revisiting a vertical planting

Back when New Seasons opened the market in Slabtown, I did a post that you can access HERE.

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The most outstanding feature of the handsome building was the vertical planting. I wondered how it would fare over time. Lucky, then, that we happened by on the very day that the heavy equipment was brought in to do maintenance.

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I was able to talk to the guys doing the work. They told me that they were replacing any plants that were dead or dying. A drip system is built into the structure but, even so, half-yearly inventory and replacement keeps the whole thing looking fresh. I wonder how many living walls enjoy that level of commitment or the resources to make it so. And hey…even the cherry picker has that “designer” look.

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Plantings around the parking areas are maturing nicely. Somebody knew what they were about when they specified the plants. Often I see a promising installation that peters out or gets choked by weeds in no time. The care taken by New Seasons makes me want to shop there.

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You know how grocery stores put gum, candy and toys by the checkout, making it dangerous to take kids shopping? Well, this place is dangerous for kids like me.

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I need blinders to get by the attractive displays at the entries.

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But if I need to pick up a hostess gift or a little birthday remembrance, this is my go-to shopping destination. Gotta support those plant-centric retailers, don’t we?

ANLD highlights

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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.

garden tour giveaway

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.

Dancing Oaks Open House

the approach to Dancing Oaks Nursery

We had dinner at Cuvée Friday night and spent the night in Carlton. The next day, my friend Susan and I headed even further into the countryside to visit Dancing Oaks Nursery. I had only been there in high summer and Susan had never seen the place. It is far FAR off the beaten path, but well worth the trip through gorgeous countryside. The above scene is the one that greets you as you approach the nursery. Having driven through pounding rain, we were heartened to see the skies clear.

a spiky greeting

Nothing like a spiky greeting to get things off to a good start.

one of the hoop houses with resident cat

Where to start? We followed our noses through several hoop houses jam-packed with plant life, and in this case overseen by one of the many cats who rule here (see him stretched out over the door at the far end?).

magnolia Michelia yunnanensis

Most of the plants under cover are well marked, like this Magnolia.

the Magnolia itself

Here is the plant that goes with the label. Isn’t it a beauty?

Tibeuchina

It was the red leaves that attracted me, but knowing that this is a Tibouchina lets me know that velvety flowers are its real calling card.

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Nice to know that it has another season in which to shine.

a touch of humor in the hoop house

Can you tell that the people here have a lot of fun doing what they do?

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Having combed through the greenhouses, it was time to stroll around the grounds. Still stripped down to winter bones…

white barked trees (?)

sporting their own spare beauty. I neglected to ask about these trees, but I love them.

art in the garden

This is a good time to appreciate the garden art sprinkled about.

glass fish art

This colorful glass fish is nestled in grasses bordering a pond.

grasses and cat tails

Across the pond, grasses and cat tails have been allowed to dry in place.

rill feeding the pond

A little rill feeds the pond and serenades us all.

fence around pond

A rustic fence surrounds the rill, with seating nearby.

rough wooden structure

Transitioning to the pergola is this rough wooden structure.

Edgeworthia

Standing sentry at the entrance to the pergola, an Edgeworthia is just beginning to come into flower.

looking through the pergola

It will become a dark tunnel when things leaf out, but the sun plays peek-a-boo now, as we head down the path through the pergola.

large pot at tunnel’s end

Looking back the way we have come, a large pot catches the light and beckons to us.

weeping blue atlas cedar

A weeping blue Atlas cedar has been trained up one upright and allowed to weep down from above.

Eucalyptus berm

Some newer looking berms act as a buffer between the cultivated garden and the natural areas beyond. The star of this berm is this Eucalyptus, while beyond Agaves, Opuntias and Yucca reign.

Iris r. ‘Pixie’

A few flowering plants have broken dormancy to bejewel the landscape. These Iris r. ‘Pixie’ are joined by Hellebores
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and random clumps of snowdrops.

Agave, rain chain and bowl

At the pavilion, where goodies were being served, I loved this arrangement of pots, one holding a dramatic Agave, another filled with rocks to receive the runoff captured by the rain chain.

willow chairs

Don’t these willow chairs tempt you to sit a while and bask in those rare rays of sunshine?

blue pots

As we wandered, refreshed, back towards the sales shack, I couldn’t stop clicking away. Here’s another of many rain chains, this time hanging from a tree branch. Pots are used throughout the garden as containers and as stand-alone sculptural pieces.

Magnolia buds about to burst

An ancient looking magnolia stellata seems to be saying “Come back soon and see me strut my stuff”.

valley view upon leaving

You would be doing yourself a disservice if you hurried away without indulging in some chit chat with the owners of this edenic corner of the world. Here’s the view out over the valley as we reluctantly bid adieu. I know you will want to know what came home with me, but that will come in a later post. I have used restraint at each stop on this spring’s buying spree, but the plants are piling up. I will soon need to deal with them, and then all will be revealed…I promise.

come to a birthday party

deck

I met Doug and Joyce many years ago. They were remodeling a barge into a floating home and we were doing the same with a decommissioned tugboat. We were moored side by side at the tip of Tomahawk Island when it was still undeveloped and wild. Such conditions breed close relationships that stand the test of time, even when later contact is sporadic and widely spaced. Indeed, the last time we visited them in the hills above Sheridan, they were living in tents and logging the land to build their house.

clay sculpture

Doug is an architect/furniture builder and Joyce is an artist/teacher, so artistic touches wait around every corner…like this clay sculpture with its arms raised in celebration.

andiron plant stands

I can only imagine how great it would be in high summer, but the stripped down winter face allowed little touches, like the repurposing of a pair of andirons to hold a metal pot, to stand out.

the wrap-around deck

The wrap-around deck has pergolas, roof lines and decorative elements to keep it interesting.

save the trees

A cutout in the decking accommodates a tree growing close to the house.

whimsical handrail

I didn’t take many indoor shots because the party was in full swing, but here’s a whimsical handrail.

huge jade plant

A huge jade plant filled an alcove.

jade with lights

It was dressed for the season.

Doug in his shop

Here’s Doug in his woodworking shop.

carving on a panel in progress

A peek at some of the carving on a panel he’s working on. Every door in the house is its own miniature landscape.

the four daughters

I failed to get a picture of the birthday girl, but the four daughters are like versions of Joyce. They regaled the crowd with song and dance and silliness back there with the tree in the window for a backdrop. It is such a joy to reconnect with old friends. I hope you got to do some of that during the holidays.

a view from the tram

the pod from the ground

Every time we drive by the overhead tram in the south waterfront district I get the itch to experience it first hand. When I found myself with time on my hands, I decided to do just that.

lower station

All of the support structures at the base station are delightfully space age-y.

close-up of pod

The pod itself is sleekly aerodynamic, with plenty of windows to take in the view.

view from above

And quite the view it is…especially with the aerial perspective of a foggy day.

bumpy ride

Be forewarned: the car swings wildly as it passes through the towers. It was enough to knock me off my feet, but the crowd was packed in so tightly that an embarrassing pratfall was avoided. I did miss some good photo ops, though.

top station viewing platform

At the top terminal there is a bridge to a viewing deck.

terraces and roof gardens

Look at all those terraces and roof gardens. I find it so encouraging to see health care facilities incorporating gardens into their buildings (this is Oregon Health Sciences University on what has long been referred to as “Pill Hill”).

drinking fountain

Sculptural elements have been incorporated into the gardens.

raven

frog

city view

Another view looking down at the city’s east side, across the Willamette River.

return trip

Time for the return trip and once again becoming earthbound. If one has business with the hospital, the trip is free. I was happy to pay the $4, and once they determined that I was a sightseer, they positioned me right by the front windows for the best view and steered me to the points of interest on both ends of the round trip. This immediately shot to the top of my tour for out of town visitors…most especially my cousin Billy, who has always longed to fly. I then took a walk around the new gardens around the lower terminal, but will save that for another time.

bamboo garden birthday

Yesterday was R’s birthday. I asked him what he would like to do, fully expecting a visit to the Portland Art Museum and/or galleries around town. But no, he wanted to take a trip out to Bamboo Garden in North Plains. One of these days, we must take this little drive on a beautiful day…which yesterday surely was not.

driveway of Bamboo Garden

But no matter what the weather, coming to this 20 acre bamboo haven just outside Portland, Oregon is a treat.

bamboo forest

Here’s a little closer look at that bamboo forest behind the fence that greets you as you drive in.

bamboo fence

Of course the fence is fashioned from bamboo canes.

outdoor hanging bamboo sculpture

…just the first of many imaginative uses in evidence. This woven piece hanging in the trees is probably close to 25′ long.

bamboo doorway

Pass through this doorway and you will find more…

bamboo sphere sculpture

like this woven sphere hanging in a greenhouse filled with an assortment of potted bamboo

hanging tillandsias

and even some Tillandsias.
bamboo pod sculpture

On the warehouse side hangs this pod sculpture woven from bamboo

poles of all lengths and diameters

Just in case you can’t wait for your own bamboo forest to produce the materials you need, that warehouse is chock-a-block piled high with poles of every length and diameter.

propagation

Plus a propagation area with tables full of tiny starts just getting underway.

our guide

Once we had met our guide and described to her our needs.

electric cart

we were invited to hop aboard one of the electric carts, and away we went…

clump of bamboo

past clumps

mixed bamboo border

along mixed borders and through forests

pond and greenhouses

all the way to the bottom of the property, where extensive greenhouses overlook a large pond.

signage

The signage is clear and informative, but hardly necessary because our guide kept up a running commentary, with stops along the way so we could take a closer look at anything that tickled our fancy. We were after timber bamboo, and we wanted something that would spread quickly (we’re no spring chickens, after all). Since we have managed to kill our last two trials, we opted to take home only one tub of the recommended Phyllostachys vivax. We left armed with two care sheets and a lot of verbal support for our efforts. If all goes well, we will definitely be back to give P. atrovaginata a try. Nicknamed “incense bamboo” the canes smell just like lemongrass when chafed.

Sasa veitchii

Sasa veitchii is another that will haunt my dreams until I can get back there and claim a pot of it to introduce as ground cover. Couldn’t have had a better birthday if it had been my own.

beauty on Belmont

remodeled office & landscaping

Wandering around on the east side of the river the other day, I came across this. The building was once one of those nondescript hunks of nothingness, contributing only negative vibes to the ambiance of the street.

the entry walk

A light remodel and spiffy colors brought the building into the 21st century,

another view

But it is the landscaping that does the heavy lifting when it comes to the “Whoa! Look at that!” reaction. I should have taken a photo from the end to show the way the plantings of grasses and lavender are arranged in rows, with small deciduous trees spaced regularly throughout. I suspect they will be cutting things back soon. So glad to have happened upon it in all its billowing glory.

close up of wall

The undulating cement retaining wall and the rounded clumps of grass are a nice counterpoint to the straight lines of the building and the planting grid.

by the alley

An alley runs between the building and its neighbor (you can see the neighboring building as a backdrop here). The planting strip there takes a more casual approach, utilizing the same plants, with a few additions, scattered more haphazardly along a dry creek bed of river stones. I will definitely be back to see it when the trees leaf out and the lavender blooms. I love the Calvin Klien-ish collection of neutrals, but when it changes into its new clothes I’m sure it will be a new kind of beautiful…and fragrant, too. If you want to see it for yourself, go to E Belmont, right across from the Grand Central Bowl.

As John Lennon warned “Life is what happens while we are making other plans”. Thus I did not make it to the Yard Garden & Patio Show as planned, but I can direct you to two outstanding bloggers who can show you and tell you all about it. Just visit Loree and/or Scott for a ringside seat with a dollop of editorializing.

Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp niphopila (for Jane)

propped up Eucalyptus

Jane, known to many as the Mulchmaid was bemoaning the fact that her Eucalyptus was listing to starboard after recent storms. We were having that problem, so R propped ours up like so.

close-up of the prop

Here is a close-up of the end that makes contact with the trunk of the tree. Extra boards are screwed to opposing sides of the 4×4 post, making a groove for the tree trunk. The post and tree are lashed together with electrical tape below those boards and the other end of the post was driven deep into the ground. These trees have a tendency to shoot up rapidly and get a bit gangly. The shallow root system makes them likely to tip over, especially when the ground has become soggy with heavy rains.

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I’m pretty sure any expert would tell us to cut back all of those suckers coming up from the ground, but the main part of the tree is so rangy that the extra fullness they provide is welcome. The buttress has been in place now for two years, so I think it is about time to remove it and see if the tree can make it on its own. Jane’s leaning tree has a much handsomer profile…well worth a little extra effort to keep him on the up and up.

rebuilding center on Mississippi

from across the street

Now that things are slowing down in the garden, it’s a good time to trot out some of the things stored away that didn’t quite make it into previous posts. When I visited Mississippi Ave a few weeks ago, I took quite a few pictures of a place I find inspiring, The Rebuilding Center. If you drive toward the river on Fremont, you will come upon it where Fremont intersects with Mississippi.

truck

It is a place where builders and remodelers can drop off unwanted building materials that are then sorted, priced and put on display.

wall of windows

Bulletin boards hold ideas for ways to use cast off materials in ingenious ways, but perhaps the most inspiring examples are to be found in the building itself. Here is a wall incorporating a hodge podge of reclaimed windows. Greenhouse, anyone?

welded metal fence

Scrap metal has been welded into a decorative fence.

main entrance

The main entrance is a fantasy land, with built-in benches at the base of trees whose branches, adorned with sparkly elements reach for the vaulted skylights.

another look

Here’s another look at that entryway.

doors

The space is huge, with enough room for separate areas dedicated to doors, windows, etc.

lighting

In the lighting department, whole fixtures hang from above while shelves of globes and shades fill the dense shelving below.

lumber, etc.

This is one of those places to come with an open mind and let the imagination roam free. Who knows what manner of garden structure might result.