Harvested pumpkins, Jello Mold Farm

Harvested pumpkins, Jello Mold Farm

“I leave this notice on my door
For each accustom’d visitor —
‘I am gone into the fields
To take what this sweet hour yields.'”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “The Invitation”

Garden truck, Jello Mold Farm

Garden truck, Jello Mold Farm

Garden shed

Garden shed

Fall is in the air.  Mornings now are often foggy, but this melancholy grayness usually burns off making way to mellow sunshine.  I had the urge to drive in the country to see the rural landscape slipping into autumn, so even though the day started off foggy and gray, I headed north to the Skagit Valley.  The sun never did break through.  So I was prepared to photograph the lovely grays, browns, yellows and greens of our fall palette.

My first stop was Jello Mold Farm to photograph in the flower fields.  The end-of-the-season dahlias and zinnias brought an array of surprising summery colors through my viewfinder.  But I’ll save those photos for another post or two.  Today I will share photos from my walk through the flower fields.


Monks hood

Monks hood




Desiccated bells of Ireland

Desiccated bells of Ireland






Grasses and lavender, late summer

Grasses and lavender, late summer

“Spring was a fever and autumn will be a regret, but this is the month of its own successful achievement to be more than barely sentient. . . . August is the month when the solid and the domestic triumph, when the prudent come into their own.  The very birds, whose springtime was devoted to love and music, are now responsible parents who have forgotten how to sing.  The early flowers of the woods waved their brief blossoms and are forgotten, but the roadside and the fields are taken over now by the strong, coarse, and confident weeds.”
— Joseph Wood Krutch, The Twelve Seasons: A Perpetual Calendar for the Country

Weeds with empty kiddie pool

Weeds with empty kiddie pool

Dried hydrangea with picket fence

Dried hydrangea with picket fence


“Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom.”
— E. B. White

Trays of plugs and liners at the Skagit Gardens greenhouses

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.  Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest.  The blessing is in the seed.”
— Muriel Ruckeyser

Have you ever stopped to think just where your local nurseries, garden centers and flower vendors get their starter plants?  I was recently the guest of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) tour of Skagit Gardens, a large wholesale greenhouse company in Washington’s Skagit Valley.  They employ 150 to 300 people, depending upon seasonal needs, so this is a large operation.  The focus on healthy plants is impressive.  Here is a behind-the-scenes look:

Rows upon rows of greenhouses, Skagit Gardens

Trays of cuttings ready for planting

Planting the cuttings, one by one, in trays

Just one of thousands of trays of plugs and liners

Sprinkling system in a greenhouse

Rows of healthy plants growing in a greenhouse, Skagit Gardens

Ornamental kale, Skagit Gardens

A variety of grasses

Orders loaded up and ready for shipping

Riverbend facility, Skagit Gardens

ASCFG tour of Skagit Gardens facilities

Stacked trays

Retractable greenhouse roof

Skagit Gardens truck sign














The Good Grasses of Earth

October 10, 2012

“And the earth brought forth grasses . . . and God saw that it was good.”
Genesis 1 – 12

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’)


Detail of grasses

Pennisetum (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’)

I saw these wonderful grasses in the demonstration beds at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  They are good indeed —  very good.