Archive for the ‘events’ Category

a mystery is solved

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

mystery bar

One of our favorite things to do in the summertime is to dine with friends out under the cherry trees. Guests never fail to question the metal bar that extends between the two trees. We never had a good explanation, but Harper figured it out on sight. See her reaching up?

Harper’s gymnasium

With a little help from her mom, Noami, she put the mystery bar to good use.

little bee

Meet Harper Grayson McClure, aka our little bumblebee (when you are almost three, costumes are not reserved for Halloween). R took her on a tour of the veggie garden (his domain), where she zeroed in on a ripe yellow sweet pepper, which she munched on as if it were a sno-cone.

communing with the bees

Of course she was interested in her tribe: the bees that were busy working over the lavender walk.

dinner under the trees

And then we all settled down to enjoy our dinner “en pleine aire”. Isn’t summer grand?

Flinging Foliage

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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Lots of brilliant foliage combinations popped up on the bloggers’ Fling, so I thought I’d share some of them with you for Foliage Follow Up this time. The first one was spotted at Chickadee Gardens.

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The Danger Garden was in full spiky form.

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Foliar peek-a-boo in the Ernst Garden.

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Next door, at the Fuller Garden, fine foliage underfoot.

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You can point your camera anywhere in the Old Germantown Gardens and come away with a winner. This happened to be in the greenhouse.

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Those rose hips were enormous, in the demonstration gardens of Joy Creek Nursery.

Pam is the mastermind behind Foliage Follow Up and I can now vouch for the fact that she is every bit as charming in real life as she is online (it’s a Fling thing…you get to hang out with your gardening heroes).

gbbd post-fling post

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

?clematis

I’m only part way through the photos from the Portland Fling, so not all of the gardens will be represented here. There were so many jaw-dropping blooms on the tour that I can’t resist featuring a few of them for this month’s Bloom Day. The Clematis pictured above was seen at Joy Creek on the first day out and about.

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Wouldn’t you know that Danger Garden would greet the big event with something seldom seen but not soon forgotten.

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Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens is our go-to guy for grasses, so a visit to his garden presented the challenge of capturing their elusive beauty: something only Scott is actually capable of doing.

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Scott is also partial to lilies. This happens to be high season for lilies, so we were treated to many of them over the weekend.

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Some were gigantic (note the roofline) and heavily scented, as these in the Old Germantown Gardens.

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And these beauties in the Ernst Garden.

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Day lilies were having their day, here again in Old Germantown Gardens.

lavender at Westwind

At the Westwind Farm Studio, the first thing you see is a sprawling field of lavender

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followed by large blocks of color created by mass plantings.

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McMenamin’s Kennedy School is surrounded by deep borders packed with interesting plants. This Phygelius was catching the afternoon light.

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As was a single, pristine Magnolia blossom.

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In the Fuller Garden, a dainty Fuchsia’s quiet presence in the shade drew me in.

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The garden of JJ DeSousa was all about drama and staging. She used a lot of these flaming red begonias to reinforce her color scheme.

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Crocosmias are coming into their own about now. In the Chickadee Gardens, they add a bright note to the front border.

It was fun to take a break from my own garden to wallow in the beauty wrought by others’ efforts. Thanks for coming along. Many thanks to Carol, of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Boom Day each month.

hey kids! Means is having a sale!

Friday, June 27th, 2014

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And when they have a sale, it’s a doozy.

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Last year, I was skeptical…but then I rationalized that even if they only lasted a season, full sized specimens at what I would normally pay for annuals were still a bargain. Here it is: one year later and every one of those plants is thriving.

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There hasn’t been a lot of exotic stuff this year, but if you’re looking to plant a hedge, or a sweep of grasses, you can do so without breaking the bank.

Rainbow Leucanthoe

For instance, we keep going back for more of this Rainbow Leucanthoe to line a part of the drive.

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At $2.99 each you can hardly go wrong.

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I was charged with going back for three more and look what happened. I asked about the price of that variegated dogwood and was told it was $49.99…but then he said “you want it? you can have it for $25.” Deal!

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While I’m not big on roses, I did like the color of this one, so I’ll tuck it away somewhere and have the stuff of fragrant bouquets.

agaves & yuccas

Come for the sale, but look around the rest of the place while you’re at it. You might be surprised at what you find.

ANLD highlights

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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As promised yesterday, I’m going to show you some of the highlights of this Saturday’s ANLD tour from my point of view. One theme that ran through several gardens was the use of cor-10 steel edging to define paths. I especially loved the sinuous one above.

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Fine attention to detail is one of the hallmarks of these installations, as here, where several elements come together and dovetail perfectly.

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This was another path treatment that appealed to me.

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I’m lifting lots of ideas for plant combinations from this tour…loved the purple poppies with the Kniphofia ‘Timothy’.

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Dynamite color combinations needn’t rely on flowers.

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Seating areas offer another opportunity to play with color. I love the way these chairs add a zesty zing to the chartreuse tones of the foliage.

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Taking advantage of a small porch pulls the garden right into this seating area. I failed to photograph another seating area where I sat a while (but Danger Garden captured it perfectly). It took advantage of a driveway with large planter boxes that were on wheels so they could be moved aside when access to the garage was needed: one of many examples of the problem-solving approach taken by these designers.

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Use of materials is another interesting feature of the tour. Here, the material was poured, then carved to resemble stone.

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Nearby, in the same garden, the same material was used simply, as poured, to form raised planter boxes (personally, I preferred this approach).

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Here’s another approach to raised beds.

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A close relative of the raised beds is this formal retaining wall of cast concrete.

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We were served lunch at Garden Fever!, where service is served up with a sweet smile and you can find many of the things you’ve been falling for on the tour.

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Case in point: This charming wall pocket and most of the plants it contains.

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Each Designer is paired with an artist. In this case resulting in a large slumped glass luxury bird bath.

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Everyone fell hard for this garden gate. Other bloggers (links in yesterday’s post) featured close-ups, so I will give you more of a long view of its placement in the garden. This artist also created a new twist on a bottle tree that must be seen to be believed.

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I failed to ascertain if this was the work of an artist or the garden designer. Which goes to show the fine line between the two. At any rate, the carefully placed stones are part of a fountain.

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Many times the placement of ordinary elements like this large, empty pot, could pass as garden art.

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Several of the gardens had structures. This one had an eco-roof.

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The large deck off the back of the house is the result of close collaboration between the designer and the owners. They wanted several large areas for seating and/or staging groupings of potted plants. Most of the owners made a point of the problems that were creatively solved by the designers.

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I was especially taken with the planters designed by owner David P. Best. I love the assymetrical shape, which was not an easy thing to convey to the fabricator. This one, near the basement door, is painted a light color and planted with Rosemary. Another, on the front porch, is equally handsome in a darker color and planted with some sort of rush.

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A longer version.

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Notice how the foliage of the maple exactly matches the color of the door? If this were to happen in my garden, it would surely be a happy accident. I have no doubt it was intentional in this case.

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So…have I managed to pique your interest in spending your Saturday strolling through six enchanting gardens, engaging in stimulating conversation with artists, designers and owners and filing away your own set of inspirations for future projects? You might win two tickets by backtracking to yesterday’s post and leaving a comment. Barring that, you can purchase tickets at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis’ Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, Xera Plants or online at www.anld.com.

ANLD in a vase…and free tickets

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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I’m taking a different approach to Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme this week. The six gardens in the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) were all dressed up for the pre-tour, and most sported flower arrangements. Like the gardens themselves, each had a unique personality.

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These gardens are chock full of ideas: plant combos, hardscaping, garden art and structures. The designers, artists and owners will be on hand to answer questions and expound on their concepts and their experiences working together.

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The tour happens Saturday, June 28 10am – 4pm and I have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky local who leaves a comment here. I will need contact information so that I can get these in the mail to you by Thursday morning.

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Tomorrow, I will share some of the highlights as I saw them. In the meantime, The Mulchmaid did a comprehensive post and The Girl With A Hammer is also giving away tickets. You can purchase tickets at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis’ Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, Xera Plants or online at www.anld.com.

memory lane

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Jenni’s house

I went to West Linn high school, so when Jenni offered to host the spring blogger’s plant swap, I was doubly excited. Getting to hang out with garden nuts who have become friends while we trade plants; getting to poke around old haunts…what could be better?
Jenni, her husband and kids have taken on the project of revitalizing a home and garden that have been in the family for generations. Just have a gander at that bold, modern color and you get an idea of the direction they are taking.

the back yard

The lot stretches waay back to beyond those raspberry bushes you see in the distance. The grass was wet, so only a couple of hardy souls, properly shod, ventured back there. I know from Jenni’s blog that there are raised beds on the left of the path that get put to good use come summer.

flower beds

A pair of mixed borders flank the entrance to that back area we just saw. The swap was in late April, and I think these bed are looking pretty great for that early in the season. Just imagine what they must look like now.

pink dogwood

There’s lots of history here, meaning several mature trees. Talk about bones!

the swap

We crowded onto the driveway with our plants. Here a serious conference is going on. Heather, Amy, Jane, Ann, Loree and Matthew look like they are debating the merits of some offering.typical street

Back in the day, the little town of Willamette was a sleepy little burg ideally located on the Willamette River. It had lots of trees but no sidewalks. None of that has changed.

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No sign of what’s been happening in so many communities, namely multi-family units and McMansions shoehorned into slots where humble abodes once sat.

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Cute little cottages and farm houses in a melange of architectural styles have simply been upgraded with fresh paint and gardens (nobody “gardened” back when I was visiting friends in Willamette).

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Houses I remembered as “ramshackle” have been spruced up without losing their character.

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I failed to get photos of the main street, which is a shame. Like the town itself, it has spruced up, with any new buildings taking on the character of others on the street. It reminds me a little bit of Carmel, but not as slick. This is my idea of gentrification done right (if that is even the right word for it). So often, visiting old stomping grounds is a sad exercise. Willamette has been annexed and is now considered part of West Linn, but it has managed to maintain its own distinct personality. I guess you can go home again, and even be pleasantly surprised.

Schreiner’s Iris Gardens

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

picnicers

These folks take full advantage of the fact that Mother’s Day falls in the middle of iris season. There were plenty of places to picnic, free bouquets for moms and even a harpist.

artist at work

A few artists had set up their easels. You had to be a bit of an exhibitionist because there was no shortage of onlookers.

iris beds

The iris beds are set out in rows, filling a large area with wide grass paths between.

iris with companion plants

They are meant to show off the iris in combination with companion plants. I quite liked the tall purple lupine with the yellow iris.

iris with peony

An iris/peony combo can be effective, but I didn’t think these colors worked very well together.

ID’s on all iris

It kept the borders from being completely integrated, but placing the irises on the outsides of the rows and clearly labeling them made it easy to choose favorites.

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I was on the lookout for ‘Before the Storm’, a nearly black iris, after admiring it on a blog (I’ll come back later and link to it). It was available on line, but I couldn’t find it in the gardens. There were plenty of other dark beauties though.

mixed hedgerow

The mixed plantings surrounding the display garden created some lovely spots to picnic.

vignette with blue pot and eremurus

Occasionally, a planting would leave out iris altogether, like this one with Eremurus surrounding a huge blue pot.

dusky brown

I tend to go for the dusky colors. I can’t quite read the whole label on this one, but at $45 it’s a little rich for my blood anyway.

Touch of Mahogany

I’ll settle for ‘Touch of Mahogany’ for a mere $9.

Some Like it Hot

Maybe I’ll even spring for the $16 ‘Some Like It Hot’ when I put in my order for ‘Before The Storm’.

long table displays

Talk about impressive: this photo shows only a portion of the hall filled with labeled cut specimens of all the iris available here.

the loot

There was a big table of potted up iris for sale. Knowing of my quest, R bought me a dark one and I added a delicate Siberian. I have misplaced the labels, so I can’t be more exact until they turn up. There’s my free Mother’s Day bouquet, which doesn’t look like much in this photo, but each of those buds turned into a beautiful blossom and I am still enjoying it over a week later.

Siberian

The subtle markings on this were what spoke to me.

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They threw in a free catalog and I went for some special fertilizer. Next year should be a good iris year. This was a fun outing, especially taking the back roads south of Portland. If a road trip is not in the cards, you can check Schreiner’s online. How about you? Are you smitten with iris? What else takes your breath away in this pulchritudinous month of May?

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?

‘Citrodora’

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

Richard

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.