Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Komo News weatherman Scott Sistek made an interesting point about our recent weather.  In the past 75 days, it has rained on 68 of those days.  The 75 days prior to that (Oct. 12 to July 30) was the exact opposite: Mostly sunny on 68 of the 75 days.  In other words, if you're going to visit Seattle, visit in summer when it's not raining every day.  You can read his article here.

The good news about all this rain is there haven't been any "arctic express" events so far.  There haven't even been any light freezes to speak of - just a couple nights getting down to about 30F/-1C.  And as long as the jet stream keeps flowing our way, it will ward off any bad arctic air so I'm completely fine with it raining for the next two months.  Here is a sign of just how mild it has been around here:

Hydrangea macrophylla on December 27th, 2012
Some not-really-hardy subtropical plants get left outside all winter just to see if they will make it.  There also wasn't any room in the greenhouse so bringing them in wasn't really an option.  I did get a lot of cuttings just in case.  But so far, this Brugmansia is doing just fine:

Bare Brugmansia
This Castor Bean plant is probably a bit closer to death, but still hanging on!

Ricinus communis 'Carmencita red'
This potted Bearss Lime (Citrus × latifolia) blends in so well with its surroundings I neglected to take it in, yet it doesn't seem phased in the least by the cold.  I will probably try to get this acclimated to the greenhouse just to keep it happy.

Citrus × latifolia
The two species of hardy cyclamen in the garden are both in bloom right now.  Here is Cyclamen hederifolium:

Cyclamen hederifolium
And Cyclamen coum:

Cyclamen coum
Plants with great evergreen foliage also really shine this time of year seeing as there is less foliage to go around in the garden.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Barry's silver'
Rubus lineatus
Clockwise from left: Melianthus major, Arbutus unedo, Schefflera brevipedunculata
And finally, a plant geek's plant if there ever was one: Brassica oleracea var. longata or Walking Stick Kale.  It was planted almost two years ago from seed and looks primed to put on a ton of growth in the spring.  It's already six feet tall and will hopefully get to 10 feet before going to seed.

Brassica oleracea var. longata

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Does This Have Something To Do With The Mayan Calendar?

Nothing spreads a bit of Christmas cheer like seeing hardy bananas still halfway in-tact this far into December.

Musa basjoo
Since October 1st, it has only dipped below freezing once (to 30F/-1C) on November 10th.  The mild weather has some interesting influences on a few plants.  Some plants think it's late summer...

Others think it's early spring.

Primula vulgaris

Rubus idaeus 'Caroline'
Plants all over the place are in the wrong season!

Lilium longiflorum
Lewisia cotyledon
Polygala chamaebuxus 'Kamniski'
Speaking of the wrong season, I stuck this bromeliad under these palms for the summer and when I went to go pull it out a month ago, it wouldn't budge!  If it doesn't want to move into the greenhouse, I won't interfere.  Maybe it will survive the winter out here...

Neoregelia princeps

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Official!

The 2nd annual Normandy Park Garden Festival & Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, July 6th, 2013 at the Galicic residence!  It is a free community event, open to the public, and will be held in the very garden where all the pictures on this blog come from.  This year's special guest speakers will be none other than Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken of Far Reaches Farm!  Their nursery in Port Townsend, Washington is just beginning to gain world-wide notoriety for its impressive selection of rare plants from every corner of the earth, which can then be mailed to any other corner of the earth through their online mail-order store.

In addition to serving a free catered lunch & refreshments, there will be activities for the kids such as a garden scavenger hunt, face painting, a bounce house, and lots more.  Both I (Justin) and Far Reaches Farm will be selling hundreds of varieties of great new plants for you to add to your own garden.  There will be more information to come as the event draws nearer so check back here for updates!

To join the mailing list, please RSVP to Justin at this e-mail address: 

Here are some photos from last year's event with guest speaker Dan Hinkley:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Here Comes the Su....There Went the Sun

The picture below is deceptive.  It looks like it's a nice day, but the truth is it was a short glimpse of a sun break in an otherwise wet, cold, dark, and windy day.  By the time my eyes adjusted, the sun went behind a cloud indefinitely.

On the other hand, if it wasn't for this steady supply of weather systems (i.e. rain) we've had over the past month and a half, there would have been at least a few good frosts by now, which would make sightings on December 2nd like this impossible:

Canna 'Tropical yellow'
Or this:
The flower stalk of Acanthus mollis 'Tasmanian angel' rising through a Schefflera taiwaniana
Even the leaves of this Gunnera manicata have yet to show signs of capitulating.

Gunnera manicata
If this benign weather continues through the winter, I will jump for joy from the rooftop (just kidding!).

Center left: Washingtonia robusta, Center right: Melianthus major