I didn’t wanna do it

February 8th, 2014

…but who can resist snapping photos in the snow? Not me.

front steps

We’re not shovelers, so this was what our front steps looked like this morning.

Cupressius macrocarpus ‘Citrodora’

Our mission was to knock the snow off the evergreens before the freezing rain hits. So far, it’s been a dry, light snow, but even so the branches were weighted down with it. We were afraid that an ice storm would result in broken branches. Apparently there are two schools of thought on this. Do you think we did the right thing?


Usually, Cupressius macrocarpus ‘Citrodora’ holds her branches reaching upward. Here, she’s bowing under the weight of our ten inches of snow.


It was a joint effort, with all the trees that we have. Here’s Richard, doing his part to liberate ‘Citradora’

Delusional Drive in costume

Delusional Drive looks pretty good in costume, don’t you think?

Hamemelis ‘Diane’

I was complaining about Hamemelis ‘Diane’ having stubby petals. I guess I was just being impatient. They elongated over time, to give us a bright spot in all the white.

Lavender walk

The lavender walk is nearly buried, but at least it shows us where the path is to the studio.

Enkianthus buds

Buds about to burst on the Enkianthus were in for a surprise. Think they’ll make it?

carrot stake

Looking to the future, or dreaming of things past?

Yucca aloifolia ‘Spanish Bayonet’

Does this not look like something out of ‘Game of Thrones’? The snow is up nearly to the rim of the big green pot holding Yucca aloifolia ‘Spanish Bayonet’.

Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp niphophila

There’s something not quite right about Eucalyptus in the snow, but it sure is purty.

Rhododendrun ‘Seaview Sunset’

The Bonnie Lassie said it best when she described the snow as bringing out a graphic quality in some plants. It surely does so with Rhododendrun ‘Seaview Sunset’

Euphorbia wulfenii

I can almost hear Euphorbia wulfenii muttering “shiver me timbers”.

front walkway

Now here’s the view out the front…

view out back

and out the back

Right now, the snow is turning to freezing rain. I can remember a number of “silver thaws” in years past. Deadly…but absolutely beautiful. Hope my gloves dry out in time so I can bore you with even more photos.

Sequoia sempervirens procumbens, this week’s fave

February 5th, 2014

Sequoia sempervirens procumbens

I fell in love with this plant when I saw it in Darcy Daniels’ garden. I had a small urban garden at the time, so Amy warned me off, saying it would reach monstrous proportions. Now that I live where such considerations are moot, I couldn’t wait to indulge myself.


It forms a dense mat and I have visions of it sprawling far and wide. Much to my surprise, I’ve seen it reaching for the sky instead, most notably in Julie’s Portland Tree Tour blog, here. She refers to it as a broad leaved evergreen and backs that claim with some swell close-ups. Mine is starting to send up leaders, but I’m told that if I cut those out, it will continue to sprawl and spread along the ground. We already have plenty of vertical elements in the “Berm of Sorrow”, so that is what I will do.


Pay no attention to the molehills in the distance. Those are my least favorite feature in the garden right now. You can visit Loree here to see her fave and the faves of her fans in her comments. Join in, won’t you?

new New Seasons on Williams Avenue

January 27th, 2014

new seasons metal trees

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening of the New Seasons on Williams because it is right on my way to Ristretto’s cafe in that neighborhood. It outdid my expectations, with these sculptural trees marching down the side facing Vancouver Ave.

new seasons trellises

Metal mesh panels are bolted to the wall behind the trees to support climbing vines. I like this idea, though I’m not sure the trees will stand out as much once the vines fill in to cover the mesh.

New Seasons real trees

All is not fantasy on this site. Plenty of real, living trees have been incorporated into the landscape design.


Unlike so many commercial projects, a nice variety of trees has been introduced.

grassy strips between parking

Instead of pulling up to the nose of another car, the parking areas are divided by these grassy raised beds.

NS entrance

A nice selection of seasonal plants greets you at the entrance.

plants for urban gardeners

Plants for urban gardeners line the walls near the entrance.

NS cut flowers

Right outside the doors are banks of cut flowers. Step through and find succulents and house plants. They have even begun labeling their succulents with correct botanical names. Isn’t it nice to know that someone is listening to our concerns? All New Seasons stores offer a pleasant shopping experience, but this one has special appeal for we who call ourselves gardeners.

foliage follow-up, January edition

January 16th, 2014

textural composition

I’m liking the textural effect of this composition. The planting along Delusional Drive is coming along. Some editing will soon be in order due to my impatient nature. I think Grace referred to it as “cramscaping”.


The heathers almost look like they are in bloom, but it’s just because I didn’t do any cutting back. What I really like about it is the coloring of the new growth.

Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’

This is a very common Juniper, Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’, but I love the way it mounds and creeps (8″ tall by 6′ wide, so look out, neigboring plants!). There I go again.

noid yucca

I love the way this noid yucca catches the light. I think I need a couple more of these in this border so that it doesn’t look like an afterthought.

Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’

Cryptomeria japonica spiralis ‘Granny’s Ringlets’ is slow growing so far, but will eventually reach ten plus feet…oh dear.

Delusional Drive 2012

The drive winds from the road to our house, so it is impossible to get a wide shot of the whole thing. This is what one section looked like in 2014.

Delusional Drive 2014

Here it is, taken from the same spot, today. Softened by fog, but not much I can do about that.

looking back

Looking back from the other direction.

further back

And stepping back further you can see the extension that is sparser. I add some each year, to eventually line the entire drive with a border that is almost exclusively evergreen and foliage dependent. A few of the shrubs, most noticeably Ceanothus and Arcostaphylos, do flower, but that is almost incidental to my intent. That is why I decided to focus on Delusional Drive for this winter installment of Pam’s Foliage Follow Up.

Jan. bloom day’s intrepid few

January 15th, 2014

Hamemelis ‘Diane’

I love the deep red color of Hamemelis ‘Diane’, but after seeing other posts where the petals are much longer, with that torn paper look, I’m a little disappointed with her. Sorry, Diane. You will not be replaced, but you may need to share space with a showier, more fragrant cousin: perhaps ‘Early Bright’, as featured in Danger Garden’s bloom day post. Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’

Enjoying safe harbor in a pot on the porch, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ surprised me with these early blossoms while I wait for the real show to begin. The new foliage comes on with fiery orange energy.

Miscanthus ‘Grazillia’

The foliage is brown and tattered, but the feathery blooms of the Miscanthus ‘Grazillia’ continue to catch the light and wave in the breeze. winter jasmine

Winter jasmine is just getting started but the star of this show is the post bedecked with moss and lichen. Also in bloom but not especially photogenic are snowdrops and primroses (the prim girls make up for their shyness by blooming pretty much year-round). Some parts of the world are enjoying more abundance. You can tap into that resource by visiting May Dreams Gardens. Have fun!

Juniperus recurva butanica

January 9th, 2014

Juniperus recurva butanica

Planted in 2010, Juniperus recurva butanica is the anchor plant and inspiration for R’s ‘bed of sorrow’, which sports several weeping forms of various trees. I just happened to be out there when the sun was highlighting it, making it my favorite plant this week.

J. recurva butanica branches

In the denser portions, the branches fall in irridescent curtains.

J.recurva butanica top

Topside, it thins out, giving it a lopsided pyramidal profile.


I didn’t get a good shot of it, but at ground level it drapes over the stones forming this raised bed, reminding me of the gowns stars struggle to walk in at the Oscars. Plant Lust can tell you the basic requirements for growing this, but they do not list sources. We got ours from Portland Nursery. It was a good sized specimen to start, and has almost doubled in size in four years. Want to find some others’ faves? Hop on over to Danger Garden. Loree started this whole thing, you know.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

January 4th, 2014

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

My Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ has been in place since 2007. At first, I was disappointed with it because it seemed to have reverted to plain green, losing the deep color for which it was named. Now, as you can see, it is back to earning its name.

E. ‘Blackbird’

Depending upon how the light hits it, it can take on different personalities.

E. ‘Blackbird close-up

Sometimes it looks almost pink, with droplets of dew refracting the light.


At a time of year when so much has gone dormant, the vigorous presence of ‘Blackbird’ is ever so welcome. The best profile I found was on the Fine Gardening site. Since I’m basically lazy, I’ll send you there to learn more about this satisfying plant. While I’m at it, let me send you to Danger Garden to see what Loree is most in love with this week. Don’t forget to check the comments for links to others’ favorites.

Happy Holidays!

December 31st, 2013

crab apple tree

This gnarly old apple tree down the lane clings to its fruit as if to help us celebrate this joyous season. When I say ‘Happy Holidays’, it is not to avoid ‘Merry Christmas’, which I spread about freely. It is, rather, a way of including all of the ways of celebrating the return of the light and, lets face it, extends backward to Thanksgiving and forward to New Years. For someone like me, who tends to get a bit overwhelmed by all of the goings-on this time of year, lumping it all together in one big bundle of love works. I hope you don’t mind.

Happy New Year

snow day

December 8th, 2013

Phlomus russeliana

There’s nothing like a snowfall to bring out the photogenic side of a garden that was beginning to slip into a dowdy phase. The seed heads of Phlomus russeliana are always fetching, but they take on an especially jaunty air with caps of snow.

Phlomus russeliana closer

So cute, in fact, that I couldn’t stop at just one photo.

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

I featured Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ in the last post, but its quirky tracery of twisted branches really shows up against the snow.

‘Thunderhead’ pine

It has been so cold that the snow is dry and light. I can just enjoy the way it nestles into the ‘Thunderhead’ pine instead of worrying about it weighing down the branches.

NOID Yucca

The NOID Yucca from Ryan seems to be sailing through the cold snap.

snow on the grass

It was a mere two inches of snow: not enough to even out the surface where it fell on rough grass. It almost looks like clouds as seen from above.

bottle garden with autumn fern

The bottle garden pretty much disappears during the high season, but here it catches the light and is set off by just the snow and an autumn fern.

rock cairns with snow

Even my silly little cairns acquire an aura of mystery when partly hidden by snow.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ in bud

This is about as far along as the blooming trusses of Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ have ever progressed before being blackened by a freeze.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped

This year we had plenty of warning, so I wrapped the trusses in bubble wrap, covered with a plastic bag and secured with a rubber band. I read somewhere that bubble wrap is not a good insulator for pots. Any thoughts on that?

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped with snow

Time will tell, but at least I tried. I sure would like to see this thing in full bloom some day.

Echium under pot

A few things got the overturned pot treatment and many potted plants are clustered on the deck. As cold as it is, these precautions may be entirely inadequate.

bird feeder

The bird feeders got filled. The birds got so excited once the snow arrived that I had to refill a couple of times a day.


Some suet for good measure.

winter sun at mid-day

The sun moves in such a low arc that taking pictures at mid-day is almost like late afternoon. Love that winter light.

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, year-round fave

November 29th, 2013

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ bare

Now that the leaves have all fallen, the twists and turns are fully visible. Here’s what Gossler Farms has to say about it on the Plant Lust site:

The hardy citrus is a wickedly thorned plant. The thorns are 2″ long and are unusual all year. P. trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ is contorted all over- leaves, thorns and stems. We have seen 5′-6′ irregular shrubs and they are always show stoppers. P. trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ is hardy to -20 °F so will be interesting from New York to California.

The display specimen at the HPSO booth was more of a full-grown tree and the thorns were the full 2″ and curved like talons. Mine has a few noticeable thorns, but none quite that impressive. I still have high hopes.

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ with leaves

When fully leafed out, closer inspection is needed to appreciate its distinctive traits. Let’s look at it through the seasons:

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ with fruit

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ beginning to color up

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ fall color

All leading up to the bare beauty that presides over winter’s garden. I failed to chronicle its blooming season, but I think you can see why it is a favorite in any of its costumes. Check out Danger Garden for more favorites of the week.