Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

a visit to Drake’s 7 Dees

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Anna Kulgren

My blogging buddy Anna has introduced me to the charming garden store where she now works. Let me direct your attention to the color of her sweater.

Anna’s signature color

As you can see, Anna is already making her presence known with the repainting of this wall in her signature color.

background color

Almost anything looks great against a background of this muted, sophisticated purple.

blue pots

A collection of blue pots sets off fiery stems and blue-green spiky plants to perfection. I wanted to bring the whole display home with me (sadly, not in the budget).

red pots

This table top featured red pots…equally enticing.

early season plants

It’s still early in the season, but already the yard is filling up with interesting plants.

in the greenhouse

Let’s move indoors. On this rainy day, the sound of the rain on the glass made shelter feel all the cozier. What a delightful space.

indoor vignette

Engaging all the senses, there were arrangements of plants and decorative items on all sides.


the staff

These are the folks who make it all happen, and you won’t find a friendlier bunch anywhere.

Blue Atlas Cedar

This mature specimen of weeping Blue Atlas Cedar drapes over the fence near the parking area. I consider this emerging garden center a real find. To find it yourself, go to 5645 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Portland OR 97225. If you are coming from Portland, it is just past Six Corners, where there is a New Seasons Market, or call 503 292 9121 for directions.

GBBD August edition

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Hydrangea quercifolia

The yard is sporting its summer tan and many of the garden’s stars have left the stage. A few wily characters have been saving themselves for the final act. One of these is Hydrangea quercifolia. It is finally in full bloom after weeks of warm-ups, but the real show will begin when the foliage begins to turn color.

Ricinus communis

I saved seed from the Castor Bean, Ricinus communis, and started several, but the only one that took did so in his own place in his own time. It’s not a very impressive specimen, but I do love the oddball flowers.

Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’

Out along the fenceline, Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’ has become a substantial shrub and continues to pump out blooms over a very long season. I happen to like these gals best in tight bud.

Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’

The parent plants have dozens of flowering spires, but Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ is so accommodating that even these new divisions put out in their first year.

Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’

Some things get better with each passing year. One such is Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’, draping herself over the top of the fence.

Nicotiana glutinosa

I started a few annuals from seed, not knowing quite what to expect.
The seed packet referred to Nicotiana glutinosa as “Peach Screamer”,

Peach Screamer

but these demure blossoms look to me more like they would speak in a whisper.

Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’

I always look forward to the late arrival of Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. The first few to open are a startling contrast to the dark leafy background

Honorine buds

and I especially like all the little round balls of buds that will eventually add to the display.

Mezoo trailing red Dorotheanthus

Little red paint brushes are starting to pop out on Mezoo, trailing red Dorotheanthus.

Tropeaoleum ‘Empress of India’

All of the annuals, like this Tropaeoleum ‘Empress of India’ do a great job of filling in with ongoing blooms while the remains of Alliums continue to contribute interesting notes.

I’ll stop there and send you over to May Dreams Gardens, where Carol plays hostess to flower-loving gardeners month after month.

Pennisetum ‘Tall Tails’ is this week’s fave

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Pennisetum ‘Tall Tails’

Those lovely, fluffy spires earn this Pennisetum its clever name: ‘Tall Tails’. Scott of Rhone Street Gardens brought me three of these. I planted two of them at the edge of this bed, where other grasses are also featured. ‘Tall Tails’ growing near ‘Heavy Metal’

That’s Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ growing to the right. I like its upright habit in contrast to the fluffier look of the Tails.

more Tails

Now that I see what it will do, I will plant the third one (still in a pot) next to the first two with visions of a future mass of these guys waving their tails in the evening light.

last look at Pennisetum ‘Tall Tails’

Here’s one last look, with thanks to Scott for introducing me to a new favorite, and to Loree for providing the platform for writing about our favorite plants on a regular basis.

Olearia x mollis ‘Zennorensis’ this week’s favorite

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Olearia x mollis ‘Aennorensis’

A few Sundays ago, I met up with Linda at Cistus and this was one of two plants I could not resist. It is living in a pot until I decide on a good place for it.

serrated leaves

The sharply serrated, slender leaves were the main attraction, but here’s more to like from the plant tag: “Architectural, layered shrub, to 4-6′ with golden, flaking bark; dark stems; 3-4″ leaves, narrow, silvered and serrated. White flowers appear in summer, but not in great abundance. Perfect for that powdered silver garden. Sun to part shade. Even moisture especially in hot summer climates. Frost hardy to at least mid USDA zone 7″. My plant is not as silvery as the description or the photo on Plant Lust, where you can read more about it.

Rhododendron sinogrande

I’m thinking (taking that “powdered silver garden” talk seriously) that it might work well in combination with the metallic new growth on Rhododendron sinogrande with the contrast in leaf size and shape but similar coloration. This is a spot where I water regularly. My only concern is that it may not get quite enough sun. Guess I’ll just move the pot over there and see how I (and it) like it.

more Olearia

So here’s a last look at my Olearia x mollis ‘Zennorensis’…

more sinogrande

and Rhododendron sinogrande. Your thoughts? While you’re mulling it over, why not pop on over to Danger Garden to see what Loree has on deck for this week’s favorite.

late-blooming gardener, my guest blog

Friday, April 26th, 2013

I’d like to invite you to visit Rusty Spade to read the piece I wrote for Petunia’s ongoing series of gardeners’ stories. While you’re there, you might as well explore her delightful blog. For those of you who have been curious about what the BeBop Garden looked like, I managed to dig out some old photos of the before, during and after to be included in that post.

Blooming Blogs

You might also like to visit Blooming Blogs. That’s where I hooked up with Petunia, as well as many other new blogging friends. If, like me, you found Blotanical incomprehensible, this might appeal to you. It’s quite new, so you would be getting in on maybe not the ground floor, but still early on when your voice will be heard and you can influence its development.

And here are a few peeks at what that garden looks like today:



Corokia cotoneaster

That’s what a happy Corokia cotoneaster looks like.


Melianthus major

Viburnum ‘Snowflake’

the Hoyt Arboretum

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

a typical view

Covering 187 acres of Portland’s West Hills, Hoyt Arboretum is a living museum where joggers, dog walkers, lovers, strollers, photographers and, first and foremost, tree lovers can immerse themselves in nature any day of the year.

lots of cars

Sunday brought a break in the weather, so people were out in force. The parking lot was full and cars were parked all along Fairview Blvd. Still, with 12 miles of trails, it never felt crowded.

entry palms

The visitors’ center is not open on Sunday, but there are pamphlets available with maps, etc., and a large informational board showing which trails offer the optimum experience season by season. For autumn, the Maple Trail is recommended, but first we had a look around the entry plantings. It always seems a little odd to me to see zonal denial plants like palms and agaves in public spaces (like the train station, much as I like the plantings), but the arboretum proper features trees from all over the world, so I guess the patchwork in the entry makes a certain amount of sense.

rocky berm

This rocky berm might have slipped right by me had not Loree posted about crevice gardens a while back. I don’t know if this can go by that name because those had plants tucked in here and there. This one is all rocks.

pot with evergreens

Several large planters break up the space.

Pseudopanax ferox

When one of the pots sports an unusual plant like this Pseudopanax ferox

Pseudopanax ferox signage

there is detailed signage to tell all about it.

crape myrtle

The same system held elsewhere: ordinary stuff went unidentified, but anything out of the ordinary was well documented.

flaming color

 On our way to the Maple Trail, we passed through an area planted entirely with natives, but I was saving my sputtering battery for the colors of autumn.

closer color

The color was slightly more intense, but this is pretty close.

long view with bright tree

The long views were splendid, and with well-placed paths and rolling hills there was a new vista around every turn.


See what I mean?


Parts of the landscape were enveloped in pockets of fog.

family and sumac

This little family was capturing memories backed by the flaming foliage of sumac.

Acer sign

Since the arboretum was established in 1928, there are many magnificent old trees with signage affixed to their trunks. More recent additions, like this paperbark maple, are marked by small stone pillars bearing pertinent information.

Acer griseum bark

OK, so some helpful graffiti artist took exception to the Acer griseum designation (did you notice the “not a” scratched onto the sign?), but one look at this peeling bark should be enough to set him/her straight.

Acer griseum leaf

Here’s the leaf of the above tree. Color, leaf shape, interesting bark: all have me convinced that this is one to hunt down for the R&R Ranch.

Acer pseudosieboldianum var. tatsiense

And while I’m in the market for more red, how about the color of those leaves recently fallen from Acer pseudosieboldianum var. tatsiense?

tatsiense tree

And here is the tree itself. As you can see, we decided on this outing in the nick of time to catch the tail end of the color show. There are plenty of other reasons to visit the arboretum in all seasons and all kinds of weather. Next trip: evergreens, or maybe just a brisk walk unencumbered by camera. If you happen to come away with a wish list, a good place to start your search would be Plant Lust. I usually just carry around my desiderata, waiting for one of my coveted beauties to show up. This particular tree seems to deserve a more concerted effort on my part.

extending tomato season

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

finally…ripe tomatoes

We waited so very long, and just as they began to pour out of the garden (yes, those really are ripe…they’re ‘Great Whites’, new this year, and that’s what a ripe one looks like), the night time temps started dropping. Well, we couldn’t let go of the harvest without putting up a fight, so R put on his thinking cap.

black painted water jugs and sheet plastic

He painted several water jugs black, so they would absorb more heat during the daylight hours. A large sheet of plastic was stapled to the front of the raised bed.

night configuration

Come evening, the jugs are moved in close to the plants and the plastic is pulled over. A couple of furniture clamps on the free side of the plastic keep it from blowing off.

all tucked in

And here they are , all snug in their bed, while visions of spaghetti sauce dance in our heads.

coddling pays off

Yes, the coddling is paying off. On the other hand, some plants that came up from the compost in the darnedest places and received absolutely no attention are performing marvelously. I always heard that volunteers should be yanked out for fear of harboring disease, but R couldn’t reconcile himself to losing potential tomato factories…so there you are…another pearl of wisdom debunked.

Italian plums (prunes?)…whatever

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

plums on tree

When we moved here eight years ago this plum tree was looking pretty ragged and derelict. R has given it his full attention, along with the other fruit trees, and it is finally paying off. You can’t really tell from this photo how loaded with fruit it is.

plums in a bowl

I love the “bloom” on the surface of the deeply purplish-brown fruits.

jars in the canner

The new pressure canner holds ten half pint jars.

jar of plum jam with Grand Marnier

At this rate, the pantry will fill up pretty fast. I doubled the following recipe, which yielded the 10 half-pints plus a larger jar that went into the fridge for immediate use.

4 cups of plums, pitted and quartered.

Add to 2 cups water, bring to boil, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup strained lemon juice, 4 cups of sugar and the rind of an orange, cut in strips.

Boil on medium high until sugar dissolves, then cook at a brisk boil for 10 min. (to 220 degrees)

Stir in 1/2 cup Grand Marnier at the last minute.

Seal into jars with 2 part lids and process for 15 minutes.

You can always find fun ideas for using your garden’s bounty by visiting Greenish Thumb.

Lucy Hardiman’s garden

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

corner view with bench

Anyone who has been gardening in Portland for any time at all knows about Lucy Hardiman and her garden. The bench in the foreground of this shot (taken from the sidewalk, looking up at the house through madcap plantings) is emblematic of her generosity of spirit. She put it there so that passers-by would have a spot to rest their bones and take in the surrounding bounty.
corner of hell strip

One need not even enter the inner sanctum to experience a garden worth making a special trip to see.

Aesclepsia and phlomus

A big fan of Phlomus russeliana, I never lusted after the pink one, but these are more of a dusty mauve, and are going on my wish list, as is the Aesclepsia front and center.

Hakanachloa macra

Yes, the parking strips are brimming with interest, but on the other side of the walk the fun really begins, like this Hakanachloa macra catching the light as it spills over the retaining wall.

Allium seedheads

Part of Lucy’s genius is knowing when to cut back and when to let well enough alone. Allium seedheads are sculptural elements long after the colors fade.

mosaic carpet

Pathways to the street are paved with pebble mosaics.

Phlomus with barberry

Here’s more of that Phlomus, this time paired with the deep bronze tones of barberry.



pots of succulents and carnivores

OK, so as a member of HPSO, I actually have been invited to enter Lucy’s realm…

play of light and shade

where the play of light and shade is dramatic, and must render the garden a changing experience all through the day.


A calm expanse of lawn anchors the space.

sky blue newel

The four corners of the lawn are defined by sky blue newel caps.

gravel square

At one end, a gravel path leads to another square.

large pot with metal swirls

In the center of the gravel square sits a large terra cotta pot with a bouquet of brightly colored metal swirls.

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’

The formal elements give way to an explosion of exuberance in the surrounding borders, as with these spires of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’.


shade plants


glass totems

shiny balls in tree

One corner of the garden is dominated by a large tree hung with colorful shiny balls.

chimney pot and Rhody

A chimney pot echoes the color of the fuzzy undersides of a Rhododendron’s leaves.
There is a name for that, but I can never remember what it is.


Despite the liberal use of garden art, this garden is all about the plants. I’m guessing the height of this Mahonia to be 10-12′.


I would have expected a huge Brugmansia to be featured in a starring role, but this one is tucked away to be discovered…expect the unexpected.

colorful seating area

A seating area is as colorful as the garden in full bloom, and as is Lucy herself. I can’t believe that I have been a member of HPSO for many years without ever before having visited this treasure…but there you have it: always something waiting to be explored. A brand new member shows you her take on this same garde4n at Bell and Star
parting shot from across the street

And here’s one final, parting shot from across the street, as I prepare to get in my car and bid this inspirational garden a reluctant farewell.

pickles & new plants

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

white cucumbers

When the plants labeled lemon cucumbers instead began shucking out these, I decided it was time for a new experiment.

homemade pickles

I had never made pickles before. It was incredibly easy. With this much raw material at hand, I will be trying out several variations and will let you know if there is a clear standout.

Uva sin semillas ‘Concord’

One tip was to put a grape leaf in the jar with the pickles to assure crispness. When I stopped by to see Michelle of Jockey Hill Nursery at the Scappoose Farmers’ Market, sure enough, she had grape vines. This one is a seedless Concord, good for jellies and pies, but it was the leaves I was after.

Panicum ‘Shenandoah’

If you find yourself headed for the coast on Hwy 30 on a Saturday morning, you would be well advised to stop by this market. Michelle has healthy, well-groomed plants and there are always at least 5 that I can hardly resist. This Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ had to come home with me. Cooking and planting: what a way to spend a beautiful weekend.

Want to see what others are cooking up from their gardens’ bounty? Visit Wendy and she will put you on the right path.