Saturday, December 5, 2009
Curiously, we have already seen our latest sunrise this year. On October 31,the sun rose at 7:34 am. The onset of daylight savings time, the next day, moved it to 6:36 am and it's been steadily getting later though, as noted early, it will stop at 7:27.
I took the picture this morning about 9:00 am. It ws raining and the rain turned to snow shortly thereafter. Now at 1:00, there's nearly an inch of snow on grassy surfaces, cars, plants, etc. Nothing has accumulated on the streets or sidewalks probably because it is above freezing and has been, excepting the odd hour or two) for....well since last winter.
Posted by ChrisU at 10:54 AM
There was a time not so long ago when Behnke's Poinsettias were head and shoulders above the rest; now they're just heads above the best. Behnke's quality hasn't slipped, but the rest of the world has made strides. One of the wonderful things about the explosion of communications technology is that it means anybody can find out how to grow a perfect Poinsettia (or do countless other things well). Experience still counts and Behnke plants are still at the top, but the chain stores that used to be filled with "Charley Brown" plants now stock fairly passable material.
I used to love the growing houses during the month before Christmas. Acres of Poinsettias: red , white, pink, striped, variegated spread out in huge blocks of color. It was a sight to behold. For a few weeks at the beginning of December, every available body delivered them. Twenty or so drivers and helpers arrived before 5:00 am and milled around in sleepy confusion until the growing staff pointed us at trucks and directed us to the blocks of plants we would be loading and delivering that day. Getting up at 3:00 in the morning wasn't fun, and often it was cold outside, but seeing those acres of plants under artificial lights like some odd oasis of tropical splendor in the midst of a cold, dark, somnolent world was quite an experience, one that I feel privileged to have participated in.
I expect change is inevitable, and with so many people jobless and losing their homes and retirement equity it seems almost self-indulgent to be this unhappy about Poinsettias, but a little bit of something I valued is passing out of the world.
Posted by ChrisU at 7:38 AM
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Posted by ChrisU at 3:20 PM
We did a good bit of work, timing our leaf removal to coincide with the leaf pickup truck. Almost all the leaves are down now and all the views of the collection visible from the road are clean and attractive and the rest are coming along.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Reblooming Iris are having their best year in....well in a while ('Autumn Bugler' , on the bottom, and an unknown variety)
If you look at a catalogue of Tall Bearded Iris, anywhere from half to almost all of the listed varieties are reblooming. Not all of them reflower reliably this far north, but this year they did. I enjoy the reblooming varieties immensely. I use Iris, as architectural design elements, not bedded, so the flowers are sort of gravy. Only frost stops the fall flowering once it's begun; I always feel sad about the inevitably blasted buds that mrk our first hard frost, but hey, they'll be flowering again in 5 months. To encourage reflowering, and this is true of just about any perennial that reblooms, a bit of fertilizer after the first flush, and adequate water will help ensure that second set of flowers. When choosing Iris, I've found that if you read the labels or descriptions, it's easy to figure out which rebloom the most reliably.
Posted by ChrisU at 3:18 PM
Monday, November 30, 2009
Twenty years ago there was a long list of plants deer didn't eat. As their population density has increased, most of those plants have fallen away and now we're left with the Berberidaceae and the Ranunculaceae. Nandinas, Mahonias, and Barberries (many of which ought not to be planted becuse of their invasive potential) provide a range of shrubs, many with good winter interest. The Buttercup family contains a lot of wonderful perennials including Columbines, Hellebores, Monkshoods, and Delphiniums and also Clematis. So there are some plants left. I have heard stories though, of deer nibbling the new growth of Nandinas.
Max and Peter were on a job a few weeks ago in a quite civilized part of upper NW Washington and a buck the "size of a cow" walked under the arbor, into the garden, and approached them to a distance of about six feet. Twice. They're young men and I wonder if our hormones are similar enough that they were reacting to potential rivals?
Posted by ChrisU at 5:49 PM
Posted by ChrisU at 5:44 PM