Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Post Freeze Update

As many of you are aware, just over a week ago, much of the PNW saw the coldest temperatures in years. The cold lasted for roughly one week with several days below freezing. These events certainly test the limits of many plants in the garden - mine particularly. Temperatures in my neighbourhood dropped near 12F for a few brief hours. Luckily, that very night clouds rolled in and temperatures rose significantly. But I thought it was about time to do a post cold follow-up.

While things are looking a bit sad in the yard, I thought I soften the ugly winter state of the yard with this wreath at the front door. I took a fair amount of eucalyptus, olive branches, rosemary and things from the yard plus some extra touches.

And onto the plants. Usually my first concern when we get any significant cold is the palms. Specifically, any new"ish" ones. This sabal minor seems to have shrugged off the cold without any care. I can already tell that I've found a new favourite plant in this palm.

Echeveria gluaca are looking surprisingly good considering how long the cold lasted. This plant has been around for about three years now. I love it! If you are looking for a somewhat hardy tropical looking succulent for the PNW, I would definitely recommend it.

I put this side table over my agave ovatifolia frosty blue but I don't think it was necessary considering the cold was for the most part dry. I did throw some evergreen branches around it to try and give it a bit of insulation. It seems to be doing well.

Trachycarpus wagnerianus is a garden rockstar and looks great! This is the best palm in my opinion for the PNW. Mine is small and has proven to be much slower than t. fortunei.

And the nearby trachycarpus fortunei are looking great as well. You can see a strand of christmas lights if you look closely. I turned them on in order to provide some protection to the central growing spears of the palm in case temperatures went lower than forecasted.

I did protect this chamaerops humilis. As you can see there are some christmas lights going up towards the central growing spears and the top half of the palm was bundled up tight with burlap in order to protect the fronds a bit from dry wind. I don't think it was necessary but I've grown so attached to how full this palm is. It currently stands about 6.5 feet tall and wide.

I have no idea how this olive tree will handle the cold. If you remember it was ripped out of the ground and left dry and completely bare root. It was then planted late in the autumn and had already had some tip die back. The foliage seems really healthy but time will tell.

As per usual, all the yuccas look great. This banana split yucca has since taken on some pink tones. They tend to do this with colder weather.

Sabal palmetto doesn't seem to mind the cold either. The browning on the one frond tips was actually from the summer.

Here's where things start looking less pretty... this tuscan blue rosemary took some damage. It will recover just fine but it looks a little scrappy.

Same goes for this ground cover rosemary.

The worse of all is my schefflera yuan shan. It didn't rebound like it usually does from cold? It was already looking a little bit sad in the fall and I'm wondering if something more is going on. On the other hand, I already have seen signs of new growth.
Just a couple feet away this schefflera brevipedunclata is looking happy.

On a happier note, as per normal, fatsia japonica takes the cold weather in stride. I don't think anything phases this plant.

My butia was protected with burlap and a tarp. I have an emotional connection to this palm and will not risk the cold weather.

Opuntia (no i.d.) looks great. It froze solid but doesn't seem to care.

The big surprise is this phormium. It had some burlap around it but I thought it was for sure dead. When I pulled the burlap away it looked pretty good!

These trachycarpus and yucca rostrata don't really mind the cold.

And my first year with loquats in the ground seems to be a successful - so far. I think they are much hardier than people think.

These echeveria - that I was too lazy to lift in the fall - seem to be okay after the cold. This is certainly a surprise. They look like sempervivums, this is probably a stupid question, but do they hybridize together?

Dyckia grape jelly looks okay. I think it will pull through. I hope.

And another happy surprise is this nolina la siberica. It looks great! I'm always somewhat skeptical of hardiness ratings until I've put them to the test. Seeing as this was planted last spring from a small 4inch pot, it is doing really well given the cold we just experienced.

There you have it. The garden seems to be doing pretty good all things considered!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Poplar Market Fun!

As many of you know, over the past few weeks I have been busy getting things together for the Poplar Market. Last Saturday was the big day and I am so thrilled to say it was a huge success! I thought I would share some pictures from the day of the market. But first as a background, the Poplar Market is a vintage and handmade market held once a year by the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (A.S.I.A). Donations and proceeds go towards supporting students of A.S.I.A. How cool!? Approximately 1100 people came out to support the one day market.

Here are some photos from our booth:

One of our main products were these really fun tillandsia aerium globes!

We also made these really cool wall mount coke vases.

 Here's Jenn, my sister and business partner. We were really pleased with how the booth came together.

Some of the other goodies!

 One of my favourite offerings were the succulent wreaths - naturally.

We ended the day with only a few items left and a great day of fun to be remembered. Thanks for everyone who came out to support us. And sorry for the blogging hiatus during the last weeks.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

the palm count

Yesterday my friend Loree at danger garden issued an official agave count. From one "planty" person to the next I understand the sentiment. She issued a challenge knowing how my love of palms reflects her agave buying habits, so today I thought I would share an official palm count.

The palms started collecting in 2006. And to tell you the truth, I didn't have any idea just how many had accumulated.

In the backyard:
1 Trachycarpus wagnerianus

7 Trachycarpus fortunei

1 Phoenix Canariensis

1 Butia Capitata
Plus: 2 Sabal Palmetto
1 Sabal Minor
1 Chamaerops humilis
1 Chamaerops humilis 'cerifera'

Did I mention I've only planted the backyard with palms? I think that leaves room for another 15 or so?

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?!