gbbd post-fling post

July 15th, 2014

?clematis

I’m only part way through the photos from the Portland Fling, so not all of the gardens will be represented here. There were so many jaw-dropping blooms on the tour that I can’t resist featuring a few of them for this month’s Bloom Day. The Clematis pictured above was seen at Joy Creek on the first day out and about.

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Wouldn’t you know that Danger Garden would greet the big event with something seldom seen but not soon forgotten.

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Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens is our go-to guy for grasses, so a visit to his garden presented the challenge of capturing their elusive beauty: something only Scott is actually capable of doing.

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Scott is also partial to lilies. This happens to be high season for lilies, so we were treated to many of them over the weekend.

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Some were gigantic (note the roofline) and heavily scented, as these in the Old Germantown Gardens.

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And these beauties in the Ernst Garden.

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Day lilies were having their day, here again in Old Germantown Gardens.

lavender at Westwind

At the Westwind Farm Studio, the first thing you see is a sprawling field of lavender

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followed by large blocks of color created by mass plantings.

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McMenamin’s Kennedy School is surrounded by deep borders packed with interesting plants. This Phygelius was catching the afternoon light.

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As was a single, pristine Magnolia blossom.

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In the Fuller Garden, a dainty Fuchsia’s quiet presence in the shade drew me in.

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The garden of JJ DeSousa was all about drama and staging. She used a lot of these flaming red begonias to reinforce her color scheme.

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Crocosmias are coming into their own about now. In the Chickadee Gardens, they add a bright note to the front border.

It was fun to take a break from my own garden to wallow in the beauty wrought by others’ efforts. Thanks for coming along. Many thanks to Carol, of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Boom Day each month.

in a vase (er, pitcher) on Monday

July 7th, 2014

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A bouquet needn’t be huge. In fact, dainty arrangements are often best at the table, where you don’t want to be looking through the greenery to see your dinner companion. This dainty pitcher, made by a local clay artist, is only two and a half inches tall.

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Nor does it need to be floral. This little posy is made up entirely of foliage: a dark Heuchera leaf and another that is H. ‘Marmalade’, two sprigs of Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’ and three leafy tips from Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’.

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Put it on a different background and its whole character changes. Of course part of that is the camera adapting to different light readings too.

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But I am partial to the look of the high gloss Alizarin Crimson of our coffee table as a background.

Do check in with Cathy to see what she and others have found to put in a vase this Monday.

hey kids! Means is having a sale!

June 27th, 2014

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And when they have a sale, it’s a doozy.

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Last year, I was skeptical…but then I rationalized that even if they only lasted a season, full sized specimens at what I would normally pay for annuals were still a bargain. Here it is: one year later and every one of those plants is thriving.

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There hasn’t been a lot of exotic stuff this year, but if you’re looking to plant a hedge, or a sweep of grasses, you can do so without breaking the bank.

Rainbow Leucanthoe

For instance, we keep going back for more of this Rainbow Leucanthoe to line a part of the drive.

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At $2.99 each you can hardly go wrong.

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I was charged with going back for three more and look what happened. I asked about the price of that variegated dogwood and was told it was $49.99…but then he said “you want it? you can have it for $25.” Deal!

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While I’m not big on roses, I did like the color of this one, so I’ll tuck it away somewhere and have the stuff of fragrant bouquets.

agaves & yuccas

Come for the sale, but look around the rest of the place while you’re at it. You might be surprised at what you find.

ANLD highlights

June 24th, 2014

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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.

ANLD in a vase…and free tickets

June 23rd, 2014

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I’m taking a different approach to Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme this week. The six gardens in the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) were all dressed up for the pre-tour, and most sported flower arrangements. Like the gardens themselves, each had a unique personality.

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These gardens are chock full of ideas: plant combos, hardscaping, garden art and structures. The designers, artists and owners will be on hand to answer questions and expound on their concepts and their experiences working together.

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The tour happens Saturday, June 28 10am - 4pm and I have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky local who leaves a comment here. I will need contact information so that I can get these in the mail to you by Thursday morning.

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Tomorrow, I will share some of the highlights as I saw them. In the meantime, The Mulchmaid did a comprehensive post and The Girl With A Hammer is also giving away tickets. You can purchase tickets at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis’ Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, Xera Plants or online at www.anld.com.

every day is bloom day in june

June 17th, 2014

We all klnow what June is like, so I’ll limit myself by showing you only the photos that turned out pretty good. Which means these are not necessarily the best things blooming now, but, well, you know what I mean.

Astilbe

With its fluffy flowers just barely catching the light and leaves standing out against a background of Creeping Charlie, my only Astilbe made the cut.

Lecesteria formosa

A passalong plant, Lecesteria formosa is just beginning to bloom. These will later turn to dangling pagodas of purple fruit. Later still, it will make sure to keep the chain of passalongs fueled with new starts that I will dig up and share.

Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’

The fence line is currently smothered in the blossoms of Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’.See those buds? This will keep blooming for a long long time.

Geum

 This little Geum, another passalong, is nearly smothered by its neighbors. As you may have guessed by now, I like the look of a single blossom surrounded by foliage.

Lychnis coronaria

I’m trying to add just a few spots of color to the foliage-centric Delusional Drive. Lychnis coronaria does just that, and the silvery foliage picks up the theme established by Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’. I tolerate Helen’s bloom stalks elsewhere because the bees love them, but here I will cut them off.

white iris

Nearby, the last iris to bloom is this NOID white one.

bleeding heart

It’s brethren long gone, one last little bleeding heart peeks through foliage (its own and that of Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. Much as I like to use Latin names, “they” have changed so many of late that I’m resorting to the old, highly descriptive ‘Bleeding Heart’.

NOID Verbascum

I’ll leave you with a NOID Verbascum and a suggestion that you visit our host Carol of May Dreams Gardens to join in the fun.

two weeks of ‘in a vase’

June 17th, 2014

pink peonies, etc.

This is a bouquet I put together last week. The pink herbacious peony has finally reached critical mass, and produces enough flowers that I can cut a few without making the garden suffer. I’m not crazy about pink, but paired with deep wine and burgundy it takes on an altogether punchier personality. Here, I’ve used tall stems of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ and three big, shiny Heuchera leaves. The red of the Red Dragon stems shows to advantage in the vase. A few airy sprigs of the wildflower Silene complete the picture.

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I thought you might like a closer look at some of the elements.

in the border

The iris growing in front of the peony was pristine white. For the fleeting moments that both were in bloom, I had me a magical combo.

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This was the border that yielded both of the dark elements.

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’

The peonies lasted less than a week, but everything else was as good as new, so I refreshed it with three stems stolen from my Eremurus patch. This one is ‘Cleopatra’.

I learned of the ‘In A Vase’ meme on Christina’s wonderful blog. The source, and where you can join in the fun of gleaning bouquets from your garden, is Cathy. See you there?

memory lane

June 11th, 2014

Jenni’s house

I went to West Linn high school, so when Jenni offered to host the spring blogger’s plant swap, I was doubly excited. Getting to hang out with garden nuts who have become friends while we trade plants; getting to poke around old haunts…what could be better?
Jenni, her husband and kids have taken on the project of revitalizing a home and garden that have been in the family for generations. Just have a gander at that bold, modern color and you get an idea of the direction they are taking.

the back yard

The lot stretches waay back to beyond those raspberry bushes you see in the distance. The grass was wet, so only a couple of hardy souls, properly shod, ventured back there. I know from Jenni’s blog that there are raised beds on the left of the path that get put to good use come summer.

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A pair of mixed borders flank the entrance to that back area we just saw. The swap was in late April, and I think these bed are looking pretty great for that early in the season. Just imagine what they must look like now.

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There’s lots of history here, meaning several mature trees. Talk about bones!

the swap

We crowded onto the driveway with our plants. Here a serious conference is going on. Heather, Amy, Jane, Ann, Loree and Matthew look like they are debating the merits of some offering.typical street

Back in the day, the little town of Willamette was a sleepy little burg ideally located on the Willamette River. It had lots of trees but no sidewalks. None of that has changed.

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No sign of what’s been happening in so many communities, namely multi-family units and McMansions shoehorned into slots where humble abodes once sat.

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Cute little cottages and farm houses in a melange of architectural styles have simply been upgraded with fresh paint and gardens (nobody “gardened” back when I was visiting friends in Willamette).

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Houses I remembered as “ramshackle” have been spruced up without losing their character.

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I failed to get photos of the main street, which is a shame. Like the town itself, it has spruced up, with any new buildings taking on the character of others on the street. It reminds me a little bit of Carmel, but not as slick. This is my idea of gentrification done right (if that is even the right word for it). So often, visiting old stomping grounds is a sad exercise. Willamette has been annexed and is now considered part of West Linn, but it has managed to maintain its own distinct personality. I guess you can go home again, and even be pleasantly surprised.

Eremurus, always a favorite

June 5th, 2014

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From the very first sign of it breaking through the ground, Eremurus generates excitement and anticipation.

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This is what ‘Cleopatra’ looks like right now.

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I borrowed a photo taken in July of 2011 to show you what there is to look forward to. I’m pretty sure they will be bloomed out by July, so this must be evidence that they are early this year.

Eremurus ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’

My first attempt was Eremurus ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’. It would bloom one year, then do nothing the next. This isn’t a bad shot, but nothing compared to the way the light was hitting it before I dashed into the house to get the camera. You know how that goes, I’m sure.

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Now that I have moved it to the berm where Cleo was performing well, it produces several “candles” and comes along later for a long blooming season. I get most of my bulbs from John Scheepers, where the photos of Cleopatra make it look a much deeper orange than it ever gets for me. Oh well, I can live with that small disappointment. Here’s what their catlog has to say:

Desert Candle or Foxtail Lily: Deer and rodent-resistant, these willowy spires are comprised of densely packed florets that open progressively from the bottom of each spike up, with a sparse, low growing rosette of long, strappy leaves. Preferring rich, well-drained soil with bright sunlight and protection from wind, these woody, tuberous rootstocks should be planted upon receipt 36″ apart, never crowded, and covered with only 2″ to 3″ of soil. They dry out after harvest and rehydrate once planted. Loosen the soil at each each planting site and gently place each brittle, spidery rootstock with its pointed crown pointed up. Avoid breakage. In marginal zones, apply a 2″ layer of mulch after the ground freezes. Zones 5-8.

Does one plant stand out in your garden as a momentary favorite? Danger Garden gives you an opportunity to gush about it.

hello June

June 4th, 2014

Delusional Drive

I put the new dark iris here, with Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’ blooming in back. C. ‘Blue Jeans’ blooms earlier, but between the gray skies and the more muted blue of the flowers, it is way less showy.

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Here’s a closer look at that iris in full bloom.

mahogany iris

Down at the other end of Delusional Drive, a mahogany iris (again NOID) shows up nicely against a background of Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’.

Digitalis

On the other side of the drive, foxgloves volunteer en masse.

R. ‘Ebony Pearl’

In Richard’s Berm of Sorrow, so called because he has it crammed with weeping and prostrate plants, Rhododendron ‘Ebony Pearl’ is sprouting shiny new red leaves that will eventually turn the dark color that gives it its name (much preferable to the pink flowers which, thankfully, are fleeting).

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’ is working up to a fine showing. Cleo adds a few more stems each year.

Eremurus ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’

Since Cleo seemed so happy here, I move E. ‘Ruiter’s Hybrid’ to keep her company. This seems to be the sweet spot for these treasures. I’m at least as happy as they are.

Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

Look at the cute little candy striped bud on the Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ I got from Anna at last year’s swap.

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It looked like it would bloom pink, but I should have known to trust Anna.

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I wanted to cluster pots out front, but I didn’t want the hassle of grass growing up all around and between them. My solution was to lay down thick layers of newspaper, position the pots and fill in around them with pea gravel.

Saxifrage

The orchid-like blooms on the strawberry saxifrage I got from Linda are light and airy.

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They quickly filled this big pot. A small Chamaecyparus lawsoniana ‘Somerset’ will have to do some serious growing to hold its own.

orchid

Inside, an orchid that has sat unnoticed on a windowsill is proving that neglect is its favorite kind of treatment.

orchid bud

I was thinking that repotting was in order when I noticed a bud. On closer examination I found three more budding stems.

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Not one to argue with success, however unearned, I plopped pot and all into this wonderful tin cachepot. Now I can look forward to several months of continuing beauty. These are just a few of the highlights revealed by a stroll in early June. How is June unfolding at your place?