Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I think it's gonna rain today...

Rainy Day rudbeckia triloba
This past weekend, and last night, we actually got rain here in Portland! After months without a drop of rain, it's always kind of astounding to see the sky open up and have this strange liquid pouring down to the earth. Of course, I decided last night to water the new plants...and just as I turned on the faucet, it starting raining...not that I'm complaining. It's so great to fall asleep to the sound of rain falling.

Rainy Day deschampsia
Of course, while the rain is always welcome in my garden...it can really do a number on the plants at this time of year. Everything is so tall and top-heavy, that a few things inevitably crumple under the sudden weight of all that water. Some plants, like the Deschampsia above, bow gracefully under the added weight.

Rainy Day agastache blue blazes 2Rainy Day floppy selinum and eutrochium
Others, like this enormous Agastache 'Blue Blazes', succumb and topple over. I'm always annoyed when this happens...but am not surprised. I tried to lift the stems to shake off some of the excess moisture...and they weighed a TON! The same is true for the poor Eutrochium and Selinum stems on the right...I was amazed at just how heavy they were, weighed down with rain as they were.

Rainy Day floppy selinum
Luckily, the stem on this Selinum wasn't snapped, so I propped it up with a bamboo stake.

Rainy Day floppity border
Looking down the sidewalk through the north borders, it's getting a little close in there...I shook off as much moisture as I could to make it easier for pedestrians to get through...but if things aren't a little more upright when I go home at noon, I will probably have to trim things back...or undertake some creative staking!

Rainy Day rudbeckia
The Eutrochium cannot keep its massive heads upright after rain...they are so heavy...they decided last night to lay on top of everything around them.

Rainy Day rudbeckia 2
While most plants accommodated this from the Eutrochium, a few snapped stems are inevitable.

Rainy Day eutrochium rudbeckia
Still, there's a sort of romance in the lax companionship they've all formed.

Rainy Day anemone h
One bonus of the leaning stems is that I can now see the Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' through the Eutrochium stems!

Rainy Day macleaya
Luckily, the damage is minimal this time...and since it's fall, a little attrition in the garden is less traumatic. There is much beauty due to the rain. The lovely matte leaves of Macleaya cordata, allow the water to bead up beautifully.

Rainy Day penisetum macrourum
The normally-upright stems of Pennisetum macrourum bend gracefully now...even more elegant under their burden.

Rainy Day pennisetum redhead
The bristly blooms of Pennisetum 'Red Head' capture the rain in miniature jewels.

Rainy Day pennisetum redhead 2
And their arching stems hold droplets.

Rainy Day Panicum Northwind
Luckily, I had already staked the two Panicum 'Northwind' grasses a few weeks ago (go figure, one of the trio is perfectly upright, the other two are somewhat floppy). As a result of my prompt attention to brace them, however, they remain upright!

Rainy Day rudbeckia triloba 2
Another grass that looks amazing in the rain is Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'. I love how the blooms arch over, creating new combinations with plants that they previously towered over.

Rainy Day calamagrostis 3
Even here, seen through the rain-laden stems of Molinia 'Skyracer', they are elegant...dramatic.

Rainy Day panicum ruby ribbons
And of course, you can't forget the Panicums...not just for those lovely beaded blooming panicles of theirs, but for their red and purple-tinged foliage, which transforms raindrops in to rubies and amethysts.

Rainy Day wide view
One thing is certain, the recent rains have been such a relief after last year, when our summer drought stretched until almost October! I hope all you out there are having a good late summer/early fall. After last nights rain, the ground might even be soft enough to plant now!

56 comments:

  1. Hi Scott,

    Just as I was considering moving to Portland you tell us you don't have rain for months and months! I don't think I could handle that... Once a week or every couple of weeks is best :)

    Lovely grasses, and you're right of course - rain has a real magical effect on the garden, plus there's nothing quite like the smell of rain on warm soil.

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    1. Haha...it's true...although most people don't know it. Our summers are completely dry...it doesn't rain from about July-September...so we're technically a modified Mediterranean climate. It takes a little getting used to, especially since you HAVE to water during summer...very few plants can get by without any water all summer!

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  2. We also had some much welcomed rain last weekend, but it came with lots of lightening and strong winds. Some of my roses balled, but other than that not much damage. Your grasses look great right now. Lots of pretty soft scenes in your garden.

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    1. Rain at this time of year is such a mixed blessing, isn't it? Sad to hear about your roses...but glad you didn't have too much damage :-)

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  3. I'm newish to your blog. Your pictures and comments are poetic! As a fellow Pacific NW gardener I appreciate them both. Yesterday it rained in Seattle as well.
    P.S. I'm patiently waiting for updates on the laurel removal project. Before and After pictures are a favorite of mine...

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, chavliness...always good to find another PNW'er! Oh, don't worry, an update about the Laurel removal is underway...maybe next week!

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  4. Your garden looks elegant rain or shine. Nothing like a good rain shower in the summer to perk up ones garden.

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    1. Seriously, it refreshed both garden AND gardener ;-)

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  5. Bamboo: is there nothing it can't do? ;)

    Wish I could do a "rain" post, but we're quite dry here. Oh, and please don't say it's fall already.

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    1. Hahaha...it's kind of amazing just how many bamboo stakes I go through in a season...I should have my own grove, just for that purpose!

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  6. I was so confused last night to hear such heavy rain but I loved it! We opened the doors and windows and enjoyed that delicious smell. Of course, my joe pye and northwind look like shit now. Still worth it!

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    1. Me too...I was like, that wind sounds crazy...and they like...holy crap, it's REALLY raining! Yeah...totally worth it!

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  7. The blessing and the burden of rain falling from the sky! Your pictures are beautiful, even the plants that gave up and laid down in all that rain are lovely. If only we could order up what we want each week -- an inch or so, maybe, to drop from the skies on demand. That would be perfect.

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    1. Hahaha, that would be kind of amazingly, wouldn't it, Laurrie...maybe someday we can pool all our brains and figure such a device out ;-)

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  8. What a surprise to hear the rain last night! Like your 'Blue Blazes', my A. 'Acapulco Orange' was laid low. I tried gently shaking the water off the flowers this morning but only succeeded in shaking off quite a few blossoms so I quit. Now it's beginning to bounce back as it dries off.

    Enjoy the dampness!

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    1. Hahaha, exactly, my efforts were futile regarding the poor 'Blue Blazes', but they perked up a bit by the time I got home.

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  9. The same thing happened to me when I watered yesterday, it started raining. We've had it the last couple of days, off and on, but not really enough to satisfy the plants. It also weighs down my Chasmanthium, but it perks right up again as soon as it dries off.

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    1. Exactly, we've had a few sprinkles, but nothing worth noting...it was so nice to have real rain!

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  10. I've been cutting off snapped Dahlias ! We needed that rain , so dry !!!

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    1. Exacly, it's so dry, my ground is like cement. The only time I ever cut flowers to bring inside is when they've been snapped by rain or wind!

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  11. Scott, I am having the same problem and it is driving me nuts! I have ringed Panicum Northwind but it still had a problem with our latest storm. I did an experiment with Miscanthus Udine on the south side of my home by cutting it back when it became about 18 inches high in the spring. It worked, the grass has remained controllable all summer. I may try the same thing with Northwind next spring. I use a lot of supports to grow what I like but the grasses are the biggest problem. I trimmed down Agastache Blue Fortune this spring and it now is a much shorter plant that looks a lot better in my garden. These are all experiments and it is interesting to see which ones work.

    Eileen

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    1. I'll be interested to see how cutting back Northwind works for you, Eileen. I have no idea whey of the three plants of Northwind I have (all in the same spot), 2 of the 3 are open and flopping, but the third one is perfectly upright. Strangely, the upright one is also about 1-2' shorter than the floppier ones...I'm guessing, somehow, they get a little more shade...so odd.

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  12. I slept so well, last night, with the rain tapping on the leaves outside my window. Sigh. The rain was so welcome. I planted the dappled willow today, as the ground was soft(ish)..Thank you so much for the gift! After admiring your garden this weekend and seeing it through your lens post rain, I think each is delightful.

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    1. I'm so glad you took the Willow, Jenny...it's so pretty and I hated to just compost it. I hope it does well for you!

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  13. Oh we know how it feels to welcome rain here in Texas too. I'm happy for your rain. When you're done with it, send it south, please. :-)

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    1. Yes, you do...and you remind me not to complain about our "drought"...it's all relative, I guess. I'll send what I can down your way, Pam :-)

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  14. It almost rained at my place...while it flooded 1/2 mile away! I like the way your rain saturated most everything, yet other plants bounced back. Interesting variances!

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    1. It's very interesting to see how different plants react to the extra weight...some of them practically double over, touching the ground...but spring upright as soon as they dry off.

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  15. When you say "without a drop," are you counting the frequent [constant] mist/drizzle of Portland? We spent a week in Portland and the coast of Oregon a few summers ago, having been assured that summers there are almost a drought, only to use our umbrellas (a sure sign of being from somewhere else) almost every day. However, we loved it. Portland is a wonderful city. And your garden is so inspiring to me.

    Here in Kigali, Rwanda, we have not had rain (or any humidity) since May, except for one good rain about a week and a half ago. I got really excited, but it looks like the rainy season is going to wait for September, as usual.

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    1. Yikes, no rain since May...that's harsh! But yes, it generally won't rain in Portland from July-September...the beach is another story, however...they have their own weather, for sure! It can be 100 degrees and dry as a bone in Portland, but be 50 degrees and foggy/rainy at the coast! I hope your rains returns soon!

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  16. Even drooping from the rains, your garden is gorgeous!
    I have some Eupatorium that is bent in half from the rains we got yesterday--only they are so tall , I have no idea how to stake them up. I planted them for the critters and adore them, but they look ridiculous now.........

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    1. It's so hard to stake Eupatorium, Sue...I have to stake the one in front of the house and it looks kind of awful...I may cut it back by half in June next year and see if that helps!

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  17. We've also had storms here in Italy bring much needed refreshment to the garden. All your grasses look fabulous. It is incredible how quickly plants respond to the rain by becoming, greener and burst into new flowers.

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    1. It really is astounding how the garden "plumps up" after a good soaking, isn't it!

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  18. ^^^ Jealous of the rain. What are the brown spikes in front of the Pennisetum macrourum? They make an interesting accent in the garden.

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    1. Those are Teucrium hircanicum, Michael. They are really tough, drought-tolerant (I don't water them...or those Pennisetum at all). They have wonderful, intenesely red-purple blooms in June and July, that dry to that rusty color...which I agree, is so perfect for all...they add a nice texture to the garden :-) They seed around quite a lot, let me know if you'd like seed!

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  19. Post rain flopping drives me crazy ... I usually find myself stringing up my heaviest plants. It is amazing how heavy big perennials can get when weighed down with rain. We have had a dry August, but it is raining here today, which I am glad to see.

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    1. Me too, Jason...it's so frustrating to have to figure out a way of trussing them up without it looking like they've been corseted!

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  20. Your grasses, in particular, look great raindrops! I'd gladly put up with some flopping and broken stems for summer rain. Earthquakes seem to occur more frequently than summer rain here. The weather forecasters gave us a 20% chance on Monday but, as is usually the case, it didn't materialize.

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    1. It's so true, Kris...I'll never complain about rain!

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  21. I love your photos as always, Scott! Your place looks awesome, even when weighted down with rain water! Thanks for your comment on my WW post. I'll have to look up Brome grass. I am tickled to have access to this area, but wish someone would take the non-native plants out, and plant more native flowers. It's mostly grasses.

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    1. Go for it, Sue...I can't wait to see what you come up with...it's such a great place to start!

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  22. Hey Scott,

    I'm at a loss for superlatives, man. I was imagining a naive, young bicycle rider getting distracted while driving through one of your sidewalks and getting his tires locked up in a heavy ladened clump of pennisetum Oh no, poor Joe.

    Not to be a buzz kill but how often, if ever, have people lodged complaints about the sidewalk spill over?

    Carry on the good work, Scott.

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    1. Hahaha...well, luckily, no one has every complained (Portland is pretty lax about such things). I keep crossing my fingers that they don't hire a real stickler about those rules any time soon ;-)

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  23. Scott, whenever we have a freak summer rain here it makes me wonder about my friends in summer-rain climates , and how they deal with the flop-events .Maybe the plants get used to the rain and develop stems that bounce back somehow. As much as flopping annoys me, it would be nice to have an inch of rain a couple times during the summer.

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    1. Hahaha...I know...and I used to live somewhere that had such storms...and things would always get flattened...oy! You're totally right, and that's why I'm not going to complain (ever) about rain...it's always welcome!

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  24. How very beautiful Scott. I was so pleased to see a post from you. I knew I was in for a visual treat. It's all so lush and your photography captures it perfectly. Just love the draping flower heads of the eupatorium. Lovely. I'd love to walk through that jungle on your sidewalk!

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    1. You are welcome to visit any time, Deanne!

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  25. Adore the shots with the Pennisetum macrourum - excellent photo and wonderful selection of plants - texture/colour/shape - perfection. Thanks for naming Blue Blazes - does it have as much purple in it as it does in your photo? The Agastaches are one of my favourites of the long-blooming perennial family and am thinking that A. Blue Blazes has jumped to the top of my gottahaveit list.
    B.

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    1. It's VERY purple, Barbara...a nice, deep purple...which I absolutely love!

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  26. Hi Scott! Your pictures are always very inspiring to me, colours fill up my eyes, even with that grey sky.
    I'm so glad your agastache flopped, it means there are some kind of karma, after all. That selinum looks great, I love that plant, shame I can't find it around here, and after all it's all good, since it probably wouldn't survive in my dry sunny garden.
    Alberto

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    1. Hahahahaha...glad those flopping plants made someone happy, Alberto ;-) The Selinum definitely likes it cool and on the moist side, unfortunately...too much heat makes her crisp up :-(

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  27. Oh, Scott...the rain brings out the poet in you. Nice post.

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  28. Your garden is looking great in the rain. Just had some down pours and the garden is singing as we have been a month without rain.

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  29. Lovely rainy photos! I especially like the first one... it makes me feel like I'm right there, I can almost reach out and brush the raindrops off the foliage :)

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  30. I'm pretty sure all the rain did was make your garden more beautiful. The photos are outstanding.

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