Monday, August 26, 2013

I feel so much better

Remember how I said that I felt off because I hadn't bought any plants in more than six weeks?

Scott and I took a trip to Wind Dancer to comb through Carolyn Kolb's remaining stock and stuffed my Honda to the gills with grasses. That wonderful spray of airy seedheads is Pennisetum spathiolatum. I bought it for my hell strip but now I'm wishing I had bought many more because I can think of ninety places it would look great.

Carolyn has closed Wind Dancer but she has begun garden coaching. I'm seriously considering hiring her because her garden is incredible and her plant knowledge is seemingly endless. And I need help, especially in the backyard. She also convinced us we need to attend the Salem Hardy Plant Society fall sale on September 14th. There's a really nicely curated selection of vendors (Dancing Oaks! Desert Northwest! Sebright Gardens!) and it sounds like the location is great.

We actually got real rain this week, which was wonderful. Sadly, it's probably not enough to soften the ground enough to plant these. Have you started buying plants again? Did you ever stop?

One of my most exciting acquisitions was Pennisetum 'Burgandy Bunny.' (Zones 6a-9b)

What you can't see from my crummy photo is that Carolyn had this planted adjacent to a Salvia 'Amistad' and some dark purple sedums, creating all of these wonderful color echos. You can bet I'm going to steal that.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I guess you could say I'm a fan

Since we're preparing to install insulation and upgrading our electrical, and blah blah blah, I asked our contractor to sell me one of those super quiet super fans that Panasonic makes. He told me it would be cheaper to just have my electrician install it, BUT! I suspect he knew that the plaster would end up cracking and that's why he gave me this advice.

So yeah, the plaster cracked when we were cutting a bigger hole for the new fan. It wasn't even our fault; this was one of those weird places where there were short bits of lathe left and when we tried to cut through them everything crumbled.

So I watched some videos on YouTube about patching plaster and headed to Home Depot for supplies. There was a column of hot air coming down from the attic so I wanted to get it patched as soon as possible. I used the wrong kind of screws to connect the wire mesh to the ceiling but it seemed to work okay.

Oddly, my plaster job didn't look as smooth and beautiful as the guy's on YouTube. Of course, we have a weird sanded texture on the ceiling that I was never going to match. I'm thinking about having a pro skim coat the entire bathroom, since I did such a poor job patching when I first worked on it.

Shitty patch job aside, this fan is awesome. It's hard to tell that it's on, especially if air is blowing through the register. Our old fan sounded like a jet engine and we had it rigged up with drinking straws around the edges so it wouldn't rattle so badly. Really.

The bathroom mirror no longer fogs up when we shower, it pulls steam out so well. The window does fog up but it clears so much faster than before.

They have a whole line of super fancy fans, some of which have motion detectors incorporated (!!!) and I think there's even one that murmurs you look nice today when you turn it on. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garden bloggers' bloom day August 2013

Portlandia filmed at our house two summers ago. They seem to need a lot of houses for filming, especially ones that are sort of run down, like ours. Periodically we get a call about filming and I've turned them down because the filming was so stressful for me and the crew made me feel so unhip. I got a series of calls this week because their producer thought our house would be perfect . . . .

. . . for putting a hot tub on the lawn. I'm not going to lie, that didn't feel great. Of course the last time they were here, our house looked like this. Actually, it was summer, so the lawn was brown.

So I get it. Lots of lawn space and a slightly dilapidated house that could conceivably shelter people who would put a hot tub on it. Regardless, I had to tell them that we don't have a lawn anymore! We have a garden! And boy do we have a lot of blooms this month.

Zauschneria 'Mattole Select,'  Coreopsis 'Moonbeam,' Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Snow'

The cannas are still blooming like crazy, along with every grass and flower in the meadow.

Gaillardia grandiflora 'Arizona Sun' likes it hot and sunny, just like this castor bean.

Muhlenbergia rigens

Salvia 'Amistad'

Salvia 'Black and Blue'

Dalea purpurea

Geranium 'Rozanne' will never stop blooming.

Sunflower 'Lemon Queen' is winking at you

 Agastache 'Ava' is another one that starts blooming and never stops.

Rudbeckia hirta

Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick'

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian Ricegrass)

Panicum 'Northwind' which I always call 'Swiftwind', which was She-Ra's horse.

Clematis jackmanii

Gaultheria hispidula (Creeping snowberry) flowers

Creeping snowberry fruits

Sedum telephium 'Hab Gray'

Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)

We got this NOID zinnia from a packet of seeds that we got upon entrance to the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam.

Verbena bonariensis and 'Gateway' Joe Pye Weed

Sesleria autumnalis

Lots of blooms means lots of pollinators right now. If only they'd called saying, "We need a house with bees! Lots of bees!"

But sadly, they didn't say any of that. If you need me I'll be nursing my hurt feelings, drinking a PBR in skinny jeans. Ironically.

Bloom day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Be sure to stop by and check out what everyone else has blooming. Thank you, Carol!

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.