my vase is late so there’s 2

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So much of what is blooming now is old fashioned, like the lilac. I love it and wouldn’t want to miss having that fragrance in the house, but wanted to update it some.

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Combining it with the acid green blooms of Euphorbia wulfenii and a single ‘Queen of the Night’ tulip did it for me.

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A new vase came from the local one-stop for half off.

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You can’t get much older-fashioned that bleeding heart and forget-me-not.

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Rescued from prissiness by a few emerging bronze leaflets of tree peony. If you haven’t yet tuned in to ‘In a Vase on Monday’, I strongly recommend you click through now to (Rambling in the Garden) to see what it’s all about.

friday grab bag

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How ironic is it, that picking out the negative spaces in our window silhouettes is called “weeding”? Looks like I can never escape this chore.

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Here’s a sneak peek at what our latest product is apt to look like (from the outside, looking in).

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What a difference a few sunny days makes. Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ is in full bloom.

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It comes along quite a bit earlier than C. impressus ‘Victoria’ and is a duskier blue (like denim) to Vicki’s clear blue.

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In the “delightful surprise” category are these Epimediums, NOID from one of our bloggers’ swaps.

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All surprises are not necessarily delightful. The Alliums I planted in the fall are coming up nicely and look almost ready to flower, but all of the leaf tips have browned in a rather unsightly fashion.

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Plagued by gophers, our “lawn” looks like a war zone. Taking Amy’s (Plan-it-Earth Design) advice, I’m starting to plant it with things that will disguise the damage, need little to no mowing and quit pretending to be lawn.

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This is the first little patch, using a nice big clump of Carex I got from Anna (Flutter and Hum), which I divided and spread out over a fairly large area. The clumps of Prunella vulgaris were left in place (I’m choosing to view them as wildflowers rather than weeds). The Alliums were tucked into open spaces and I’m thinking Camassia next. At this rate, it’s a project that could become my life’s work, but I’ll show those gophers who’s boss.

blue & yellow, with a bit of red, in a vase

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What we have here are a few branches of Berberis replicata, some Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ and the new growth of Pyracantha.

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‘Blue Jeans’ was stretching out into the driveway and it was all I could do to keep R from whacking away at it before it began to blue up and I could do double duty pruning and flower arranging. The flowers are still fairly tight buds. As they bloom out, this shrub will produce a cloud of blue.

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The Pyracantha in the front hedgerow are still a bit gangly, but that makes them easier to access for cutting. They, like the Pieris, are at their best when the new leaves appear in striking shades of red.

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Here’s what the mature ones look like along another fence line.

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The blue and yellow theme continues, along the other side of Delusional drive, with a sea of Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’, punctuated by the occasional yellow daffodil.

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You have to look closely to notice the little Haworthia daffy’s, but they are one of my favorites.

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Another reward for close inspection: the drupes from last year remain on the Berberis stems, adding another layer of interest and a deep burgundy accent.

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So let’s have one last look at what I made of it all, then hop on over to see what Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) has in store for us this week.

friday grab bag

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Dontcha just love hostess gifts? These real eggshells were hollowed out to receive some tiny sedums and sempervivums (hens and chicks), putting a new spin on the chicken or egg conundrum. Peter (the Outlaw Gardener) featured some eggshell planters that are made of porcelain. It’s a fun idea, either way.

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This was so easy. Late fall, Freddie’s had bulbs on sale, buy one get one free. They went into a couple of clay pots over the winter and now bring all kinds of cheer to our front steps. Credit goes to (Jason) for reminding me to do this (his display is about ten times more extravagant).

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Just in case you are suspicious of the “tough love sale”, this Magnolia stellata came from there last fall, and just look at it.

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Impossible to truly capture (except for a few of you) but the morning light these past few days compels me to try.

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And I simply could not stop at one…nor two, but I’ll refrain from that old home movie habit of putting you to sleep. We’re looking to have an exceptional spring weekend…hope yours is great too.

wednesday vignette: portal

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Anna (Flutter and Hum) invites us to post a vignette every Wednesday. This week, she is featuring a way to manipulate the environment to distract us from a long walk or a long wait. Here, I’m featuring a portal made of greenery that frames a garden view to manipulate our first impression. We usually think of manipulation as a bad thing, but it can also be a way of enhancing experience. What do you think of when you hear the word “manipulation”?

easter leftovers in a vase

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Three’s company when the guest list has been decimated by the illness that has been galloping¬†through Portland.

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The mercury glass vases are meant to hold votives, but they make nice little containers for spring ephemerals to grace a luncheon table.

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A nest of moss holds an assortment of chocolate eggs.

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Moss, we have aplenty.

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In general, we encourage the moss, but that garbage bin of it was gathered from the few places where it is unwelcome. It comes in handy for many things, like holding in place the lily in its cachepot, then disguising the top of the plastic pot.

Easter themes will find their way into many vases this Monday, starting with Cathy (Rambling in the Garden), who hosts this ever-popular meme on a weekly basis.

friday grab bag

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So well camouflaged was this fine fellow that I would never have seen him had he not leapt into the air right at my feet. Which raises a question: do they change color, chamelionlike, to blend in to varying backgrounds? The markings are the same as those on a bright green sibling spotted on bright green leaves and a dark green one in the dark green grass.

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I was headed to that green building across the street, an art supply store.

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Out front of Little Baja was one of these welded outdoor fireplaces ( is chimnera the term?) so I had to go check it out.

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There were others in heavy terra cotta in styles ranging from straightforward to comical.

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I bought a large terra cotta pot here many years ago. While others have flaked or broken as a result of freeze/thaw cycles, my pot from Little Baja has soldiered on through it all.

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A gallery of gargoyles are inviting me back sometime before next Halloween.

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Should your taste run to more imposing statuary, they’ve got you covered.

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Personally, I was drawn to these simple cubes. If I remember correctly, medium sized ones were $59 and the large ones were $105. I just don’t know how they would fit in with all of the terra cotta I already have. Anyway, Little Baja is a fun destination if you’re a local and you find yourself on East Burnside (around 15th or so).

gbfd…yep, more foliage

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It’s slooow going, but the Monkey Puzzle tree is finally beginning to make its presence known.

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Just about time to cut back and move some things to make room for Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’.

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Her neighbors need to be reminded to be a little more neighborly.

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The deeply textured leaves of Viburnum rhy. ‘Alleghany’ are its ticket to stardom, but I see a flower bud hiding in there. It will be fun to see how that develops.

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This is Sedum ‘Jade Frost’ at its most charming, when it is just emerging, all fresh and new with even a few captured raindrops for emphasis. To what, you might ask, do we owe the opportunity to visit foliage a second time this month? Thank (Christina) and go ahead and wallow in more foliage…I never get too much, how about you?

one vase was not enough

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Even limiting my palette to black and white (mostly) there was too much going on out there.

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My daughter, Hillary, gave me this vase a few years back. By adding the pebbles in the base, it becomes easy to control the placement of stems.

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The metal dividers separate the blooms so that each can be appreciated individually. ‘Thalia’ is so delicate that it is easily beaten down by the rain. I rescued these for today’s vase.

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A few blade-shaped leaves from a variegated iris had browned tips, thus the hatchet job (we’ll pretend it was a design decision).

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As you can see, there is plenty of evergreen clematis to spare.

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It cascades so prettily over the deck.

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In a vase, it gets all stubborn and insists on standing at attention.

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Only a few blossoms condescended to dangle. I was after a downward flowing effect with the flowers showing up against the black vase. Oh, well…I’ll take what I can get.

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The Rhododendron ‘Janet’ that I pressed into service a few weeks ago lasted remarkably well. The shrub is in full flamboyant mode now, so I plucked another today.

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The shell is something of an afterthought, but plays to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) use of props, which she does with a¬†flair I could never hope to emulate. Oh, and the black and white cloth is a cotton ikat sari from Calcutta. Happy Spring!