Lucy Hardiman’s garden

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.

RED ALERT! one day left to see cacti & succulents

I went to the show at Portland Nursery, Stark Street, on Friday so I could report in plenty of time for you to catch the show. Well, guess what: I got so sidetracked talking to the experts and admiring the plants that I left my camera behind on the checkout table. Sorry about that, but, as usual, Loree was way ahead of me with a post about last weekend’s sale at the Division St store. As everything was for sale, I am sure she got to see many plants that were no longer available by the second weekend. Still, I saw plenty that was new to me, so here goes:






This one was big: maybe 8-10″ across.


Not all the guys at this party were especially good looking, but they were all interesting.




Can’t say I’m crazy about the mylar table covering, but I can get past that.


some of them almost seem to invite petting, but that would be a big mistake.


I was drawn to the pink shades.


And also to the very pale specimens.


And no, this is not my haul (she noted wistfully). I discovered, too late, that I did not have a card on me.


So I was only able to scrape together enough coin to purchase these two little beauties. The one on the right is Gasteria nitida v. armstrongii. The other one had no label, but when I asked, it turned out to be a Gasteria as well…a name totally unfamiliar to be up to now. Providence was looking out for household harmony, as I don’t know where I could have overwintered all of the plants I desired. I learned a good deal about plants I already harbor from the enthusiasts manning the show and was invited to join the Oregon Cactus & Succulent Society and/or drop in on a meeting any time. You can still catch the tail end of the show on Sunday, July 22, at the Stark Street Portland Nursery.

foliage follow-up, july edition

Abies Koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ tree

Last month I showed you the cones on our Abies Koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’. Here is the mature specimen that inspired the purchase. If you go to Joy Creek Nursery you can see it for yourself. It is located near the parking lot at the side of the house.

Abies Koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ cones

Ours is still a baby in a pot, but just get an eyeful of the cones produced by a grown-up.

Rhododendron sinogrande

I had questioned claims that the winter past was a mild one, but Rhododendron sinogrande don’t lie.

Rhododendron oreotrephes

Rhododendron oreotrephes

Aeonium ‘Voodoo’ & Mezoo dorotheantrus

I was gifted the Aeonium undulatum x arboreum ‘Voodoo’ in a pretty blue pot for Mother’s Day. I found it the perfect companion in Dorotheanthus ‘Mazoo Trailing Red’, especially when it begins to produce the promised deep red flowers.

white pot with baby tears, black mondo grass and ‘Goldcrest Wilma’

Here’s another pot combo I’m liking this year. The white pot is a challenge. It can look like a chamber pot if I don’t get it right. Here, a base of Baby’s Tears will eventually spill over the edges, with black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens) framing Cupresseus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest Wilma’.

Cotinu ‘Purple Robe’

The Cotinus is already developing a few red spots in its ‘Purple Robe’, making for a combination that pleases me no end. If you hunger for more foliage, visit Pam. She will show you foliage, Texas style (scuze me, make that Denver style), and point you in the right direction to sate your desire.

after the booms come the blooms of July


Of the three plants from seed generously given to me by Linda, this is the only Eryngium giganteum blooming for me. One plant was pulled into his tunnel by a gopher as I looked on. The other is thriving, but I will need to wait for next year to see it flower. If you click on the link to Linda’s post, you will see what happens once Miss Wilmott finds a place to her liking and decides to start her family there.

Verbascum ariaphaenum

I love the fuzzy stem and large flowers on the only Verbascum that I have ever laid out cash to procure (it’s other name is ariaphaenum), but it failed to get a grip and toppled over into the V. chaixii surrounding it.

volunteer Verbascum

The volunteer Verbascums that pop up here and there are made of sturdier stuff. The architecture of the plant is stunning, though the flowers are nothing to write home about.

Romneya coulterii

After two years of struggle, the Romneya coulterii is beginning to hit its stride.

Romneya coulterii blossom

Flowers are mostly an afterthought in this garden, but not in this case. Here’s a close-up to show you why.

sempervivums in bud

The early stages are best when the Sempervivums decide to bloom. Here they are in bud…

sempervivums blooming

…and again as the flowers begin to unfold.


This is the first time the Rhus has produced these fuzzball flowers. Maybe it’s a keeper after all.

creeping Charlie

In sunny spots, the flowers of Creeping Charlie are exactly the same color as the foliage, but in shade it’s a different story.

Lychnis coronaria

When I showed off the foliage of Lychnis coronaria, I promised to show it in flower, so here it is.

Clary sage

The Clary sage is another windfall from Linda.

Fillipendula rubra

Fillipendula rubra will erupt into a froth of pink, but I like it best in bud (guess I say that a lot).

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is one of those peek-a-boo plants that allows us to see what’s behind it. Good thing, too, because it has a habit of popping up everywhere. The other players in this combo are Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’, an orange geum and Acanthus spinosus.

heuchera and astrantia

Speaking of playing peek-a-boo, the sunlight is having some fun here as it plays off of the flowers and foliage of Heucheras, Astrantia, Persicaria ‘Purple Shield’ and Hydrangea ‘Limelight’.

floral series banners

Finally, here are a couple of flowers you will not find in nature…part of my floral series of banners.

That’s it for me…more here.

Stan’s garden

Stan and his garden

Here’s Stan, the gardening man, gesturing at his creation and declaring it to be out of control.

out of control? I think not!

Quite the contrary, I see a lot of control in the juxtaposition of plants of varying heights, colors and textures…and then there are the blooms!

variegated dogwood

First thing you see, driving up to the house, are two of these variegated dogwoods in a parking strip that is otherwise quite restrained, with the use of gravel and a few well-placed large rocks.

front yard 1

After which, let the wild rumpus begin.

sisyrinchium striatum

Sprinkled throughout the tapestry of plants, Sisyrinchium striatum ties the whole thing together and puts my lone specimen to shame. I am told, though, that if you have one, you will soon have many. Yay!

sissy with dust miller

Here it is again, cozying up to its pal, Dusty Miller…

sissy playing peek-a-boo

playing peek-a-boo with the greater garden behind…

sissy at the front steps

and introducing us to the steps leading to the front door.

ground level vignette

At ground level, little vignettes like this one keep it interesting. That little patch of bare earth is one of only a very few that I spotted.

overview with house

I like the way the color palette of the plants compliments the house.

one last shot

Here’s one last shot before I join the group on the deck for book club…

the Bookies

with just a glimpse of the back garden The Bookies are admiring from above. It is very different than the front garden, but every bit as interesting…a subject for another day. Oh, and once the dahlias begin blooming (there are lots of them) the front garden will have put on it’s party dress and be ready to wow us all over again.