what’s new

August 21st, 2014


I stopped by Means to pick up a little something to plop in a pot and what should I find but this glorious Brugmansia for a mere $1.99. Who could resist such a thing? Not me.

black olive pepper

And yes, I did get this cutie for the aforementioned pot. It’s some kind of a black olive pepper, but you know how it is at Means: great deals but not always the best labeling. We can forgive them that, I think.

Marilyn’s frog

Marilyn is downsizing, so her frog came to live with us…standing in for the real thing, which is heard (mostly in the spring) but seldom seen.

Melianthus major with Carex conica ‘Snowline’

Finally, after several unsuccessful tries, I’ve gotten a transplant of Melianthus major to take hold. A recent trip to Xera turned up these cute little Carex conica ‘Snowline’ to surround it.

Tricyrtis hirta

Just this morning I spotted the first two blooms on Tricyrtis hirta, the common toad lily.

Rosa moysoii geranium

We had a mini nerd night at the Fling. Roger Gossler brought this Rosa moysoii geranium. Those hips got my attention.


Don’t they look swell in the red pot?

Kalanchloe behariensis

Not long ago, Kalanchloe behariensis was featured as my favorite plant. Seemingly overnight, it turned all leggy and gangly. Major surgery was called for.


Out of one came many.


Each has a slightly different personality.


I don’t really need three of these, so at least one of them will probably wind up at a swap.


Last night’s dinner guests came bearing plants, a red achillea and a prostrate rosemary. Bill and Hilda know what I like.


Speaking of guests, this beauty has not been seen in these parts before, so I’m grouping him with all things new. What’s new with you?

august bloom day

August 18th, 2014

Romneya coulterii

August is a floriferous month around here, so I’ll get right to it with Romneya coulterii for starters.

Acanthus spinosa

Acanthus spinosa is past its prime, but holds on for a long, long time.

Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis comes on later, with a taller, slenderer, whiter blossom.

Crocosmia ‘Golden Fleece’

Crocosmia ‘Golden Fleece’

Crocosmia pottsii ‘Culaean Pink’

Crocosmia pottsii ‘Culzean Pink’

Dicliptera suberecta

Dicliptera suberecta, a recent purchase from Xera.

Mimulus ‘Robin’

From Dancing Oaks at the Fling, comes Mimulus ‘Robin’.

Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’

Finally beginning to make its presence known along the fence line is Campsis x tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’. That’s Joe Pye Weed in the background.

Campsis close-up

Here’s Madame, posing for a close-up.

Lysimachia clethroides

I have big patches of Gooseneck Loosestrife, or Lysimachia clethroides. It always makes me smile.The big leaf in the foreground is Acanthus mollis.

Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’

I love Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’, so I don’t mind that she wants to take over the world. honor0161.jpg

See why I like her?

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is beyond the reach of any hose, but seems to mind not at all.

Stachys ‘Helen Von Stein’

Strictly for the bees, who adore Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’ .

Platycodon and Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

Balloon flowers earn their common name with the swelling buds (cute, no?). They share a front bed with Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

That same front bed is dominated by Hydrangea ‘Limelight’, which grew much larger than I had anticipated.

‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily

The very last ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily hung around just long enough to make it into Bloom Day.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’

At the other end of the spectrum, I’m squeezing in Solidago ‘Fireworks’ even though it is still in tight bud. I’m guessing it will be all bloomed out by September 15. Besides, I like it best at this stage.

You know the drill: Carol at May Dreams Gardens will welcome you, as always. My link doesn’t seem to be working, but go to:
maydreamsgardens.com to join the fun.

cooling off

August 12th, 2014

Indian Beach

Just looking at this photo makes you cooler, doesn’t it? As temperatures soared in Portland yesterday, we beat a hasty retreat to the coast, just a short drive away.


First stop, Astoria, where it was still hot. We found a breezy outdoor cafe where we could fuel up on good coffee and a pastry and do a some people watching (lots of interesting, artsy types around Astoria).


A little bit south, entering Cannon Beach, we decided to take a side trip to Ecola State Park. At the pay station we were advised to go first to Indian Beach to avoid the gathering crowds and a long wait to gain entrance. This is what we found: aaah…cooling off already. There were photographers everywhere, intent on capturing that perfect shot  of the ocean spray as the surf crashes on the rocks. I’m afraid it was beyond my humble talents.


Surfers were out in force. Such fun to watch, as they catch the occasional perfect wave…and wipe out on others.


Sandcastles, anyone?


The beach is surrounded by primeval forest and hiking trails that connect to the Pacific Coast Trail…another day, perhaps.


Further down the coast, we stopped in Garibaldi, where a long rock jetty extends far out into the bay.garib076.jpg

Driftwood piles up on the shore. One nice piece came home with us. It’s that whole beachcombing thing.


I know…you want to know about the plants. Some really tough customers were growing and blooming right there in the beach sand. Crocosmias were popping up everywhere, not only in gardens. I’m guessing they were escapees. I’ve always been impressed by the way Phormiums grow at the coast but this year they were looking a bit tattered (still living though, and huge). Asters were just coming on. They will be putting on quite a show in a week or so, and fireweed and Spirea douglasii were growing along the roadsides.


Beach grasses are tough as nails and seem to know that placing themselves close to sinuous driftwood will show them off to advantage. By this time, the fog was rolling in and it was time to seek out a nice meal with a view of the ocean (I almost like it best shrouded in fog) before heading for home, exclaiming “why do we not do this more often?”

in a vase on monday

August 4th, 2014


Gladiolas are kind of awkward in a border, but I do love them in a vase. I thought I planted some deep purple and some red ones in an out of the way spot but only red appeared (admittedly, two slightly different shades of red…can you tell?)


It was such an out-of-the-way place that I forgot to stake them. Three of them flopped over and became twisted as they reached for the light. I thought it would make them impossible to work with, but in fact I think it makes the arrangement more interesting the way they curl up on the right side.

Casa Blanca lily

I used the stiff, sword-like leaves of the glads themselves to hold them in place. One lonely stem of Casa Blanca lilies was more or less buried in a back border, which made it easier for me to sacrifice it to the bouquet gods. When you buy lilies from the florist, all of their wonderful anthers have been snipped off. I understand why they do this, because they are loaded with pollen that stains what it touches. I’m careful when handling them and make sure not to set them on a cloth, but these wouldn’t work half as well without those furry anthers relating to the bright red of the glads. The only other thing I added was a single leaf of Hosta ‘Guacamole’. The character of this arrangement will change almost daily, as lower blooms fade and those that are now tight buds unfurl. I’ll have to keep rearranging, but that’s the price we pay for these big, bold statements.

Visit Cathy to see a very different posy and an invitation to join in and/or explore what’s there for the pickin’.

Kniphofia ‘Percy’

August 1st, 2014

Kniphofia ‘Percy’

This is the most vigorous of the knifs, and thus my favorite in the garden (at this moment). My childhood dog was named Percy for the “personality bump” on his noggin, so that could have something to do with it too.

‘Percy’ with Dwarf Green Stripe bamboo

I’m fond of the way it gradates from chartreuse to light yellow…just perfect in combination with the bamboo Plioblastus viridastriatus.

with field daisies

Field daisies pop up all over the place around here. They can be a nuisance, but here I like their airy quality next to the substantial spires of the pokers. Can’t exactly call these “red hot pokers”, “cool pokers” is more like it. I’ve divided these many times to share and spread around to try in different spots. They seem to take to just about any conditions, though the mother of all these plants got shaded and elbowed out by more aggressive companions (the reason for the first divide and multiply effort). They get minimal water, maybe a good soaking about once a month and do appreciate at least 6 hours of sun.

I’ve had quite a bit of experience with this plant, so I’m telling you what works for me rather than referring you to some official source. As always, Danger Garden is your gateway to a world of favorites this and every week.

a mystery is solved

July 29th, 2014

mystery bar

One of our favorite things to do in the summertime is to dine with friends out under the cherry trees. Guests never fail to question the metal bar that extends between the two trees. We never had a good explanation, but Harper figured it out on sight. See her reaching up?

Harper’s gymnasium

With a little help from her mom, Noami, she put the mystery bar to good use.

little bee

Meet Harper Grayson McClure, aka our little bumblebee (when you are almost three, costumes are not reserved for Halloween). R took her on a tour of the veggie garden (his domain), where she zeroed in on a ripe yellow sweet pepper, which she munched on as if it were a sno-cone.

communing with the bees

Of course she was interested in her tribe: the bees that were busy working over the lavender walk.

dinner under the trees

And then we all settled down to enjoy our dinner “en pleine aire”. Isn’t summer grand?

Hilda’s Garden

July 24th, 2014

Hilda in her garden

What could be more delightful than having lunch with long-time friends who are also gardeners? It was a grey day, but Hilda’s smile could light up any amount of gloom.

raised beds

This is a food-centric garden. Hilda does the planting and tending, while Bill pitches in by building structures like these raised beds out front,


and systems like this one for capturing water, tucked away behind a grape vine on a trellis.

espaliered fruit trees

Espaliered fruit trees divide the space.


Many of the plantings could pass as purely ornamental, but careful thought has gone into attracting bees and other pollinators.


Colorful Achilleas spill over gravel paths.


No reason yummy cannot also be beautiful.


Not that there aren’t a few plants included for their beauty alone.


Some architectural fragments peek out here and there.


Ditto bits of whimsy.


A bench for taking it all in.





Thanks, Bill and Hilda, for inviting me to spend an afternoon in your urban oasis.

Flinging Foliage

July 18th, 2014


Lots of brilliant foliage combinations popped up on the bloggers’ Fling, so I thought I’d share some of them with you for Foliage Follow Up this time. The first one was spotted at Chickadee Gardens.


The Danger Garden was in full spiky form.


Foliar peek-a-boo in the Ernst Garden.


Next door, at the Fuller Garden, fine foliage underfoot.


You can point your camera anywhere in the Old Germantown Gardens and come away with a winner. This happened to be in the greenhouse.


Those rose hips were enormous, in the demonstration gardens of Joy Creek Nursery.

Pam is the mastermind behind Foliage Follow Up and I can now vouch for the fact that she is every bit as charming in real life as she is online (it’s a Fling thing…you get to hang out with your gardening heroes).

a quickie fave: Allium ‘Hair’

July 17th, 2014

Allium ‘Hair’

It’s not easy to get a photo of this amusing fellow. He tickles my fancy and is also one of the few Alliums that comes back reliably year after year, and even multiplies. That’s why he’s my favorite right now. What do you suppose the favorite is over in the Danger Garden?

gbbd post-fling post

July 15th, 2014


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.


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


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.


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.


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


And these beauties in the Ernst Garden.


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


followed by large blocks of color created by mass plantings.


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


As was a single, pristine Magnolia blossom.


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


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.


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.