Popular Posts

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Calochortus argillosus-The Clay Mariposa

The Mariposa Lilies really have to be considered some of the most stunningly marked plants ever. This one is endemic to the Central Coastal California area and as it's common name suggests it inhabits stiff clay soils.

Back to cold and damp after the false entrance of summer. Chilly, rainy and temps in the low 40's to mid 60's.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Dietes bicolor

A quick trip down to Las Vegas to visit some old friends and I run across some cool plants.

This was in a strip mall promenade. Cool plant

101 in the shade down here it feels like!


posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, May 26, 2017

It's another Monkey flower....errrrrr, Diplacus

Mimulus (Diplacus) tricolor

I've wanted to grow this one ever since it showed up on the Oregon T&E lists. Apparently it was once a common inhabitant of the Willamette Valley Vernal pool wetlands complex. But of course the march of progress and humanities incessant conquering of nature for development of land has left much of it's habitat plowed under or paved over.

Hoping it sets seeds because I want to get it established in my ditch, which is as close to the vernal pool as I can get.

Sunny skies and warm weather.


posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Using a negative to accentuate the positive doesn't always work

Cypella herbertii

Exquisite isn't it?

I have pretty eclectic taste in plants and I often tend to steer toward the muted and understated. I think because you have to look a little closer to see the beauty.

The pitchers are coming on strong with the heat.

Darlingtonia californica, forever and always my favorite native plant.

I have missed a few golden opportunities in my life. I often get told as a result that something better is coming along. So I guess it kind of harkens back on the title of this post. I feel like I might have missed a golden one this past week. I guess I should have been more positive, but then again you can put lipstick on a pig right and it doesn't become Audrey Hepburn. No, you gotta call it what it is and you trust people to see potential. I guess it's lack of vision that has always bothered me the most. I'm a dreamer and a schemer and I get shit done. When I bought the run down old farmhouse and decrepit Cherry orchard that was turned into Illahe Nursery and Gardens I got nothing but negative energy from the people with no vision. Ten years gone and people stop along the side of the road to stare.......you gotta have vision to see that the negatives can become positive.

75 and sunny a light breeze....doesn't get much better than this.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bulbous Respite

This time if year I get pretty busy in the vegetable garden. The last few years I took it easy on the production scale. But this year is different. August 21st the sky will be blackened by a total eclipse of the sun. A million people that would normally not be here will descend on this tiny little swath of the Willamette Valley.

And I hope to profit off them as much as I possibly can! Better have extra food to sell this year!

Got in a fun trip to Dancing Oaks Nursery this weekend, thanks to a good friend for inviting me along.

Got some good stuff for the summer garden.

9o degrees today in Salem. I guess it's not a record but it's warm for the week before memorial day.


posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Camas forms

Camassia quamash

Years ago I seeded an upland prairie patch on the property with a diverse mix of forbs and graminoids. The idea was to maintain a patch of the property as close to precontract vegetation as possible.

The forms of camassia from this seeding are highly variable and it's fun to see different forms becoming established throughout the property.

The upland prairie patch itself has established very nicely and now offers a showy color display with very little annual maintenance.

Cold this morning. Felt like in the 40's, but they say we are gonna hit 90 next week.


posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fritillaria biflora Grayana

Seems like this name is getting harder to find when you search the internet. It's one of the latest flowering if the California complex that likes to hybridize with Purdyi.

Man the rock garden is looking good right now. Most of the species Penstemon are starting in well know.

 I think the gardener as a profession might just be dying out. You still see the vestiges of knowledge here and there standing almost as last bastions, sentinels to the incoming tide of change. Now it's all mow and blow outfits manicuring suburban lawns and azaleas hedged into spherical orbs. Sigh........I've always thought the Gardener is the best job in the world. You get to change the world​ one plant at a time.

Ramble on....it's off and on rain today and in the 50's now.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

I can't call em all Diplacus!

Mimulus pulchellus

I guess we are supposed to call them all Diplacus now....I'm sorry I just don't know if I can do it. I mean really you could spend a lifetime learning plant names and then a botanist comes a long and you have to start all over again.

In case you needed a scale reference. Those who know me best, know my torrid love affair with monkey flowers. This one has been on my list for a long time now. Grown it, flowered it, photographed it....now to get seed of it. Monkey flowers for me represent that first found passion. I used to pour through the the monograph, dreaming about the next seed collection trip and the new sites and habitats that meant exploring.

Back to cold and rain. I saw it snowed in Bend this weekend..... Spring say no I won't go.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The last affinis

This is the latest of the Fritillaria affinis to bloom.

It's also one of the most robust, fighting it's way from under the spreading canopy of the rhododendrons.

I've offered this dwarf Iris for some years now, without a proper id on it. I got it originally from the Rae Selling Berry Botanic garden where it grew for years in the rockery in front of the house steps. A customer sent me an id of Iris sauveolans.

Spelling needs to be updated there.

Finally spring arrived 75 degrees and sunny today!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fritillaria liliacea

The Fragrant Fritillary
I hope I have mentioned here before a book called "Two Years Before The Mast", While there is no description of the plants, he writes about San Francisco bay before it was shortly conquered and developed for during the gold rush days. It's a really great read especially if you are at all interested in early coastal California history. Most of this species native habitat is now gone and you can see why if you read the book, 

F. liliacea with F. agrestis in the background.
The raised beds are full of flowers now, the temperatures have really moderated as well. It felt like frost was in the air on Thursday night, but so far we have dodged the bullet. Off and on showers for some of the weekend, but a bit of it was dry. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Past

There certainly are more bright and shiny things happening this time of year as we inch closer to spring. Easter has come and gone, which is usually the heralding of spring proper here in this part of Oregon. Or at least tax day usually means we are frost free at this point. Time to start planting some vegetables.

It was sunny this weekend and beautiful out on the ocean.

Anya and I spent Easter off the coast. She has become quite the Fisher. Crazy to think back on the days I carried her around in a backpack fishing Eagle Creek and the Clackamas River.

Oh how the time does fly. And because I could not stop for death.....Yada yada...You know how it goes.

It rained today, but mostly late in the day.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Fritillaria acmopetala

Over the weekend it was warm in the greenhouse and the F. acmopetala in the greenhouse were dripping a sweet, sticky necatar from the lower portions.

Sweeter then honey, but with a hard to describe, almost musk, clove like flavor.

Interestingly enough, I didn't observe any potential pollinators utilizing it.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fritillaria persica

Fritillaria persica

Looking lovely on a calm, April evening.

It did rain cats and dogs at times today though, with thunderstorms style cells bursting through the sun breaks.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The second affinis

Fritillaria affinis
This is the Rogue River seed collection from around 2004.
I know it's not fully opened yet, but I was walking around late the the other evening and remembered I had planted some out by the road. Since life is so freaking busy these days I thought I would catalog it here in case I don't get back around to it.

Rain and rain and rain the last few days. But temps in the 50's for the most part.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fritillaria latakiensis

Fritillaria latakiensis

A Mediterranean species, strong stems stand up well to rough spring weather in the open garden.

The raised beds are coming on strong now as the weather has warmed a bit.

Fun to walk around the garden in the evenings and see something new almost every day.

Passing showers and sun breaks, I put frost blankets over some of the greenhouse stuff last night, because it really felt like a frost was coming, but only got to 38.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Erythronium Escapades

Diana Reek showing me some of her extensive Erythronium collection. I was lucky to catch everything popping into bloom when I visited her place this weekend.

The genetic diversity in her collection is staggering!

Raised beds chock full of hybrids and species make a fantastic show this time of year.

Diana operated Collectors nursery in Washington for many years and has recently retired and relocated to my neck of the woods. It's nice to have a fellow plant person in the neighborhood!

This weekend kicked off Friday with a terrific win storm pummeling the Valley. I had a slight bit of damage to the greenhouse door, but after reading about a few folks in the area whose PVC and plastic greenhouse decided to do something like the three little pigs story. I'm thankful that mine stood fast. Lots of people were without power for quite awhile.


Friday, April 7, 2017

The closest native to home.

Erythronium oregonum

That's the flower I grew up with growing on the site of my childhood home. I stopped by to see Mom this evening and caught the patch of fawn lilies in full bloom.

There is the house I grew up in the background. It's interesting because this patch has kinda moved around the property. When I was probably 10 we had a tree fort on the upper part of the propecrty and the patch surrounded it. Over time it died off and moved lower down. Some years it's not as prolific and some years it's bigger and more floristic. Phenology is an interesting thing. And it's been fun to observe a flower population in it's native habit for 30 years now.

The weather has been schizophrenic. Yesterday was beautiful, today a wind warning is in affect and I can hear the wind gusting. We are supposed to get gusts to 50mph today, in between the sheets of sideways rain. No bueno because the nectarines just started blooming.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Juno Season

Iris graberiana 'Yellow Falls'
The Juno season is such a great one, it always falls for me around the start of the kiddo's track season. She won her best event the long jump tonight in the opening meet, squashing competition from Mill City, Scio, Jefferson and St. Mary's tonight. So the Juno season hits and I find myself enjoying the track meets that always seem to end right around the best picture light time of the evening. So we grab some authentic Mexican from La Espiga in Jefferson and head for home, and as the kiddo cleans up after a long afternoon of competition, I walk around and take photo's and make some notes for this blog. When the weather was like it was today, rain free with a heavy but not unpleasant overcast, it was an all together perfect start to the track season and the corresponding Juno season. 

Iris vicaria x parvula 'Kasim'
One of the Dr. Arnis Seisums hybrids, this one is new for me, but seems to be quite the fine strong grower.

Iris vicaria x microglossa 'Marjaneh'
Another hybrid by Dr. Arnis Seisums. 

Iris magnifica

Just a single flower this year, in the outdoor frames. 

So there are a few of the Junos from this year doing what they do best, and I got home with just enough time to catch t

Cultural notes: 
So these get the same standard pumice heavy and composted cow manure mix with the small topsoil addition I added this year as well. The raised beds get the top dressing added in the fall and early spring I usually throw some handfuls of whatever cheap triple 16 or 20  I can get at the Wilco farmstore for my trees. I see a lot of references to covering the Juno beds in the summer dormant season, but I've never done that, of course it rarely rains here all summer long so I can only assume that advice is only geared toward wet summer climates. I've never had a slug problem with these even thought the Frits right next door will get hammered occasionally. Other than that I have no special advice, I have noticed they will seem to fade away if I put them in pots over 3 gallon size, but the raised beds are by far the heaviest producing, with the mesh pond baskets unplunged being a close second. 

I already told you the weather for the start of the Juno and track seasons. 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Glacier lilies

Erythronium tuolumnense-note, I originally had these labeled grandiflorum, but after a visit to Diana Reek's place, and a little taxonomy these are now properly named.

The blooming onslaught continues. These have all but disappeared from everywhere I planted them that they could be seen. The pots in The greenhouse decided to go barren. The ones I put in a nice display frame properly labeled and such failed to thrive. But this patch here, planted out in nothing but a pile of spent bulb soil at the edge of a 140 year old (most likely way older if I could ever find a map of indigenous peoples trails through the area) road over 2' of severely compacted gravel. Is thriving....You just have to tease apart the Narcissus to find it.

Warmth has returned to the valley. Highs in the 60's were seen and although Sunday night a solid freeze was felt in the greenhouse, I only noticed the slightest damage on some Sonoran desert seedlings that just might not have it in the DNA.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fritillaria orientalis-well, maybe?

Doesn't seem to want to lean over like it's growing out of a cliff, like the descriptions seem to indicate, but I have a few different pots of orientalis, that are starting into bloom now.

I'll update as the come on, but I snapped a picture of this one the first to open today so I thought I would throw it on here as I update the weather.

It was in the 70's in the greenhouse all day mostly and quite nice outside as well, with sun and temps hitting the high 50's, I'm hoping this weather is going to stick around for awhile. \


Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Rock Garden

A seed grown Pulsatilla from the NARGS member seed distribution a few years ago, that seed catalog it really one of the best that comes out every year and I've said it here many times but I'll say it again, if you aren't a member of the North American Rock Garden Society, please sign up now. You won't be dissapointed in December, when the seed catalog comes out and  you get so many choices for so little money. It's worth growing so much of it to find the choice gems that show up, like this wonderful deep purple Pasque flower. 
Bergenia stracheyi
The Himalayan Pigsqueak doing it's thing to brighten this miserably wet and damp spring.

The rock garden really is starting to come along now, and it's fun to see it a year after it went in, I hope to expand it over time and make it bigger and better. 


Fritillaria pontica

Fritillaria pontica

My Dad is in Albania as I write this and I have to admit the older I get the more I wish he would slow down a bit and maybe settle into some sort of a normal old timer routine, but I'm sure he won't. Regardless, this species inhabits semi-shaded woodland habitats from the Balkans, through Albania. I really probably wish I could just find a job that would allow me to jump on a plane every time my dad says its spring and he is headed to somewhere in the world that has a great bulb flora.

My form is not quite the apple green one I've seen a few times on the web, but it is one of the lighter forms I have seen. It's a strong grower, easy in the open garden and in the bulb frame it always puts on a good show.

Spent some time over on the other side of the mountains for a bit this spring break, and found sunshine the whole time! Of course on the way back it started raining and the west side seemed it's usual soggy self.

58, rain and the occasional sun breaks.


Monday, March 27, 2017

The first affinis

Fritillaria affinis-Vancouver Island 
Fritillaria affinis-Vancouver Island
This is from  Jane's plant labeled Vancouver Island. It's the first of affinis clones I have to bloom. Although the Rogue River seed collection of mine isn't that far behind right

I love books on the early botanical exploration of the Pacific Coast, right now I'm reading "The Outer Coast" Interesting stuff mostly related to the first Spanish ships to touch land around here, but it's got some stuff about George Vancouver, and Cook. I own a pretty sea worthy little Kiwanda Dory and I love taking it offshore any chance I can get. But what those early explorers did on the Coasts of British Columbia, Alaska and on down was downright incredible with the sailing technology of the day. I often think if I had been born 250 years before I was, I would have been a sailor for sure. 

Anyway, this is such a fantastic little selection, and what it lacks in size it more then makes up for with those fantastically rippled tepal edges with a touch of golden chartreuse to them. I love Vancouver Island, and was just thinking how fun it would be to go spend a few days cruising the Gaslight district and the Gardens. 

The rain subsided today, with mostly lingering heavy overcast, it none the less held some warmth to it although the sun never once did break the sky. 



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fritillaria acmopetala

Fritillaria acmopetala 
This is the dark form, I have. This Eastern Mediterranean species is very easy to grow, it can bloom in as little as 3 years from seed and freely makes offsets that once divided quickly grow to flowering size.

 The habitat is said to be varied, as it grows in cornfields and under olive trees from Cyperus through Turkey to Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. It can tolerate plenty of growing season moisture and has never shown to be picky about soil when grown in pots.

 The flowers as they open have this awesome kind of a corkscrew thing going on with the inner tepals as the flower expands they are fun to watch them unfold and spread out.

The weather continues the bleak, wet pattern we have been stuck in since early December. Trying not to complain, but seriously this entire weekend the sun showed itself for about 2 minutes. I'm really ready for the spring to settle in. Although I think I'm gonna spend spring break chasing winter with the kiddo trying to find the last of the powder on the Volcanoes of Central Oregon.

2 solid inches of rain, wind, temps in the low 50's, Just another March weekend.