Archive for May, 2014

This Year’s Flowers to Date


I went back thru my archives to see how many plants I could find that have bloomed so far this year. They all started with the two Pieris, which were blooming in March when I took the first pictures. As we move thru time and space with the rest of these shots you’ll see them in a chronological order as they come into bloom, or as I get the chance to photograph them. I took the last few shots this morning before I wrote this post so it’s pretty current, tho I didn’t really include everything I could have because the list was getting so big. So here they are as they came into bloom. As you can see there have been flowers here for months and months.

After the Pieris, which really started to show themselves with their buds way back in winter, the next things to bloom were the heaths. My Furzy heaths didn’t look so good this year so I didn’t include them but this Kramer’s Rote is lovely and adds flowers to the Heather Garden at a much different time than the heathers, which bloom in summer.  The Little Heath is in there too so the bed is nice at an early date.

The Winter Daphne filled the whole yard with its fragrance for many weeks as it was simply covered with blooms this year. I was amazed and thrilled to see and smell it. Later on I’ll show two more Daphnes -a Summer Ice and a Lawrence Crocker. The first gets to about 4 feet but the other is a dwarf and only gets to about a foot or so but still has an incredible smell to it, if you get down on your knees!, as does the Summer Ice. All 3 Daphnes are wonderful to have here both for their blooms and for their fragrance.

I imagine most folks know the Lenten Rose and the Elephant Ears. Both bloom early and then put on lovely foliage to show us later on so they stay nice for the year. Next is a species Rhodie called Rock Rose Rhododendron that bloomed wonderfully then froze so it’s not looking so nice right now but it’s coming back slowly. This was a hard winter and I lost several plants altogether as well as a lot of burning on others. I’m lucky that so many survived as well as they did I suppose but I always feel bad when things die on me. Oh well, such is life, eh?

I’ve shown the Dutchman’s Pipe and the Wild Ginger before so I won’t go into them again but I wanted to include them as they were in bloom at this time. The next two are natives. One is a Trillium I collected near the road when we were in the mountains, ( I did it right so don’t worry about mal-harvesting… ) and the Red Flowering currant grows in the Cascades and in other woods. It’ll get to about 6-8 feet tall in time and have currants on it at some point, I hope….

The next two are Rhodies that bloom mid season. The Blue Diamond gets about 4 feet tall and the Patty Bee is a clear yellow, unusual in Rhodies and bred in Ireland so the name fits it well. Next is another Heath family member called a Bog Rosemary or Andromeda. I have another form of it too but it didn’t flower too well this year so I didn’t include it but it is quite nice as well, with larger flowers.

Next is one of the Daphnes I talked about earlier, the dwarf form. Next to it is a small Thrift which has such lovely pink flowers and is small at the foot of the fountain where it gets plenty of over splash of water and grows very well. Following them are two Rhoodies. One is the white-with-a-splotch Dora Amateis which is a 3 foot dwarf and the next is an even smaller dwarf with a clear yellow color called Curlew, another species Rhodie. Both are early and lovely.

The Candytuft surrounds our mailbox out front and is visible to all who drive by and see it. It blooms for a long time. I only have one of the David’s Viburnum so I don’t get berries but I love the plant and the flowers it puts on. Later on I’ll show another Viburnum, the Rhytidophyllum, or Leatherleaf Viburnum, that gets 12 feet tall and will require some work to keep it in place as it grows I’m afraid. It’s doing well now tho it went thru some hard times last year before it came out of it.

The Pt Reyes Ceanothus, or California Lilac, has a nice smell to it and attracts lots of bees when it’s blooming tho it’s still early when it does so. The Ken Janeck Rhodie starts out pink and then turns a clear white as it opens fully. The flowers stay on the plant for a long time.

The Aronia is the new super food I’ve found out. It’s super high in those purple/red Phyto Nutrients that help our bodies heal and grow and I intend to make juice out of them this year as it put on tons of flowers and will have lots of berries. They are a bit tart so the juice is good mixed with a sweeter type or some sugar or honey I’ve heard. I’m excited to see how the juice turns out this year. A lucky coincidence, as I didn’t know its attributes when I planted it. I did it because it likes wet soils and it’s very wet where it is…

The Ward’s Ruby is a Kurume Azalea and is covered with small blossoms when it blooms. I love the deep red of it and you can see it from many vantage points it the garden it stands out so well. The Bow Bells is at the foot of the fountain and seems to like it there a lot. It’ll get up to the edge of the fountain someday but it’ll take awhile to do so. Next is the Viburnum I talked about a bit ago that gets so large. It bloomed well this year.

The Azalea is one Louie planted years ago and I don’t know the name of it but it sure is a stand out in the front yard. Very nice. Next is the Daphne Summer Ice I mentioned above and following that are shots of two forms of Columbine that grow in the garden. I love these airy plants that add such an element of grace to the garden. The one set came up all by itself from plants I planted years ago. Amazing!

Next are 3 Rhodies – the Anna Rose Whitney in the back  corner of the garden, the Western Azalea, the native that grows in the western mountains and is a parent of the Exbury and Mollis hybrids from England that all smell so sweet. They get that smell from this plant. The last is a Sappho that Louie planted a long time ago. It’s so incredible in the front yard and is dominant there now.

The last row starts out with a Common Sage that has amazing purple flowers that the bees love now. As they do the French Lavender flowers that are coming on strong now. The last is a large purple rhodie, a Blue Peter, that Louie planted and has become a big part of the back drop to the whole back garden. I love the purple flowers with their darker splotches of purple in their centers. It’s probably the largest rhodie we have but some get Much bigger. Some are even trees! I wish I could plant one of them but we just don’t have the room.

Still I’m very content with this amazing garden we have here now. There are almost always things blooming somewhere all year long and if not flowers then the foliage gives us many colors to view and textures and structures that make the whole thing work well. I hope this hasn’t been too long a tour. I kinda got carried away when I started to put out all the things that have bloomed so far this year. I found that it’s quite a lot when I did it. I hope you still enjoyed it all. 🙂

Flowers Rule! (sometimes…)


Scenes From a Rainy Day


It’s not a great day out to be gardening, but it’s a wonderful one to be out, with a good hat and coat on, just to wander around and see what’s happening while it’s all wet and feels so fecund and fertile. I love being in the garden when it’s raining. It just feels so intensely alive and filled with water, that blood of life that gives our plants their existence, and ours as well of course. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio, a Water Sign, that I feel this so much, but water has always been amazing to me and I treasure it when I hear it on the greenhouse roof or on the leaves around me as I walk thru the plants. So here’s a few pictures from a walk around on a rainy day.

I started out on the front porch and this is what it looks like when we come outside here. It’s immediate and right in your face. I love it that way. You can see over so much of it from here. Next I wandered down into the garden and through it til I came to the end and looked back for a second. Lots of color in these shots. The Ural False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia “Sem”) is lovely with its light pinkish green new growth. And the Waterfall Japanese Maple is just intense with its bright green new leaves. You can just get a touch of the blue spruce in the back corner but it’s just starting to bud out now and will grow a foot and more if we’re lucky .

Next I walked back along the north side of the house and came into the back yard. You can see the north side fence line here as it goes on back to join the garden. I stopped to take a shot of the colors near the entrance. The Globe Blue Spruce and the bright green Bird’s Nest Spruces are lovely next to the dwarf Barberry in between them. The dark green of the Pendula Sequoia is a nice contrast for them all. Looking along the next shot you can see to the back corner of the garden and the Cryptomeria Radicans that is on the left which is just starting to grow, as are the other slower conifers.

The next path takes us into the garden proper and towards the deck. I stopped and shot a few pictures on the way. First I just looked back at those lovely conifers from the opposite direction from before. Then I took a shot of the 3 red Japanese Maples we have in the garden. On the left is a Bloodgood, in the center is a small Red Dragon and on the right is a larger Red Pygmy, all doing well I’m glad to say. The Bloodgood put on over a foot a half this year which amazed me no end. The fern is a Polystichum setiferum, sometimes called an Alaska fern or a Soft Shield fern.

I next looked across the deck towards the back walla and got a nice far shot of the Wards Ruby kurume azalea and the Ukigumo Japanese maple with the Podocarpus macrophyllus in the middle of them. The next shot is a closer view of them. In it you can see how light the Ukigumo maple is now. It’s not grown much for me but it keeps going on so I have faith it’ll take off someday like the Bloodgood just did after a couple 0f years of sitting there. Plants are funny that way aren’t they? Sometimes they just sit there for a long time and other times they take right off. It’s so interesting to me….

I planted some columbine here a few years ago and since then it seems they decided they liked it here a lot. This year I have yellow, blue, pink and red ones and I only planted the blue ones, I think… Maybe I did some of the yellow too, I can’t recall. I love the heck out of them and they look pretty there so I’m leaving them until I see a reason to cut them back. They’re so airy and light I just find them beautiful. I turned to the left for then next shot and got to see back into the corner of the garden to where the Anna Rose Whitney Rhodie is about to begin to bloom. Behind it the Fatsia is putting new leaves on now and you can just see their lighter color if you look hard. This is a wildish area with the redwood sorrel covering the ground in front of the plants and the the Mountain Hemlock to the left a bit. It feels very cool back here I think…

Next I wandered over to the south side of things and took a couple of shots from there to finish off things. The first is actually from the lawn to the east looking west across the yard. Then I looked back to the north and got a nice shot of the fountain with the Bloodgood and the Leucothoe at its base with the native Bleeding Heart in front of them all. I like this view a lot. Next I looked west and could see to the wall again and across the Howard McMinn manzanita, which froze badly this year so I had to cut it back a lot and leave a spare form but I love the red-brown bark so I get to see it more so now. Finally I stand at the front of the Heather garden and look all the way across the garden to the north side. You can see the Ginkgo Jade Butterflies just leafing out in the midst of the heathers and the new growth on the heathers as well.

I suppose I could have taken a few more shots of this but I was starting to get really wet so in spite of my hat and coat I decided it was time to call it a day and start to write this post. So many things are coming out to show us their beauty now it’s hard to pick a lane, so to speak, as far as which plants to feature an show you. They all excite me but then I’m a geek at this so that’s to be expected. I can’t expect everyone to share my extreme love of this artform of gardens that nurtures both our bodies and our spirits as we wander thru them in the rain. I hope you get the chance to be wandering in your special place soon too. It’s time to really get into working at it again, as soon as it quits raining… 🙂

Wet but Happy,


My Last Awards

I’ve been honored to receive many Awards over the last month or so. I”m very grateful to the people who have nominated me for them. But I’m also overwhelmed by all of them at once. I’ve tried my hand at awards before and I’ve found that it’s difficult for me to nominate others because of how many people have such ambivalent feelings towards them. I see them as a good thing – a way to connect with other bloggers and to showcase their work to our own communities of readers. I’ve met and come to treasure many other people on here thru the award system and have tried to be good at following the rules and nominating folks when I can. But I’m going try something different now because I’ve been stuck on how to do so many of these in such a short time. I don’t want my blog to turn into an awards station, I want to be able to blog about gardening and other similar subjects. This will be my last post on awards…

So in that vein I’m going to do something I’ve seen recently on other bloggers sites. In fact I’ve seen this several times and I wonder if it’s a new trend. I’m going to thank the people who have awarded me these awards and go thru each of them in a single post. I mean no disrespect to any of the people who have originated the awards or who do carry them forward with nominations and the various rules they all have. But this the best way for me to honor the people who nominated me and still present the awards to the general community and let them know they exist and are going around to people. I’m grateful to a lot of people here but I won’t be nominating anyone, so don’t fear you’ll see your name on here somewhere. These are varied awards and cover a wide range of aspects of blogging and I am grateful for each of them.




So without further ado I’ll start out with the first one I got back a month ago from Belsbror, the Being a Light in the World Award. You can find his wonderful blog at: and I encourage you to go there and read some of his remarkable posts. Each of them has his unique imprint on them and tells us stories of his life and observations and perspectives on it. I’ve been following his blog for some time and have always found something interesting to read when I visit him. I’m very grateful for this award and thank him very much for nominating me for it. I don’t know that I’m a great light in the world but I do try to be one. It’s an important task to try to do this and I’m pleased that someone considers me a light in this often too dark world we live in. We need all the Light we can get! It’s a very nice award to receive and I’m happy to have it. Thanks Belsbror and the best to you always.






The next round of  awards are thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Iliana of the White Rabbit’s Gallery. You can find her work at: and I encourage you to visit her and read her blog. She is a wonderful blogger and has become a real friend to me over the course of the last couple of years I’ve been blogging. I always find beauty in her work and true wisdom in her writings, some of which are pretty intense but I love that about her work – she really puts herself into what she does and it’s evident in what she has to show us. Whether it’s a beautiful photograph, of which she has many, or the words she attaches to them, which are often priceless. Or if it’s the writings she does about some very intense and important topics, all her work shows an understanding of life’s challenges and joys. She is always there for me when I need to have a friendly shoulder to lean on and has given me some great advice, encouragement and comments in my blog and on her site as well. I feel a real connection with her and I apologize for not being so precise in my dealing with these awards. Each of them has meaning to me and I’m honored to receive them, especially from her. I can’t say enough nice things about her and her work and I really hope you do visit her soon. I know many others agree with me that she’s an extraordinary blogger and will appreciate what she has to offer the world with her work and life.

So on to the Awards… The Versatile Blogger Award I’ve already gotten and am honored to receive it again as it’s a nice one, valuing the way a person can put so many varied interests in one blog and keep it going in context. That’s my interpretation of course, but I think it covers it well. I try to be as versatile in my work as my context allows, which is why I subtitle my blog “Through a Gardener’s Lens” as a focus. It allows me to address many topics besides just gardening and I’ll try to do more of that as time goes on.

The Angel Award is a difficult one for me as I don’t think of myself as an Angel really, but I take the meaning of it. As someone pointed out to me it’s the Work that’s the Angel we’re talking about here and the Presence of the energy of beauty in the work described. I hope I show that in my work as I try to always do so. The work of Gardening is my Angel and talking about it is my joy, as it is for many others. Thank you Iliana for this gentle award.

Next is the Inner Peace Award with a Yoda figure as its logo. I find this a particularly lovely gift to get. I struggle with inner peace all the time, as some of you know,  and to get this award is a real gift to me and telling me that I must be doing something right to receive it. I’m not bragging here, I’m just acknowledging that I have found a modicum of inner peace and I know what it’s like to have it, tho I don’t always do so. But it’s often enough that I feel it and can relate well to this award. Thank you once more Iliana for this precious award.

The final award really isn’t supposed to be lumped in with others but I apologize to the author and put in in here with the others from Iliana because they fit this way. She says this is a thank you from her to me for encouraging her to garden, a nicer compliment I couldn’t imagine getting. Any time I can help one more person to find their joy in the work I find so rewarding is a good day for me. I’ve been talking with her about this for awhile and it’s a great thing for me to receive the Butterfly Light Award for this bit of work, that really is no work at all to me. It’s a gift to be able to share it with all my readers and I hope I turn many more people on to the Light of gardening and its joys thru time.






I wish to thank Aquileana  for this last round of awards – the quadruple crown so to speak – four awards in one! Wow! I’ve only known Aquileana for a short time and I’m very impressed with her work and blog. She delves deep into the mythology and the writings of our elders in the western world of the mysteries of existence in meaningful and subtle ways that excite the imagination of all who read her. She puts complex subjects into common language that we can all understand  and I’ve found much wisdom in her posts about the ancient world and its mysteries and philosophies. I encourage you to go to her blog at: and read her posts. She really gets deeply into her subjects and I have enjoyed myself reading her work very much. I hope you enjoy it as well and visit her and see for yourself. Thank you Aquileanna for this Amazing 4 in 1 Award! It’s awesome, and so are you!

The first award in the quadruple configuration is the Inner Peace Award. I’m not sure if it’s the same one with Yoda, but it may be. As I said before I have found a bit of inner peace in my life and I feel good about this recognition of it. It’s difficult to always keep it going but I do try. I guess that’s the best we all can do eh? Try to focus on inner peace so that we can spread it out to the rest of the world and make it all more peaceful. I do try to do that, and I hope you do too.

The next one is the Sunshine Award, given to those who bring a ray of sunshine into the blogging world.  This is a very neat award for a gardener to receive I have to say. It’s just perfect. After all what more do we all want in our gardens but more sun! It’s so amazing for a person who lives in grey Seattle to get this one cause sun is a rare thing for us here at times. We go weeks without seeing it so having it in my blog is a constant source of its beauty. What a nice thing to get. Thank you Aquileana, once again…

Third is the Most Influential Blogger Award. I don’t know about this one. I don’t consider myself very influential and certainly I don’t feel I’m the Most influential one. But I must have an affect on my readers now and then and for that I’m honored to receive this award. I hope my words do influence people for the better and that they bring joy and happiness to others. That’s why I do this,  to turn people on to the beauty of the natural world and all that we have to share in its creation. Thanks for this one too…

Finally is the Awesome Blog Content Award. I guess this one I’ll accept without reservation cause I really do think I have some awesome blog content. I don’t take much credit for it tho since I think it comes almost entirely from my photos and words about the garden, which is the real hero of this story as far as I’m concerned. Every thing I do in this blog somehow relates to gardening and how wonderful it is to do such a thing with ones life. I truly do love it and I think my blog presents a good picture of how cool it can be to do it. I sure do hope so. Thank you for these awards Aquileana and I hope to see you here again in the future, as I will be at your site too. I’m very grateful for this group of awards and hope I can live up to their honors.

So that’s the awards. Now comes the part I have a hard time with so I’m going to cheat a bit here and simply say thanks to all those who read this blog. Any of these awards can go to whoever thinks they fit their work or blog. I freely award them to all the wonderful people who have gifted me with the tremendous honor of reading my work and following or liking my blog. I try to present things that will be of interest to others but I know I don’t always succeed as well as I could. That’s why I want to get back to writing about the garden and be done with these Awards. Tho I’m very grateful, I’m still more of a gardener than a collector of awards. They’re very nice and I’m very honored to receive them but it’s not why I blog- to get awards. I know many others feel the same way I do so from this point on I think I may just have to say thanks but no thanks for more awards. I just can’t do them well enough to feel comfortable accepting them anymore. They’ve been a gift to me and I hope to others and I want to leave it there while it feels good to me and not like a chore, which it’s close to becoming I’m afraid.

So I’ll close this extraordinarily long post with thanks to Belsbror, Iliana and Aquileana for honoring me with these awards and to every person who may want to give me an award I say thank you, but no thanks. It’s enough to have people like what I write and to follow my blogs and comment on them. I don’t need awards to feel like I’m doing what I need to do here, but I’ve been glad to get them so I want to quit while I am ahead of the game with them. So thank you to everyone that has honored me with an award. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s been swell. Now I’m going back to the garden… 🙂

Peace and Love,