A Life of Varied Endeavors

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Hardy Fern Foundation at the NWFGS – Pyrrosia

Pyrrosia

Pyrrosia

I’m a member of the Hardy Fern Foundation (www.hardyferns.org).  Not an “academic” member, just a fan of ferns.  I don’t know why!  My true fan status began a few years ago when we did a major garden remodel, and I was working on the design and the choice of plants.  Through other associations –Northwest Horticultural Society (www.northwesthort.org), classes at the Elizabeth Miller Garden (www.millergarden.org) in Seattle–, research, and events, I got a little closer to developing a thing for ferns.

As a member of the Hardy Fern Foundation, I had the opportunity to staff the HFF booth at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show last week.  This show is always like a breath of fresh air in the middle of winter.  (Did you know it’s been freezingly cold, snowing, and now downpouring around here for the last couple of weeks, with more on the way? So much for the blue skies we enjoyed at the beginning of the month.)

Hardy Fern Foundation booth at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2011

Hardy Fern Foundation booth at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show 2011

The NWFGS was wonderful as usual, but I was surprised to be treated to a special display of pyrrosia’s in the HFF booth!  These ferns are a little bit different, somewhat rare and expensive, and perhaps not everybody’s cup of tea.  These pyrrosia’s were part of Richie Steffen’s personal collection, and I really enjoyed spending a few hours with them.   If you are unfamiliar with them, here are some pictures.

Pyrrosia lingua 'Futaba Shishi'

Pyrrosia lingua 'Futaba Shishi'

Pyrrosia 'Kei Kan' P1010847

Pyrrosia 'Kei Kan' P1010847

Pyrrosia polydactyla 'fingered felt fern'

Pyrrosia polydactyla 'fingered felt fern'

Pyrossia 'Tochiba Koryu'

Pyrossia 'Tochiba Koryu'

And here is a picture of our roof on the same day, with the confluence of seasons: little mounds of receding snow on spring’s burgeoning moss.  Perhaps ‘spring’ is an overstatement.

little mounds of remaining snow and moss on our roof

Little Mounds of Remaining Snow and Moss on Our Roof

Reds: glass vase and a new wheelbarrow

The sun was shining in through the French doors today, and giving sparkling illumination to a vase with some dried flowers from our garden (brought in before the first snow in November – they are saved to remind me of the last chance we had to get flowers in.)  I was captivated.

Red Etched Glass Vase

Red Etched Glass Vase

Hard to believe, but on this same day we finally got a new wheelbarrow.  Our old and trusty wheelbarrow has more than 25 years of experience, and was a little worse for wear.  It had some holes in the bottom patched with duct tape, a significant crease on the front edge, and over the years had become a little unstable –such that I sometimes had to straddle the handles to keep it upright while shoveling from it.  When I forgot, and it fell over and a whole load of mulch, or weeds, or something, spilled out of it, I never blamed the wheelbarrow – just me for forgetting.

 

A couple of years ago, we started looking for a replacement.  None to be found.  They were either too big or simply non-existent.  Like many things these days, I guess you can only buy them “in season”.

 We were sitting in the house the other day and heard a loud pop – almost like a bird hitting the window, but we knew it wasn’t.  Later, David was working outside, and discovered what the pop was.  The tire on our wheelbarrow had simply exploded – a large gash showing on its perimeter.  Needless to say, searching for a replacement tire, or even a new wheelbarrow, was an adventure.  A new tire was available only at Ace Hardware, about $25.  A new wheel with tire was available for $32 at Lowes and Home Depot, and a new wheelbarrow was available at Lowes and Home Depot (the same wheelbarrow) for $35.95.  But at least there was finally a wheelbarrow of the right size: 4cu.ft.  The only thing was, it was plastic. We didn’t think that would hold up in the long run (say, another 25 years.)  So we went back to Ace Hardware where David thought he had seen another wheelbarrow, but where he knew there was a tire. 

We were totally pleased to finally find a 4cu.ft. METAL wheelbarrow, for $37.95 ($36.95 self-assembled.)  Though we like the idea of repairing and spending less money, we were amazed at the cost of repairing versus buying a whole new wheelbarrow.  We bought the new (and assembled it).  It’s red and shiny, and balanced differently; you have to bend down quite a bit lower to reach the handles. We haven’t used it enough yet to fall in love with it, but I hope we’re set for the next couple of decades!

Our New and Old Wheelbarrows

Our New and Old Wheelbarrows

I used to hate red.  I’m finally making friends with it, little bits at a time.  “Little bits” is one of the keys!

The Cascades – 20 minutes east in February

We don’t often get spectacularly sunny days in the middle of winter around here, and people in my line of work usually have to ignore them even when they do happen. This time it was too good to pass up.

Blue Sky, Cascades, February!

Blue Sky, Cascades, February!

There was an opportunity today – it’s cold and bright and sunny. Yesterday as I drove home from Mercer Island, I saw the snow-cappped Cascades, and got a strong desire to go for a drive towards the mountains for a few minutes.  What a delight! It’s easy to forget what a beautiful place we live in. The sky was a brilliant blue.

South Fork Snoqualmie

South Fork Snoqualmie

For some personal history and remembering, we drove though a development that David worked on when the houses were being built, say 10 years ago (?). It’s still  beautiful, tucked in the woods, and the homes and landscaping look well cared for. 

We went east on I-90 as far as the exit to the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Ice on some rivulets and roadside rock walls. We saw what we think was some serious beaver work on some trees near a collection pond. The river was very pretty, though in the shade. The moss was bright green and thick on many trees near Preston; there were ferns that we wouldn’t see in mid-summer.  I think they were licorice ferns (Polypodium glycyrrhiza).   All together a great break from sitting at the computer.

Ice in a Rivulet

Ice in a Rivulet

Did a beaver do this?

Did a beaver do this?

ferns in winter - dormant in summer

These ferns are dormant in the summer, I think.