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Posts Tagged ‘Primula’

The mood here in the garden is one of happiness and hope this week…

A bonanza of citrus!

A bonanza of citrus!

Following a nearly 9-month job search; (which was sadly sidelined for 3.5 months to recuperate following the shattered ankle) this gardener is finally rejoining the world of the gainfully employed masses! The new job; an administrative position for a company here in Oakland, CA, starts Monday, May 12th. I am looking forward to getting into a steadier income stream so I can rebuild some savings, pick up the occasional addition to the patio garden, and save up for some much-needed upgrades for my bike.

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Miss Gretchen should be quite happy to again have unfettered run of the house during the days while I am work. The one benefit of my unemployed stint was that she and I had plenty of time to bond with each other; a process and time which both she and I definitely needed. Miss G has been spending most of the sunshine filled days of the past week lounging out on the patio,  trying her best stealth cat impression by hiding under one of the patio chairs or tucked in behind a planter awaiting a mistake by the local fauna. I don’t have the heart to tell her that ALL of the critters KNOW that she is out there and keep their distance accordingly; which is for the best, I don’t want her hurting any of the local critters. Thankfully, she is not the super stealthy huntress that her genes would suggest; so either way, the critters are usually pretty safe regardless of where she is hiding.

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Lazy days; it's good to be a cat!

Lazy days; it’s good to be a cat!

The mini heat wave we had here in the Bay Area last week were just the ticket to spur my Arkansas Traveler tomatoes first significant growth spurt! I will be thinning out the tomatoes this weekend and working on stringing together a trellis of twine for the plants to wrap themselves around and support the bounty of tomatoes in July and August!

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for string trellis

Almost time for string trellis

My second Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom of the season tolerated the heat just dandy; however, it was the winds which followed the heat which proved to be too much for her. I went out to water the patio this morning and found that the wind gusts must have snapped her stalk!

All I can say is: Grrrrr!! Foiled Again!! Oh well; even though she only lasted about a week after flowering, it was great having such a beauty to look at while I fiddled with the patio.

My second Amaryllis flower

My second Amaryllis flower

Dueling Amaryllis

Dueling Amaryllis

Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

OUCH!!  Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

The Pacific Giant Blue Primrose have set out a flurry of their delicate blue/yellow flowers. There is apparently no weather which the primrose do not love and thrive in!

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Elsewhere out on the patio; my little wandering fuchsia continues her steady crawl toward the edge of the patio table. I wonder if she knows where she is heading? I guess she will figure it out; of course, I will be there to lend a hand if need be.

My creeping fuschia

My creeping fuchsia continue to explore

My dainty little purple daisies continue to creep over the edge of the patio’s big round planter; having more than quadrupled in number over the past two-weeks. I wonder if they will follow the Snowflake’s (Bacopa) lead and self-seed themselves into a nearby planter? I suppose that time will tell…

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Outside of the Garden; I made a somewhat radical change/upgrade to my beloved bicycle; Il Toro~Blu. I had the opportunity to pick up a new frameset for her; so yesterday I spent a few hours swapping out the heavy hi-tensile steel frame and forks for the new lightweight 55cm Specialized Langster aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork. The switch shed 8-lbs from the bike; leaving the new setup a rather svelte and lean 17.5 lbs.

Il Toro~Blu - then

Il Toro~Blu; then…

Il Toro~Nu

Il Toro~Nu; now…

I took her out for a 15-mile shakedown run this afternoon and I gotta say; climbing hills on the lighter frame was much, much easier than I remember the same hills being hauling the steel frame up them. Is there a real difference or just a psychosomatic response? I don’t know; however, the new set up definitely feels more nimble. All that is left to do is get the color scheme in order – the blend right now of blues, silvers, and blacks with slight touches of red is just a wee too busy for me. I suppose I could just paint the bike’s new frame and call it a day; or I could slowly replace parts over the coming months which follow a Silver & Black scheme and move the old blue themed parts back to the old frame as I go, which would be good as it means ending up with two bikes! Until then, Il Toro~Blu’s frameset will be a wall hanger – awaiting her rebirth.

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Finally today; Mr. Hydrangea and his cohorts appear to be feeling a bit pinkish this season. I was hoping for blue/purple; however, pink is just fine as well.

Budding Hydrangea

Budding Hydrangea

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!!

~ Noah

 

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As April closes itself out; the day is gray with spots of rain and drizzle, a good day to survey the garden, tend to all the little garden chores which need to be done, and to plant some to‘maters out on the patio! As I look at the garden now; I see many promising signs that the coming month(s) will likely see bursts of vibrant color from one side of the patio to the other.

It is going to be a nice summer in the Gardens at Casa de Froio!

Ready for May?

Ready for May, left-side?

Yes; I think we are!

Yep; I think we are, right-side!

In the big round planter which includes the forever wandering Snowstorm Giant Snowflake (Bacopa Sutera cordata); Miss Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) continues to fill the middle section with large clumps of her broad, arrow shaped, dark green leaves. She has not produced any flowers since I planted her two-years ago; yet, I remain hopeful that this year I have her watering and nitrogen level needs correct and that Mother Nature will be cooperative to the sunshine needs of fickle Miss Lily! As with most things in the garden; only the passage of time will tell that tale.

Miss Lily, lovely to see you again

Miss Lily, lovely to see you again.

Verticality; Achieved!

Verticality; Achieved!

Also in the big round planter with the Calla Lily and Giant Snowflake; my tiny purple Cut-Leaf Daisies (Brachyscome multifida) are spreading out further and further. I am sure that they are jealous of the amount of territory the Snowflakes have occupied and are looking for their share. One price of a long winter dormancy period is the inevitable loss of ground to those who persist year-round.

A cascade of daisies look for new territory

A cascade of daisies look for new territory

Daisy; Daisy; Daisy

Daisy; Daisy; Daisy

Over in the Big Yellow Planter box; an Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom (Hippeastrum Amaryllidaceae cultivar) stands ready to open her flowers and greet the world. This will be the second flowering for this particular bulb since I received them about two and a half years ago. The first flowering was amazing; I had never seen Amaryllis flowers, or at least I never noticed them; however, the giant beauty captivated me and now they are probably the flowers which I most look forward to each season.

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom; second bloom of the season!

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom; second bloom of the season!

One Amaryllis flower gets her lean on!!

One Amaryllis flower gets her lean on!!

Slowly she turns; step by step...

Slowly she turns; step by step…

Next to the Amaryllis in the crowded and soon to be uber-colorful Big Yellow Planter box are the Big Leaf Hydrangea v. Cityline ‘Venice’ (Hydrangea macrophylla). This hardy variety of Hydrangea have grown and grown and grown since waking from their winter dormancy. I would estimate that the large grouping has more than doubled in size from where it was last season; sitting atop each of the grouping leaf-masses are the start of what will be their glorious blue/purple flower globes. I can’t wait!!

Almost.....

Almost…..

The remarkably prolific Polyanthus Primrose v. Pacific Giant Blue and Supernova Purple Bicolor (Primula x. polyantha cultivars) continue to provide the most amazing and vivid blue/yellow and pastel purple/yellow flowers; adding an often much-needed color splash when the rest of the garden’s flowers have spent themselves. For I believe under $5.00 for a six-pack of instant color at the local nursery; the Primrose plants have exceeded my expectations and continue to impress me. For two-years now; regardless of what the weather conditions have been: be it super hot, frigid cold, howling winds, or any combination thereof, the Primrose care not and have continuously pushed flowers out year after year.

Ms. Pink and her dazzling sister smile toward the sun

Supernova Purple Bicolor

A new primrose joins the party!

A new primrose joins the party!

Giant Blue

Pacific Giant Blue

Absolutely stunning color depth on the Pacific Blue

Absolutely stunning color depth on the Pacific Blue

Finally today; as I mentioned last week, today was moving day for my Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato seedlings. This 100-year old heirloom tomato variety produces an indeterminate, regular-leaf, 6-foot tall plant, which should yield more than enough 8-oz. round rose-pink tomatoes to keep me in fresh tomatoes from July through end of August.

The tomatoes new home; they should get plenty of sun here!

The tomatoes new home; they should get plenty of sun here!

The seedling Arkansas Traveler tomatoes new home

All snug in their new home; grow well babies!

From what I have read; the Arkansas Traveler tomatoes are considered to be one of the best tasting tomato varieties, with a well-balanced sweet/tart flavor and are tough enough to cope with most adverse conditions; such as high heat, humidity, or drought – important here in California – they are also resistant to cracking and disease, another bonus!

Grow Little Fellow, Grow!!

Grow Little Fellow, Grow!!

Thinking happy thoughts for my tomatoes; I will do my best to make sure you all grow up to strong and healthy, enjoy your new home my little seedlings!

Planter #1

Planter #1

Planter #2

Planter #2

Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

 

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Whether or not Leather Tuscadero would approve; I dare not comment. Either way, this week my patio garden made the decision that a study in pink was called for and promptly added such to the week’s blossoming agenda. The beautiful display came as somewhat of a surprise considering my lackluster at best garden maintenance lately thanks my current ankle ouchie. Thankfully; true to her form, Mother Nature appears to forgive my trespass and reached deep into her color bag to proclaim that my patio garden’s Summer Season Huzzah! shall commence forthwith, starting with a screaming pink cavalcade of flowers! Nope, I am definitely not complaining.

First up, let’s see what’s up outdoors: The standout display of vibrant pink happening outdoors comes from the resilient resident primrose. Closing out the Summer season with a lovely display which has easily surpassed the snapdragon’s reigning title as the main focal points of color. Of the primrose in bloom, there are none screaming; ‘look at me!’, with a louder voice than this beautiful grouping.

Hot Pink Primula

Hot Pink Primrose

Primrose Flower Tower Begins

Primrose Flower Tower Begins

Not the type to be left out of a good party, my contingent of resident dragons (snapdragon, that is) have sent forth their Ambassador of Color; and have officially joined this week’s pink bloom challenge with this group of garden candy.

Even the Snapdragon are in on the Pink theme

The Snapdragon Join the Pink Theme

Next, we head indoors: The focal point indoors is my window planter which contains two variety of primula and some cineraria v. multiflora. The star of the planter is definitely the primula v. Embrace Mix, which are in the middle of throwing out a truly beautiful display of their signature delicate flowers in two-tone pinks.

Primula: Shades of Pink

Primula: Shades of Pink

I just love how different the shades of the same color occur on the same stem. Especially evident with Miss Primula today. The top most flower is a deep matte pink smiling up to the mid-day sunshine, being flanked on all sides by a contingent of four pale pink companions beaming brightly into the indoor space.

Primula's Pals

Primulas Pink Pals

Onward and back outside: The onion harvest has taken place and while not a bumper crop by any means, I am pleased with the results! The one onion which sprouted prior to my using it for some culinary creation and ended up randomly planted out on the patio has magically transformed herself into three shallot sized, extremely aromatic, wholly organic onions! I am currently letting their outer skins dry out on the patio before I will bring them indoors and put them into the dinner rotation. If they taste half as good as they smell, planting a small batch of onions will definitely become a part of my annual gardening, stay tuned for how they turned out in a future blog post.

Pre-Harvest Peek

Pre-Harvest Peek

Not the biggest, yet very aromatic

Not the biggest, yet very aromatic

Elsewhere in the garden, a small-scale study in white has commenced between a faction of the snapdragon community and the snowflakes. The burst is definitely no match for the aforementioned pink flower extravaganza; however, to me they too are just as marvelous in their dignified simplicity.

All in all, a happy day in the garden was had today!

The White Dragons Intermingles Amongst the Snowflakes

The White Dragons Intermingled Amongst the Snowflakes

Snowflakes Fall toward the Patio Floor

Snowflakes Fall toward the Patio Floor

That is about all the news that is fit to print from this little corner of the gardening universe, so until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December,

But the days grow short when you reach September,

When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,

One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.

– Frank Sinatra, 1965

Primula; Pretty in Pink

Primula; Pretty in Pink

September is upon us and it is time to start thinking about wintering the garden. Thankfully; here in Northern California, this doesn’t have nearly the sinister implications facing gardeners in the colder climates of the world. We don’t get any ground freezing and the temperatures are usually mild in comparison; our winters just mean lots and lots of rain, which for me is a good thing, less watering and happier soil!

Onion crop is coming along!

Onion crop is coming along!

Onion's flower is about to open!

Onion’s flower is about to open!

My test onion crop appears to be doing well, the first couple of flower heads have formed and look to be about ready to open. The onion bodies look to be large and well-formed and I am hopeful that I can turn my one sprouted onion into the start of a recurring onion bed.

First ripe strawberry

First ripe strawberry

I was also able to harvest and enjoy the first strawberries of my garden season. These were transplants from runners emanating from starters which I picked up at my local garden center 2-years ago. I wasn’t totally hopeful in getting any berries, but thought I would give them a go. The berries are not huge; yet, they are just as tasty as any other berry I have ever grown. Next year, I will definitely be picking new starter plants as this one is just not putting out berries nearly as proficiently as a healthy new starter plant does. That’s gardening though, experiment, see what works, see what does not, and plan accordingly next season.

Primrose

Primrose; dazzling in hot pink!!

More Primrose!!

More Primrose!!

Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

August was wonderful for flowers; including another rebound of my Primrose plants, speckling the patio with brilliant glints of color here and there. My first foray into the world of Dahlia’s, with the variety Mystic Haze, couldn’t have gone better! She continues to put out a profuse showing of her beautiful scarlet red and yellow flowers to the delight of the local bees and hummingbirds!

Peace Lily continues to keep herself wrapped tight!

Peace Lily continues to keep herself wrapped tight!

Ms. Anthurium also likes the rolled-up look!

Ms. Anthurium also likes the rolled-up look!

Even in late Summer, Early Winter; some plants in my collection continue to produce amazing new flowers and bracts! My Peace Lily; which lives outside on the patio has finally thrown up two new flowers, both of which are still tightly rolled, possibly still trying to keep warm! My indoor Anthurium must have seen the Peace Lily and didn’t want to miss out on the game has also shot up a new bract, just as tightly rolled up as the Lily. It will be a race to see who opens first!

I will leave you today with my garden companion; who appears to be getting bigger and bigger: Miss Kate E. Did

Miss Kate E. Did

Miss Kate E. Did

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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I have had mixed success with orchids during my tenure as amateur gardener; from stunning success to tragic and untimely deaths. However; this week, I am happy to announce another glorious success! My little orchid’s flower stalk has unfurled herself into this vision of beauty.

Hello World!

Hello World!

I find the Anther Cap/Column quite interesting in its sinister looking appearance; which to me looks like a mix between a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica and a skull that would seem right at home on the cover of any late 80’s heavy metal album cover art.

Miltassia Shelob 'Tolkien'

Miltassia Shelob ‘Tolkien’

Miltassia slowly opens to reveal her inner self

Miltassia slowly opens to reveal her inner self

The orchid is a Miltassia Shelob ‘Tolkien’; Family Orchidaceae; Subfamily: Epidendroideae; Tribe: Cymbidieae; Subtribe: Oncidinae; Alliance: Hybrid; Genus: x Miltassia. She slowly unfurled herself beginning Friday night and finally opened fully by Saturday night. This genus is a hybrid of the genus Miltonia and genus Brassia orchids and was left in my care in 2012 by a former colleague who was moving and unfortunately could not take her Orchids with her. I was thrilled to be able to share these images with her and to again thank her for the wonderful gift; needless to say, she was quite happy!

Miltassia's purple lip almost fully extended

Miltassia’s purple lip almost fully extended

Miltassia from behind

Miltassia from behind

Elsewhere in the gardens of Casa de Froio: Flowering plants continue to offer cheerful brightness and subtle color interest. A Primula cluster provides a stunning study in pink against her green foliage’s backdrop; A delicate snowflake shines brightly in her maze of Calla Lily green; and my resident and new favorite garden critter, Miss Katydid, shows off her natural camouflage within the foliage of Big Boy Avocado.

Primula in Pink

Primula in Pink

Snowflake plays hide and seek amongst the Calla

Snowflake plays hide and seek amongst the Calla

My resident Katydid continues to occupy my Avocado tree

My resident Katydid continues to occupy my Avocado tree

As always….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Decoration Day

Decoration Day

In memory of those who came before us and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms too many now take for granted.

It should be noted that Memorial Day is not a holiday. Memorial Day is, and should always be, a day of  National Mourning, a date to remember, mourn, and to be grateful, to those who did not make it home in defense of our Country.

5 May 1868: In response to the overwhelming loss of life on the battlefields of the United States during the American Civil War, a Union Army veterans group; the Grand Army of the Republic; acting under General Order No. 11 (Gen. J.A. Logan, Cmdr in Chief) which proclaimed May 30, as Decoration (Memorial) Day, observed what is generally accepted as the first public honoring of those who died in battle by ‘strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Rememberence

In Remembrance

THE MUFFLED drum’s sad roll has beat The soldier’s last tattoo;

No more on Life’s parade shall meet;

That brave and fallen few.

On Fame’s eternal camping-ground;

Their silent tents are spread;

And Glory guards;

with solemn round;

The bivouac of the dead.

Bivouac Of The Dead, by Theodore O’Hara

Half_Staff

¤————§———§———§————¤

So, what is happening in the garden this week?

Hydrangea Blooms

Hydrangea Blooms

Ornamental Strawberry Flowers

Ornamental Strawberry Flowers

Euphorbia flowers

Euphorbia Flowers

Nature at Work

Nature at Work

The Garden at Peace

The Garden at Peace

Nothing too different from the last few weeks; I will leave it at this for today…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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It is not always the biggest flowers that I enjoy the most

It is not always the biggest flowers that I enjoy the most

I gotta tell you, I am really starting to enjoy the weekends much more than I have for quite some time! Sunday’s have historically been a day for getting the chores done (laundry, grocery getting, house cleaning, etc.); however, since I purchased my bicycle in January, Saturday’s and Sunday’s have become a day for getting out, getting some exercise, and just having fun without worrying about parking, gas, or traffic.

Cineraria in incredibly VIVID purple!

Cineraria in incredibly VIVID purple!

Since getting the bike; I have been trying to ride somewhere in the 15 – 20 mile range during the weekends. I have come to terms with the reality that 20+ years of driving had taken its toll on my stamina, leg strength, and overall cardiovascular system; by the time I get home after a long ride, I am usually far too tired to think about doing chores!  This is not a terrible thing as I now find that I spend even more time out on the patio just enjoying the garden from a comfy garden chair (to rest my weary old bones upon). The chores which formerly dominated my weekend are easily pawned off on an unsuspecting work week, ensuring that my weekends are again valued as a precious resource –  not to be squandered on the tedious, but to enjoy at a full throttle pace in pursuit of fun!

Il Toro Blu - my 2012 SE Draft - Froio's Custom Edition

‘Il Toro Blu’ – 2012 SE Draft – Froio’s Custom Edition

My bicycle has followed the same theme as my garden; replace and refresh until I find something  I like – with the garden; it was January’s Winter Patio Refresh ; taking what I had learned from 2-years of gardening here in Oakland and turning that into what is now the garden I envisioned when I moved in and realized that the patio was screaming to be reborn. The patio was a dirty, unkempt, and generally dingy concrete slab, devoid of anything interesting which I quickly set about addressing.

From the barren wasteland that you see outside the window in this early blog image (Mr. Big Boy Avocado and an avocado that didn’t quite make it)

My plant collection, January 2011

My plant collection, January 2011

To what I enjoy today (Mr. Big Boy Avocado still very much a part of the landscape)

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere

So too my bicycle has undergone a metamorphosis; from the plain stock version that arrived in January. I quickly set about upgrading this, changing out that, and before I knew it; the only parts remaining from the factory are the frame, forks, front brake caliper, and chain. Starting with the pedals, I have replaced everything on the bike at least once, some twice (handlebars, cranks, & grips).

Jan. 16, 2013 - Factory Fresh

Jan. 16, 2013 – Factory Fresh

Now; after much searching for just the right part to accomplish an image that was never clear in my mind until it unfolded before me, my bike is a track monster which I have dubbed; ‘Il Toro Blu’; Italian for the Blue Bull, after the 2nd set of new handlebars (Cannondale C3 Bullhorn Aero Bars) and the bikes theme color (blue).

Il Toro Blue (the Blue Bull) - March 24, 2012

Il Toro Blue (the Blue Bull) – March 24, 2013

Note to self: find another frameset to put all of the parts that I replaced onto

While writing this post earlier today I realized something about myself; I am not sure if it is a good thing, a bad thing, or just an ‘it is what it is‘ thing. Either way; I think I know why I have often butted heads with those in my life that want me to conform to their ideals, I am a stubborn, bull-headed, learn-it-by-myself, or don’t learn it kind of guy.

The hydrangea readies itself for summertime blooms

The hydrangea readies itself for summertime blooms

The way I look at it, I know what I want in life (same as with gardens and bicycles), I generally know a way to get there, and once locked in, I won’t compromise that methodology in pursuit of something that doesn’t ring true with me. I am sorry if my methods don’t always make sense to those around me, my methods and directions always make perfect sense to at least one person, myself.

Ms. Jade's new planter mates are settling in nicely

Ms. Jade’s new planter mates are settling in nicely

This stubbornness has definitely caused a lot of familial stress and relationship stress.

  • Is it my fault for not bending like the young willow?
  • Is it the other party’s fault  for not realizing that I am who I am and leaving well enough alone?

I don’t know the answer to either question; however, I do know that I miss my family. I also know that I won’t be the one with the olive branch extended this time around, I didn’t do anything wrong this time. I guess I will just continue to till my own soil and beat my own path my own way. Overall; the good has outweighed the bad – What bad there has been, I have dealt with myself and have come out the other side a-okay.

I will leave the answers to such questions on the table for now, that deck will have to wait for another day to be dealt out.

For today, it is late, and I shall just leave with these parting shots – enjoy…

Last year's Amaryllis bulb has awoken

Last year’s Amaryllis bulb has awoken

Looking up through the Euphorbia

Looking up through the Euphorbia

Pastel Blue Cineraria

Pastel Blue Cineraria

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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