MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seattleites' Secret

They say Seattleites brag about Pacific Northwest being rainy for population control.
This is what they want to keep for themselves.

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Click the pictures to enlarge them
 
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The pictures were taken yesterday from here:
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Ooops, this blog is supposed to be about a garden. Here it is, not far from the Space Needle:
water art

Friday, February 27, 2009

What are you all whining about?!


What are you all, people, whining about?! "I am tired of this snow... Tired of this cold.... I want spring... I am dreaming of my spring garden..." Stop whining! Put on your shades and see everything in blue, pink and purple!



Relax! Life is beautiful! Well, for me it is. Especially after I got a sudden treat this morning. Tatyana gave me a big milk bone right after she read something on Blotanical. Was it
Anyway, it's beautiful here!.... Besame, besame mucho....
P.S. By the way, I am not that pimple on the blog's header picture. I am the old one, Julik.
Wise one. Besame....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Metamorphosis


SHE'LL BE COMING AROUND THE CORNER WHEN SHE COMES ...





SHE'LL BE COMING AROUND THE CORNER WHEN SHE COMES...


Click the pictures to enlarge them
Who is she? What's your guess?

Emerald Treasures and More

Who says that Northwest is grey and rainy?!
Camano Island, to the north from Seattle. February.

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Above, can you spot a boat between the tree branches?
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Old means beautiful.

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Beach time!
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I like how the water is divided here by the tree -
one part is light and another is dark.

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I can look endlessly on the vertical lines of the grass
and the hanging from nowhere little branch.
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Mosses are gorgeous ....
when they grow not on the roof of my house.

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Madrona's bark color reminds me terracota garden pots.

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I like the geometry on this picture above.

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Emerald treasures.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Amur Maple, Black Caviar and The Dog On My Blog

What is common between a maple in your yard and the dog on my blog? I didn't plan this post. Donna ( http://suburbansanctum.blogspot.com/ ) mentioned Amur maple in her blog recently. It created an association in my mind since Amur is not just an abstract name for me. Amur is also the name of our pup on the head picture of my blog that many Blotanists liked and wrote me about.
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Why did I give him this name?  Amur river forms the border between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.
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It is the ninth longest river in the world and hosts a unique Kaluga fish - Нuso dauricas (Gеоrgi) - that can reach 5.6 m (16.8 ft) in length and 1000 kg (about 2000 lb) in weight. Kaluga is a predator (eats other fish including salmon) and can live up to 50 years. One fish can give a bucket of caviar, up to 40 kg (18 lb!!!).
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It is the biggest sturgeon in the world and it lives only in Amur river.
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It is sad but today it's not the river that I used to know and my Dad used to fish on. It's polluted by both countries (Russia and China), more shallow than before and its fish population is dramatically reducing. But let's get back to Amur maple.
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The Amur maple was introduced to North America in the 1860s. This is its description from
How Stuff Works
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The amur maple makes a small tree or tall shrub, growing to 25 feet high with smooth, light-gray bark on young branches. The leaves are small for a maple, only 3 inches long, toothed, and have three main lobes. They turn scarlet red in the fall. The seeds vary in color but, in the best clones, are bright red. The plant is one of the rare maples with flowers of any interest. Yellow and fragrant, they appear in spring before the leaves. How to grow amur maple: Plant the amur maple in just about any conditions, although it prefers good, well-drained soil and full sun or, at best, partial shade. It tolerates alkaline soils particularly well. It can be trained as a small tree through pruning or allowed to grow as a tall shrub. The tree grows relatively upright when young, but it eventually takes on a round-headed appearance. NOTE: This tree is invasive in central and northern North America.Uses for amur maple: A good tree for small lots and patio plantings, the amur maple is tolerant of city conditions and is relatively pest free. It makes an excellent screen or small specimen tree.

Pictures of the amur maple can be seen  
HERE
Well, what do we have here? The tree in your yard - the dog on my blog - the river on another continent ... Aren't we all connected somehow?



***Copyright TatyanaS

Friday, February 20, 2009

Every Gardener's Nightmare

How to help a gardener stop craving for spring and summer? Remind him (her) about something disgusting that winter doesn't have. Several Blotanists mentioned snails and slugs in their recent posts. But it was Hermes' post http://goldenagegardens.blogspot.com/2009/02/snails.html that actually made me think about slugs. The creature on his picture was so cute in comparison with my slugs that I got jealous and offered him to trade my slugs for his snails, two for one. Just look at these pictures and you'll understand me. I cought the slugs in the action! It is one thing when you see them innocently sleeping under a rock or a leaf. But when they are eating your tomato in a daylight!!!
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There are as many as 40 different kinds of slugs in the U. S. and over 750 varieties of snails. These three types of the slugs we will most likely to see:

Common garden slug
: about an inch long, dark with a yellow stripe on its sides.

Black slug: really big - to about six inches longs.

Gray field slug: about 1 and ½ inches long, gray or tan in color.

Slugs are invertebrates belonging to the scientific classification "Phylum Mollusca". This is the fact that I like the most: they are closer to the octopus than the insect family! Yes, they are relatives to those huge creatures found deep in the ocean!
Octopuses and slugs as well as all the creatures classified in the mollusk family have several things in common:

-their bodies are soft and not divided into segments;

-they have an internal or external shell (the slug's relative, the snail, carries his shell outside);

-they have a muscular foot or tentacles.

Here are a few other slug facts:

* birds, ducks, moles and some types of beetles eat slugs;

* slugs are very sensitive to the wind and can dehydrate and die if caught in a wind;

* slugs live underground and absorb moisture through the dirt;

* older slugs are usually females;

* slugs are very sensitive to changes in temperature even such little as two degrees F.

We all know that slugs lay eggs and they are vegetarians and eat plants. Different types of slugs like different types of plants and slugs in different parts of the country eat different things.

Bon Appetite, but not in my garden!

Some of the information I got here:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visit to Ed Hume's Garden


What fun it was! Our garden club arranged a visit to this garden some time ago. We were thrilled to meet Ed Hume. Everyone knows him as a host of the longest running gardening television show in North America, weekly radio show and, of course, as an author. This particular garden was originally designed only for children. Adults insisted that it was of as much interest to them as it was to children. So, they opened it to adult groups too. It became a combination of a children's garden and an adult educational garden. We were led through several garden areas. Totally, there are 15 of them. I remember the Quiz Garden, Bird Garden, Drought and Native plant garden, Herb Garden and Flowering Plant area. We learned a lot and got some ideas. I especially liked the Bird Garden with those colorful bright bird houses.
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Ballosaurus was a hit!

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This is its better picture from the garden's site http://www.humeseeds.com/edgarden.htm
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The giant aphid was created by Charles M. Fitzgerald
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I don't think I will ever be able to have so many bowling balls to create my own, but at least I started...
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This following piece also attracted out attention. What an idea for someone who remodels a house! Sometimes, it's not easy to part with old furniture, appliances, etc. Here is the "etc."
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Well, we didn't need to renovate the house yet, so there were no pieces from the house to try this idea. Fortunately, our boys were renovating their car park at that time and I got lucky to receive one of the outdated models for my garden design.
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Tinman was among the most photographed elements of the garden, too.
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Ed Hume answered our questions, signed his book (it was "Gardening with Ed Hume. Northwest gardening Made Easy") and generously offered some seed packages.
His face is familiar to thousands of gardeners since it is on seed racks in major home and garden centers all over the country.
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These are some pictures from Ed Hume's web site




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Overview
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Bug-Eating Plants
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hellebores Foetidus - A Year-Round Beauty


Hellebores foetidus - another type of Hellebores about which Tina http://tinaramsey.blogspot.com/ posted an excellent article. Its other names are Bear's foot, Dungwort, Stinking hellebore and Stinkwort. Don't get scared, I never felt any smell. They say you need to crush the leaves to feel the smell. As for the flowers, they have a pleasant smell. Hellebores foetidus has narrow, deeply toothed golden evergreen leaves and pale green bell-shaped flowers. Height - to 32"(80 sm), width - 18"(45sm).

I have two plants. One grows in an area with morning sun, another in a dry shady area. The first one is bushier and looks happier than the second one. It corresponds with the description of this plant which says it needs morning sun. It also likes moist but well-drained organic-rich soil. (I should say that my plants grow in average soil). Blooming time is mid winter - mid spring. This is what they say. I have a picture of a blooming helleborus foetidus taken in the end of May! Even after the bloom, the plants stand out thanks to their pale green foliage that looks stunning among dark colors. On the following pictur, it is in the left lower corner.


Last summer I noticed several baby plants near the mother plant which had self-seeded! This is what I like in plants! I dug them out and put them in small plastic containers. Right now, they are inside the house, but I feel like they would be good in a cool garage as well.




It looks like some seeds fell into the succulant bowl, because I found a little one there.



Hellebores foetidus makes a wonderful addition to a flower bed or border. On the following picture, all plants went wild. It was October, but everyone looked pretty healthy including a tomato plant that grew from a seed brought on the flower bed with compost.


This is the picture of it that I took today during an unexpected and not very wanted wet and heavy snow.


These are the pictures of my other hellebores.




This plant is about 4 years old and it looks nice almost year around.




It is useful to know that established plants don't like to be moved.


ADDITION:
All parts of Hellebores may cause severe discomfort if ingested, and the sap may irritate skin on contact.
(A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, p.509)
As I mentioned above, my plants, both types, are 4-5 yeas old. I trim them sometimes not wearing gloves. I've never had any signs of skin irritation. There are two German Shepherds and number of neighborhood cats in our yard (as you can guess, not at the same time...), and it doesn't look like they had any problems. But it is always worth to be careful. That is why I am grateful to Hermes http://goldenagegardens.blogspot.com/ who reminded me about this feature of hellebores. I am wondering if hybrid types somehow lose some qualities... Is it a silly guess?

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