Hello everyone! This post is the second post in what I've decided will be a 3-post series. I would have had this one done sooner if I'd planned on doing that from the beginning, but, I tried to shove it all into two posts, and quickly realized I just had too many photos...and the post would have been ridiculously long...so, there you have it. On with the show!
Starting where we left off, this pic is probably from June...things are starting to fill in nicely.
After a few people commented on it, I realized I never actually listed the plants used for this project, let's rectify that now! Here we have one of my favorite new plants over the past few years, Anemanthele lessoniana, along with Libertia perigrans...which, I realized as soon as I planted them, were a bit too similar to be used right next to each other. The Libertia was an impulse buy, however...I've actually decided that although I like it in theory, it just doesn't work here. I think you need a large-ish patch of them to really make an impact.
And of course, where Scott gardens, there will be Agastaches! In these front parking strips alone there are 4 different varieties of Agastche. Above we have both 'Golden Jubilee' and 'Purple Haze'.
I just fell in love with this tiny groundcover last year, Acaena purpurea. Sadly, it wasn't super happy in my garden. I can't tell quite yet if it's where it's planted...or the dog pee. I'm leaning toward dog pee.
Another Agastache, 'Blue Blazes'. I planted some of these in my back yard two years ago, and last summer I found out that they get WAY bigger than I thought. I forget, sometimes, that here in Portland, things just tend to get bigger than they are supposed to...like 20-30% bigger. I'm experimenting this year with aggressive cutting back on these, if they still swallow up their neighbors, I may have to move things around a bit.
Another grass I tried for the frist time, and fell in love with last summer, Muhlenbergia rigens, aka Deer Grass.
I enjoyed the regular Knautia macedonica in the back yard so much last year, but really like having some variation in coloring when I comes to flowers...so was thrilled to find some 'Melton Pastels' last year. This is a crazy-tough plant and blooms forever. I'm hoping that with more sun in the strips, these won't get quite as tall as the ones in the back yard.
Panicums just may be my favorite family of grasses, depending on the day you ask me. Tough, dependable, beautiful. This is a new variety I tried on a whim, 'Huron Solstice'. You can't tell in this picture, but as the year progresses, it becomes a riot of color.
Another Panicum, with a habit as different from 'Huron Solstice' as you can imagine. While 'Huron Solstice' is more arching and fountain-like, 'Northwind' is strictly upright. If you are looking for an alternative to Calamagrostis, give this a try.
Yet another Agastache, 'Desert Sunrise'. I love this particular Agastache...for its foliage as much as for its flowers.
Another stunning grass, Schizachyrium 'Blue Heaven', which I absolutely adore.
As you can see, but the end of July, things had pretty much started to take shape. I can't take too much credit...things just seem to WANT to grow in Portlands mild weather.
As usual, it helps that our spring lasts until July, so plants have a good, long time to settle in before the drought of summer sets in.
Mid-July is such a great time here in Portland. It's usually not too hot yet, and everything is still fairly green and fresh. The days are long and the rest of summer stretches out before you.
Of course, the flip side to summer in Portland is that the rain just STOPS. No rain for 3 or so months isn't exactly ideal for most plants. Luckily, the drip system we installed makes watering easy. Since these plants were all newly-planted, I watered fairly regularly until about the middle of July, then started to taper off, watering only when something looked stressed. Generally, I'd water once a week or so...and this coming year, I'll probably only have to water every other week...perhaps less. Planting tough, drought-tolerant plants definitely makes sense in a parking strip.
Here is the Muhlenbergia rigens again, starting to bloom...I just love it!
Tall grasses are irresistable to cats, I think they are channeling their inner lion, just waiting for the next gazelle.
I'm still not used to how quickly plants grow here in the PNW.
As summer wore on, Panicum 'Huron Solstice' started its show...merely a rehearsal for what was to come.
If there is such a thing, I'd say my garden typically "peaks" in August.
Even in these newly-planted parking strips, everything seemed to be rushing to bloom. Looking back at it, I can hardly believe that whole area was just lawn a few months ago!
August also marks the point at which the warm-season grasses start blooming, here we have Panicum 'Northwind'
And here are the impossibly delicate stems of Molinia 'Skyracer', which is almost impossible to do justice in a photograph.
While obviously limited in size, at moments like this, the parking strip garden succeeded in my goal of creating a micro-meadow.
Here, at the end of August, I'm going to wrap up this post, the next post will cover Autumn through spring, bringing us full-circle for the year on this project.
BTW, happy first day of spring!