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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Shady Garden Blooms - May 2011

Western Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum). 
 It is native to the western part of  North America and part of northeastern Siberia. Common names include American cowslip, mosquito bills, mad violets, and sailor-caps. I love this new addition to my shade garden for its flower shape and bright pink color. It grows next to Bowles' Golden grass (Milium effusum 'Aureum') that is blooming now.


The white cloud of tiny flowers looks lovely with the green background:

But, the real beauty of saxifrage' blooms can be seen only if you look very close:

Aren't they special?

This Oxalis came to me from a special garden a year ago. When will I have time to tell about all the wonderful gardens I have visited?

Simple pink flowers are adorable:

Corydalis shihmiensis 'Berry Exciting': a new mutation of Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'. Yellow fern-like leaves look striking in the dark shady corner of my garden behind the garage. I bought it in my favorite Christianson's nursery.

Purple flowers really stand out against the yellow foliage.

Some other shade-loving plants are blooming, but these steal the show.

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garden Today. My Picture of the Day

Part of my back garden this morning. May 27th, 2011.
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Carriage For Daisies

Germany, 2011
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Geraniums From My German Trip

Long ago, before I even started to travel abroad, I heard about geraniums in Germany. They have geraniums (Ok, garden purists, pelargoniums!) in pots, in window boxes, on the sidewalks in front of the buildings... everywhere.

 I had a chance to admire them myself during my recent trip to Germany.

I don't know the statistics (and who does?), but during my trip, I saw mostly zonal geraniums. Not like in Italy, where most of the geraniums I saw were ivy geraniums.

Yesterday, I went plant shopping and bought a dozen zonal geraniums for my terracota pots. I will look for more, trying to get different colors. I need some ivy geraniums too, and of course, some Martha Washington (Regal) geraniums! I usually manage to save several of my own plants from the previous year. Some of them I keep in the garage in their original pots, just reduce watering to a minimum. Others, I keep bear rooted in a basket. Since we don't have a basement, like in our previous house, I don't have space to hang them upside down.
My success rate in using previous year's geraniums differs from year to year. This winter, I took one plant to overwinter inside the house, and it served as a house plant (this is what they do in Russia - have geraniums as houseplants!). It looks great and I just set it outside:


 Returning to Germany, I thoroughly enjoyed all the plants which they had in baskets, pots, troughs, etc., 
but geraniums prevailed, especially in the window boxes.

I certainly will remember Germany as a country where they love geraniums, not only dandelions! (My previous post Where Do They Love Dandelions).

 I took many pictures of the flower arrangements during my trip and will show them in my other post. Some of them are just adorable!

 ***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Where They Love Dandelions

First, let me ask the Pacific Northwest gardeners: Did I promise to bring back Spring from my trip to Europe? Did we have gorgeous weather the last several days? We did! I fulfilled my promise! Did I ever stear you wrong? What are you saying? It's raining again? Well, at least it's warm!
We came back from Germany, and the first  thing I want to tell you is: Back there, they love dandelions! Yes, Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), also known as lion’s tooth, puffball, blowball, and monk’s head. Yes, a plant which is called a major problem in turf, ornamental plantings, meadows, pastures, a major weed problem, a pesky weed, etc., etc., etc.
A square in Berlin
 Now, I know that dandelions are the flowers of Germany. They are everywhere.
Frankfurt's Palmengarten
They decorate lawns, road strips, kings' gardens and ordinary people's yards.
 No one beheads them, poisons them, or abuses them in any way. Once in Rothenburg, I peeked into one garden and saw a lovely flowerbed filled with peonies, roses and other beautiful flowers. To reach that bed, my gaze went through a part of the yard filled by dandelions. Their stems were about a foot tall, and almost all of the flowers had finished blooming. The round airy white heads were ready to spread the seeds far and wide on their miniature parachutes. It was obvious that it didn't bother anyone. In Frankfurt's Palmengarten, in the middle of the beautiful border with blue and white flowers, proudly stood a huge, tall dandelion in all its beauty. None of the people working in the garden rushed to jerk it out.
Frankfurt's Palmengarten
I have an impression that dandelions as well as clover, buttercups and other wild flowers, are viewed as something normal, and a natural part of the landscape in Germany.
I heard the dandelions whispering to me to say Hello to their American brothers and sisters who left Europe many years ago to find a better life. They told me they were preparing a campaign to condemn the nationwide prosecution of dandelions  in the States.  'Stop Dandelion Genocide' will be the name of the campaign.
During our trip to Germany, I saw very few people mowing their lawns.
They obviously do that at some point, but not as often as we do. The grass clippings, and I mean grass of any kind, plus dandelions and clover, were left on the lawn.
I didn't notice a lot of mulch around the plants.
At some point, I thought there was not any mulch. Then, I saw  big bark chips used in a couple of places, and small size volcanic rocks used here and there. But not that bright red mulch that I am used to seeing here in the U.S.
It seems to me that in Germany, as well as in Italy, people don't sweat too much about weeds and having a perfect, manicured garden.
Everything looks very informal, sometimes even a bit messy, but in a natural, relaxing way. The way that is very appealing to both dogs
and tired tourists:
I would be very interested to hear what German gardeners have to say about dandelions. I wrote about my personal impressions on the basis of what I saw. And I saw a lot. We were in Berlin, Potsdam, Munich, Fussen, Rothenburg, Heidelberg and Frankfurt and, believe me, we covered a lot of ground on foot!
P.S. Just a friendly reminder: Dandelions give far more vitamin A-beta than carrots, more lecithin than soybeans, more potassium than bananas,  more iron and twice the amount of vitamin A as spinach. Also, vitamins C and B, calcium, magnesium and more.
The last very interesting things about dandelions that I read are here:
1- Making Ford Cars from Russian Dandelions. 'At the Ohio State Agricultural research and Development Center they explore a possibility to make dandelions 'milk-white liquid  into fake rubber (to use in cars!)'.
2-Dandelions to the Rescue.
In Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute is working to 'improve' the dandelion as a new source of non-allergenic latex. 'Yes, they are doing genetic engineering on our favorite weed'.

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Don' t lose me, my friends! I am in Germany. I came here to look for spring and I found it. I'll try to bring this spring back to the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring. My Picture of the Day

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Azalia. My Picture of the Day

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tulips Galore. Part 2

The previous Tulip Festival post is here.
Tulips are beautiful flowers, aren't they? There is something special about them. Simple elegance or elegant simplicity.
The Skagit Valley in the state of Washington is one of the most fertile valleys in the country.
Tulips are not the only plant grown here, but it's tulips that bring thousands of visitors each year.
They say the number of guests during the Tulip Festival approaches a million.
This year was the 28th Festival.
Most of the pictures in this post were taken in the RoozenGaarde display garden.
Don't you think daffodils add some subtle charm to the overall picture?
Tulip buds are simple and modest, but look what happens when they open!
Rhododendron makes this scene even more exciting:
Masses of flowers can be a bit overwhelming, but a single flower is such a relief for the eyes.
Long stems with unopened buds remind me of exclamation marks!
The bright sun fades the colors. Shade makes the colors thick and dense. The best of my images are received in halfshade. The flowers look like they were lit from inside:
The yellow tulips below look like open hands. 'We also want to be in the picture! Here we are! Here we are!'
Mountains in the background keep the climate in the valley mild:
Grape hyacinths add their gorgeous blue color:
These tulips remind me of peonies:
Dutch people brought the first tulip bulbs into this country, and a windmill reminds about it:
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

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