Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Minter Gardens - part one

I've been itching to go to Minter Gardens all summer long and for one reason or another it has just not worked out.  So when I had some spare time in the afternoon I finally decided to head "wackward" - that's East towards Chilliwack - and visit Minter Gardens.  They have some of the most beautiful flower beds.

And they always have the most wonderful flax at Minter Gardens.  I have to hunt down Brian Minter one of these days and ask him his secret.  They are much colder than the rest of the Fraser Valley and significantly colder than places like Metro Van.  I wonder if they lift them out?

Here's my kind of plant.... echeveria.

On the flax... I was almost sure that they lift them out of place.  But I visited here last year and these flax were right in the same place.  It's possible that they are lifted and planted in the exact same place ... but that seems a little weird.

moving on we find more flax. This is not good for me.  It makes me think of all the beautiful buy one get one flax at Phoenix Perennials.... hmmm....

And the true reason I wanted to go back... these agaves!  I remember them from last year.  They used to have a giant sempervivum lizard that is no more.

These agave americana variegata even had a number of pups.  I wonder if they are willing to part with any agave pups?

I was so enamoured by the agaves and flax that I almost missed this flying dragon!

And for my flower loving friends.  I have to admit, this makes me nervous.

But this doesn't!

Looking back at the agaves from above.

It's such a PNW scene eh?

I really appreciate how they add touches of epicness like this giant timber bamboo.

They certainly embrace a nice tightly planted bed.

And while I love all the colours, there's something about this green.  All the ferns, vines, moss ... I guess I'm more of a PNWesterner than I thought.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Schefflera lovers ... I need your help.

First off, I should start with saying that nothing is wrong with my schefflera. There would have been a few exclamation points and a much more frantic title to my post if anything were to be going amiss with my beloved schefflera "?".  You see that is the problem.  I have been googling like mental all the possibilities of what my treasure of a schefflera is.

The tag reads "Yuan Shan hardy Schefflera" ... but it certainly doesn't look like other Taiwaniana that I have seen.

Recently my friend Loree from danger garden posted about her new Schefflera delavayi  and I thought hmm... the leaves on hers look more like that of mine.  But upon further inspection, no I don't think we have a match... although closer in appearance to delavayi than taiwaniana...

What got me thinking was the arrangement of the leaves.  I notice most of mine have five leaves in an almost star like shape.

But to make things more interesting, just under half of them have 8.  Seeing that I'm not a schefflera expert yet, I am left baffled.

Another piece of the puzzle are the slight red stems just below each leaf.  At least this part is keeping with what I have seen of 'Yuan Shan'

And then there's the blooms....

Still not quite mature so this might not help.  But what about the fact that it's happening in July? Normal?

the tag. Is it possible that this is just an odd variation of the common Schefflera Taiwaniana 'Yuan Shan?'

I don't want to be too suggestive as to sway your opinions in any one direction, but my thoughts have been leaning in the direction of Schefflera Hoi. Could it be Hoi in disguise as 'Yuan Shan?' The mystery continues. What do you think!?!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Banana lovin' ... march of the bananas

Well I had to continue with my series on lovin.  After all, its summer and the lovin' is strong these days... especially the banana tree lovin.   I'm often told I kind of look like a monkey.  Though I don't think it's meant as a compliment, I don't really mind.  I do eat enough bananas to keep a small farm afloat in ecuador.  So maybe my banana lovin' comes naturally. Actually, I'm sure of it.

Here's how my bananas started back in early spring..... These trunks were protected with some fall leaves and a small cage made out of chicken wire.

And here they are in May .... Each year I can't wait to watch the march of the bananas.  Usually starting sometime in late March conveniently.  It never ceases to amaze me how fast they start to fill out.

For anyone who questions whether bananas "belong here?" Look at this one growing in the most conservative part of my garden.  I think it looks pretty cool at least.

And now to the real big ones.... remember the patch at the beginning of the post.

Well they are now over 10 feet tall! These things grow fast.

If the warmth continues I could have my best banana year yet!

And it's not just the super tropical banana leaves that are amazing.  Check out the amazing pseudo stem.

And as for the leaves.... Watching them unfurl before your very eyes (sometimes in the course of a single day) is a truly remarkable experience.

There you have it.  Banana lovin' in the PNW. Who'd of thunk it?!

"go bananas, go go bananas ... eat bananas, eat eat bananas ..."