Thursday, January 31, 2013

One of the good things about going to training at the Smithsonian,,,, seeing the cheetahs; their enclosure is directly out the back door of the auditorium. I saw them today and yesterday. Very cool.

Prunus mume 'Tohji-bai'

Flowering apricot blooming along the  path to the pagoda.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Poly 7.....This is the stuff xeric containers are made of

I've loved succulent plants as long as I've been aware of them. I have potted succulents that date back to the late 1960's. It is a joy to walk through these plants. Brad will use them to create containers and seasonal displays later this year and they'll be spectacular but they're also nice lined up in the polyhouse for the winter.

Today we had our second 70F degree day in a row. This evening, any time that is, a massive cold front is due to roll through. When the cold air hits the warm air all havoc will probably break loose. I'm hearing all sorts of talk about 60 mph winds and torrential rains. It'll all be over by tomorrow morning and we'll go from there. Then temperatures will drop back sufficiently to where a bit of snow here and there over the next few days seems a likely possibility. Then we go back to what seems to be our "new normal": Zone 8 temperatures.

What a day Tuesday was...Sunny and 70F!

My enthusiasm for the garden is completely renewed. It's been predominately cool, damp, and gray for the last few weeks but one day like yesterday has recharged me enough to get through another month. I think that was winter last week, but it went by so fast.....! We did have five days where the temperature didn't rise above freezing. One night we got down to 11F. All the camellia flowers and partly open buds turned brown. The tight buds are fine; many are showing color already. The bananas turned to mush but I'm thinking that there will still be growing tips that survived above ground. In the morning I whipped perennials and ferns newly browned by last week's cold snap . It was still cool and wet then without a hint of the shirt sleeve weather to come. By noon though, we took our coats off and just before I left I saw a family of four in shorts and tee shirts heading down the China Valley trail.

I doubt they saw this tiny hellebore, Helleborus thibetanus, growing under the Lindera below the Pagoda. Undamaged by last week's thermal unpleasantness it's flowering cheerfully on schedule. The effects of the low temps must have been mitigated by their short duration. The aspidistra along the path to the pagoda was unscorched, the variegated Pittosporum tobira below the overlook seems fine though it may show injury later, Camellia petelotii var. peteloti, both the variety and the crosses look great, We'll have to keep a watch on them though. And, of course, it's only January!