I wish you a thundercloud

June 19, 1937

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends. For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be. Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it. Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality. Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these. I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer. Ansel (Adams)

Creating a Garden Tapestry: Plant identification and photos from the class

Thanks again for such an incredibly warm welcome and kind comments from my day of presenting in Ft. Collins, at the High Plains Workshop. What a great crowd. And a crowd of gardeners!

I am late getting to this, but here are the main photos from the Creating a Garden Tapestry presentation, with the plants identified below the photos. If you don’t see something here, that you were looking for, please send me a note so I can keep looking and get you the information you need.

Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mountain penstemon) and California Poppy
Shasta Daisy 'Aglaia and unidentified yellow daylily
Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', achillea or yarrow 'Cornation Gold' , and I believe, there are a few blossoms of the tall evening primrose oenothera hookeri.

 

Achillea 'Apricot Delight' with Veronica spicata 'Red Fox
Digitalis ferruginea or Rusty Foxglove

Gomphrena 'Fireworks' and pink zinnia

Fruit of the Loom.

Or, what’s looming in my future.

Black Gilliflower. Ashmead’s Kernel. Spitzenberg. Coming to my door. Tomorrow. YESYESYES!

From Trees of Antiquity’s catalogue/description:

An old English russet apple, medium size, golden-brown skin with a crisp nutty snap. Fruit explodes with champagne-sherbet juice infused with a lingering scent of orange blossom. Flesh is dense, sugary and aromatic with intense flavor, characteristic of russets. The Ashmead’s Kernel is a winner of taste tests and displays some resistance to scab and cedar apple rust.

Bloom: Midseason
USDA Zone: 5,6,7,8,9
Pollination: Required
Fruit Storage: Excellent
Mature Size: Large
Ripens: Late
Uses: Fresh eating/ dessert, baking, juice/hard cider
Rootstock: Semidwarf
Size when shipped: 5/8 to 3/4 inch caliper (width around trunk)
Height prior to shipment: 6 ft.(trimmed to 5’when shipped)
Shape when shipped : Feathered (prominent side branching) and Whips (no branching)

And then there’s Black Gilliflower. Who knew you could describe an apple as “hangs well on a tree.” Huh? So do monkeys. But who cares. I can’t even remember WHY I ordered this, maybe the name spoke to me. Maybe I need something to hang well.

Large, conical ribbed apple becoming almost dark purple. Distinctive flavor, reminiscent of Spitzenburg, rich and sweet, with a relatively dry flesh. Hangs well on tree.

Bloom: Late
USDA Zone: 6,7,8,9
Pollination: Required
Fruit Storage: Good
Mature Size: Medium
Ripens: Very Late
Uses: Fresh eating/ dessert, cooking (puree, applesauce, apple butter)
Rootstock: Semidwarf
Size when shipped : 5/8 inch caliper (width around trunk)
Height prior to shipment: 5 ft
Shape when shipped: Feathered (prominent side branching)

Oh yes yes yes. And you probably know about Spitz. More tomorrow. 

Is Boise ID and the Treasure Valley truly a USDA Zone 7 Growing Area?

The  recent release of the revised USDA Zone Hardiness Map puts Boise in Zone 7A. I am going on record as ROFL (Rolling on the floor laughing). Anyone here experience the winter of 1990? Sure, it was 22 years ago. Minus 25 for days. Many days. OK, I understand that  is the exception to the rule, but let me tell you this: be prepared to lose most Z7 plants every few years. If you can afford that, by all means, go right ahead. If you don’t mind hauling plants in and out or covering them during a cold snap, by all means, have at it. I stand by my recommendation that expensive  specimen plants and trees should be able to go withstand a Z5 winter. Yes, I do. 
I wrote to Scott Dorval, one of the valley’s true meteorologists, to get his take on this. Here it is (reprinted w/his permission).
While some of the record lows in Boise are frigid Boise does not go below zero that often. Boise did go below zero in Dec 2009 but that was the first time since 1998. From 1973-1993 Boise went below zero 15 out of 20 of those years. In the last 20 years Boise went to zero or below 5 of 20 of those years.
You can get specific monthly and daily records at :  http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=boi
1)click  Preliminary Monthly Climate Data (CF6
2) click Boise or any location offered
3) click  Archived Data:
These will only go back 5 years or so.
You can also get lots of other Boise climatic data at:
Here is a the Boise “below zero” data that comes from the above link:
              Number of Days Minimum Temperature <= 0 F             

monthly/annual lows in parentheses
length of record in brackets

            November  December  January   February       Annual

 1879-80       0       1(-4)       0         0          1(-4) 

 1880-81       0         0         0         0            0 
 1881-82       0         0         0         0            0
 1882-83       0       1(-4)     7(-27)    7(-12)      15(-27)
 1883-84       0         0         0       4(-8)        4(-8)
 1884-85       0       1(-3)     2(-7)       0          3(-7)

 1885-86       0         0       1(-1)       0          1(-1)
 1886-87       0         0         0         0            0
 1887-88       0         0      14(-28)      0         14(-28)
 1888-89       0         0         0         0            0  
 1889-90       0         0       7(-12)      0          7(-12)

 1890-91       0         0         0         0            0   
 1891-92       0         0         0         0            0
 1892-93       0         0         0         0            0
 1893-94       0         0       2(-1)       0          2(-1)
 1894-95       0         0         0         0            0

 1895-96       0         0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1896-97       0 w+      0         0         0            0
 1897-98       0 c       0 c       0 c       0 c          0
 1898-99       0 c       0 c       0 c     4(-9) c      4(-9)
 1899-00       0 c-      0 w       0 w       0 w          0

 1900-01       0 w+      0         0         0            0
 1901-02       0 w+      0 c       0 c     4(-8) c      4(-8) 
 1902-03       0 w       0 w       0 w       0 w          0
 1903-04       0 c       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1904-05       0 w-      0 w+      0 w+    1(-2) w+     1(-2) 

 1905-06       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1906-07       0 c+      0 c-      0 c-      0 c-         0
 1907-08       0         0         0         0            0
 1908-09       0 c+      0 w-      0 w-      0 w-         0 
 1909-10       0 c       0 c+    5(-8) c+    0 c+       5(-8)

 1910-11       0 c+      0 c       0 c       0 c          0
 1911-12       0 w+      0 w+    2(-5) w+    0 w+       2(-5)
 1912-13       0 w-      0 w       0 w       0 w          0
 1913-14       0 w+      0 w-      0 w-      0 w-         0
 1914-15       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0

 1915-16       0 w     1(-2) c-  1(-2) c-    0 c-       2(-2) 
 1916-17       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1917-18       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1918-19       0 w-      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1919-20       0 w     5(-7) w-    0 w-      0 w-       5(-7)

 1920-21       0         0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1921-22       0 c+    5(-10) c+   0 c+      0 c+       5(-10)
 1922-23       0 c     1(-2) c     0 c       0 c        1(-2)
 1923-24       0 w+      0 w-      0 w-      0 w-         0 
 1924-25       0 c+   11(-18) c+   0 c+      0 c+      11(-18)

 1925-26       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1926-27       0 c-    1(-3) c-  2(-2) c-    0 c-       3(-3)
 1927-28       0 w-      0         0         0            0  
 1928-29       0 c+      0 c+    1(-7) c+  2(-1) c+     3(-7)
 1929-30       0 c     6(-17) c+   0 c+      0  c+      6(-17)

 1930-31       0         0         0         0            0
 1931-32       0 c-      0 w-      0 w-      0 w-         0
 1932-33       0 w-     5(-7) w-   0 w-    4(-13) w-    9(-13)
 1933-34       0 c-      0 c       0 c       0 c          0     
 1934-35       0         0 c-    1(-6) c-    0 c-       1(-6)

 1935-36       0 c       0         0       2(-3)        2(-3)
 1936-37       0 w-      0 c-    5(-14) c-   0 c-       5(-14)
 1937-38       0         0 c       0 c       0 c          0
 1938-39       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1939-40       0 c       0 w       0 w       0 w          0 

 1940-41       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1941-42       0 w+     1(0) w+  6(-13) w+   0 w+       7(-13)
 1942-43       0 c       0 c+    2(-10) c+   0 c+       2(-10)
 1943-44       0 c       0 w-      0 w-      0 w-         0
 1944-45       0 c-      0 c-      0 c-      0 c-         0

 1945-46       0 c-      0         0         0            0
 1946-47       0 w       0 w     3(-10) w    0 w        3(-10)
 1947-48       0 c       0         0         0            0
 1948-49       0       1(0) w-   9(-7) w-    0 w-      10(-7)
 1949-50       0       1(-1) c+  2(-17) c+ 3(-10) c+    6(-17)

 1950-51       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1951-52       0 w+      0 c+    1(-2) c+    0 c+       1(-2)
 1952-53       0         0 w       0 w       0 w          0
 1953-54       0 w       0         0         0            0
 1954-55       0 c-      0 c       0 c       0 c          0

 1955-56     1(-3) c+    0 c+    2(-5) c+  2(-6) c+     5(-6)
 1956-57       0 c+      0 c-    5(-9) c-    0 c-       5(-9) 
 1957-58       0 w       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1958-59       0         0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0 
 1959-60       0 c       0 c-    2(-4) c-    0 c-       2(-4)

 1960-61       0 c-      0         0         0            0
 1961-62       0 c-      0 c+    5(-12) c+   0 c+       5(-12)
 1962-63       0 c+      0 c     3(-7) c     0 c        3(-7)
 1963-64       0 w+      0 w       0 w       0 w          0
 1964-65       0 c+      0         0         0            0

 1965-66       0 w+      0 w       0 w       0 w          0
 1966-67       0         0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0 
 1967-68       0         0 c-      0 c-      0 c-         0
 1968-69       0         0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1969-70       0 w       0 w       0 w       0 w          0

 1970-71       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1971-72       0 c+      0 c-      0 c-      0 c-         0
 1972-73       0 w+   10(-23) w+   0 w+      0 w+      10(-23)
 1973-74       0 c+      0 c+    4(-5) c+    0 c+       4(-5)
 1974-75       0 c+      0       2(-5)       0          2(-5)

 1975-76       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+         0
 1976-77       0         0 w-    5(-14) w-   0 w-       5(-14)
 1977-78       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+        0
 1978-79       0       3(-9)     7(-12)    3(-12)      13(-12)
 1979-80       0         0         0       4(-7)        4(-7)

 1980-81       0         0         0         0            0
 1981-82       0         0 c     5(-10) c   2(0) c      7(-10)
 1982-83       0 w+    1(0) w+   2(-2) w+    0  w+      3(-2)
 1983-84       0 c-    6(-18)    5(-13)      0         11(-18)
 1984-85       0       4(-6)     2(-7)     4(-12)      10(-12)

 1985-86       3(-3)    20(-9)     0         0         23(-9)
 1986-87       0 w-      0 w+      0 w+    1(0) w+      1(0)
 1987-88       0 w       0 w-      0 w-    3(-2) w-     3(-2)
 1988-89       0 c+      0 c+    1(-4) c+  8(-15) c+    9(-15)
 1989-90       0 c-      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0

 1990-91       0 w-      8(-25) w+ 6(-12)    0         14(-25)
 1991-92       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+         0
 1992-93       0 w       0 w+    1(0) w+     0 w+        1(0)
 1993-94       0 w     1(0)        0         0           1(0)
 1994-95       0 w+      0 w       0 w       0 w           0

 1995-96       0         0 c-      0 c-      0 c-          0           
 1996-97       0         0         0         0             0     
 1997-98       0 w+      0 w+      0 w+      0 w+          0 
 1998-99       0         2 c+      0 c+      0 c+        2(-2) 
 1999-00       0 c       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+          0

 2000-01       0         0         0         0             0
 2001-02       0         0         0         0             0
 2003-04       0 w       0 w       0 w       0 w           0 
 2004-05       0 w       0 w       0 w       0 w           0
 2005-06       0         0         0         0             0

 2006-07       0 w+      0 w+      0 w       0             0
 2007-08       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+          0 
 2008-09       0         0         0 c-      0 c           0
 2009-10       0         4 w       0 w+      0 w           4
 2010-11       0 c+      0 c+      0 c+      0 c+          0

totals         3[131]   96[131]  132[131]   64[131]      292[131]

averages       .02       0.7      1.0        0.5          2.2

Superbowl Sunday. For bulbs.

So, while many folks are all spooled up for the Superbowl, I was busy outside, in the sunshine, potting up a whole bunch of bulbs. I had great success last year when I discovered dozens of tulips lurking in the garage – in February. I planted them in the big pots on the patio, mulched them well, watered them in, and shazam!!!..they were gorgeous.

So, this year I ordered bulbs for planting in patio pots: the allium karataviense to go w/the iris Eye of the Tiger. The purple crocus are now underplanted beneath a Tiger Eye sumac. Carmine and Black Parrot tulips fill up the tall pots on the front porch. Stay tuned.