a vase and a stroll around Joy Creek

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Cheater alert: these sunflowers are not from my garden. They were a hostess gift. I usually have a hard time finding a background for photographing my vases but I loved these in front of Richard’s painting in our kitchen, so there you have it: my entry into Cathy’s ‘In A Vase on Monday’ meme.

Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’

So now for a peek at what’s looking good at Joy Creek Nursery (well, a very narrow slice, really, of what stands out right now). Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’ has a very long blooming period, with flowers that are slightly larger and redder than the browner floridus.

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Flowers may rule, but foliage combinations bring their own subtle beauty to the shade gardens.

Fuchsia magellinica alba

Fuchsia magellinica alba

I’m crazy about this low-key fuchsia growing in both sun and shade at the nursery. Unfortunately we don’t have it available for sale but if enough requests come in, that could change.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

In full sun, ‘Lucifer’ is the first of the Crocosmias to bloom. It’s fiery presence and tendency to spread are mighty welcome in my garden.

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Like artichokes on steroids, Cardoons have the stature to make a bold statement…and you can even eat the stalks if you’re willing to learn some Italian cooking techniques from the likes of Ann Amato.

Hydrangea 'Enziandom'

Hydrangea ‘Enziandom’

Some folks view Hydrangeas as old fashioned but I double dare you to come upon this stunner without gasping in admiration. In front of it is a Phormium that is blooming. I have seen them blooming at the coast or in a greenhouse but this the first one growing in an open field. Perhaps the great Phormium die-off is behind us?

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

We have Hydrangeas blooming in the shade, like this oakleaf form…

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and in full sun, where they need more water but obviously perform beautifully.

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There are lacecaps…

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

and mopheads…

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tucked into shady nooks…

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or backing up a long path lined with sun lovers. So how about it? Are you a fan of Hydrangeas? And if not, did I manage to change your mind just a little bit? Allow me once final plug: the flowers take on duskier tones as the season progresses and can be dried to enjoy right through the winter months.

friday grab bag…and more foliage

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I’ll start with the foliage, joining (Christina) for her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Finally, after three tries, I’ve gotten a Tetrapanax ‘Steroid Giant’ to take. Thank you, (Jane).

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Valerie Finnis must have been something special to get this beautiful Artemesia named after her…and (Linda) is just as special for passing it along.

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My consolation prize for missing Hortlandia was a visit to Xera, where I OD’d on luscious plants and brought home these two.

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Here’s the tag description for Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Maki’: “A compact form of the Japanese Yew Pine that forms a wonderful fine textured shrub with a distinctly asian appearance to 4′ tall in 5 years and 4’wide. Waxy needles are fresh looking year round. Adaptable to many situations including understory shade. Tough and draught resistant when established but just as happy with regular irrigation. Tolerates extreme heat well and may be grown against a hot wall and even endures dry shade. Underused.” Amen to that! I have it in a pot for now, but it sounds like a trooper, wherever it lands.

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You may detect a theme developing here. This one is Pitosporum tobira ‘Tall and Tough’: “Japanese Mock Orange is an exceptionally tough, handsome and long-lived evergreen shrub. Scrolled green/black leaves are good looking year round. In May/June, clusters of white/cream flowers emit a powerful orange blossom fragrance. Full sun to shade in average well-drained soil. Light summer water, extremely drought tolerant when established. To 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. This selection is much hardier to cold than other P. tobira. Fantastic shrub.” OK, there might be more than one theme here, but the one that grabbed me was the indestructible part. The flowers are already starting to open and my nose knows that I did the right thing.

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Speaking of indestructible, take a look at Berberis ‘Jamesiana’. Isn’t it a beauty? Now tell me, how can it be that R has a vendetta going against this fabulous shrub. It does have a very prickly personality, but that is just because he keeps hacking away at it to liberate a nearby Italian cypress (of which we have MANY).

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On one side, it is complemented by Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’…

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…while on the other a carpet of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ does the honors. Jim’s pendulous flowers will give way to pearlescent pale yellow drupes on their way to blushing red later on.

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I hope you won’t tire of my going on and on about (Joy Creek), but how can I help myself, surrounded by plants like this Weigelia middendorffiana with its charming splashes of orange peeking out of buttery yellow blossoms?

That’s my roundup for this week. I hope you have a memorable weekend.

vase, wildflower walk and a new job

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A ball of chicken wire is a handy device for holding stems upright in a vase.

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The patch of Lily-of-the-valley growing through golden baby tears has grown exponentially each year (starting with a single start from a friend).

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I wanted to keep the simplicity of the white and green.

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Pristine little bells give off a powerful scent (but not too powerful). Cathy of (Rambling in the Garden) hosts a weekly In a Vase on Monday meme to tickle your nose and your eyeballs. I highly recommend it.

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I knew when the Hortlandia posts started rolling in I would regret having missed it. But who would pass up time in the gorge with good friends, good food and wildflowers? Not me!

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The drive to their place in Mosier was a dream journey.

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We wanted to take some shots out their windows to show how our bird-saving silhouettes can be used without obstructing the view.

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And what a view it is!

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The last time we hiked Rowena Crest, the Balsam Root was just finishing up. This time it was in full flower.

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Lupine on the crest was just getting started, though we saw drifts of it coloring roadsides at lower altitudes.

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Less bold, but worth a closer look, larkspur amidst the grasses,

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and all sorts of dainties tucked in here and there amongst the bolder show-offs. We passed several fields of Camassia turning the landscape blue but they were behind fences so no photos.

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Last, but certainly not least, I answered the call to help out at (Joy Creek Nursery) on Sundays. What kind of a dream job is that? I hope you’ll stop by to say “hello” if you’re in the neighborhood, stroll the fabulous display gardens and fall for a few of the enticing plants in the sales area.

friday faves

Begonia 'Polka Dot'

With Joy Creek Nursery just one hill over from our place, regular visits get to be a habit. That’s where I found Begonia ‘Polka Dot’. Next stop: Fred Meyer, where I spotted a pot with red glaze to match the undersides of PD’s leaves. I needed something to fill and spill and just happened to have a sedum on hand to do just that. It was a good day.

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Milkweed pods are bursting, releasing seeds equipped with shimmering paragliders to take them to parts unknown.

Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’

Pearly purple berries of the Beautyberry will be earning their name until the birds discover them.

Callistemon pityoides

Callistemon pityoides

Earlier in the month I celebrated the first time my Bottlebrush has bloomed. I look forward just as much to the gnarly pod thingies that will be left behind. Loree (Danger Garden) does a roundup of favorites on the last Friday of the month. Click through…you won’t be sorry.

a vignette from the coast & some recent acquisitions

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In order to join Anna (Flutter and Hum) for her Wednesday Vignette, I was scrolling through photos. When I came across this stately tree, seen near Ecola Park earlier in the summer (escaping searing heat in the city) I thought “this is it”. Do click through to see Anna’s eye for pattern, on display with this week’s offering.

Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire Orange'

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire Orange’

As promised, I want to show you some of the things I picked up on my road trip with Amy. For seventy-five cents, how could I resist Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire Orange’? It might seem silly this late in the season, but I hear taking cuttings is quite effective. I’m going to find out.

Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday'

Helenium ‘Ruby Tuesday’

The Helenium I had by the fence line disappeared, and now I know why. They like to be kept moist. Time to try again with Helenium ‘Ruby Tuesday’.

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I was smitten by the flower color and its stature (nice and tall).

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I didn’t even know there was such a thing as White Star Creeper. Get a load of those plummy berries and that one remaining white flower. If this takes hold, I will be back for more. I also picked up a wooly thyme and a Sedum pluricale ‘Isle of Saklahlin’. All of the above came from Starkey’s Corner, formerly Larsen Farms.

Polypodium vulgare 'Bifidomultifidum'

Polypodium vulgare ‘Bifidomultifidum’

On to Dancing Oaks, where it was the ferns that called out to me. This Licorice Fern was spectacular growing in their display garden, still in tip-top shape after our extended heat wave.

Blechnum penna-marina

Blechnum penna-marina

One of the perks of traveling with Amy is her sharp eye for things I might otherwise overlook. Once she called my attention to the Alpine Water Fern, I knew I had to have it.

Asplenium ebenoides

Asplenium ebenoides

Dragon Tail Fern is pretty darn cute. Factor in the name and I’m hooked. A week of clouds and rain (whew) gave me the opportunity to get all of these new treasures into the ground. Which reminds me: better get out there and give them a drink to fortify against the latest heat wave.

vases and a visit

 

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I kept it simple today, with two arrangements that started with pruned branches. Here, they’re from the Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’. The flowers on the dark-leaved sprigs are nearly gone, but one little cluster remains. A red rose grows in an unfortunate spot close to the house. Perhaps I should instead deem it fortunate, because the deer will not come that close to nip off every bud before it has a chance to develop. Anyway, this one perfect red rose smells divine.

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So here’s your view, as you stoop to bury your nose and drift on the memories the scent evokes.

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Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ was threatening to bloom, so I gave her the “Chelsea chop”. I don’t know why silvery plants insist on yellow flowers, but if you catch Valerie while hers are still tight little buds they can be quite pretty in a vase. Digitalis blooms in colors ranging from white through purple. I chose this one in order to keep things subtle and added a single chive blossom just for fun.

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Mondays are made special by Cathy (Rambling in the Garden), who encourages us to find something in our gardens to put in a vase every week, regardless of the weather. Offerings range from simple to simply over-the-top. Don’t miss it.

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Saturday, we worked all day in the garden, so Sunday had “Road Trip” written all over it. A drive through the country down Canby way took us first to Secret Garden Growers Nursery. A long border showcases many of the plants they offer.

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Like this stunning Peony.

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Other display beds are newer, promising an even richer experience in years to come.

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When you will be coming back to buy plants from the nice women who will serve you popcorn and lemonade under the shade of the stately honey locust tree. I found Kirengeshoma palmata. When I admired this plant during the Fling, I was told that it is nearly impossible to find. Imagine my excitement.

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Down the road a piece is Miller’s Manor Gardens. Their display gardens are well established. I picked up lots of ideas for mixing perennials with conifers and deciduous ornamentals.

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This alleyway formed by weeping blue atlas cedars might have been the highlight of the trip.

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This is what it feels like to walk through that alley.

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Paths meander through the property, some flanked by Irises, all clearly labeled. We were told that the Iris Society had visited the day before, 600 strong.

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Fall in love with an Iris here, and you will have no trouble tracking it down by name. That held true for other plants as well.

Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes'

Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’

Cornus kousa 'Gold Cup'

Cornus kousa ‘Gold Cup’

Quercis robur 'Concordia'

Quercis robur ‘Concordia’

Clematis 'Empress'

Clematis ‘Empress’

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Shade gardeners are not short-changed here. There’s an extensive collection under those trees.

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R had a long talk with the conifer guy while I wandered around. He had something pretty specific in mind and finally Nathan just gave him a little pine tree to try out. That’s garden people for you. I came away with some Digitalis obscura because the one I put in last year came through like a champ.

The Canby area is just south of Oregon City on Hwy 99. These stops were listed with HPSO, but you could find plenty of places to scratch your gardener’s itch if you were to meander around those country roads any time.

treated like royalty at little prince nursery

I somehow clicked the wrong thing and lost all of the photos taken on our bloggers’ visit to Little Prince of Oregon nursery. Their logo is a crowned frog prince and their motto is “our plants won’t croak”. That down-to-earth friendliness and gentle humor pervades the place and its people. They welcomed us with open arms (and food and drink and complimentary caps) and turned us loose to wander and shop at will. Here’s what came home with me:

Agave lophantha 'Splendida'

Agave lophantha ‘Splendida’

Agave 'Hammer Time'

Agave ‘Hammer Time’

Agave gentryi 'Jaws'

Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’

Abutilon megapotamicum

Abutilon megapotamicum

Liriope spicata 'Silver Dragon'

Liriope spicata ‘Silver Dragon’

Geum chiloense 'Double Bloody Mary'

Geum chiloense ‘Double Bloody Mary’

sempervivums

A trio of Sempervivums that got separated from their tags. I’ve given up trying to keep track of the different names of the semps anyway, but these look like the makings of a nice combination.

Tillandsias

and a small sampling of Tillandsias, selected from a mind boggling array of these fascinating air plants.

I don’t feel so bad about losing my photos of Little Prince, because others in our group did a bang-up job of writing up our visit, complete with excellent photos. Click on Danger Garden and Mulchmaid to take Loree’s and Jane’s virtual tours. The next time you are plant shopping, look for the crowned frog prince logo. You will be getting plants raised by people who care.

here’s a favorite: can you tell me its name?

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The last time I visited Digs Inside and Out on Alberta Street, I found this cuddly cactus. JJ always has a few interesting plants, but this one has special appeal and here’s why:

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Last summer JJ threw open her garden for the Garden Bloggers’ Fling. I was not alone in oohing and aahing over the squid pot on the wall or the equally drool-worthy plant it contained.

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I couldn’t quite spring for one of the pots, but the plant was like bringing home a memento of sunny days, surrounded by the cream of gardening’s crop of gardeners in beautiful and imaginative settings.

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I had just rediscovered this pot made by Hillary (daughter) when she was in grade school. The cactus, in its pot, fit exactly, with a little vertical wiggle room. I’m squeamish about taking a drill to any pot, but especially one this precious. I put some gravel in the bottom of the cachepot to bring the nursery pot level with the lip, then topped off with more gravel as a dressing.

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I’ve had luck with the no-holes approach as long as the pots are not placed where they can be waterlogged by rain. If all goes as planned, my no-name cactus will thrive, multiply and begin to droop over the edges of its new home much as JJ’s mature specimen has done. Our host for Friday favorites, Danger Garden has one of these and can probably enlighten us with its proper name. A click to check out Loree’s blog is never amiss, regardless.

fave roundup

Euphorbia mamilaris 'variegata'

Spending more time indoors leads to this favorite, Euphorbia mamilaris ‘variegata’ which, appropriately, came from Loree of Danger Garden fame, back in August of 2011. The little square pot with the balls for feet was a score from a resale shop.

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The pot was one of three. When I bring them indoors, I have to put them in little square saucers to protect the woodwork. It means we can’t see those cute little feet, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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When they were lined up in a row on our deck railing, the raccoons found them irresistible and knocked them all about. Eugo here was all broken up over such mistreatment and so was I (not quite so literally). I potted up his broken parts. Since I gave them all away, I can’t report upon their continuing success. This guy, though, grew quite the topknot where he was wounded. It changed his personality, but he lost none of his witty charm. Here’s a link to some statistics. Plant Lust shows it available at two California nurseries. This one came from Digs Inside and Out, where you can often find funky, fun plants but can never be sure what will be on offer.

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Originally, he had another arm on the other side, making him look like he was shouting “look, ma…no hands!”. The raccoons amputated, so now he’s a one-armed bandit. The last Friday of each month is now the day for a roundup of favorites we’ve featured throughout the month. I have only one other favorites post in November, and you can find it HERE.

flying dragon marmalade

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

These are the fruits on Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, otherwise known as hardy orange. I have written about this small tree many times. Last year one of you blogging buds suggested using the fruit to make marmalade. The thought had never occurred to me. I had always thought of them as purely ornamental, maybe even poisonous.

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Well, once planted, it was a thought that grew on me. At the same time I was picking the last ripening tomato and the first ever huckleberries, I decided to give it a go.

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A search for Weck jars took me to Sur La Table, where I found these little Italian jobs that appealed to me even more. They have a single, rather than two-part, lid, but otherwise are treated the same. I later found a full array of Weck jars and bottles at Schoolhouse Electric.

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I’ve had these two charming books for a long time, so they’re probably out of print.

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Sloe Gin and Beeswax is a feast for the eyes. Its recipes use metric measures, but it addresses all kinds of esoteric ingredients, like medlars.

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Even it made no mention of Poncirus fruit, but I pieced together a recipe from several sources. Covering the fruit with water, I simmered them for about an hour. Once they had cooled, I halved them, scooped out the pulp and seeds into a small pan and cut the peel into strips. Add the juice and seeds (the seeds act like pectin) of one lemon to the small pan, some water to cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Strain off the juice into a large pot, add the peel, 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a furious boil until it reaches 220 degrees F. I stirred in some toasted walnuts and whole coriander seeds. Process like you would any jam. The result is not to everyone’s taste (but then you could also say that of marmalade in general). I consider it something of a gourmet novelty and will gift it to only the very most special people.

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Are you growing anything that presents a culinary challenge? If so, I would love to hear about it. And if it was you who suggested this adventure, I thank you.