A-Z Done

Happy May Day!  The weather is gorgeous and the A-Z Challenge is over.  Just in time.  I have been neglecting the gardens to find time to write.  It is time to get out there and get everything ready to go as Mother’s Day is almost here. (Rule of thumb, as you might remember, is don’t plant till after Mother’s Day; though,some years I question that and think it should be after Fourth of July).

Now I understand why it took me a year to decide to try this A-Z Challenge again.  I love it and have met more great people through it.  The down side is I tend to rebel against anything I feel I have to do; like house work, for example.  The hardest part was to stay on the letters of the alphabet and the theme at the same time.  My mind seems to be the wandering sort and before you know it I would would forget to write about the first five  apple blossoms in the tree I planted and be thinking about alligators or armadillos.

Hope you enjoyed the walk around Mist Mountain.

Through this whole month I have also been working on the Mary Magdalene workshop and have almost completed my latest one.  Here she is (subject to a few more changes):




What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

z with words

And last but not least, Zinnias.  Lots of colors, supposedly easy to grow.  I have trouble growing them from seed but always try anyway.  Eventually, if I really want some, I will go and buy starts.  From that point on they seem to need little care and I usually intermix them and marigolds.

So ,once again, I planted some seeds yesterday, and in a few weeks I will buy a flat of starts and replant, because it is now at this moment, not misting but pouring buckets and will probably drown my seeds.

Zinnia, Thumbelina Mix, , large  zinniz


What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

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Yarrow apparently comes in many colors.  Here it is yellow.

'Moonshine' yarrow

I haven’t had any for  a while.  I did find both pink and white varieties and may plant them this year for variety.

So, I’ll push my alphabetic limits again.  I found Yellow Skunk Cabbage listed and we do have that. Lots of it. Down at our pond.  It is one of the signs of spring around here.  Apparently you can buy it at nurseries.  Why I am not sure as it grows rampant in this very wet country. Oh, and the reason it is called Skunk cabbage is that it stinks. That is probably the reason it has no listed pests or diseases.

LYSICHITON americanus



What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

x with words

Okay, so we are getting close to the end of the alphabet and I am running out of pertinent ideas.  I had to go online to see if there was something I might have overlooked.

Wonderweirded-wildlife.com/    lists these x flowers.

  • Xanthorrhoea –  grows in Australia, looks cool, don’t have.Xanthorrhoea semiplana - Anstey Hill.JPG
  • Xenia – seems to be a  marine coral, not growing any of that
  • Xeranthemum – member of the sunflower family, beautiful, purple, don’t have Xeranthemum Mix
  • Xique-Xique – oh no, definitely not here on Mist Mountain Xique-Xique (Pilosocereus  gounellei)
  • Xylosma – 100 species of shrubs including brush hollies, so maybe a possibility, but didn’t research every one, this one grows in Hawaii, so I suspect not here Starr 060225-6165 Xylosma hawaiiense.jpg
  • Xylosteon – Nope
  • Xyris difformis – grows East of the Mississippi Index

Don’t think I have any of them.  But I learned a lot.  At least Phlox ends in X and some years I have that.



Winter Thyme

What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

w with words

The winter thyme truly does grow in the winter.  It dies back some but you can always find at least a few sprigs of green.  It is called a ground cover many times.  I think it would be lovely planted between the rocks or bricks on a path so you could smell it as you walked.

In the kitchen thyme goes into almost everything, and adds a Mediterranean, old world flair.

There is also some wintergreen mint in the garden, but this month it is still just brown sticks.  The peppermint is getting some green leaves but the wintergreen seems to be a little more wimpy if you can describe any mint as wimpy.  But it does take longer to  leaf out and it usually fades away faster and grows slower than the other mints.



What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

v in words

Violets are like pansies, a little bit of bright intensive color where you least expect it, unobtrusive but startlingly there.  They are easy to grow and prolific and out of fashion most of the time.  Pansies and primroses seem to be what you find at the market instead.

Another friend was cleaning out her garden beds and splitting things so I was lucky to get my hands on some beautiful violets to start in my own garden.  I hope they survive and multiply.  Then I can divide them again and put them around the yard in surprising spots for them to keep on surprising me with those lovely purple colors.


The Unknown

What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

u with words

The unknown, the unpredictable, the untouched umbrella.  That’s April.  The untouched umbrella is just a way of life in the Pacific Northwest.  People just don’t use them.  We carry them around, make sure one is in the car, but by the time the perfect opportunity comes around that there is no wind, and we are not in a hurry, and maybe a child is getting sopped we have forgotten that we have one at hand.  Here we just keep moving.  Nothing gets cancelled, just rearranged.  There is almost a back up plan for just in case it rains, because the odds are huge.

The unknown and the unpredictable apply to everything, especially in April.  Gardening is a guessing game every year.  It is not something for the light of heart.  What worked “last time” will not necessarily work “this time”.  The temperatures fluctuate hour by hour, day by day.  Germination?  Who knows.  My master gardener friends and I laugh at the predicted germination on the back of the seed packets.  We have a running dialogue about how many times we had to plant the peas before some finally came up. The average now I think is about three.  Buy many seeds is our motto.

The crazy weather is actually good for planting, but you have to get it right.  This week we went from 90 degrees to 40 and raining.  The question now is, will we get another warm spell after the rain?  So I planted.  The 90 degrees warmed the soil.  The rain wet everything down.  If it warms, they will germinate; if it doesn’t I will replant.

The unknown makes it all a challenge.  Everything you think you learned may not work this time.  You have to be flexible and you need to be happy with what does grow and  be realistic.  Do not even try to grow bananas.

And an umbrella may help in a hail storm.


Tulips and Trillium

What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

t with words

A tip for tulip and all bulb flower lovers: Buy the plants after they have lost their bloom and end up in the sale bin.  Last year, I bought several small pots of tulips that were scrapped at the local store because they were starting to lose their petals for 5o cents each.  When I got home to plant them, I found about 6 small bulbs in each pot.  In case you haven’t had your morning coffee yet, that comes to 8.3333333333333333 cents each.  This April I have beautiful vibrant red to look at before the last frost is even gone.


And then there is my favorite wildflower peeking out along the sides of the driveway and yard.  The trillium.  I so would love to transplant these into the garden but they do not transfer well and are protected in many areas, which makes them even more special when they grow all around you. The bloom doesn’t last very long so I keep an eye out this time of year so I don’t miss them.  This year they are blooming at the same time as the wild bleeding hearts and the elderberries making a beautiful sight for a spring walk around Mist Mountain.


Stinging Nettle

What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

s with words

I was going to write about the salmon berries which grow all around the  edges here and the first of the berries to leaf out in our jungle of forest even before the mountain blackberry  and the thimbleberries, although I do notice the elderberries are ahead and starting to flower this year.

Then I saw the beginning starts around the pond of the dreaded stinging nettles. While highly prized for its medicinal properties, if you have not been taught how to harvest them avoid them.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center  “Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate …. It is also used for urinary tract infections, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.”

Dictionary.com says, ”

stinging nettle
a bristly, stinging Eurasian nettle, Urtica dioica, naturalized in North America, having forked clusters of greenish flowers, the young foliage sometimes cooked and eaten like spinach by the Scots.”

I say, “My spinning group even tried them for dyeing some of our yarn.  I wasn’t impressed with its mucky diluted mustard color but others described it as muted and lovely.  All in the perception, I guess.  All I can say, is its “bite” is not worth the pain and its color is not worth the effort, In my Opinion.  ”





The Rosemary is in the Rain House

What’s happening on Mist Mountain?  A Walk Around in April, a very unpredictable month.

r with words

Rosemary is another one of those plants that is not sure if it likes it up on the mountain or not.  One plant has finally decided that the rain house is maybe okay.  The smell is divine.  I would recommend planting it somewhere where you will brush up against it once in a while.  The local pizza place had two large plants of rosemary in pots on either side of their entrance for a long time making their presence known every time you went in or out of the door.  It must have been a good marketing ploy, because it certainly made me think of food.  I don’t know why they are not there anymore.  I will have to ask.

Anyway, I digress.  Rosemary is fairly easy to grow and keeps on giving.  You can pick off sprigs as you need, or you cut a  bigger trimmings, tie together in a bundle, and hang upside down to dry.  In April, it is just getting it’s green on and sending out new branches.