Monday, April 30, 2012
Appreciating the Everyday
This past weekend in Portland was glorious...cool and partially cloudy, but without rain...which made for great conditions to work outside. It's nice to both not get overheated OR soaked while working outside. We made great headway on our big project for this year (the front parking strip), but more on that in another post.
While going back and forth through the gardens, moving plants, getting materials, etc, I kept walking past the north border and parking strip (planted last year).
I kept getting passing whiffs of sweetly-scented flowers...these purple Bearded Iris, to be exact.
These are some of the flowers that we inherited when we bought this house. There were several huge, congested patches along the foundations of the house. There were layers upon layers of rhizomes...I couldn't believe they were blooming as well as they were...and some in full shade! There were far too many to replant after I had pulled them all up and divided them. Many went to friends and neighbors, many into the compost, unfortunately.
I felt bad not keep a few, however, if not for love of the plants themselves, as a little way of honoring the past of the house and garden. I kept thinking someone at some point loved them and probably looked forward to them every year (especially since there were pretty much the only flowers on the property). I also felt bad completely getting rid of them...they had managed to endure years (probably decades) of neglect to keep blooming cheerfully. I've whittle down the pile of rhizomes over the past few years (yes, they are still alive...amazingly), and have planted them randomly around the borders.
And here they are, blooming for us, their new owners, perfuming the air throughout the garden. I'm so glad I managed to save a few of them, I forget just how elegant they are in bloom. I wonder sometimes, if they weren't so easy to grow, would people covet them more. It seems in the realm of gardening, people so often are obsessed with the new, the rare and the difficult...sometimes we forget to appreciate the amazing beauty of the simple, classic and...common.
Do you have any plants, either inherited or purchased, that are common as dirt, but you still love...even in the never-ending flood of new and improved varieties?
Posted by scottweberpdx at 12:11 PM 45 comments:
Labels: beautiful, bloom, bulb, common, easy, flower, garden, iris, ordinary, pdx, portland, purple, rhizome, sculptural, sophisticated, spring, undemanding
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Plant Nerd Field Trip - Part 3 - Xera
Are you tired of my reports on this Field Trip yet...I hope not, but if so, have heart, because this is the last stop! Actually, since I'm going in reverse, this was our first stop of the day...and one I always look forward to. Not only are you guaranteed to find a few plants you never knew you wanted, but the prices can't be beat...can you say WHOLESALE!!!!
Xera focuses on plants that are adapted to our wet winters and dry summers. On their website, they state: "...we offer many plants that are adapted to dry conditions during the growing season and will actually thrive on little or no irrigation and still provide the components to make a fantastic garden." You can hardly argue with that, right :-)
Sedum 'Red Cauli'
While I've always like certain Sedums (mostly the taller ones like 'Autumn Joy', 'Matrona' and 'Postman's Pride') recently, I've found myself quite drawn to some of the shorter ones...thanks Sedum 'Angelina', there is something great about a plant that looks so good for so long...and requires NO special care! This one is definitely on my list...once I have the new front parking strip planted up, I'll see what room I have left, and see if I can shoe-horn in a few of these.
Sedum 'Bertram Anderson'
Another Sedum I was loving...I'm not sure about the name.
Rows and rows of tiny little Agaves.
Anne and Lyle scope out the offerings.
We were all intrigued by this little plant...at one point I think we figured out what it was...now I forget.
I'm still not sure what these plants are...the foliage seemed nice enough...
...but it was these awesome seed pods that caught my eye!
Loree & Derrick flip through the pricing guide...a useful thing as most of the plants don't have prices on their tags (this is wholesale, after all).
More Agaves...I do think I like this type the most...with the blunter, blue leaves.
I'm not generally a fan of variegated foliage...but the yellow on these Agaves positively GLOWS!
Ah yes, one of my loves, the Manzanitas.
What's that, you want a closer look at those awesome red stems...here you go!
I could be wrong, I believe this is a Callistemon bud.
Why settle for green-leaved Jasmine when you can go for the gold?
One of the plants that Xera really seems to promote are the Epimediums. How can you not like the new, red-flushed foliage?
I believe this is a type of Potentilla...love that silvery foliage.
Xera has a good selection of Phormiums, but after the past few years' winters proved how tender they really are, I just walked on by.
Still...they are lovely, right?
I can't believe I didn't grab some of these dark-leaved Geraniums!
Love 'Ravenswing' Anthriscus...mine is just about to flower too. I'm always torn between letting the flowers remain, or cutting them down.
This grouping of Libertia really stands out in the green house, doesn't it.
I'll indulge you with a close up of that fantabulous foliage.
In the center of this shot, you can see a little cluster of Eryngium venustum...aren't they cute! Yes...but they bite, be careful.
Ryan and Derrick on the hunt for THE plant.
I love the gauzy haze of these Luzula (I think) blossoms.
|Greg Shepherd, Xera employee||Lyle, checking out a tag|
I'm not the biggest Primula fan, but these white ones were pretty nice :-)
Another group of Epimediums...ahhh, so lovely.
The gang gathers around Greg as he regales us with story of the trade.
I'm sure there was some horti-humor at work here.
As we left Xera for the day, I caught sight of this little Manzanita...and realized it's the same one I had bought a few weeks earlier from Joy Creek, 'Greensphere'! I can only hope mine looks so big and happy someday! So there you have it, the end of our little get-together this spring. I hope you enjoyed riding along with us!
Oh, and because I forgot to include it in my last post, here's my haul for the day:
3 - Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke)
1 - Libertia perigrans
1 - Eryngium venustum
1 - Corydlopsis spicata aurea
1 - Aristea major
Posted by scottweberpdx at 2:47 PM 32 comments:
Labels: agave, anthriscus, cactus, epimedium, eryngium, geranium, geum, libertia, manzanita, nerds, oregon, plant, plants, portland, potentilla, primula, spring, succulent, xera
Monday, April 23, 2012
Plant Nerd Road Trip - Part 2 - Kennedy School
Are you all ready for part 2 of our little field trip? I didn't think I'd have this done so soon, but the heat this weekend drove me inside, so I figured might as well work on this post :-)
While planning our field trip, Loree (of danger garden) happened to get a call from Sean Hogan (owner of Cistus) that Erich Petschke (the head gardener for McMenamins) had offered to give us a tour of the garden out at the Kennedy School. I used to drive past Kennedy School quite often when I lived in NE Portland, but hadn't been up there since we moved to SE, so I jumped at the chance to check it out!
The only view some people will ever get of the Kennedy School garden is the front, which you can see as you drive by. It's full, lush and vibrant. The day we visited, it was in full spring glory, with cherry trees blooming all over.
They have a huge (and expanding) patch of the ever-controversial Euphorbia griffithii. Known to be a rampant, thuggish spreader, it has formed numerous colonies throughout their front border area. I can't believe mine has been in the ground for 2 years now, and has never sent up more than 2 stems. Perhaps it's the brooding presence of the Saccharum grass that brow-beats mine into submission ;-)
I think the gracefully arching foliage of this Carex is simply sublime, especially covered in beads of rain.
I believe this is a form of Ribes (Currant). I have to admit, I kind of prefer the more floriferous, bright pink ones, though :-)
Those purple berries on this Mahonia are amazing, no?
I love how this tiny-flowered Ceonothus is locked in a struggle with the ghostly rubus cockburnianus.
Planting this Rubus could be a mistake in the future, as it seems to display all the wandering tendencies of its wilder cousins. Still, that white bloom on its branches makes it tempting, right?!?
I think the little seedpods of Callistemon are so cool. They remind me of insect colonies, wasps nests and such.
Erich pointed out that these wonderful, rusty ornaments were actually the old window counterweights used in the school's windows...talk about cool repurposing!
Acaena inermis purpurea is one of my favorite little groundcovers, seen here just starting to bulk up for the season.
Bouteloua is one of the most charming of our North American native grasses, it's a shame you don't see it more often.
Love how the rusty metal ornamentation is softened by the Euphorbia here.
The plant in this section (the dry "gravel" garden) that really anchors the area is this large Nolina. I was totally captivate by the wonderful, arching foliage, and how the emerging leaves form a sort of spiral.
Interestingly, this garden was created on the site of a former driveway, which was closed because of it's intrusiveness on the neighborhood...quite a nice solution, don't you think!
Some more garden ornamentation, I didn't think to ask what they were.
|Sedum 'Vera Jamison'||Agave|
One of several lovely Manzanitas on the property, they all looked so very happy.
While it may be dwarfed by the much-larger Nolina in the background, the sultry winter coloring of this Hesperaloe certainly makes a statement.
But you know who the star still is, right?
I'm always excited to see Persciaria 'Red Dragon' in any garden...you just can't beat it for foliage color, especially since it's practically indestructible.
I'm not sure what kind of tree this is, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying it!
This red-flushed Peony foliage is as lovely as any Japanese Maple.
The brambly stems of this Poncirus form quite the thicket, no?
I've always been fascinated by Tree Ferns...how can you not love them...so graceful.
Impatiens omeiana is one of those plants I can never quite believe is hardy.
The courtyard seating area is flanked on several sides by Cherry trees, which were putting on quite a show during our visit.
I'm assuming this is some sort of Magnolia, judging by that fuzzy flower bud.
The strange, succulent foliage of the Delosperma takes on an almost reptilian appearance upon closer inspection.
And I leave you with a shot of moss growing in the cracks of a pot...just a reminder that beauty can be found even in the simplest things. I hope you enjoyed this tour of Kennedy School...join me next for the last entry in our Field Trip, Xera Nursery!
Posted by scottweberpdx at 4:37 PM 36 comments:
Labels: agave, bouteloua, callistemon, carex, ceonothus, daffodil, delosperma, euphorbia, garden, kennedy, mahonia, manzanita, mcmenamins, nolina, opuntia, oregon, portland, ribes, rubus
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