Happening Now in the Garden:
May 31, 2010

by Eric Shalit | May 31st, 2010

The hummingbird infestation continues. Watching them and photographing them are two different matters. I’m sure they’re toying with me. Today I saw a sand-colored one, or was it two, or three. They’re here, there, and everywhere within moments. One was just sitting on a branch looking at me. When I attempted to take its photo it zoomed away.

So, here are a few other images from today. Even my favorite specimens seem dull compared to the hummingbird-infested Embothrium coccineum (Chilean Firebush).

This is Salix Magnifica, the Magnificent Willow, from Szechuan province of China. It has the largest leaves of any willow. Its leaves look more like those of a Magnolia. The catkins on the male tree point up while those of the female point down. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Here are some new shoots of Phyllostachys aureosulcata 'Yellow Groove Bamboo'. Some people are afraid of bamboo, to which I say "Fear not the bamboo!".

Here's how some of the culms grow. Growth is rapid, particularly on warm days, when the bamboo can grow a foot or more. The new growth is still soft and pliable, and the culm bends under its own weight. It likely hardens during the night. The next day the new growth grows toward the light, turning upward. This happens throughout the growing period, resulting in multiple zig-zags on the same culm. Not every new culm will do this and most types of bamboo never do it.

This is a Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei in bloom. These are 100% hardy here in Seattle where they have been grown for 100 years. This is the most reliable of all the palms in terms of cold hardiness. They are an essential part of the tropicalistic style of gardening we can achieve here in the Pacific Northwest. The most palm-crazy subtropical gardeners I know live in British Columbia. Are we over-compensating for the long dark winters we endure? You betcha!

This Golden Hops is so gorgeous. It's a shame I'll be cutting it down before it smothers the Hebe and Amelanchier it's climbing up. The dried hops flowers are used for making beer. This is one vigorous vine.

As Casey Stengel once may have said, "If you look, you will observe things". I take that advice to heart. While climbing a ladder in yet another failed attempt at capturing the graven image of a hummingbird, I spied a group of crows chasing their mortal enemy, the American Bald Eagle. The eagles are notorious nest robbers.

Here's a glimpse of that new hummingbird I've been chasing.

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One Response to “Happening Now in the Garden:
May 31, 2010”

  1. DOUG says:

    NICE PICS LOVE THE SALIX,HAVE’NT run in to that one yet.It looks like your an even bigger plant geek than me!When I figure out how to post pictures I’ll post some on the N.W. gardening forum