Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Got Your Goat

A few weeks ago, we drove past 11th and Belmont here in SE Portland to an unusual sight...goats. There is a large, vacant block full of weeds there and instead of having machines and people come in and mow them down, the property owner has brought in goats to graze! I was instantly enamored, as I think goats are super-cool...and love how "green" this solution is. The sign posted on the chain-link fence reads:

Banquet In Process

The Goats are here to enjoy and feast upon what spontaneously grows on this urban meadow. Unlike gas-powered mowers, goats require no fossil fuels to trim the vegetation. Goats are available for rent from Goat Rental NW (phone #)
A collaboration between Killian Pacific, Goat Rental NW, & Free Associate Design.

I thought this was pretty cool, and judging from the crowds I always see watching the goats at work, I'm not the only one!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn in the Pacific NW

Lower Lewis River Falls
Lower Lewis River Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State

Just wanted to post this as a celebration of my favorite season, and a reminder to everyone during what is always a busy time, to take a moment and enjoy the natural beauty around us, wherever that may be.



PS - I took this pic last year, how's that for cheating!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - October 15, 2010

I finally remembered!

It seems like during the week I was gone, the garden declined suddenly, maybe it really needs me to walk around daily and check in on how everything is going :-) In any case, although many plants are winding down, some are still in their full glory.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune', with Rudbeckia triloba in background - I think these are pretty much reaching the end of their bloom...although they've performed admirably, and I really like them in combination with the Rudbeckia next to them and the Knautia in front.

Persicaria 'Taurus' - This plant just keeps growing and flowering. Unlike many plants that look a little ratty at this time of year, these look fresh and vibrant.

Eupatorium 'Chocolate' - I have to say, my main reason for growing this plant is its lovely, dark foliage, which is attractive throughout the entire growing season. The flowers, which I rarely even think about, are quite lovely at this time of year, however. They are a wonderful, bright, pure white and look like a cloud floating near the back of the garden.

Geranium 'Ann Folkard' - These took a little break during the heat of summer, but have re-grown their crowns and are blooming again.

Geranium 'Rozanne' - What can I say about this plant that hasn't already been said. They are wonderful and have bloomed continuously since I planted them in June. They are truly one of my garden all-stars.

OctoberGBBD_37 OctoberGBBD_27
Another Geranium whose name escapes me and a native Malva...the Checker Mallow.

Persicaria virginiana - Although I planted this for the foliage (having never seen them in flower), I have to say I kinda love these blooms. They are really weird looking and completely transform the plant!

OctoberGBBD_20 OctoberGBBD_28
Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and Centranthus ruber - 'Red Dragon' continues to put forth its sprays of small, white flowers. They aren't particularly noticeable, but are charming, nonetheless. The Centranthus has bloomed constantly since this spring, but has decreased in flowering over the past month or so. The plants are starting to get bushier, however.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' - What a performer, these workhorses continue to flower, but the end is in sight, they are still forming buds, but are definitely slowing down. I've stopped dead-heading so I can enjoy the seed heads this winter.

Agastache 'Summer Sky' - Maybe my new favorite Agastache, this plant has bloomed since I planted it, on July 4. It has withstood every adversity and never once flagged in its performance. These are supposedly not tolerant of winter wet, but I'm hoping they will survive since they are planted on a slope...if not, I won't hesitate to buy new ones next year.

Knautia 'Mars Midget' - Another non-stop bloomer, planted at the same time as the above Agastache, and has bloomed just as long...I will never be without these, even if they don't over-winter, I wouldn't hesitate to plant more.

Verbena bonariensis - Shown with Miscanthus purparescens behind it, this is another non-stop bloomer...I've realized I just can't have too much of this wonderful, versatile plant.

Anemone 'Honorine Jorbert' - My first (but definitely not last) Japanese Anemone. Planted just a month or 2 ago, I didn't expect it to bloom this year. Hopefully this is a sign it is happy and will thrive in this location, which has proven very tricky.

Rudbeckia triloba - This plant just keeps going and going, showing no sign of letting up. I love the bright, cheery cloud of yellow it provides.

Salvia 'Purple Majesty' - While I love these flowers, the plants have proven to be unbelievably sprawly. The stems are so fragile that they are constantly snapping. Amazingly, they stems continue to grow, even if just a tiny bit is still attached. I'm hoping the fragile stems are just a result of them being mail-order plants, so oddly shaped when planted. Time will tell, if they are this fragile next year, I may have to replace them...or move them to a VERY sheltered location.

Salvia 'Black & Blue' - Have been blooming for about 3 months now, just wonderful and beloved of the family of hummingbirds that frequent the garden.

Agastache 'Tutti Frutti' - While I love the flowers of this Agastache, there is no plant in my garden that flops to such a degree. They start out well, but as the stems elongate and get taller, they sprawl, then flop, covering any other plant nearby. I'm not sure if it's just me, but it's really aggravating this summer. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, as they are the longest-blooming plant in my garden, and extremely though.

Fragraria 'Pink Panda' - my little ornamental strawberry is putting out a few new, little blooms!

Eupatorium atropurpurea - Although the older Joe Pye Weeds finished blooming a month ago, this one I planted later this summer has a new flush of flowers, since I cut it back after planting.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' - With the cooler weather, the remaining Erysimum have started putting up flower stalk again, not many, but nice, nonetheless.

Echinacea 'Prairie Splendour' - I think this may be the last of these for the season.

Agastache 'Acapulco Orange' and Origanum 'Walter's Gift' - Two more long-blooming beauties, in the last stages of their bloom.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' - My favorite stage of their bloom, aging from rose to a deep red.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras' - While not as abundant as earlier, with regular deadheading, these will bloom until frost cuts them down.

Monarda 'Jacob Cline' - I cut this back a month or so ago, I think this may be the last bloom this year.

Last, but not least, is my little patch of Muhlenbergia capillaris, also known as Pink Muhly Grass. I was inspired to plant these, along with an Amsonia hubrichtii, after seeing them planted in a book by Nan Ondra. These are just starting to bloom, and are only a year old, so the display isn't as intense as it will be in following years. Even so, in person, it looks like a wonderful, metallic pink cloud! In the background, you can see Aster 'Purple Prince'.


GBBD - Full View

Well, there it is, in all its glory! I tried to take all of these pics in one day (yesterday) to get an accurate idea of what was blooming, and in what condition. Unfortunately, due to the angle of the sun and the orientation of our house (and neighbors' houses) much of the garden is in full shade all day long! No wonder I have trouble finding plants that will work :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Montreal & Quebec Vacation - Part 2

Quebec City!

Ahh Quebec City...how charming! After 6 days in Montreal, we packed up and drove 3 hours northeast to the capital of the Province of Quebec. Situated on a cliff at a point where the St. Lawrence River narrows, it's a beautiful area, surrounded by hills covered in trees. The Old Town is the oldest part of the city, and really does feel like you've been transported to a provincial French town. Perched at the highest point in the city is The Citadel, the fort constructed by the English to protect the city against the Americans, who repeatedly tried to take the city. The Province's motto is Je me souvien, which means "I remember", referring to those attempts to conquer the city...at least that's what our guide at The Citadelle told us :-)
Enough of the history lesson, on with the photos!

Fountain outside Quebec Parliament

View of Historic, walled old city of Quebec, including Le Chateau Frontenac, the Price Building and the St. Lawrence River.

The Citadel, the historic fortress build by the English to defend the city from the invading Americans.

Quebec Parliament

Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall

Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall, Price Building in background

Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall

Alley Art Gallery in Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall

Virginia Creeper festoons a wall!

Quebec City Palais, adjacent to their train station

Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall

Historic Old Town of Quebec City, within the city wall, Le Chateau de Frontenac in background.

Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral Interior

Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral exterior

Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral interior vaulting

Night falls on the Old Town, with the Price Building being brilliantly illuminated.

Le Chateau de Frontenac celebrates the blue hour in style.