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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fighting The Winter Blues

Or the Calm Before the Flower Storm

There is always this downtime after the holidays, but before spring starts nipping at the door, things can get a little glum. The hustle and bustle and purpose of the Holidays have passed, some new diet is either working or not working, and you are trying to decide if those resolutions are really going to stick. Normally this time of year, I'm spending almost every weekend exploring some new cross country ski trail, but as luck would have it this year has turned out to be a bit of  bust as far as snow is concerned. So I thought I would spice things up a bit with a little winter getaway, this would chase away some of those mid-winter blues and let the budded Narcissus species in the greenhouse finally open up. This past long weekend, the kiddo and I headed up to Astoria to where the Columbia River meets the sea in a rather dramatic fashion. Below are some highlights to kill time before the onslaught of flower pics that are just around the corner.

Anya checking out a herd of Elk at Jewell Meadows

Some really cool metal art in the Garden of Surging Waves, Astoria Oregon.

Really old drawing of a Monkey Flower at the Cape Dissapointment Museum.

Where illahe comes from

The weather was in the mid 60's! At the beach in January!!This is looking up the long beach Peninsula from Cape Disapointment.

The people that know me the best, know I have a thing for early botanical exploration. If I could have I would have ridden with William Dampier on his voyages around the world. Wouldn't think twice about joining up on that one if I could have had the chance. I still feel I was born at least 200 years too late. Seeing old stuff always reminds me of this.

Lot's of flowers are starting to emerge now and especially with this mild weather we have had, I expect it to be a pretty early year. I suppose time will tell. It won't be long i'm sure before Winter blues are giving way to the rebirth of Spring.

Heavy rains moving in tonight, but still a mild mid 50's day.


Monday, January 1, 2018

The First shall be Last

As the sunset on 2017 burned a fire red glow,.

So the First morning of 2018 dawned crisp and bright.

Crisp and cold to start the new year, seems like the slugs have enjoyed the warming conditions in the greenhouse as that summer sun has been getting temps up into the 50's. If you look closely, our unidentified hoop petticoat Narcissus in the background had a stem eaten off. 

Cheers and Good wishes for 2018.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

The last shall be first

The last flower and post of 2017

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better man" Benjamin Franklin 

Its a hoop petticoat Narcissus and it needs an ID!!

This one came to me unlabeled needing an ID. So it's blooming right now, on the last day of the year, making it in my opinion strongly winter blooming. It's crazy super fragrant, like greenhouse filing with it's fragrance. I tried to do a little flower dissection, and I came up with what looks like 3 stamens elongated past the throat of the corolla, and three set down in the throat, pardon my poor botanical nomenclature. I have a book on the subject somewhere but it's buried in a library that needs thinning badly. 

 You can see the 3 exerted stamens here and there are three down in the throat, not sure if this is a flower maturity thing or not if the other three will continue to elongate.

Not the best  shot, but maybe you can make out the three stamens that are down in the throat of the corolla. 

So to recap, super fragrant, winter blooming hoop petticoat type, with sort of a light custard yellow color to it. If you have any idea what it is please post it up in the comments. 

So here we are at the end of another year, the hoop petticoat will be the last flower of 2017 and the first of 2018.

Frosty morning, 38 degrees outside at 10:00 am on New Years Eve.

Hope everyone has a fantastic and safe New Years if you are celebrating. Here is to a better one than the last.

Cheers, Mark

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Holidays

"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!"
–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Eucharis amazonica is blooming so that means Christmas is right around the corner.

It''s been a relatively quite December, right now this is the only bulb in my collection blooming and it's of course indoors as a houseplant. Normally a hoop petticoat Narcissus or two shows up around now, and while I do have Narcissus obsoletus budded up, only time will tell if it makes to be the outdoor bloomer for the month of December. 

Well, the Eucharis is doing it's think and filling the house with it's floral bouquet, mixed with the sent of Christmas tree and cinnamon candles. I love this time of year, Christmas is truly the holiday where you get to be a kid again, the anticipation of Christmas morning, or the age old traditions, like oozing, melted raclette cheese on baby potatoes at Christmas eve dinner. Family and fun, and the promise of a fresh start as the new year approaches. 

Wishing you all a festive and happy holiday season, the merriest of Christmas celebrations and if I don't get to it before the new year, a bright and fantastic start to 2018. 



Monday, December 4, 2017

The coldest week so far

“All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost;The old that is strong does not wither,Deep roots are not reached by the frost."    J.R.R. Tolkien

So just a short little update on the garden conditions, Since I can't remember the last time I picked tomatoes in December. This has been one exceptionally long and productive harvest season. 

Keta inspects the the last of the tomato harvest, This weekend the super frost moon rose in the night sky and the  mercury is finally dropping to the point that even the hoop house plants that have hung on into December should finally cease.

It was 39 degrees at 4:30 pm on Sunday evening, I figured it would get into the 20's by morning so I quickly got the last of the tomatoes and peppers in. So this week is supposed to be the coldest one this season, and while we had a killing frost in the garden. This has really been one of the mildest, longest falls I can remember in a long time, the bees were still flying on the first of December. 

Fog burning off this afternoon, the forecast says lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's for this coming week.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Wrapping it up on Veterans Day

"When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden."

Minnie Aumonier

I took a little walk around the garden this evening before daylight faded, it's become apparent that we have come to the end of another growing season, although the frost ended the tomatoes and peppers progress, the cabbage and kale are hanging on strong. The winter garden is just beginning and some of the bulbs are just starting the growing season. But for most this is the end of it and I've seen so many gardens around town that are tidied up with lush cover crops or straw covering the raised beds like toasty winter blankets. I'm never that ahead of the game and since half the garden was planted with winter food in mind, I guess I don't mind it looking like it's still a working place. 

Parrotia persica leaf in the changing season

There is always a bulb in bloom through the winter months so I'll be posting something between now and spring, but since it's the beginning of the holiday season, and I still have a deer tag to fill. I'll probably be busy hiding in the woods for a bit from now through the darkest, longest days of winter. So this is a short goodbye to one long growing season, and a look forward to a fun filled holiday season. We at Illahe Nursery and Gardens wish you a festive and merry one.

To tip a glass to my neighbor Jack who served this country in a ground war in South East Asia, many years ago.  I wish wars could be extinguished forever. Thank you for your service on this day we remember those that made it back and those that did not, may your glass always be full! May peace be found throughout the world and in your life this day and through the season.

Rain, high of 50.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Frost on the Pumpkins

It was pretty dark when I left the house this morning but based on the amount of frost I scrapped off the windshield, I'd say we go the first real killing frost of the season. I saw it coming and moved a flat of Ferraria and Morea seedlings and baby bulbs into the house. Gonna have to find something a bit more permanent for them. I still have plans for a frost free greenhouse, just waiting for that ship to come in.

So the picture is a little Thank you that got out at a local park. I donated some bulbs and the good folks at Wild Ginger gave some great irises for a small project garden near a kids play structure. Fun to watch it grow.

Chilly, frozen end to the growing season. But partly cloudy today and dry as of now.