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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Crocus thomasii



"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. "Thomas A. Edison


So much of growing plants and especially plants well outside of the native range or habitat, is learning what doesn't work. There is the classic mantra "I killed that plant a dozen times or more before I really figured out how to grow it". Maybe that's one of the things that keeps people motivated to be a better gardener, most success comes from learning from mistakes, correcting them and moving on. 

Crocus thomasii
 The saffron production continues with C. thomasii doing it's thing, An Adriatic coastal species said to grow on thin, stony soils in scrub habitat. Mine has done very well in a raised bed, with mostly pumice and some occasional top dressings of composted cow manure.
Crocus thomasii fading colors in the late autumn light.

Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes'
The fall colors are really just starting in, but you can see the little white puffballs of mushrooms emerging now as the temperatures have dropped consistently into the low 40's over night. I have to upgrade the temperature unit for the greenhouse, as the remote sensor wont talk to my indoor unit anymore.

Cheers,

Mark

Monday, October 16, 2017

Crocus kotschyanus



"Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it"

Mark Twain

My god, does nothing in politics really change in this world? Some people say it's a missatributed quote to Mr. Twain, not sure that it really matters, it's poignant today, especially if you drop the wonder, and smart people out of it, Essentially we are left with it's all a put on and the world is run by Imbeciles.




Crocus kotschyanus 'Reliant'
 This one gets described as almost "weedy", I find that a bit of a stretch, while it is a vigorous grower, that tends to migrate around the garden, it's hard to call anything with the delicate lilac flowers and wonderful golden ring centers weedy. Especially when they peak into bloom as the frost is trying to find it's way into the valley. Speaking of which, I had a little ice on the windshield this morning and I noticed that some of the summer squash had melted into black goo over the weekend, it was certainly chilly, but I guess I didn't get up early enough to see any actual frost. Certainly not the big killing frost yet, but with the snow piling up in the mountains, I'm sure it's not far off.
Crocus kotshcyanus 'Reliant'
I don't know the full story on the selection 'Reliant" but it's aptly named. I notice this one spreading around much of the bulb frames and some of the spent bulb soil piles

Another weekend, where I had a huge list of fall projects to tackle and I barely touched them. Oh Well, it was beautiful and I made the most of the weather which was cool but dry. Got to start winterizing the hose bibs and irrigation valves soon though. 

Rain coming this week. 

Cheers, 
Mark

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tears of rage, tears of grief

"The size of a misfortune is not determinable by an outsider's measurement of it but only by the measurements applied to it by the person specially affected by it. The king's lost crown is a vast matter to the king but of no consequence to the child. The lost toy is a great matter to the child but in the king's eyes it is not a thing to break the heart about."
Mark Twain

Deeply saddened to learn some family members suffered terrible losses of homes and possession's in the fires that raged through Santa Rosa, California this weekend, nothing that I can write can make it better or ease any suffering. Glad that no one got badly hurt, and knowing the constitution of the California family members, they will rebuild bigger and better then before.




Crocus cartwrightianus 'Marcel'
The autumn crocus species bloom progresses, the rain is returning this afternoon, so while I moved a few of the pots into the greenhouse to get them to open a bit better, I wasn't able to get much in the way of photo's because they seemed to want to stay closed. I did manage to get a pretty good video of the honey bees absolutely destroying a Crocus mathewii plant for whatever pollen or nectar it could provide. I think they know that winter is coming.


More seasonal color 

Lows in the 40's, and partly cloudy with rain in the forecast.

Mark

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sternergia sicula and the harvest season

"The secret of life is to let every segment of it produce its own yield at its own pace. Every period has something new to teach us. The harvest of youth is achievement; the harvest of middle-age is perspective; the harvest of age is wisdom; the harvest of life is serenity."
Joan D. Chittister



Sternbergia sicula
Did you know this species has been studied for it's antimicrobial and antifungal properties? I wish I could access the scientific journal it's published in, but unfortunately, you have to have a paid subscription to access that sort of knowledge. Sad really, that the world has been so capitalized, marketed, monopolized, bought, sold and traded on the stock exchange that now you can't get science unless you pay for it. 
Sorry to the beautiful plant for using it as a vehicle for a rant, but I really did want to find out how effective it is as an antifungal agent, and how someone thought to test it?

Sternbergia sicula grows on limestone hills, from Greece, Italy and into Turkey. Said to require a warm site, I always wonder what they mean when they say that? Warm in Greece is different than warm in Oregon. Again, science and access for everyone. 






The harvest season is in full swing now, These are the days of fine eating. Fresh bounty everyday just a short walk across the yard. October, if it stays warm and dry has to be one of our most bountiful months in Oregon.. The salmon are swimming into the rivers in large numbers. The bow and arrow are slung by the door for afterwork pursuits in search of venison in the woods down by the creek where I grew up and the chill in the air, adds just a tinge of urgency to those autumn pursuits of game, and the preservation of this years harvest.

Warm days ahead, 70's for the day and 40's for the nights, perfect autumn weather for the harvest season.

Cheers,
Mark

Friday, September 29, 2017

Colchicum psaridis





"The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach."


 Henry Beston



Colchicum psaridis,
This one is said to grow on open, stony hillsides from Southern Greece to Turkey. It's one of the smaller species and I could see it as a rock dweller far more than a meadow or woodland species for sure due to its habit. 

This was new to me, the flower in the middle has formed a propagative appendage in place of the Anthers and other flowery reproductive bits. I've seen a lot of Alliums do this but never saw a Colchicum do it.

Back to the rainy pattern more typical of fall, I busted butt last night and go the harvestable honey frames pulled out of the hives, just ahead of the cooler weather and 5 day run of rain forecasted to hit. That was an achievement that felt really good. I'm running a bit behind on my fall garden prep. Still needing to get a bunch of stuff done in the vegetable garden, I have grapes to harvest that this rain is going to mess with. But the honey capture did sure take a load off. Hopefully able to shake this stupid head cold by the weekend and get some productivity done.

Rain and showers with highs in the low 60's and high 40's over night. 

Cheers,
Mark 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Garden Scenes

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”

Ray Bradbury



A mix of  the fall blooming Colchicums as we hit the Autumnal equinox

The kiddo has had to read a bunch of Ray Bradbury lately as she started her freshman year in high school. I guess it's been awhile for me now, as I don't remember many of the stories she tells. It's something to hear her talk about how amazing all his ideas were and to imagine they were written in the 1950's!

Glad her teacher is capturing the imagination like that and good to see an inspiring teacher come out of the public school system. 

I'ts apparent I don't really have all that much to say about the flowers on here. I spent a brief few moments of a weekend afternoon trolling through the garden looking at some of the fall Colchicums. So above are a few, there are more starting in by the fence at the entrance to the property now. Most of the excess bulbs have been planted out, although I still have a few bags to go. I have found it makes good science to save some in a bag for as long as possible to see how they store.

The weather man said it was the 3rd driest summer in recorded history, with something like 57 days without a rain drop. And look, the autumn crocus didn't mind a bit!

Cheers,
Mark

Friday, September 22, 2017

Colchicum tenorii

An Italian species...if you look closely, in this less than spectacular photo, you can see the charicteristic purple anther crooks.

Can't seem to find much on the internet about the habitat, which is disappointing as I've always liked biotype plantings and true to ecotype companion plantings when possible.

The rain is moving Eastward and warmer weather is in the forecast. Supposed to be back in the 80's by mid week.

Cheers,
Mark