Sunday, January 30, 2011

Out with friends photographing the Winter Garden at Washington Park Arboretum

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gearing up for the NW Flower and Garden Show

OK, I'm here. Sorry for the lack of updates to those who actually take the time to check up on me and my blogs. It's taken two or so years to realize it, but blogging takes up SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much time. Some people have the financial stability to blog regularly and engage their readers each day, but I can't afford to do that. So, pardon the lack of posts and if you've contacted me before to feature a special event, product, or tropic, I'm sorry I just can't share everything that falls on my lap.

OK...that's to the fun stuff.

It's only a matter of weeks until the start of the NW Flower and Garden Show and it's time to build the hype, garner the support and interest and hope that MANY MANY MANY people will come and soak in the upcoming season.

"Once Upon a Time" is the theme to draw in a younger crowd and the older generation to be able to walk through memories lane and marvel at the displays and take home some ideas and inspirations for their home garden, small plot, patio, deck, or container.

The show always aims to have something for everyone. Aside from my usual plant shopping, presentation speaking, schmoozing, and catching up with old friends and happy plant people, I'm also looking forward to these gardens and events:

A friend's 17 y/o daughter will design a show garden!!!!

Paradise (to be) Regained – …borrowing Thoreau
I'm seventeen years old and my generation is looking for paradise in a shrinking world. There is so much clutter and it continues to grow exponentially every day. While no universal remedy exists, it could start with simple changes that every person can contribute. This is my idea– I want to share a garden that seeks sustainability; including plants that don't beg for water and a container that is repurposed for a unique shelter. This garden uses the power to reclaim and "recharacterize" what is left behind. So when Father Industry comes to battle with Mother Nature, who wins?

Courtney Goetz
Creative Gardener

A former student of mine re-telling "Alice in Wonderland" through her ecologically driven design and potentially using plants I'm lending her!! (can you guess which plant? I've mentioned it before on this blog!)

Alice In Wonderland
"The first Thing I've got to do is to grow to my right size again and the second Thing is to find my way to that lovely garden." – Lewis Carroll – Today we face many unpredictable personal and environmental challenges and a garden can be a sanctuary for contemplation and enjoyment. We need to think "outside the rabbit hole" and in our garden you will see creative and unique ways to do this. So will you think BIG… or small? Relax, enjoy the garden, and consider which paths you will choose going forward in the world.

Zsofia Pasztor
Innovative Landscape Technologies

Then, of course, there's the crazy Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds Nursery who's teaming up with ALBE Rustics to do:

Wind in the Willows - A River Odyssey

Come enjoy the enchantment of a beloved English children's classic, "Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of life along the river. Plants suitable for Northwest gardens range from the dappled shade of Badger's wild woods, on down to the marshy verge of "Portley Otter's" rain garden swale, over to the open meadow gracing the ancestral Toad Hall Your garden can tell a story which will provide a unifying theme to help guide your choice of plants and accessories. Join "Ratty", "Mole", and "Badger" as they rein in the mischievous "Mr. Toad" on the river and the road. You too may discover that there is nothing quite so fine as messing about in the garden.
Judith I. Jones
Fancy Fronds

Vanca Lumsden
ALBE Rustics

There are so many other gardens to see and, I'm sure will look spectacular, while some will just simply say, "WTF is that?!" Totally normal. Totally normal. Show gardens are as subjective as any other art form. We just have to admire the process and the marvel at the overall magic a show like this can possess!

Then there's the attempt at catering to the urban gardener and, most likely, us Gen Y folks who want to venture into gardening, but don't quite have the space or time, they've got "Living It Up":

LIVING IT UP ~ Small Space Patio Gardens

Living It Up City-dwellers, this is for you! Now you can enjoy the excitement of an urban abode with a view of the city and make the most of your terrace, deck or patio. We'll show you how at "Living It Up," in the South Lobby.

This attraction features 3 unique designs that combine stunning outdoor environments. Combining elements of nature and urban living, you'll find inspiration drawing from the best of both worlds.

Explore distinctive designs using outdoor décor, planters, containers and more. know what song's stuck in my head now:

Imagine this happening at the Flower and Garden Show. LOL!! Perhaps a DJ could keep things hoppin' and interesting.

So the FEATURED SPEAKERS should be quite fun.

I'm friends with Kelly and Sue of Far Reaches Farm who will share their stories of plant hunting and collecting. Sue is recovering from a injured ankle from a recent expedition to China this fall and, I hear, is recovering very well. Can't wait to see their finds and see what they hope to share with avid gardeners here!!

One interesting talk I would definitely like to sit in and pay close attention to is a panel that's composed of friends and colleagues I've gotten to know over the years. It takes some pretty big credentials to speak on a topic such as "The Future of Gardening", but it will be VERY interesting to see where things are going and where they think it'll go:

THE GARDEN SHOW – The Future of Gardening
What's In & What's Out in Gardening Trends
Wednesday, February 23 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Join us for something completely new on the seminar stages as four gardening luminaries get together to talk about what's in store for gardeners and the future trends. This conversation, hosted by Lucy Hardiman, popular lecturer, teacher and author, will explore the what's in, what's out, what should be in, and what should be out, and more. Guest starring Val Easton, Seattle Times columnist and author of four books, including The New Low Maintenance Garden; Richard Turner, editor of Pacific Horticulture, the magazine for West Coast gardeners; and Cole Burrell, designer, photographer and author of 12 books, including Perennial Combinations. This is sure to be a thought-provoking hour of conversation.

Yikes, I just realized that that's the same day I give my DIY talk. It's not until the evening, but I should just be well prepared and set up well in advanced. PLEASE COME so it doesn't look like THIS:

DIY stage poor attendance

The Year-Round Container Gardener
Simple Solutions for Maximum Impact
Rizaniño "Riz" Reyes
Wednesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM in the Smith & Hawken DIY Stage
Everyone deserves to have and be around a COOL PLANT in their busy lives. Find simple solutions to a creative endeavor by learning to plant a container throughout the seasons for maximum impact and minimal maintenance. The talk will cover topics such as selecting containers, potting mediums, plant materials, composition, and maintenance.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SOAFB!!!! Grrrrrrr

Grrrrrr!! Was forcing this tree peony for the flower and garden show and discovered this! SOAFB!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yay! I'm a published photographer in a book! Check out "Bizarre Plants" by Prof. Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Naughty Plant Porn

I've been actively checking out and contributing to his new Facebook Group called PlantPorn.

It's kind of crazy with everyone posting lots of really cool plants we geeks would just salivate over,

A stunning container composition of edibles!! Assorted lettuce with pansy violets!

I stunning premature variegated pineapple!

One of the first Clematis I've ever grown called 'Josephine'

The ethereal Nymphaea gigantea.

A really cool variegated Banana from Thailand.

but there are also other postings that just aren't quite

And the one that has topped all the rest of 'em:

Plant people aren't perverts. REALLY, WE'RE NOT! lol


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'll have the double-double...or NOT

Nah, I'm not talking about my recent encounter with an In and Out burger for the first time EVER! (animal style with a strawberry shake, mind you)

But, I'm talking lilies. Double-flowered lilies. Double-flowered ORIENTAL LILIES. Double double...okay, you get the idea.

Now, double flowered lilies aren't all that new. They've been around for quite some time and they're usually the result of one of mother nature's "accidents" and breeders have come along and selected those that have converted/fused some of their stamens into tepals creating a sterile pollen-free "abomination of nature" that's ridiculously cool and, hey, pollen free so I can cut them for arrangements without worrying about staining the tablecloths or getting plant sperm on my nose.

Most of the doubles that have been on the market have mostly been Asiatic lilies. They're the ones that come in a wide range of colors, bloom at around June for us in the Northern Hemisphere and usually aren't scented, but in recent years, a whole arsenal of double flowered Orientals have made their way onto the market and I wanted to be one of the first to obtain, grow and evaluate them as garden plants.

The first of these double orientals to hit the masses is one 'Miss Lucy'. A very soft pink with gently ruffled petals opening to perfection like a carnival confection. This photo blew me and thousands of other avid gardeners off our feet.

We were promised that each bud would open properly, last longer in the vase than any other "single-flowered" oriental hybrid, and being an experienced lily grower, I thought I was about to grow a dream!

I purchased bulbs from a dutch source and that first summer of 2004, this is what it produced:

Lilium Miss Lucy Poor Opening
Buds aborted, and those that did develop opened slowly, then browned out and fell off. A total, WTF Moment!! I paid $10 a bulb just to get this??!!

I figured, okay, it was a tough summer, I didn't irrigate like I was suppose to and didn't fertilize as much as I could have; it was all me, not the plant.

So in 2006, I made sure they had lots of organic material, adequate water and I even tried to plant them in a little more shade so they don't scorch, but I still got THIS:

Lilium Miss Lucy 2006
These were three stems with single flowers on each to make it look like I had "success" with this "exciting new introduction". They never opened fully and you can see the trace of browning on the tepals as they began to go south. =(

I was so ready to trash and bad mouth 'Miss Lucy' and never recommend anyone to grow it! However, I started seeing this at local Seattle and eastside Bellevue home gardens:




OK, what gives, huh???!!!

I've grown lilies since I was in my early teens: I've bred and propagated them, cloned them in the lab, rescued embryos in vitro, collected rare species from the wilds of China AND I CAN'T GET A BLOODY DOUBLE FLOWERED ORIENTAL TO F*ING OPEN PROPERLY!!

Yeah, you bet I was pissed!

What made me determined to succeed with these lilies was seeing Bob and Dianna's new repertoire of double orientals they featured in their catalog about 2 years ago.

Bob and Dianna or B&D Lilies have been friends and mentors of mine since I caught the lily bug early. They've known me since I was 13 years old and bought my first 'Casablanca' bulb from them at the 1996 NW Flower and Garden Show.

Here we are at last year's show:

Dianna Bob Riz

So in their wonderful catalog, they had like 3 or 5 different double flowered Orientals that blew me away. That floozy 'Miss Lucy' was one of them, but it also included ones that were far more colorful and interesting in shape and I figured, "OK, I gotta do this. I need to get one of each and DO THIS!!!"

Here were my results:

Lilium 'Jozef'

Lilium Josef
So, meh, okay. Not the best form or the greatest color. Had one flower on a stiff thin stem.

Lilium 'Davyd'

Lilium Davyd 1
Yeah, this one came out kinda freaky and gross looking.


So then this came along and actually melted my heart and said, "Ahhhh....finally. A nice one"

Lilium Chrys

There are others I got, but never came up for some odd reason and there are still others that I've yet to try, but might splurge on should they become available.

I'll be on the lookout for these this spring:

'Queen Sofia' - aka 'Roselily Fabolia' aka 'Double Star'

'Distant Drum' - aka 'Double Pink Rose'

and this WILD THANG being advertised as purple and white. Why is it f'ing RED with white??!!

Lilium 'Magic Star'

So, I dunno. I don't want to say that these are all crap as I know I could have taken better care of them and according to my gardening friend, Nita-Jo Rountree, who grow spectacular stems of 'Miss Lucy', as seen above, the key, she's been told by a grower, is to always provide adequate water when actively growing and forming buds or else you'll run into the problems I had.

With lilies typically easy to grow without too much attention, the extra effort to ensure these strange lilies might not be worth it for the casual gardener. I think these doubles will always remain a novelty item prized by avid gardeners and serious collectors. Who knows how well they'll be received in the florist trade? Will they open as easily as the "singles" or will buds just abort and shrivel?

Always an ongoing experiment of trial and error. You know I love it!

Oh yeah, I did like this, but totally in moderation:

In and Out Burger