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Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” 
― Stephen King'Salem's Lot

The fall season at Illahe Nursery and Gardens
It seems the older I get the more I take notice of the changing of the seasons, The little things like carving pumpkins seem to take on new meaning as the years go by, My little girl is now a teenager and Halloween isn't such a big deal as it once was. But she still carves a pumpkin with her dad on the weekend before the big show. Life goes by pretty quick and if you blink you can miss an awful lot. I smile as the facility maintenance guy brings his grandkid by the cubicle for a trick or treat at the office and I'm reminded of that little 3 year old dressed up like a lady bug, wide eyed and wondering about everything in the world. Now it's horror movies and haunted houses with her friends. I sigh a little bit and I think about how some people find the often grey days of Autumn depressing and I think about the spring that waits around the corner and how you wouldn't really appreciate anyone season if it didn't give way to the next.

Crocus cartwhrightianus 'Marcel'

I love the stories of where selections came from and this is no exception, the story goes it was named by Janis Ruksans for Antoine Hoog's son. Mr. Hoog grew the wild collected seedlings and sent them to Janis. The saffron type looks fantastic this time of year with the failing light and although the slugs love them, I've finally got a handle on those critters by some frequent metaldehyde applications under the pots. 

If I can get my act and camera together before the frost and wind have taken there toll, I'd like to do a post on the Autumn crocus collection. 

Rain, but not that cold this week. Still haven't seen a frost or gotten really close to it, which is nice because I have some food crops I'm trying to get up and established in the greenhouse. 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

I hate daylight savings!

It's true, and if I didn't love the ocean and salmon and clean abundant water, I'd consider moving to Arizona just because of it. I have to admit I don't love this time of year when you have to leave for the day job in the dark and drive home in the dark. This year does offer some tiny bit of solace in that I spent a good deal of time with a trencher and at the electrical panel putting in a proper power line to the greenhouse this year. This weekend I'll install some HID lighting so that I can at least get a few hours of work in when I get home at night basking in the artifical rays of flourescent and burning sodium lamps.
Crocus thomasii in the raised beds at Illahe
Looking great despite the 7 or so inches of rain it has had to endure this month.

I had an amazing visit to the wonderful garden of  Claire Cockroft in Bellevue, Washington. Jane and I took a rain filled drive up and she was a great host for some hours of visiting. I'm so thankful to the elders that are willing to share bits of knowledge and time and plants with the younger set to ensure the collections live on. 

Jane McGary admiring Claire's wonderful curbside rockery, much of it seeded with Ron Ratko's Northwest Native seed treasures.

Claire's nursery is loaded with treasures
And back home Sam is standing guard over the
Crocus collection, he is a marvelous hunter and
After Ginger passed and we went through a few cats
lost to Coyotes, I'm happy to have a good Tom to
Keep control of the rodents.

So the daylight is fading ever faster now and the days grow shorter by minutes. 
I do look forward to the holidays, but having to leave in the dark and drive home from the day job in the dark does grow old fast. That doesn't leave much time for enjoying the fall bloomers. 
Thunderstorms and rain, hopefully a little sun this weekend and I'll be out harvesting some of the Saffron. 
Cheers, Mark Akimoff

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Chase

"It is your human environment that makes climate."
Mark Twain

No Frost on the pumpkins just yet. But the weather has certainly changed with the seasons.
Penstemon newberryi var. sonomensis
A bunch of the rock garden plants decided to rebloom right before the Autumn  equinox. I haven't noticed it with much of these species in years past as they were grown in the stooling beds waiting the construction of the rock garden. So I must attribute it to being outplanted finally and maybe finding good conditions after toughing it through the first summer.

Sternbergia sicula
From limestone hills in the Meditteranean region, this is said to like more sharply drained conditions then some of it's kin. The fall bloomers in the greenhouse weathered this weekends onslaught of  torrential rain and wind well, reminding me that I need to do some shuffling around and tuck some stuff away for the winter. 

Merendera....Or is it Colchicum?'

I did promise to do more blogging on the fall blooming collection this year, If the weather clears up I'm going to get the camera out and get to work. so far it's been harvesting the food crops like crazy, figuring out what to do with hundreds of pounds of apples is always fun.

Thunder storms in the forecast, rain off and on and maybe frost next week is the forecast, so far the growing season marches on.