Monday, April 23, 2012

Plant Nerd Road Trip - Part 2 - Kennedy School

Nerd Trip Header 2 copy
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!

kennedy school front border  1493
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.

euphorbia and daffodil  1494
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 ;-)

carex  1489
I think the gracefully arching foliage of this Carex is simply sublime, especially covered in beads of rain.

ribes  1488
I believe this is a form of Ribes (Currant). I have to admit, I kind of prefer the more floriferous, bright pink ones, though :-)

mahonia  1495
Those purple berries on this Mahonia are amazing, no?

rubus and ceonothus  1485
I love how this tiny-flowered Ceonothus is locked in a struggle with the ghostly rubus cockburnianus.

rubus  1483
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?!?

callistemon  1482
I think the little seedpods of Callistemon are so cool. They remind me of insect colonies, wasps nests and such.

climbing hydrangea  1480berberis  1473
Climbing HydrangeaBerberis

window counterweights  1496
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  1479
Acaena inermis purpurea is one of my favorite little groundcovers, seen here just starting to bulk up for the season.

bouteloua  1478
Bouteloua is one of the most charming of our North American native grasses, it's a shame you don't see it more often.

euphorbia and agave  1477
Love how the rusty metal ornamentation is softened by the Euphorbia here.

nolina  1474
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.

agave vignette vertical  1470
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!

garden ornaments  1476
Some more garden ornamentation, I didn't think to ask what they were.

sedum vignette  1472agave  1468
Sedum 'Vera Jamison'Agave

manzanita  1471
One of several lovely Manzanitas on the property, they all looked so very happy.

hesperaloe  1466
While it may be dwarfed by the much-larger Nolina in the background, the sultry winter coloring of this Hesperaloe certainly makes a statement.

nolina  1467
But you know who the star still is, right?

persicaria red dragon  1470
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.

dry bed 2Nolina
Dry BedNolina

tree with buds
I'm not sure what kind of tree this is, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying it!

Peony Foliage
This red-flushed Peony foliage is as lovely as any Japanese Maple.

Poncirus
The brambly stems of this Poncirus form quite the thicket, no?

Tree Fern 3
I've always been fascinated by Tree Ferns...how can you not love them...so graceful.

Impatiens omeiana
Impatiens omeiana is one of those plants I can never quite believe is hardy.

Cherry Blossom
The courtyard seating area is flanked on several sides by Cherry trees, which were putting on quite a show during our visit.

Magnolia bud
I'm assuming this is some sort of Magnolia, judging by that fuzzy flower bud.

Delosperma
The strange, succulent foliage of the Delosperma takes on an almost reptilian appearance upon closer inspection.

Moss in cracks
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!

36 comments:

  1. thanks for our patience in taking those photos. Quite a luxuriant post.

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  2. Wonderful photos of such a beautiful garden. It's so interesting to see familiar plants like agave and nolina combined with plants that will not grow here in San Antonio.

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    1. I bet! That's one greta thing about Portland...we have such a wide variety of plants available to us :-)

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  3. Love seeing your version of a garden I know so well...simply gorgeous. On a side note I've been playing with the positioning of plants in my huge empty bed (former home of the monster Rhody) and trying to see my little baby Nolina all grown up and looking like theirs. No matter how hard I squint I still can't see it.

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    1. It's such a great garden, isn't it...I really have to make a point of visiting again later in the year. OMG...I bet...that it will look amazing though...that Nolina is so gorgeous...you had better take tons of pictures. How old did he say it was...6 years???

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  4. So beautiful! I am still dreaming of having a Dierama like the one I photographed at McMenamins in Troutdale (can't remember the real name of the place- the old 'poor farm' place). Probably not possible for me now that I'm in Utah but it's unlikely to stop me from trying! The McMenamins projects I HAVE seen are all simply amazing. I wish we had something that cool here but, if we did, we'd be Portland rather than SLC. Amazing photos as always.

    Cynthia- utahgardenblogs

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    1. OMG...I know! Every time I see a large Dierama I go a little weak in the knees with sheer envy! I think that's call Edgefield (I could be wrong). I agree, they do an unusually good job with their gardens...it's atypical, even for Portland.

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  5. Great garden tour. I love all the garden ornaments. That is one thing I utterly fail at. When I try to put things like that in my garden it just looks like left behind junk.

    Interesting to see the E. griffithii in Oregon. In NJ it always looked like a ratty and wild weed so I pulled it all out. And I just got some Bouteloua for my garden. I can't wait for it to bloom.

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    1. Hahahahahaha...I'm the same...I could have the same thing in my garden and it looks totally hokey. So glad you got some Bouteloua...I'm going to grab some next time I see it for sale and find a spot for it.

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  6. This is a school that goes all out or somebody does to make it pretty and unique.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  7. Scott, wonderful photos as usual. The degree of mixed texture is quite amazing in this garden. The Nolina and the Poncirus really caught my attention.

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    1. I agree, they have a really deft hand at putting the plants together in nice groupins.

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  8. Great photos. Love the metal in the dry bed, as you say very clever recycling. Drive ways make excellent dry beds, just smash the concrete up and use it to raise the level in certain locations and add gravel.

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    1. That's a good point, and I hadn't thought of it...maybe I'll do that with my driveway someday ;-)

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  9. Thanks so much for this great tour! Is this garden open to the public all the time, or do you have to arrange a tour? Just trying to put together a list of places to go if I ever get to Portland. I keep going back to that last shot of the moss growing in the cracks. I can't get enough of that kind of close-up look. I was just thinking of buying some Bouteloua, but I'm not sure where else to fit more OGs! Oh, what the heck, I'll find a good spot.

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    1. Oh yeah, totally open...it's right on the street and you can just walk around any time. I think you'd have to call ahead for a tour (not sure they generally give tours, but it doesn't hurt to ask, right)! I'm the same as you, I can always scheme a way to fit more grasses in ;-)

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  10. Lately I've been loving color combos of steel blue and citron yellow, which means I love the vignette of the agave, nolina, and euphorbia. Soooooooo dreamy!!

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    1. It's that a great little vignette...it really looks amazing, especially in the slightly overcast light of that day :-)

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  11. This garden manages to pull off many combinations I would have thought impossible. Fun to see it through your eyes/lens.

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    1. I know...it's a wealth of good ideas and inspiration, for sure!

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  12. Very cool! I love the rusty artifacts. They really complement the plants. I wish my Hesperaloe looked that good. Someday if I'm lucky... Thank you for taking us along to such a fabulous garden.

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    1. I love them too...and I love that someone had the foresight to keep and re-use them!

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  13. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Thanks! Lucky you to have had a tour, and lucky us that you shared it.

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    1. Glad you liked it...yes we were very fortunate to have the gardeners give us a tour...it's fascinating to hear the story behind the gardens and all the trials and tribulations they've gone through, makes you really feel like you're not alone in the good and the bad!

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  14. Moss...simple? Ha, not here!

    Of course, I gravitate to my favorite with anything metal or rusty, agaves, or manzanita. But I also enjoy that you too appreciate Bouteloua...here, it is seeded to try being a lawn, when grown as it is in nature here - a widely-spaced bunchgrass - it is stunning. Including with Nolina, Agave, etc!

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    1. hahahahaha...you have a point there! I'm totally a fan of the rusty too...and it looks so good with all that verdant green...and oh yes, to have room for all those Manzanitas...I can dream :-) I agree...those grasses look best with a little elbow room to really show off that wonderful form.

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  15. Absolutely wonderful images of plants! Thank you, Scott!

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    1. Thanks, Tatyana...glad you like the tour :-)

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  16. Just noticed a couple blooms on my bouteloua, which is great since there was doubt whether they would bloom in zone 10. That euphorb griff is definitely not a menace here -- never had one survive a season. And the color on that emerging Red Dragon is incredible - never does that here! Nice opportunity for a here/there post! What an amazing resource the Kennedy is. Gorgeous photos as always. Thank you!

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    1. Woohoo...that's awesome! Our 'Red Dragons' look amazing right now (mine included), although they green up a bit during summer, they are still quite nice...and that spring color is stunning! Yes...McMenamins have some great gardens!

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  17. Between this post and Loree's posts on the Kennedy school, this place looks like a must-visit for any gardener visiting Portland.

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    1. Oh yes...if you ever get to Portland, do stop by...you won't be disappointed!

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  18. Wow, this must have been a very interesting visit! I am jealous! Normally it's not my style but I must admit that dry gravel mound with agaves, euphorbias and rusty poles is amazing, it really inspired me to have one n my garden!
    I agree with you about euphorbia griffithii, at least your managed to survive, mine just disappear after a couple of season. And I am so in love with euphorbias... I wish they love me back a little bit too.

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  19. I remember this garden from Danger Garden posts over the years. The gravel garden is a stunner, but I also really like those lusher areas too. Your photos are amazing, Scott.

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