Merry Christmas and so long to 2015

Well, this year has been an eventful one. The bananas have grown larger than ever, the tree dahlias taller and stronger, and brugmansias have been killer this year! We had an extremely early and warm growing season, and the garden has never been more lush. The frost showed up right on schedule, and the past few weeks have seen the annual browning of what was once a green and colorful landscape. Which reminds me… I need to work on my collection of evergreens.

We haven’t had any snow this year, but the rest of the PNW has had a good start to a snowy winter. While I work on planning for what’s next for the garden (and continue cleaning up) it’s nice to take a break once in a while. This December we took a trip up to Spokane in northern Washington state. In my plant-geek world, there is one thing in this town that can’t be missed around Christmas; the Gaiser Conservatory at Manito Park.

Recently re-planted, it houses plants that inspired me to get into the plant hobby world. It has changed much since I first started visiting, and since I lived in Spokane. Not quite as much of a jungle as it used to be, it is still impressive. As a nice celebration of the holidays, Christmas lights are strung up and around the plants, trees and cacti in the greenhouse.

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Some of the bananas have lights in them! I would guess that the lack of branches or anything low on the stems would make it difficult to hang lights from them.

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The Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops spp) has purple lights in it. I am not a fan of Christmas lights in plants, but for just a week a year it’s a nice bit of holiday cheer.

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One of the greenhouse’s claims to fame is the 106 year old Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), which very appropriately blooming right now.

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The cacti house is probably the easiest area to put lights up, and the most difficult to remove. Apparently is take 2 staff members almost 3 weeks to completely put up all the lights in the conservatory. I bet it takes just as long to remove them from the cacti!

I am busy planning for the next few years in the garden. Even I won’t recognize it when it’s done!

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