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Thursday, June 28, 2012

What a difference a month makes

A Month Apart
I was just going through a bunch of photos the other day and came upon a few from last month...I could hardly believe how much the garden has grown in such a short amount of time! Next year, I really, really, REALLY have to try to remember to cut the Agastache back before they get as tall as I am.

I know I'm not alone in this...and that all our gardens go through a similar growth spurt during spring...but still...wow! I have to say, I came to the realization last weekend as I shoved my way through the backyard...the next time I plan for a path of any kind, it has to be a minimum of 6' wide! I seem to be unable to keep plants from spilling over the edges of things...it's just not in my nature to reign them in. Also, I could swear that a lot of plants are just BIGGER this year...like TWICE as big as usual. I don't know if it was our bizarrely warm winter or what. Conversely, some plants are really behind...emerging months later than usual.

swallowtail on knautia  1835
As we're on the cusp of summer officially starting here in Portland, I'm enjoying our last few cool, rainy days (which seem even more wonderful in light of the harsh weather around the rest of the country)...reveling in the fact that I haven't had to water yet (well, except for new plantings). What about the rest of you...how are your gardens progressing?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The first evening of summer...

FirstEveningOfSummer
Happy first (full) day of summer, everyone!
During summer, my favorite time of day is sunset, when the warm light ignites all the plants and our neighbors wander out into the lengthening shadows to enjoy that moment when the day's warmth gives way to evening cool.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up June 2012

FFU June 2012 copy
It's time for Foliage Follow-Up y'all! I know, it's about a week late...but better late than never, right? For more fabulous foliage-centric posts, head on over to Digging, hosted by the inimitable Pam Pennick.

matrona  1782
This year I moved every single Sedum 'Matrona' in my garden into the parking strips. For one thing, they were all getting smothered by their more-aggressive bed partners...and it saved me big $$$ having to buy new ones! I don't know if it's the weather or the stress of getting moved at the beginning of June, but the color of their stems is particularly intense this year.

sumac persicaria calamagrostis  1750
One of my fave foliage combos is embodied by this pairing of Rhus 'Tiger Eyes' and Persicaria 'Red Dragon'. They are so totally opposite, and a really wonderful, contrasting combo. They seem to stop just short, however, of being jarring, which is a good thing. Just behind them are the wonderful, feathery flowers of Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'

veronicastrum  1768
While it is flashy, I adore the wonderful, whorled foliage of Veronicastrum 'Fascination'. There is something so incredibly elegant about that tiered foliage.

teucrium  1753
I got this plant (Teucrium scorodonia ‘Crispum Marginatum) from the always-generous Mr. Impatiens last fall...after spying it at a nursery, but neglecting to buy it. I love the undulating edges with their contrasting purple stems.

selinum  1760western maidenhair fern  1776
Selinum wallichianumAdiantum aleuticum
The above plants both fall under the "delicate beauty" category. I first discovered the Selinum in one of Piet Oudolf's books and instantly fell in love with those finely-divided leaves and it's large (yet delicate) umbels of white flowers (much like a very-refined Queen Anne's Lace). I've always loved the Maidenhair Ferns...and got this from Bosky Dell Natives a few years ago...I LOVE the black stems!

sedlinum  1763
Another shot of the Selinum, showcasing one of my favorite traits...the purple stems!

sedum angelina  1745
The invaluable (in my garden) Sedum 'Angelina' is so tough and beautiful, what more could you ask for?

schizachyrium blue haeven  1780
A new form of Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium 'Blue Heaven') for me this year...even though it's only a few inches tall at the moment, the leaves are a wonderful mix of green, blue, red and purple...gorgeous!

persicaria lance corporal  1770persicaria iris panicum  1777
Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'
As far as foliage goes, as much as I like 'Red Dragon', I have to admit that 'Lance Corporal' is my fave. It's very compact and well-behaved (well, except for the crazy re-seeding). I love the pairing of the bright chartreuse leaves with the contrasting burgundy chevron. Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' is intensely yellow-green...and really stands out in a border of darker-leaved companions.

Persicaria Eutrochium Panicum Agastache
Here's the same area of the garden, from another angle. In the foreground is Agastache 'Golden Jubilee', another golden-leaved perennial that I have scattered around the garden.

oxalis iron cross  1765
Oxalis 'Iron Cross' is one of those plants that I can't believe are real...they look too amazingly perfect!

euphorbia dixter  1774
As much as I like Euphorbia 'Dixter', it hasn't produced more than 2 stems in the past two years it's been in my garden. If it doesn't improve next year, I'm pulling it out.

corydalis  1761
The yellow-flowered Corydalis that Ryan Miller gave me last year has turned the most amazing shade of coppery-orange...does anyone know if this is typical???

geranium oxalis persicaria verbena  1767geranium and rodgsersia  1759
On the left, I love how Geranium 'Ann Folkard', Persicaria 'Golden Arrow', Oxalis 'Iron Cross' and Verbena 'Homestead Purple' all share the same color palette...it's kind of awesome. On the right, we have the Rodgersia patch, fronted by Geranium macrorrhizum.

Cimicifuga
I have to admit, I'm tempted to move the Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' in the photo above and replacing it with one of these, Cimicifuga 'Brunette'. I think the contrast would be amazing! I love the sultry, almost somber, coloring of the dark Cimicifugas. I have this planted among the front Astrantia patch, and can't wait for them to all grow together.

astilboides damage  1778
Earlier this spring, my poor Astilboides tabularis was schredded (and I mean SHREDDED) but cutworms. As you can see, there wasn't much left of them...and I wasn't even sure they would come back.

astilboides recovery  1779
Yay! Over the past few weeks, they've rebounded nicely, much to my relief!

aster prince and agastache golden jubilee  1751asgastache rupestris  1775
On the left, a nice pairing of Aster 'Prince' and Agastache 'Golden Jubilee', it's always nice when the foliage is as good (if not better) than the flowers themselves, right? On the right is a wonderful Agastache (Agastache rupestris). These poor Agastache have been moved more times than I can count, and right now are in the worst place ever...on the back side of our back-yard fence. Somehow, they are thriving there...looking better than ever, and now I get to enjoy them everytime I enter and leave the backyard...WIN!

amsonia  1769
Amsonia hubrichtii (Thread-leaf Bluestar) is one of those plants that takes a few years to settle in, but once it's there, it's THERE for good. This is the oldest of my plants (would you believe, purchased on E-Bay?). This is its third year in the garden and it's finally formed a really handsome clump. I value it mostly for it's amazingly buttery fall color, but even when it's just green, it's quite lovely.

acaena purpurea  1771
And lastly, I leave you with my favorite diminuitive, purple-leaved, evergreen ground cover, Acaena inermis purpurea. How can you NOT love that color!?!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 15, 2012

GBBD_June_2012 copy
I cannot believe June is already half over...I want a re-do!!! Seriously, work has been so crazy for the past 3 or 4 weeks that I've barely spent anytime in the garden during the week...so it really feels like the garden is "happening" without me getting to really witness it. I took a few minutes over the last few days, however, to get out there and get some quick photos and try to sum up what's going on.

How can you not love June...especially in Portland...where we get a nice mix of warm, sunny days and cooler days with rain. As a result, the plants are surging with growth.

geranium rozanne and anementale  1735
A reliable favorite, Geranium 'Rozanne' can be a bit of a brute at times, but generally she mingles nicely with other plants around her, as she does here with Anementhale lessoniona (New Zealand Wind Grass/Pheasant's-Tail Grass).

geranium kanterine adele  1734
Geranium 'Katherine Adele' is huge this year! I think it may be that she REALLY hated the spot she used to be in, on the front slope (which is the WORST soil in my garden...and has claimed the lives of many a plant). She seems to love being in the north parking strip, surrounded by the semi-evergreen sheaths of Pennisetum macrourum (which I am SO looking forward to blooming). I think the Pennisetum helps keep 'Katherine Adele' upright, as she has a tendency to sprawl after blooming.

allium geranium sanguisorbia  1681
How fascinating are the blooms of Allium christophii...TOTALLY AMAZING! When I look at it, it's so intricate and geometric, I'm amazed nature came up with something that looks so much like cut-metal artwork.

gold and purple tapestry  1692
Somehow, this little area of the garden has morphed into a chartreuse/purple area...I've inadvertently used ONLY those colors here! Still, I do love them, but think a little contrast would be nice...I may move Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' later, and replace it with something with silver or blue-ish foliage.

salvia purple rain  1710Salvia and Agastache  1662
Salvia 'Purple Rain' is one of those plants I wanted for the longest time before I had a garden of my own. I found a few plants 3 years ago at a Big Box Store on clearance for, like, $3 each! They looked awful, of course, but I knew they were tough plants, so bought them anyway. They bloomed and bloomed all that summer. Last year, they were just as good, and a bit fuller, which made me happy. This year, they are ENORMOUS...like TRIPLE the size they were last year! I love them. In the pic on the left, you can see one of the nerdier things I planned out this spring...how the Agastache in the background echoes the shape/color of the Salvia in the midground. Yup...that's how nerdy I am...I PLANNED that effect, which can only really be appreciated from ONE spot in the yard ;-)

verbena bonariensis  1678
It seems earlier than usual for the Verbena bonariensis to be blooming, doesn't it? I could swear they usually ramp up in July. I have SO many this year...they've re-seeded all over, but I'm not complaining, they are care-free and gorgeous.

rodgersia superba  1697rodgersia rotlaub  1698
Even though I would never list their blooms as much of a point of interest in conversation, I have to admit, there is a delicate beauty to them.

verbascum  1701
I really love how well the Verbascum chaixii album are doing this year...they are blooming their hears out...and I love that little purple/orange combo in the center of each bloom. A bonus...bees adore them!

sedum rupestre  1674
Another plant that I never think about the flowers of, until they bloom, Sedum rupestre.

sanguisorbia  1714
I get so fed up with how the Sanguisorbia flops all over every year, that sometimes I forget just how lovely and dainty those flowers are. I actually like them even better after they fade...they become a rich, russet color, which contrasts so wonderfully with everything else in the garden. Next year, I'm going to be ready with the stakes and twine for this beast.

Allium atropurpureumiris gerald darby and astrantia ruby wedding  1741
The Drumstick Alliums aren't quite blooming yet, and 'Purple Sensation' is done, but Allium atropupureum is still going strong...love that rich, deep magenta-violet color. Iris 'Gerald Darby' has wonderful, subtle blooms on almost-black stems...and pairs wonderfully with anything pink or silver...here it is in a romantic pairing with Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding'.

red lupine  1721
This photo of the front garden is a bit of a cheat because it's from last weekend, before my Joy Pye Weed collapsed and flattened this poor red Lupine...still...at least I have this photo of it's brief moment of glory, right?

pimpenella  1694
Pimpinella is one of those plants that I can't help buy love...I'm pretty much a sucker for anything in the umbel family...and that delicate coloring is great...especially in part-shade.

knautia macedonica  1703
After they all did so well last year, I've grown to really love the Knautias. I actually got the ones above from Joy Creek Nursery a few years ago, and finally moved them to a spot where they would have better drainage and more sun. They've rewarded me with much more vigorous growth and are now blooming happily. I love how variable the blooms are...in a nice mix of reddish-pink tones.

knautia melton pastels  1728
This is one of the few plants I grew from seed, Knautia 'Melton Pastels'. I was hoping for more variety in color, but most of the ones that sprouted were the light pink ones. Oh well...maybe there will be more variation in the ones I planted in the front parking strip this spring...only time will tell. still...I really like these, they are very vigorous and TALL (over 5')! They are very informal and I love how they kind of twine in and around other plants.

Iris Gerald Darby Group
A shot of Iris 'Gerald Darby' mixing it up with Knautia 'Melton Pastels'...LOVE this combo!

persicaria polymorpha  1680persicaria inverleith  1683
Above are two Persicarias that could hardly be more different...Persicaria polymorpha, on the left, which is already over 6' tall and in full bloom (and it's only JUNE)! On the right is Persicaria 'Inverleith', which is my favorite Persicaria...very compact and clumping...and blooms forever.

agastache blue boa  1711
While it's a little early for Agastache to be in bloom (most are a week or so away from really blooming), the ones I planted this spring are, or course, blooming already! 'Blue Boa' is a new one for me, and even though I swore I didn't need any more different Agastache, the rich, saturated color of these caught my attention.

agastache purple haze  1712
Agastache 'Purple Haze' is one that proved itself last year in the back garden, so I knew I wanted more of those sultry purple blooms out front too.

Aristea majorSaxifraga stolonifera bloom
After attending Annie Hayes presentation this spring, I decided I really wanted to try Aristea major...and figured I'd wait to find some until we go to San Franciso this fall. Fellow blogger, Ryan Miller, found out that Cistus (a local nursery) actually had some in stock! They looked pretty scrappy when I planted them...but hey, these are Iris relatives, so you KNOW they are tough as hell! I was surprised a few weeks ago to see they were actually blooming! On the right is Saxifraga stolonifera...which, to be honest, I didn't even realized had flowers...let alone such lovely flowers!

centranthus corydalis persicaria  1717
Centranthus ruber (Jupiter's Bear) is one of those plants that I remember being astounded by when I first moved to Portland years ago. I just remember loving how gorgeous they were for such a long time...and with absolutely NO CARE!

blue lupine  1702
I love my blue Lupine. I do hope its foliage stays fresher-looking than it has in years past. Aphids...keep away!

astrantia roma  1671
Of course, as Grace Peterson will tell you, one of my plant obsessions as of late are the Astrantias...I just can't get enough of them! Above is one of my faves, 'Roma'. As long as they get a bit of shade and enough water, Astrantias are totally tough-as-nails...love 'em! They also seed around a bit...which I'm hoping will create some interesting hybrids and nice, serendipitous combos.

Astrantia Star of Beautyastrantia maxima and star of beauty  1690
More Astrantia goodness, 'Star of Beauty' on the left and Astrantia maxima & 'Ruby Wedding' on the right.

Front Garden
Well, I think that covers most everything (I'm sure I've left out a few things), so I leave with you a few wide pics. This is the front garden from the North.

front garden v  1732
The Front Garden from the South.

backyard june 14  1742
The Back Yard from the North...not a lot blooming just yet...but give it another week or so!

Back Garden From South June 2
And the Back Yard from the South.

Check out all the other blogs participating in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at May Dreams Garden. Happy GBBD, everyone!