Friday, March 30, 2007

An Evening Walk from Downtown to Belltown

Photos from Thursday evening.

Developers are pouring a ton of money into the Arctic Building to make it an ultra-fancy hotel. I'm thrilled that this facade will be saved.


Seating outside the Federal Building. I don't particularly like the way this looks, but I like the feel of it. I would like an enclosed seating area like this in my front yard, except I would want the back of it to back up to the house, so you could look out onto the street. I think it's weird to have everyone oriented with their backs to a busy intersection like in this photo.


The Lusty Lady. The man at left is about to go inside.


Bread at Pike Place Market.


More shots from the Pike Place Market area. Dungeness crabs, yum.


Starbucks No. 1.



I'm tempted to try out this wine bar right now.


But I'm holding out for Campagne. My reservation's in half an hour.


Post Alley.


Coffee from the Greek place.


Looks like folks preferred the medium baklava to the small today.


I didn't mean to chop these girls' feet off, but I wanted to snap fast.


Look, there's the sweater guy again. At this point, a guy waiting to cross at First and Pike asked me where I was from. When I said Seattle, he laughed hard and long. Everyone is happy today because it is sunny. This winter and spring have been shit so far.


We get a nice view table at Campagne.


A few drinks and some moules frites later.


The car's parked far away in Belltown, past the Army Navy Surplus Store on First.





Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Short-Distance Dedication

Tonight I'd like to dedicate a song to my rude, bullying neighbor across the alley (hereafter referred to as "Dude," or "Buck").

After we spent a whole weekend out in the cold last fall, trimming the laurels and pulling up blackberry and ivy, you had your gardener plant stupid common shrubs on OUR side of the alley without asking us, without telling us. We cleared out the English ivy that had been cascading into the alley and that you had ignored for 10 years so we could decide what to plant in the back of our yard, then suddenly there's a whole row of arborvitae in its wake.



What the fuck, Buck?

When I went to go talk to you about it, you yelled at me, telling me to pay for a property surveyor. I tried to show you government maps of our property lines, and you dismissed my concerns by waving your hand in my face, saying that "those mean nothing." I tried to leave them there for you to look at when you calmed down, and you yelled at me to pick them up and ordered me off your property. When was the last time someone ordered me off their property, I wondered. Third grade?

Dude, I think you literally scoffed at me -- if "scoffing" is a little bit like coughing, but with an arrogant little "huh" sound at the end. I asked you if you wanted your shrubs back, and you threatened to sue me. Oh, Dude. Oh, Dude, you should not have done that.

I kind of wanted to apologize. I wanted to say, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Have I done something to give you the impression that you can just fuck me the fuck over like that? Because that would be a grievous misrepresentation on my part."

But Dude, you forced my hand. I filed a complaint with the city. The city (rightfully) sided with me. You appealed. I filed a public disclosure request to get a copy of your appeal, then I submitted a two-page rebuttal (with six attachments).

It's been a very long time coming, but today I found out that the original ruling will stand, and you will be forced to remove those scummy arbovitae.

In a way, I'm glad this all happened. I used to care about your feelings, Dude, and I would have consulted you before undertaking any big backyard projects. But now I couldn't care less what you think.

So, Dude, tonight I'd like to dedicate "Friday Night" by Lily Allen to you.

There's a lesson that I want you to learn
That's if you're gonna play with fire, then you're gonna get burned

Don't try to test me 'cause you'll get a reaction
Another drink and I'm ready for action
I don't know who you think you are
But making people scared won't get you very far

Because, as the lady says, you can play this game with me, Dude, but you know you're gonna lose.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wells-Medina Nursery (3/26/07)

While my heart may always belong to Rosso -- my cute, neighborhood, wholesale-oriented nursery -- I think I found my new second-favorite nursery around town.

The Wells-Medina Nursery has a large, beautifully curated selection of perennials and trees (not to mention one of the best-looking nursery websites I've ever seen). I think they stock more conifers and Japanese maples than any nursery I've visited yet.

Before we head over the bridge, we pick up my Chestnut District friends, whose Ceanothus is about to explode. Right now you can see just one tiny blue blossom near the window. These are the friends who bought me the Ceanothus book that I'm going to tell Chuck about. I'm supposed to use the book to try to identify the variety of Ceanothus, but I haven't done that yet, either.

However, when we pulled up and saw these Ceanothus plants, they asked me to guess the variety. And somehow I managed to guess that they were Ray Hartman. Hurray!

Drimys lanceolata. This evergreen is too tender for our sunny, windswept lot, unfortunately. But, hey, a girl can look, can't she?

Skylands Oriental spruce. Ever-chartreuse. Love it.

Mounds of mondo.

After this grueling winter, I'm a little wary of cute grass-looking plants from New Zealand. I'll probably change my mind come fall.

Heaths and heathers.

I think this Ceanothus is Dark Star. It looks just like my Julia Phelps at the moment, tight purple buds just about to burst.

I'm excited about this Ceanothus, Vandenberg, because it's only supposed to be 2-3 feet tall and wide. I could put that out front.

I know it's weird to take photos of Japanese maples in March. But these are a couple that I thought had pretty bark. This one's Matsukaze.

Goshiki Kotohime.

Here are a couple black elderberries.

I'm loving Cryptomeria japonica, called "Sugi" in Japan (where it is the national tree). Wells Medina has lots of varieties. Like this Aruacarioides.

And these Sekkan Sugi.

This fluffy one is the Elegans variety.

As I mentioned earlier, Wells-Medina has a lot of conifers.

And behind them, a lot of Japanese maples.

I have a red-barked (Siberian?) dogwood at home, but these lime-barked ones are pretty too.

OK, one more pine, and then that's it. This is a Japanese umbrella pine.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Elandan Gardens (3/24/07)

Elandan Gardens is one of my favorite places in Washington. They specialize in bonsai, which is not particularly interesting to me, but the site itself and the overall garden design are phenomenal.

When you drive in, you have to slow down to miss the Buddha head in the road. It's your first sign that this place moves at a much different pace than the highway you just turned off of.

Before we go into the garden itself, let's bum around the parking lot area and look at plants they have for sale, rock sculptures that they're working on, and other gorgeous things that are lying around here and there.

OK, I'm ready now. Let's give the nice girl $5 and tour the garden.

This one looks like a person to me.

This Sierra Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) dates from 1540.

After leaving Elandan and heading toward Bremerton, we saw a bald eagle (on top of the pylon closest to the water).

And a battleship.