What’s Blooming now- 5/29/2017

29 May

So Audubon recently put together a new app for he phone- “Hummingbirds at Home”, to help track hummingbird movements and what they are using, by everyday people. It’s a cool tool for a ‘citezen science”  movement, and I hope they expand it to be more useful and user friendly. Currently the plant selection is color and thumbprint based, though it does at least have the scientific name listed next to the common names. No search engine I can find, and no way to add new species, nothing obvious at least. But the app does at least give you three ways to record data- sit an watch for a while (which is what I’m doing now, while I write this), single visit summary, and a “nectar watch” for specific plants so you can record how much they visit a specific plant.
Of course, I have a couple things in my garden they are using that are not in their rather impressive plant data base, least I couldn’t find them. 
Anyway, the app inspire me to give the garden notes here another go, so here is what’s blooming in the garden now-
Agastache cana 

Allium cernuum

Allium schoenoprasum 

Aquilegia formosa 

Aquilegia hybrid

Aruncus dioicus 

Bacopa monieri *

Begonia rex 

Begonia x (tuberous) *

Bellis perennis

Bidens ferulifolia ‘Bee Alive’ *

Camassia leichtlinii ‘flora plena’

Camellia sasanqua ‘Kumasaka’ 

Campanula carpatica

Carex mertensiana

Centauria annua *

Chaenorrhinum origanum ‘Summer Skies’ *

Chrysanthemum partheniacum 

Claytonia sibirica

Coreopsis nana

Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerow’s Gold’

Corydalus scouleri

Cuphea ignea

Cyclamen hybrids

Dahlia x ‘Mystic Wonder’ *

Dahlia hybrids *

Delphinium nuttalii

Delphinium trollifolium

Dianthus x ‘Supertrouper Lilac on White’

Dianthus x ‘Supertrouper Velvet Red’ 

Dianthus x ‘Supertrouper Velvet + White’ *

Dicentra formosa

Digitalis x ‘Raspberry Delight’

Eccremocarpus scaber

Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’

Erigeron philadelphicus 

Fragaria (white fruited)

Fragaria vesca ‘Alba Dolce’

Fragaria vesca ‘Pineapple Crush’

Fragaria x ‘Shuksan’

Fuchsia magellanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Mary’

Fuchsia x ‘Condor’ *

Fuchsia x ‘Billy Gene’

Fuchsia x ‘Marinka’ *

Fuchsia x ‘Pink Marshmallow’ *

Fuchsia x (pink) *

Geranium phaeum 

Gerbera hybrids

Geum rivale

Huechera x sanguinea (pass along)

Impatiens hawkeri ‘Glow Yellow’

Iris hollandica

Iris japonica ‘Ledger’s Variety’

Lathyrus biflora

Linaria purpurea

Lonicera senpervirens ‘Major Wheeler’

Lunaria annua alba

Matthiola hybrid

Mimulus guttatus

Myosotis laxa 

Oenanthe sarmentosa

Oxalis  ‘Iron Cross’

Pelarginium hybrids *

Penstemon mexicalli ‘Red Rocks’

Penstemon serrulatus

Polygonatum biflora

Potentilla anserina 

Primula obconica

Ranunculus repens

Rhododendron hybrid (red)

Rhododendron hybrid (fragrant white/pink blush- one flower left!)

Rosa chinensis mutabilis 

Rosa gymnocarpa (full of bumbles! Haven’t seen this many bees till today actually, nice to see them back!)

Rosa hybrida ‘Bolero’

Rosa hybrida ‘Climbing Peace’

Rosa hybrida ‘Elizabeth’

Rubus leucodermis

Ruellia elegans

Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’

Salvia coccinea ‘Brenthurst’

Salvia farinacea ‘East Friesland’

Salvia x  ‘Amistad’

Salvia x ‘Ember’s Wish’

Salvia ‘Hotlips’

Sedum spathulifolium

Silene hookeri

Siningia x ‘Apricot Bouquet’

Sisyrinchium californicum 

Sisyrinchium latifolium

Spiraea betulifolia

Tagetes signata *

Telling grandiflora

Thymus x ‘orange balsam’

Tiarella trifoliata

Tolmeia menziesii

Torenua hybrids

Trifolium albidum

Vaccinium ovatum

Vaccinium x ‘Sunshine’

Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’

Verbena hybrids

Viccia villosa

Viola cornuta hybrids (annual violets)- some are seedlings some store bought

Viola labradorica


What’s blooming- March 22, 2017

22 Mar

Been a long time since I have made one of these posts… I’ve been bad about keeping up with it, lol.
Bellis perrenis 

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Cardamine hirsuta 

Cerastium tomentosum

Clematis cyrrhosa 

Correa alba*

Corydallis cheillanthifolius*

Crocus hybrid

Cyclamen coum 

Dianthus ‘Oscars Cherry Velvet’

Drabs verna

Forsythia hybrid 

Grevillea victoriae 

Helleborus hybrids 

Iris reticulata (chewed off)

Hyacinthus orientalis hybrids

Lamium purpureum

Lunaria annua ‘alba’

Mahonia x media

Narcissus ‘Tete te’

Oemleria cerasiformis 

Primila hybrids

Prunus tomentosa 

Prunus hybrid (bird plum cherry)

Ribes lobbii 

Pulmonaria angustifolia ‘azurea’

Ribes sanguineum ‘Apple Blossom’

Ribes sanguineum ‘Pokey’s Pink’

Ribes sanguineum ‘Pulsborough Scarlet’

Rosa hybrid*

Rosmarinus officinalis 

Scilla libanotica 

Vaccinium ovatum

Viola hybrids*

 Viola sororia 

Viola sororia ‘Freckles’

Going on a Swan Hunt

31 Dec

We have talked about doing this for years, but this is the first time we have actually done it… going up to the Skagit for a day trip to see if we can find the flocks of Snow Geese and smaller groups of Swan that overwinter in the Skagit around Mount Vernon, La Conner etc, kinda the same general area as the tulip fields. The geese and swans hang out in the fields foriaging on the winter stubble left by the farmers, and in turn giving the farmers a little extra fertilizer for their efforts. Swan apparently prefer old corn fields, the geese aren’t as picky and are much more numerous. 

We left home in the dark, around 7:00 am.

Fristy cold morning, lol…
And of course, first thing we had to do was get gas, lol. Luckily the Kirkland Costco at least had the gas open. We had to backtrack a bit through Rose Hill to get there… but better than running out on the way!

The drive through Everett was in and out of the fog as the sun came up. 

Where the fog lifted or was just a little more open,  Santorum morning!

Then we saw the first Swan in a field just south of the Stillaguamish River, lol… no pic, but was hard to miss that big white bird with the long neck, a pair of them in an open field right there along the freeway.

I set the Google Mals to get us to the Padilla Bay information center, and it had us get off at the Conway exit, the same one we usually use to get to La Conner and the Tulip Fields in the spring. Not a mile outside of town, we saw more white birds in the field, a few here and there… then this!

Through the binoculars, you can see he black feet and beams, and the absence of the black primaries… definitely geese! I counted around 250, with more coming in as we sat on Dry Slough Road, a side road off the main Fir Island Road we were traveling on. 

Better, as we sat here enjoying the view, a small group of about 5 Trumpeters came in low, right in front of the car! 

Once they landed we could hear the distinctive trumpeting call, very different to the honking cackle of the others, and they were a bit bigger, beefier, lol, and looked like they had been for rigging in pond water or something, their thicker necks kinda dingy rather that white. Too cool!

Well, the hour and a half drive up sure paid off! Now if we can find some Snow Geese and the day will be perfect!

Anna’s perambulations, 8:15, June26th, 2016

27 Jun

All this happened in our new little courtyard area…

A little female came buzzing up to within a few feet of me, first checking out each flower on the “yellow” flowered Mimulus ‘Tropicana’

Next she visited a couple of flowers on the Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ just below it, including a couple of empty sepals without a flower in them

Next she visited a couple of flowers on the little red Salvia coccinea ‘Summer Jewel Red’

This is one of my favorite combinations this year- the Salvia, a coral and white Pelargonium hybrid (geranium), and the lavender blue Viola cornuta hybrid. Linaria ‘Flamenco’ is on the left and a white flowered Osteospermum daisy with a blu center and reversa is to the right. Beautiful combination, if I do say so myself!

Next she flew over to the Cuphea ‘David Verity’

I was hoping she would go to the other little similar red flowered Mimulus in this photo, but she was chased off the Cuphea after visiting a couple of flowers, by a male with a nice full gorget!

Not sure which hummer it was, but this morning I also watched a hummer in this corner  visit the Ecremocarpus scaber, a fuchsia hybrid, and then flew off through the shrubbery. I think s/he noticed me sitting there and got spooked…

What’s blooming, June 15th, 2016

16 Jun

Wow, it’s been so long since I posted one of these… Missed all the late winter and spring stuff entirely, lol. Now I have a ton of annuals in life blooming, and a few returnees of course. Last winter was pretty mild temp wise, though we got more rain than ever before. Many things survived I wasn’t expecting- some of the hanging baskets from last year have Cuphea blooming that overwintered! Unreal… The wet wasn’t kind to other things though, no surprise there. Agastachd bit it for the most part, may have one left, lol.

I also kind of overdid the annual thing this year… Spent wayyyy too much, but have some cool stuff to show for it. I may have to do a post of just pics of some of the more interesting pots we put together, and one of the little courtyard we did from salvaged pavers.

So, here is what is blooming in my garden today, sun finally came out, morning was cold but it’s warmer now, in time for the sun to go down over the hill, lol.

Abutilon megapotamicum hybrid

Achillea millefolium

Allium cernuum

Aquilegia formosa

Anturrhinum majus ‘Rocket’

Bacopa monieri (lavender)

Barbarea orthocerus

Barbarea vulgaris

Begonia hybrid

Begonia ‘Non-Stop’ (red, yellow and pink edged white)

Beloperome guttata

Berlandiera lyrata (chocolate flower)

Bignonia capreolata ‘Tanterine Beauty’

Buddleia davidii ‘Dark Knight’

Calendula officinalis

Calibrachoa ‘Aloha Cherry Cartwheel’

Calibrachoa ‘Aloha Midnight Blue’

Campanula persicifolia

Campanula portenschlageana

Chamerion (Epilobium) angustifolium

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum

Chrysanthemum partheniacum

Claytonia sibirica


Corydalis scouleri

Cuphea ignea

Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’

Cyclamen hybrid

Dahlia hybrid (white cactus type)

Dahlia ‘Fireworks mix’ (yellow with red stripes)

Dianthus ‘Super Trouper Red Velvet’

Dianthus ‘Super Trouper Velvet+White’

Dicentra formosa

Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’

Erigeron philadelphicus

Fragaria vesca ‘Alba Dolce’

Fragaria vesca ‘Pineapple Crush’ (white berries!)

Fragaria ‘Shuksan’

Fuchsia campos-portoi

Fuchsia ‘Balcon Koenig’

Fuchsia ‘Jack Shahan’

Fuchsia magelanica (gram’s)   

Fuchsia magelanica ‘Alice Hoffman’

Fuchsia magelanica ‘Eden Rock’

Fuchsia magelanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia magelanica (red leaf form)

Fuchsia magelanica ‘Rufous’

Fuchsia magelanica ‘Whiteknights Amethyst’

Fuchsia ‘Marinka’

Fuchsia ‘Mistress Birdie’

Fuchsia ‘San Carlos’

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Mary’

Fuchsia ‘Queen Elizabeth’

Geranium robertianum

Heliotropium arborescens

Hemerocallis ‘

Hydroplylla capitata

Impatiens hawkeri ‘Celebrette Orchid Star’

Impatiens noli-tangere

Impatiens (purple floweredq perenial)

Jasminum (officinale?)

Kalanchoe hybrid

Lactuca muralis

Lantana camara ‘Athen’s Rose’

Lantana ‘Lucky Lemon Glow’

Lavendula agustifolia

Lespedeza? Linaria purpurea ‘Flamenco’

Liriope (black leaved)

Lonicera periclymenum

Lychnis coronaria

Mellisa officinalis 

Mimulus cardinalis

Mimulus cardinalis ‘Yellow Form’

Mimulus ‘Grenadine’

Mimulus guttatus

Myosotis laxa

Nicotinana Hybrid

Ocimum basilicum ‘Greek’

Oenanthe sarmentosa

Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Summertime Kardinal’

Osteospermum ‘White’

Oxalis regnelli

Oxalis triangularis

Oxalis (weedy one)

Pelargonium graveolens (citronella scented geranium)

Pelargonium (Ivy leaf with white flowers and red nectar lines)

Pelargonium hybrid (coral and white)

Penstemon ‘Catherine de la Mar’

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’

Philadelphus lewisii ‘Goose Creek’

Plantago sp

Potentilla gracilis

Primula acaulis hybrid

Ranunculus repens

Rosa chinensis mutabilis

Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’

Rosa ‘Queen Elizabeth’

Rosa hybrid (florist dwarf dark red)

Rosa hbrid (florist orange blend)

Rosa hybrid (florist dwarf white)

Rubus armeniacus

Rumex so

Salvia ‘Amistad’

Salvia coccinea ‘Brenthurst’

Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’

Salvia coccinea ‘Summer Jewel Red’

Salvia elegens ‘Tangerine’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Bloom’

Salvia longispicata x farinacea ‘Mystic Spires Blue’

Salvia microphyla ‘Hotlips’

Salvia microphyla ‘San Carlos’

Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

Sanvitalia speciosa ‘Sunvy Top Gold’

Scabiosa alpina

Scabiosa caucasica

Schlumbergera bridgesii

Sedum spathulifolium 

Sinningia sellovii

Sisyrinchium californicum

Sisyrichium (latifolium?)

Solanum ‘Early Girl’ tomato

Tagetes signata ‘Lemon Gem’

Thymus ‘Orange Balsam’

Trapoelum ‘Alaska’

Trifolium alba

Urtica lyallii

Verbena hybrid

Vinca major

Viola cornuta

Viola cornuta ‘Angel Tiger Eyes’

Viola cornuta ‘Black Angel’

Viola cornuta ‘Etain’

Viola cornuta ‘Rebecca’

Viola cornuta ‘White Selection’

Viola labradorica

I’m sure I missed a few, especially among the weeds, but that’s still a pretty impressive list!

Hanging Yuletide Baskets

15 Jun

So for summer I have fuchsia baskets on the back deck. They not only provide flowers for the hummers (this year I made them with both fuchsias and Cuphea ignea, which they seemed to appreciate), they also serve to block a direct flight path to the feeder on the living room window when it’s up.

Since this is much more important in winter when their are fewer flowers in the garden, and the birds rely more heavily on the feeder, I decided to make my own version of what they are selling in the stores right now- Yule baskets of greens, with of course my own twist. *grin*
So, we went to Dollar Tree, cause I really don’t want to spend more than I have to on these. We found a couple of things to make these nicer than the ones in the store. First, the baskets-

I would have preferred a less obtrusive wire basket, but these will work great, and at a buck each, beggars can’t be choosers, lol. These are about 12 inches across at the top.

To hang, I already had some hanging basket things scrounged from somewhere, each with four wires to hang the baskets from-


So, to hang I drilled 4 holes in the rim of each basket, roughly equidistant (doesn’t have to be perfect, just close enough the baskets will hang square).


Now I just need to thread the four wires through the holes so the basket can hang. These were still new and straight in the ends, so I bent them all together first to make it easier to hang them all at the same length-


Poke each wire through the different holes and make a quick loop. I didn’t want to twist these as I do for a heavy basket, as after the season I’ll take em down and store them nested without the wires in them.


Now I just need to wire greens to the outside to make the baskets “grow”. I’ve collected fir branches on my walk home from work, and cut greens from the garden (Oregon grape, Mexican orange, laurel etc, mostly evergreen stuff, but would use red osier twigs if I had them).

*end notes*

Apparently I never finished this post (blush)… And never took a pic of the finished project either, mores The pity! The baskets were covered in greens (cut Oregon grape, Mexican Orange and Grevillea from the garden, plus windfall fir, cedar and hemlock from the woods). I hung a white star from the bottom of each basket. They staid up till late February, lol… By which time the greens were going a bit grey. I had plans to add solar lights to them, but couldn’t figure out how to get the little solar panel up and out of the way. Maybe next year I’ll figure that part out. 
Over all I was pleased with he results. I plan on doing it again next year with the same baskets.

Fresh Strawberry and Papaya Salsa

30 May

A few weeks back we made a mango salsa for salmon… It was so good we decided to try a nice twist for some white fish today- fresh local Washington strawberries, with a nice little tropical twist of papaya. We haven’t gotten the fish yet, but I’m thinking a white fish of some type. We will see what looks good when we get there this afternoon.
For now, it’s salsa making time! One caveat, I hate peppers, so there isn’t any in this, but I’m sure most folks would add a jalapeño or something to it. Feel free…
I’m going with fresh fruit, and a few herbs (lemon balm and Mojito mint), a little cider vinegar from a local guy, lime juice and zest to work it up a bit, and maybe a little salt and pepper to round it out. 
So, first things first…. Let’s get the juices flowing. Strip the leaves off the stems of the mints and mince.

I then added the juice of one large lime, a good glug of cider vinegar (maybe half a tablespoon?), and a twist or two each of salt and pepper. I do this first so the juice can absorb the flavor of the herbs a little better.

I just added two sprigs of mint to a whole pile of lemon balm, partially cause that’s what I had of the mint in the garden, and partially because I didn’t want to overpower the strawberries with a ton of mint. Lemon balm is great for filler, but tends to need a fair amount to get the herbal lemon flavor going, so this works good here.

Next up is the fruit. Clean and chop the strawberries till you have about a cup of chopped fruit, and do the same with the papaya.

All in the bowl and stirred up… So far so good, it’s yummy! Now to let it sit for the afternoon, till we get the fish tonight. Or maybe chicken… I think this would be good either way!

I ended up using just half of the small papaya… The real star here is the fresh strawberries, so I want more berry than papaya in it, but of course you can always fiddle with the proportions based on what you have.
Can’t wait till dinner to try this!
Footnote- we ended up getting fresh tuna for this. I loved it! Some might prefer it a little sweeter, the lime fave it a distinct tartness, but I really enjoyed it. I do wish I had remembered to take a bit of the cut fruit and purée it to give a thicker ‘sauce’ though, so it would stick to the fish better. Still, we decided this is definitely something to try again!

Also, the Cider Vinegar we used is not just your typical store bought stuff. We found this wonderful real vinegar (as in, if you leave it long enough it will reform the “mother” colony that made the vinegar in the first place!) at the West Seattle Farmers Market. Rockridge Orchards has a full line of cider related stuff from simple ciders (the pumpkin infused cider is one of the more unusual offerings), hard cider, wines, even Apple brandy, not just the vinegar. Good people, selling a very good product!