Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Hidden Gem in the SE...

se portland garden header copy
My "backlog" posts continues today with a little garden gem I discovered this spring. I have a bad habit of visiting nurseries almost every weekend during spring/summer/fall. The two closest to me are the Portland Nursery on Stark St. and the 7 Dees on Powell. Earlier this year, I discovered my own little shortcut between them. Ok...not really a "shortcut", but a preferred route.

corner view
One day, as I drove my "Nursery Route", I noticed a house I'd driven past countless times and not given a second glance.

Well...I noticed the garden...not the house! At that point, it was still spring...so the lush growth you see above was still small, but there was a massive mound of ferny foliage along their front walkway...which I guessed was Ferula communis...a plant I have tried...but just can't give the space or sun it wants. I made a mental note of the garden...and each time I drove by over the next few months, I'd check out the progress.

Closer Corner Garden
As it turned out, this garden had A LOT of wonderful plants...and I don't know how I never noticed it before now!

roses
I'm not the biggest Rose fan...but these add just the right amount of "pop" to the corner of the garden...especially in contrast to the Anchusa and Barberry.

Anchusa
Right at the corner, there is this amazing, glowing Anchusa (I'm guessing). I guess I never realized how big they got, in most books, they looks so short...this was a large, bulky plant...and those electric blooms...wow!

Sidewalk 1
Looking down the sidewalk, you can really see that these are gardeners after my own heart...this is a full, lush garden that wears its heart on its sleeve.

fence with flowers other direction
Such vigor and opulence...I love it!

Cephelaria gigantea budcephalaria duo
One of the other plants that I absolutely adore in this garden is Cephalaria gigantea. I tried to grow these for a few years...but, again, they need more sun and ROOM than I can give them. I can't get enough of those fabulous, subtle blooms...that perfect shade of soft yellow...but on plants of RIDICULOUS proportions...these had to be at least 10' tall.

Cephalaria bokeh
I can't help but love them...it's those long, sinuous stems and the simple, honest blooms...and judging from the hum in the air, they are just as popular with pollinators and all other scabious.

nepeta along path
As I walked along the sidewalk, I noticed, for the first time, the picket fence. Honestly, I kind of love the lavender color. I never would have thought of it myself...but it's the perfect foil for the plants in this garden. Looking at the photos, I thought how the color was neutral enough that it didn't call attention to itself, like a white fence would have. Plus...it matches the Nepeta perfectly!

loeblia tupa stemlobelia tupa patch 2
Another of my plant crushes that I don't even bother with is this Lobelia tupa. They really need a good amount of space to be happy (not to mention full sun). Look at those glorious velvety leaves...and those stunning blooms! The blooms are small enough that the red isn't overpowering...just the perfect amount to give a smoldering glamor to a garden.

fence vignette
I totally dig how the soft cloud of Ferula foliage frames the Lobelia here.

ferula vferula blooms
Speaking of the Ferula, the plant that drew my attention to this garden in the first place, here it is! By the time I took these photos, hey were blooming gloriously...but the folaige had already started to yellow. Sadly, Ferula is monocarpic, so dies after flowering.

garden view
Backing up, you get a better view of the garden from this angle...in the foreground, you can see part of a very large patch of Arundo donax. I've never been terribly fond of Arundo...feeling it seems a bit too "tropicalisimo" for my taste. Then again...that powdery blue mass of leaves is a nice contrast to the finer texture of the nearby Ferula, is it not?

house front wide
Here is one of the few angles in which you can actually see the house! It's such a low-key, humble house...no wonder I never noticed it until now! To be honest...as much as I love the garden...it really isn't in-scale with the house...the house is dwarfed by the exuberance of the garden (not that I'm complaining). The house whispers...the garden shouts!

fragraria in drivewaybackyard
The house does have some nice touches...like this fancy-schmancy garage door, which probably costs enough to make me fall out of my chair. Love the Fragraria in the driveway. There was also a small sideyard, just in view, with that ubiquitous feature of every contemporary garden, the firepit.

cephalaria stems
So there you have it...and pretty amazing garden that was hiding in plain sight...do you have any "secret gardens" you've stumbled on lately?

58 comments:

  1. I really like that Ferula, but wouldn't care for it dying early. Reminds me some what of a Japanese Maple which I love.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I agree...it's not ideal for a plant to die after flowering...especially one that takes up so much space!

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  2. A stroll around almost any neighborhood in Portland offers up a post-worthy garden or two. It's one of my favorite pastimes to park the car and just wander around, camera at the ready.
    We have all noted your skill with a camera, but today I am struck by turns of phrase: "smoldering glamour" at the top of a long list.

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    1. You're so right, Ricki...it's amazing how many great personal gardens there are in Portland...if I had the time, I think I'd go block-by-block and try to document them all!

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  3. I'm sympathetic to putting the money in the garden and not the house. But who knows, perhaps they're saving for a total house reno which will destroy the garden. You just never know.

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    1. So true, Marie! I honestly spend FAR more time and money on my garden as well...the house plays second fiddle around here :-)

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  4. That is a truly wonderful garden. Love the Ferula. Love everything!

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  5. That wonderful garden rivals yours. As you say the garden overwhelms the house - maybe the gardener prefers not to be seen.

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    1. It's very likely...and I do love that sense of seclusion they've created!

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  6. I started to go to back yard and estate sales this year in search of cheaper pots and for my porch garden and found that it took me on a journey through Seattle to the most amazing gardens, yards, and landscapes. I absolutely love running my eyes over the detail and texture of a well planted landscape and in the Pacific Northwest we are truly blessed, if we just stop long enough to see. I really enjoyed your post. It took me on the same journey.

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    1. You're exactly right, Charlie...we really are lucky in the PNW...our mild climate makes it so much easier to have a great garden...and there are so many wonderful gardeners in our cities :-)

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  7. Its a gorgeous garden, but I honestly don't get the comments about the house size?

    I also get people coming by and commenting about my house size and I don't understand those comments either. Yes, we happen to live in a teeny, tiny cottage with a big corner yard and believe it or not, its a choice. The truth is what the world really needs is more gardens and more green spaces and more parks and less big houses.

    Besides, it takes me several hours to weed and water, but less than an hour to clean the house. Which is a win in my book :)







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    1. Ha...so true! I wasn't actually talking about the overall size of the house...just that it was so short in the midst of so many tall plants that it was dwarfed! Our house is super-tiny as well...which definitely suits me...as you say, it's far easier to clean :-)

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  8. Thanks for posting this, as you've taught me about a couple of cool plants that I'm going to try next year!

    I don't get this garden though. Why would they let the Arundo donax take over half the garden? It's ugly compared to everything else. Limit it a bit more and get some variety in that bed, and they'll have a magazine-worthy front garden.

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    1. I thought the same thing, Alan...and I half-suspect that they didn't intentionally give up that much space to the Arundo...I think the Arundo is claiming that space! It's a bit of a thug out here (especially the non-variegated form, which is much more vigorous).

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  9. I think the garden is meant to provide privacy. It's a great garden!

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  10. I am glad to see pictures of what a healthy Ferula should look like. Mine is competing with tree roots and is much smaller. It did flower last year though. It must have sent off a pup, because it survived flowering.

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    1. I had one for a few years that also struggled to do much...so, yes, it's refreshing to see one that is so happy!

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  11. very lush garden!.I like the left side but the right side just ooks like corn hahaha

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    1. Hahahaha...I thought the same thing, Sharon!

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  12. This garden reminds me of yours :-) Lots of striking plants. Did you see any agastache?? I love the lime green door on the house too :-)

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    1. None that I could see, Toni...maybe I'll leave one on their doorstep someday ;-) I LOVE that door too...so cool!

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  13. What an incredible garden. I like how lush and full it is, though you do have a good point about the garden shouting and the house is a whisper....not in scale. That being said, I don't think I would change the garden, will just have to add to the house to be a better scale with that gorgeous garden.

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    1. Haha...definitely, Janet! I love the garden...exactly for the reasons you mention.

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  14. The anchusa and the roses make a great combination. I also like lush, full, and ebullient gardens, and this one has got the goods!

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  15. Love this garden! Gardens that shout are my favorite. As I grow older, I become less and less concerned with what should be done. Thanks for sharing! Gotta find a spot for a Ferula communis or two.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I've ignored most of the things that "should be done" as well...what's the fun in that? ;-)

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  16. um.....wow! so pretty! I wanna visit! xoox, tracie

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    1. Me too! I was tempted to ring their doorbell and introduce myself!

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  17. Lovely garden, but you know I had a hard time just getting past your first paragraph when you called the act of regularly visiting nurseries in the spring/summer/fall a bad habit. Really if we weren't supposed to visit these nurseries every weekend why would god have given us so many...right here in Portland?

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    1. Haha...you are right, of course...but it's like putting myself in that impossible situation...I just want more, more, more!

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  18. Oh man, now I NEED some Ferula. Great tour!

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    1. Isn't it great...that feathery mound of foliage is sumptuous!

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  19. That garden does look wonderful with its lush planting and complementary texture. And you're right, the colour of the picket fences does complement the plants very nicely. Ferula, ferula, must keep that in mind...

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    1. I think it would look fab in your garden :-)

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  20. Interestingly the first thing I noticed was the Ferula--a new one for me. I thought it might be a fennel. Fabulous garden. Thanks for sharing Scott.

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    1. Good eye, Grace..and it is indeed related to Fennel (well, it's an umbellifer, anyway)!

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  21. I haven't stumbled across any gardens lately. That one sure is pretty, though.

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    1. The funny thing is, sometimes I pass by them often...and just don't notice them!

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    1. I know...I wish I could get my plants to get that big and lush!

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  23. Hi Scott,

    Such a beautiful garden; indeed very lush and there's just so much to see. It's also very rare to see such massively overgrown planting like this - especially in the UK. In fact I don't think I ever have. I don't mean that in a negative way - I love it!
    I wish more people did as it's much more visually and texturally stimulating than the typical pansies and pelargiums in a pot and boring lawn you'd typically see here.

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    1. That's so funny, Gwirrel...I always think of the big, cottage-y perennial borders (which this looks to be inspired by) when I think of England. Don't tell me my notions are wrong!

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  24. A real cottage garden packed to the brim with all sorts of treausures. No wonder you have been drawn to it on your travels. Have you knocked on the door yet to introduce yourself Scott as a fellow plant lover?

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    1. I was tempted, Anna...but I'm a shy thing :-)

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  25. I keep returning for another look. I love this place!

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    1. I love it too, Marie...it's a lovely, well-done garden!

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  26. You should knock on the door next time.

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    1. I just might, Les...I was tempted to...but I'm a bit shy...and bad at introductions!

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  27. What a find! It is so nice to be surprised by other local gardens. It does not happen often, but when I see one in our town, I feel better, not quite so alone in my garden-loving tendencies :)

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  28. I'm headed down to Portland next weekend from Seattle. Are you able to share where this garden is & yours so I can come take a gander? would love to see how these lush gardens fare in our PNW winters!

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  29. Interesting luxuriant cottage garden with nice photography. Might be worth mentioning that Ferula is a summer deciduous perennial, not monocarpic. I've had it growing for years here in Berkeley, after first admiring it in Crete. It combines rather nicely with Alstroemeria 'Ligtu Hybrids' which is also summer deciduous after blooming's over.
    David in Berkeley

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  30. Sant Ritz is more than just a home. Its combination of condominium status with contemporary ville living.
    the interlace

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