Lots of space needed for this beauty! 

Another noteworthy specimen plant in Dan Hinkley’s garden is rhodocoma capensis plant from South Africa. This plant grows in the USDA zones 8-10. Dan said when we get an occasional snowfall the plant will go flat due to the weight of the snow, but will bounce back after snowmelt. We saw several varieties of this plant thriving in his garden. 

More unique plants 

One of several focal points in the Hinkley garden is a Dove tree. Dan explained that it was planted by previous gardener before he owned the property. The plant is originally from China and the the “doves” are actually white bracts.

To learn more about this rare plant collector follow these links:

Dan’s web presence
Monrovia Dan Hinkley collection

Dan Hinkley’s unique garden

My garden club has a reputation for organizing many interesting field trips every year. Being relatively new to the area (six years already) I have enjoyed this type of orientation to the local gardening world. I really didn’t know about Dan before we went on the trip, but judging from previous trips with this group, I just knew it would be fun! It did not disappoint. 

A garden needs to have acreage to be able to grow several types of bamboo. That is just one of the many unique features of Dan Hinkley’s hidden garden on the waterfront. Dan told us about bamboo the pandas eat and how to cook bamboo shoots! He broke off one and handed it to us for inspection.  As we wandered about, I noticed that none of the plants were labeled but every question about variety or source location brought an in depth answer. Many of the plants on the property were started as seeds collected in places like Japan, China or Tasmania. 

Field trip to Sequim: Peony Farm today

Sequim, WA is well known for growing Lavender in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains. Another lesser well known group of plants that grow really well in that somewhat dry region of Western Washington are peonies. My garden club had a field trip today to the Peony Farm where we learned about three types of peonies. The prices ranged from $28. To $110. I was surprised by that fact. They get dug and delivered for planting in November. My luck, they would make a very expensive salad bar for the deer, but they sure make beautiful subjects for photographs.




Plant heads united

Central Valley Garden Club went on another field trip but not to a public garden. I’ve heard about Watson’s Greenhouse and Windmill Nursery for two years now but the opportunity for a shopping trip did not present itself until now. What great places: Comprehensive garden centers with very healthy plants.

20130515-170419.jpg Recently I have been interested in succulents and they have great examples.


Tool Time 1-2-3-4

Let’s be honest now. How many gardeners in the blogesphere clean their tools on a regular basis? On a yearly basis? Ever? Last week at my garden club one really smart lady piped up and said, “Let’s have a tool cleaning party! It will be more fun to do it together.” Every one thought about the state of their tools and said Yeah! One lady volunteered her shop space. People brought pot luck lunch. Others brought cleaning supplies. Every one brought dirty, rusty tools! So, one week later we gathered. One lady watched some Ace Hardware video clips and shared how to do clean tools.

1. Use a wire brush to remove dirt and some rust.
2. Use sand paper and/or steel wool to get remaining rust off.
3. Use steel file to sharpen as needed.
4. Use spray oil to lubricate moveable parts. We also used boiled linseed oil on wooden handles.

Now we have no excuse! The first photo is my “before” pile of tools.


This is my pile of tools after cleaning.

Near the very end of our cleaning, the hostess showed us that she keeps a pail of sand with oil in it , that is to be used when she finishes garden work with tools. She dips the tools in the oily sand and cleans them off before storage. I need to do this to keep my tools looking good!


Turning trimmings into decorations in the Evergreen State

Have you ever thought about making your own Christmas wreath? Or even thought about how they are made for you to purchase? Central Valley Garden Club members make these swags and wreaths for their annual December sale. I was really impressed with the production line and participated in the volunteer work for a day. With Christmas music in the background it was a lovely way to spend a day.