Sunday, February 27, 2011

garden shows & mischeivious paths....

I couldn't believe today was the big day...Finally! After months of counting down and dreaming about my own garden, it was now time for the first glimpse of Spring. This show is always the first sign that garden season is fast approaching for the year...woo hoo! I could not wait to see what was install for us!
It truly is my happy place! Ahhh, makes me giddy just thinking about all the joy it brings.
So my garden buddies and I bundled up and headed into town for a day of pure bliss and meeting new plants...It did not disappoint! The displays were breathtaking and beyond inspiring. There was such a variety of plants and so many different ways to group them. So much creativity and talent. Not to mention so much garden love going on. My favorite garden was totally drool worthy and it was all I could do to not snap a thousand photos. These pics really don't do it justice...

What a gorgeous fresh and whimsical country garden! So much happiness in such a small plot. I could have just sat there for hours and soaked it all in, but thankfully I have pics so I can try and implement some of this happiness into my own yard...Loved it!

I was also there to get ideas for hard-scapes as I am dying to put in a path down the east side of the property (ie, side that gets absolutely no sun and is wonderful at growing moss!) Its screaming for a flagstone path like this....
I am in love with the large flagstone surrounded by moss and mulch, it is just so earthy and natural, the curves of the path adds a whimsy and playfulness to where the path is going. The moss provides a softness to the hard edge of the stone and adds again another playful element, a plant you walk on...Oh how mischievous!
 Here is some more visual yumminess....
Some of my new loves from the show are the beautiful little ground covers, the grouping of all white flowers and the amazing array of succulents. In particular the living wall below by Ravena Gardens, beautiful display! Another fave is the use of moss. The varieties, the colors, the many different ways of grouping it with plants and hard-scape. I am sold and will be using more moss "on purpose" in my garden planning this year.
Looking forward to getting out in my garden now...Snow its time for you to melt and let Spring arrive!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

giddy with excitment....Its garden show time!

The long count down and the day is finally here!! Time to be inspired and surrounded by amazing gardens and ideas! This to me is like visiting Disneyland as a kid, the silly grin will be on face the whole day and everywhere I look will give me goosebumps of excitement!!
Off I go....Will update and post yummy picks when I get home later today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The crazy gardening neighbor....

That would be ME!

We had quite the dump of snow this week in the Northwest. Our yard was dusted (or should I say buried) with 5-6in! My two young boys screamed for joy, I however screamed more of a "Agh, my poor plants!"
Early that morning, when the snow had finally stopped falling and after my coffee had kicked in. I threw on my snow-gear and headed out into the great-white-freeze! Really, I kind of snuck out so my kids wouldn't see me. It wasn't time to play, it was time to cold and frozen babies!

I am not sure if any of my neighbors saw me, out with towels and a broom, not to mention my hot pink gardening gloves. There are a few delicate plants in my yard, which I was trying to get the crushing weight of the snow off before it did damage. Mainly my hydrangeas that were not yet dead-headed and my jasmine, which is already suffering from this unusually freezing winter.
Its not everyday you see a lady going around hitting her plants (gently) with a! I think at one stage I may of even been talking to them, kind of apologizing to them, in hopes it would make them feel better. (oops, did I just say that out-loud) but I'm sure we all do it, right?

So "crazy gardening neighbor" I may be, but I will wear that title proudly...I love my garden!!!(Just not covered in that much snow!)

After a busy morning of playing superhero to my garden, I decided it was time to give my boys a little fun time out in the snow.
Snowballs, snow-angels and one amazing snowman. The laughter and giggles totally made the snow less of a "Agh" and more of a "Yay".

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Garden + Art = Joy!

How my garden inspires me...
When two loves collide, like gardening and blogging, happiness is found. When two loves like gardening and painting collide, for me its pure joy! With all the snow about and little chance to get outdoors, I decided to get the paintbrushes out instead. Bring the love of birds and my garden inside. To always have around no matter what the weather....
I love painting especially things I find beautiful and interesting, maybe something that stirs my emotions or provokes feelings or a happy memory. In this case the inspiration was just something I garden!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What a tease...

Last weekend was so beautiful and sunny! The kind of weather that makes you want to run out in your garden wearing your pj's, because you don't want to miss a second of that brilliant blue sky!
It was wonderful! I had a chance to garden, pull weeds, dead-head my hydrangeas, clear some leaves and do lots of planning and dreaming! (by the way, yes I was dressed and out of my pj's for most of the above!)

Today however, it is quite a different story!....SNOW!! What the heck! No, I thought Spring was here =( Its these little teases of Spring that make me hate winter all the more. I really thought I was going to cry!
As I type this it is still coming down, we must have about an inch out there now. While it looks really pretty and my two little guys who are on school break think its wonderful, I'll be out there with towels and blankets, trying to prevent my new Spring shoots from freezing to death...Did I mention I wanted to cry!

Wish me luck, but most of all wish my bleeding hearts, magnolias and hydrangeas poor babies!

What's a Blotanicalst?

Someone who writes a garden blog and has been accepted to have it listed with a wonderful blogging community. Check it out....

As you probably know, I love to blog! Well I love to garden all the more, although I must say I'm not very good, I think I kill more things than grow. But I love it all the same! This love of both gardening and blogging led me to start a gardening blog last year, called Polka Dot Galoshes. More a personal journal for me, to keep track of my garden, take note of the things that work and don't work, keep track of the many needs, jot down the many beautiful moments in my happy place!

I am very excited to have found Blotanical! I now have a place I can share blogging stories, read others inspirational blogs, learn more about gardening and blogging at the same time, while meeting other gardeners from the Northwest and around the world.
I've already connected with a few Aussies now living in WA who love gardening and blogging. Spoken with a wonderful gardener from Italy and have heard all about her gorgeous Tuscan villa (jealous, hell yeah!)

On being listed you get your own mentor, a "blotanical guru" someone who will help you step by step, meet other bloggers, enhance your own work, tips and tricks with both gardening and blogging. And as an added bonus, she lives here in the Northwest.
The warmth and friendliness has been overwhelming, with bloggers from all over the world welcoming me to the site. Two days and I already feel so at home there.
I love this new community I am lucky to be part of, the best of both worlds coming together!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A poke around my garden...

The journey around the not so perfect garden begins....

It really is easy, (and I guess somewhat more enjoyable) to share photos of a beautiful flowering garden. In its prime, looking perfectly put together and all lush and green during Spring.
Well I have to say while I love looking at those gardens for inspiration I do get a little overwhelmed, "why doesn't mine look like that?" is usually the first thought that comes to mind, and do I say it (Jealous!)
My yard is not the prettiest thing to look at in the winter months. In fact everything looks depressing, drab and dead, (after the freeze we had this year, I think most of it may be!)

One thing I love doing is sharing my garden with others. So I have decided I am going to spend the next few weeks/months blogging about it's transformation, from the pretty to the down right ugly. Its time for this garden to turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly, time for some gardening intervention and TLC!
Hope you follow me on this learning journey, though all the many highs, lows and crazy discoveries along the way!
Also, any advice, tips and encouragement will be greatly appreciated...thanks :)

Next post... Welcome to my garden (yes it's a garden!)

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moss...Foe or Friend?

Apparently one of my many gardening talents, is the ability to grow an abundance of moss!
And not just on a rock, but all through out the lawn, my garden beds, my fence, the roof and the driveway. Its also growing on the mulch in my garden beds, the exterior walls, on tree limbs and my trellis, even the patio and porch are covered in this fuzzy green nuisance this year! Seriously, I must have what moss loves!
So what to do? It obviously loves my yard. It is maintenance free and requires no care. Many would think those two qualities alone would make it a perfect plant for my yard. Do I fight "the battle of the moss" every year or do I just give up in defeat and wave my little white flag and surrender? I have to say, I am thinking the later might be better for my sanity. Make the moss in my garden a friend, learn to love it and incorporate its deep green beauty as part of the over all plan for the garden! As I already have to deal with it on the house exterior and so many other areas. To the moss I say...."Stay in my lawn, live happily on those rocks and climb those branches. Just don't be too upset when I blast your friend that is growing on my roof!"
Moss, I will learn to love you!

Article - Northwest favorite garden blogs

In an on going effort to always learn more about this fabulous world of garden blogging. I came across an interesting article, on what else but Northwest blogs. Just wanted to share and to post as to not forget the great sites they review.
What is not to love...Blogging + Gardening = My new Passion!!

Seattle Times - Pacific Northwest Garden Blogs

Monday, February 14, 2011

So much to learn...

Life in a garden, while beautiful is hard work, full of reward and full of error! There is so SO much I need to learn. There always seems to be some new problem! Agh, what is the powdery stuff on my evergreens? why are my evergreen jasmines losing their leaves? How do I prune my plumb tree? When is the best time to start removing the winter mulch from the beds? Can I safely transplant my hydrangea to another part of my garden? Agh! seriously, its enough to send you loopy!

I thought I would take the time (as its rainy and horrible) to compile a list of all the plant species I have in my garden.
My goal this year will be to learn basic care for each of these plants. Including what type of plant, if they need pruning, thinning, separating, fertilizing, etc and when best to do all this care! few...better get started!

Here are some of my favorite reference books and resources. I refer to these like my garden bibles, they are priceless for finding answers to my many many questions.
If you are going to invest in any books to help you on your Northwest gardening journey, you can not beat these...
Sunset Western Garden Book - Great for finding out what a plant is and basic care, thickness of a telephone book, its a little overwhelming, but a great reference book!
Gardening in Washington & Oregon, by Mary Robson - Wonderful month-by-month format with listings for the specific plant style you are working with. And its to love that!

Favorite blogs and websites that I spend way to much time on... - based in Portland - based in Seattle
Amongst others. I will compile a blog list with all the blogs I follow.

Wish me luck on my garden stock-take! I'm off to figure out whats out there....

Friday, February 11, 2011

I love my Hydrangeas

There is just something so beautiful about these flowers. The fullness of a bloom, the stunning colors, the playfulness of the long stems. The unpredictability of what color you can get on one plant! I love them as a fresh-cut or dried arrangement. But most of all, I love them decorating my yard.
All in all I have 12 Hydrangeas, ranging in all sorts of sizes, colors, shapes and health. They are all the same type, regular old mophead. On my property they are in all areas of sun and shade, moist and dry soil, a real variance in how to care for them individually. Can make it a little tricky, as what works for one, may not work for another. This could be the reason I have lost a few?
So I guess I should address the health of them first. I believe most if my Hys came from the previous owners grandfather. Most of them seem to be well established and over 6ft tall. The year we moved in they were doing great, this was about 4yrs ago. Since then I have lost one of the huge ones out the front, two white ones from down the east side and have given one away to make room for a playground. Not sure what caused the three to die, it is indeed very sad!
I also have some that seem to flower and put out more greenery every year. There is one that usually gets a dozen or so blooms while others produce over a hundred.

So far what I have learnt....
  • They love lots of water, moist ground is there favorite. This may of been why I list two if the white ones.
  • They love part sun to sun, i have 3 that get the full afternoon sun, this tends to brown the flowers and require more water to keep them happy.
  • They don't like competition. This may of been why the third one died as it was in a very crowded spot in the yard, under a fruit and a lilac tree. Not to mention a self-seeded cotton wood.
  • They like to be deadheaded after the last frost of winter. The deadheads I believe protect the new buds from being burnt.
  • Deadhead them when it's a little warmer and the first signs of spring, I usually do it when I see my tulips start to sprout up.
  • Deadhead them just above where there are two new shoots together, leaving about half an inch of stem above.
What I would like to learn this year:
What makes them sick with black spot?
How to protect the blooms from burning?
What caused my three dead ones to die? So I can try and prevent it from happening again =(
    To make your blooms turn a specific color (except white, unfortunately bleach in the soil does not turn them white, you have to buy a white hydrangea)
    For blue add:
    • Aluminum sulfate, 3 to 4 Tablespoons per gallon of water, applied 2 times, 2 weeks apart, 4 to 6 months prior to blooming.
    • You can also add egg shells, coffee grinds, ground-up Orange or Grapefruit peels
    For pink add:
    • Add dolomic lime, 3-8 cups around the base of a large plant (less around a small one) 2 or 3 times between the blooming seasons.
    • Or try a bit of superphosphate around the base of the plant.
    For purple add:
    • I have NO! apparently its hard to do. I have one out the front that is the deepest of deep purples. But honestly I have no idea how it got that way, neither do those online!
    I have even had blooms with multi colored heads, pink and blue on the same stem, crazy!

    I know its winter, so its the worst time to take pics, but wanted to show them during the dormant stage and will update with growth phase pics in summer. These are my babies...

    #1 This one is usually a pale blue and gets the most west sun, very water logged area and as you can see gets hundreds of blooms.

    #2 In the same front garden as above, but a little more protected from the western sun. Usually a deep purple. One of the biggest.

    #3 Rest in peace. This was my first to die. Also out the front in the corner garden under a fruit tree. Was a beautiful pink/red

    #4 Also located in the same garden. This one is my tallest. Easily over 8ft tall, pink/red produces lots of blooms

    #5 This one is up on a retaining wall and did not get enough water last year. Am hopping it will bud soon. One of my sick whites :(

    #6 One of the prettiest colors ever, very royal blue almost turquoise. East side of house gets morning sun, retaining wall garden, maybe too much drainage?

    #7 pretty blue that seems to be doing well, all the same conditions as #6

    #8 Rest in peace :( this one was my most absolute favorite! Pure white/pale green so pretty. Lost it last summer, I think due to lack of water?

    #9 Baby blue and very happy (knock on wood!) this one is in a west facing garden in the back yard. Afternoon sun shaded by the plum tree. Next to the playground. Has taken punishment but is going strong.

    #10 this is one of my rather pathetic looking ones. Never gets a full bloom or lots of new growth. Also Lanky and sparse.

    #11 North garden gets morning sun in late spring/summer. Pretty blue/pink it can't make up it's mind! Is doing better every year. Filling out, used to be like #10.

    #12 My last one, this is the only one planted on the west of my property protected by being planted on the east side of the fence. It's a little crowded. Produces a beautiful white, seems really happy, moist soil.

    Let's see how they do this year! Fingers crossed for a healthy happy, hydrangea year in the Northwest!!!!

    Posted via it!

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    The Elephant in the yard

    I guess i can mark it up to "well i tried!' and caused one or two casualties along the way.
    But what do you do, when you don't have a clue? Do I pull it all out and start again? Do I turn it back to lawn? Do I live with this problem for another year, I'll eventually get to it, right?
    I honestly have no idea how to help the "sad" plants in this sad corner of my garden. The only thing coming to mind, is accidentally running it over in the car.
    What was meant to be a focal point of my front yard, a happy welcome for guests has turned out to be rather pathetic to say the least!

    The goal was to help with drainage in this corner of the bog, I mean lawn. It was always extremely squelchy under foot and was starting to rot. I guess practically I did achieve my goal. The roots (especially the tree roots) have done a great job of sucking up water run off on the lawn. But aesthetically I didn't quite hit the mark.
    What's working:
    The problems:

    Posted via it!

    Native Plants to the Seattle area

    Certain plants are native to Seattle because of its climate.

    Native plants in Seattle, Washington are abundant and thriving. Due to the cool, damp temperature that characterizes the Pacific Northwest, plants are able to absorb moisture and live peacefully. Seattle is known for the amount of rainfall it gets, and the fact that it doesn't see sunshine a lot. The plants that live there are accustomed to living in majority shade and soaking up the sun's rays when it does come out.

    Plants image by Viktor Alevetdinov from

      Seattle's Climate

    1. It is a common misconception that it rains in Seattle more than in any other place in the continental United States. This misconception comes out of the fact that Seattle is mostly always overcast, looking as if it may rain at any moment. However, other larger cities in the country get more annual precipitation than does Seattle, such as Atlanta and New York City. Seattle's climate is mild, not too hot, not too cold, and it's usually cloudy.
    2. Native Trees to Seattle

    3. Trees native to the Seattle area are the Big Leaf Maple, Bitter Cherry, Black Cottonwood, Black Hawthorn, Douglas Maple, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Hooker's Willow, Pacific Ash, Pacific Crabapple, Pacific Dogwood, Pacific Willow, Paper Birch, Red Alder, Shore Pine, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, Western White Pine, Slide Alder, Vine Maple, Yew, Oregon Ash, Oregon Whiteoak, Garry Oak, Quaking Aspen and the Madrone tree.
    4. Shrubs Native to Seattle

    5. Shrubs native to Seattle are the Bald Hip Rose, Beaked Hazelnut, Black Cap Raspberry, Black Gooseberry, Blue Elderberry, Bog Laurel, Bog Rosemary, Devil's Club, Evergreen Huckleberry, Hairy Manzanita, Indian Plum, Oregon Grape, Mock Orange, Nootka Rose, Oceanspray, Oregon Box, Pacific Ninebark, Pacific Rhododendron, Pacific Wax Myrtle, Red Elderberry, Red Huckleberry, Snowbrush, Stink Currant, Sweet Gale, Swamp Rose, White Spirea, Subalpine Spirea, Tall Oregon Grape, Thimbleberry and Twinberry.
    6. Ground Cover native to Seattle

    7. Ground cover plants native to Seattle are the Beach Strawberry, Bleeding Heart, Blue-eyed grass, Backen Fern, Broad-leaved Stonecrop, Brunchberry, Common Camas, Great Camas, Cascade Penstemon, Chocolate Lily, Coastal Gunweed, Columbia Lewisia, Common Harebell, Cooley's Hedgenettle, Cow-parsnip, Deer Fern, Douglas Aster, Edible Thistle, False Lily-of-the-Valley, False Solomon's-Seal, Farewell-to-Spring, Fireweed, Foam Flower, Fringecup, Goat's Beard, Golden Eyed Grass, Goldenrod, Graceful Cinquefoil, Handerson's Checker Mallow, Inside-out Flower, Kinnikinnik, Bearberry, Kneeling Angelica, Lady Fern, Licorice Fern, Maidenhair Fern, Nettle, Nodding Onion, Oak Fern, Oregon Iris, Oxalis, Pacific Waterleaf, Palmate Coltsfoot, Pearly Everlasting, Rattlesnake Platain, Scouler's Corydalis, Silverweed, Stream Violet, Vanilla Leaf, and Twinflower.

    Read more: Native Plants for Seattle, Washington |

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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