Blossom XXV: Elegance

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The Calla lily always feels elegant and exotic.  Its long slender leaves, slender stem, and simple form might have been designed by Coco Chanel for all of their tres chic simplicity.  Until a trip to Oregon two years ago, I assumed they were best found at a high end florist.  But no.  Calla may be grown in any temperate garden as simple perennials.

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The Calla growing in every other front garden in the beach communities I visited along the Oregon coast, grew in thick clumps, about 4′ high.  They were already blooming in April of 2015.  I was mesmerized, and determined to find something similar for our own garden.

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Zantedeschia aethiopica blooming at the Connie Hanson Garden in Lincoln City, Oregon in late April 2015.

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My search took me first to Plant Delights, which offers two selections of ‘Giant’ Zantedeschia, both hardy in Zones 7-10.  By ‘Giant,’ we mean plants topping out at perhaps 6′ tall.  Like other aroids, Zantedeschia, called Calla lily, grow from a tuber.  And each year the tubers grow larger as the clump spreads.  The clumps I saw in Oregon had clearly been growing for many years.

I began searching out Zanteschia tubers later that year, and have added a few to our collection each spring since.  I’ve learned these are hardy for us and may be left alone year to year to simply grow to their own rhythm.  They are fairly heavy feeders and appreciate good soil, plenty of moisture, abundant sunshine, and a little support.  Their leaves are spectacular, even before and after the blossoms.

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Z. ‘Hot Chocolate’ with its first bloom of the season.

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We’ve not yet grown any Zantedeschia that reached more than perhaps 3′ tall.  But I have noticed our clumps, left in the garden last fall, bulking up this year.  In fact, I dug up several clumps which grew in pots last summer, and moved them out into the garden in late October.  What a welcome sight when they broke ground this spring!

These South African natives adapt well to our climate.  They aren’t invasive, so far as I know.

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Zantedeschia albomaculata, with white spots on its dark leaves, prefers moist soil and will even grow in a pot partially submerged in a bog garden or shallow pond.  It will grow to about 24″.  Zantedeschia aethiopica, with solid green leaves, grows a little taller.  And it also enjoys moist soil.  Although we normally think of Calla lily as a white flower, there are many named hybrids with flowers of various colors, including some of very dark maroon or purple.

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Zantedeschia emerging in early May. The first leaf tips emerged in late March.

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Zantedeschia grow well in pots or planted directly in the ground.  If you live north of Zone 7, you can bring the pots in when your weather turns, and keep them going indoors as house plants.  In fact, our local Trader Joe’s has proven a reliable source of potted Callas with bright flowers, ready for your patio or to be gifted to a friend on a special occasion.

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If you are looking for something elegant, simple, and different for your garden this year, you might try growing Calla lilies.  Deer leave these leaves alone.  Callas have crystals in their leaves, like other Aroids, which cause them to irritate an animal’s mouth.  Given sufficient moisture and sun, these elegant, yet easy perennials will happily fill your garden with beauty.

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Woodland Gnome 2017
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“I won’t regret,
because you can grow flowers
where dirt used to be.”
.
Kate Nash
~

 

Like other Aroids, the Zantedeschia ‘blossom’ consists of a spadix, surrounded by a modified leaf called a spathe. Seeds form in tiny berries along the spadix after the spathe falls away. This plant is very much like the Arum italicum, and the two plants may be grown side by side to give a full year’s worth of foliage and a longer season of flowers.

 

 

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Wednesday Vignettes: Green

The garden at Mossy Creek Pottery near Lincoln City, OR

The garden at Mossy Creek Pottery near Lincoln City, OR

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“Green is the prime color of the world,

and that from which its loveliness arises.”

.

Pedro Calderon de la Barca

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The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR in October

The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR in October

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“This life is yours.

Take the power to choose what you want to do

and do it well. Take the power to love

what you want in life and love it honestly.

Take the power to walk in the forest

and be a part of nature.

Take the power to control your own life.

No one else can do it for you.

Take the power to make your life happy.”


.

Susan Polis Schutz

~

The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR

The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR

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“I’d rather have roses on my table

than diamonds on my neck.”

.

Emma Goldman

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Late October rose in my own garden

Late October rose in our own garden

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“Live in each season as it passes;

breathe the air, drink the drink,

taste the fruit, and resign yourself

to the influence of the earth.”

.

Henry David Thoreau

~

Winema Wayfinding Point on the Coast Highway 101, Oregon

Winema Wayfinding Point on the Coast Highway 101, Oregon

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Herbs still blooming in our garden, late October

Herbs still blooming in our garden, late October

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“All we have, it seems to me,

is the beauty of art and nature and life,

and the love which that beauty inspires.”

.

Edward Abbey

october-24-2016-autumn-008

 

WPC: Mother Earth

May 6. 2016 garden 047

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“She is the creature of life, the giver of life,

and the giver of abundant love, care and protection.

Such are the great qualities of a mother.

The bond between a mother and her child

is the only real and purest bond in the world,

the only true love we can ever find in our lifetime.”

.

Ama H. Vanniarachchy

~

May 6. 2016 garden 018~

“Love is active, not passive.

It is our love for one another,

for Mother Earth, for our fellow creatures

that compels us to act on their behalf.”


.

Laurence Overmire

~

May 6. 2016 garden 044

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“But behind all your stories

is always your mother’s story,

because hers is where yours begins.”


.

Mitch Albom

~

May 6. 2016 garden 028

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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May 6. 2016 garden 026

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Earth

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Oregon Trip 2016 062

“Life is a walking, a journey.

So, if life upon Mother Earth is a journey, there are two ways to walk. We can choose to walk forward or we can choose to walk backward.

Forward Walking choices are rewarded with consequences that light the way to peace, happiness, joy, comfort, knowledge, and wisdom.

Backward Walking choices bring to the Two-Legged beings consequences of misery despair, and darkness.”

.

Anasazi Foundation

One Word Photo Challenge: Dry

April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 634

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“Well, if it can be thought, it can be done,

a problem can be overcome,”
.

E.A. Bucchianeri

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one-word-photo-challenge-badge~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 481

 

WPC: Broken

April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 318

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This broken concrete birdbath at the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy in Lincoln City, Oregon, was re-purposed as a planter for succulents.

Many succulents are shallow rooted and can grow in very thin soil, conserving water in their leaves and stem during dry periods.

More from the Connie Hansen Garden

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 317

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For The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

For this challenge, capture something broken: an old window,

a vintage sign, a toy never fixed, a contemplative friend.

Or go deeper: find beauty in something broken.

~

The Connie Hansen Garden

The Connie Hansen Garden

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

Back To My Garden

Siletz Bay, Oregon

Siletz Bay, Oregon

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I’m finally back to my own garden after a little more than a week enjoyed along the Oregon coast.

Arriving home this morning around 1 AM, I was delighted to find the Azaleas still vividly opening, the trees covered in bright new leaves, and the first of the golden bearded Iris in bloom.  Cannas have poked their first leaves up through the mulch, and the geraniums we brought out of winter storage just before I left have sprouted new leaves along their bare stems.

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"D" River State Park at sunset

“D” River State Park at sunset

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How wonderful to be back at home in my own garden!

The week in Oregon with family was a wonderful gift, and I enjoyed every minute of the trip.

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Siletz Bay, low tide

Siletz Bay, low tide

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Oregon is stunningly beautiful, especially along the coast.  This time, Ricki at Sprig to Twig  had tipped me off to visit the Connie Hanson Garden.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 647~

You will see many of the photos I took there over the next few days.  What a treasure of gorgeous Iris, Rhododendrons, ferns, Columbine, and countless other perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs gathered in a peaceful setting maintained by volunteers.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 639

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Some of you know the real reason for my trip, which centered on spending some extended quality time with a certain very little person who is happily learning to walk and do so many new things.

These precious first years are so special and fleeting.  Many of the photos I’ll share with you over the next few days were taken while also pushing a stroller and enjoying all of this amazing beauty with her.

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Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

Granddaughter and I enjoyed the Connie Hanson gardens together.

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This was my first trip to Oregon in April.  Oregon’s spring came early this year, after a very mild winter.  Still, the gardens along the coast are only a week or so ahead of ours at this point.  We’ve caught up quickly. 

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The garden across the street from our beach access stairs....

The garden across the street from our beach access stairs….

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Oregonians are tremendous gardeners.  The humblest little cottages have Rhododendrons and Callas, Azaleas, Iris, ferns and Rosemary in bloom in their tiny yards.  Abundant rain and a mild climate nurture such lush and vivid growth.  A simple drive to the grocery or the next town down the coast is filled with beautiful sights.

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Another gardener's garden along the way of our walks...

Another gardener’s garden along the way of our walks…

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A week with spotty Wi-Fi, a hand held tablet, and very full schedule precluded much posting to Forest Garden; but I checked in to read comments and see others’ blogs as I was able.  I wasn’t there long enough to adjust to PDT, and kept thinking (and living) dually in EDT and PDT.

Sleep wasn’t high on the agenda for the week.  But I watched every sunset and walked the beach every evening that weather permitted, fully aware that friends and family back in Virginia were approaching midnight as the last rays of daylight drained from the sky over the Pacific.

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Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

Monday evening, at nearly 9 PM, but I was on the deck enjoying this sunset.

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Bags unpacked, first dinner home cooked, cat groomed and photos downloaded; I’m settling in to home again.  My partner and I have admired the garden together, and my mental list of things to do in the garden keeps growing.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 418

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But a tender part of my heart remains on the Oregon coast, with a certain little someone who is blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

~

April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 610~

She can hear seals barking to one another from the beach, see whales swimming off the coast, fall asleep listing to the calls of sea birds, and grow up among the beautiful forests which cling to the mountains near her home.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 443~

While away, I took about a hundred photos a day.  And my heart took more still.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 511

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One of the most beautiful sights, which no camera could capture, was a golden sunset streaming through the clouds as we approached ORD last evening.  It was cool and rainy on the ground.  But on the approach, a tremendous vertical rainbow appeared in the clouds; a column of vivid color where the sun’s rays illuminated the interior of the clouds.

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Along the walk to the kids' play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

Along the walk to the kids’ play area at the aquarium in Newport, OR.

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The week has been about light and shadow, growth, rain, and new beginnings.  I hope you will enjoy sharing a bit of it with me.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in  April 662

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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