Thursday, June 24, 2010

This bamboo is too happy.

The MulchMaid has bamboo and she likes it a lot. This isn't news to those of you who read this blog, since she's posted about her bamboo control methods in the past. What is news is that, sadly, the MulchMaid needs to get rid of her bamboo - soon.

It's become abundantly clear that this particular strain of running bamboo is stronger, sneakier and much quicker than we gave it credit for, or can keep on top of.

About three weeks ago, I did the tri-annual exploration of the sand barrier with an old pruning saw. I found a lot of runners and roots heading south through the barrier and beyond, as far as three feet from the mother plant.

Lots of the roots were deep, too.
This surprised me, because the sand was supposed to offer so little resistance that the bamboo would stay shallow if it traveled.

I filled this big pot with roots. I was concerned that the bamboo had managed to penetrate so far beyond the barrier in the months since my last cleanup.

About a week prior to my cleanup, I had thinned the bamboo substantially, to encourage the growth of fresh, thick canes.

Be careful what you wish for, MulchMaid: lots of fat, juicy bamboo sprouts are coming your way.

This area doesn't seem quite so threatening, but look what we discovered yesterday:

This bamboo shoot is coming up a foot past the end of the sand barrier. It's at least two feet north of the mother plant.

Considering I just cleared the sand trap three weeks ago, this looks bad.

In our last garden, the Mulch Man controlled the bamboo nicely with a twice-a-year thinning.  Maybe it's all the rain we've had, or maybe it's a different strain of bamboo, but it is acting way too happy.

The Mulchers will get some help removing it, but the first question is: what can adequately replace the bamboo in this narrow, partly-shady spot? As good as some people's containers of bamboo look, that's not a good solution for this area. The replacement needs to provide the same evergreen privacy screening, yet contend with the neighbor's pin oak on the other side of the fence. One idea is Nandina domestica.

Heavenly Bamboo has an evergreen, bamboo-like quality, hence its  common name. Summer blossoms turn into nice red berries in fall and winter.

And the new growth is a pretty reddish-green. However Nandina will take years to get tall enough for much privacy, at least compared to the bamboo.

Since our front garden already has a area planted in Nandina, I'd prefer a visually different solution. But it's a definite contender.

The Mulchers are open to other suggestions, so if you have an ideal candidate, please share here!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 2010

A tiny Perle d'Or polyantha rose. This rose began as a cutting from Great Aunt Jenny's shrub and it's all the more precious because of our memories of her.

'The Bride', the first of three helianthemums I show, here making the most of the few sunny days we've had.

I left out 'Wisley Primrose' a soft yellow, somehow. There's just something about all these low carpets of bright little flowers that pleases me.

Cistus x obtusifolius, blooming for the first time this month.

More bright, simple flowers. Hmm, that's probably something of a metaphor for me, now that I think about it.

I never met a ceanothus I didn't like. This is C. thyrsiflorus 'Victoria'.

A great lime-green kniphofia. It's been blooming non-stop since April.
From some poppies I seeded last year, a few volunteers. I like the soft orange and cream-colored ones a lot.

A sedum flower. Someone probably knows the sedum's name, but it's not me.

 Another nameless sedum with babies. Awwww.

I need to make up some sedum pots so I can enjoy them at close range.

The blue fescue is making seed heads already. Although there's been little sun, they get lots of warmth up next to the brick planter on the south side of our house.

Agastache 'Acapulco Orange' has just barely begun to bloom. It loves heat, but even if this is the year summer never comes, I think it will do just fine.

And the hummingbirds will find it, no problem.

Last, for your pink pleasure, a big, simple, crinkly, perfect, cistus flower.

Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming in gardens across the nation and around the world today.

Happy Bloom Day, all!

Friday, June 11, 2010

When in Portland - grow hostas

Over at A Growing Obsession, Denise posted about her attempt to buy a hosta at her local zone 10 nursery. She lamented that they were disappointing, sad-looking things and came home with an astelia instead.

This got me thinking about my hostas. They are, after all, one of the perennials that we Northwest, Zone 8 gardeners can grow with little or no effort. Which is about how much effort I've put into mine this year. Yet in spite of my benign neglect, they look great right now.

I started out at Longview Ranch with a few hostas my sister was dividing. They turned out to be medium size and medium green. Not too exciting, but they thrived in the deep shade in front of our house and were lush and lovely all summer.

This year, my neighbors Shelly and Laurie gave me some variegated hostas when they divided theirs, so now I have a little variety.

They haven't started flowering yet (which is fine as I really have no interest in the flowers.) And they adore this wet weather we've been having. Although you can see a little  slug damage on the hosta above, in general they've been remarkably untouched by the slimy hordes.

If I could change one thing about them it would be to know their cultivar names.

They are a pretty nice exchange plant though and I'm happy to have mine, named or otherwise. Next spring I'll probably be able to pass along some hosta divisions to another gardener.

Do you think down in zone 10, gardeners exchange agaves and yuccas, instead of hostas?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Totally random: flowers, plants, birds and questions

This is what I'd describe as a stream-of-consciousness post. One thing doesn't relate to the next in any way except my delight with each one.

Here goes:

A gorgeous bouquet of pink rhodies, peonies and that umbrella-ish thing I always forget (kalmia?) in my favorite card shop downtown.

I love this houseplant spotted at my physical therapy department...anyone know what it is? Thick, glossy, but incised deep green leaves at very regular intervals up each stem (the pot I can do without.)

On a walk in Oaks Bottom, a stately Great Blue Heron.

On the same walk, a female mallard with several ducklings.

In a desolate industrial area in southeast Portland, one amazing intense red testimonial to its own life force.

What amazes or delights you this month?

Friday, June 4, 2010


Last weekend I went to Lonesomeville Pottery Company's open garden and sale. The sale is held annually inside the collective's beautiful old farmhouse in Southeast Portland. We were there by 10:45 and the main floor "showroom" was already stuffed with people buying Lonesomeville's unique art pottery and seconds available that day only. I could hardly get inside to look and I didn't get any pics of the pottery as a result (it's worth a look at their website to see the selections.)
Outside was a different matter. The week had been wet (no surprise) and may have deterred a few garden gazers, but while we were there it was dry and the sun actually came out a few times. It wasn't very crowded so we wandered around the grounds.
Flowerbeds surround the house and grounds, and I love the way they find inexpensive and creative ways to separate them from the lawn.

Their hostas are surprisingly intact for as much rain as we've had.
Someone has built great structures and seats for birds and people.
If it had been a little dryer, I would have been in one of these chairs for a while.
Clematis "H.L. Young"at its peak of bloom.

 Fun art was everywhere.

Don't you think Longview Ranch needs a tiki?

The workshop was also open. I'm always curious to see how ceramic studios function.
The glazes and samples make a great still life.
Everything was super tidy for the open house. It can't be like this every day, right?
I have no idea what Tall Texas is, but I love the name.

Back out into the garden.

A blush pink rose was just coming into bloom on this arbor.

The garden had a number of small vegetable beds, some covered by these protective screens. These would be great for strawberries, although I didn't see any. In fact, I wondered why the specific veggies planted there needed protection. The screen frames appeared to be movable, but you'd need a couple of strong backs, I think.

These succulent plantings had fabulous color and texture.

Throughout the garden we found trowels stuck seductively in the beds: Was this a convenience for the gardeners, or a suggestion to their visitors?

They like birds here and there were plenty of sparrows around that morning. Lonesomeville has created such great habitat, especially in the hedges at the back of the huge lot, that they probably get lots of other birds when there's not a crowd around.

There's a hidden quality to so much of this garden.

And they know how to have fun with simple materials. This is an upside-down tomato cage, and an idea I'm going to steal.