Friday, June 28, 2013

We're not on Rhone Street anymore...

We're in beautiful San Francisco for the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling!!! More pics to come, but for now, I leave you with a pic of a cool building we saw as we passed through Eureka, CA.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 ANLD Garden Tour

This Saturday, June 22, is the 9th Annual ANLD (Association of Northwest Landscape Designers) Open Garden Tour. I was fortunate enough, last week, to be invited to their pre-tour day. An unexpected benefit, I got to spend the day with fellow bloggers, Loree, Heather and Ricki!

The Nelson-Sherman Garden
Nelson-Sherman Garden 5Nelson-Sherman Garden 2
The first garden was obviously focused on edibles. While I'm occasionally torn about how I feel about concrete, I liked how it was used here, sometimes its very simple form is the perfect contrast to an otherwise "busy" visual space.

Nelson-Sherman Garden 7
Potatoes, anyone?

Nelson-Sherman Garden 10
I love this recycled brick and paver patio/path...but as clumsy as I am...I'd be tripping all over the place!

The Elemental Garden
The Elemental Garden 3
Next up was The Elemental Garden, built into a steep hillside.

The Elemental Garden 2The Elemental Garden 1
I kind of loved these metal sculptures, sunk into a water feature...and there was a friendly puppy greeting visitors.

The Cedar Mill Garden
Cedar Mill Garden 1
I can't remember if there was actually a garden attached to this space was mostly about the dining/entertaining space.

Cedar Mill Garden 3Cedar Mill Garden 4
Witness the biggest canvas screen I've ever seen in a residential setting. I've pondered the possibility of doing a few small "sails" like this in our own backyard. BTW...the outdoor kitchen up on that deck is about 10x nicer than the one I have in my house. Also, I love the irregular paver/stone path...I may steal that idea someday!

Cedar Mill Garden 2
Why put on a sweater when you can construct an outdoor fireplace?

The Floramagoria Garden
The Floramagoria Garden 1
This next garden has a bit of a split personality.

The Floramagoria Garden 20The Floramagoria Garden 2
The front yard is very sophisticated. If I had to find an example of what a "Northwest" garden was, this would be it. Boulders, ferns, evergreens, shady meandering paths. Does it get any better?

The Floramagoria Garden 4
Believe it or not, yes, it does! As you venture down a narrow side yard into the back, you are greeted by a wonderfully extravagant garden. I want to steal that idea of the painted bamboo...maybe chartreuse...hmmmm? To be honest, I was afraid I wouldn't like this garden when someone mentioned it was totally tropical in back. Luckily, it wasn't wall-to-wall Tropicalisimo, so I found plenty to like :-)

The Floramagoria Garden 10The Floramagoria Garden 5
I loved this planting on the left, rich and sultry, with Cimicifuga, Astrantia, Salvia and Allium...and who doesn't love Martagon Lilies?!?

The Floramagoria Garden 8The Floramagoria Garden 11
I was so surprised to see one of the plants I've been searching for over the past few years, Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's Root), love it paired with the rich purple Salvia. Lush ferns (I think a Tree Fern, actually), graced a seating area in the rear of the garden.

The Floramagoria Garden 15
One of my favorite spots, this secret little shady area under an enormous Sequoia in the back corner of the garden.

The Pequeño Paraiso Garden
Pequeño Paraiso Garden 2
If any garden reminded me that we weren't in Portland anymore, it was this one. Its front yard alone is the size of my city lot (actually, probably bigger)!

Pequeño Paraiso Garden 3Pequeño Paraiso Garden 4
Like most of the gardens on the tour, a lot of focus is on the hardscape, usually hardscape most of us can't actually afford! I was happy to see a few simple gravel (maybe decomposed granite) paths, though.

Pequeño Paraiso Garden 8
What the what! Can you believe THIS is someone's back yard??? It's about the size of a city block! I do love these low, rock walls...I want them transported to my garden, immediately! This garden has a TON of entertaining space (most of these gardens focus on outdoor entertaining/dining). Strangely, however, almost all of the plants looked as if they had JUST been planted.

The Leon Garden
The Leon Garden1
This small garden (by this tour's standards, anyway) is much closer to the size that most of us living in close-in Portland will have to work with.

The Leon Garden4The Leon Garden 2
While small, I was quite impressed at how the space had been maximized...with creative paver and stonework. I actually got to chat with Alyse Lansing, the designer of this garden during our lunch break at the previous garden. She said the biggest compliment she received was when the homeowners told her that they never used to even go into the backyard, and now they used it all the time!

The Leon Garden 3
I could gadren for 100 years and never be able to show such restraint! The plantings provided a surprising amount of screening and privacy from the surrounding houses.

The Plant Passion Garden
Plant Passion Garden 1
The last garden we'll look at is the Plant Passion Garden. I think most of us really fell in love with this very simple water feature, which overflowed into a reservoir beneath the stones, makeing the most wonderful noise. I want it! The Birch tree underplanted with Sedges is an exercise of subtle perfection.

Plant Passion Garden 4Plant Passion Garden 5
There were some wonderful plants used in this garden, and it was fun walking around, pointing things out. I do admit, being a simple boy, that I found the multiple bands of rock/gravel used in the pathway to be a bit fussy (like the hardscape in many of these gardens)...but, to each his own...most people will love it!

Plant Passion Garden 2
If you like what you've seen here you can see each of these gardens for yourself this Saturday. Tickets are $20/person and can be ordered online. Otherwise, Day-of-show tickets are available at the following garden centers:
Garden Fever – 3433 NE 24th Ave, Portland
Cornell Farms – 8212 SW Barnes Rd, Portland
Drake's 7 Dees (across from Portland Golf Club) – 5645 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Portland

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Foliage Follow-Up: Celebrating Chartreuse!

FFU May 2013 Header
For this month's Foliage Follow-Up Post, I decided to focus on one type of foliage, chartreuse foliage! I know it's one of those colors that you either love or hate, and I'm firmly in the love camp.

Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes'
There is something so wonderful about this just GLOWS in a garden! Can you imagine this scene without the Sumac? It would be way less effective. It's in such great contrast to everything else.

Oxalis Iron Cross
Oxalis 'Iron Cross'
Maybe it's because it seems like such a fresh color, it reminds me of new, spring growth, who knows. One thing is for certain, it's most effective when paired with darker colors, like in this Oxalis, which does the work for me, with it's amazing two-tone foliage.

Origanum and Stipa
Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'
Most chartreuse foliage is at its best in cooler weather. This Origanum, for example, tends to fade a bit in hot sun (last year it actually scorched quite a bit). Luckily, it's so vigorous, that I just trimmed off the tatty bits and it looked fresh and new!

And, of course, few colors light up a shady spot like chartreuse, as in this Hakonechloa.

Persicaria Lance Corporal
Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'
Another plant with built-in contrast, Persicaria 'Lance Corporal'. I love this plant almost to an absurd's so easy-going, thriving in sun or shade (although it too can scorch in hot weather). It reseeds like nothing I've ever seen, so you always have some to share.

Persicaria and SumacAgastache Golden Jubilee
Of course, chartreuse is most noticeable when paired with other on the left, it becomes a highlight of the border. On the right, one of my favorite plants, Agastache 'Golden Jubilee', which is so easy to please. It's stunning during the entire year, offering gorgeous foliage and blooms...and even in death, has a wonderful skeleton during winter...and finches love it's seeds. Again, I'm a little predictable in that I've paired it with a plant with contrasting, darker this case Aster 'Prince'.

Geranium Ann Folkard 2
Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
A stalwart in my garden, 'Ann Folkard' never fails to thrill me. The foliage is a screaming chartreuse in the spring, although it can green out a bit by fall. If you ever find that it is sprawling, you can cut it back for a fresh flush of new growth (well, technically you can, I've never had luck trying this).

Sedum and SchizachyriumPersicaria Golden Arrow and Panicum
Of course, you can hardly talk about chartreuse foliage without mentioning good old Sedum 'Angelina'. She's a garden workhorse...looking good all year long, especially in winter when she is suffused with red and orange highlights. One of the newer chartreuse plants in my garden, on the right, is Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'. Not only is the foliage gorgeous, but it blooms nonstop from June to frost. Unlike most Persicarias, however, it really needs partial shade (preferably dappled shade) as the large leaves scorch easily in hot sun.

Geranium Sumac Sedum Privent
I find that I have to restrain myself from planting too many chartreuse plants, you can see, however, that spaced out, they are highlights in the garden...and bring together their own form of cohesion.

boots in box
What about you, are you a chartreuse fan or foe? Either way, check out Pam Penick's Digging for more Foliage Follow-Up Posts :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 2013

GBBD June 2013 copy
Wow, June already...half the year is over, insane! Happy Bloom Day to all you out there, I hope you're having a good spring (or, at least, not a bad one). June is that month where the garden seems to explode with sudden growth, as the soil warms and the sun returns. Let's get going, shall we?

Allium cristophii
While most of the Alliums bloom earlier in the year, Allium cristophii is a late-bloomer, which is great, as it extends the season by over a month, plus, it's my personal fave of the ornamental onion crowd.

knautia melton pastels
If you love bees, you should plant Knautia. Seriously, it's like bee crack.

Knautia Melton Pastels
While the straight species is nice, I really like the hybrid 'Melton Pastels' as you get a nice mix of colors...perfect for adding variety while still having some cohesion to a border.

Backlit Knautia
'Melton Pastels' comes in a nice array of colors, from lightest pink...

REd Knautia backlit 2 rich raspberry...

backlit knautia ruby star
...and the typical deep red.

knautia mars midget
If you want something shorter, however, and with more uniform red flowers, 'Mars Midget' is a good bet.

Allium cristophii starburst 2
I just can't stop taking pictures of this forgive me if I seem a little indulgent.

Allium GracefulSidalcea
A new (to me) Allium that I planted for the first time last fall, Allium 'Graceful'...and yes, it really lives up to its name. Sildacea oregana, on the right, rewarded my pulling it out of the garden last year for being too lanky and floppy, by reseeding itself everywhere. Happily, these smaller plants wind their way about quite pleasingly.

agastache blue boa
One of the standout plants from last year was this Agastache, 'Blue Boa'. It surprised me with its long blooms time and vigor. I love those rich purple blooms.

agastache purple haze
My go-to Agastache for blue, 'Purple Haze'. This Agastache is reliable and beautiful...if just a little more subtle than 'Blue Boa'.

astrantia maxima
It wouldn't be spring on Rhone Street without some Astrantias, would it. Here, we have the large, chalky blooms of Astrantia maxima.

astrantia roma
And the silvery-pink blooms of 'Roma'. I realize, now, that I forgot to take pictures of the red Astrantias, 'Star of Beauty', 'Ruby Wedding' and 'Abbey Road'.

Rodgersia bloomverbascum album 1
Rodgersia blooms can be surprisingly beautiful. The Verbascum on the right is actually self-seeded from a plant on the other side of the sidewalk!

Birch leaf on Allium
Sorry, couldn't resist adding one more of the Allium.

verbena ridiga
Verbena rigida tend to be a bit floppy in my garden (too much shade), but the electric purple blooms make up for any shortcomings.

Verbena bonariensissedum red cauli
My favorite Verbena, however, is the tall, elegant Verbena bonariensis. Sedum 'Red Cauli', on the right has the best red color I've seen in any Sedum...sadly, it's just about the floppies, as well.

Sedum matrona
A sign of our weird weather this year, Sedum 'Matrona' is already blooming, several months earlier than usual. Has anyone else in Portland noticed this?

salvia purple rain3
A fabulous Salvia, 'Purple Rain'. I love the deepest purple blooms and the hairy stems...they are magical backlit.

sedum oraclepersicaria firetail v
I can't seem to get enough little groundcover Sedums...and 'Oracle' is a beauty...the blooms...well, I guess they are interesting. All of the Persicarias are starting to bloom in my garden, the fist is the large, vigorous, 'Firetail'.

geranium ann folkard 2
This hasn't been a great year for poor Geranium 'Ann Folkard'. Our lack of winter and weird spring have left her a bit lankier than usual, but she refuses to give up!

Geranium from Ryangeranium rozanne
Ryan Miller gave me the Geranium on the left, it's quite the spreader! Of course, my favorite Geranium for it's beauty and vigor, is 'Rozanne', on the right. She looks good with absolutely everything!

iris gerald darby
My Iris 'Gerald Darby' needs dividing badly, so I'm enjoying it's blooms for now, but will need to dig it up and split it apart after it's done blooming.

astastache blue blazeslupinus thomas church
The giant of the Agastache world (well, at least in my garden), 'Blue Blazes'. I forgot to cut these back earlier, so I'll probably ahve 6' tall plants again! The little 'Thomas Church' Lupine I got from Annies a few months ago is blooming! I just hope it makes it through the's pretty puny.

A PNW native, Epilobium angustifolium (Fireweed) is beautiful in bloom...but can get a little weedy afterward. I often cut them back completely after the bloom.

Ok, it's not quite blooming yet, but those perfect spheres of Echinops bannaticus are so cool!

Even my Virginia Creeper Vine (Parthenocissus) is blooming...well, I think that's what it's doing!

Astilboides 2
The crazy Asilboides has decided to bloom like crazy this year...the foliage mound tops out around 2' tall...but the blooms are taller than me!

teucrium 2teucrium
Teucrium is one of my favorite easy-to-grow perennials. The blooms are gorgeous at any time...but when the plant is!

north garden corner
So, to wrap things up, let's look at some wide shots. Here is the area with the Teucrium above, one of my favorite vignettes in the garden.

Front garden
Here is the front garden from the south, showing my growing pot ghetto.

front border from north
And the same border, looking from the north.

North border
Here's the border that runs along the north side of the house.

North path
And my infamous grass path behind that border. Oops, I realize I forgot to mention the Sanguisorbia in the forground.

Backyard through arbor
Here's the backyard seen through our copper arbor...yes, it's getting a bit jungly back there. That Clematis tibetana is a beast.

And here's the backyard seen from our driveway.

I hope you are having a great spring, and for more Bloom Day happenings around the world, hop over to visit Carol at May Dreams Garden.