Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Well...once again Norm and I managed to spend pretty much our entire Memorial Day Weekend working on projects around the house...and as a result, accomplished more this past weekend than in 3 normal weekends! It helped that we have fabulous weather that made working outside more pleasure than pain. One of the projects we've been wanting to tackle since we renovated the back garden last year was establishing some sort of privacy.
As you can see, our house is VERY close to our neighbors' house...and their kitchen window(s) look right out onto our backyard. There used to be a family that lived in the house, and somehow it didn't bother me much that they could see us...we'd even chat sometimes through the window. However, the family moved to Florida last year and rented out the house...and having half a dozen (and often many more) college students partying right behind you can be a bit unnerving!
So, after pondering all winter what I wanted to do here, we finally settled on a Bamboo in a stock tank. I forget what type of Bamboo this is, except that it should get about 6-8' tall (with an equal spread). Even though it's a clumper, not a runner, I don't trust Bamboo enough to let it loose in my tiny little garden, however...so the stock tank was an obvious solution. I had originally wanted a very tall grass...something with a little more variable seasonal interest. In the end, however, it seemed silly to have a privacy screen that was only actually present for half of the year!
And so, we settled on this Bamboo...and are waiting for it to get it's little Bamboo act together and grow! I'm not sure how quickly it takes for these to reach their mature height...but I'm anxiously awaiting the day I can wander around the backyard without feeling like I'm on display, let alone, sit for a few minutes and enjoy the fruits of our labor...sigh.
Oh...and if it looks like there are some bare spots in the garden, that's because it was also musical-plants weekend...and I moved A LOT of plants to different spots in the garden. No wonder I'm exhausted. Some day, there will be a 3-day weekend where I DON'T spend it all working. Then again...I REALLY slept well after those long days outside ;-)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This past weekend I wasn't quite in the mood to actually tackle any of the projects around the house or garden...and was looking for an excuse to get out of town...and if I could make it plant-related, so much the better, right? As luck would have it, I somehow remembered that Schreiner's Iris Garden was having their open garden events right now. I somehow tricked Norm into going along for the ride ;-)
OMG...first off, I should probably apologize for the ridiculous, over-the-top, unbridled gushing of this post. I know it's long and sort of out-of-control...but I can't help it! To be honest, although I like Iris enough (loved them in my younger year), I haven't given them much though over the past few years...until recently. I think since I inherited so many when we bought this house, they were the last thing I wanted to add more of!
This spring, however, I really enjoyed the show that the few remaining Iris gave...and it sort of reminded me of how much I really like them. Also, my dad is a HUGE Iris fan/collector...so I figured that if nothing else, I could find a few new Iris to send him for his Birthday in July.
Leave all skepticism at the door when you go to Schreiners...it's an all-out extravaganza of bloom...an orgiastic celebration of color! I have to admit, I was only expecting something akin to the Woodburn Tulip Festival...where it's just fields of flowers. Oh no...these are display gardens...and they are overwhelming. I honestly just kind of stared at first...not even sure where to point the camera.
Of course, in the end, I ended up just taking as many photos as I could...and trust me...there are A LOT. The weather on the day we went kept changing, one moment bright and sunny, the next slightly overcast...so there's quite a bit of variation in the photos...I kept trying to wait for the clouds cover to reappear...but in the end, just decided to shoot and hope for the best.
I've seen a lot of different Iris varieties in my life, but even I was amazed at some of the different forms/colors on display...like these coppery-red ones.
Of course, as many of these photos prove, my favorites are still the deep purple ones...so beautiful!
This was one of my faves...the deep, rich purple with the contrasting orange beards...so striking.
I love the vibrant lavender-purple of these...especially in such flattering light.
Almost as numerous as the Iris were the varieties of Lupine...one of my absolute favorite spring blooms. I've never seen them as big as they were here...it was pretty humbling. Then again, I think I have some of the shorter hybrids...I need to find some room for one or two of these big bruisers!
Some of the bicolors are surprisingly beautiful. I remember seeing this one as a single stem earlier, and not being impressed. Seeing a clump of them out in the garden, however, they proved to be quite striking.
Another reddish-purple Iris...just love these, especially backlit, with the petals glowing.
While most of the plants were in the height of bloom, the delphiniums were just getting started, adding their cooler blues to the palette.
While I have to admit, I didn't catch the names of most of these Iris, I managed to take a photo of the tag on this one so I'd remember it later. I has the distinct trait of having buds that contrast with the actual petals...which I found quite striking.
You know I love me some Alliums...and there were THOUSANDS blooming...here are some of the buds, just prior to opening.
I hardly need more pink in my garden...but this one is pretty tempting...so fresh-looking.
Even though I'm more drawn to colors on the cooler side of the palette, these rich golden ones were pretty breath-taking.
More glorius Lupines!
And more Alliums...sigh.
Backlit Lupines...the bees love them as much as i do.
Oh my...so much to love.
The simple beauty of a single Lupine stem.
Another striking bicolor...love the combo of shell-pink and mulberry-purple.
I just love the simple charm of this single-color peach Iris.
This was a huge table of Poppies for sale near the gift shop.
Bright red Poppies (probably 'Beauty of Livermere') give a splash of warm color in a sea of cool.
Another shot of yellow in this bicolor Iris lights up a dark corner of the border.
The only real downside to all this spring bounty is that once everything is done blooming in a month or so, there probably isn't much left to see...
...but again, this is a display garden...and really meant to show off their specialty to it's best...so let's just enjoy it for what it is!
After all, how often do you get to waft, waist-deep in sheer floral splendour! If you get a chance, and are in the Portland area, head down to the Schreiner Iris Garden...you won't be disappointed!
Oh...even though I had no plans of buying any for myself...I did end up buying a few Iris in the end...I'll let you know what they are when I get the shipment in July ;-)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Another Bloom Day...they seem to always sneak up on me, for some strange reason. I swore this month I'd work ahead and get lots of pics ready for the post...but I somehow managed to catch a cold during the hottest weekend of the year. We've had 4 days in a row where we almost hit 90°...ouch! We don't typically expect hot, dry weather until almost July...and I have to say, after more than a week without rain, I'm missing it (as does the newly-planted parking strip). Usually we can count on cool, wet weather until at least the middle of June...but this has been an odd year, weather-wise, hasn't it!
Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Amsonia hubrichtii
Enough of my whining, you came here for blooms...so let's get on with the show! May is an awesome time in the garden...bare earth is disappearing fast and the floral display is just ramping up. Here is the path into the backyard, framed by Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Amsonia hubrichtii. Right after I took this pic I cut the Muhlenbergia capillaris back...which I'd somehow forgotten to do yet...oops.
|Knautia 'Melton Pastels'||Knautia macedonica|
Purple Bearded Iris
The purple Iris I inherited with the house are still going strong...I keep popping them randomly in the garden whenever I have to dig up a spot they are already in...and I'm digging the diffuse display of the scattered purple blooms.
Geranium 'Katerine Adele'
I moved this Geranium to the north hell strip last fall, not knowing how it would respond to the indignity of such a late move...it rewarded me by staying green all winter long (granted, we didn't really have winter this year) and is bigger than ever before now. It does tend to look pretty ratty after it's done blooming...at which time I'll cut it to the ground so it can re-sprout fresh, new foliage.
Although I could have swore I planted 2 different types of Allium last fall ('Purple Sensation' and A. atropurpureum), I'm pretty sure they are all 'Purple Sensation'...or they are just the only ones that came up. I do have a few of these lighter pink ones, however, which I'm pretty sure are 'Gladiator'. Oh well...who cares what they are called...they are still beautiful.
|Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'||Geranium macrorrhizum|
I moved a few of these last year after they flopped all over...and they seem much happier here in the north parking strip, where the soil is better-drained and they get dappled all-day shade.
Columbine 'Tequila Sunrise'
I can't help but love Columbines...even if I know that when summer's heat arrives, they'll crisp and disappear...oh well...I can't imagine not seeing their cheerful blooms in the spring garden. As a bonus, this year I'm finally seeing lots of little Columbine seedlings around the adult plants!
Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'
The perennials aren't the only ones blooming...the cool-season grasses are starting to bloom as well...here is a Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster', newly-planted this spring in the front garden.
|Stipa gigantea||Deschampsia 'Tatra Gold'|
Verbena 'Homestead Purple'
I'm happy to say this year 'Homestead Purple' is finally living up to its reputation for floriferousness. The past few years, it has struggled to do much, but it seems very happy at the moment.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out where this Iris came from, they remembered my dad had sent me a bunch of Iris seeds a few years ago (when we first bought the house). I planted them in pots in the (then-trashed) backyard and forgot about them. I found the pots last year, couldn't remember what they were exactly and just planted them randomly in whatever space I had. Amazingly, they are blooming this year...and are so pretty! This one is much shorter than the Iris I inherited with the house, topping out at around 18' tall...just love that picotee edge!
It seems that with our non-winter and recent warm spell, things are fast-tracking it this year. I'm pretty sure the Astrantia are at least 2 weeks (or more) ahead of schedule this year. I've been wanting to divide and move all the hundreds of seedlings to some bare spots in the garden...but the warm, dry weather has kept me from attempting it. If we get a few days of cool, rainy weather soon, I'll hope to it!
|Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding'||Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'|
The Amsonia on the east side of the house is really coming into its own this year...it's WAY ahead of schedule and is already blooming. While the flowers are nice...the best part about this plant is the amazing fall coloring.
Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Since I just did a whole post on them, I won't go on and on about Alliums...let's just enjoy the photo ;-)
I got 2 of these plants as seedlings, started by Ryan Miller...they look amazing all year long...with their wonderful, ferny foliage...and they are blooming machines right now!
|Bicolor Iris||Persicaria bistorta 'Superba'|
As we wrap up this Bloom Day Post...I leave you with a wide view of the North Border looking east, toward 17th street. You may notice some feathered invaders...those are our neighbor's chickens, which greatly enjoy roaming around the garden, looking for tasty morsels. If I could train them to NOT trample young spround and feast on the dastardly cutworms, I'd be a happy man.
The front yard is filling in nicely this spring...and the 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac is poised to become the focal point of this border. I'm so pleased that it finally seems happy. I'm equally happy to report that (knock on wood) it hasn't produced any runners so far.
The back yard is so full already, it's hard to believe it's only May! I look back at pictures from only a month ago and can't believe how much growth can happen in a months' time.
For more Bloom Day goodness, visit Carol and May Dreams Garden!