Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Visit to the Portland Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden Header copy
This weekend we were lucky enough to have a bit of morning fog here in Portland...well, unless you ask the local weathermen, who seem to find fog more terrifying than flying piranhas armed with assault rifles. While I spent Saturday morning taking photos around the garden, I decided that if it was foggy again the next day, I'd head up to the Japanese Garden.

As luck would have it, Sunday was just as (if not more) foggy...so Norm and I left the house at the horrifically early time of 9:30...a time that, on weekends, is generally reserved for coffee, pajamas and episodes of Parks and Rec on Netflix.

entry in the fog
As we parked and strolled up to the entry gate, I was already enchanted...I've been here many times, but never in the fog, and it lent such an air of mystery to things.

maple branches in fog
Never before had the backdrop of conifers seemed so perfect...as they towered above, disappearing into the mist.

foggy moon bridge wide h
There were A LOT of people...more than I've ever seen at one time in the Garden...but the fog seemed to dampen most of the noise.

The crane sculpture is always a good photo opp...kudos to whoever was in charge of placing it.

wide view of pond
While normally I'd have to make sure not to include too much of the sky, with the soft haze of fog, I could pull back further.

under moon bridge
Koi passed languidly under the Moon Bridge.

photographer and maples
While beautiful, this is by no means the peak of color...in a week or two, this tunnel through the Maples will be even more intense.

foggy moon bridge v
This is another shot that normally would have been much tighter, as I'd have to avoid that background area in favor of foreground...but the fog let me pull back for a wider shot, even including some of the overhead canopy.

maples leaves
So often, in the Japanese Garden, I'm constantly looking down, constantly scanning the ground for interesting vignettes with fallen leaves, but this day, I found myself looking up more...noticing the knobby colonies of moss amidst the denuding branches.

looking down stream at lantern
I was looking down the stream at this lantern when I heard movement beneath me. Unbelievably, a photographer had crawled through the garden and was UNDERNEATH the bridge...totally VERBOTEN! An alarmed Garden employee rushed up to chastise her. This was part of a trend for the day...obnoxious photographers.

foggy forest
Shaking my head, I continued across the bridge and up a small incline...and was struck by this area, which I've walked past numerous times before. Suddenly, however, like so much of the garden, it was transformed by the fog.

lantern closeup
The stone lantern from before, looking back at the bridge. It's hard to tell, but this lantern is as big as a person!

intense maple foliage
More glorious, saturated Maple foliage.

maple with scattered leaves wide v
This is one of my favorite vignettes in the garden...everything here works perfectly together, from the placement of the trees to the undulation of the ground...the carpet of fallen leaves is the proverbial icing on the cake.

closeup of maple foliage
I guess I couldn't get enough of those Maples!

While I usually prefer the water here to be covered in fallen leaves, I have to admit, it's nice having a clearer view of the beautiful koi.

small waterfallpathway
Everywhere you look here, there is such beauty.

katsura leaves
I walked up this path, smitten by the scattering of golden leaves...and when I inhaled I knew...

Katsura! There is no mistaking that tell-tale scent of cotton candy!

zig zag path
There is just so much detail here...the plants, the hardscaping, every bit so meticulously planned.

Further into the garden, a gate beckons you forward.

stone steps
And a twisting stone staircase winds plunges down to a lower area.

hosta pond
I had to squeeze my way across a narrow stone bridge here, past a photographer who had decided to set up camp.

gravel garden
I needed a little Zen after that...and found it here, at one of the raked gravel gardens...again, the fog adding a perfect note of mysticism to the scene.

gravel garden h
For some reason, this is the loveliest the upper gravel garden has ever looked, to me.

gravel garden v
There was just the perfect balance of color, light and structure this day.

more photographers
As I may have mentioned, for some reason, the photographers this day seemed especially oboxious.

No where was that more evident than right here...at THE FAMOUS TREE. There was practically a queue of people waiting to take pictures there.

Rude photographers
The worst was this guy in the foreground...he was camped in that same spot when we got to the garden...and was still there when we left...at least 90 minutes later...RUDE!

macro maple foliage vertical
I'll admit, we photographers can get a little crazy at times...and I nervously asked Norm if I had ever been so annoyingly oblivious...he assured me that I hadn't (although I have a feeling he may be biased)!

maple leaves 1
Either way, I resigned myself that I wasn't going to get "that shot" from under the tree...which is ok...I have quite a few. I settled for taking other photos...details that sometimes go unnoticed.

mossy ground
It was kind of fun, in a way...not feeling pressure to get one amazing shot...I was free to explore and look around.

leaf suspended in front of cranes
It was then that I noticed just how many spiderwebs there were in the garden...and how many leaves seemed to be floating in mid-air because of them!

suspended leaf v
I was kind of obsessed with finding as many as I could...although most were hard to photograph.

spider web horizontal
And, of course, you have to take a moment to appreciate the artistry of the webs.

spider web vertical
They really are quite beautiful.

webby tree closeup
I was craning up to get a picture of this particular web, above my head when I suddenly realized...

webby tree deep focus
...that the ENTIRE TREE was festooned with webs. I'm such a dork, I grabbed the sleeve of the stranger walking by and exclaimed..."Whoa...look at all those crazy webs". He almost fell into the stream behind us as he started backing up, mouth agape at the spidery spectacle.

vertical maple with scattered leaves
It was sadly at this point that my camera stopped working...much to my chagrin. I must be getting more mature, because I didn't burst into tears and stomp out of the garden, pushing small children into the pond on my way out. I sighed and continued on, enjoying the day.

foggy forest by gravel garden
If you are ever in Portland, especially in the fall...and ESPECIALLY on a foggy day, I recommend you head up to the Japanese Garden for a visit.

moon bridge v foggy
There's no other place in Portland quite like it...for a brief time, you feel transported, and even with all the hubbub on a busy day, you can still find a moment of Zen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bloom Day October 2013

GBBD October 2013
Ahhhh...it's October...and yet again, Bloom Day has snuck up on me! Luckily, unlike the summer months, there are fewer blooms in my garden...which means a shorter (and quicker) Bloom Day post!

boots in sun  3631
Even though it's less floriferous right now, this is my favorite time in the garden...so why don't you come along with me and my constant sidekick, Boots for a stroll around.

agastache desert sunrise  3632
You can definitely tell the Agastache are winding down for the year...there are still blooms...but not of the same volume as last month. Here, we have Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'.

agastache liquorice candy  3641
Agastache 'Liquorice Candy' has been a total superstar this year...it's STILL going strong!

agastache purple haze
The blooms of Agastache 'Purple Haze' are subtler than most Agastache...but are still lovely...especially now, paired with garden foliage that's transitioning to golds and ambers.

anemone  3637
Japanese Anemones are a mainstay of Portland area gardens...and for good reason...pumping out these elegant blooms at a time when things are winding down.

epatorium rugosum  3663
While I grow it mainly for it's purple-tinted foliage for most of the growing season, the Eupatorium rugosum does bloom...and it's always a delight to see these drifts of fluffy white blooms appearing interspersed throughout the garden.

aster  3656
I only have a few Asters in my garden, for some reason. I go this one (ID uncertain) at a plant exchange this spring...and it's been a winner...I'm going to scatter the seeds around this winter, to encourage a few volunteers...I'd love to have these pop up around the garden.

aster prince  3654
My favorite Aster is 'Prince', mostly because it has dark purplish foliage during the earlier part of the year. Come fall, however, and it festoons itself with millions of these tiny little white blooms...I love it!

astaer prince  3660
Here it is again, paired with Agastache 'Golden Jubilee', which finished blooming months ago...but still contributes the structure of it's stems and seedheads.

boots on barrel  3633
Boots surveys his realm.

solidago  3651
Another Autumn classic, Goldenrod (Solidago 'Fireworks'). This was a gift form a fellow gardener...and it's performed amazingly well, especially considering it was overwhelmed earlier in the year by Geranium 'Ann Folkard'.

rudebckia triloba  3650
I've probably posted too often about how much I love Rudbeckia triloba...it just works so well in my garden...popping up here and there and looking amazing with absolutely no effort on my part.

verbena bonariensis  3652
Because it's a day that ends in "y", Verbena is blooming...all over the garden! Here, we see it rubbing shoulders with seedheads of Rudbeckia.

verbena bonariensis  3653
Here it is again, mixing it up with some grasses.

verbena bonariensis  3643
And yet again, hobnobbing with Rudbeckia triloba.

verbena rigida polaris  3634
A different Verbena, Verbena rigida 'Polaris'...another great, easy performer that just keeps blooming all spring, summer and fall.

salvia amistad  3661
I don't think my Salvia 'Amistad' gets enough sun or water in the pot I have it planted it...the ones I've seen on other blogs are MUCH bigger and more floriferous.

selinum  3640
The Selinum are just barely blooming...it's hard to tell when they cease being blooms and start being seedheads.

persicarial firetail  3646
Persicarias always seem to rally during the cooler days of Autumn. Here, we have 'Firetail', which flagged a bit last month, but is surging with new growth and blooms.

persicaria lance corporal  3635
Persicaria 'Lance Corporal' is grown mostly for it's handsome foliage, but when it blooms, watch out! It practically explodes with hundreds of wiry stems, studded with red, jewel-like blooms.

persicaria golden arrow  3644
Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' is gorgeous for such a long period of time...it has gorgeous foliage, and blooms seemingly forever. Here, we see it slumping slightly, mingling with Panicum 'Shenandoah'

geranium rozanne  3645
Of course Geranium 'Rozanne' is still blooming...and now those gorgeous lavender-blue blooms are joined with scarlet foliage.

erysimum  3638
That good old Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' is still blooming...yup.

clematis tibetana  3657
The Clematis tibetana has reached monstrous proportions this year...practically swallowing up the back yard...and our house with it. Strangely, it's not blooming as heavily as it has in years past.

boots closeup  3648
So, there you have it, a glimpse of most of what's blooming in my garden at the moment. Thanks for joining Boots and myself...now let's take a look at some wide shots!

north border from west  3669
Here we have the North Border looking East.

north border from east  3668
The same border, looking west.

front border from north  3670
Here's the Front Border, looking South.

front border from south  3673
And again, looking North.

front view autumn  3667
And here's a view of the whole thing! I hope you enjoyed our little romp around my tiny garden...and hope you check out all the other Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Garden. Happy Bloom Day!