Thursday, 10 October 2013

The weekly favourite: Chamaerops humilis!

Some plants in life simply must be enjoyed! Chamaerops humilis or mediterranean fan palms are one of my all time favourite plants. I say that often when thinking about the weekly favourite. I can't help it, I love what I love. But with chamaerops I feel an extra sense of gusto behind my statements. I think that no matter where life takes me, a chamaerops will have to follow. It's certainly not a bullet proof palm for the PNW, but I would suggest essential. I would offer the advice of planting them in the hottest spot in the yard. Give them a raised bed, superior drainage, full sun, and you will have yourself a garden rock star! 

Here's a mediterranean fan palm planted over 5 years ago in my yard.

There can be a great amount of variability from one chamaerops to the next. This particular palm has put on more vertical growth than others. Some chamaerops tend to sucker much more freely resulting in a bushier shrub like palm for a number of years.

I just love the bright green colouring to the fronds. Again there can be a lot of variability ranging from blue to deep emerald green.

And it's certainly a fierce palm! These spikes are not to be messed with. (trust me)

And on a sunny day, you can't help but feel warmed by the presence of such a bold palm. It has a way of transporting me to somewhere like Southern California... the warm glow of sunshine on the cheeks, palm fronds fluttering in the breeze. Are you getting my picture?

In the winter I do provide this palm with some protection. In the late autumn I usually take a sunny afternoon to string some old fashioned christmas lights around the trunk and near the central growing spears. I do this in case of an extreme cold event, I can simply turn the lights on and provide some burlap if things turn really cold. Chamaerops can handle colder temperatures than we typically receive in the PNW but the combination of our wet winter weather and cold tends to affect the cold tolerance.

Here are some of the details:

Cold Hardiness: USDA zones 8-11
Light needs: Part to full sun
Size: 10-15ft tall and wide
Growth rate: slow

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

predominance of green

While many are talking about the beautiful fall colors, one thing predominates my yard, green. I realized this the other morning while walking through the garden. All the yards around us are showing off the reds, oranges, and yellows of the fall season. To some this predominance of green would be somewhat blasphemous during the autumn, but I love it!

And while the hostas and the bananas will die back - eventually - for now I enjoy how they glow in the autumn sunlight.

Loquats are as happy as can be right now. This one has really taken off since being planted in the ground during springtime.

And while albizia are one of the last trees to leaf out, they also hold onto their splendour longer than most other trees. I love them!!

In the coming months I will be so thankful for all the broadleaved evergreens back here. Wait, I'm already pretty darn thankful!! I love these two palms!

more green...

What do your autumn colors say about you?!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Succulent wreaths for the Poplar Market

I've been M.I.A. this last week as I've been doing much prep work for my booth at the Poplar Market this fall. I am really excited to be involved as proceeds from the cost of a booth go to support kids arts programs at North Poplar Elementary. How cool! Parallel 49 has since grown to Parallel 49 Green Design and the creative process is in full swing. One thing that will be featured at my booth are hardy succulent wreaths. I've been making trips all over the valley purchasing air plants, bromeliads, succulents, moss, supplies, etc, and todays venture was to start the wreaths.

Here's a sample photo of what I've been working on...

These large wreath was just planted up and will need several weeks for everything to root and settle into place.

Here's a close up of one of the smaller wreaths.

For now I will be filling all the excess space in the yard with these succulent creations.