Here’s to Finding a New Garden

Juanito

Juanito the Garden Cat moved to Vashon. He loved to sit out front in summer. His coat blended in with the dried out grass so people and pets walking by rarely noticed him.

Juanito

Juanito

We said goodbye to Juanito the Garden Cat yesterday. He moved with his owner and sister to Vashon Island. We were neighbors.

I first met him as a kitten. His owner called him Austin. I’d be gardening out back, and he’d duck under the fence and watch me. In the morning, I’d look out back and see him running around the garden. He genuinely enjoyed the garden as much as me.

Two months from introduction, he let me touch him. That’s when he met Curtis, who gave him the name Juanito. Juanito progressed from garden cat to porch cat to in-our-house cat. For three years, he visited many times daily. He didn’t overstay his welcome, and never made a mess. Usually some loving was exchanged before he happily moved along.

We’ve known for two months that Juanito was moving. So did he. Last week, I was pulling weeds out back when he ducked under the fence just to watch. It was a great garden good bye. We miss our friend, but are happy to know you. Here’s to Juanito finding a new friend in a garden on Vashon.

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It’s Summer: Time to Show Off My Begonias

You can find plenty of Begonias throwing out vibrant colors on the railing of my front porch. It’s my Seattle summer tradition. Enjoy three close ups.

Red Begonia

Red Begonia

Orange Begonia

Orange Begonia

Yellow Begonia

Yellow Begonia

 

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Summer Comes to Beacon Hill Garden, in May

This is my 14th year in Seattle, and 2015 is easily the warmest. The Beacon Hill Garden is showing it, as it looks like the middle of June.

Hostas are sporting summer leaves, blueberries will be ripe soon, and Columbine are at to a bit past peak. Spring flowers are long gone, while roses have reached their full summer glory.

If the end of May is an indication, we’re in for a hot dry summer. That’s not good for the State of Washington, as the warm winter left us with next to no snow pack to replenish water supplies. The outdoor burn ban will likely start soon unless we get some late spring rains.

Blueberries look great, but netting will need to go over them or birds will feast on the ripe ones.

Blueberries look great, but netting will need to go over them or birds will feast on the ripe ones.

My favorite color of Columbine in the Beacon Hill Garden

My favorite color of Columbine in the Beacon Hill Garden

Hostas in the Beacon Hill garden are full and beautiful.

Hostas in the Beacon Hill garden are full and beautiful.

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Roses on Beacon Hill

If you’re into roses, the Beacon Hill Garden is your place. I don’t grow them, but the Beacon Hill gardner loves them, and it shows. Here are three she has blooming right now. I know she has a few more varieties.

Pink Rose

Pink Rose

Classic Red Rose

Classic Red Rose

Purple Rose

Purple Rose

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Happy Mother’s Day

Lewisia

Lewisia puts out some of my favorite blooms of spring.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Betty. May she and all the other moms have a beautiful day like these Lewisia blooms. Lewisia is an alpine perennial that flowers in May. Before I knew its name, I called it the brooch. The plant has uniform circular deep green leaves that looks like a brooch sitting on soil. You’ve got to love a plant that grows in lousy dirt without much moisture and can put out these pretty flowers.

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Rhododendrons Can Identify Washingtonians

Rhodedendron recurvoides

My Rhodedendron recurvoides throws out hundreds of these pretty pink blooms every May.

When talking garden, just bring up Rhododendrons if you want to spot a Washington native.

I was conversing with a guy at my neighbor’s party last weekend. He complimented me on my front yard. I told him it would have a lot more color next week when the Rhododendron hits full bloom.

“I’m not so crazy about Rhododendrons,” he said.

“Did you grow up here?” I asked.

“How did you know?” he said with a surprised look.

Rhodedendron recurvoides2

Rhodedendron recurvoides has thick wood branches with nice form.

Rhododendrons are everywhere in Washington State. They grow wild, and multiple varieties in different colors and sizes dot nearly every property. They thrive in the Northwest climate. I’ve learned many natives suffer from Rhododendron burn out.

In the Midwest, Rhododendrons struggle because of harsh winters and hot summers. If they survive, they’re small and far less spectacular. Midwesterners generally rave about the beauty of Rhododendrons. I’ve lived in Seattle for 13 years, and Rhododendrons aren’t as spectacular as when I first arrived.

My Rhododendron recurvoides throws off plentiful pretty pink blooms with cute spots for three weeks every spring. It’s a big variety with sturdy wood branches that have nice form. On the down side, when the blooms come down, my yard and anything nearby is a royal sticky mess. Spent flowers stick to shoe bottoms, spreading adhesive joy. I spend too much time cleaning up after mine.

I can relate to the Washington natives suffering from shrub burn out. The property I grew up on in Iowa had numerous overgrown Lilacs. Many gush about the beauty and smell of Lilacs, where I find them to be an annoying invasive shrubs.

Rhodedendron recurvoides3

They’re beautiful, but when Rhododendron blooms die and fall off, they create a sticky mess.

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Beacon Hill: Three Mid April Bloomers

The early spring flowers are mostly finished in the Beacon Hill Garden. A warm start to 2015 made for early blooming.

The colorful Flowering Currant is spent, and Daffodils are done for the year. No matter, enjoy theses photos of a blooming tree, shrub, and Wallflowers on Beacon Hill.

Lavender Twist Tree2

The Beacon Hill garden provides a colorful frame for the Lavender Twist Weeping Red Bud tree.

 

Wallflowers

Erysimum or Wallflowers – Curtis grew these from seed. The simple flowers last a long time and provide needed spring color after the bulbs are spent. Most of mine are yellow, but they come in other colors.

Carol Mackie Daphne

Spring flowers are not the coolest part of this Carol Mackie Daphne. The summer foliage is deep green with light yellow trim.

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