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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.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No Frost on the Pumpkins.......yet.

Happy Halloween

No frost on the pumpkins, I was walking around last night at dusk and I thought for sure the chill was settling in good enough for a hard killing frost. But I got up this morning and the outside thermometer was reading 40 degrees. Oh well, I'm fine with the killing frost holding off for a bit longer. I mowed the grass in the field last night because I didn't get to it on the weekend and now I guess I do wish it would freeze up a bit so I can put the mower away for the winter. The average first frost Date for my location is October 11-20th. so It's not likely to be far off now. But  good long growing season is fine with me.
Colchicum 'White Waterlily"

I hope it's ok to repost something off the Pacific Bulb Society archive, because I was trying to find some details on the above shown cultivar and I ran across this gem from Jim Mckenney posted on the PBS in 2009.

" Colchicum 'Waterlily' itself is said to have resulted from a cross between Colchicum speciosum 'Album' with a double, white-flowered form of C. autumnale in a effort to get a large double-flowered white colchicum. 'Alboplenum' is not a sport of 'Waterlily'; if anything, it might be the double white autumnale form used to produce 'Waterlily'. However, as you noticed, it has only a few anthers. Bowles recorded another less double white-flowered form of autumnale; and if that form has more anthers, then perhaps it was used to produce 'Waterlily'.  It might be worthwhile to re-do these crosses using the white-flowered Colchicum 'Innocence' aka 'byzantinum album' instead of Colchicum speciosum 'Album'. "
Jim McKenney

Sunny and highs in the 60's for the Trick or Treating kiddos this Halloween.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This is worth seeing

I swear it's not click bait and there is a story to it;

So I harvested some honey from the bee hives a few weeks ago and in the process I moved some frames around to a dead hive, that put a whole bunch of bees in an unknown location so they took a few days to reorient to the home hive, in the process a whole bunch of them ended up in the greenhouse, that evening it got pretty cold so they got stuck there. In the morning when it warmed up there was probably 800 bees in the greenhouse and a few  of them found there way to the Crocus cartwrightianus 'Marcel' Click on the video to see what it looks like:

Crocus with bees:


It's 70 outside right now! Crazy for almost November.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Crocus goulimyi and shades of Autumn

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”

Douglas Adams

Crocus goulimyi
I'm pretty sure this is subspecies goulimyi but I didn't have time last night to dig around for the label in the fading light. Daylight savings is coming and everyone knows how I feel about that. I'm really trying to cherish these last few days of Autumn where I can get home and take a few pictures of the fall bloomers before the sunset. In a week or so that won't be the case.

Said to grow in Olive groves in the Peloponnese region of Greece, this one is a strong grower here in Western Oregon, needing very little care other than a well drained soil and a dry summer rest period. I'll have to move some out to the rock garden as this patch has nicely filled it's spot in the raised bed and needs dividing. Interestingly enough there is the remnants of an olive orchard on my drive down to Keizer Rapids Park where I sometimes go for work related field trips. I don't know that it was ever a hugely profitable endeavor here in Oregon to grow Olives but I did notice they had some fruit hanging the last time I drove by. Anyway, it stands to be stated you can grow both Olives and Crocus goulimyi here in Oregon.

Crocus banaticus
So I've been getting home every evening and going straight to the raised beds trying to get a pic of the Crocus banaticus open, but lately I've been getting home when this portion of raised bed has gotten shaded out, they have mostly closed up. I'm hoping they stay up until this weekend so I can get some actual camera shots and not just the quick phone shots.

Probably one of the nicest fall weeks I can ever remember in recent memory, it's been in the high 60's every day this week, sometimes a thick fog is hanging around for the morning commute but it's been mostly gone by the time the sun starts earnestly cresting over the Cascade range. It's really showcased the fall colors well since often times by late October we have been hit by several pineapple express weather systems (fast moving pacific fronts that shoot up out of the mid Pacific carrying what the weatherman love to call "atmospheric rivers" of moisture and often accompanied by windfields strong enough to denude the fall foliage this time of year. But this year, despite a system or two over the last few weeks it's been so amazingly beautiful. Last night you could walk around in a t-shirt until well after dark. 



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.