Friday, 2 December 2011

"special microclimate?"

Being a palm enthusiast in the PNW, you often hear the words, "I have a really good micro-climate."  I have often wondered, is this just wishful thinking or is it true.  I have often held myself out to have one of those climates. We have large overhanging trees that often wards off frosts, we have trees and houses blocking the easterly winds, and until this morning there were trees to the west of us leaving just southern exposure and sun.  But how much of a difference does it really make?  Well, I resurrected my thermometer and weather system and have been monitoring just how "micro" my micro-climate really is.  Am I just full of crap?! Well, I'm happy to report, the airport on December 1st recorded -1.5C (29F) while I was 0.5C(33F).  This morning at 8am the airport was 2C (36F) and I was 4C (39F).  I don't say this to brag, because in my opinion those are saaad saad temperatures, and its often colder at airports weather stations; that being said I feel a little more justified in my "micro-climactic"claims.  Do you have a "special micro climate?"  I feel like I have been upgraded from full of it to only slightly crazy?!

In the meantime, I'll enjoy some morning sun and my "special" diggs.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Un grand voyage à Paris

Well it's December 1st and the winter realities are becoming nightmares. So once again I am going to pause and look back on previous garden adventures to lift my spirits. I've already talked about my trip to the UK and Europe in May, but it appears I've been holding out... Paris!  To be honest, I didn't do nearly as much garden lurking as I would have liked but Paris was surely a great place to spot quite a bit of interest. The traditional "french" gardens seemed to be very uniform and balanced compared to the english garden we experienced in London.

This view from atop the Eiffel Tower illustrates the symmetrical patterns consistent with gardens in France.

These were just some street flowers I couldn't help but stop and look at.

One of the highlights of the trip was heading out to Versailles.  We chose a tour that included the gardens.  This was the only day we had rain while in France and of course it happened during the garden   visit.  But it only lasted for a little bit and we did manage to get some sunny photos :)

Date Palms and Citrus!! Versailles had an entire garden of citrus trees and date palms in huge planter boxes.  I believe they take these into greenhouses in the wintertime. This seemed to be very common.

Imagine taking care of that grass patch!? no thanks :P

I can admire the commitment... it's beautiful, but really not my cup of tea.

France had been experiencing really hot dry weather as evidenced by this browned out grass. Funny thing is, I really enjoy that sun drenched kinda look.

some rather extravagant fountains....

In as much as I love mediterranean gardens these ginormous grecian(?) urns were beautiful! Throw in some palms, agaves and opuntias ... dirty up those urns a bit and take them off there pedestals and then we'd be talking!

I love how the garden almost makes an announcement here.

this felt like home.

I really don't know what this was all about... they called it a "bath"

This is almost like christmas tree yard!  It kind of made me uncomfortable... like a scene from Alice and Wonderland, I was waiting for the Queen of hearts or something

All in all, the Versailles gardens were really wonderful.  One of the biggest surprises for me was Luxembourg palace and gardens! This is one of the displays on the periphery of the gardens.  It was a really hot and muggy day when we visited and this shade was a kind retreat.

Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize... stay off the grass! It's great for picture taking.

Luxembourg seemed to have the same ginormous planters with Canary Island Date palms.  I was ecstatic!  It made me feel justified in my use of potted zone 9-10 plants all over the yard.  If the French are doing it, it must be right!

I wonder what gardens I will visit next year!? maybe that's how I will pass the sad days of winter, dreaming of spring/summer garden tours!!  What gardens do you plant on visiting in 2012?