Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bloom Day October 2015

GBBD_1015 copy
It's time once again, boys and girls...time for Bloom Day, hard as it is to believe. I stopped the other day and realized that the year is reaching its end fairly soon...just a few more months to go. My recent trip abroad really threw me for a loop and I still find myself feeling unsettled...drifting a bit, not sure what I want to do. Our brutal summer still refuses to relinquish its grip on us, and we are expecting it to reach almost 80 degrees again today and tomorrow...I'm so sick of it. Plus, it's just so dry...even the little bit of rain we got last weekend seems to be a distant memory, and my forays into moving plants around has revealed the soil is still bone dry once you get past the surface.

Japanese Anemone
Oh well...enough of that...let's get on with the show...which is a short show, of course, being October. Luckily, you can always count on the Japanese Anemones to bloom, regardless of the weather...they are always a welcome, they tend to spread around a bit, which is a nice benefit, if you ask me.

Verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis just never stops blooming, does it...even when I cut it back, it seems to immediately send up new shoots that are blooming within a few weeks.

Persicaria inverleith
The Persicarias did surprisingly well (for the most part) this summer, even though it was much drier than they typically like it. True, some of them (like 'Inverleith' shown above) looked like garbage during the worst of the heat/drought, but they spring back into action once temps cool a bit.

Persicaria Golden Arrow
Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' blooms non-stop from about June until frost...gotta love it. Of course, this year it has completely collapsed several times from heat...and then torrential rains a few weeks ago. Oh well, gardening is always a crap shoot, right?

Scabiosa ochroleuca
Of course, then you have the plants that just never complain and always keep blooming, like sweet little Scabiosa if I could just get it to re-seed at all!

Geranium Rozanne
Geranium 'Rozanne' is beyond being a stalwart of my garden...she is a superstar. She blooms and blooms forever...she threads her way through the garden, knitting it together, and she asks for so little in return.

Eupatorium rugosum2
I'm not sure if this Eupatorium is now Eutrochium or not...but let's just pretend for a bit that it's still Eupatorium. Even though they blooms tend to weigh down the plants and cause them to collapse during the rain, they are a nice touch in the garden right now, and I rather like how they languidly drape over and through other plants.

rudbeckia triloba
Being a biennial, you just never know when or where the Rudbeckia triloba blooms will be from year to year. Some years, I seem to have dozens of plants all blooming their heads off. This year, I have one tiny plant. Luckily, I've spotted quite a few seedlings around the next year should be a banner year for them again.

Aster Prince
Aster 'Prince' has long been a favorite of mine...and this year that is true once again. I just love its compact habit, dark foliage and the wonderful cloud-like effect of its thousands of tiny blooms at this time of year, seen above with the ruddy stems of Andropogon 'Indian Warrior'.

Front Garden From South
That's about it for actual blooms at the moment, so let's take a look at the big we have the front border, looking North this morning.

Here, a corner shot from yesterday.

North From West
The North border looking east at sunrise.

North From East
And the same border looking west a few days ago, when it was blessedly overcast.

You didn't think I'd let you go without saying hello to the cats, did you?

I hope you are enjoying fall wherever you's my favorite time of year...if only the weather would make up its mind, and summer would relinquish its death-grip on us, I'd be much happier, thank you very much! For more gardens in bloom around the world, check out May Dreams Garden...and happy Bloom Day!.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The (Dutch) Dream Tour...

OudolfTeaserHeader copy
It's no secret to readers of my blog...or my friends on FaceBook, that I'm smitten with the work of Piet Oudolf and others designers of the "New Perennial"(a.k.a. Dutch Wave) movement. Over the past dozen or so years, I've gravitated more and more towards the style, finding it not just beautiful, but emotionally resonant.

While I've long admired these designers and gardens from afar...I had resigned myself to the reality that I'd likely never see them in person. However, recently, an opportunity presented itself to visit them...and I jumped on it!

Carolyn Mullet paired with Carex Tours on a Piet Oudolf-centric tour of The Netherlands and Germany. The tour was spearheaded by Mullet, who was inspired by her own desire to visit these amazing gardens and share them with others.

I will apologize in advance that future posts on the tour (hopefully one for each garden) will be gushing, hyperbolic and wistful...these are gardens that inspire such reactions.

The Netherlands is a place unlike any other...with ideal climate and growing conditions...and with gardens that are vibrant without being ostentatious. The gardens we visited were the most beautiful I've ever seen. At each turn, I was reminded of the title of a book about Oehme & Van Sweden...these were BOLD, ROMANTIC gardens.

Aside from gardens by Oudolf himself, we saw a handful of gardens that were offshoots...a few which you could even say were the genesis of the movement.

I'm still sorting through the MANY photos I took (so many I filled up a hard drive and had to buy another), in spite of losing one of my memory cards full of photos (I'm still not over it...prepare yourselves for future whining on that account).

Of course, the photos are just the physical takeaways from the trip...more importantly are the memories...the impressions...the inspiration. I'll be honest, I feel like I'm still processing things...and will be for some time to come. It's lucky that we're heading into winter, prime time to mull over ideas.

Even more surprising were the connections I made with the people I met on the tour...the gardeners, designers, and, of course, my fellow tour members (a few of them pictured above)! We became fast friends during the trip and I still miss them...our last day was like a final day at summer camp, exchanging contact information as well as hugs. Then again...who's a small world...and I'm sure I'll run into them again :-)

So keep an eye out...there will be a flurry of posts coming up over the next few weeks...I hope you will join me as I take a trip down (recent) memory lane.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bloom Day September 2015

Once again, it's the middle of the month and time for our check-in on what's popping in the garden. After the LONGEST, hottest, driest spring and summer ever here in Portland, the garden is ready for fall...and so am I. Still, the garden has endured and still manages to look decent, for the most part...but I'm re-evaluating some areas and plants for renovation/removal...then again...aren't we all?

persicaria golden arrow
Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' had a hard time this summer, scorching badly and then completely collapsing (which it has never done before). Still, once cooler temps arrived (along with a little moisture) they perked back up again. I admit, I'll give a little extra effort for this's just too pretty to give up!

spent rudbeckai sun
Rudbeckia is such a harbinger of autumn to me...even if it starts blooming in summer. I actually love it most as it just starts to "go over" and the petals wilt into little tutus.

Of course, September means Sedums...and while I have mixed luck with them, this one area of the garden seems to keep them pretty we have a mx of 'Matrona' and another, mystery Sedum...perhaps 'Xenox'.

scabiosa scrim
In the same area is one of my absolute favorite plants, Scabiosa ochroleuca...I'm going to add more of these next year...they are so fabulous.

vernonia vertical
Another standout plant that has really come into its own this year is Vernonia 'Southern Cross'...a taller cultivar of the more common 'Iron Butterfly'. It has outstanding form and structure, vivid magenta flowers and gorgeous, fluffy seedheads later.

vernonia southern cross
I think it deserves a second look, don't you?

solidago medusa
Another herald of the changing of seasons is the wonderful Solidago, or Goldenrod. I believe this particular variety is called 'Fireworks' and I love it's crazy medusa-like blooms. Growing up in the Midwest, I loathed Goldenrod as common and, how times change ;-)

echinacea past present
If one photo from my garden embodies this time of year, however, it's this of the fading and already gone-to-seed Echinacea. It's a time of both bounty and death...a preamble of Autumn-to-come...and eventually, winter. There is something wonderful about this time of year, even if it's bittersweet. The garden has done it's job and is now preparing to slumber while the gardener sharpens his tools and prepares to dig into fall chores (bulb planting...yes!).

north strip v3
I know, reading back through this, that I've missed a handful of plants, but I'm sure they'll appear in a few of these wider, the North Border looking west, dominated by the statuesque Eutrochium.

north corner wider
And here, the same border looking east, fronted by a micro meadow of Panicum 'Cheyenne Sky', punctuated with Liatris and Allium.

front garden shady2
Here we have the Front Border, as always, anchored by 'Tiger Eyes' Sumac and Miscanthus 'Malepartus'.

front border shady
And the Front Border looking north...again, with 'Tiger Eyes' dominating and a scattering of containers extending the beds...although, truth be told, this year they are more temporary homes for wayward plants that I haven't decided the fate of yet!

corner view
And here's a wide shot of everything...I still can't believe we just painted the house this spring...I can hardly remember what it looked like before!

punky the puma
Of course, we can't leave without saying hello to the furry denizens of Rhone Street, can we? Here' Punky Cat lounging on the sidewalk, wondering when I'll stop taking pictures and give him some treats.

Little Gordon, who is feeling better again, enough so that she now wants to go outside all the time (supervised, of course.)

sleepy boots 1
And dear Boots...who is sleeping away the last days of summer, dreaming, I'm sure, of flannel sheets, sleeping with the windows wide open, and pumpkin-flavored everything. Oh wait, that's me ;-)

Happy Bloom day...and as always, head over the May Dreams Gardens for more!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fall Plant Sales!

fall plant sale header
As many of you are well away, fall is the best time for planting...especially here in the PNW. I stupidly often plant a lot in the spring, and then spend the entire summer (especially this awful, godforsaken summer) cursing that I spend all my free time watering newly-planted plants.

standing ovation
Fall is perfect for planting here, however, as our (hopefully) plentiful autumn rains and cooler temps are great for new plants settling in and putting down good root systems. Luckily for us here in the Portland area, we have not one but TWO plant sales this weekend (On Saturday, September 12, to be exact)!

sedum and scabiosa
Unfortunately, they both happen on the same day (when it rains, it pours, right?), but a dedicated plantaholic can probably make it to both. First up (if you want to see the speaker) is the HPSO PlantFest, held, as has become tradition of the past two years, at PCC Rock Creek Campus. Speaker Claudia West will give a presentation titled "Stunning Ecological Plant Combinations", which I'm pretty curious to see.

northwind h
A brief description from the HPSO website says: "Plants are the foundation of healthy ecosystems and they bring beauty and joy to our lives. But great plants alone don't automatically create "ecological" benefits in our gardens. Claudia West, ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, premier wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA, talks about spectacular perennials and grasses and how to use them in stable, layered, natural combinations that increase both the ornamental and ecological value of your home landscape. Claudia is co-author of a new book, Planting in a Post-Wild World, with landscape architect Thomas Rainer, to be published this fall by Timber Press."

echinacea fading away
Immediately following the lecture, the plant shopping commences for those attending the speech. For those not attending the speech, the doors for the sale open at 11 and run until 2pm. Happily, parking is plentiful and FREE! I can't wait to see what the vendors have brought...I usually end up buying way more at this sale than I do at Hortlandia...just because I tend to gravitate towards plants that peak during fall.

solidago medusa
Next up is the Salem Hardy Plant Society's Plant Sale, which is held, as usual, at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall...just west of Salem.

vertical vernonia 2
Like the above HPSO sale, there are always a lot of great vendors with beautiful plants just waiting for new homes (maybe even MY home)!

echinops sunset
In addition to plants, the Salem Sale has Master Gardener Advisors, Tool Sharpening by Edgemaster, Plastic Pot Recycling and a variety of decorative and useful garden accessories.

september sunset echinacea
So, what just do I hope to find/pick up? Well...rather a lot, but in light of recent vet bills...I'm going to be taking it easy this my plant budget is pretty much shot for the rest of 2015! However, I'm always on the hunt for new grasses, so might be tempted if something too good to pass up shows up. Also, I've been toying with the idea of replacing most of the Agastaches in my parking strips with more durable Liatris. I remember last year at the Salem sale I passed up some really beautiful Liatris and totally regretted it later.

grassy sunset
Either way, I hope everyone who lives in the area can make it to the'll probably see me at them both...probably with a huge cup of coffee to keep me going during such a packed day!

panicum shenandoah
What about you...are you planning on going to one or both? What are you looking/searching for...and what do you have planned for your fall garden?

boots at dusk
Here's to happy plant-shopping...from Boots and I ;-)