Friday, 31 August 2012

A couple fun before and after

I stumbled upon some horrific before shots.  Well only slightly before. This before was still "after" my palm obsession started.... 

This must be 6 years ago. Overgrown rhodos (sad that flax used to grow just fine)

Butia Capitata replaced the trachy and agaves replaced the flax

Oh but it gets better.  Around the same time that the first awful picture was taken these big massive rocks were put in in order to hold the hillside up here. It also provided some additional planting space.  The landscaper that put in the rock work added all the weird little balls of greenery (besides the palms and yucca). Also take not of the section to the back behind the grass....

* I should note that december 2008 took out the top palm.  The other one was moved into a pot to make room for a larger palm

Bigger palms, massive yuccas... It's still a work in progress... I should say a work in budget.  Each year small changes are made and each year it looks better.

And behind this planting here is another after.  Sorry I didn't have a clear before to contrast.  But if you look in the previous before you can make out this section. The arbour is the actual property line so everything behind is just there to be a potential screen for the neighbours and us.  Out front you find my schefflera and dicksonia antarctica.  This area gets more sun during the other three seasons that I don't like to talk about.  Summertime it stays somewhat shady in the morning and late afternoon it gets the sunshine again.

Do I call this both a before and after?! These were taken today but you can see some of the bones of the hillside. It's because of these monsters that things stay really dry.

That and they are big enough that underneath and in front is full sun. Talk about microclimatology!

And I had to throw these ones in for good measure....

And while it is August 31st - the day at which I typically endure the most inner stress and turmoil - remember September is still summer! And it is the year of summer.  So don't be fretting, don't be sad. Summer lives on!!! Mwahahaha fall lovers!!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Yesterday was the day of surprises.  It all started with my usual garden walkabout. Whats new? How's that plant doing? etc.  And then .... whats that?! I spotted two little green nubbins poking out from the ground...

Could it be... baby agaves?! I think so!!! This photo makes my unmulched soil feel very naked and embarrassed. But as you can see, its fairly loose stuff.  Maybe my agaves are happy with their poor soil and blessing me with agave babies!!!

Look just to the left and to the centre above the agave. YAY! With the other baby agave just underneath coming along nicely it will be a colony of agave parryi var parryi in no time!!!

So that is to say, my morning started out great! But wait... it got sooo much better! After a gluttonous feast of bbq pulled pork I headed out to Cedar Rim Nursery. You see, I needed to find a beautiful pot for my chamaerops humilis cerifera that I had decided will remain potted. So I went with my 50% off garden club coupon in search of the perfect pot.  They had colourful ones, sleek ones, rustic ones, and then I saw this...

I loved the way the off white cream colour looked almost antique. That mixed with the slight blue in the ribs would go perfect with my chamaerops.  So I took it up to the till and found out that I had won! That is, I had won the facebook draw and was presented with a $50 dollar gift certificate! So I managed to pay for my beauteous pot with the change in my pocket.  Off I went home grinning from ear to ear! Thank you Cedar Rim! It's not potted up here. I stuck a small pot inside to get an idea of what it will look like once it put on some height.  This afternoon I will pot it up and make sure to show the final product. 

 I just love surprises!! Don't you!?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"You're the inspiration!"

I start out almost every week with my "what a weekend" statements.  Yesterday I refrained, but don't worry, here it comes. What a weekend!  My cousin Jeremy was married to the love of his life Dorelle. They had one of the most gorgeous weddings I have ever experienced. It was set at the Salmon House in West Vancouver overlooking the ocean, downtown Van, and the Southern Gulf Islands.  I was so excited about this wedding and I have to admit, the prospect of seafood and a great view was up there on the list - But most importantly spending time celebrating with family.  

I heard rumours and rumbling that a few months ago Dorelle took a fancy to my tillandsia collection at a family dinner.  And I heard that she was planning on using them for the wedding - cool! Little did I know they would be everywhere! Tillandsia centre pieces! I found myself interrupting table conversations, leaning over to inspect all the wonderful displays that Dorelle had put together for the tables! And I was so honoured to hear "you're the inspiration!" And so for Dorelle, I say, you are the inspiration for this post! I loved your centre pieces sooo much! Big thank you for sending one home with me.

Look at how beautiful these are. I love the combinations of the different tillandsias and coloured rocks.

I guess this was the original inspiration.... As you can see, Dorelle's are much nicer.

Monday, 27 August 2012


Aloha lilly that is or eucomis leia! I can't stop admiring this plant, I can't stop pinching myself, I can't stop wondering why I only have one! Extreme? I think not! I LOVE it! It reminds me of something so very true and so very great.  That is my truest and deepest desires for a lush tropical paradise.  (Of course in my tropical paradise it only rains at night.)

I usually would save the aloha love for Fridays. But today, I really couldn't help myself.

What eucomis are you growing? I most sincerely feel as though eucomis could be one of my new plants. That is, something I start obsessing over.  Something I start dreaming about buying.  Something I start looking for and judging nurseries based upon their selections.  But for now I just admire the aloha lovin' brought to me by most favourite eucomis leia!

And keeping with the aloha love ....

Have a most splendid aloha monday! And remember, September is still summer! No need for anxiety yet!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The tale of two olives...

I don't know when my olive love started, but I can say that after visiting a small shop called Oliviers & Co my love was cemented.  Olive trees soon became the goal.  One day an olive grove.  I have been giving somewhat frequent olive updates throughout the summer but I wanted to share my love and enjoyment.  The small olive twig looking plant that I put in here a few months ago has transformed into looking more like a small olive tree.  It was never planned but I like how it looks with the arbours and the concrete patio.

I love the swinging pendulous arms of this wonderful little Leccino olive. See what I mean? It's almost looking like a tree now!

But here is where the real excitement starts...

My potted olive tree has so many olives! A while back I was excited at the mere hope of olives.  You could see the beginning of what would be little wonders....

But then I got to looking and I found this! I have a legitimate olive! Not just little pea sized ball of soon to be olives but an actual fruit! Now lets see if I can get it to ripen.  I'm sure all that heat we had the last few weeks helped this along!

Well that was my excitement for last evening... I'll leave with this wonderful view of Mt. Baker.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Going psychedelic with the hipsta

What a weekend (that's how I start every Monday post!). Like all weekends I found myself Westward into Van for some fun in the sunshine.  On Saturday I went to Theatre Under the Stars' production of The Music Man.  I know this is off topic, but I seriously recommend this to anyone in the Vancouver area.  Unfortunately you will have to wait until next summer as it was the finale, but it's well worth the wait! Fantastic! And whats better is that the Malkin Bowl has some really gorgeous plantings out front.  A few weeks ago I shared some photos from this locale with the large agaves and such.  But things have sure filled in nicely and I thought I would share some psychedelic looking photos I took on the good ole hipstamatic.

With all the flowers filling in this agave looks even more dangerous!!! It's like Jaws, can you hear the music!?! (Can you tell it was just Shark Week?!)

With the hipsta super saturation these echeveria look even more like snow.

Can I just say that I LOVE this combination of flax and colocasia 'black magic' - I NEED more FLAX in my life!!!

Another shark lurking in a sea of foliage!  NOM NOM NOM!

And for the flowery folks.... I'll admit, I love this!

I love shaking up the hipsta and seeing what random settings it generates. Today it was feeling psychedelic. And it's kind of fitting with all the exuberant flowers. How does your hipsta feel today?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sizzlin' Friday!

It's a sizzle out there. Quite literally! And while most people are running for shelter of an air conditioner, I'm sprawled out in the full sunshine soaking up every last bit of it! I LOVE SUMMER! But apparently not all the lawns and gardens are liking this heat.... this has become a common scene.

Most the my yard is on a south facing hillside surrounded by patio and retaining wall. How hot does all this radiating heat make it ... Yikes! I pulled out this digital thermometer for the heat wave and so far it has topped out at 105.2F.

But at least palms don't seem to mind.  I did a drive by to the largest neighbourhood trachy that I know of.  It looks pristine and seems quite fitting in all this warm sunshine!

Just down the road yucca (glauca?)  seem to be liking the heat too! There are tons of these around this planting. It's hard to tell but they are actually starting to form small trunks.

And in the hottest spot of my garden Butia Capitata has exploded with new growth.  The agaves certainly don't mind either.  Happy Sizzlin' Aloha Friday from my garden to yours!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Foliage follow-up!

Happy foliage follow-up everybody! Each month, I eagerly anticipate the foliage follow-up! And what better month of the year than August? Everything is in the height of its summer glory. And I couldn't think of any better way to start than by showing off the newest member of the garden, Melianthus major.... It kind of has a stately presence.

I got out this morning to capture some morning sunshine photos... As I type its already approaching the 90F mark at 10am... its going to be a scorcher.

Schefflera Taiwaniana 'yuan shan.' I've gone back to that name for now...

It's hard to tell, but the overall height of this chamaerops is over 6ft.

Reach for the sky!!! I don't even know how tall the bananas are anymore. All I know is that I have to kink my neck back to look up at it.  This is my best banana year yet!

Yucca rostrata 'sapphire skies.' I love this plant! I have to contain myself whenever I go the nursery not to buy more and more of them.  But the hunt still continues for the right trunking yucca rostrata at the right price.

Bay Laurel... I love having fresh bay for cooking!   But this little guy got some damage last winter.  I think this might just be a bit of a weakling. Hopefully now that its a little more established it will do better.

It's most certainly a jungle back here.

mack daddy trachy

The morning sun illuminates this planting of yucca rostrata, yucca rigida, and of course a couple trachycarpus fortunei.

Well thats it for now. But if you want to check out more great foliage head on over to Pam's blog digging.