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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's day


Here is a mum for you!



Brodiaea californica in bud

Just playing around with a new phone and seeing if the camera is any better. Old phone finally died after 3.5 years of service. The guy at the phone store says it's as old as a T. rex and as common as a buffalo.




Calceloaria and Primula in the greenhouse.

Think the imaging is a bit better, but I need to get an app that let's you play around with the aperture and stuff.

But all that aside, my mom is an amazing person who taught me to be able to see the minutae and to appreciate nature. Most of my plant skills come from her genetic stock. You are the best mom!

82 degrees yesterday.

Cheers,
Mark

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Early May


Fritillaria purdyi

I love this one, although I say that about a lot of flowers. The season has seemed early, we did have a mild winter and an early spring. So much has come akd gone, many of the bulbs are dying back. Although this and the next Californian tend to be later then most in Amy given year.


Fritillaria biflora

Apologies for the picture quality. It was windy, but I've been so damn busy I wanted to get something out about these.



Another shot of Carl Purdy's namesake.



Penstemon barretiae

The Beardtongues are coming on strong. Gotta get the actual camera out sometime and put away this darn phone for blogging.

Rain off and on buy warming to 68 in between cloudbursts.

Cheers,
Mark

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where the wild things are.


Aquilegia sp.
Kings Canyon area, Sierra Nevada 6000'
Seed collection by Jevra Brown.

Beautiful columbine from southern California. My friend Jevra hikes a different area of the county every year and in 2013 she brought me this collection.



Its very floriferous and I noticed some have a tendency toward reflexing the outer...petals? Or are those tepals? Immediately upon opening. Got a whole flat and spread some around some of the rock garden projects I've been working on in Salem. We will see how it fares. And if anyone knows what species it is please do let me know....seems a bit north for A. flavescens and not hairy enough for A. pubescens?



Iris tenax
Always been one of my favorite wildflowers, this one population is growing a few miles from my childhood home. I have the sometimes unfortunate job of getting to review the proposed development in plans for the city.



The site of this population will be a cineplex come this time next year. Yes, I am planning a rescue mission, no matter how much anybody might hate the idea of digging up a wildflower. The thought of it getting bulldozed and laid under 4 lifts of asphalt is a far worse fate. A tomb if you will for something that died before its time.


Fritillaria affinis
This one is in the backyard, but it made me think how great would a stand of this offset by the lovely wild iris look? They are both peaking into bloom now.

It was 80 degrees on Monday, its 66 amid raining well now.

Cheers,
Mark

Friday, April 10, 2015

Casualties of war


Erythronium sketch
By Mark Akimoff

Probably the biggest thing I miss from simpler days was being able to sit down and sketch out flowers. It gives one such a great opportunity to really study a flower completely.




Lilium bolanderi

I was dabbling with some color a few.years ago, but it just seems there isn't a spare moment left for it these days.

What inspired me to think of this, well, I had to illustrate a revision to a local landscape architects rather bland planting design for a really great garden historical garden here in town.



So I had to go buy a bunch of colored pencils and it really reminded me how much I love sitting at a drawing board.

Someday I'll find the time again.

Been lots of thunder and lightning lately in between rain showers and sun breaks. 55 degrees with a plunging barometer tonight.

Cheers,
Mark

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Social Media


Iris 'Peresh'

I failed to mention a few lovely ladies in yesterdays ramblings, Karen, Betty, Janice, Gail.....the more I think back the deeper the list gets. Thank you all for setting me on " the path". I'm sure I will add more here as time goes on.



Iris 'Theseus'

Why social media for the title? I was thinking about the loads of information available to us now and how its made the plantsmans life so much easier. I'm not that old, but when I started, you still had to find esoteric books on alpines and rock gardening, remember card catalogs? The best way to do it was find a knowledgeable old timer and glean them for tips and tricks. Nowadays, you Google around and you find anything so easy, I verify names in my greenhouse, get pictures and cultural information beamed into a phone smaller then a cassette tape, remember those?

Anyway, this could ramble on forever, as I sit in my greenhouse typing this onto the flat screen of this cassette tape size computer that calls itself a telephone.

The point I'm getting at is that I think I was lucky to come up before the days of social media and the internet, where you had to learn the art of asking questions. I did glean so much knowledge as a neophyte from the older generations willing to share it, nowadays sharing is something that mostly happens on a Facebook page.

Thanks again to all those willing to share, knowledge, plants, and locations. I'll be sure to pass it on to the next, if they don't come asking, then they will hopefully find some traces of it here.



Primula involucrata ssp. yargonensis

Speaking of sharing, that little primrose is from a share of the 2014 North American Rock Garden Society's seed exchange. You wouldn't believe the heavenly perfume that puts out, and I have a dozen of them thanks the seed ex. Another example of passing the torch. Share hour seeds, I know I can do better at that.

Thunderstorms and hail, heavy rain and sun..high of 60, low of 39..yes, its April in Oregon now.

Cheers,
Mark

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Inspired


Stunning isn't it?
Erythronium hybrid in the garden of Diana Reeck.

I've had the fortune in my career to meet some truly inspiring plant people. Today I had the greatest fortune of reconnecting with someone who inspired me from my early days propagating plants for a Portland Botanical garden.

Diana, the owner of Collectors Nursery, was always at the biggest sales with incredible arrays of supremely grown plants. She always challenged me to be a better grower.


These are her raised beds chock full of an amazing assortment of hybrid Erythroniums. She is doing breeding work and with this kind of genetic material it will be fun to see what more comes in the future.



Its always fun to catch up with someone you haven't seen in some years, today was a fun walk around the garden, despite the blustery wind and spattering rain, Diana filled me in on plans for her urban backyard garden and such and such a plant that needs to get moved and trials of growing under water hungry cedar roots. Check out her radio show on KMUZ. Lots of neat plant and garden topics.

Thank you Diana for inspiring me, and thank you to all the strong women growers and gardeners who challenged and inspired me throughout my journey to Jane, Diana, Christy, Gretchen, Molly, !Happy, Kimberly, Lucille, the seed ladies at the berry garden, bless there souls, I can t remember there names.

Cheers to all of you! Thank you so much for the life lessons and for sharing your art.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Country kid in the big city


Fritillaria orientalis

I've never understood why this one isn't a hot seller, seems like I always have some left over at the end of the season. Its a great pot specimen for sure.



The kiddo and I at the Garfield park conservatory, this past week. Yes, I survived a week in Chicago. The Field museum, the art institute, the Sears tower, a live taping of NPR's news quiz show, and seeing family was spectacular.



A couple of Californians. Fritillaria liliacea in the foreground and F. agrestis in the background. Interesting cultural note. I lost the liliacea growing in pots I'm the hoop house, but F. agrestis is doing great both in the hoop house and outside in the raised bed. It really goes to show that you should always have back ups to the backups..I think in sports terminology that's called depth of field, or maybe that's photography? Anyway, you get my drift.


Fritillaria acmopetala 'dark form'

Sunny and 66 today, storm clouds rolling in off the Pacific as I write this.

Cheers,
Mark