Jockey Hill has a sale

all this for $14?

When Michelle does something, she does it in a big way. I know it’s hard to believe, but I came home with this haul for a whopping $14. Starting with the Hibiscus m ‘Plum Crazy’ on the left and moving counterclockwise, they are: a mystery plant I forgot to write down (Mayhew, a fruiting hawthorne with yummy berries…thanks Michelle), Rogersia ‘Bronze Peacock’, Tricyrtis hirta, Kniphofia multiflora, Crocosmia ‘Emily Mckenzie’, Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’, Ceanothus ‘Diamond Heights’, Callistemon sieberi syninym C pityoides, two little sedums and Grevilla ‘Audrey’.

Michelle with customers

That’s Michelle, on the right, deep in conversation, as she usually is, with customers. She is a plant person, and happy to share biographies and profiles of everything she grows.


Getting it all to the car is a snap with the help of a strong man and a gator.

Jockey Hill Nursery

Here’s a shot of the nursery (well, part of it), followed by a few scenes around the place.

tree-lined road

Heptacodium myconoides

plow disc sculpture

entry garden



Now, in case you live in the Portland area, and are beginning to get little annoyed with me for telling you all this after the fact…here’s the good part. She’s doing it again this Friday. Nestled in the hills above Highway 30, Jockey Hill is easy to find. Almost to Scappoose, there is a Shell station on the right. If you turned right you would end up at Mark’s on the Water. Instead, you will turn left and follow the signs to the sale. Michelle will also have plants at the final Scappoose Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

mystery jelly…and other treats

clear, pink jelly

Can you guess the source material for this delicate, clear pink jelly? All will be revealed at the end of this post, but I’ll talk about some other things first, so you can have a chance to ponder. Here’s a hint: nature offers up bounteous supplies of it in late summer, with no help from humans.

harvest time

Finally, the tomatoes are beginning to produce. The new pressure canner got a real workout yesterday: plum jam, pear/apricot conserve, dilled beans and tomato sauce are beginning to pile up in the pantry.

‘Great White’ tomatoes

R always has to try at least one new variety of tomato to go along with the ‘Pineapple’ and the ‘Black Prince’. This year it’s ‘Great White’, which ripens to a mellow yellow and is meaty and delicious. Each mature fruit fills up one’s whole hand.

beans & basil

Note to self: plant more beans! I grew up not liking green beans, because my mom’s cooking method involved large pods spending a long time on the stove with the addition of pork belly. The first time I experienced tiny, tender beans barely blanched and tossed with fresh basil, it was a revelation. One tepee of pole beans is hardly enough to sate my newfound passion.

dilled green beans

Not all recipes handed down from the ‘Betty Crocker School of Homemaking’ have the same connotations. Case in point: a layered salad made up of a layer of drained, pickled beets, a layer of drained pickled green beans, a layer of Best Foods mayonnaise, a layer of chopped green onions and a topping of crumbled hard-cooked eggs. In a glass bowl, it looks quite festive. For several years, It was impossible to find dilled green beans commercially, so last year I decided to make my own. When family members spotted it on the holiday table, a cry of “The Salad!” let me know that I was not the only one who had been missing it. I used some of the leftover brine from earlier pickle making and got the extra beans from the Farmers’ Market.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Time to fess up and reveal the source of the pretty jelly…Queen Anne’s Lace! The recipe showed up in The Oregonian a couple of years ago, and it seemed so strange that I simply had to try it. Start by picking a huge bouquet and settling down at an outdoor table where you can shake each stem vigorously to dislodge the little green spiders living in there. Snip the blossoms close to their stems until you have 2 firmly packed cups. Put them in a bowl and cover with 5 C boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 min. How anyone came up with this recipe is beyond me, because at this point what you will have is a smelly, murky green brew. Strain off the liquid. In a large pot, combine 4 1/2 C of the liquid. Mix 1/4C sugar with 1 pkg SureJell “no sugar needed” and stir in. Bring to a full roiling boil, stir in 3C sugar and boil for another minute. The mixture will magically turn that lovely color. The flavor is as mysterious and delicate as you can imagine…great on homemade bisquits.

as fall approaches, foliage rules

Hydrangea quercifolia

We continue to have warm, sunny days, but the nights are getting cooler, the days shorter: perfect combination for encouraging fall color. Hydrangea quercifolia is a harbinger of things to come.

Acanthus spinosa

The leaves of Acanthus spinosa are starting to give the flower spikes some competition in the drama department.

Katsura tree

The Katsura by R’s studio is starting to get that shimmery look as the leaves begin to turn and flutter with the slightest breeze.

Scott’s ‘Tiger Eye’

If it was beginning to look like I might have a theme for this post, here’s where that gets thrown out the window. This shot was taken in Scott’s garden of his ‘Tiger Eye’. Isn’t it grand?


Castor Bean plants are born sporting colors associated with fall, but it just ups the ante once it starts producing those spiky bronze seed pods.

Phlomus russeliana

Phlomus russeliana has gone through its gangly adolescence, and with a little bit of grooming has become a handsome elder statesman. Those spikes of seed heads will hang on until spring.


Here’s an odd one: the deciduous Metasequoia, or ‘Dinosaur Tree. The leaves/needles are light green and feathery until they change color and fall.

Chamaecyparis p. ‘Filifera Aurea’

I picked this up at Joy Creek when Susan La Tourette did a seminar on ‘Plant Personalities’. It’s Chamaecyparis p. ‘Filifera Aurea’. I’m still moving it around in its pot to see where it wants to live. If you ever get a chance to hear Susan, DO! She brings the plants to vivid life, as she gently strokes them and sings their praises.

Overlook neighborhood

I warned you about my scattershot approach to this post. We went to a wedding reception at Overlook House. Because we were running late, I didn’t get a close-up of that amazing yard, but this way you get to see the graphics painted on the intersection. Other foliage nuts strut their stuff at Digging. Have fun!

September GBBD

I’ll keep the chit chat to a minimum here, and let the flowers do the talking.

red dahlia

Red dahlia, about 3″ across



fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’

Fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’…feast for hummers

Gaura lindenhamerii

Gaura lindenhamerii, munched by dear in early spring, came roaring back. The tallest flower spike is 8′.

Gaura close-up

I think it rates a close-up.

Eutrochium, nee Eupatorium

Speaking of tall things, here’s Joe Pye as I stand looking up at him, silhouetted against blue sky.

Helenium maximilianii

…and a similar shot of Helenium maximilianii.

Chasmantium latiforium

Chasmantium latiforium or ‘Northern Sea Oats’

Lecesteria formosa

Lecesteria formosa

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

Oxydendrum arboreum

Oxydendrum arboreum, or Sourwood, or Lily-of-the-Valley tree (you can see why).

Anemone, Solidago, Lonicera

Lots of material out there for bouquets…here Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’ stakes out the high ground, with a supporting cast of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ and Lonicera nitida ‘Baggsen’s Gold’.

Stchys ‘Helen Von Stein’ & Caluna vulgaris ‘?’

The silver and black theme was lifted from Loree here, and carried out using Lamb’s Ears, Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’ as a base with sprigs of Calluna vulgaris adding just a hint of color.

Thanks, as always, go to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for dreaming up Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

the seed project: where are they now?

zinnia ‘Envy’

Let’s start with a success story. The green zinnia named “Envy” is one you won’t find at the nursery. Odd that a green flower should capture my fancy when there is already so much green out there. Must have something to do with rarity, a concept familiar to all gardeners.

early zins

Regular zinnias are notoriously easy to grow. These: not so much. Early on (late April or so) my success rate was spotty. These three pots were each planted with five seeds from the same packet. One pot yielded three plants, one coughed up only one and the third…a big zero. I moved all three (and a few others) outside anyway. That laggart came alive and pumped out five plants that soon shot past their coddled brethren.

struggling zinnia in the shade

Placement is everything. Compare the vigorous growth in the first picture to this poor guy struggling in the shade.

baby Amaranth

The seeds for Amaranth were way tiny, so they were scattered as sparingly as possible…and guess what? Same story in the performance department.

planting size

I waited for the successful plants to reach this size before planting them out.

success in a pot

Pretty soon the ones I put in a pot were looking pretty good. My theory was that if they got wonderfully dangly the pot could be raised to show them off.

in-ground failure

The ones in the ground had not thrived…exactly the opposite results from what was expected. Maybe the claims made by potting soil companies are legitimate?

in-ground success

In case you’re thinking I’ve stumbled upon a truism…not so fast. Here is one from the second batch that is doing fine in the ground.

others not so much

If its neighbors had filled in as intended, this would be a nice looking bed filled with ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’. As it is, one is doing well, the others, so so. But wait! That shade cloth is covering a little Rhody that R is babying along, and it just occurred to me that he must be fertilizing it as part of the program. So much for my “tough love” approach (but please don’t tell him…he’s already incorrigible).

seed tray & cukes

The commercial seed tray setups gave pretty good results. Those four little cucumber plants on the right were responsible for mountains of cucumbers and are producing still.

castor bean seed

I was greedy for Castor Beans, so bought two packets of seeds. The directions advise planting directly in the ground, but I was out to experiment. Some went in the ground and are still so small that I only discover them when weeding.


The rest went into the seed trays, which they quickly outgrew. Get a load of them roots.

comparison plants

They graduated to clay pots, here compared to a couple that were direct sown.

sidy by side castor beans

Proving again that each seed has a mind of its own, these two were raised under identical conditions and came from the same packet of seeds. The one in front is twice as big as the one in back, this time with no fertilizing intervention to account for the difference. This stuff must drive real scientists to the brink of insanity. Of course the one in R’s veggie bed is four times the size of my greatest success and already producing seeds for next year’s crop (sigh). How about you? Have you conducted any experiments this growing season?

Italian plums (prunes?)…whatever

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.