Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden Tour - Ryan Miller's Garden

RyanMillerHeader copy
This past weekend I had the privilege of visiting a friend and fellow blogger's garden. I actually met Ryan Miller (gnomiscience) through our blogs a year or so ago...but have never actually visited his garden before, so it was pretty exciting to finally see it in person.

Ryan Millers Garden  1957
I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Mrs. danger garden herself, Loree...there's nothing better than a day spent with garden folk, right? As we pulled up, we were met with the front yard plantings, seen above, which consists of some tough, xeric plants. As always, the combination of blue/purple with yellow is especially electric.

Ryan Millers Garden  1965Ryan Millers Garden  1960
Anaphalis margaritacea, Rudbeckia hirta, Liatris spicataMacleaya cordata & Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer'
Of course, any time I see Rudbeckia and Liatris in a garden, it makes me happy...such great, tough prairie plants. The Macleaya is wonderful for it's statuesque height and wonderful, textural foliage. The blooms are a nice added bonus.

Ryan Millers Garden  1961
Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon)
Ryan's front garden is really dominated by a large Cardoon...which was blooming resplendently during our visit...how can you not love those huge, glowing blooms!

Ryan Millers Garden  1962Ryan Millers Garden  1959
Digitalis ferrungeaEryngium planum
Ryan has all manner of intersting and unusual plants, many of which he has grown from seed. Take this Digitalis ferrungea...good luck finding that in a nursery! I think we all love Eryngiums (and there are SO MANY to choose from)...a bonus, they are almost universally loved by pollinators.

Ryan Millers Garden  1958
The "Front Garden" - Anaphalis margaritacea, Rudbeckia hirta, Liatris spicata, Sedum spectabile, Rhus typhina
Again, just a gorgeous mix of color and texture...and just imagine what it will look like once the Sedum joins the fray!

Ryan Millers Garden  1956
The "side-yard" garden
The part of Ryan's garden that's most impressive to me is the side yard...because he built that entire retaining wall (and it's WAAAAYYY longer than I had imagined) all by himself!

Ryan Millers Garden  1971
Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria'
How can you not love the rich, sultry red foliage of this Lobelia...especially backed with those smoldering orange Crocosmias.

Ryan Millers Garden  1949Ryan Millers Garden  1948
Tigridia pavoniaLobelia laxiflora
Among Ryan's plants are some I've never actually seen in person before, Like this Tigridia...which he has a variety of colors of. The Lobelia really captured my eye...I honestly don't think photos quite do it justice...it's just so delicately graceful.

Ryan Millers Garden  1970
Lobelia laxiflora
Another photo of the Lobelia...because it's just so pretty :-)

Ryan Millers Garden  1943
Penstemon 'Husker's Red' seedpods
The flowers of this Penstemon are pleasant enough...but the seedpods are outstanding!

Ryan Millers Garden  1947Ryan Millers Garden  1944
Asclepias SpeciosaLobelia & Crocosmia
I was so happy to see my favorite Asclepias in Ryan's garden...love those silvery-mauve flowers...but even more so, the crazy, spiny seed-pods that follow.

Ryan Millers Garden  1966
Artemisia lactiflora 'Guizhou'
I've read that this Artemisia can be a bit thuggish...but it seemed quite well-behaved in Ryan's garden...and indeed, a perfect foil for its more intensely-colored companions. I meant to ask what the grass was in the background...I'm guessing Panicum 'Heavy Metal'.

Ryan Millers Garden  1953Ryan Millers Garden  1968
Echinacea 'Tiki Torch'Echinacea 'Hot Lava'
I'll admit, I prefer the plain old purple Echinacea...but even I had to stop and gape at these amazing hybrids...maybe I'll try a few someday!

Ryan Millers Garden  1942
Hypericum shrub
I could not for the life of me figure out what this was before asking Ryan...isn't it cool!

Ryan Millers Garden  1974
I love these old Lace-Cap style Hydrangeas...I just find them casually elegant...and the color is wonderful.

Ryan Millers Garden  1975
Hyndragea & neighbor's Nandina
This may be cheating a bit...the Nandina is in the neighbor's yard...but I loved the combination with the Hydrangea!

So, thanks again, Ryan...it was a blast seeing your garden (and enjoying your Water Kefir)!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A thing of beauty...

Lilium Black Beauty Crop
Lilium 'Black Beauty' starting to open

The race between the three summer-blooming Lilies in my garden ('Black Beauty', 'Silver Scheherezade' & Lilium lancifolium) has finally been won...by 'Black Beauty'! It was also the first lily I purchased after starting this garden...so it seems fitting.

Following the trend of odd garden happenings this year, my trio of 'Black Beauty' bulbs finally produced a new stem this year...yay! Sadly, however, the stem/bulb furthest back in this bed is looking pretty sad and sickly...only producing 2 or 3 buds this year. I'm not sure if it's due to our lack of a winter this year, the encroaching Laurel blocking too much sun...or general over-crowding by other plants. I think I'll dig it up after it finishes blooming and move further forward, where it should get more sun. I'll also be trimming back the Laurel soon to open up the garden a bit.

I don't have a lot of big/showy blooms in my garden, to be honest, as I prefer plants with many small blooms, rather than a few large blooms. Lilies are one of the exceptions, however, and I look forward to their blooms with a bit of breathless anticipation.

How about all of you...are you reveling in summer's bounty right about now too? Here in Portland, we've been having a run of truly lovely weather...cool & breezy...perfect for strolling around the garden. I can't help buy feel a little guilty about that, of course...and my thoughts go out to all of you suffering from terrible heat & drought around the rest of the country.

lilium black beauty v  1923

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up July 2012

FFU_July 2012
Well...since I was late for Bloom Day, of course, I'm also late for Foliage Follow-Up. I decided this month to focus on one particular plant that has caught my fancy, Pennisetum 'Vertigo'.

Like SO MANY of my plants, I first discovered this on Nan Ondra's blog Hayefield last year. I've always liked the dark-leaved Pennisetums, but wasn't quite tempted enough to plant a $16 annual every year (yes, they almost always seemed to be that expensive at nurseries around town).

Pennisetum vertigo
Pennisetum 'Vertigo' soon after planting in May
For some reason, however, seeing this arresting plant in Nan's garden struck a nerve, and I knew I had to find it! I searched online and finally found an online seller, Garden Crossings, who had it...of course, for $16 per plant! That brings me to one important point about this plant...it's techincally hardy to Zone 8...so I should be able to overwinter these. That's what make the difference for me...I can't bring myself to spend that much on a plant I know will die at the end of the year...but for a plant that might come back...well, that I can do!

Pennisetum Vertigo
'Vertigo' in June
The plants arrived this spring, and I was extremely impressed with the quality of the plants...big, vigorous and well-packed. I would hearitly recommend this retailer to others, based on this one experience. I planted them in some galvanized pots (from IKEA...home of the inexpensive container), watered them and stood back.

Pennisetum Vertigo
'Vertigo' on July 6
As Nan mention on her blog, 'Vertigo' kind of grows "out" before it grows "up". It sort of spreads out a bit, then starts really putting on height. Also, the coloring really didn't start to darken until July or so...but now is fabulous. Depending on the light, it can seem reddish-brown, greenish-black, or jet-black.

vertigo duo  1920
'Vertigo' this week
So, while I found it to be pleasant enough for the past few months, since the beginning of July it has really seemed to take off...and is now quite stunning. I love how it provides such a dominant focal point at the corners of the garden. I debated planting them in the garden, rather than in pots, but decided that if I really ended up liking them by the time fall rolls around, I can move them into the backyard (which is more shleltered) to help them overwinter.

vertigo  1917
So, here it is this week...and I'm wondering just how big and bold it's going to become in the next few months. For more posts celebrating fabulous foliage, Head over to Digging, hosted by the always-inspiring, Pam Penick!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - July 2012

Yes...I'm a whole day late for GBBD this month. Actually, I'm almost always a day late (oops...TWO days late), so really, I'm right on schedule! July has seen temps rise quite a bit...and while most of the plants seem to be relishing it, I have to admit, I'm VERY grateful to have A/C right now! Amazingly, we got a tiny bit of rain on Sunday...which is pretty unusual for Portland during summer (there is even talk of thunderstorms in the next few days).

Before I start our tour of what's blooming here on Rhone Street, don't forget to visit Carol at May Dreams Garden for a showing of Bloom Day posts around the world!

skewed teucrium  1906
Teucrium hircanicum
I'm totally smitten with this plant...I first saw it featured on Nan Ondra's blog, Hayefield, and like so many of the plants she features, it became an instant object of lust! Luckily, I found some for sale at the HPSO sale last fall, at the Far Reaches Farm booth. Even though I had technically spent my budget for the day, I snatched these up, knowing I'd regret it if I didn't. They are quite handsome, even when not blooming, but the blooms are definitely the icing on the cake...plus, they are gorgeous backlit...I'm sure you'll see them in MANY future posts.

veronicastrum fascination  1837
Veronicastrum virginicum 'Fascination'
Amazingly, I was proactive this year in staking these beauties long before they bloomed, at which time they will inevitably flop in my garden. It's my fault...to much shade. Still...they are so lovely, I wouldn't be without them. Even before blooming, their foliage appears in graceful whorls, spaced widely on their stems...they are extremely "light-looking" for such a big plant. I adore their wispy, candelabra-esqu flowers...and so do the bees!

echinacea and pennisetum and daisy  1909
Echinacea purpurea 'Prairie Splendour', Leucanthemum & Pennisetum 'Karley Rose'
What would summer be without the "daisy-like" flowers. To me, nothing quite says SUMMER like they do. Of course, I love my Echinacea, and plant them all over. Well, to be honest, I plant them once and move their seedlings all over to fill empty spaces! I have a love/hate relationship with the Leucanthemum. They get so tall and floppy...not matter what I do. Also, while many plants have the good manners to fade gracefully once they've finished blooming, these Daisies don't...their spent flowers look like dingy, wet scrap of toilet paper.

verbena & geranium  1879persicaria Golden Arrow  1859
Verbena bonariensisPersicaria 'Golden Arrow'
For the first few years I had this Verbena planted in my garden, I never saw a single seedling. Suddenly, in the past 2 years, I seem to have them everywhere. I'm not complaining, mind you, I love them...and let them grow pretty much anywhere they want. 'Golden Arrow' was another Far Reaches find last fall at the HPSO sale...and it's doing so well! I can hardly believe how big and vigorous it is...and the color of the foliage...WOW!

stipa gigantea  1840
Stipa gigantea
I was going to save the grasses for a different post, but couldn't help but want to share the amazing, golden seedheads of this one!

sunburst  1902
Persicaria 'Firetail' with Geranium 'Rozanne' & Geranium 'Ann Folkard' in background
I think this Persicaria is going to be too big for this spot in a year or two, but for the time being, I love it paired with Geranium 'Rozanne'. The contrast in form and color is wonderful.

geranium rozanne & deschampsia  1847
Geranium 'Rozanne' & Deschampsia 'Tatra Gold'
'Rozanne' looks good pretty much everywhere, but I really love here growing through other plants, as with the wonderful, textural seed heads of this Deschampsia.

monarda raspberry wine  1849origanum  1857
Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'Origanum 'Hopley's Purple'
While I have to admit, I do have a fondness for "subtle" and "soothing" colors in the garden, occasionally, even I have to have something that is brazen...like 'Raspberry Wine'...that color is visible from a block away! 'Hopley's Purple' is an ornamental Oregano I got at Joy Creek Nursery a few years ago...and it's never been very happy for me. Then again, I think I move it every single year, so it has never had much of a chance to settle in. This year, I was determined to let it be where it was...and it's performing like a champ...I love it!

sanguisorbia and verbena  1821
Sanguisorbia 'Pink Elephant'
This is another plant that flops without fail every single year. It always seems so sturdy...then, suddenly...it topples over. For some reason, this year it seems to at least be mingling nicely with its neighbors...and now I kind of like it again :-)

teucrium cossonii  1900persicaria polymorpha  1917
Teucrium cossoniiPersicaria polymorpha
I stumbled upon this little groundcover Tuecrium at Portland Nursery a few weeks ago...and even though I really don't need (well, don't have room for) more plants in general, I can always seem to find room for another groundcover. This one has wonderful, silvery evergreen foliage...and lovely purple blooms...which smell amazing if you brush against them. Persicaria polymorpha is HUGE this year! I can't believe I just planted it last summer...it's so big! It keeps pumping out new blooms...as the older blooms fade to an earthier beigey-white. Normally, I think white flowers tend to look pretty ratty as they age, but this Persicaria is the exception to the rule...if anything, the older flowers look even nicer.

persicaria inverleith  1898
Persicaria 'Inverleith' & Salvia 'Purple Rain'
Ok...yes, there are a few more plants than that in the pic above...but those are the two main ones! I truly adore this diminutive (comparatively) Persicaria is actually about twice as big as it usually is this year. I have no idea if our winter is to blame...but it's kind of crazy. Of course, it grew so tall, so fast, that now it wan't to open up in the middle and flop all over. Luckily, I've grown quite adept at corseting plants up with bamboo stakes and twine. Sadly, it seems to have also caused it to be less able to deal with the stress of our summer heat/wind combination...and has been scorching a little bit...more so than any other plant.

Agastache Pennisetum Sumac Geranium
Agastache 'Purple Haze', Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' & Panicum 'Huron Solstice' with Geranium 'Ann Folkard' & Rhus 'Tiger Eyes' in background
Sometimes I plant a combination...thinking in my head that it's going to look RAD...but the reality is a bit of a letdown. Sometimes, however, like in the photo above, it works out even better than I had imagined. I LOVE the smoky purple spires of this Agastache, paired with the smoldering mauve tassels of the Pennisetum. For some reason, they really work for me. Add in the brighter magentas and chartreuses behind them and I'm kind of gaga for this vignette.

persicaria firetail  1885
Persicaria 'Firetail & Molinia 'Moorhexe'
I know I've already shown this Persicaria in this post...but I really like it in combination with the Molinia (another fabulous find at Wind Dancer) above as well. Why don't we see more Molinias in gardens around Portland?

geranium ann folkard  1874eryngium yuccifolium  1838
Geranium 'Ann Folkard'Eryngium yuccifolium
Much like 'Rozanne', I probably don't even need to call out Geranium 'Ann Folkard', as it appears in so many other pictures in this post...but it's so great, that it still merits its own shout-out! The Eryngium was a surprise find at Joy Creek Nursery this spring. I had been interested in it, ever since seeing it appear in numerous Piet Oudolf-designed gardens. I was thrilled to see them offering it..and it's doing REALLY well in the new front parking strip (a full post on that is forthcoming)!

agastache black adder  1855
Agastache 'Black Adder'
This is the very first Agastache I ever bought...and I'm still a little bit smitten with it every year when it blooms. I just love that wonderful two-tone effect that the darkly-colored bracts give the blooms.

knautia macedoncia  1846
Knautia macedonica
I'm always a little surprised at how much I love this plant. I think it's one of those plants you really have to see in person to appreciate. There is something utterly charming about its freely-produced raspberry-colored blooms. The best thing is that it just looks good...with EVERYTHING!

agastache rupestris  1864cephalaria gigantea  1863
Agastache rupestrisCephalaria gigantea
This Agastache is so tough...and so beautiful. I just adore it's silvery, finely-divided foliage...and the flowers are just a bonus. Their color is every-changing and sort of indescribable...a mix of orange, pink and purple. It makes for some surprising combinations, to be sure. The Cephalaria is sort of in plant limbo, for the moment. It's a frequent victim of my neighbor's chickens...who think it's delicious. I've moved it to a spot where I can more easily defend it...but it's not terribly happy. Nevertheless...it rewarded my diligence with a few blooms...a promise of what's to come, should I ever find it a really good spot.

eryngium venustum  1853EPILOBIUM  1883
Eryngium venustumEpilobium angustifolium
I got this particular Eryngium at Xera Plants this spring...smitten by it's amazing rosette of spiny foliage...and the promise of it's spiky, star-like seed heads. The Epilobium is a PNW native...and is really tough...these blooms are from root fragments left behind last year after I had relocated the parent plants!

ehincops bannaticus  1892
Echinops bannaticus
I just love the crazy, spherical flowers of Echinops...they hardly seem real.

echinacea parade  1854
Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'
Another coneflower...can't get enough of them!

drumstick allium  1836selinum  1907
Drumstick AlliumSelinum wallichianum
While it's not the biggest or the showiest of Alliums, the tiny drumstick Alliums are among my faves. They bloom much later, with rich, saturated colors...and just go so well with so many other plants, adding nice "pops" of color wherever the show up. I planted the Selinum last year, after waiting for it to become available on the Annie's Annuals website. While one of them didn't make it through the winter, for some reason, the other two are growing vigorously...and are about to bloom!

bee on astrantia  1820
Astrantia maxima & Astrantia major 'Star of Beauty'
You knew you weren't going to make it without seeing a few Astrantias...right?!?!

astrantia abbey road  1912
Astrantia major 'Abbey Road'
This is the latest of the Astrantias to bloom...towards the end of the bloom cycle of the others. I'm starting to chop off the blooms of the Astrantias that have already bloomed...hopefully this will stimulate them to re-bloom this fall.

agastache desert sunrise  1869
Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'
I just love this Agastache...all the qualities that make Agastache rupestris so great...but in a color that's much easier to work with :-)

agastache blue blazes  1862
Agastache 'Blue Blazes'
And now we come to the Agastache that has consumed the backyard! It's a good thing I love these, because they are going crazy back there...there is almost nothing else visible! They are as huge as the are beautiful, some are over 6' tall (and wide). They've knit together to form an almost-impenetrable thicket. And yes...the hummingbirds battle daily over this prime piece of real estate.

Astrantia Ruby Weddingagastache golden jubilee  1871
Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding'Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'
'Ruby Wedding' started blooming a month or so ago...but seemed to only producing a few bloom stalks...which was a bit disappointing. Well, apparently, that was just the pre-show...now it's blooming like mad! Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' is a bit of a staple in my garden. For some reason, this year, they are almost two full months behind where they would normally be. I'm not sure if it was our mild winter or what...but I had almost given them up for goners. Luckily, they do seem to have come through it...and are blooming now...although at a MUCH smaller size.

Knautia Melton Pastels Sunrise
Knautia 'Melton Pastels'
Variety is the spice of life, and even though I love the regular Knautias...I was intrigued last year by these hybrids with their range of colors. While all the ones I started from seed last year are the same light-ish pink, the ones in the front parking strip are blooming now in a nice mix of red, lavenders and pinks.

Whew...well, that was only slightly gratuitous,right? I leave you with a few wide shots of the garden right now.

view with birdbath  1866


north border from east  1891

east border from south v  1852

east border from north  1893

backyard north entry  1865

backyard in july  1842

sunset north border  1916