Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Vignette - a view from the Back Bay Inn

I'm such a sun-lover that, as much as we need any available rain, today's drizzle made me immediately start flipping through my files of sunny images for solace.

I took this shot from the balcony of our room at the Back Bay Inn in Los Osos, California, early on a late January morning. The temperature was cool, the bay was like glass, and the sun caught the dunes in the background perfectly.
As I regale myself with sun pictures today, I'm joining my friend Anna to celebrate her weekly meme. Take a trip to Flutter and Hum to see more Wednesday vignettes today.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinkley' is my favorite plant in the garden, this week

Dan Hinkley Chinese Mahonia is a Xera Plants introduction, from cuttings furnished to Xera Plants by the renown plantsman Dan Hinkley from his plant-hunting expeditions in China.

I have been enjoying this favorite plant for much of the month; it's been blooming for weeks in my garden.

I was thrilled to get my Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinkley' from Xera Plants at the 2012 Portland Yard, Garden & Patio Show.

This is the second year M. 'Dan Hinkley' has bloomed for me, and I love these late summer/early autumn flowers. So do the pollinators, and I don't even mind sharing them with the yellow-jackets (maybe the nectar will help keep them away from our last few outdoor dinners.)
The stats on Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinkley' from Plant Lust:

Form: Shrub
Zones: 7B-9b
Size: 4'h x 3'w (mine is approaching 4' high now, but is much slimmer)
Soil needs: Well-drained
Water needs: Regular water (I have not been regular but this shaded area stays somewhat moist)
Sun exposure: High overhead shade, to shade
Flowers: Bright yellow
Flowering time: Autumn (Plant Lust says spring, but that's a glitch)
Foliage: Evergreen, shiny / glossy

Like many Mahonias, the new growth is a lovely, bronzy-red color.

Our view of 'Dan' was further enhanced (maybe I should say exposed) by the recent removal of a mature Daphne odora 'Marginata' you can see to the left in the shot above. Although the Daphne enabled the Mahonia to get a good start by shading its roots, it had outgrown its space and had to go. I'll need to shade 'Dan' and his roots with something else this next summer.
I had a hard time getting the picture above; as you can see below there's a muddy channel where I usually walk.
And the mud is because our much-anticipated patio/path project started this past Monday, after a month of delays created by the summer heat: the concrete contractor couldn't pour in the over-90-degree temps, so he got backed up on all his prior projects. Rather than have our project stall halfway through, we asked our contractor to delay his start until the concrete guy was available to do his part.
Although there's been no work for the last two days, I'm encouraged by the project beginning. And if it gets too grimy and grim, I'll just spend some time researching other garden bloggers' favorite plants: My post is part of the end-of-the-month roundup of garden favorites hosted by Loree over at danger garden. Check out the rest!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2015

Summer feels over. I'm already missing the long, warm (okay, hot!) days we've left behind. Luckily, as of yet my garden hasn't gotten the message and is still pumping out blossoms for this month's Bloom Day. With some significant perennials missing due to being lifted for the yet-to-begin(!) patio project, here's what's blooming today, and still blooming from August at Longview Ranch.

Agastache 'Apricot Sprite' just doesn't quit, although I found I do have to give it more water than I expected. That orange makes it well worth the extra moisture.

I love the way the pinky-purple blooms of this NoID summer-blooming heather combine with its orange new growth. Up close it's a little odd, but at a distance the effect is warm and delightful.

Right next to it, this white heather with gray foliage cools down the scene.

Another white in the garden is the Lagerstroemia 'Natchez', still blooming well from last month.

Rosa 'Sally Holmes' is having another flush of bloom. As many of you know, it's one of only a few roses I grow affirmatively, but I love these little apricot buds that open to simple white flowers.

Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink' is responding to cooler days and more water.

Sidalcea oregana, Oregon Checker Mallow, is coming back after a chop.

The pale blooms of Erigeron glaucus brighten up the Northwest Territory.

Their soft lilac coloring is difficult to capture; this is pretty close.

In contrast, here's an eyeful hanging over from my neighbor to the north.

Smaller, but equally intense in color are the remaining blooms on Punica granatum. The hummers still check them for nectar, but I have no idea if they get rewarded.

A native Penstemon.

Tiny blooms are forming on some prostrate Rosemary in barrels along our driveway.

One of the perennials far back in its bed so not needing to be lifted, this Caryopteris punches out a few blue blooms.

Rudbeckia would like more sun, but is shining forth anyway.

My first bloom of Helianthus maximiliani, courtesy of Ricki at Sprig to Twig.

Bloom Day is sponsored on the 15th of each month by the lovely Carol, at May Dreams Gardens. Check out the links there for blooms everywhere.

Happy Bloom Day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday vignette - I want to be in there

I was at Lan Su, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden again last week (no surprise - we seem to go there weekly), where I took this shot looking through a scallop cutout in the wall.

I have always been intrigued by Lan Su's small, walled courtyards with no visible means of entry. 
It's all about the view from here, but doesn't this one beckon to you, too?

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my friend Anna, at Flutter and Hum. Take a look over there for more intriguing and lovely ways to observe our world today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Extending Your Garden Season" - the upcoming HPSO/Garden Conservancy tour

It's late August: is your garden looking as tired as mine is?  If you're in need of a little August garden inspiration as much as I am, there's a tour I can heartily recommend this Saturday, August 29. 
It's the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon/Garden Conservancy tour themed "Extending Your Garden Season".  Five diverse but equally delightful gardens comprise the tour.
Garden themes range from Southern charm, to serious vegetable production, to conifer love, to Mediterranean, to DIY and all things in between.

I was invited to attend a preview tour of three of the five gardens with other Portland area garden bloggers, and I can tell you there is something here for everyone.
We visited Winchester Place Garden, the garden of Zachary Baker and Leon Livengood. This garden is a taste of the South, from its formal design principles to its metal urns dripping with color to its plant palette of hostas, hydrangeas and verbena.

These gardeners are not afraid of color - they combine flowers and foliage fearlessly.
Secluded sitting areas provide relaxing views of the garden.
Here's one of the urns and a hint of the tasteful wrought iron fence that separates two of the outdoor "rooms".

There's formality here but there's also fun, like these brightly colored shades.
And a couple of over-sized bunnies that might make you wonder what rabbit hole you fell down.

Winchester Place Garden is at 2280 SW Winchester Place Portland 97075. It's the lead garden on the tour and garden art will be for sale at this location.
The front garden of Chris and Jim Mitchell greets you with beautiful conifers and perennials in lush, textured beds.

Cleome is an unexpected but lovely late-summer note of pink with the more expected August yellows.

In the back garden, paths lead you among huge cedars and myriad plantings, each a little different from the next.

A new bed incorporates succulents and cacti.
Chris Mitchell talks with Loree of Danger Garden about the hardiness of her new in-ground agaves.
Hops and grapes create a shady space to enjoy a cool drink. 
Although Chris shared that most of the grapes are harvested by their bird friends, the hops are put to excellent use in Jim's beer.

Remember I said there was something for everyone on this tour? Case in point: a hidden fairy garden for the young - and the young at heart.

The Mitchell Garden is at 12250 SW Lynnridge Ave Portland 97225.

Nancy and Gordon Prewitt have been gardening their extensive Beaverton lot for 39 years, and the mature garden shows their devotion.

The succulents in this garden delighted me with their vigor.
Oh yes, they have lots of cool perennials and shrubs, too.

And there are tranquil sitting spaces I would love to spend a quiet half-hour in.
But their major annual focus on is vegetables and fruit. And these are sensuously beautiful!

I admired their clever labeling system. No bending down to peer under mature vegetable leaves - the name is right there at eye-level.

In the middle of all those veggies, of course they would have mason bees.

You know the greenhouse and potting areas get a workout each year.

And utility is balanced with beauty at every turn

You'll find the Prewitt Garden at 13625 SW Far Vista St Beaverton 97005.

Not previewed but also on the tour is the 24-year-old, 1/4-acre garden of Marcia and Dennis, "The Pecks" of the Oregonian's Home and Garden Saturday supplement, at 10790 SW 153rd Place, Beaverton, and the Mediterranean garden of Cathie and Al Schmitt, at 10695 SW 153rd Place, Beaverton.

The tour takes place this coming Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 
So if you want to "Extend Your Garden Season" check this link for more information on the tour and tickets: Tickets are available at each of the gardens and benefit HPSO's grants and scholarship programs and further the Garden Conservancy's mission of preserving exceptional American gardens.