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Showing posts from July, 2011

From the Star Trek Arboretum

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A most alien specimen comes from the planet Andoria.  Sea Holly is a good choice for poor soil and a seaside location.  The Honey Bee is Terran.


The conical flower is surrounded by a corona of bracts which are modified leaves.  The flower's stems are also a rich, almost glowing blue color.

From Vulcan comes Crocosmia, a most illogical flower.  When grown on Earth, it is a favorite of hummingbirds.

The poet-warriors of the Klingon home world Qo'noS have raised horticulture to an art form.  This Shasta Daisy hybrid shines in the dim light of the Klingon star.

The next time you host an event for Starfleet, consider floral arrangements combining these unusual flowering plants.

Trying Out Google+

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This past week, I have been dipping a toe into the Google+ puddle.  There are now links to it in the sidebars here and at Wild Fidalgo.  If you are not aware, it is Google's new social network and answer to Facebook.  Google has done a remarkable job marketing this thing.  The word was out that it was limited, exclusive, invitation only.  Just special people would be involved in the initial testing.  Then, out of the blue, guess who got an invitation.  Moi?  If you get an invitation to the White House, Buckingham Palace or Google+, you don't say no.  So, here I am with my own Google+ account.  Obviously, it's not that exclusive.

I have a Facebook account associated with the blogs.  I read it was what you were supposed to do, but I never felt at home there.  I did not find it particularly intuitive.  The UI is cluttered and confusing.  I wasted a lot of time with trial-and-error figuring-out how to make it work.  Nothing is explained and the help pages are useless.  I crea…

Gardening for Wildlife:  Fresh Water

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One of the criteria when gardening to attract wildlife is providing a source of fresh water.  Consider a small pond with a recirculating waterfall.  There are complete kits available at home and garden stores and the internet.  Even a washtub can be adapted to this purpose.  The motion and sounds will add to the experience.  You will be amazed by the abundance of birds that will visit the pond year around.  They will come to get both a drink and a bath.  Birds you might rarely see at feeders will come in groups by species.  Robins, Thrushes, Goldfinches, Cedar Waxwings and even Crows will come in turn at various times during the day.  Locate your pond where you can observe it discretely from the house.  Add a place to sit quietly in the garden.  You will find yourself spending hours watching the passing parade.

Above, water-loving Japanese Iris and Ligularia are planted in partially submerged pots.  Below, the path to the pond is in the entry garden next to the house.  Native plants …

Skywatch Friday:  Bald Eagles

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From Wild Fidalgo, a pair of Bald Eagles soar over Kiket Island in Skagit Bay.






Exploring Kukutali 2:  Tombolo Wildflowers

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In a previous post, we took our first look at Kiket Island and the Kukutali Preserve.  Recall that this is the newest venue in Washington's Deception Pass State Park.  We ended our trek at the beautiful curved beach along the tombolo that ties Kiket Island to little Flagstaff Island.  There is an old ruin here, a boathouse with a small laboratory attached.  I believe this was a base for researchers from the University of Washington.  They conducted several marine biology surveys of the island in the 1970's.

On this visit, I want to look at the plant life growing on and around the tombolo.  This is a harsh, dry, wind-blown, salty environment with little more than sand and gravel for soil.  There are some plants that appear to grow out of solid stone.  Remember that plant cycles are continuous in any location.  What will be seen blooming will change from week to week.  These visits were in late June and early July.  As usual, if I have misidentified anything, please let me know…

A Mystery Solved and Some Wildlife Too

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From Australia, no less, the identification of my mystery shrub was provided by Roman Soroka.  Recall that three plants came up voluntarily in the garden and two are now blooming for the first time in ten years.  It is Japanese Photinia (Photinia glabra).  He explains that it is a popular hedge plant in Australia because of its drought tolerance.  It is not at all common in the Pacific Northwest US.  We have a big destination nursery nearby, and they don't stock it or even know of it.  Apparently, it grows somewhere in the neighborhood and the seeds liked the dry, dusty soil in my yard.  The common Photinia in gardens here is Photina x fraseri, a hybrid of P. glabra which has much larger leaves.  It is also grown in screen hedges or as a specimen shrub.  Now that it has been pointed out, the kinship of the two plants is obvious to me.


This explains why I did not find it in any of the native plant books or websites I searched.  I was led astray by the notion that it was an indigen…