Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall's 3 Muses: Aconitum, Anemone, Aster

I always find myself wanting more and more of these three plants every September, and yet for some reason, every year, I forget to add new members to their ranks.
Aconitum columbianum. Plant grown from seed.
This year I actually subtracted from our Anemones by ridding the backyard of the weedy, tall, and white 'Honorine Jobert'. When a plant begins pushing me around, I have to step up and tell it to, "Step off." That Anemone stepped off alright, and stepped right into the yard debris bin. 

Luckily I have this other little beauty to look at right now and it isn't taking over 1/4 of my garden like the other one did. 
Anemone hupenhensis var. Japonica. Purchased plant.
Then there are the Asters. Am I the only one here that thinks there are too many to keep track of? Don't they begin to all look and sound alike? I just cannot tell them apart, besides, I forget far more of them than I remember. 

I think this one I will remember though. It is new to our garden this year and I grew it from seed. I almost threw it away before I left for California because I thought it was maybe a weed. I am so glad now that I let it stay! It is a North American native too.
Aster azureus, Aster oolentangiensi, or Symphyotrichum oolentangiensis. Plant grown from seed.
I thought I would add that my Ikebana a Day project on my other blog is going well. I am still assessing the value it's having upon my day-to-day affairs, and so far, it seems to have been a great idea. 

Soon I will be beginning Ikebana classes and that will improve the quality of my work and the attention I will be able to pay to my materials. So far, the arrangements have been based upon availability and ease and I want that to change. The pieces have felt a lot like sketches and that has been a fun way to warm up for the rest of the year. Overall, I truly want to see if this practice will make me feel better and, in a way, it already seems to be keeping me happier.
For some reason I am really behind on the written copy for the other blog—since I should explain what I am up to in greater depth—but I will get to that soon. I still have 11.5 months left, right? A Year of Ikebana. (I think it has to do with collecting seeds. I have been dramatically slowed down by that annual process!) 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back Home from San Francisco, Back to Reality

Back in our super quiet house (eerily so), with no foster respite children this weekend, I am dealing with the onslaught of rain, an elderly unwell feline family member, a pinch of jealousy that my husband is in New York City, and then there is this huge 20 pounds of furry feline in my lap that is the cat we call Maurice. He is stuck to me like glue! I guess that's my punishment for leaving him here.

On the bright side, at least I was able to see my eldest niece this weekend, her boyfriend, and one of my nieces' oldest childhood friends who spent many nights with my husband and I and both of the girls when they were kids. How I love their never-ending need to make things! How I couldn't stop laughing when our niece and her boyfriend discussed picking out some houseplants for their new place together. Then came the immense amount of pride I felt when they were excited to hear about Uncle P's successes this year. 
Morning Glory growing in a planter near the San Remo Hotel in San Francisco. 
Unpacking went well, but packing up to return home was not easy. My bags gained several extra pounds apiece and lugging luggage, I've realized now, is not my favorite activity. That being said, in the future, I plan to drive back down there. It is so less stressful than flying and the adventure of it is a great deal more fun.
Closeup of the amazing Morning Glory in the alley near our hotel in San Francisco.
This is a post of some odds and ends from the trip, and it's a bit about my state of mind I suppose. As I told my husband, it is odd to be constructing a Californian identity. Sure I am still a tourist crashing at a friend's house, but at what point does that change? I don't really know, but it obviously has something to do with my husband's being down there all of the time.
I think this is the strangest pruning job I've ever seen of an Asparagus fern.
Walking the streets all over the Bay Area you see so many amazing plants. Driving I saw even more but I couldn't take as many shots as I'd wanted.
Trailing Rosemary creates a great effect if you can pull it off correctly. 
Ok, so here's the real deal with this post. It's a confession too. I stuffed my pockets silly with seeds whenever I could and I am posting the evidence.
Some of these seeds are new to me, and others I have grown before.
My daily Ikebana project also added to my luggage.
Arranging the seeds and drying them really did slow me down but I am thankful many of them are ready to go.
Using origami envelopes made the picking much more convenient.
Back at home, unpacked, but still getting back into gear, I took this photo while sitting out back under the willow arbor with the kids young adults. I love them for not teasing me about all of the envelopes with seeds stuffed into them that are all over our house. It makes me happy to know that to the girls, what I do is somehow normal, and is expected of me.
I am Auntie Annie—the seed snatcher! Oh yeah, and welcome back autumn. Now let's get on with this so I can get back to springtime asap. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Columbia River Collection: Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

Before I left for San Francisco I spent some time along the Mighty Columbia River. For me—and for my garden—this is my happy place. I love the Bay Area and NorCal too, but the Northwest is home. Following are pictures from a trip to the Astoria, Oregon area and to Cascade Locks, Oregon. 

Astoria looks at the Columbia as it enters into the ocean and Cascade Locks is where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains. It is also just above Bonneville Dam.

These scenes are sprinkled with lyrics from "Roll On, Columbia, Roll On" written by Woody Guthrie. Hired by the Bonneville Power Administration, this song was recorded on an album of propaganda songs about the federal public works created to make hydroelectricity along the Columbia back during the early twentieth century.

The tune is set to "Good Night Irene," ironically, the song which contained the lyric that inspired the author Ken Kesey to write Sometimes a Great Notion—a Northwestern classic about loggers. 

Lower Columbia
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.
Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the ocean so blue
It's roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.
Tom Jefferson's vision would not let him rest
An empire he saw in the Pacific Northwest
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest
Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea.
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, W
illamette and Hood River too
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
It's there on your banks that we fought many a fight
Sheridan's boys in the blockhouse that night
They saw us in death but never in flight
Roll on Columbia, roll on!

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Digitalis sp with native bee.
Our loved ones we lost there at Coe's little store,
By fireball and rifle, a dozen or more, 
We won by the Mary and soldiers she bore,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Leathery Polypody Fern, Polypodium scouleri.
Remember the trial when the battle was won?
The wild Indian warriors to the tall timber run
We hung every Indian with smoke in his gun
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Licorice Fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza.

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Upper Columbia
At Bonneville now there is ships in the locks
The waters have risen and drowned the rocks 
Shiploads of plenty will steam in the docks
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wind surfer.
On up the river is Grand Coulee Dam
The mightiest thing ever built by a man
To run the great factories for ole Uncle Sam
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
An island where the Native Americans used to leave the bones of their ancestors.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Bonneville Dam in the distance and smoke from forest fires. 
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
When Bonneville Dam was built it destroyed Celilo Falls where the Native Americans once fished. Although the falls are still gone, they've adapted their platforms and you see them from the sternwheeler up and down the river above the dam during the fishing season. Here you see a sister and her little brother carrying on that tradition on their grandpa's platform.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Hope you enjoyed that little trip that jumped from the mouth of the Columbia River up past Portland to Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. It may have seemed strange to see all of this on a gardening blog but as a descendant of both pioneers, and a native American woman from the state of Montana, it is hard for me not to see the garden around me everywhere no matter where I land.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Alcatraz: The Garden Tour, Part Two

Once you reach the top, you're at the cellhouse. If you'd continued following the garden tour, this is near where it ends, just beneath the Recreational Yard, where the fenced in prisoners' garden once was and where it has been restored. (Note the Lobularia maritima in the foreground.) 
In case you were wondering, this is the inside of the prison. To be honest, inside it is very small but it's so interesting. (We had an amazing time watching the European tourists and we both loved hearing Italians speaking Italian.)
Back on the trail, these were the plants I was able to see as the tour went from the top of the Rock down along the westside towards the north with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge that's amazing.
Perennial Statice, Limonium perezii.
Seed heads of Bear's Breeches, Acanthus mollis.
The refurbished prisoners' area greenhouse.
The prisoners' greenhouse back in 1993 or 1994 during my first visit to Alcatraz.
Aeonium arboreum and Acanthus mollis.
Crassula, Aeonium, and Acanthus. I am not sure what the silvery one is but I am sure someone else will know. 
This is another view of the same area.
And another view. I think there are some Aloe in there too.
This is about as close as you can get to the water on this side. There is a fence though so you cannot walk on the pavement. This area is protected. Birds nest there.
Kinda not sure about this one but it is a Mediterranean plant all right.
Fig Tree, Ficus in the prisoners' garden.
Notice the fence. You can also see the skyline of downtown San Francisco.
From that area you can walk up the steep stairs to the Recreational Yard.
We started to make our way back down to the ferry at this point and believe it or not there were still plants to see that I'd missed on our way up. 
Monstera deliciosa in a photo display in the Warden's Office of what it looked like during the Kennedy administration. 
If you were coming to visit someone on Alcatraz, you would have had to walk under this display. The cornucopias with their bountifulness is a bit odd. 
The planter box along the road down to the boat was full of Geraniums
Behind this row and down below are some of the areas we'd been granted access too earlier in the day. 
Alcatraz is full of Fuchsia after Fuchsia.
A lone Hydrangea with a few Western sword ferns, Polystichum munitum
Leathery Polypody Fern, Polypodium scouleri. This is a great native plant.
 Trailing Iceplant, Delosperma cooperi.
Where the Rock meets man.
This was a very tall red Geranium.
 Trailing Iceplant, Delosperma cooperi.
Nasturium have taken over and are growing wild on the island.
Unknown Geranium.
Unknown Geranium.
Back at the dock there is yet another Geranium.
An unknown Fuchsia tree.
Fuchia trying to get off the Rock.
A carpet of Aeonium
This is a view of the Aeonium carpet as seen from the ferry. 
If this did not whet your appetite for a trip to Alcatraz, I don't know what will! I can't wait to go back myself and I am so impressed with of all of the amazing work they've accomplished with the gardens.
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