Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Years - going tropical

The dandruff has decided to fall from the sky once again, and so I have decided to bring some more SoCal warmth on this New Years Eve!  Looking back on this year, it has certainly been wonderful.  But usually at this time of year we look forward.  We look forward to new beginnings, we set resolutions, we hope, we dream.  If you're like me, your mind drifts off and gets lost in a sea of dreams. I guess that's just apart of me.  I love to dream.  And part of my dream for 2013 is to live life with a sense of vibrancy. That is, to love more, to laugh more (like the hyperventilating tear inducing type of laughter), have luau's for the heck of it, and just soak it all in.  That type of dreaming, that type of living to me is expressed in a tropical garden!

My gardening wishes are that we would be BOLD!

Forget caution... this planter is more of a celebration.

Embrace your plant lusts! Why not plant a palm!?

I hope to embrace the lush side of things.

Stop and enjoy the little things.... like the way sun illuminates your favourite plants.

I hope we pick plants that evoke a feeling.

Why not plant an avenue of palms?! In fact, such a walkway invokes the spirit of my dreams for 2013.

It's no surprise, but I think that spirit can be summed up in the word summer! I kept saying, "this is the year of summer" over the past months.  Maybe a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Because my heart says "live like it's summer!"

That best describes my wishes and dreams for 2013.  I hope this year would be filled with joy, warmth, memories with loved ones, and that God would bless you all this coming year.  Now there's just one thing left, party hearty!!!!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

An agave lover on Denman Island

Over the years I have shared thoughts and pictures with a group of wonderful people on the The Cloudforest Gardener: Northwest Palms and Subtropicals forum.  It has been a great way to ask questions about plants, and meet like minded "planty people" like myself.  I understand when Thomas Hobbs says: "I have a double dose of appreciation for plants;" and these folks certainly share in this double dose appreciation theory -  Particularly Linda from Denman Island.  For years I have drooled over her pictures of an xeric style garden full of agaves, opuntia, and succulents... (and olive trees!!!).  Linda kindly shared some pictures with me of her fabulous Denman Island BC garden.

Check out these amazing agave parryi. These beauties have been growing in her garden approximately 6-7 years.

Linda's garden has been going since 1998 when her house was built.  When asked about her love for succulents, Linda tells me it goes back to her early years spending her allowance money on succulents!!  In other words, she has always been a plant lover.

One of Linda's particular loves ... the "vicious ones!" This comes in handy with the deer population on Denman Island.

Much of Linda's fabulous collection has been seed grown as agaves and succulents were not as readily available when Linda's collection was building.

I always love seeing great plant combinations like these.

And speaking of an epic succulent garden .... This is the kind of garden I could only dream of! It looks more like something from San Francisco than B.C.

I asked Linda what plants she considers "staples" in the garden.  And to my joy and surprise, she tells me phormiums!! I don't have any of her phormium pictures, but Linda has had much success with them in the garden. To me, this goes to speak for a great microclimate with excellent drainage.  Being tucked closely along the East side of Vancouver Island certainly makes Denman Island a coveted growing region by PNW standards.

And Linda's garden certainly is a testament to both a great microclimate, but more than anything a loving gardener.

And check it out, she even has palms!!! This chamaerops humilis is certainly a favourite of mine.


So I want to give a big thanks and shout out to Linda for sharing these wonderful photos of her fabulous garden! It is truly inspiring!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

foot in mouth - "winter? say what?"

Twas the week before Christmas, 
When out of the sky, 
Some dandruff was falling, 
While sleeping was I.

When up I arose from my slumber with care, 
I looked out the window and cried a sad tear.
For out of my window with a sad sad surprise, 
The dandruff was sticking on roofs quite close by.

I put on my sweater, 
I let out a sigh, 
I went out to see the dandruff from sky.

I looked t'ward the neighbours, 
All snowy and cold,
The dandruff had covered the roof,
Darn the cold!

I remembered my words, 
"Winter? say what?"
Reality struck me, 
It's just my luck.

But then something flickered,
The leaf of a plant, 
Not covered with snow, 
Not even a scant.

I looked to the palms, 
All happy and green, 
A microcosm of warmth, 
Had set them a sheen.

I remembered the trees, 
The wise old sages, 
They keep me quite warm, 
and buffer winter storm.

Filled with relief, 
I let a shriek, 
"No snow here today!"
I said with glee.

My heart warmed, 
As I drunk my coffee, 
I made it through winter snow one, 
without harm.

Then out from sky, 
something grand appeared, 
Golden and glistening,
Glorious sunshine!

 I said to the dandruff on roofs,
And like in a dream, 
The temperature rose.

Monday, 17 December 2012

foliage follow-up

Recently I was pondering about the garden. I do that from time to time. And something magical hit me. That is, I have foliar happiness year round! It was something that made me very happy while the cold rain was coming down. Around town the gardens are lets just say a soggy mess.  Half dead foliage rots in the cold winter rain, while broad leaved evergreens glisten with foliar happiness.  So for my foliage follow-up I celebrate the year round garden. I celebrate the foliar happiness that warms the dreary winter days.

Winter? say what?

Fatsia blooms give away the season but the foliage is as happy as the warmest days of summer.

Some spiky foliar lushness.

The tree fern has decided to send out some new growth.

Thankfully we have not had any real cold weather yet and this fern is looking really good.

for more foliar happiness head on over to Pam's epic blog digging.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

"Baby, its cold outside!" SoCal virtual warming

I have been meaning to get outside, do some clean-up, bring in some aloes (yikes... I still havn't done it!), set up some precautionary protective measures, and all the other things I should be doing this time of year. But brrrrr.... its cold!  So far all my summer loving, sunshine and happiness friends, I shall bring some virtual warmth with some more SoCal plant lust!

So in the spirit of sunshine, turn up the heat, strip down to your summer gear, drink something tropical, and soak in some warmth!! (Sun lamps and vitamin D3 are your best friends this time of year!).  An alternate plan could be to decorate your Christmas palms - or holiday palms.

When I was in SoCal, one thing was cemented into my brain. I don't just dislike cold, I loathe it. So in the miss-quoted words of Judy Garland: "If there's anything I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate, it's [cold]."   I could get used to evening sunshine warming my face.  I could get used to sights like this.

Or this.

What agave is this? I am now convinced that I need Greg Starr's "Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers"

But back to cold hating ... errr ... virtual sun soaking.

This is so epic it hardly looks real.

I have been trying to think of gifts for friends that evoke sunshine and happiness.  It has to in some way reject all sense of winter.  This is the year of summer after all.  Maybe some giant bromeliads!?

Tropical plants can be festive too!!!

I think one of the redeeming parts of the holidays is all the red and green you see. I like red, and I LOVE green!!!!

but there is a tender soft spot in my heart for the green....

An even more special place for green and blue ....

And an ultimate happiness from green, blue and orange together! Ah! Epic! Happy sun soaking!