Archive for the ‘events’ Category

reading at Drake’s 7 Dees

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Holy moly, I am so stoked to be doing a reading from BeBop Garden at Drake’s Seven Dees in Raleigh Hills. Their presence at the Yard, Garden and Patio Show last week was nothing short of inspirational. Their store at 5645 SW Scholls Ferry Road, PDX 97225 is well worth a visit. I was there to hear Ann, The Amateur Bot-ann-ist talk about starting seeds. It was a blustery day, but the rain beating on the greenhouse just added to the cozy atmosphere and they had all the goods on hand to go home and put Ann’s excellent advice right to work.

BeBop Garden cover

So if you already have one of my books, bring it for me to sign. I’ll also have books available. I’d love to see you there Saturday, March 8 at 3pm. If you can’t make it, here’s a promise: I will take pictures of the nursery and do a post to lure you to this delightful nursery on one of your next plant-seeking expeditions.

I didn’t wanna do it

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

…but who can resist snapping photos in the snow? Not me.

front steps

We’re not shovelers, so this was what our front steps looked like this morning.

Cupressius macrocarpus ‘Citrodora’

Our mission was to knock the snow off the evergreens before the freezing rain hits. So far, it’s been a dry, light snow, but even so the branches were weighted down with it. We were afraid that an ice storm would result in broken branches. Apparently there are two schools of thought on this. Do you think we did the right thing?


Usually, Cupressius macrocarpus ‘Citrodora’ holds her branches reaching upward. Here, she’s bowing under the weight of our ten inches of snow.


It was a joint effort, with all the trees that we have. Here’s Richard, doing his part to liberate ‘Citradora’

Delusional Drive in costume

Delusional Drive looks pretty good in costume, don’t you think?

Hamemelis ‘Diane’

I was complaining about Hamemelis ‘Diane’ having stubby petals. I guess I was just being impatient. They elongated over time, to give us a bright spot in all the white.

Lavender walk

The lavender walk is nearly buried, but at least it shows us where the path is to the studio.

Enkianthus buds

Buds about to burst on the Enkianthus were in for a surprise. Think they’ll make it?

carrot stake

Looking to the future, or dreaming of things past?

Yucca aloifolia ‘Spanish Bayonet’

Does this not look like something out of ‘Game of Thrones’? The snow is up nearly to the rim of the big green pot holding Yucca aloifolia ‘Spanish Bayonet’.

Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp niphophila

There’s something not quite right about Eucalyptus in the snow, but it sure is purty.

Rhododendrun ‘Seaview Sunset’

The Bonnie Lassie said it best when she described the snow as bringing out a graphic quality in some plants. It surely does so with Rhododendrun ‘Seaview Sunset’

Euphorbia wulfenii

I can almost hear Euphorbia wulfenii muttering “shiver me timbers”.

front walkway

Now here’s the view out the front…

view out back

and out the back

Right now, the snow is turning to freezing rain. I can remember a number of “silver thaws” in years past. Deadly…but absolutely beautiful. Hope my gloves dry out in time so I can bore you with even more photos.

not all Halloween decorations are created equal

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


The first clue that this party would be something special was the invitation.

front entry

Going all out does not necessarily mean filling the front yard with blow-up spiders and witches.

lumieres, etc.

I took these shots the next day. Arriving in the dark, the skeletons on those bags glowed from the candles within.

ellie’s beard

Each nook and cranny had spooky/elegant vignettes, here augmented by a discarded beard.

skull pillow

See what I mean? Intricate skulls found their way onto pillows, hand towels and a few other places.

shower curtain

This was the shower curtain. When I washed my hands, the soap was a glow-in-the-dark skull.

candle holder




This was really more of a ‘Day of the Dead’ party, so there were altars to those who have passed.


With the stage set so dramatically, you can be sure the guests got into the spirit. There were 29 women and one very brave man in attendance.




Susan joked that Ellie often comes dressed for a different party, but her imaginative costumes take the prize anyway.

dog skeleton

Even the dogs got into the act.



Our hostess, Susan, with a drink called a skull crusher in one hand and a bottle of pink bubbly in the other. No she was not a two fisted drinker, but making sure that all of her guests were well supplied.

rusty sculpture

I’ll bow to the gardening focus of this blog by bowing out with some sculptures that Susan has assembled from rusty parts. I hope you had a shriekingly good time on Halloween, or the Day of the Dead. I sure did. Thanks, Susan.

gardenpalooza and more

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

I was exhausted from the mad scramble to get the digging and planting and weeding under control ahead of the rain. Not too tired to contemplate a little road trip though.

paths to palooza

First up, GardenPalooza. See what a party atmosphere they created by delineating pathways from parking with rows of pumpkins punctuated by hay bales and sheaves of cornstalks? Jenni posted about it here, but unfortunately we were there at different times of the day so our paths did not cross.

back of main tent

This is the back side of the main tent protecting vendors from the vagaries of the weather.


Displays spilled out into the open and into other buildings on the grounds.

farmstand goods

Big bins of farmstand produce and a small cafe with freshly baked goods rounded out the offerings.

garden banners

Of course I was drawn to the banners on display. One bore a sold sign…maybe garden banners are catching on?

Postlewaite Nursery

Rather than head back onto the freeway, I opted for back roads. This little nursery does not even appear on the OAN retail nursery map, but there it was, beckoning to me by the side of the road. It exudes a funky charm (and a spirit of trust, since everything was right out in the open with no one around). Center stage, that plant stand is a sheet metal planter inverted to serve another purpose.


Several more were on sale. That one front right was $55.00 with an extra sticker for an additional 10% off. I thought that sounded like a pretty sweet deal.

dahlia fields

My loose plan was to wend my way to Al’s Garden Center, as I’ve never been there, but then I beheld this sight.

dahlia fields forever

Dahlia fields forever…surrounding Swan Island Dahlias at the very peak of their season.

Dahlia ‘Maarm’

Three rows of each variety stretch as far as the eye can see, with clear labeling at the head of each row.

Dahlia ‘Molly Ann’

I realized, when I started sorting through the photos, that I was drawn to the reds and oranges. ‘Molly Ann’ is quite tall, and such an electric red that it burns out in the photo.

Dahlia ‘Bed Head’

The tousled look of ‘Bed Head’ earns it its name, and get a load of those dark stems.

Dahlia ‘Giggles’

I keep apologizing for the photos, but it was hard to capture the full effect, especially here with ‘Giggles’ that was actually an orange sherbet/lavender/purple combination that fairly danced before my eyes and had the bees giggling all over them.

Dahlia ‘Gingeroo’

‘Gingeroo’ comes off better, with its geometric pattern in a tight, medium-sized ball.

Dahlia ‘Lights Out’

The deep deep red, almost black flowers of ‘Lights Out’ come on a quite low growing plant, which makes it easy to see the way the rows are hilled up. I have to stake dahlias, but here I noticed that even the heaviest blossoms had rarely drooped or broken off, and this after a heavy rain. I was told that they begin early and come back often to pile soil up against the growing stalks of the plants, eliminating the need for staking (on this scale, staking would be a monumental task).

Dahlia ‘Nick Sr’

This is a family operation, and there are several namesakes, like this ‘Nick Sr’.

Dahlia ‘Nicholas’

I’m assuming ‘Nicholas’ is one of Nick Sr’s progeny.

memorial for Nick Sr

The love just keeps coming with this memorial fountain and pool for Nick Sr at an intersection of rows of his beloved dahlias. He must have been quite a guy.

Trial Garden

A section near the house is given over to trial gardens. The catalog indicates that a good number of the dahlias offered originated here.

koi pond

Even the fishes fit in with my color scheme.

more banners

And lookee here…more banners! This is a good time to take a spin out to Swan Island Dahlias in Canby to see these flamboyant blooms in real life. Often people stash all of their dahlias in a single bed. I call this the fruit salad approach. It is gaudy and not terribly attractive, but if seen as simply a cutting garden it makes a certain amount of sense. At Heronswood, they tucked them into borders here and there with spectacular results, but then Heronswood operated on a different plane that most of us even aspire to. I resolve, here and now, to struggle in that direction with the intent of keeping the bouquets coming and the borders aglow from mid-July through first frost. I picked up a catalog and am making a list and checking it twice.

HPSO plant fest

Monday, September 9th, 2013

outdoor sale

After a short hiatus for the fall plant sale, HPSO came up with something new: an abbreviated sale lasting just one afternoon, following a morning lecture. I had planned on attending the talk, but setting up the Jockey Hill booth took us right up to the moment the audience was released for early shopping.  Scott and Linda were both there (they found the plant they were searching for in our booth) so perhaps they will give an account of the morning event. Previous plant sales had all been under cover, so this outdoor venue at PCC Rock Creek was a treat.

Michelle Timberman

Here’s Michelle overseeing her domain. We arranged and rearranged in an effort to show her stunning plants off to full advantage.


We were all going a little bananas by the time the shoppers arrived.

flags and blue sky

See that blue sky? After a week of rain and thunder storms, we felt blessed. I even added a few banners to the display. It was a fun day, and I felt fortunate to be part of the action. If HPSO opts to repeat this event next year, I highly recommend it.

garden tour giveaway

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

floramagoria art

Interesting plants, garden art ranging from whimsical to totemic, all arranged in inspiring ways by members of ANLD (Association of Northwest Landscape Designers). The seven gardens on this tour will get your creative juices flowing. I was fortunate to be invited to the pre-tour for a sneak peek at what is in store, and part of that was a pair of tickets to give away. So here’s the deal: leave a comment at the end of this post and I will put your name in the pot. One lucky person will be awarded two tickets on June 20 for the event to take place June 22, 10 am - 4 pm. I took so many photos on this tour that it will take some time to sort through them, but here are a few to pique your interest:

floramagoria lantern

floramagoria greenhouse

Common Ground raised beds

Common Ground shelter

Plant Passion fountain

Plant Passion pot

Paraiso pot

Paraiso scene

Leon scene

Leon totem

elemental sculpture

elemental paving

Cedar Mill path

Cedar Mill table

Each of these gardens has a distinct personality. I fell in love with two of them, but there wasn’t a one that failed to spark an idea or two to take away and store in the old memory bank for future use. I’ll do expanded posts on each of these gardens at a later date, but for now I wanted to get something out and give you time to get in on this drawing. Tickets, at $20 each, will be available through the ANLD website right up to the day of the tour. Proceeds will benefit design student scholarships.

Viscaya & Xera in one day? Whew!

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013


It had been too long since Amy and I had taken a road trip. Neither of us had been to Viscaya, and it was opening day at Xera/Potted, so off we went.

Viscaya grounds

Behind an unassuming chain link fence with tasteful (read: easy to miss) signage is a secret garden that goes on and on.

Viscaya sculpt

Grassy paths, punctuated by sculptures and other interesting features, provide access to island beds, each with its own character. As you can see (behind the sculpture) tables of plants for sale are scattered throughout, making for a unique shopping experience.

Arborvitae labyrinth

As if to prove that there is no such thing as a bad plant, Arborvitae has been used to create a labyrinth. Above is a peek into the entrance, with a piece of driftwood for a focal point. The outer walls provide a perfect background for lighter, brighter plant groupings.

Viscaya round garden

A dramatic feature was this large round grassy area bordered by daylilies. Pillars topped with round planted pots guard the entry, with a huge, red shallow pot dead center.


As we worked our way around the back of the building, we came across a thriving Japanese maple (maybe Shishigashura?) in a big pot.

Abelia blossoms

A mature Abelia vine in flower clambered over a fence. Amy said she had never seen one flowering.

persimmon fruit

We decided this persimmon had to be the tiniest fruit we’d ever seen. The tree was impressive, part of an orchard laid out in a grid.

orchard in squares

Each unique tree occupies its own perfect square, with crisp edging of the grass path surrounding it.

fountain beds

The same edging technique carries over into the quadrants circling this fountain. A liberal use of water in pools and fountains pervades the grounds.

carniverous plants

Carniverous plants are happy in this water-filled urn.

rustic archway

The parking area is on the back side of housing units, each with a different colored door that corresponds to the colors of the plants featured on tables nearby. I liked the rustic archway and unusual plants at this portal. Each one is unique.

plants from Viscaya

Top left is a plant that was huge in the display garden, Ligularia wilsonii. This is a plant I had avoided because I didn’t like the flowers. That’s what a display garden will do: I wound up thinking “flowers, shmowers…who cares?”; top right, Hosta ‘Fire & Ice’; bottom left, Ipomea x multifida (cardinal climber); bottom right, Plectranthus cellatus ‘Variegata’. The prices at Viscaya are another reason to make the drive to the far east side of town. Silly me: I only bought things I knew would fit into my plans.

Xera signage

On to Xera, a much anticipated opening by all the garden geeks in town. One of those, fellow blogger Laura, was giggling with glee as she selected her booty.

Xera overview

Another chain link fence, but this time it is obvious that an event of the horticultural kind awaits.

loaded tables

Tables are loaded with the fantastic array of plants Xera has long been noted for.

big shallow pots

But that’s not all! Truly elegant pots, many of them potted up in appropriate and imaginative ways, add to the sophisticated ambiance.

more pots

The possibilities for combinations are mind-boggling.


The close-in southeast location makes this an easy place to visit again and again. I see a lot of that in my future.

Arisaema taiwanese & Echeveria ‘Haagal’

For now, though, I indulged in only two plants…but they are beauts: Echeveria ‘Haagal’ and Arisaema taiwanense. This was Xera/Potting’s soft opening for working out the kinks. As far as I could tell, there were no kinks in sight.

Lucy Hardiman at Joy Creek…+ a hot tip

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Lucy talks about Great Plant Picks

Talk about a household name: that’s Lucy Hardiman in the Pacific Northwest’s gardening circles and beyond. She’s a dynamic speaker and all-around fun person..also much more attractive than my poor photo conveys (I didn’t want to be too intrusive with the camera). The subject of her talk was the Great Plant Picks program. She serves on their board, and made a good case for the plants they recommend after extensive trials to test their usefulness in our climate. I strongly suggest you visit their website to learn more about them. They are a great resource for researching the plants on their approved list. Lucy is no slave to lists, so her talk ranged from color combinations (she brought cuttings from her own garden to demonstrate some knockout pairings of surprising partners) to other design considerations. One message: proven winners can act as the workhorses of the garden, easing the workload and freeing us to experiment with the divas we so love. I came away with a firm resolve to do a better job of researching the plants I bring home. And a new term: “Nativars” referring to cultivars of natives, ie: a new Ribes, ‘King Edward VII’ which, after some tinkering, sports redder flowers than the strictly native form.

Giant Gunnera

The seminar was one of a series of talks held every Sunday (and a few Saturdays) at Joy Creek. Their Gunnera has reached majestic proportions. I enlisted a fellow wanderer to put her hand on one of the stalks to show scale.

Joy Creek shopping

Revved up by Lucy’s talk, what could I do but go shopping? Starting top left, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, two painted ferns, Epimedium young. ‘Roseum’, Dryopteris koidzumiana and Salvia o. ‘Gold variegated sage’.

And now for something completely different: that hot tip.

sale at Means

Here’s a partial shot of the trees on sale at Means. Lucy says that dwarf evergreen conifers are the up and comers for their year-round beauty and ease of care. I would have to agree (well, I have loved them since the first visit to the Oregon Garden). These are not dwarfs, but well…

Blue Atlas cedars

Blue Atlas cedars going for $5.00? Unbelievable!


Five foot spruce for $9.99? Ditto.

Deodora cedar & Atlas spruce

Here’s what came home with us. We agreed to agree on any new trees to be added here. R’s comment: what if they get too big? My reply: Well, at this price, we can enjoy them as long as they behave, then give them away or cut them down. No identifying labels were attached, so I have no idea how big that Deodora cedar will get. I am also going against Lucy’s advice to thoroughly research plants and place them with mature size in mind. What can I say? I plead insanity brought on by irrational exuberance.


I know there are a lot of palm lovers out there, so I took one shot of these that they were just unloading (no prices yet).

Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ and Raoulia australis

Not on sale, but a couple of other things were thrown in for good measure: Picea pungens ‘Fat Albert’ (love that icy blue) and Raoulia australis (I’m experimenting with possible ground covers).

ANLD garden tour coming up

Saturday, May 18th, 2013


Mark your calendars: Saturday, June 22, from 10am to 4pm, you can tour seven professionally designed gardens on Portland’s west side. The tour is organized by the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to scholarships for design students. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the results of professionals in action, with ideas ranging over a variety of styles and all incorporating unique works of art. Looking for a designer to work with you? You may find the perfect fit here. Looking for inspiration? It’s a sure bet you will find some here.

The above photo was taken on a previous tour, which I featured here. You can find further information about this year’s tour on the ANLD Facebook page.

bloggers meet up

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Linda’s house

Driving around her neighborhood, it wasn’t hard to spot Linda’s house, set back from the street and surrounded by horticultural wonders. We Portland area bloggers have taken to getting together in the spring and fall to swap plants and tall tales and, in this case, partake of some lovely home baked cakes.

the Washington crowd

Some of us are into the second year of doing this. Once the word got out, others joined in. In fact, Alison and Peter (in the middle of the above photo) even came all the way from the Tacoma area. Jenni, shown on the far right, did a fine post with links to the blogs of everyone who participated, so I will just give you a little tour of Linda’s garden.

outside the fence

Outside the fence, there’s plenty of “curb appeal” to tip you off that something wonderful is going on inside.

lawn and border

The large front yard is dominated by a patch of lawn surrounded by borders filled by interesting plants


a sweeping drive surrounded by more of the same (plants, plants and more plants)

corner bed

A large corner bed

dramatic front entry with Euphorbia wulfenii

and a dramatic front entry flanked by Euphorbia wulfenii in all its glory.

Eryngium agavifolium

I couldn’t resist pointing my camera at a few of the plants. This one is, I think, Eryngium agavifolium (Linda has a way with Eryngiums that leaves me green with you-know-what)/

Alchemilla mollis

Alchemilla mollis was earning its keep by capturing water droplets.


Love the color of this Primula

mystery plant

I’m hoping Linda will enlighten me as to the identity of this plant with the interesting foliage. (Linda came through…it’s celadine poppy from Joy Creek).


Ditto this one (some sort of Artemesia?) Yes, A. ‘Valerie Finnis’…thanks, Scott!

back yard pond

Moving around to the back garden, the first area offers seating around a small pond.

Acacia provissima

In the middle of the back garden, dividing it into two separate rooms, is this magnificent Acacia provissima, an inspiration to all of us who have tried, and failed, to bring one to maturity.

Cordyline centerpiece

On the other side of the Acacia, another zone-pusher holds court.

bamboo along fence

With bamboo growing along the fence line, a feeling of complete privacy is achieved, while still borrowing from towering trees in the surrounding neighborhood.

tub with tulips

Little vignettes are around every turn.

blue pot

And I’ll leave you with that parting shot, and thanks to Linda for hosting another great get-together. Thanks, too, to all who came, bearing interesting plants, entertaining stories and the good humor we gardeners are making famous. I loved seeing friends and making new ones. It’s amazing how quickly bonds form in this little sub-culture. Next time, I’ll show you what came home with me.