grab bag on thursday


Here’s the little patch in the middle of the “lawn” meant to gradually expand to take over as much of the open space as I can manage. Several grasses came home with me from the swap so it will be expanding faster than I had even hoped. There’s a big rock there that we rescued from the highway verge (biggest one the both of us could manage…oh, for a truck with a lift).

Allium 'Gladiator'

Allium ‘Gladiator’ provided nice spots of color while blooming.

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The foliage on the oak tree from the Tough Love sale (can’t seem to find the tag) has such delicate foliage that I think it will provide sparse shade even as it grows.


R did some selective mowing, leaving patches of buttercups (they are the bane of my existence as they try to invade every bed and border, but I love their cheery presence here.

Rosa moysoii geranium

This rose, purchased from Roger Gossler at the Portland Fling, was purchased for her shapely hips. This is the first time I have seen her brilliant, single red blooms. Now I am in love all over again. Pay no attention to that woman behind the computer who claims to not care for roses.

Iris 'Raven Girl'

The Iris show was resplendent this year. A newbie this year is this near-black one…’Raven Girl’

Iris spec-x 'Alley Oops'

Proof that a silly name can’t keep a delicate beauty down…’Alley Oops’…really?

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'

Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’

And now for the Means report. It’s time for the super sales. All of these are 5 gal pots or larger, starting with Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’, one of my favorites, at $6.99 ea. It doesn’t look like much now, but the flower spikes are fabulous later on.

pink Rhododendrons

pink Rhododendrons

Good-sized Rhodys for $4.99.

variegated Agapanthus

variegated Agapanthus

At $4.99 ea. these variegated Agapanthus are a bargain even if they don’t make it through the winter.


They are just coming into bloom, with lots of buds showing.

Stella d'Oro day lilly

Stella d’Oro day lilly

If anyone is interested in Stella d’Oro, here they are for $4.99, about halfway through their bloom cycle.


Lots of good-sized Jaspanese Maples in several colors are $9.89 ea.


They are all dark, some redder than others.

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I’m not exactly sure of the size, but those pots are larger than 5 gallons. If you’re out this way on Sunday, stop by Joy Creek to say hello. The garden is looking fabulous and we have a new batch of Heucheras for just $7.50 ea…’tis the season of hot sales, dontcha know.

friday grab bag

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How ironic is it, that picking out the negative spaces in our window silhouettes is called “weeding”? Looks like I can never escape this chore.

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Here’s a sneak peek at what our latest product is apt to look like (from the outside, looking in).


What a difference a few sunny days makes. Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ is in full bloom.


It comes along quite a bit earlier than C. impressus ‘Victoria’ and is a duskier blue (like denim) to Vicki’s clear blue.


In the “delightful surprise” category are these Epimediums, NOID from one of our bloggers’ swaps.


All surprises are not necessarily delightful. The Alliums I planted in the fall are coming up nicely and look almost ready to flower, but all of the leaf tips have browned in a rather unsightly fashion.


Plagued by gophers, our “lawn” looks like a war zone. Taking Amy’s (Plan-it-Earth Design) advice, I’m starting to plant it with things that will disguise the damage, need little to no mowing and quit pretending to be lawn.

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This is the first little patch, using a nice big clump of Carex I got from Anna (Flutter and Hum), which I divided and spread out over a fairly large area. The clumps of Prunella vulgaris were left in place (I’m choosing to view them as wildflowers rather than weeds). The Alliums were tucked into open spaces and I’m thinking Camassia next. At this rate, it’s a project that could become my life’s work, but I’ll show those gophers who’s boss.

friday grab bag

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Dontcha just love hostess gifts? These real eggshells were hollowed out to receive some tiny sedums and sempervivums (hens and chicks), putting a new spin on the chicken or egg conundrum. Peter (the Outlaw Gardener) featured some eggshell planters that are made of porcelain. It’s a fun idea, either way.


This was so easy. Late fall, Freddie’s had bulbs on sale, buy one get one free. They went into a couple of clay pots over the winter and now bring all kinds of cheer to our front steps. Credit goes to (Jason) for reminding me to do this (his display is about ten times more extravagant).


Just in case you are suspicious of the “tough love sale”, this Magnolia stellata came from there last fall, and just look at it.

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Impossible to truly capture (except for a few of you) but the morning light these past few days compels me to try.

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And I simply could not stop at one…nor two, but I’ll refrain from that old home movie habit of putting you to sleep. We’re looking to have an exceptional spring weekend…hope yours is great too.

friday grab bag


We had our semi-annual bloggers’ plant swap last Sunday and this is my haul. There is also a fabulous grass ‘Sky Racer’ from Scott that didn’t make it into the photo.


These gatherings have grown into full-blown parties. Ann (Amateur Bot-Ann-ist) was kind enough to host this time (that’s her husband, John, sharing a laugh with Kate. They epitomize the spirit of the event, so I’ll stick with this one photo. I took more people pictures but it seems every time I pressed the shutter the subject turned serious, making these good-looking people seem sort of glum (nothing could be further from the truth).


The harvest is winding down. I think that little thing front and center had visions of becoming a cantaloupe.

Euphorbia wulfenii

Euphorbia wulfenii

After years of putting on a spectacular show, Euphorbia wulfenii finally exhausted itself.


As did the Lavender growing next to it.


Out they came, leaving behind some seedlings that will take a while to graduate from understudy status.

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I widened that border by laying down thick layers of newspaper held down with a layer of gravel. I’ll pile compost on top of that and use it as a cutting bed to feed my ‘In a Vase’ habit.
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This is the little patio out the door to my studio on the back (south) side of the house. The Euphorbia on the other side of the door has fared better, so will remain for now.

Kalanchloe orgyatum

Kalanchloe orgyatum

I have taken many cuttings from Kalanchloe orgyatum aka Copper Spoons, so I know how easy it is to propagate. Still, this surprised me: a broken leaf that remains on the plant has given birth! Guess that’s what happens when you indulge in an orgy.

Last Friday I asked about Your views on high-end stores like New Seasons. Looks like plant people have similar thinking about other things. I always fantasized about a European-type lifestyle, complete with shopping at charming little specialty shops on a daily basis and pedaling home with a baguette and a bordeaux in my basket. Portland now has those shops so technically that would be a possibility…highly unlikely. We all lead busy lives, where the convenience of one-stop-shopping keeps us sane and leaves us with time to garden. In Portland, the appearance of Whole Foods pushed the Fred Meyer chain to upgrade its merchandise as well as its ambience. It still lags behind the New Seasons experience, but not by all that much. So I’ll shop at NS from time to time, just for fun or to pick up something special…fill the pantry with goodies from the garden…shop the natural foods section of the Scappoose FM and hope that the magic will happen in the kitchen. Thank you all for sharing your opinions and convincing me, yet again, that I truly have found my tribe.

friday grab bag


My favorite Iris is one of the last to bloom. Can you see how velvety/satiny it is?


I’ll step a little closer so you can share the love.

spex-x iris 'Alley Oops'

This was added last year from our visit to Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. It goes by the unfortunate name of ‘Alley Oops’, which makes me feel not so bad about having no name for that deep mahogany beauty.

Physocarpus obutifolius 'Summer Wine'

As the Physocarpus continues to load up on blossoms, the long branches arch over into even more of a fountain shape.

Sisyrinchium bellum

Blue eyed grass is a ferocious reseeder, but I forget all about that when its blue eyes are winking at me in shafts of sunlight.

NOID geum

For some reason, a massive patch of Stachys petered out this year, but look what was liberated: abrilliant orange Geum

Cornus kousa

You lose some, you win some…the kousa dogwoods are loaded with blooms this year.

Aguillegia 'Swallowtail'

Look at the spurs on the columbine called ‘Swallowtail’. I made a calculated guess that leaving some of those darned buttercups around this plant would help to prop it up. That it does, but it’s also seemingly sapping its strength. Guess I’ll have to come up with a better solution to the flopping ways of Swallowtail.

Aguillegia 'Black Barlow'

Not a problem for A. ‘Black Barlow’. Its leonine ruffs stand up at perfect attention. Thanks, unknown blogger, for bringing this to a swap last year.


Now for a quick peek at Delusional Drive. We’re standing a little past where the first iris shots were taken, looking towards the entrance. In the distance you can just see the blue of Ceanothus ‘Victoria’, echoed by a lone blue iris in the middle distance.


Moving along, you can see that there is quite a bit of yellow-green foliage that plays nicely with the blue.

Ceanothus 'Victoria'

Here’s a close-up of ‘Victoria’ at her best.

Helianthemum 'Henfield Brilliant'

On the other side of the drive, Helianthemum ‘Henfields’s Brilliant’ brightens things up and does a nice job of obscuring the dying foliage of daffodils past.


A wayward foxglove seemed to know I would welcome a dash of hot pink against the red-orange.


Now here’s a question for you. I adopted a scraggly twig with no label at the Cistus ‘Tough Love’ sale two years ago. This year it rewarded me for the TLC by leafing out prettily and producing one coy little bottlebrush blossom. Any idea what this is?

friday surprise


This popped up in a mature bed and I nearly got rid of it. Sometimes sloth pays. I have no idea what it is, but I see a few of them along the roadside. Guess it must be a native. Ideas? I’m also going to call it my favorite this week, because I love surprises.


Now for a little of this and a little of that. Our neighbor lost this cedar tree in the last big windstorm.


After sawing the greater part of the trunk into logs (there in the background), the rest got ground into chips and those chips got dropped onto our side of the fence (I told you Jim is a great and generous neighbor). Three guesses how I have been spending my time. That prodigious pile of chips means many trips with the wheelbarrow. I don’t think I have ever done quite such a thorough job of mulching.

Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans'

The first Ceanothus to bloom is ‘Blue Jeans’.


Delusional Drive was planned to depend on foliage for year-round interest, but the blue flowers are a welcome seasonal extra.


On the other side of the drive, mounds of Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ pick up the blue note as a background for ‘Thalia’ and a smattering of other Narcissi.


Get a load of that blue sky. Perfect background for the early (isn’t everything?) blossoms of the pear trees.

The first of the Rhodies to bloom is always PMB. This year is no exception, but the foliage is so ratty looking that the flowers haven’t a chance to make up for it. Instead, I give you ‘Janet’, in all her beauty: from bud:

Rhododendron 'Janet

to budding,


to full blown, all happening at the same time on the same shrub. I hope your Friday held some wonderful surprises as well. Won’t you please tell me about them?


what’s new


I stopped by Means to pick up a little something to plop in a pot and what should I find but this glorious Brugmansia for a mere $1.99. Who could resist such a thing? Not me.

black olive pepper

And yes, I did get this cutie for the aforementioned pot. It’s some kind of a black olive pepper, but you know how it is at Means: great deals but not always the best labeling. We can forgive them that, I think.

Marilyn’s frog

Marilyn is downsizing, so her frog came to live with us…standing in for the real thing, which is heard (mostly in the spring) but seldom seen.

Melianthus major with Carex conica ‘Snowline’

Finally, after several unsuccessful tries, I’ve gotten a transplant of Melianthus major to take hold. A recent trip to Xera turned up these cute little Carex conica ‘Snowline’ to surround it.

Tricyrtis hirta

Just this morning I spotted the first two blooms on Tricyrtis hirta, the common toad lily.

Rosa moysoii geranium

We had a mini nerd night at the Fling. Roger Gossler brought this Rosa moysoii geranium. Those hips got my attention.


Don’t they look swell in the red pot?

Kalanchloe behariensis

Not long ago, Kalanchloe behariensis was featured as my favorite plant. Seemingly overnight, it turned all leggy and gangly. Major surgery was called for.


Out of one came many.


Each has a slightly different personality.


I don’t really need three of these, so at least one of them will probably wind up at a swap.


Last night’s dinner guests came bearing plants, a red achillea and a prostrate rosemary. Bill and Hilda know what I like.


Speaking of guests, this beauty has not been seen in these parts before, so I’m grouping him with all things new. What’s new with you?

hey kids! Means is having a sale!


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


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.


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.


At $2.99 each you can hardly go wrong.


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!


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.

hello June

Delusional Drive

I put the new dark iris here, with Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’ blooming in back. C. ‘Blue Jeans’ blooms earlier, but between the gray skies and the more muted blue of the flowers, it is way less showy.

dark iris close up

Here’s a closer look at that iris in full bloom.

mahogany iris

Down at the other end of Delusional Drive, a mahogany iris (again NOID) shows up nicely against a background of Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’.


On the other side of the drive, foxgloves volunteer en masse.

R. ‘Ebony Pearl’

In Richard’s Berm of Sorrow, so called because he has it crammed with weeping and prostrate plants, Rhododendron ‘Ebony Pearl’ is sprouting shiny new red leaves that will eventually turn the dark color that gives it its name (much preferable to the pink flowers which, thankfully, are fleeting).

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’ is working up to a fine showing. Cleo adds a few more stems each year.

Eremurus ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’

Since Cleo seemed so happy here, I move E. ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’ to keep her company. This seems to be the sweet spot for these treasures. I’m at least as happy as they are.

Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

Look at the cute little candy striped bud on the Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ I got from Anna at last year’s swap.


It looked like it would bloom pink, but I should have known to trust Anna.


I wanted to cluster pots out front, but I didn’t want the hassle of grass growing up all around and between them. My solution was to lay down thick layers of newspaper, position the pots and fill in around them with pea gravel.


The orchid-like blooms on the strawberry saxifrage I got from Linda are light and airy.


They quickly filled this big pot. A small Chamaecyparus lawsoniana ‘Somerset’ will have to do some serious growing to hold its own.


Inside, an orchid that has sat unnoticed on a windowsill is proving that neglect is its favorite kind of treatment.

orchid bud

I was thinking that repotting was in order when I noticed a bud. On closer examination I found three more budding stems.


Not one to argue with success, however unearned, I plopped pot and all into this wonderful tin cachepot. Now I can look forward to several months of continuing beauty. These are just a few of the highlights revealed by a stroll in early June. How is June unfolding at your place?

plant gluttony


It all started with a visit to Jockey Hill Nursery, where Michelle babies her plants without any help from nasty stuff like pesticides. I came away with two Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’, flanked by two Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ in the back row. The two pots on the left hold Perovskia ‘Crazy Blue’. The Epimedium rubrum on the left sits next to Epimedium ‘Enchantress’ on the right. In front of them is Iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’. On the right is Senecio greyi. Rounding out the group is Rhypsalis and Aloe maculata.

Bloggers’ Swap plants

Oh my, look at all the plants that came home with me from the bloggers’ plant swap at Jenni’s (more about that later). Back row, left and right, Yucca (sorry, name escapes me at the moment), Cedrus deodora ‘Prostrate Beauty’ and a raspberry. Tucked in at left, Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple’ from Alison and on the right Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ from Heather. Next row: Acorus graminans ‘Ogon’,also from Alison, Libertia peregrinans ‘Bronze Sword’ from Jane, two Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ from Linda, two more of those Acorus and Sedum sieboldii ‘Medio varigatum’, again from Heather, who brashly nicknamed it ‘Clown Whore Sedum’. Front row, left to right: Blueberry Glaze from Loree, two little Euphorbia starts and two golden oregano. In the grand melee that surrounds plant fever, I failed to note the sources of everything I grabbed, so if you see something that came from you, please let me know (thanks, Alison). I always like to give credit where credit is due, not to mention the warm feelings every time I see a gift plant thriving out there. Delusional Drive is filling in nicely, thanks to all these wonderful blogging friends.

I also scored a Pseudopanax ferox at Hortlandia. It’s a strangely wonderful plant and as I carried it to the car not a soul failed to exclaim over it. No pix, as it is small and not very photogenic at this point. I am currently pondering placement as I furiously plant all the other stuff that has come my way. With two gardens to whip into shape (HAH! Like that will ever happen) and the Portland Trail Blazers to cheer and moan over, I’ve been sadly negligent in the blogging and commenting department. This rainy day is good for something.