius

The green pond...

Rhododendron lanigerum

The crevice garden, looking a bit empty.

Okay, a lot empty actually.

Their Daphne x houtteana looks a little sparse. Actually it was nice to see their plant looking even worse than mine, I guess maybe I'm not doing anything wrong and that's just what it does in February?

Just a couple more photos from inside their greenhouse and then I'll wrap up this post—however a look at the stumpery is ahead next week!

I love this moss-filled column and basket, so many ways to grow cool plants (it does need more plants though).

An orchid on a stick! I have no idea which one. I would have certainly added to my collection from Andy's Orchids (up to four now, 2 from 2019 and 2 from 2020) had the 2021 NWFG Fest have happened. I guess that means I need to double my purchasing in 2022 (fingers crossed the show returns).

I photographed this very orange rhododendron the last time I visited. I didn't know what it was then and I certainly don't now.

Strobilanthes gossypinus, mine is leggy too.

Finally a green wonderland I stopped to admire on my way back to the car. Will I be able to make this stop again in February of 2022 on my way to the NWFG Festival? God I hope so...

As I was working on this post, and missing my friends in the plant community (missing the NWFG Festival), in came an email from Carol Michel, blogger and hostess of Garden Bloggers Bloomday. She and Dee Nash have a gardening podcast, The Gardenangelists, and she was writing to let me know they'd received a review copy of my book Fearless Gardening and talked about it on their latest episode; Wipe the February Off Your Face: Microclimates and Rhubarb. What a lovely thing to have show up in your inbox. It was like a hug from friends I haven't seen forever. Give their podcast a listen, it's a lot of fun!

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Weather Diary, Feb 25: Hi 51, Low39/ Precip .09 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Where the desert has been made to blossom like a rose...

It's been quite awhile since I've featured one of the black and white plant photos from my extensive collection (thanks to my husband Andrew, who enjoys hunting them down). Some of the photos are so mysterious that I thought maybe I'd try writing a short (back)story to go along with them—sounds like fun don't you think? While I work on that, here's a stereograph card that comes with it's own story...

"Where the desert has been made to blossom like a rose—Salt River Valley, Arizona"

"From the back of the card: "Within a comparatively few years vast stretches of land in the southwestern United States have been transformed by irrigation from desert wastes into beautiful and productive fields and gardens. Without irrigation these acres spread before us would yield but scanty and dwarfed vegetation, limited almost entirely to sagebrush and cacti..."

Desert wastes? But scanty and dwarfed vegetation?! (with a photo of a tall saguaro dwarfing the man standing next to it) Yep, all that the desert needs to make it beautiful is water (sarcasm). Thank god we've (I hope) turned the corner from this way of thinking. A little research about the company behind this stereograph turns up this website (here), which places this one as having been produced between the years of 1900-1910. The Salt River Valley is in central Arizona and contains the Phoenix metropolitan area.

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Weather Diary, Feb 24: Hi 48, Low 34/ Precip 0 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Wednesday Vignette, that was then

I have no idea where this photo came from exactly, it showed up in an image folder having nothing to do with my garden... obviously dragged there by a lazy mouse (or a inaccurately moving hand operating that mouse). The name of the photo includes the date, February 14, 2020. At first I was confused... on February 14th the garden was covered in snow! Then my eyes settled on the year. Uh, duh, last year. And so it is. 

Sometimes I am struck by the beauty of my garden. A gift of not seeing the things I need to do, just admiring what I see. This was just such a moment. Lucky.

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Weather Diary, Feb 23: Hi 50, Low 38/ Precip .03 

Wednesday Vignettes are hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum. All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Potted Elephant inspiration, and purchases

We return to the Potted Elephant for a handful of photos meant to remind myself (and maybe you too?) to be creative with how I grow my plants. I first saw this tillandsia encrusted plant in Dicks greenhouse (that is Richard Van Ingen, we'll revisit that name throughout this post). It's still just as inspiring as the first time I saw it.

Plants on a large hunk of driftwood.

And mounted on slabs of wood, evidently even begonias don't mind this treatment.

Or jewel orchids, since this Ludisia discolor appears to be happy.

I should have asked about buying this orchid in a pot made by Richard Van Ingen, the color has always put me off a bit, but I love the shape and texture—I've photographed it a few times and I really should just do it.

The orchids I've grown on a stick (purchased as such) have done very well, I should try growing more plants like this.

Even "Christmas cactus" can be mounted.

The possibilities are endless.

Ha! This gingerbread man is another Richard Van Ingen creation, Cory pulled it out knowing I'd appreciate it.

One last planting from the Potted Elephant collection.

This one I'm determined to "recreate" here at home. My jungle cactus that were so happily nested in Clifford's branches last year need to find a new place to live, I'm finally giving into Andrew's desire to prune up the lower branches of our Magnolia macrophylla.

My plan is to somehow mount them behind this large piece of driftwood. Yes that's snow—I took this photo last week, it's gone now...

...and then somehow mount that on our fence.

Like that! (ish) Wish me luck!

So what did I buy? This pair of Lepismium cruciforme spiralis came home with me, they have a little growing to do!

I also bought a small Kalanchoe beauverdii, because I was absolutely smitten with this plant growing in one of their greenhouses. Look at those flowers! 

Their plant was growing on an epiphyllum, it's a look I really liked and may try to recreate.

The best description of Kalanchoe beauverdii is one I found on World of Succulents: "Kalanchoe beauverdii is a climber with branching, gray, wiry stems that clamber and twine and hold green to dark purple, succulent leaves with numerous easily caducous bulbils on the teeth.  The leaves are very variable in shape and size, linear, narrowly spatulate, hastate, ovate to oblong, sometimes triobate-hastate, up to 2 inches long and held in widely opposite pairs alternating 90 degrees form the last pair. The reed-purple tinged, gray-green flowers hang downwards in terminal clusters in winter and spring."

Here's my little plant.

My final purchase was a hanging planter, or rather pieces that will become a hanging planter, from Richard Van Ingen.

I think they look vaguely leaf (lily pad?) shaped and will go nicely with my other two Richard Van Ingen hanging leaves.

This one, top...


And this one, top...

And bottom.

Weather Diary, Feb 22: Hi 53, Low 43/ Precip .18 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.