Monday, November 22, 2010


Well, when I posted my last blog I mentioned that winter was clearly was on it's way.  However, I didn't expect snow!  This first thing I did when I finally returned home after doing my Thanksgiving Day shopping was run out and rake.  Yes, that's right, rake!  This cold snap caught me unprepared and I had to scramble to get my lily beds blanketed with leaves before any more damage was done. My family thinks I'm crazy, but they know me well by now and very little stops me.  Fortunately, the amount of snow received was minimal and I was able to accomplish my task even though the leaves were frozen.  In the 19 years we have lived in the Pacific Northwest I have never seen it snow this early.  Granted,  it isn't much compared to other parts of country but it still brings along it's constant companion; cold temperatures.  My poor, poor plants.  They aren't used to this type of weather.  Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring, last year was quite damaging.  We are supposed to get about 2" tonite and then it will disappear as always, leaving shocked perennials, lilacs, roses etc... in it's wake.  I must go out and fill the bird feeders my little winged friends are probably hungry.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Autumn seemed to come and go far too quickly this year.  I was able to get most of my "to do's" done, but there are a few left unfinished.  Unfortunately, a couple of unexpected events on behalf of mother nature have taken place and created even more work.  A tree fell on my cottage, where I will have my gift shoppe and floral design studio, but fortunately no damage was done.  Then, for some unknown reason the majority of the posts in my cutting garden fence have rotted underground and two of the four sides have fallen down.  Needless to say, I can't ask my husband to rebuild that large fence so we have opted to eliminate the fence completely with a front facade only, where I have some climbing roses growing.  Time for a new plan for the perimeter of the cutting garden.  I'm contemplating large old garden roses, wigelia and lilacs to create a natural wall and this will also entice even more feathered friends.  I managed to get a couple of pics of the beautiful autumn we had.  Below is one of the Wigelia in full fall colors, and a shot of one of our very old maple trees that somewhere early in its life had to grow sideways in order to reach up towards the sun.  As I write this post it is clear that autumn is leaving and winter is arriving.  Very blustery and on the chilly side outside.  I have many, many leaves left to rake and may end up doing it in the rain.  Thats life in the Pacific Northwest/ 

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Vignette:  a small impressionistic scene.  I must admit that I need to work on the "vignettes" in my gardens.  I have been so focused on getting plants in the ground and maintaining them that I haven't seen to that detail much yet.  I have a few, here and there but know I need many more.  They are one of the many extra details that are imperative (to me) to help create a charming effect on my property.  So that said,  added to my goal list this spring are of course vignettes.  They are the final touch and make all the difference.  In the post before this one I featured a garden I had visited named Laurel Hedge and neglected to post this very charming vignette pic.  It is simple and very effective.  I think you will find it inspiring if you appreciate small details as I do.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Several weeks ago, upon the advice of a friend of a friend, my husband and I visited the very charming gardens at Laurel Hedge in Estacada, Oregon, as she had been told  that I was working towards creating a "destination" garden and thought I would find it inspirational.  It isn't often that I have the chance to visit other gardens and was thrilled with the opportunity to visit this one.  It was once a Christmas Tree farm that over the years has been converted into multiple beds, pathways and charming outbuildings by two very creative individuals.  The gardens include a large pond, several clever fountains, charming outbuildings including a greenhouse made of salvaged windows and a boutique featuring a little of this and that found here and there. Not to mention an adorable outhouse unlike any I have ever seen and many birdhouses that make excellent use of vintage everyday objects.   These are men after my own heart!  We came home with three salvaged windows that will be suspended from our pavillion creating a cozy feeling for our future outdoor kitchen and seating area.  Below are some of the pics of Laurel Hedge.  I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed visiting them.  I will return in the spring to see what's new.  Check out their website at, and if you are in the area, stop by you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


There aren't many annuals that I am fond of, but this is definitely one of them.  The Cleome (spider flower) is amazing!  I had never seen one until I thought they looked interesting on the cover of a seed packet and were considered one of the old fashioned types, so I propagated them and fell in love.  They grow to about 4.5 ft. tall with hardy stalks and amazing wild looking blooms that are in a full ball at the top and have spidery looking sections going down the stalk.  I must admit however that scent is not their strong point.  It is a little on the musky side so I'm not sure how popular they will be as a cut flower but I will have them in abundance none the less.  They were better performers last year as I had started them in pots, this year I allowed them to self sow.  I don't know if it was our late summer or if they just fare better with a headstart in pots.  Next spring I will go back to my original method as I must have these.  Their blooms last a very long time and when they begin to fade they dry out and open up revealing dozens of tiny seeds in long narrow pods.  Enjoy these pics and consider giving them a try in your garden.  (full sun)


Well not really.  This is actually a woodland aster, a very hardy perennial that is sweet smelling and very sweet to look at.  The bees go crazy for it as it blooms in the early fall and is almost the only fresh flower available for them to utilize for their bee "to do's".  A must have if you don't have.


Time has gotten away from me this season.  Obligations other than gardening have taken precedence.  I have managed to stay on top of things, but my scheduled projects did not take place.  I won't bore my readers with unnecessary details and I am fearful that if I did actually write down what "did not" get done this season I might have a panic attack.  So... best to leave those thoughts swirling around in my head, while I convince myself that there is always next year.  The problem with that however, is that with every passing year I get older!  That thought in itself is enough to make me feel like screaming at time to STOP so my "to do's" can get caught up before my body will no longer keep up with the demands.  Of course, the unfortunate reality for all of us is that time does not stop, not ever.  It literally marches on, and too bad if we can't keep up.  Get going, keep moving.  So, I do.  I keep going, trying my best to keep my multiple goals in focus and accomplish what I can.  Thus, my lame explanation for my lack of updates on my blog.  Funny how gardening blogs are hardest to maintain when we are actually... gardening.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


These late blooming, long lasting favorites like to strut their stuff when the other flowers are fading away. These particular shots were taken in my cutting garden.  They are some of the last ones still blooming.  I love the bright yellow of the Black Eyed Susans paired with the purple Asters and the multi-colored Cosmos.  The wiry long stemmed purple flowers scattered here and there are Brazilian Vervain (Verbena bonariensis).  No one believes me when I tell them they are Verbena.  Never mind that they don't grow where I want them to but are profuse everywhere else.  Oh well.  I just let them pop up wherever they want.  They are light and airy and you can see other flowers through them.  They truly grow like weeds and some people don't care for their disrespectful wild ways.  They are definitely on my favorite list.


A beautiful rainbow graced us with it's presence the other day and I felt compelled to share a couple of pics.  They are always such a delight and so unexpected.  A rainbow always makes me smile inside.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration.  -  Lou Erickson

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Summer is waning quickly as are most of the flowers in my beds.  However, the beautiful old fashioned hollyhock is hanging on to remind us of the beauty summer flowers provide.  This was not a banner year for my hollyhocks.  Typically, they are at least 8 ft. high and too many to count.  My guess is it was the wet June we had, as I found many of the rootstock had rotted in the ground.  Sad.  However, I know that as always they will prevail and return next year in all their stately glory.  I never actually plant Hollyhocks, they just show up.  I do transplant them usually with success.  Colors intermingle and change as the bees go about their busy business.  The pretty peachy/yellow and lilac colored ones are some of my favorite.  So... for now a final photo to look back on during the long days of winter as we gardeners pine and plan for spring.

Friday, August 27, 2010


This adorable pup is just 4 months old weighing in at 33 lbs!  He has a destructive (but oddly enduring because I know it won't last) habit of leaning up against my tall perennials and collapsing upon them.  The first couple of times he did it I became alarmed thinking something was wrong.  But no, he just wanted a cool place to lie down.  I have had more than my fair share of damage caused by large over zealous puppies.  Usually I become hysterical chasing them all over the place only to make the situation far worse.  My approach now is to turn away and keep in mind that this too shall pass and that next summer this particular puppy will be grown and my perennials will have yet another chance at survival. At least that is what I am hoping for.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments - Janet Kilburn Phillips

Monday, August 16, 2010


This pic was sent to me by a visitor to my cutting garden.  A lovely lady (visiting from West Virginia) and her daughter (featured in the photo) stopped by hoping to see a field of lavender.  What they found instead was the beginning stages of my cutting garden and the final stages of my lavender.  However, they were very sweet and complimentary and seemed to be very pleased with what they saw.  They were especially impressed with the size of the Shasta Daisies, hence the photo. As you can see she isn't attempting to eat them,  just smelling.  They went home with plenty of cut flowers and lavender to enjoy.  It was a delight to have them stop by, as I haven't officially been open for business for awhile now, and haven't had the chance to talk "flowers" with visitors.  I truly hope that when they are in town again they will have the opportunity to drop in.  There should be new flowers to smell and cut and young fresh lavender to admire.

Monday, August 9, 2010


This is an extra pretty clematis that I acquired at a local independent nursery located in an obscure area in Brush Prarie, Washington which is just down the road from my house called Collectors Nursery.  They seem to focus on shade loving and unusual plant varieties.  The only sign they have is a mailbox on the road with their name painted on it.  Every once in awhile they will have a small wagon up front with end of season deals.  One year I purchased Hellebores in gallon pots for $6.00 each, which is a steal.  Their website is  You should check it out.
As for this clematis that I purchased from them about 6 years ago, I cut it to the ground every spring and it grows like crazy, filling an entire corner of this particular bed and as you can see rambles all over the picket fence.  Visitors often comment on its beauty and prolific growth.  I have no idea what the name of it is (as is typical with me), all I know is that it is definitely one of my favorites.

I feel the need to put a question out there to anyone who reads this blog, no response necessary, just a little something to think about.  Am I the only gardener out there who is possessive of their plants?  I have a friend who stopped by the other day and as we were wandering around the beds, she would randomly pull a weed here and there, okay great if you want to do the dirty work for me.  But then, she began rearranging the above featured clematis along the fenceline. I instantly felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck!  I had to refrain from saying what I was actually thinking which was, "what do you think you are doing? Stop rearranging my clematis!"  Then after she left I began questioning myself and wondering if I am completely obsessive or what?  I do know that if I ever hired anyone to do any work around here it would not be weeding or trimming.  I would spend far too much time hovering over them making sure they didn't pull out something they shouldn't as some of my plants are a little wild looking. I had this conversation with my husband, and because he knows me so well, assured me that I was indeed obsessive and possessive about my plants.  To me it is in the same category as someone coming into your home and randomly rearranging the furniture without being invited to do so!  They truly are my babies, anyone is invited to enjoy, smell, touch, and certainly cut from the cutting garden (which I am finding is a difficult task for to bring myself to do, and my daughter has to keep reminding me that it is indeed a CUTTING GARDEN!!)  


"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plants point of view". - H. Fred Ale

Friday, July 30, 2010


This pic is of the Shasta Daisies that are in my cutting garden.  They are over 5ft. high and are a stunning sight.  They seem to glow with their beautiful white petals and yellow centers.  Being a perennial they require no care other than watering and because they are so abundant they manage to hold themselves upright.  Truly a delight in any garden.

I have several large stands of Shastas throughout my perennial beds.  They really stand out next to the Coneflower and Black Eyed Susans when they are all in bloom at the same time.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


As Rosemary is to the spirit, so Lavender is to the soul.


My lavender is now eight years old and this will be it's last season.  It will be very hard for me to dig them up, we have spent many seasons together.  When I first became entranced with the idea of a flower business my immediate thoughts were to lavender.  It was the trend at the time and a trip to Sequim, Washington sealed the deal in my mind.  I ordered 1,000 tiny plants, 500 Provence, and 500 Grosso, the french varietal.  An area approximately 1/4 of an acre was tilled and prepared.  The tiny plants arrived and the frenzied planting began.  I employed the youthful, yet unwilling, energy of my two young children at the time as well as my ever supportive husband.  Many years, a ridiculous amount of weeding, and several backbreaking harvests have come to an end.  I currently only have about 125 of the original plants.  Two years ago the majority were removed to make room for my current cutting garden.  I will replant this spring in a more easily managed manner (keyword; more weedblock) with no more than 100 plants.  I will continue with the Provence, I am enamored with the rich fragrance of this variety, as well as the Grosso which is very fragrant as well and is widely used for lavender wands and the dried buds for sachets.  
So for now... please enjoy these few photos of my lovely old ladies as this will be their last.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


After a very long and wet spring, summer has arrived as is typical, shortly after the Fourth of July.  No transition this year however, we have gone from 64 degrees and cloudy for nearly two months to 96 degrees for the next three days.  No complaints here though, just have to really move to see that all of the plants receive sufficient water (by hand!) and with the help of one or two sprinklers. Definitely a full time job at this time of year.
The quote below is one I am sure many of us gardeners would love to embrace, and allow the weeds to do as they wish.  But then of course, that would mean relinquishing the joy of gardening to the rampage of the weeds, which would result in ... not much of a garden!  In my wooded areas however, there are some lovely natural ground covers that for years I tried to control.  No such luck, and I have come to the conclusion that they are rather pretty and die off quickly after their season has passed.  My husband notified me this year that he constantly weed wacks a very persistent weedy looking bush type plant, that always reappears in full force.  Once he showed me the plant I then asked him to cease and desist instantly, as it is a wild Anemone and is much prettier than a nasty blackberry bush that would most certainly fill its spot.  There truly are some "weeds" that are worth keeping.
The pic below is just a quick snap of one of my gated entries into my cottage garden (as always, a work in progress).  I like looking at it as I walk through it several times a day and thought I would share.
Happy watering!  


"What is a weed?" A weed is a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.  -  Emerson

Monday, June 28, 2010


This beautiful and popular climbing rose was just planted this spring and is thriving.  If it performs as I believe it will, next year it should look amazing.  The flowers bloom a beautiful pale pink, turning to white as they age.  Very fragrant and seems to be quite disease resistant, the excessive rain here didn't affect it much where it severely damaged many of my other roses.  I believe it is a once blooming variety, but most of my roses are and I am fine with that.  I can't wait to see what it will look like next year!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Who doesn't love the scrumptious fragrance and voluptuous appearance of the peony.  Their beautiful delicate petals form large drooping heads filled with an old fashioned fragrance that is unique to them.    They come in a large variety of colors ranging from rich burgundies to luminescent whites.  My favorite personals are the pale pinks.  This color range seems to suite their delicate nature.  Considering the amount of rain we get here in the Northwest in the spring I am always tempted to run out and place an umbrella over each of my beauties because their blooms become so heavy with water that they are unable to keep themselves upright.  
Alas, this has yet to happen and I try to rectify rainy day damage by cutting the drooping flowers and bring them indoors so that I may enjoy their scent and beauty inside as well as out.
If you haven't experienced the joy of the peony, I highly recommend it.  They will take you back in time to an era that has been too easily forgotten.  


"The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.  They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before." - Vita Sackville West

Monday, June 14, 2010


I thought I would share some pics of a few of my roses.  I adore the Old Garden Roses.  They are very hardy and smell divine.  The pic of the small very pale yellow rose is actually a rambler named Rambling Rector dated 1910,  that is just one year old, and should grow to about 35 feet and hopefully will cover the arbor entirely with these sweet little flowers.  The  rose with the dark magenta flower is a Moss rose, Mme Dubost dating to 1890 (thousands of evil thorns),  the other one that is just beginning to bloom is a Bourbon named Charles Lawson, 1853. This one has at least a thousand blooms on it and is very difficult to keep upright, especially with the heavy rains we have had this year.  

If you could smell their scent through my blog!