Wednesday, May 28, 2008

UPDATED: These are the people in my neighborhood

Hardcore gardening post here. Serious, serious gardening. Oh my goodness is there a lot of gardening in this post. Heavens yes. With photographs of my plants taken while they were out growing in my garden (rather than out at WalMart shopping for canned salmon.) Gardening, gardening, gardening. Just dirt and plants and botanical latin laying all over the funka da funky.

...Gardening, and THIS LINK for all you Mythbuster fans out there.

deeply, profoundly and comprehensively NSFW, btw.

....because after all, gardening isn't everything. Ahem.

REMEMBER: Perennial means it comes back every year
Annual means that it only lives for one year.

perennial Iris pseudacorus, or yellow ditch iris. Just opened an hour before I took this picture.
Iris pseudacorus tends to be a very small flower on top of a very tall, very leafy plant, but what a lovely small flower it is. This is not something you ever plant unless you really like tall (5 ft!!) green, leafy clumps because thats what this does for most of the year.
It can grow in standing water, where it will spread and live happily for years without any attention whatsoever...freeze solid and come right back like a champ. Or, in other words, this sucker is a bitch to get rid of once it's in, so you want to put it someplace that you can easily get to, so you can stick a shovel in and chop it out when it begins to spread. Yes, CHOP. And yes, SPREAD.
In the garden it is perfectly happy with damp, heavy, neutral-acid soil in partial shade, though, which is where I have it.
Beneath a willow tree.
Which it is out-competing.

perennial Aquilegia 'Barlow' series columbine. This is a columbine that was bred to look up at you, instead of hang downward. The Barlows are doubled, which means that they have twice the number of petals that a columbine usually does. I know I have Nora Barlow, Black Barlow and a couple of others but I can never remember which name goes with which one. Anyway, they're pretty.
The Barlow aq's like partial shade, but will put up with full sun. They want a rich, damp, acid soil.

perennial Papaver orientale, oriental poppy. This is a dwarfed selection and I'll be damned if I can remember the cultivar name. It's like a Prince of Orange that stays short; it only gets about a foot and a half tall. Usually orientals are big, spready, wandy things about 3 feet +. It likes full sun and average soil-heavy, sandy, slightly to the left or right of neutral; it isn't picky. It is also highly invasive if you don't cut off the seedpod before it dries out-those seeds are REALLY lively. You want to underplant it with something that will grow up tall around it, because once the flowers finish the foliage just goes to hell and looks awful. It needs no care whatsoever, and will thrive on neglect for 90 YEARS.

perennial Lychnis flos cuculi Ragged Robin. The pink lacy stuff. Although it looks nice with all the crappy buttercup coming up through it, doesn't it? It gets about 12 inches tall. This is a completely carefree plant. It will seed itself around happily but is easy to take up. It isn't picky about soil, as long as it isn't completely waterlogged, and it's light requirements are pretty easygoing too. It makes a nice filler type flower, running around in between everything else.

flowering tree Cornus kousa in full mature blossom. This is over my Opie dog. The blossoms start small and greenish-white with a red line around the edge of the petals, and gradually change color and size over time, getting larger and darker. It changed to pink this morning (5-28) after the clouds burned off, Mr. C., and right after I took this picture I went inside and heard your sad news. My heart is with you right now. If there is such a place as heaven, then only dogs qualify to get in. Your guys and my Tater man are playing together. And more than likely eating cat crap.

perennial Aquilegia, an open - pollinated mutt. Some of these look upwards, some face down, like the ones in the background there. The solid blue ones that come up in my garden tend to pillar, and get anywhere from one to two feet tall, depending on what they happen to feel like doing or what song is playing on the radio or whatever. These grow in full sun. The spiky thing is its seedpod. The pink thing is my hand.

perennial, native to the northwestern americas Aquilegia canadensis. Years ago I ganked the seeds from out in the woods and threw them in my garden, and it's followed me around ever since. This columbine has a really nice habit; it doesn't pillar so much as it wands gracefully out, the long stems taking random gradual curves. When you run onto it in the shady woods, the effect is that of a small bright bird, like a hummingbird, standing motionless in midair. This can reach 2 1/2 feet tall, although its more common at the 1 ft height. It isn't very floriferous, but the flowers are incredibly striking and the plant itself is very elegant in all its parts. It likes at least half a day of shade, which is why it planted itself near the walls of my house where the afternoon shadow falls.

...another shot of the plant. Theres some blue columbine behind there, and the whitish stuff on the bottom left corner there is Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion, not in bloom yet obviously.

perennial Meconopsis cambrica, Welsh Poppy. Likes damp soil and partial shade, and at least here it seeds itself around happily. This is another plant that began as stolen seeds, this time from a planting in downtown Lynden. Ha!

perennial Aquilegia chrysantha, yellow columbine. This one likes to stay in the shade. It seeds itself rather far away from the parent plant, but once seeded in it lasts for years. It gets quite tall too; up to 3 1/2 feet for me in ideal locations. It has the most lovely, graceful long spurs, like a falling star.

perennial Clematis 'Niobe'. This selection is supposed to be much redder than this, but I suspect that given a different soil and warmer springtime temps the red tones would color up. As it is, it comes very dark for me some years; almost black. That makes me happy.
Clematis wants to have its roots in the shade, but the rest of the plant wants to grow in full sun. You can overplant with something that stays short to achieve this, or set the root mass in beneath a large flat rock with the growth tips just barely sticking out from under the sun side.

A bee's bottom through a Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis Red Osier dogwood. Yup, I ganked it. Started it from a stolen cutting. This strikes quite readily from cuttings too, so go ahead; grab those shears and head for the creek!
It likes damp soil and shade. The online descriptions call it a shrub, but here at least it grows into a very spready small tree. If you stool it back at the end of the season it shoots back up in the Spring with bright red stems, and this is how it's usually used in a garden setting. I like the tree form better, although its kind of a pain to keep trimmed back. The honeybees are enraptured by this tree. They climb all over the umbels from morning until dark, their legs so full of pollen that they look like they're wearing mukluks, and the whole tree hums.

First rose of the season, opened this morning!
I have no idea what kind of a rose this is. I call it Jackie Kennedy for no particular reason other than I couldn't let it run around without a name, and Jackie Kennedy sounds like a good rosey name. I took it as a cutting from an abandoned homesite where it was holding it's own against a himalayan blackberry. So yes, it's a rampant climber. It grows on its own roots, though, and I've never had much of a problem with black spot, powdery mildew or aphis. Plus, you can ignore it completely-I have it out in the full sun right in the path of the northeaster and in six years its never noticed a thing. The new growth is dark bronze-red, and the flower has no scent, unfortunately. It will repeat in late July.

perennial Sisyrinchium montanum Blue eyed grass
It's really not worth the trouble...she says to herself every year, when it comes up everydamnplace and looks boring. Until the pretty, pretty little blue stars open up. Then it's great.

perennial Frangaria x Pink Panda strawberry. Bulletproof, evergreen, pretty most of the growing season, a great groundcover, not picky about conditions, AND it produces a really tasty, sweet little berry!

perennial Asphodel, Aarons Staff. I've grown this for 16 years, and nothing seems to bother it, except me. Each main crown sends up this one flower spike in May, then that fades and you're left with a nice blue-green spire of long wandy leaves. It pups from the base of the crown, and you can crack those off and stick them in a pot for next year, to start new mother plants. Otherwise you can let the offsets grow and have a clump with taller and shorter spires. It forms a cluster of berries after the flowers finish, and they're pretty lively if you let them mature on the plant and then drop off naturally. It wants moist soil, neutral, full sun.

Sandwort...? I am drawing a complete blank on this, and its really common too. It's a woody little sub-shrub guy used in rock gardens, and it likes dry conditions and full sun. Agh! Anyway, its pretty.

perennial Iris, German Iris, Bearded Iris. Just the plain old iris with the big knobby roots that your grandma grew. This one happens to be a lovely clear blue. Supposedly I have a black one too, 'Interpol', but in five years it's only given me three blossoms, and it isn't out yet anyway.

Again, drawing a blank on the foreground flower. Its the same variety as the other one that I drew a blank on; just a different selection. If someone can identify it, please do! This is driving me nuts. Still, doesn't it look nice in front of the thing with the broad leaves there, heuchera 'Fireglow'? Both of them are dry landers and want full sun; otherwise they arent picky. Off to the left there is a little white tuft of Quails Feather.

Orange: papaver orientale
Pink: centranthus ruber
blue: aquilegia
yellow: crappy buttercup that needs to die
My favorite 'cottage' color combination. The flower colors don't fight with the green of the leaves either; and after all, green IS the most predominant color in the garden, kids.

What a nice little tree! Hello little tree!
My son gave this to me. I have completely forgotten what kind of a little tree it is; but it's about eleven years old. And I could have that wrong.
Once "sittin out" season comes around though it's going to have to vacate that little table there so I have somewhere to set my beer.


  1. So this probably makes me the lamest person alive, but I have a soft spot for your gardening posts. Really. This year I gave up the flowers to plant some veggies and herbs in my lone window box and sad pot. Time to get some more...

    In the meantime I covet your garden. In particular the oriental poppies and the irises. OH and the columbine too.

  2. Christine: no, it makes you wonderful. I remember when all I had to garden with was an empty tin from some tea in my windowsill, and i grew some mint in it. I know what it's like to long for green things.
    The oriental poppy is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't usually go for such large showy blossoms, but I love the papaveracea so much and this one is just indecent!

  3. Morgan9:16 PM

    I'm suffering serious, serious garden envy here. Your gardening posts make me sigh.

  4. After reading the latest UJ, I would expect you to have some nepenthes.

  5. Yes ,yes, all very interesting but where is the cannabis patch?

  6. Your Welsh Poppy is the only good thing to have come out of Lynden.

  7. morgan: i waited 48 years to get this and everyone gets to share now! thanks you for the compliment!

    champ: oo, I wish! other than some vaguely weenis-like arum, im shit outta luck when it comes to suggestive vegetation.

    garfy: you mean the lsd (blue morning glory) the thujone (artemesia absinthum) and the opium (papaver somniferum) aren't cred? i grow that right out on the street here. but one pot plant and WHAMMO my red ass is locked down.

    mj: no shit. you know that house on the corner of 1st and grover with the windmills on the shutters? thats where I ganked it offa. shit, you'd think they'd have TULIPS.

  8. WOW , beautiful plants.
    Love the Bonsia tree , Ma Beasty gave me one but it fell off the windowsill and head first into the lavatory :-(
    It didnt do it any good

  9. pretty flowers yes

  10. Now, see, here I am in the tropics posting pictures of soil-sucking palms and you northerners go "Ahhh!Isn't she lucky?"
    While what my heart truly yearns for is an overgrown orchard and cornus so full of bees you can hear them 'way down the yard. ANd I am seriously thinking of coming up there this time next year just do feast on theose poppies.
    And y'know what? It's your evident delight in "wandering around " your patch that shines through.We grow things that delight us, for whatever sentimental reasons, and I include the edibles in that bracket.
    Thanks for taking me(and others) on a happy meander through memories.

  11. Bugger! Got a bit carried away with that long comment. Sorry.

  12. hahahaha you totally posted the NSFL link! I think the picture itself is deserving of an ENTIRE post. Yes.

  13. Ack! Ginger alert!

  14. I"m so envious my head just exploded. Someday I will have a real garden; a real garden that is not grown in post on a windowsill, but in soil that is in the ground that is in the earth. And it will be magnificent. Someday.

  15. Oh my various gods. I love your garden(s). I love your flowers and even your lovely pink hand in amongst them. And like Christine, I love your gardening posts. Aint spring grand??

  16. Things grow nice and pretty in the northwest, you do put together quite a lot of nice things.

  17. message to Chaucer - you are only down (up?) the road from me - you can have as much garden as you like to play in!

  18. im with garfer, where is the ummm "gardening post" we have all been waiting for.....

  19. My yard seems very lame in comparison. Very.
    I'm blown away by all the different types of flowers you have...I love the poppies.
    Makes me want to go on a midnight garden commando raid about the city and find a few cuttings for my yard...or at least finish the weeding...

  20. Loved the pictures. Being an indifferent gardner I may have to cut some loam and do some serious veggie turfing. I read a lovely romance years ago that had the gardening latinesque phrase "Innapoticum foresalis".

  21. Anonymous1:49 PM

    These are beautiful photos! I especially loved the flowering Cornus kousa...

    Okay, enough geeking out but thanks for making me smile today (and sorry if this is creepy and you don't know who I am and all that weird blogger-ness -- I'm a friend of Inner Voices and Cheese and have the Thumb of Death, so I'm always in awe of people like you)