Mark your calendars: Saturday, June 22, from 10am to 4pm, you can tour seven professionally designed gardens on Portland’s west side. The tour is organized by the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to scholarships for design students. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the results of professionals in action, with ideas ranging over a variety of styles and all incorporating unique works of art. Looking for a designer to work with you? You may find the perfect fit here. Looking for inspiration? It’s a sure bet you will find some here.
And even at Joy Creek, where the explosion of blooms is darn near overwhelming. You can point a camera in some directions and be greeted by a tapestry of greens like those surrounding this pathway.
Or you can train your sights on a single leaf like this Arisaema urashima, shading its dark, hooded cobra-like flower.
The mayapple, Podophyllum pleauthum uses its giant keaves to shield the blossoms so well that you have to get down and look under to see them.
Still at Joy Creek, I was attracted to these mounds of foliage, but could find no marker. So, all you Sherlocks out there: any ideas? This just in: Peter steered me to Acanthus balcanicus, which I think is the right answer.
Another puzzlement arose at the Rhododendron garden, where the sign read edgeworthia ‘Bodnant’, but these handsome crinkly leaves bore all the earmarks of a Rhody, including lovely, thick endumentum. I think they must have neglected to start the label with “R.”. Peter to the rescue yet again: it is indeed R. edgeworthia ‘Bodnant’.
The combination of ferns and hostas worked perfectly in a woodland setting with filtered light.
I saved out some of my favorite foliage shots from other posts to feature in Foliage Follow up, hosted, as always, by the incomparable Pam Pennick at Digging. You won’t go wrong by heading over there to see and be directed to more fab foliage.
The challenge in May is one of editing. You know what I mean: the garden is bursting with bloom. I’ll try to show you new things or especially photogenic things, so as not to bore you with a post that goes on and on…and on.
The last of my tulips to bloom is the dramatic ‘Orange Favorite’. When Linda came to the bloggers’ plant swap at my place last fall, she brought me two heirloom tulip bulbs. No way could I have anticipated how much pleasure would be derived from a pair of homely orbs. Thanks again, Linda.
A woodland ground cover planted for its foliage, Cornus canadensis is filling in and blooming (sparsely) for the first time. I like the way the pristine white flowers echo the shape of the leaves.
The subtle coloration of a columbine that came to me as a gift almost looks like it was airbrushed on, shading from pale yellow to light orange. I was weeding out the buttercups that keep trying to invade the woodland (I thought they were sun-lovers), only to discover that they were propping up this plant.
So I left a few around nearby Aguilegia ‘Swallowtail’. The long spurs on this columbine make it special. It was introduced by High Country Gardens, and is the one success story of my mail order dealings with them.
I don’t think I have ever noticed the flowers on Cranesbill ‘Philippe Vapelle’. They are dainty, charming and echo the color of surrounding sedums. Too bad for them they are upstaged by the shape and texture of their foliage.
White, scented bells peek through the lush foliage of Convallaria majalis. By next year I should have enough blooming stems to bring inside to perfume the air…and keep the ratio of blooms to leaves about where you see it here.
Happy to be liberated from life in a pot, Enkianthus campanulatus var sikokeanus didn’t even suffer from transplant shock. Guess it feels the love.
Queen for a Day (well, more like a week, but still a brief but glorious run) the tree peony ‘Chinese Dragon’ bears repeating. I lengthen her reign by cutting tight buds to force indoors, and keep cutting single blooms to enjoy as long as possible.
Those are the stars of this SRO show. But wait! There’s more! Just click HERE to see where Carol, our gracious host, will lead you.
After phone conversations with both chillen and a lazy breakfast, my idea of the perfect way to spend the day was a drive through the country to visit the Cecil & Molly Smith Garden in St Paul. Richard is a big fan of Rhododendrons, the stars of this garden. My main interest was to see how they had been used and the companion plants chosen. In the above photo, the orange dangling blossoms are an unusual form, R. ‘Lady Chamberlin’.
Paths criscross the long slope of the garden, making it easy to get a close-up view of the many well-labeled specimens.
Towering firs provide dappled shade. We heard grumbling from those who bemoaned having missed the peak bloom time. I found sparser bloom more to my liking than the gaudy collision of color that can result from too many Rhodys blooming at once.
Several understory trees keep things interesting. Mahonia bealei rises from a bed of false Solomon’s Seal and liriope.
Acer griseum’s peeling bark adds to the interest at eye level, while its leafy upper reaches cast lovely shadows.
Beyond the maple, smaller trees congregate.
Looking up, the light shining through the leaves of a honey locust is the perfect foil for the tracery of limbs and branches.
Care to sit a spell and soak up the atmosphere? Plenty of atmosphere provided by the rough bark of ancient trees and the forest smells surrounding a stone bench.
Light and shadow are major players on this stage. I love the way this tall Rhody is silhouetted against the play of light in the background.
A fragrant Pacific Coast native, R. occidentale cleverly greeted us right at nose level.
Amusing topknots of new growth were forming on R. uvarifolium.
The new growth on R. yakushimanum gave it a multi-hued appearance, plus, its indumentum was showing. This, to me, was far more interesting than any flower.
Which is not to say the flowers we did see failed to charm. R. ‘Snow queen’ is a case in point.
But what of those ground covers and companion plants I was interested in? In some areas they were all natives; plants that I recognized from our forest floor.
Pillows of maidenhair fern lined one path.
These urn-shaped, flat-faced ferns covered large patches of ground and caught the light. They look like some that are in our woods, too, but I don’t know their name…maybe a juvenile form of the sword fern?
A small patch of primroses added a splash of color and textural variety to this vignette. The trees and specimen Rhododendrons were all clearly labeled, but not so the ground cover plants. A few that I recognized were trilliums, hellebores, bergenia, dicentra formosa, vancouveria, violets, pulmonaria, calas and fringecups.
Let me leave you with a few scenes from this amazing garden:
And yep, that’s me. R couldn’t resist sneaking a shot when I asked him to hold the camera while I scribbled notes. I hope your Mother’s Day was a grand one.
Hortlandia gets the buying season off to a flying start. I had a cold. This is where gardening buddies are invaluable (as well as in many other ways). Loree asked if she could be on the lookout for anything for me. I immediately thought of a plant I’d been admiring in her Danger Garden, Acanthus sennii, above. True to her word, she looked, and she found. Woo hoo…add another star to Loree’s crown.
Means Nursery is so nearby that I can easily pop in whenever I have a special need. Two ipomoea batatis ‘Mardi Gras’ and one Coleus ‘Chocolate Drop’ filled the bill…
to fill this red pot that had been standing empty.
When it comes to plants, I can never stick to a list. I’ve been wanting a daphne, so Daphne odora ‘Mae-jima’ came home with me too.
Next up: the Oregon Bloggers’ Swap, with the welcome addition of several Washingtonians. Starting from the top, let’s go clockwise, skipping the two pots disappearing from the bottom of the photo. A nice flaming Euphorbia whose name I can’t remember…maybe Dixter?; Rubus lineatus; Pacific Coast Iris; Polypodium scaulen; Dicentra spectabilis
Sorry, that big pot still fails to show off Iris confusa, but believe me, it’s a beauty; Arum ‘Jack Sprat’; Pulmonaria; ‘Ron Davidson’; and a pretty little frosty Heuchera whose name escapes me (it’s ‘Snow Angel’. You guys are so good!). The bloggers are all true plant nuts, and they bring fabulous stuff to our swaps. By the time someone has spieled about a beloved plant, I’m a convert even if I never noticed that plant before. What a fabulous way to introduce new material into the garden. Somehow I failed to get photos of the nice big clumps of Polygonatum and Convellaria majalis, but they’ll be showing up in future posts, you can be sure.
Last Sunday, Linda and I met up at Joy Creek to wander the display gardens and shop for plants. Linda never arrives empty handed. This time she brought me a couple of primroses I had admired in her garden and a Hellebore to try. She says to plant it in sun, so that may be the problem with those I have (all in shade).
Heading to meet Linda, I stopped by Means to get a few things for porch pots: upright Fuchsia ‘Firecracker’ to put in a cachepot; two Impatiens and Lysimachia ‘Midnight Sun’ to spill from a wall pocket.
And finally, here’s my haul from Joy Creek: center front, Erodium chrysanthum; front left and right, Zauschneria ‘Everett’s Choice’; top left, Phlomis italica; top center, Oxalis ‘Klamath Ruby’ with purplish undersides to the leaves; top right, Oxalis oregana. I probably should have waited for cooler, overcast days to do the planting, but I’ll just have to be a diligent waterer until we get back to some Oregon weather. We will, won’t we?
…and along came pretty little May. Guess it’s time to take a look around.
This Tulipa, ‘Rococo’ is a gift from Linda. Is it not spectacular?
I’m happy with the way this new bed is coming together. Right behind ‘Rococo’ is a bronze fennel, beyond that Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ blooms at the feet of Phygelius’ ‘Devil’s Tears’, beyond which you can just make out an Angelica from Ryan (sorry, I don’t have a link for him just now) in a blog swap, a herbaceous peony and some shrubby dogwoods.
We put off the first mow as long as possible, because I love the look of the long grass.
Here it is after mowing, cut long (4″), but still looking a little burned.
After the pears have dropped their petals, along come the apple blossoms. That blue sky really sets them off…well, it just about sets everything off to advantage.
In it’s second year (grown from seed) the Cardoon foliage is spectacular.
Late to the party, the emerging leaf buds of the Crape myrtle capture the light.
My first time growing Lewisia, and it seems happy in a bed where not many things are. As you can see, I’ve been busy planting and have neglected weeding chores…must get to that next.
These little cuties are welcome mystery volunteers. Note the little white flower lower right, and please tell me if you know what this is. This just in from Peter: this lovely little wildflower is Trientalis latifolia, or Pacific starflower. Thanks, Peter!
I finally gave up on having Agave neomexicana in the ground (that’s it…the disconsolate brown blob on the right). In the pot is the pup I separated from it at planting in 2010. Slow and steady, she has a pup of her own now. I see signs of life on the original, so I guess I’ll pot it up and see what happens.
Pretty as any flower, Acer pseudoplantanus ‘Puget Pink’ is at its very best when the fresh apricot-toned leaves are unfolding. In the background is R. sinogrande, having come through a winter unscathed for the first time.
I spent some time, early on, trying to cut out all of the shoots of Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander’ that had reverted to solid green, but finally gave up. Has anyone had luck waging this battle on something that begins life with lovely variegation but insists on returning to boring solid green?
Many of our many Rhododendrons are in full bloom now. I will resist dragging you through the whole catalog, instead letting ‘Newton’s Sweetheart’ stand in for all the others.
The shapes of these leaves are what rings my bell, but the dainty flowers on Saxifraga dentata from Loree (yep, another blog swap acquisition) are fine too.
The first of the iris to bloom, these small purple ones adapt to any situation, so I have them scattered about, where they contribute a brief punch of color, followed by long lasting sword shaped leaves.
Isn’t it fun when accidental combinations turn out pleasantly? In the foreground here is Rhododendron oreotrephes. The middle sports Polygonum bistorta ‘Superbum’ (I think the proper pronunciation is su PER bum, but it will always be super BUM to me). The green background is provided by Leycesteria formosa.
Happy May Day!
I’d like to invite you to visit Rusty Spade to read the piece I wrote for Petunia’s ongoing series of gardeners’ stories. While you’re there, you might as well explore her delightful blog. For those of you who have been curious about what the BeBop Garden looked like, I managed to dig out some old photos of the before, during and after to be included in that post.
You might also like to visit Blooming Blogs. That’s where I hooked up with Petunia, as well as many other new blogging friends. If, like me, you found Blotanical incomprehensible, this might appeal to you. It’s quite new, so you would be getting in on maybe not the ground floor, but still early on when your voice will be heard and you can influence its development.
And here are a few peeks at what that garden looks like today:
That’s what a happy Corokia cotoneaster looks like.
Driving around her neighborhood, it wasn’t hard to spot Linda’s house, set back from the street and surrounded by horticultural wonders. We Portland area bloggers have taken to getting together in the spring and fall to swap plants and tall tales and, in this case, partake of some lovely home baked cakes.
Some of us are into the second year of doing this. Once the word got out, others joined in. In fact, Alison and Peter (in the middle of the above photo) even came all the way from the Tacoma area. Jenni, shown on the far right, did a fine post with links to the blogs of everyone who participated, so I will just give you a little tour of Linda’s garden.
Outside the fence, there’s plenty of “curb appeal” to tip you off that something wonderful is going on inside.
The large front yard is dominated by a patch of lawn surrounded by borders filled by interesting plants
a sweeping drive surrounded by more of the same (plants, plants and more plants)
A large corner bed
and a dramatic front entry flanked by Euphorbia wulfenii in all its glory.
I couldn’t resist pointing my camera at a few of the plants. This one is, I think, Eryngium agavifolium (Linda has a way with Eryngiums that leaves me green with you-know-what)/
Alchemilla mollis was earning its keep by capturing water droplets.
Love the color of this Primula
I’m hoping Linda will enlighten me as to the identity of this plant with the interesting foliage. (Linda came through…it’s celadine poppy from Joy Creek).
Ditto this one (some sort of Artemesia?) Yes, A. ‘Valerie Finnis’…thanks, Scott!
Moving around to the back garden, the first area offers seating around a small pond.
In the middle of the back garden, dividing it into two separate rooms, is this magnificent Acacia provissima, an inspiration to all of us who have tried, and failed, to bring one to maturity.
On the other side of the Acacia, another zone-pusher holds court.
With bamboo growing along the fence line, a feeling of complete privacy is achieved, while still borrowing from towering trees in the surrounding neighborhood.
Little vignettes are around every turn.
And I’ll leave you with that parting shot, and thanks to Linda for hosting another great get-together. Thanks, too, to all who came, bearing interesting plants, entertaining stories and the good humor we gardeners are making famous. I loved seeing friends and making new ones. It’s amazing how quickly bonds form in this little sub-culture. Next time, I’ll show you what came home with me.
This is when the new tips frost the evergreens. This is Juniperus communis ‘Gold Cone’ up close
Here it is again, with several different ground covers picking up the bright chartreuse. Off to the right is some wine colored foliage for contrast.
Speaking of winey foliage…the emerging leaves of this Heuchera are shiny and fresh.
In that same bed, where Heucheras thrive, ‘Marmalade’ adds its peachy tones…
and ferns continue to multiply.
More shiny new leaves, this time Acanthus mollis in the woodland shade.
With the breezes blowing the new growth on the Photinia, it’s like watching flames dancing.
This tulip is a gift from Linda and I can’t tell you its name, but I love the spiraling shape of the leaves.
I like the way these two sedums cozy up to each other, with Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ reaching in to give them a little pat.
Pushing up through the woodland duff, Rodgersia aesculifolia will eventually reach giant proportions as it goes dark green.
At long last, Rodgersia ‘Bronze Peacock’ is starting to put in an appearance and I can quit worrying about it. Not so, I fear, for ‘Night Heron’, which seems to be a goner.
I have a hard time keeping the heathers straight, but I think this one might be
I happen to be fond of white flowers, so there are lots of them in my garden. Perhaps the showiest is the Clematis armandii when it engulfs the front deck.
Just about the time snowdrops stop blooming, up pop the windflowers, Anemone blanda ‘Alba’.
As ‘Janet’ reaches full bloom, she loses her early blush to become pure white.
Pears, cherries and plums are blooming now.
I only just discovered that there are wild strawberries blooming under the front cedars.
Fragrant little Narcissus ‘Thalia’ is one of the last of the daffys to bloom.
I love this little bud vase, because I can bring a stem or two into the house to enjoy without seriously impacting the outdoor show.
Trilliums transplanted from our woods are finally settling in.
I understand why people with smaller gardens complain about these two vigorous spreaders (scilla and forget-me-not), but here they are welcome. They cover up all traces of the dying foliage of the tete a tete daffodils.
Not everything is white around here. The tiniest of the daffys is pale yellow ‘Haworthia’, here surrounded by Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’.
Tulipa ‘Fire Queen’ comes along just as ‘Shakespeare’ finishes.
A favorite of mine is Fritillaria meleagris.
Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ is just getting going, soon to result in clouds of blue.
Fragraria ‘Lipstick’ quickly spreads to form a ground cover dotted with bright pink blossoms.
Then there are the romantic, old-fashioned standbys like Dicentra spectabilis…
and lilacs. One whiff and I’m a child again, romping in my gram’s unkempt yard. I’ll draw the line here, even though I could go on and on. It is April, after all. For more, visit our gracious hostess, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens.