Friday, 30 March 2012

The replacement....

So I have had this dilemma. How do I replace my late Cordyline Australis Red Sensation. Below is a picture of it in its glory last september.  If you have been following my winter blues, my muchly beloved cordyline fopped over and died!  So I've had this dilemma, what to replace it with?!

Though I do lament the loss of colour contrast, I think I have a new plant obsession. Yucca gloriosa variegata!! I got this beauty for 50% off last weekend and drum roll.... It is the replacement.

I said before, my natural inclination is new zealand flax grass or another cordyline (which I do already have on hand) ... but I really don't want another plant protection project.

 I think it adds a more desert"esque"look to everything.  Not only that but just a few feet away is my other newly planted yucca gloriosa variegata.  For now, all cordylines will remain potted or treated as annuals... as much as it pains me.  What other plants do you all think I should add this year?

One random yet happy plant purchase for me was this patio peach!! It is one of those genetic dwarf varieties. Not only do I love peaches, but I also love the foliage on peach trees and am very excited to pot this up!!!

But for now, I'll leave you with this.  Don't let the sunshine and blue skies in this photo deceive you.  It represents a mere reprieve from the relentless days of cold drizzle.  Here's to hoping for more sunshine... we certainly need it!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Do they grow agaves in hawaii?

Before my trip, I was determined to find out whether or not people grow agaves in Hawaii.  That is to distinguish between whether or not agaves would grow in Hawaii - of course, but do they actually plant them in their gardens?!

To be honest, I think I was too distracted at first by all the magnificent palm trees, plumerias, and all the other tropical gems that I lost sight of one of my clear objectives... hunting down some good Hawaii agaves.  Besides the odd agave attenuata, I actually started to give up.  I was quite perplexed to tell you the truth.  It wasn't until another one of my morning walks from Waikiki beach to the summit of Diamond Head that I passed by the University of Hawaii Kapi'Olani Community College and discovered something epic!

More than anything I believe the Furcaea was what first sent my plant lust radar into overdrive.  It was one of the moments in life where you know its just meant to be...

my morning walk/ hike to diamond head turned into a full on plant safari!  What's best is that it came as a huge surprise.

I wish I could name all these treasures but it is far beyond my scope. All I know is that I probably can't grow any of them at home and I wish I could have them all!!!!

And then... (cue the jaws music!) Could it be?!! agave ovatifolia? All I know is that it took the breath right out of me! now this, this is what I had been searching for!

And there were more...

and more!

Forever hiking Diamond Head will conjure up memories of the veritable agave heaven otherwise known as the University of Hawaii Kapi'Olani.

All that is to say, yes, they do indeed grow agaves in Hawaii!!!!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A week in paradise ... sneak preview

Where to even begin? I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to hop on down to Hawaii for some de-thawing!  If you have never been, Hawaii is one of those places that stays burned into your forever memories.  The sights, the feeling, the smell, and the sounds all seem to say welcome to paradise.  It's no secret that I love me some palm trees and so to a certain extent, it was also about getting a good palm tree fix.  We stayed in Waikiki which was a first for me.  I have to admit I was nervous about the business and commercial feel of Honolulu.  To my surprise, it was fantastic!

I took this during my first morning walk. ahhh this is the kind of view I could wake up to every day for the rest of my life!

Speaking of my nerves over the business of Waikiki ... it definitely has some perks.  At night, the streets seemed to illuminate with lit up coconut palms and such.

need I say more.

Cocos Nuciferia and Pritchardia Pacifica at the entrance of Pearl Harbor.  They were definitely the two favoured palms in most landscapes.  I began to realize, pritchardia pacifica is to hawaii as washintonia is to So Cal, and as trachycarpus fortunei is to the PNW (I know... that one is a stretch!) 

These florida royals flanked the a pathway looking out towards Pearl Harbor.  I'm not sure if the use of the Royal palm was intended in this manor, but it seemed fitting, the stately royal palm, as a testament to the grounds we were standing on.  I can't say enough about how powerful the memorials at Pearl Harbor actually are.  It is an absolute must... and pay the extra for the audio guided tour!

To me, Hawaii is just so magical.  I found a great sense of peace in strolling around the breathtaking island.

It seems like with every turn you stop, take a deep breath, and fall more and more in love the land.

On one of my morning strolls, I decided this house would do just fine if I had to settle in paradise!

And I still have not even mentioned the bougainvillea!!! Up there with palm trees, agaves, and aloes, bougainvillea holds a very special place in my heart.  In fact, upon further inspection everything in this photo is pretty much synonymous with love for me. Coconut palms, foxtail palms (lower left and corner), obviously the bougainvillea, and the plumeria near the top middle right ish!!

I have to much I could share about Hawaii, but will save some of that for later because there is a small glimmer of sunshine outside right now and I intend on capitalizing on some planting time!!!!! Mahalo!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

soggy days... spring report

Remember how this winter seemed to start out dry? well lets just say that has all changed... seriously changed.  With the exception of the odd glimmer of hope here and there, things have been just plain old soggy.  Quite literally the ground feels like a saturated sponge and anything within a few feet of the soil is covered in mud.  Does this stop me?!? Heck no!  Actually, garden dreams, planting ideas, and nursery visits are well under way.  But I thought I would share a few glimmers of hope and longings for spring.

First off, one of my most dear hellebores. I actually have no idea what variety this one is.  I just fell in love with the green and white.  Such a winning colour combination.  This particular one seems to be later than most but well worth it!

The colours of spring seem to be all around these days.  Images like this remind me that very soon there will be that shift in the air. It's hard for me to describe, but there will be a day sometime around now, when even the cold days are spring. It has nothing to do with calendar, temperature, or anything of the sort. It's a feeling.

The angle of the sun has certainly been saying "spring!"  What little sunshine we see that is.  I think in the last two weeks we saw maybe one day of sunshine.

That doesn't stop the palm trees .... they certainly think its spring.  Fronds seem to be opening up on a continual basis.

This mediterranean fan palm is nearing 6ft tall... I can't wait to see how much growth it will put on this year!  (do you notice the mushy pile of yucca aloifolia purpurea in the green pot to the left of the palm?)

Please just pretend you don't notice the orange extension chord running across the screen... but one of the spring projects has been moving that rock out to behind this yucca "bright star."  Not only will it provide some additional head, but I think it suits the aesthetics of the yucca quite nicely.

Please don't judge ... but remember my comment about dirty plants?!  my poor little unknown agave is perhaps the worst.  But happily, It seems to have faired really well this winter! First year in the ground and the little agave that got my whole obsession started!!!! I was really pulling for this one!!

It's friend agave ovatifolia frosty blue seems to be doing pretty good itself.  It has one really sad spot.  I just feel soo guilty about an arm amputation at this point.  I did just subject it to winter in the pacific northwest after all.

Aloe aristata ... not an agave but prettty equally dear to my heart doesn't seem to mind this weather at all. There is some slight browning to some of the tips on this plant but I can't wait to introduce more of them this spring!

And finally, my second agave ovatifolia frsoty blue... looking great! This one had one amputation earlier in february and so far has shrugged off all this rain.

The happiest news of all... I am Hawaii bound in 6 hours!  It certainly can't come soon enough!!!!!!