Friday, April 29, 2011

Look Out Plant Nerd Coming Through

Spring weather brings the best out in us ..... or is it the beast? Saturday we planned a trip just south of Portland meeting up with friends and attending a fund raiser sponsored by Rite-Aid.  It is a gardeners dream with every plant imaginable for very decent prices.  There are also vendor booths set up but prices are a little higher, if you are a plant nerd as myself you pretty much know what a good price is.  So like a crazed beast I hurtled up and down rows of plants loading up my cart.

For $10.00 each my first purchase being two "Bloodgood" Japanese Maples in 2 gallon pots which sell at local nurseries for $69.99 each.

5 gallon size Holly for $5.00
Ilex x meserveae 'Blue Girl'

A MeMa favorite, Pincushion Plant or  'Scabiosa columbaria' "Butterfly Blue"

We also purchased strawberry plants and some more Dahlia tubers.  Then as though that was not enough fun we jumped into the car and headed into the local farm land and stopped at a nursery that specialised in native orchids and other unusual plants.
'Poncirus trifoliata' Japanese Bitter Orange
MeMa loved this plant with its lovely green twisted branches armed with large green thorns, it has white flowers and when mature will put forth inedible orange fruit.  It is a great addition to the line of pots next to the pond.
As if I needed another orchid, but this one is a native to the Northwest so I had to have it
'Epipactis gigantean' also known as "Stream Orchid" as it grows in bog or damp areas.

Easter Come and Gone in a Big Whoosh

This post is late, I have had nothing but problems with posting  of late.
What is going on Blogger?

Ah......back to work to relax! Hope you all had a marvelous Easter,  it is a great time to be with family and friends.  MeMa did all the planning and the meal which included a spiral ham.  There was a neighborhood Easter egg hunt planned but we opted out of that because of the rain and the fact that the Little Terrorists #1 and #2 had both just recovered from bad colds.  So MeMa hid candy filled eggs in the house for the two grand kids.

Taeya and Brooklyn off to a great start

Brooklyn Danhart Chambers
Egg gathering all done

My beautiful mother enjoying the festivities

MeMa enjoying her Mimosa and my father on his phone with my twin brother in Arizona
Fresh from the greenhouse
Orchid #4
Epidendron 'Joseph Lii'

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dribbling Along With Spring

Mt. Fuji Cherry in full bloom, with the cold late spring the Candy Tuft at its base is blooming at the same time.


Yellow tulips in bloom with grape hyacinth

Tulip "Day Dream"

Wisteria sinensis "Cooke's Special" is usually blooming two weeks from now but not this year.

Tulip "Day Dream", this planting still sleeping

Monkey Puzzle Tree
Araucaria arckana

Sanguinaria. canadensis forma multiplex

Added the large cobalt blue pot (on left) to the pond border

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Historical Endeavour

First of all I would like to thank Matron from Down on the Allotment for her kindness in sharing her heirloom seeds with the blogging world and her help in seeing that these cherished seeds do not disappear from our gardens. I will document my progress with "Mrs Fortunes" climbing beans as she requested.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Benefit of an Obedient Dog

In a busy home such as Menagerie Manor life revolves around a certain amount of precision and a lot of cooperation from its tenants, human and mostly animal.  Although  its name makes one think of a large country home it is far from that.  Just an over-sized American bungalow with a lot of very happy and healthy animals all getting along and often obediently waiting until time is appropriate. We have a very great love for dogs and have always had multiple canine family members.  Since my youth I have admired the great dog trainers of the world and feel a great ownership in the ability to properly train dogs or train the owner which ever way you look at it.  Living in a large city having a well trained dog is a must not only for the owners well being but for the dogs safety.  So imagine my frustration this morning when the front door was opened for my departure to the office, satchel over shoulder, lunch in one hand and coffee cup in the other and out dashes Bentley.  In my earlier post I said the "Crazy Cat Lady" was off to the Islands for some sun while we dog-sat Bentley her Corgi which is our Miss Betty's  bratty little brother.  They are both nine years old, Miss Betty being the gentlest of souls and her brother, thanks to an owner that should have just stuck to cats is the rudest dog in our midst.  He quickly ran from the porch to lord knows where and myself in hot pursuit in the pouring rain.
I thought I glimpsed his tailless rear end go under the porch (it's on the honey-do list) but could not be certain he didn't run down the block, so I stepped towards the street so that I could get a better view of the neighborhood as we have a very busy four lane road a block from our house.  MeMa, in nightclothes ran back inside re-emerging  with a dog biscuit and with some calling from the both of us he soon reappeared from under the porch, but by this time I was soaked and my coffee cold, I mumbled "stupid dog" under my breath and got into my car.  But on the drive to work I thought better of my statement and said "stupid owner".  So I put this out there to all dog owners, there is no need to have a dog behave like this as there are so many options and surprisingly some that are free through organizations especially in large cities as our own.  The amount of training is up to the owner needs and desires.  But all dogs should be able to come when called, to sit and to stay.  These are very basic and very helpful tools for dog owners everywhere.

Every year the Crazy Cat Lady (on the right) has a Corgi garden party, you will notice that all canine are being held onto by their owners because none are trained in the slightest  except for Miss Betty accompanied by the lovely MeMa (in red).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

St-Germain? Coming right up Milady

I have been intending on putting in some Elderberry plants although not for the berry but for the flower heads. What on earth for you might ask?  Well I shall explain.  In the evening just before supper we often enjoy an aperitif, mine being a single malt scotch and MeMa often has St-Germain, straight or added to a nice glass of champagne.  Ahhhh the explanation begins.  St-Germain is produced by fermenting the flower heads of the elderberry in unflavored Vodka. The last time I purchased a bottle for the liquor cabinet I paid just over forty dollars....ouch!  So off to the nursery around the corner I went in search of Elderberry plants.  I have been a regular fixture at the nursery for the last 36 years so when I walk through the door the first half hour is spent talking shop with the employees and the conversation usually ends with them asking what I was looking for today.  "Elderberry" I say and am soon directed to an import from England, Sambucus nigra 'Gerda', Black Beauty.  It has very dark burgundy foliage and pink flowers, a perfect contrast, as the planting bed it is destined for is filled with green.  So its almost time to get those fermenting jars out MeMa, cocktail hour approacheth.

Sambucus nigra 'Gerda'  Black Beauty

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Little Sunshine

Spring here in Oregon has been furiously slow, but things are starting to happen. We will get one day of sunshine and then six days of more rain and cool temps. but Winter is starting to let go and some of my garden favorites are starting to emerge. MeMa and I took all the dogs up to Mount Tabor for a brisk walk around the reservoir and I snapped this picture of the Cherry trees in bloom. They have the water level lowered for maintenance so it looks like a race track around the water. We do a couple of laps and then walk off into woods so the Corgi's and little Sophie get a little sniff time pretending they are great hunting dogs. We are dog sitting for the "Crazy Cat Lady" while she enjoys the sunshine in the Islands for ten days. So Miss Betty is "putting up with" her little brother Bentley, but grows weary of his company after a while. He is not polite in the least and gets quite unruly at times. MeMa tells her he is just being a boy.

Back to the house I went out to do some weeding and I planted the dahlia tubers from last year and dug and prepared the rest of the bed for this years tubers that have yet to arrive in the post. I noticed my very favorite plant "Gunnera manicata" is starting to pop out of its dormancy, hard to believe that this little bit of show.....

.......will eventually grow into this.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trees, Trays and a Little Problem Solving

Spring in the gardens here at Menagerie Manor is a very busy time and that I am afraid will have to do for my excuse for ignoring the blogs of late. I took Rob's lead of "A Gardeners Diary" and purchased a few new fruit trees. The first is an Asian Pear called '20th Century', it was recommended by the nursery manager as a good one for me to espalier on the back fence at the end of the property.

Next I found an Apricot that sounded promising called 'Harcot" which I will eventually transplant to the back wall of the greenhouse as an espalier as well. Currently it is espaliered in a large nursery container waiting for me to make room for it. I am building a new three tired seed tray shelf unit in the greenhouse so space is at a premium until that job is done.
I have two full nursery trays full of both red onions and my favorite yellow Spanish onions which are a great medium sized onion that seem to keep well. I also planted two trays of bell peppers and another of Italian Roma tomato's.

Ever since the little Terrorists came into our lives we have tossed around many ideas of how to make the edge of the Koi Pond not such a worry. I have drawn out many designs of fences and artsy barriers that would keep the little rascals from taking an unexpected dip into the pond. One of those ideas was to simply line the edge of the pond with large ceramic pots, thus creating the needed barrier but also keeping the aesthetic beauty of the pond edge being one with the patio edge. I had great fun digging up plant material  to add to all the pots. There are several pots being housed in the greenhouse until the weather warms a bit, one of these is our large Sago palm that my son's gave me for fathers day many years ago which will finish the border off very nicely. We are on the look out for great deals on more large pots and some smaller ones to fill in the gaps.

This Lovely little Quince "Fuji" was a bit pricey for my taste but it followed me home from the nursery just the same.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Word Of The Day

Cough, sneeze, hack, wheeze and sometimes a short pause and then cough, sneeze, hack wheeze  all over again, all night long. I did however say for better or worse, so the next morning as I sipped my coffee and MeMa sat across from me feeling exactly how she sounded I said that she should stay home today and get some rest and I being the most wonderful Poppi in the world would take “Little Terrorist #2 to the Zoo as we had planned. Anyway….Brooklyn and Poppi had a great time at the Zoo. I loaded a stroller and diaper bag with a change of cloths into Vivian, buckled Brooky into the car seat and off we went,  Grandfather and Grandson for a fun filled day alone at the zoo. Did I just say alone? As we rounded the corner and came over the last hill entering the parking entrance the cars came to a stand still and the sign said “Parking Lot Full” and directing us to the bypass road which would take us to the additional parking and we would have had to catch a shuttle back. I was just about to utter one of those non-example setting profanities which a young grandson should not hear when from the back seat I distinctly heard the word “crap”. I glanced into the rear view mirror at a very serious little face which only made me laugh louder. That was as good as any approval he needed so crap became the word of the day. With some masterly driving and a little bit of cheating I managed to get a parking space in the lot we intended to park in the first place. As I pushed Brooklyn passed the security man standing at the road block his wordless disapproval came through as I said “couldn't see the sign…..only have one good eye… see…..have a great day”. We were out of ear shot before the “word of the day” was vocalized loudly from the stroller.  We visited all the wonderful animals that both Brooklyn and Poppi wanted to see, played for a bit in the kiddie park while this old man rubbed his feet.

We then went in pursuit of the Anaconda, Brooklyn's favorite. As we stood in front of the enclosure he whispered “I like snakes Poppi”, we couldn't stay long as the neck hold he had on me was starting to seriously hamper my breathing. We then went to the Africafe for a nice pleasant lunch overlooking the Bird Aviary. I counted twenty three different species flying below us as Brooklyn pointed out the “bird poop” on the Banana leaves…. several times…..loudly. After lunch I asked Brooklyn if he was ready to go home now? But he wanted to see all the animals again so I headed to the Cascade exhibit remembering that when his father and uncle were his age this was “too boring” for them as it was filled with animals that they could see in their own back yard. It stretches on meandering pathways through a very wooded area. We had gone a short ways when I noticed the stroller was very quiet……success!