Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I've been feeling a little off lately, maybe a little antsy, and I think it's because I haven't bought any plants in almost a month.

A whole month!

Crocosmia 'Golden Fleece', Colocasia  'Coffee Cups' and Colocasia esculenta 'Black Coral'

The ground is dry and hard now, so there's no point in purchasing plants for the ground. I just have to water and weed and deadhead and that's not nearly as much fun.

But wait! I could buy more pots and plants for those pots! Who wants to go shopping?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thyme smells so good

Would it be weird to create satchels for one's dresser drawers using thyme instead of lavender?

Asking for a friend.

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's a Christmas miracle!

Somehow my Zea mays 'Variegata' that I got for purely ornamental value has self-pollinated. We have an ear of corn developing.

It almost makes up for the fact that right after I bragged about how good our veggie garden was looking, all the lettuce bolted, the cabbages were attacked by aphids, and the chard wilted. Before pride goeth a fall . . . but then after the fall there's corn! One ear of corn! Hallelujah!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where do your bumblebees sleep?

In my garden I usually find male bumblebees crashed out on the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' in the front yard. Scott posted a great shot on Facebook of a bunch of bumbles crashed out on his Persicaria 'Lance Corporal.' I wonder if they are attracted to chartreuse or if it's just a coincidence?

It's 9:30, guys. Don't you have work to do?

But sometimes shit gets real.

I think this is a crab spider (M. vatia), which can slowly change its coloring to match its surroundings.

Impressive, no?

The other day two bumblebees and a wasp were involved in a buzzing, rolling death match in the front garden. They were spinning through the air, wrestling, then bouncing off the ground . . . it was fascinating and kind of scary.

Greg yelled, "What should I do? Should I break it up!?" and I swear I've never loved him so much. I also haven't laughed that hard in a while. He's awfully nice to me.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dream big, baby.

Greg and I have a running joke. He asks me what I'd do if I won the lottery and I always reply, "I'd put insulation in the attic." And I really would. We have some loose insulation in the attic that doesn't do much to keep the heat out of the house in the summer. If I won the lottery I'd apply to be on This Old House, fan-girl over Tommy, have them fix everything in the house, and then live there forever. I'd finally buy that black daphne too.

Greg and I are taking a bit of a step and he is investing in the house. He's going to pay for some big stuff, like installing insulation and updating the electrical.

I contacted Clean Energy Works a while back to an energy audit on the house and draw up a bid for making our house more energy efficient. The proposal includes insulation in the attic, floors, and walls, as well as gap sealing. We're going to be working with Neil Kelly. It's one of those things where we need the electrical upgraded before we go blowing in insulation in the attic, so I've found an electrician to do the work. The harder thing has been finding time where he can get it done. I took off to California this weekend for my niece's birthday and Greg texted me that the electrician was mapping out the electrical in the house and "it makes no sense."

Tell me something that I don't know.

So yeah, we're having him pull all of the old original Romex (the cloth covered wire that disintegrates every time you touch it) with new Romex and wiring everything in a way that makes sense. He's also going to do fun things like put the microwave on its own fuse so the lights don't dim when you run it.

All of this is to say that I've been so busy trying to coordinate with a busy electrician and keep the house supplied with cool beverages and Romex that I neglected to take photos of the Casa Blanca lilies that came and went. They smelled nice.

I did have the wherewithal to create a drinking/bathing station for pollinators. (Do I want to know why there's a rock pie in the veggie beds? Greg asked. No, you probably don't.)

So yeah, July was here. I put some rocks in a pie pan. Have you accomplished anything bigger?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Friday!

I'm deeply, madly in love with my meadow right now.

A neighbor walked by last night and said, "Wow! The lawn looks great!" :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

'Amistad' isn't Spanish for obsession but it should be

My parents had their yard professionally landscaped a few years back and the designer filled their garden with lavender, as designers do. My parents found out that lavender looks and smells wonderful . . . until the third year when it starts to get woody and misshapen and awful-looking. My mom has been slowly replacing sections with much better plants. My mom is effortlessly good at almost everything and she probably could've designed a better garden right out the gate.

A year ago she and my dad went to the Sunset test gardens and saw Salvia 'Amistad.' It has the black calyxes of Salvia 'Black and Blue' with deep dusky purple flowers instead of hot blue.

My mom ran all over town trying to find it, finally locating it at Orchard Supply Hardware. All I could think at the time was, "I learned it by watching you!" Parents who plant lust have children with plant lust.

My mom planted a huge swath of Amistad right outside her kitchen window and it's GORGEOUS. And it's covered in hummingbirds all day long. Brava, mama.

I sort of forgot about it until Scott posted about the Garden Bloggers' Fling and their visit to the Sunset gardens and Salvia 'Amistad' (picture here). We decided to try our luck at Orchard Supply, which just opened in Oregon, only to immediately file for bankruptcy. This could be our last chance!

I decided to call OSH first, just to make sure they had it. At the Beaverton store the garden associate asked me, "What's a selvia?" After spelling it out he asked, "Is that like Sativa?" They didn't have it and I no longer had any faith in their garden department.

The Tigard store said, "Oh yeah, we have that."
"That specific cultivar?"
"What's the name again?"
"Amistad. A-M-I-S-T-A-D."
We have blue and red. Is it one of those?"

So we skipped OSH and hit up Joy Creek, Means, Cistus, and Garden Fever instead. We didn't find Amistad but we found all sorts of other things to fill my backseat. I think it's fitting that "amistad" is Spanish for friendship. How many friendships have been forged over plant shopping trips?

That night I was at my friend Carrie's house and I looked at a new potted arrangement she had created. The salvia looked an awful lot like Amistad. Plant people are the best because she didn't even blink when I told her that I needed to know what that was RIGHT NOW. She dug out the tag and, sure enough, it was Amistad. She'd gotten it at the Fred Meyer grocery store right next to my house. The one I'm at every week.

Greg immediately chimed in, "You want to leave right now and go to Fred Meyer, don't you?" It was 9:30pm. He knows me so well. At least we know we can blame this one on genes!

Instead I waited like a normal person and went first thing Sunday morning and got one for me and one for Scott.

The stats: Hardy in zones 8-11. The stated size is 3-4' high by 3' wide but my mom's is much taller than that (hers is on a drip, which might help). Full sun or part shade and it's drought-tolerant, though salvias never seem to mind summer water. If you're in desperate need of one let me know and I'll pick one up for you. And thank you, Carrie, for unknowingly finding the Holy Grail.