WE FOUND clematis cirrhosa ‘Ourika Valley’ last summer at Swanson’s Nursery; it seemed a novelty, but it is blooming despite the daily sub-freezing temperatures. I had nearly forgotten about it until today when I stepped to the edge of the lawn to snap a photo of the snowy Olympic Mountains–and there were two flowers, radiant in the sunshine. One of our daughters gave me an old card rack and it just sat around the potting table area rusting until Tom came up with the idea to use it as a trellis! This clematis should grow ten to twelve feet, so it can cover the rack over time. Curiously, the actual flowers and the photo on the tag do not correspond; the tags shows lime-yellow flowers!

Since I nearly missed the clematis flowering, I thought I should walk around to see what else might catch my eye.

Sunlight catches the lichens and leaf buds of the flowering red currant.

This weeping Japanese Black Pine that really gets to show off its form during the fall and winter months when all the herbaceous plants that surround it are dormant. We found this at a tree nursery out in Redmond (next to Bamboo Gardens of Washington and no longer there) that specialized in rare, unusual and species size trees. We planted it about thirteen years ago and it hangs over my soon-to-be renovated pond. The chickadees find it an especially attractive perch and I can view them both from my office window.

A quick check into the coldframe to see how the echeverias and other cactus are faring so far this winter. So far, so good.

I think that even the abutilon will make it. Still has a green leaf or two hanging on. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.