1 January, 2015
We had been looking forward since early December to a New Year’s Day brunch at the bayside home of Steve and John. Their social events never give me any advance anxiety, probably because the ones we attend are all about gardening. I will say that I feel that I have to exercise my brain really hard to keep up, especially when Seaside gardener Pam Fleming is another of the knowledgeable guests. It’s good for the old brain cells to work hard.
The sun was bright, almost too bright for photos.
As I wrote this, I got all excited at the fluffy, appealing pine called palustris, which usually means a plant will grow in wet soil. Then I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that “the scientific name meaning, “of marshes,” is a misunderstanding on the part of Philip Miller, who described the species after seeing longleaf pine forests with temporary winter flooding.” So I won’t try it in the boggy back garden.
above: Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm, windmill palm or Chinese windmill palm)
They say you can really see the structure of one’s garden in black and white, so let’s have a look at it altered with the BeFunky app (which has some enjoyable effects even though I think the name of the app is silly).
To the north, I saw a bald eagle sitting with his back to me.
I turned from my Lumix pocketcam to “Spot”, the lens-scratched Canon camera with a more powerful telephoto.
In we went. I had hoped to bring a few hellebore seedlings, but at midmorning they were still solidly in the ground, so I could only bring a small bouquet of intensely fragrant Lonicera standishii, whose tiny white blossoms do normally bloom now.
I sat at the end of the counter and noticed, as I always do there, how perfectly the front door frames the coral bark maple.
When Pam arrived, the devices all came out and assorted plants were looked up.
I took a look out the north window to see how the pump house’s green roof is doing. The weather has been hard on the California succulents. Pleasingly, some survive.
Here are two crow paintings, probably both by local artist Pat Fagerland.
The table was set on the lower level and we settled in to the repast and more plant talk.
Rather cosmically, just last night I had been reading about black eyed peas and New Year’s Day.
The thought had crossed my mind that I should eat some black eyed peas today for luck, yet I had none and no idea where to get any. And here, in our delicious brunch, the traditional black eyed peas played a part!
The tide was going out. During the recent high tides, the water came all the way up to that tree.
I looked at the lichen dangling from the tall tree and thought that the “snow” on the indoor Christmas tree sort of echoed that ornamentation.
In summer, Steve and John can see flickering campfires over on Long Island.
We repaired to the study to look at a Powerpoint presentation created to showcase the upcoming inaugural Peninsula Rhododendron Tour. While we gathered, Allan took some photos from the window:
The presentation, created with wit and style, would attract any rhododendron fan to the peninsula. Steve and John had recently presented it to the American Rhododendron Society’s Portland chapter and may show it to a chapter up in Seattle. You will want to mark your calendars for May 2.
This tour will be in addition to the July 18, 2015 Music in the Gardens tour.
The presentation explored the timeline of the American Rhododendron Society itself…
The local connection was explored via the history of J. Harold Clarke, who was the grandfather of Steve Clarke, known to us in our day as the plantsman extraordinaire of Clarke Nursery. Steve and John’s property and that of their neighbour, Ron Barclay, were part of the original Clarke Nursery.
Both properties are rich in species and hybrid rhododendrons and will be the centerpiece of the tour, along with a breakfast lecture by Steve Clarke.
A series of photos told the story of the transformation of Steve and John’s property from a woodland full of ivy and salal to a collectors’ garden, revealing treasures of old rhododendrons and other plants along the way.
I recall visiting last spring and being bowled over, almost literally, by the fragrance of a particular rhododendron. I now know this it is not ‘King George'; it is ‘Venus’.
After the well done and informative show, we found that daylight was almost gone.
When we arrived back in Ilwaco after dark, we saw the peace sign alight over the home of Don Andersen and finally managed to get a photo of it for this year. It’s one of our favourite seasonal displays, along with the Christmas star over Jessie’s Fish Company, which we noted has been turned off for the year. Allan walked up Elizabeth Avenue to get the pictures.
The peace sign, black eyed peas, and brunch with three of our favourite gardeners are surely all good portents for 2015.