Wordless Wednesday: While some things change, others remain the same…

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Iris suaveolens.
Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’.
Adiantum venustum.
Bergenia cordifolia.
Happy Macavity the Cat.
Vinca minor.
Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’.
Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’, Helleborus orientalis, Doronicum orientale.
Fritillaria meleagris.
Narcissus. 
Acer.
Pregnant Helleborus.
Fritillaria meleagris.
Spathiphyllum.
Mona waiting for the sun to return.

And I’d thought this gardener hadn’t been busy during December…

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Japanese White Pine in training since 1950. Country of Origin: Japan. Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

I am still a gardener in search of a garden of sorts. Much uncertainty remains in 2013 but I don’t mind it at all anymore. Every single day is a huge opportunity for me now and my health continues to improve as do my spirits. Whenever I plant a seed something grows. So I’m tossing them everywhere right now and I’m sitting back to see what germinates.

I am a guerilla gardener of the heart.
This is my time
—to live a bit as a wildflower.
Finally.

Palm Leaf, Sabalites species, around 50 million years ago Chuckanut Formation, Whatcom Co. Washington. Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

A large part of this seed planting campaign of mine has involved seeing and speaking with very old friends of mine. Doing so really helps me to remember more of who I used to be and who I want to be again now. Illness broke me down but it didn’t kill me. I lost a lot of momentum but if you know me you also know that I can be a tiny force of nature when I am at my best.

My high school friend Elise Krohn, herbalist and native foods specialist. Wild Foods & Medicines Blog 

Recently I made a brief overnight trip to Seattle to see two of these old friends. I attended the book re-release party for a publication an old friend of mine had contributed to, and additionally I spent time in the other friend’s home getting to know her husband and small son. Since the three of us attended the same high school together it was an über supportive trip. My sudden wellness after so many years brings them much happiness too and I like to be that in their lives right now. It helps my healing too. Dare I say that it helps us grow much stronger together.

I have grown a lot during the past two months and it will be showing more and more in the months to come.

Elisabeth C. Miller Library

Of course I had to stop by the library dedicated to nothing but horticulture at the University of Washington too. Luckily it wasn’t open long enough for me to go crazy making lists of things.

Center for Urban Horticulture
Seeing the Center for Urban Horticulture in winter was a beautiful treat too since I’ve only ever been there during the warmer months.

Sometime before Christmas I tidied up out front. I guess I was tired of the Doug fir debris in the house.

Oh and the seeds, the lovely, lovely piles I was unable to get to last year. They are very much on my mind now.

There were those dark and lonely moments too. So I took pictures to remember them by in the future. Then I quickly forgot about them.

Something about spending my first Christmas alone after a decade-long relationship was exhilarating and it allowed me to really toss out more emotional baggage. I can do this on my own now if I choose to and that feels really good to me. I don’t feel I was ever really given that choice.

I watched the fat cat sleep a lot. Maurice is old.

The neighbors had their old cherry tree cut down. That was exciting for a day.

Visions of children playing in gardens appeared to me on a walk. I love this city.

I started a wide scarf for myself using organic cotton yarn on one of my knitting looms. Most materials bother my skin a lot so it was fun to go to the yardage store to pick the yarn myself. I felt so empowered—for lack of a better word.

I watched the fat cat sleep a lot with his little buddy Mona too. December is when the part-ferral cat is not very ferrel. It is always a cute process to watch as she becomes needier and needier. Before you know it she’s wrapped up at your feet while you type a blog post at 1am.

Somehow I sewed a few Christmas tree ornaments. This one looks a bit like my interests of cooking and gardening slammed together. A green ravioli. I was clearly not thinking.
I also tried to rescue my old Christmas tree houseplant but it was neglected so much this past year I will need to nurse it back to the fine specimen it used to be so that wherever I am next Christmas it will be ready to shine again.

Luckily a friend gave me some forced Daffodil bulbs just before he went home to Scandinavia for the holidays. Normally I would have had a huge floral arrangement but times are tough and I was working solo on the annual Christmas Eve dinner so this worked out well. It was perfect and so much better than nothing. (It smells great too even if it makes me sneeze. Yes, those of us with allergies must choose our battles.)

Then there was that goose I stuffed and roasted. It was amazing and I was so proud I made it through the whole experience on my own.

I also made a really simple cabbage dish with apples and spices. It went perfectly with the sausage and cornbread stuffed goose. Overall the more simple the food the happier my body is when I eat it. I am still in awe of my ability to consume goat milk products in moderation.

I am such a lucky woman now.

Oh, and then there were those funny faces I made with my eldest niece Chelsea when I spent some quality time with her, her younger sister Lindsey, and their childhood friend Emily. How quickly my little women have grown up!

I am still making faces apparently today too. Not sure what this expression is about but I think it has something to do with my hair being in pigtails. At what age are pigtails inappropriate on a woman? I have no clue. Maybe I don’t want to know. Believe it or not but I was actually thinking about how the wear my hair when I get back out there in the dirt soon. It’s growing and I am so happy to have it long again.

See, I do think about a lot of other things.

December was one hell of a month but I tossed out so many seeds in so many places—here, there, everywhere. I’m surrounded by good fertile opportunities and I’m really excited about so many new things happening in my life. Best of all, the soil in my heart no longer feels so barren. I am happily growing again and am feeling more at peace than I have in many years.

This gardener had a beautiful Christmas and I hope you did too! 
Here’s to watching it all grow again in 2013! 
 
Let’s bring back our heirlooms, the all-time favorites and producers,
 but let’s not forget we should always be open to the new stuff too. 
 
Like maybe this blogger might finally release another book. 
Booyeah!

HPSO Hortlandia Plant Sale—Better late than never…

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Back at the start of the month I was a bit nervous about going to the rather large Hardy Plant Sale, but after a walk around the garden early that morning, I put aside my ongoing concerns, and marveled at this Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica in bloom. I’m not sure why I suddenly felt better about things, but after waiting years for this vine to bloom, I really felt happy. It was beautiful.

I’d purchased it back in 2008 when Chalk Hill Clematis shut its online plant store. It has slowly been growing year after year with little fanfare—that was until now. It’s technically called a winter-blooming Clematis, and it’s evergreen as well, so that makes it even better. I think it’s by far one of my favorite vines in the garden.

Purchased as Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica. Not sure, but this could be ‘Freckles’.

Walking past the garden art vendors at the show I was drawn to the table of special new additions to the plant world from local growers. I’m not sure if they’ve placed this table out front before, but it was interesting. I’ve always wanted to hybridize something and the process does interest me. These were really pretty too.

Sign under these read: 5 New Split Corona Daffodils Hybridized By: Steve Vinisky of Cherry Creek Daffodils.

There was also this most amazing blue Primula.

Primula acaulis x hybrid ‘Blueberry Swirl submitted by Steve Vinisky, Red’s Rhodies/Cherry Creek Daffodils.

There is no bog garden here at home, but this Sarracenia made me want to make one. It was gigantic.

Sarracenia purpurea purpurea. (Courting Frogs Nursery)

Some part of me now wishes I had this Magnolia laevifolia out back instead of the the others I planted. I guess they are still small enough to move though, so maybe I shouldn’t start complaining too much.

Magnolia laevifolia-large form. (Cistus Design Nursery)

This Ribes really caught my eye too but with spikes on it I am not yet confident that I wouldn’t hurt myself.

Ribes roezlii var. cruentum ‘Dixie Glade’ . (Cistus Design Nursery)

Sorry that I don’t have more pictures from the show. I have to admit that I was carrying plants and was with a friend so I was too busy talking and shopping. The show was great though, and I am really glad I went.

There are those of you out there who regularly ask what I bought, so here goes…
Juno Iris, Iris bucharica. (Wild Ginger Farm)
Syrian Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus syriacus. (Joy Creek Nursery)
Cape Restio, Rhodocoma capensis. (Xera Plants)
Mukdenia, Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’. (Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery)
Grass Widow, Olsynium douglasii. (Humble Roots Farm and Nursery)
Arching Japanese Holly Fern, Cyrtomium fortunie var. Cliviola. (Not sure what the nursery was since the name wasn’t on the tag.)
Golden Saxifrage, Chrysosplenium davidianum. (Far Reaches Farm)
Mouse Plant, Arisarum proboscideum. (Edelweiss Perennials)
Dwarf Himalayan Willow, Salix lindleyana. (Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery)
Mediterranean Sea Holly, Eryngium bourgatii. (Joy Creek Nursery)

Wordless Wednesday: With Spring in My Step

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Muscari armeniacum. 

Tulipa tarda.
Tulipa humilis.
Tulipa (cannot recall the name).
Primula veris.
Primula veris ‘Sunset Shades’.
Narcissus.
Muscari album.
Viola glabella.
Bergenia cordifolia.
Spoils from one of my many road trips to CA.
Narcissus. 
Fritillaria meleagris.
Helleborus.
Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’.
Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’.
Camellia japonica ‘Black Magic’.
Acer palmatum ‘Red Spider Web’.
Maurice the cat.
Two types of Dudleya.

Narcissus and Echo (Flower Myths and Biases)

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As I walk the path of divorce I never expected to take, I find myself looking at plants, blooms, and nature (in general) in a very different way. I am sure that the therapy I’m going through has a lot to do with this, as does the experience of separation and divorce itself, but it also has a lot to do with a return to myself as I continue to feel healthier after being prescribed a medication that has pushed my swelling disease back almost all the way into remission.
It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been able to take such long walks, often for 5 miles at a go, and Portland is an amazing place to wander around. Somehow my mind has been wandering back and forth in time as I’ve walked block after block, between now, and back a decade, back to who I was before I met my soon to be ex-husband, and that’s added a different layer to what I see and how I filter it through my mind.
The stories we tell ourselves—about ourselves, and those around us—can be deceptive and I see that now more than ever. The honesty necessary to keep these stories alive, and to live in an honest fashion within them requires a type of strength and bravery I didn’t understand until recently. Somehow though, the common Daffodil is there to remind me of my own myth deep inside of myself. We all create these stories about who we are and they often help us through troubled times. They can help to explain experiences, and help us to find meaning when we need to find it, but they don’t always help us to move forward.

As I walked, I thought a lot about my current dislike for the Daffodil bloom and it made me smile a bit. My myth is moving inside of me right now, something is budding, but my old myth is still there, the one from long ago. She will always be there sadly, for she is Echo.

Echo & Narcissus

I’ve been Echo. I’ve felt like Echo for a very long time. For some reason, I’ve never liked Narcissus blooms, but I simply cannot imagine why…

Northwest Flower & Garden Show (2011) Part Two

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We spent all day at the show again today and we arrived back at the hotel late. After some dinner, a bit of correspondence, and some rest, I am posting the next batch of images with some comments. I have at least two more posts to write about the show, and I am currently ruminating over some really great information we heard today during the three seminars we attended that featured some great speakers! (One of them is an avid garden blogger!!!)
NW Orchid Society display.
NW Orchid Society display.
Great way to make an instant maze or play area for kids. I had never thought of using this material in this way before but I think it might be fun to use this summer. It is basically a stuffed permeable landscape material.
Insect art in the garden is more than fitting and it points to the ongoing ridiculousness that we even ornament our gardens at all in the first place.
So often animal ornamentation can seem too bold, but I really loved these subtle insertions.
What struck me about this fountain was the amount of noise that it made. I want a water feature in our small garden very much and the echo of the water splashing underneath was remarkable.
This picture is only here to remind me that my green dwarf mondo grass will grow in eventually. It will be worth the wait.
Note to self: Mix up the stone a bit.
Cannot remember the name of this Narcissus, but I want to say that is is Rip van Winkle.
Note to others: Green walls are everywhere.
Note to others: This garden decor is approved by my husband, especially if attached to our Douglas fir tree, but the cool crab made out of a flat rock and rusted metal is not.
Note to others: See above. This is husband approved for the porch.

Container Garden Exhibition

These smaller displays are always a crowd favorite. I was so excited to see them this year and I was not disappointed. I am just so sorry that I don’t have the names of everyone involved.

Weathered metal and green walls are all the rage. Note that the pillow on the chair has air plants as extra fringe. There is also a mossy top on the planter on the right. Moss was seen all over the place!
This nursery really took the container theme seriously and the edge of their space was planted too.
I am such a turtle lover I got up close to see the detail. I am not sure that my turtle would want this in her garden. Including it in the display was kind of gutsy even if it is just cast concrete. Then again, if antlers are cool, why not…
Note the blue wall pocket for your green wall. Green walls were everywhere.
Planted gutter.
The sweater wrap is a fun craft I discovered on etsy. Wrap any old vase with an old sweater and it looks kind of cute.  On a planter, it is kind of cute too.
I have a planter at home that looks just like this so of course I liked it.
Very cool nautical display with succulents.

Again, there will be more tomorrow and posts everyday until Sunday. We return home to Portland in the morning, but I have a lot to say about those amazing seminars.

If you can make it in for the rest of the show, I highly recommend it. If not, maybe I’ll see you next month in San Francisco! Until then, happy garden planning!