Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light': my favorite (this week)

October 30th, 2014

Miscanthus 'Morning Light'

The grasses really come into their own about now, none more so than Miscanthus sinensus ‘Morning Light’.


I had admired it in several gardens before getting one of my very own. I had never seen it in Autumn, so had no idea that, on top of everything else, it would burst into bloom like this.

Miscanthus sinensus 'Morning Light'

As usual, Plant Lust provides information and sources, should you be moved to track this one down for your own plot. A dark background shows off the inflorescences, but be sure to site it so that the light (morning or evening) will set it ashimmer.


No week would be complete without checking Danger Garden to see what Loree has crowned fave of the week in her garden and to join the conversation in the comments. See you there!

in a vase on Monday

October 27th, 2014


The turned wood vase with glass liner seemed just right as a base for this autumnal arrangement. Indoors, with flash, I get lots of shadows. They add to the effect, but we’ll move outside to take a closer look with truer colors.


Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’ turns shades of mahogany as the weather cools. Earlier, the blossoms wilt quickly when cut. Now they will last until I tire of them and toss them out.


Same story with H. ‘Limelight’, which starts out green, spends many weeks snowy white, then fades to dusty rose.


A few branches of Stachyrus praecox enlarge on the color scheme.


Spent seed heads of Phlomus russeliana turn dark, almost black. I love them for structure.


There’s one branch of beauty berry Calicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ in there for a boost of color. A few stems of Northern Sea Oats seem to find their way into everything these days. Now won’t you check out Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy has found to put in a vase today?

how can this be my favorite (this week)? Rosa ‘Dark Knight’

October 23rd, 2014

Rosa 'Dark Knight'

I don’t even like roses all that much, but our friends MC and Lolys were visiting from Mexico and a visit to the Rose Garden was on the agenda. Lolys was searching for a black rose, which led to the discovery that there is an index of all the roses, with a diagram to help find them. We sought out every rose with a name that indicated darkness. It was late in the day, so my photo is far from representative. Instead, click here to see what it really looks like and read cultural info. This source refers to it as ‘Dark Night’, but I like my name for it better (did I misread the label at the Rose Garden, or was I simply blinded by romantic tendencies?)


Here are the happy tourists with one of their guides.


As long as we’re in the Rose Garden, I may as well show you a few of the other specimens that caught my eye. It was the way they caught the light, rather than their intrinsic beauty, that caused me to click my shutter, so no names were noted.




The setting is as much a reason to visit the Rose Garden as are the roses. There are fountains, and paths, and a megawatt view of Mt Hood framed by towering trees. Yay for visitors who blast us out of our ruts to soak in the iconic Portland landmarks we often take for granted.




And hooray for Danger Garden, who came up with the idea of featuring a plant each week that is the gardener’s pet (for that week only, so we needn’t have a stroke trying to decide).

Fall is for Foliage

October 16th, 2014


I always have to have at least one pot of coleus to brighten the porch area. A couple of 4″ pots from the super market soon fill a good sized pot with color to rival any blossom.

coleus Aurora Black Cherry

Each year there’s a new batch of varieties from which to choose. The name of the big, dramatic one in back escapes me, but the one in front is ‘Aurora Black Cherry’, with a pot of basil in the foreground.

Cornus kousa

Out in the garden proper, leaves are turning and the dogwoods are producing their charming fruits.

Callicarpa 'Profusion'

Beauty berries are plumping up and taking on that metallic sheen.

Paeonia 'Gold Sovereign'

Some of the best leaf color comes from the tree peonies and will only get better until the end.

Lecesteria formosa

Where once were pretty little white flowers, now dangle plump, shiny purple fruits on the Lecesteria formosa.
Hypericum inodorum 'Asbury Purple'

Here’s Hypericum inodorum  ‘Asbury Purple’, sporting shiny black berries to top off the foliage that gives it its name. Other foliage fanatics will join Pam for Foliage Follow-Up just as we do every month the day after Bloom Day. Don’t be left out.

And now there is another foliage meme here, by Christina, on the habit-forming blog, Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. Check it out and expand your horizons with even more fabulous foliage.

October Bloom Day: winding down

October 15th, 2014


The days of bountiful bloom are past, but looking around with blooms in mind, a surprising number caught my eye. Nicotiana sylvestris fell prey to nibbling deer as it was just getting ready to bloom. I was irked, but the plant reacted by branching out and producing more flowers. Now it scents the evening air with its pristine white, dangling blossoms. I will let this go to seed in hopes of volunteers next year.


One of my favorite late season bloomers is Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. Known for its aggressive ways, I am more than happy to see it increasing in number year by year. As the petals fall, they leave behind amusing balls at the top of long stems.


Staying with whites for a while, here’s another one considered invasive by some but welcome here: Queen Anne’s Lace, or Daucus carrota.

Aster 'Monte Casino White'

Aster ‘Monte Casino White’

I had an Aster that looked just like this for many years until it got shaded out. I was happy to find Aster ‘Monte Casino White’ recently at Joy Creek. It was even on sale.


Seven Sons, so called because each flowering stem has one central floret surrounded by six more, still has flowers coming on (happy bees) while older blooms are starting to leave behind the rusty colored calyxes this tree is known for.

Coreopsis 'Cruizin' Broad Street'

This pretty little Coreopsis ‘Cruizin’ Broad St’ from Jockey Hill came with some new information: shear after the first flush of bloom and it will look like this later on. I will apply this principle to ‘Moonbeam’ next year. It has been putting out the occasional flower amidst a lot of developing seedheads.

Asclepias 'Red'

This pretty ‘Red’ milkweed may not be hardy but it is producing seed. I definitely want more of this.


All of the surviving Dahlias will continue to flower until the first hard frost.

Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'

The tiny little red flowers dotting the wand-like stems of Persicaria ‘Lance Corporal’ are hard to photograph, but when they catch the light just right it is a magical scene.

Liriope is here for its grassy presence edging borders but late in the season these shy lavender flowers are a nice bonus.

Chasmanthium latifolium

Are these considered flowers? Whatever they are, the grassy leaves of Chasmanthium latifolium take on new life crowned with these oat-like whatevers.

Carpinus japonica

The flowers on the Hornbeam, Carpinus japonica, look like hops.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

All of the Hydrangea blossoms are fading to the dusky colors that make them look like tintypes. This one is ‘Limelight’.

Rosa 'Dortmund'

At the same time that Rosa ‘Dortmund’ is concentrating on her hips, she can’t resist throwing out a last flower (the last rose of summer?). A few other lingering blooms are scattered about, but here I’ll pass you on to May Dreams Gardens to check out the world’s garden doings.

sometimes it’s about the vase

October 14th, 2014


I fell in love with this little vase without even thinking about how useful it would be late in the season, when the pickings are sparse.


I was down to a single Zinnia today, but it makes up in pizazz whatever lack there may be in numbers.


If there is to be only one, I feel lucky that it is a red one.


Meanwhile, the dahlias keep coming, so I refreshed last week’s bouquet and added some little off-white pumpkins from the grocery store. This meme is bound to get ever more interesting as flowers fade and we must go farther afield to find material to put “In A Vase On Monday”. Won’t you join us?

in a vase on a Monday in October

October 6th, 2014


I decided to start with this vintage pitcher, whose discoloration from age reminds me of the changing colors of the season. The glass frog fits perfectly, allowing me to create a network of leaves to support the flowers to be added last.


I love the burnished tones of peony leaves. These are rescued from an earlier bouquet so they curl and droop in ways that I find pleasing. Prunings from Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’ and seed heads of Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ provide some even darker elements.


Cathy, who hosts In A Vase On Monday, has made me aware of the importance of props when staging photos, so I added an unknown volunteer veggie (or fruit, who knows?), a little metal box shaped like a tangerine and a split open seed pod from the peony.


So here’s the setup.


And a close-up from a little different angle, where you can see the three different Dahlias: ‘Alfred Grille’ (the pale one), ‘Groovy’ (the small red one) and big NOID magenta. There’s also one sprig of Chasmanthia latifolia in there.


Here’s one parting shot: can you see the little rootlets in that vase? Sometimes a long-lasting bouquet will give you bonus new plants, as did these stems of Sedum ‘Stardust’.

name that succulent

October 2nd, 2014


I can’t say enough nice things about Thicket, a charming little garden store on NE 23rd (not to be confused with that other “trendythird” on the other side of town). It does do that familiar dance I encounter so often: using the broad term “succulents” with no further ID. I consulted my Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World, where the closest thing to this, my favorite plant this week, seems to be Cheiridopsis denticulate. Feel free to enlighten me if you know better. This just in: DG says it is Crassula falcata.


This succulent bowl was looking tired, so a couple of succulents from Thicket (that rosette-y one on the right might be Sedum multiceps) replaced an Aloe and Dyckia that never took to these surroundings. I’ve never been much good at mixed plantings. They seem to look sparse, taking a long time to build up to their moment of glory (which is just that: a moment) finally tipping over into the disarray of old age. This is my new approach: jam in whatever looks good right now…live for the moment.


I’m quite fond of this garage sale pot. Now if I can just find an indoor spot where it can live for the next few months. Due to circumstances described above, I am unable to give you the kind of detailed information Danger Garden always includes in her ‘Favorites for the Week’ posts. Hop on over there, where you will never be disappointed.

in a vase on monday

September 29th, 2014


This arrangement features a spire of Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ as the main element. A few stems of Chasmanthium latifolium pick up on the green theme and keep it airy. Sedum ‘Stardust’ add a wee bit of bulk and the berries of Hypericum inodorum ‘Albury Purple’ echo the colors of the pebbles that anchor the stems in the vase.


Viewed from the side, you can see that the vase is narrow front to back and wide side to side. It makes it possible to display things without the density you usually get with a round container. I purchased ‘Albury Purple’ specifically for these berries, but the blue-green foliage is very nice too.

Visit Cathy to see her Monday bouquet and click through to others. It’s fun. You might like to join in.

Stapelia lipida is my fave right now

September 27th, 2014


I bought this at the fall HPSO sale in 2011 and have been waiting for the weirdly wonderful blooms ever since. The plant has been sitting on the corner of R’s desk. The other day he was sniffing around, changing the cat box, etc. when he finally realized that the smell was coming from Stapelia lipida. It’s now on my desk and I don’t smell a thing. I’m not sure I would mind a little stink as a tradeoff for these wacky flowers.

Trundle on over to Danger Garden if you’d like to see her weekly favorite. Don’t neglect the comments for others’ faves as well.