Wednesday, 28 September 2011

variegated love

Do certain plants ever exude an extra dose of happiness when you are in the yard?  Well today some of my variegated plants were smiling at me so I thought I would throw a nod out to them.   I'm funny about variegated plants, some just look sickly and not right, and others are little bundles of joy.  heres some variegated love...

Yucca gloriosa variegata.  I love this plant!  Every time I'm at the nursery I pick one up in my hands and tell myself that it should come home with me... maybe next spring... agh am I already saying that ?!

This is a new one for me.  It was one of those no questions, "I am buying this plant" moments. When I walked into my favourite local nursery last winter, it was hanging out with the agaves and cactus!  It's called yucca gloriosa var. recurvifolia "bright star"

This reminds me of the variegated Hebe that I have always wanted... this will have to do

Acuba Japonica. These look ultra tropical for how hardy they are!

variegated hostas never fail to put on a great show!

The next couple of things have nothing to do with variegated plants whatsoever! I just found myself so excited I had to share!  When I was outside I noticed some very happy things... my Tasmanian tree fern that I bought last winter on Salt Spring Island has started to put out a third flush of fronds and my "hardy" gardenia that I just bought is in bloom!!

Monday, 26 September 2011

From Spain with Love!

A few days ago I posted some pictures from a trip to London ... but, I saved the best for last ... SPAIN! I only spent a week in Spain split between Barcelona and Alicante.  I never imagined how much I would fall in love with the mediterranean.  Ever since I have been dreaming of olive trees, canary island date palms, aloes, terraces, and the works.  I know it has certainly fuelled my gardening passion and hopefully it will inspire yours as well!  (it also makes such a cold drizzly day on the West Coast feel a little bit warmer!)

Orange trees in Barcelona

Agaves and aloes look even better with bright blue water in the background!!!!

Simple and beautiful!

I love how mediterranean gardens incorporate so many artistic touches like these great tiles!

Scene from Park Guell

nothing screams mediterranean quite like a beautiful bougainvillea!

garden oasis on the hillside in Park Guell

I LOVED this! the columns make the agave look even sharper!!!

I wish we could grow date palms in the PNW!

The Explanada in Alicante ... a date palm lovers dream :)

maybe my mediterranean fan palm will look like that one day?!? (I think it would require some serious global warming!)

Even the churches have gardens!!!

My other passion.... Great food!

lavender seems so much nicer when you're in the mediterranean... it suits the rugged and arid look of its surroundings. (don't get me wrong... I still like lavenders in the PNW)

A view I could get used to!

Who new I loved lantana so much!?!?! Spain did!

All of this is to show and is to say that its great to get out and be inspired!  There is such a joy and such a rush of visiting a place for the first time and falling in love with its surroundings.  The mediterranean opened my eyes to a world of beauty and spectacular plants (many of which can be grown in the PNW!!!!) It's so fun to come back and incorporate bits of that inspiration in the garden!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

it's raining it's pouring!

I woke up this morning to the sound of fall/winter/spring in the pacific northwest ... rain (and lots of it!)  That being said, I wanted to take the time to share some photos from a recent trip I took to Kew Gardens in London England.  Kew had to be one of the most spectacular gardens I have ever visited.  They had huge victorian glass houses with some of the best palm and succulent collections imaginable.  Today I'm going to feature the house palm!!!  I could go on and on and on about this place, but seeing is believing in this case.  The pictures speak for themselves .... (I was so excited to go inside I didn't bother to appreciate how beautiful the outside of the house of palm was!)

This is the worlds largest indoor cycad according to the folks at kew gardens....

I tried to get artistic with this one :P

Seeing the House of Palm was an absolute dream of mine!! Kew had a few other surprises in store ... namely the Princess of Wales Conservatory. This is the most complex of all the glasshouses according to garden staff. The conservatory houses the "wet tropics" and the "dry tropics"gardens. 

Here I am outside at the entrance to the conservatory admiring the agave and opuntias

It looks like this agave is smiling :)

These plants are actually outside under the cover of the conservatory entrance

This agave attenuata was spectacular!

Agave blooms always look so weird! ( agave victoriae-reginae?)


Echium love in the conservatory

Lastly, here are some photos from walking around the outside gardens.....

This glasshouse was full of water lilies and bromeliads

A majestic gazebo

I believe this was once a royal residence of some kind

The garden out back

The english sure know how to garden!

This is a faux building in the mediterranean garden section

Olives! I love the foliage on these trees! Ever since going to europe I have been lusting over olive trees in the local nurseries.

I believe this was the temperate house!

Hopefully this made a nasty rainy day just a little bit brighter!!