Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bloom Day September 2015

Once again, it's the middle of the month and time for our check-in on what's popping in the garden. After the LONGEST, hottest, driest spring and summer ever here in Portland, the garden is ready for fall...and so am I. Still, the garden has endured and still manages to look decent, for the most part...but I'm re-evaluating some areas and plants for renovation/removal...then again...aren't we all?

persicaria golden arrow
Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' had a hard time this summer, scorching badly and then completely collapsing (which it has never done before). Still, once cooler temps arrived (along with a little moisture) they perked back up again. I admit, I'll give a little extra effort for this's just too pretty to give up!

spent rudbeckai sun
Rudbeckia is such a harbinger of autumn to me...even if it starts blooming in summer. I actually love it most as it just starts to "go over" and the petals wilt into little tutus.

Of course, September means Sedums...and while I have mixed luck with them, this one area of the garden seems to keep them pretty we have a mx of 'Matrona' and another, mystery Sedum...perhaps 'Xenox'.

scabiosa scrim
In the same area is one of my absolute favorite plants, Scabiosa ochroleuca...I'm going to add more of these next year...they are so fabulous.

vernonia vertical
Another standout plant that has really come into its own this year is Vernonia 'Southern Cross'...a taller cultivar of the more common 'Iron Butterfly'. It has outstanding form and structure, vivid magenta flowers and gorgeous, fluffy seedheads later.

vernonia southern cross
I think it deserves a second look, don't you?

solidago medusa
Another herald of the changing of seasons is the wonderful Solidago, or Goldenrod. I believe this particular variety is called 'Fireworks' and I love it's crazy medusa-like blooms. Growing up in the Midwest, I loathed Goldenrod as common and, how times change ;-)

echinacea past present
If one photo from my garden embodies this time of year, however, it's this of the fading and already gone-to-seed Echinacea. It's a time of both bounty and death...a preamble of Autumn-to-come...and eventually, winter. There is something wonderful about this time of year, even if it's bittersweet. The garden has done it's job and is now preparing to slumber while the gardener sharpens his tools and prepares to dig into fall chores (bulb planting...yes!).

north strip v3
I know, reading back through this, that I've missed a handful of plants, but I'm sure they'll appear in a few of these wider, the North Border looking west, dominated by the statuesque Eutrochium.

north corner wider
And here, the same border looking east, fronted by a micro meadow of Panicum 'Cheyenne Sky', punctuated with Liatris and Allium.

front garden shady2
Here we have the Front Border, as always, anchored by 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac and Miscanthus 'Malepartus'.

front border shady
And the Front Border looking north...again, with 'Tiger Eyes' dominating and a scattering of containers extending the beds...although, truth be told, this year they are more temporary homes for wayward plants that I haven't decided the fate of yet!

corner view
And here's a wide shot of everything...I still can't believe we just painted the house this spring...I can hardly remember what it looked like before!

punky the puma
Of course, we can't leave without saying hello to the furry denizens of Rhone Street, can we? Here' Punky Cat lounging on the sidewalk, wondering when I'll stop taking pictures and give him some treats.

Little Gordon, who is feeling better again, enough so that she now wants to go outside all the time (supervised, of course.)

sleepy boots 1
And dear Boots...who is sleeping away the last days of summer, dreaming, I'm sure, of flannel sheets, sleeping with the windows wide open, and pumpkin-flavored everything. Oh wait, that's me ;-)

Happy Bloom day...and as always, head over the May Dreams Gardens for more!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fall Plant Sales!

fall plant sale header
As many of you are well away, fall is the best time for planting...especially here in the PNW. I stupidly often plant a lot in the spring, and then spend the entire summer (especially this awful, godforsaken summer) cursing that I spend all my free time watering newly-planted plants.

standing ovation
Fall is perfect for planting here, however, as our (hopefully) plentiful autumn rains and cooler temps are great for new plants settling in and putting down good root systems. Luckily for us here in the Portland area, we have not one but TWO plant sales this weekend (On Saturday, September 12, to be exact)!

sedum and scabiosa
Unfortunately, they both happen on the same day (when it rains, it pours, right?), but a dedicated plantaholic can probably make it to both. First up (if you want to see the speaker) is the HPSO PlantFest, held, as has become tradition of the past two years, at PCC Rock Creek Campus. Speaker Claudia West will give a presentation titled "Stunning Ecological Plant Combinations", which I'm pretty curious to see.

northwind h
A brief description from the HPSO website says: "Plants are the foundation of healthy ecosystems and they bring beauty and joy to our lives. But great plants alone don't automatically create "ecological" benefits in our gardens. Claudia West, ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, premier wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA, talks about spectacular perennials and grasses and how to use them in stable, layered, natural combinations that increase both the ornamental and ecological value of your home landscape. Claudia is co-author of a new book, Planting in a Post-Wild World, with landscape architect Thomas Rainer, to be published this fall by Timber Press."

echinacea fading away
Immediately following the lecture, the plant shopping commences for those attending the speech. For those not attending the speech, the doors for the sale open at 11 and run until 2pm. Happily, parking is plentiful and FREE! I can't wait to see what the vendors have brought...I usually end up buying way more at this sale than I do at Hortlandia...just because I tend to gravitate towards plants that peak during fall.

solidago medusa
Next up is the Salem Hardy Plant Society's Plant Sale, which is held, as usual, at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall...just west of Salem.

vertical vernonia 2
Like the above HPSO sale, there are always a lot of great vendors with beautiful plants just waiting for new homes (maybe even MY home)!

echinops sunset
In addition to plants, the Salem Sale has Master Gardener Advisors, Tool Sharpening by Edgemaster, Plastic Pot Recycling and a variety of decorative and useful garden accessories.

september sunset echinacea
So, what just do I hope to find/pick up? Well...rather a lot, but in light of recent vet bills...I'm going to be taking it easy this my plant budget is pretty much shot for the rest of 2015! However, I'm always on the hunt for new grasses, so might be tempted if something too good to pass up shows up. Also, I've been toying with the idea of replacing most of the Agastaches in my parking strips with more durable Liatris. I remember last year at the Salem sale I passed up some really beautiful Liatris and totally regretted it later.

grassy sunset
Either way, I hope everyone who lives in the area can make it to the'll probably see me at them both...probably with a huge cup of coffee to keep me going during such a packed day!

panicum shenandoah
What about you...are you planning on going to one or both? What are you looking/searching for...and what do you have planned for your fall garden?

boots at dusk
Here's to happy plant-shopping...from Boots and I ;-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 Garden Conservancy Preview

For those of you lucky enough to live in the Portland area, this Saturday, August 29th is the annual HPSO & Garden Conservancy Open Gardens Tour. This year the them is "Extending Your Garden Season" and features 5 varied gardens in the Beaverton area. This post was last weekend during a special "sneak peak" the HPSO hosted for several area bloggers and features 3 of the 5 gardens...enjoy!

The first garden we stopped at was the garden of Nancy & Gordon Prewitt...and at close to 1/3 of an acre, I was instantly jealous of all their thing I'll say about all of these gardens, they have room to stretch out!

As I entered the backyard, I heard an audible gasp from fellow blogger, Heather Tucker, she had just stumbled upon what may be the largest Salvia 'Amistad' I've EVER seen in was enormous and beautiful (at least 6' tall)!

This garden was full of charming details, like this birdhouse. I believe the owner said they'd been in this location for 35 years...can you imagine!

There was a small corner packed with different sedums...loved these little spreading guys...

...and this mix of two different, taller, varieties.

Exuberant use of annuals was to become a theme for the day, and this garden was no exception, with it's abundance of colorful Zinnias.

Above all, the Prewitt garden, in my mind at least, was about food. It was one of the most beautiful edible gardens I've ever visited.

In quite a few spots, I wondered if all the flowering annuals were a way of enticing pollinators to visit the surrounding veggies.

Not that there needs to be a reason beyond beauty to plant them ;-)

Sigh...I need to plant Cosmos again...oh, to have the room!

Our next stop was the lovely garden of Chris & James Mitchell. Again, I was insanely jealous of all their space...and their graciously-sized corner lot...oh the things I could do with so much space!

These two gardeners have a knack for foliage combinations and this garden felt very "PNW" to me, with it's eclectic mix of foliage types/colors.

Continuing the theme of annual flowers, their front garden is dominated by scads of gorgeous, self-seeded Cleomes...they were luminescent!

I loved this pairing of Oakleaf Hydrangea and Rudbeckia.

My favorite plant, however, was this gone-to-seed Lunaria (Money Plant). I just loved those translucent seed pods.

I'd never think to pair pink and yellow together, but here it works.

I love these richly-color, old-fashioned Hydrangeas.

More foliage goodness.

And here is probably my favorite spot of the tour...this shaded, calming spot sited underneath towering fir trees in their just can't beat such trees for a sense of's hard to believe we're in the middle of suburban Portland right here!

Who doesn't love the smoldering foliage of Cotinus?

I was really impressed by this pairing of Rudbeckia and Inula...just slightly different textures and shades of yellow.

Quite nice, right!

It wouldn't be a garden tour in Portland without hops ;-)

Here we have a few bloggers Jane and Amy admiring the garden.

And more of our group, gathering around the gardeners to catch more details about the history of the garden and it's design.

I don't know why, but Fuschias are one of those plants that are just totally off my radar...they are lovely though, don't you think?

As we turn to leave this garden, let's say 'Hi' to this impressive Gunnera.

The final garden we toured was that of Zachary Baker and Leon Livengood...and it was no shrinking violet...wearing its heart on its big, colorful sleeve!

The garden is a mix of formal reserve and unabashed exuberance. Obviously, this vignette is on the reserved list...what a great view!

A few steps over and you're greeted by a veritable bouquet of bedding annuals.

And now we're calm again...with these serene, slightly blushed Hydrangeas.

I really liked the stone walls and containers throughout this garden...they divided the space up nicely.

This is such a great combo...Rudbeckia and Hydrangea.

I wonder where they got this copper finial...loved it!

And how nice is this vignette!

Japanese Anemones are a nice complement to the hanging paper lanterns, don't you think?

Another nice combo of annual red Pennisetum and Coleus. Why is it that when I see Coleus in other gardens, I like it...but when I go plant shopping, they all look so awful?

If you are interested in going, visit THIS LINK for more information. Pre-sales of tickets are over, but you can purchase tickets at each garden at a cost of $7/garden. I hope you can go...there are some great gardens to see!