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Monday, October 28, 2013

Blue Macro Monday, October 28, 2013

Welcome to my Monday post, today I am linking with-

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Ruby Tuesday Too hosted by Gemma Wiseman

Blue is not that easy of a color to find in the garden, but I tried a photo of some little Rosemary blooms-

I was photographing my new Eupatorium coelestinum blooms which are finally getting more open-

When a cute little hoverfly happened upon the flower and posed for me, the camera distorted the color of the flower some, notice his little stubby fly atennae, his bigger more wrap-around eyes, hairless back, lack of pollen baskets on his hind legs, and only 2 wings instead of 4-

A Gladiolus decided to bloom again rather late-

A frost is predicted tonight, I will have to bring in some tender plants and decide if I should cover a few others.   I'm not ready for frost, we have been having lovely dry weather and I've been getting lots of weeding and brush removal done.    Today I'm remembering my mother on her birthday, no longer with us, but appreciated.   -Hannah

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Berberis nervosa, favorite plant of the week

Welcome to my Wildflower Wednesday post, late, to see other wildflower posts, join others at hostess Gail's Clay and Limestone blog.   I'm also linking this with favorite plant pick of the week on hostess Loree's Danger Garden, see the comment section for other people's favorite plant picks.

   I'm presenting one of the plants that grows wild in my 2 acre garden.  The previous owner (PO) logged, and left little pockets of the original plants.   My favorite is Berberis (formerly Mahonia)  nervosa, a low-growing Cascade Oregon-grape.  It has glossy leathery dark green evergreen leaves.

Over time it spreads slowly by rhizomes to make stands that unfortunately get invaded with the native blackberry pest, Rubus ursinus, I just spend part of a day cutting out all the vines from this patch and dripping a little brush killer on the cut surfaces,  I'm an organic gardener but the blackberry vines have pushed me into what I hope is a very low-impact use.  It does seem to slow down their reappearance.  

They flower in April with sprays of yellow flowers like most Mahonia/Berberis species.

In addition to looking beautiful, they also yield edible dark purple berries, loaded with anti-oxidants.   They are like Salal, a little strong-tasting alone but nice cooked with some other fruit to make jelly or gelatin dessert.

Being a native plant, they are tough as nails here and need no supplemental water, even with our dry summers.  There are many native species of (ex-Mahonia) Berberis that are very worthwhile low-maintenance garden shrubs.  Berberis nervosa is a low-growing plant, others can be 3-4' tall.   A nice feature is that they seem to have no appeal for deer.   I've been also trying to grow one from the SW from seed, Berberis fendleri, but it is very slow-growing so still very small.

There are also a lot of very attractive and deer resistant thorny species from around the world, some with larger more-utilized fruit.  The Asian cultivar 'Soft Caress' caught my eye at a fair and is on my plant lust list.  I have also bought Berberis darwinii, a marvelous arching shrub with tiny leaves, and the diminutive Berberis stenophylla corallina.

Interestingly, the USDA site still lists them as Mahonia, and has 10 species listed as native, various ones in most of the US.   Tough plants, why not?    Hannah

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blue Macro Monday, October 21, 2013

Fun Guys, or the Fungus Among Us.   I was working a lot in the garden this last week trying to get rid of blackberries in some woodsy beds, and kept running into various mushrooms.   I decided to make them the subject of my post this week.   I'm linking with-

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Mandarin Orange Monday hosted by Lorik

Monday Mellow Yellows hosted by Gemma Wiseman

A 3" (6cm) Mushroom, white with brown rough highlights, and then the underside view of the brownish gills of a second mushroom-

A cream-topped smaller mushroom with peachy larger gills-

A velvety black mushroom with a startling yellow underside with pores instead of gills, and a reddish stem, which I tentatively have identified as Zeller's Bolete-

Tiny mushrooms 1cm or less, on a log-

An abandoned wasp nest-
Strips of chewed wood, turned into thin paper layers-

My cat Celeste, who likes to follow me around the yard hoping for attention, ear scratching, etc., sharpening her claws-
Named for her celestial blue eyes-

I hope you are having a happy autumn morning, Hannah

or cameras are macro

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Favorite Plant Pick of the Week, October 19, 2013

My favorite plant for this week is Anemone nemorosa.  To see other people's favorites, click on the link for Loree's Danger Garden, and look at the links in the comments section.

Anemone nemorosa is close to perfectly adapted to conditions in the Pacific Northwest, where the climate is dominated by alternating wet and dry seasons.  Anemone nemorosa comes up in late winter or early spring as the temperatures warm up, and proceeds to carpet the ground in dense 2-3" foliage, soon studded with blooms that last for weeks.   The foliage sticks around for a while, then eventually goes dormant in the heat and drought of the summer.   More rhizomes are formed so that in a year or two it becomes a dense planting.   It spreads more quickly than any gentle welcome plant I know.  I'm thinking of Anemone nemorosa now because I'm digging up the dormant rhizomes to spread them around to some new shady places.   They are 2-3" below the surface, and are replanted about the same.  

Here is an example of the white variety that slowly becomes magenta with age.

'Robinsoniana' starts out blue and fades light purple-

Very beautiful but hard to photograph, and also slowest to spread, is the white 'Vestal' with a pom-pom center-

So, my favorite pick this week for the carpets of spring flowers, plant some now!  Or enjoy the great fall-blooming tall Anemone japonicas and tomentosas, here Pamina-

Delightful flowers that take care of themselves in spring and fall!  Hannah

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, October 15, 2013

Welcome to What's Blooming Now, to see other people's flowers, click on the link to hostess Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

Not a lot is blooming now, but one garden star that doesn't know how to quit is Rozanne hardy geranium-

Other reliable fall bloomers are Anemone japonica and tomentosa, here-

And new Anemone 'Pamina'-

Still looking good is new Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'-

A surprise is Camellia sasanqua 'Apple Blossom', which has taken years to start blooming, and this is earlier than last year, still waiting on Yuletide to start blooming at all-

Abelia grandiflora is still blooming-

My personal Rose Queen of the garden, Zephirine Drouhin, does not fail to please-

Last of the Goldenrods to still be blooming well, 'Solar Cascade-

A Chrysanthemum that I have been growing for 3 years in a container, and which also roots easily in water-

Also blooming are Rosemary, and a few other roses. and a Dahlia that was left in the ground over winter and recently started blooming.

What's still blooming for you?   -Hannah

Monday, October 14, 2013

Harvest Macro Monday, October 14, 2013

Welcome to my Monday post.  Today I am linking with-

Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne

Macro Monday hosted by Gemma Wiseman

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

Mandarin Orange Monday hosted by Lorik

Monday Mellow Yellows hosted by Gemma Wiseman

First, flowers from the 102nd Birthday celebration of my Mother-in-law last week, who came over from Sweden at the age of 2, at the time named Gunhilda Marta Magrita. Her family was originally coming on the Titanic, but came on another boat fortunately!   Her older brother was sick and couldn't get on the boat, so her grandparents said they would send him later, but didn't!    
Alstroemerias, Swedish colors-

And on to this week's harvests.   My summer vegetable crops have mostly fizzled out from cold, except the runner beans, Phaseolus coccineus, a different species from the usual pole and bush beans, which likes cooler weather so is still blossoming and setting pods.   This year I was trying some white-seeded and white-flowered ones- Blanca di Spagna, and Sweet White Runner.
They turned out to not set seeds as well as the super Scarlet runner variety Insuk's Wang Kong, that I received in a trade through the Gardenweb Legume forum, a great place to discuss bean varieties, especially heirlooms.   But they have been improving with cooler weather, yesterday I picked 3 lbs., roughly 1.5 K.   If the seeds have not developed much the pods can be tender, but at least this variety is fibrous once the seeds develop, but the seeds are very tasty as shellies (shelled beans).

There were a few stragglers in the regular pole and half-runner beans- from left to right Uncle Steve's pole, Super Marconi, Red Peanut, and Grandma Robert's Purple pole.

I also finished picking the last of the Winesap apples, they are a very hard apple but make a great flavorful applesauce.  

The "semi-dwarf" tree is over 20' tall and hard to pick the apples off the top, I had to cut a new bamboo pole and stand on the top of the ladder and try to knock them down.  The birds are pecking them and would clean them out soon if I left them.   One of the birds that likes them is the Pileated Woodpecker, model for Woody Woodpecker.  They have fantastic jungle calls- you tube video, one of many-

The cool season vegetables are just starting to shine, here Kale, Collards, and a couple of tiny Crookneck Squash-

Turnip greens-

Turnip, 2 lb., sliced, white flesh cooks up tender-

I hope you are enjoying the cool weather, Hannah

or cameras are macro

Friday, October 11, 2013

Skywatch Friday, October 11, 2013

This is my first Skywatch post, linked here.  

The sun flees away, a golden mist obscures the field-

The trees become lacy shapes against the sky, flaunting their silhouettes against the gold,

Layered dimensions of resinous greenery, obscured in the fading golden glow.

Solitary, I lay my tools down and seek the warmth of home, deserted by the light.