Size isn’t important

The rumors of my dead garden are greatly exaggerated.

In point of fact I DO have actual blooms still. They tend to be somewhat small.

cyclamenHere, for example, is a clump of cyclamen. It is one of those plants who every year forget to set their alarm clocks and almost totally miss summer but then they appear from Nowhere and suddenly rush to grow in the nick of time just before frosts.

They are small and brave, with pretty leaves and butterfly-looking blooms, and they volunteer in difficult places from which I rescue them.

LinariaLinaria will re-bloom for me if I remember to hack back– I mean snip– the earlier flowers. (This image is of today’s re-bloom.) I love this plant, with it’s snap-dragon type blossoms in soft pink not hot pink– I try to avoid hot pink.

Linaria & wallflowerHere is a whole Linaria plant, growing with wallflowers in a picture I took yesterday but I took it from the Time Machine after I set the flux capacitor to July. You can see that Linaria stands up, a priceless virtue in a blooming plant or so I feel. It also volunteers politely, for your transplanting enjoyment.

fairy roseThe deer have been hard on my roses. Which is understatement, quite like saying a 9.0 Richter scale earthquake was hard on the wine glasses in the china cupboard. But the little Fairy Roses escaped the deer, and are blooming again, and for this I forgive them all the falling over they did in the summer rain.

cobaea vine

The Cobaea continues, with not-so-small blooms but hardly any.  Mostly it has miles of vines dense with billions of leaves. When it dies in winter I don’t know how I will ever get the vine off the trellis, and I don’t envision putting another there next year. No, I believe one of the clematis cuttings will be in that spot. See, I am planning.

Himalayan maidenhair fernThere might be tons more things blooming, or there might not.  But the tour is moving on now, don’t get behind.  Here is the frothy Himalayan maidenhair fern…

It spreads by rhizomes, slowly, and creates a delicate ground cover. I’m thinking of moving starts of it to some other beds. (Note: Moving plants has been shown to be a sign of mental health. I read that somewhere.)

oak fern

Here is another short fern (6″ tall) that spreads cheerfully from rhizomes, a native plant called an Oak Fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris).  It grows easily in woodland places and gets five stars on the Adorable Groundcover Scale. It’s deciduous so you have to keep track of it in winter.

Licorice fern

When the fall rains return so does the Licorice Fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza), another Oregon native. (The rhizomes are said to taste like licorice but I hate licorice so I haven’t actually sampled it. A Chocolate Fern would be a whole other kettle of whipped cream, but I don’t have one of those.) This fern grows fronds up from the ground like grass. It lives in moss and damp ground and on mossy tree limbs and stumps. I don’t believe it bothers the live trees, at least not the ones at my house, like the oak tree in the next picture.

Licorice fern in oak

The Licorice Fern unfurls just when everything else is dying, and it stays green all winter, so really it’s quite a relief to have around.

Licorice fern in the park

It can grow like grass in the right place. The picture above was taken along the park trails where Max and I walk sometimes.

licorice fern on oak limb

It grows in damp shady places and on healthy limbs and dying stumps, with mosses and shadows and among odd mystical woodland creatures like maybe faeries and…fauns. (I haven’t actually seen either in my gardens yet but Grace definitely has faeries and Kininvie is getting some fauns soon I think.)


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in Pacific Northwest native plants and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Size isn’t important

  1. I love the pale pink Linaria I have only seen it in purple before (in fact it is regarded round these parts as a weed).

    • linniew says:

      I could imagine the pink Linaria might naturalize. But it is easily removed, so I can’t imagine it being a problem in gardens. I won’t tell it what you said Elaine.

  2. Grace says:

    So far they’ve eluded the Garden Cat, so all is well on that score. However, I sure wish I could get the likes of Smith & Hawkin to manufacture a line of Faerie secateurs. My lilliputian residents keep employing that hackneyed SIZE excuse to avoid their garden duties. So my secateurs are slightly larger, adapt!

    I love your ferns. There is a cinnamon fern but it could hardly compare with a chocolate fern. If you discover one, please let me know! Diets be damned. Love your flowers. The Fairy rose photo is yummy. I grew Cup and Saucer vine ONCE. 🙂

    • linniew says:

      Grace I think you should get the faeries some manicure scissors and that might solve the problem. I may have a cinnamon fern (very furry looking and low to the ground?) but still seeking a chocolate type, maybe one with fruit. Looks like I will have grown the cup and saucer just once in my life too…

  3. Roberta says:

    Cyclamen has always been a favorite of mine. Planting it here would surely be a death sentence for such a precious thing. I don’t have the heart. And the ferns. That’s what I think about when I think Oregon or Washington – green, verdant, soft deep humus. All of it. Everything we don’t have here.

  4. Bridget Foy says:

    Love the Ferns pics…I have a fascination with Ferns…just love em. When I go on the daily walks I am always observing Ferns in the damp shady hedgerows here. Some of the oldest plants on this Planet!

    • linniew says:

      I plant ferns in my gardens more and more Bridget. I love the big native sword ferns, and if you water them at all they will grow most anyplace. Actually they even grow in the dry ground under evergreens, and in ditches along the road, but they are bigger and prettier with water. Ferns are the low growth of the woods, down at people level with the wild flowers (unless they are growing in trees) — just the best. But then I like caves and campfires too.

  5. The Linaria is gorgeous and I love the rose!
    PS: Thank you for your caring and lovelty comment you left me on my blog. Please know that it touched me and meant a lot to me.

  6. b-a-g says:

    Linnie – Shame about the cobaea, it’s my favourite photo. I do like its deep purple bells and wiggly stamens.

    • linniew says:

      I love the blooms too. And if I hadn’t watered it so much it probably would have been less vine and more flowers. Maybe another year. But I am semi-desperate for clematis locations now, and I think that trellis is a fine one.

  7. Indie says:

    The linaria is so pretty!
    I love the ferns. Ferns and moss make a magical combination in the woods.. who knows what magical creatures might be drawn to them..

  8. Alistair says:

    Linnie, I also have a great distaste for licorice, but I do like all the little things in your garden.

  9. kininvie says:

    I see you are capitalising on the success of your inflatable banana to attract further – um – ‘adult readers’ to your blog through suggestive titles. It is a worthy mission, Linnie, since it is no doubt healthier to worry about the size of your sunflowers (for example) than about the size of other things. After all, we can do more about the sunflowers than we can about the other things (although my spam folder would disagree). So I hope you will give your new readers some good advice…..

    For the dead stuff on your trellis, I commend the use of a ‘weed wand’ (effectively a blowtorch on the end of a stick). Useless to control weeds, but perfect for lighting bonfires and burning anything you don’t like the look of. Your trellis may become slightly charred, but that will enhance its rustic look.

    We need an update on the clematis cuttings. How will you overwinter them? Will they survive? Have they got any ROOTS?

    I’ll post some photos of my fauns once they arrive. I’d rather have a nymph or two, to be honest.

    • linniew says:

      Well you are in a fine mood today Kininvie. Now I see why your relatives must keep watch and really I wonder that they let you out at all…

      The blowtorch idea is interesting, but I fear the green cobaea vines could endure more heat than could the bamboo trellis, or the wood house siding behind the trellis for that matter, so it’s really not the best solution I am afraid. (Although it has been a difficult painting project, I am not inclined to burn the house, especially with the rain coming.)

      The clematis cuttings are just fine. I have transplanted them to gallon pots (for all the ROOTS) and they will spend a luxurious winter basking in the unfrozen comfort of the greenhouse until spring, when I will plant them out someplace, like in front of the bamboo trellis, and they will dazzle us all with their blooms, which I shall photograph incessantly.

      Probably the fauns won’t show up unless you get some nymphs too.

  10. Alberto says:

    Wow I always badly envy your ferns… especially those growing all in a row, like little indians, don’t you feel a little menaced when they round you like that??
    Nice cyclamen, here they flower earlier, I love their smell.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Alberto
      I am today quite vexed from dealing with Kininvie but I will try to write something reasonable to you anyway. You two aren’t plotting against me are you? Yes I suppose that circle of ferns looks like it’s closing in, but it is not nearly as threatening to me as, for example, Walmart or Bank of America.

      Cyclamen are fragrant? Now you can enjoy knowing I will be down on the wet ground trying to smell the cyclamen flowers today. And they better be fabulous. (OK I’m still vexed. It’s all Kininvie’s fault.)

      • kininvie says:

        Vexed? I can’t think why – unless of course I rumbled your secret plan. But they say you should speak truth to power, no? As I said, I think it is an admirable mission – and I intend to ride on your coat-tails with my forthcoming post on my big banana and where I intend to plant it….

        But I don’t believe you are vexed at my pointing out the very obvious purpose of your title. No, what really vexes you is my harping (again) on the subject of your clematis cuttings. It has not gone unremarked that you spoke with some pride of your gallon pots, but refused to confirm the actual presence of ROOTS when you were doing the transplanting. I am sure that if there HAD been any, you would have a taken a photograph with which to flabbergast your jealous readers…..I look forward to seeing it, at which point I shall grovel in a very seemly fashion

        • linniew says:

          All unvexed by the lovely sunny day. Lucky Kininvie! And I like the idea that I have power, very nice.

          Really it kind of seems like fruits and vegetables have been the source of many of our differences. I recall the prune vs. plum conflict, and then there were the pumpkins vs. turnips incidents… Or are you just mad because I never mailed you a corn dog?

          Which bring us to the plush banana. This has to do with my post about the State Fair where I included a photo of a fair booth and the festive colorful large innocent unsuggestive plush bananas that were the carnival prizes in that booth. A lot of people seem to be searching online for these unusual prizes now, maybe to give to their grandparents for Christmas or something, and they find my blog by mistake. That is my entire involvement in this issue. (Inflatable?)

          Now, it has not gone unremarked that you are trying to trick me into killing my clematis plants. They are growing, which implies that they have roots. It is almost irresistibly tempting to sacrifice one just to see you grovel but I have no doubt you would find escape in a loophole from 1750 Scottish law, so no.

          • kininvie says:

            Ah, As I thought. No proof. Did I not warn you about the ability of Clematis cuttings to delude you ad infinitum? We will defer this challenge until Spring, and THEN we shall see….

              • linniew says:

                Hello Alberto
                Yesterday I discovered that the cyclamen in my garden have no fragrance. But even that doesn’t make me write odd incomprehensible possibly negative single words on YOUR blog. Oh it’s okay, I like a good mystery.

                • kininvie says:

                  So you DID get down on your knees in the damp to smell the cyclamen? Even a short session with Mr Google would have informed you that, of the hardy cyclamen, only c.purpurascens is fragrant, while c.hederifolium (which is almost certainly what is in your photo) is not. Nice one, Alberto!

                  Incidentally, I think Alberto has outed you as a fan of Heavy Metal: See

                  • linniew says:

                    Hi Kininvie
                    I’ve done some careful research. My cyclamen is actually Bicyclamen, very rare, and only fragrant on Tuesdays. Right now I have a huge bouquet of it on the kitchen table and the perfume is intoxicating. (I can actually hear you composing that wine remark in your mind so just stop it.) Regarding Alberto’s word “scorbutics” –I looked it up online and there weren’t any definitions that took it out of the category of non sequitur so far as I could fathom. Perhaps Alberto will explain it eventually. But my goodness, that band of yours Kininvie (who knew you were a groupie?) has horrific lyrics…Well I was going to quote some but you know this is a wholesome blog, not The Walking Dead homepage.

                    • Alberto says:

                      Ops I’m sorry girls, sometimes google translator plays tricks on me…
                      Scorbutic is a disease but the word is also used referring to a bad-tempered person, here in Italy I mean. I did not know I wasn’t the same in English.
                      So no reference to any scary movie or scary band! Just your scary temper! 🙂

                    • linniew says:

                      Oh well that helps. Thanks Alberto. I can’t speak for Kininvie (he is difficult to analyze) but personally I am well-tempered (like the clavier, not that I am a Bach fan) most of the time. My humor can get edgy occasionally — I shall try to keep an eye on that.

  11. I have also realized that there is plenty to appreciate in my garden if I only look. You have some very beautiful blooms giving us that last burst before the cold sets in. And I wish I could take a tour of that fairy hideout…excellent!

  12. Fay says:

    Glad your gardens not really dead. I dobt own any black. Love the fern. Indeed like little Indians. We had a cup and saucer vine in the greenhouse. Loved it, no washing up, plentiful supply as it was quite vigorous, sounds like you are too kind to yours, mines thrived on drought and neglect. Spoil the cobea and it will only give you leaves ungrateful wretch that it is.

  13. Grace says:

    Hi Linnie, I want to use your yeller-jacket photo. I’m partially blind and don’t see an email address for you so I’m making my request here. Of course, I would gladly credit you and link to your site. If this is okay, please email me Thank you.

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