Friday, July 31, 2009


Recently I wrote about how our Northwest Territory is filling in so nicely this year. Well, the rest of the garden hasn't exactly been slouching either, as you'll see.

But first, a couple of recent acquisitions: from Pistils, a gorgeous blue eryngium. From Portland Nursery (with no tag to tell me its real name) a lime green kniphofia. The kniphofia was in completely the wrong part of PN and I told myself a story about the poor plant shopper who just couldn't stretch to that one extra purchase...and then I snapped it up!

Both these plants are now basking delightedly in the sun and heat of my new south bed, and trying to avoid the curling tendrils of the volunteer pumpkin annihilating everything in its path. (This pumpkin's days are numbered unless I can figure out a way to crop it back without cutting off the tiny pumpkins just beginning to form.)

In the back garden, the tropical area is filling in, with the colocasia leaves (back by Martha and George, the flamingos) making a nice counterpoint to the cannas. The huge monster breaking out of its cage on the right is Mr. Mulchmaid's favorite tomato: a Better Boy. Gotta have those slicers, and this is the summer for them.

This is our color spot and it's bee-central. Two species rudbeckias from Joy Creek I put in last year made many babies. The white potentilla has been blooming for four months now.

This is an overview of the south mediterranean area. The eucalyptus is higher than the fence now, and between it, the corn, the Karl Foerster feather reed grasses and all the sunflower stalks and leaves, we have pretty much covered the south fence for the summer. Privacy is achieved!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A new perspective

This is the second summer for our "new" garden and things are filling in nicely. Of course, it's nowhere near our dream environment yet, but the MulchMaid feels progress is definitely being made.
Above, adding an oddly tropical note in the Northwest garden this summer is a giant zucchini plant (is there any other kind?) They need room and we still have some.

The arctostaphylos uva ursi has covered a lot of the ground, and the salal gets bigger almost daily. Plus, everyone seems happy and healthy.

The Northwest Territory looking from the south. We want to do something with the remaining red concrete one of these days. Has anyone had experience with sandblasting paint off concrete?

On the weekend, I dove into the thick Northwest garden area to harvest our first two cueball squash. And as I looked south from the northernmost part of the garden, I had a glimpse of the look we have been working toward:

It's a green tangle of Northwest native trees and shrubs that obscures all our neighbors' windows from view. And as I look from here, it's really starting to happen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Worth going the extra mile

Sunday, I traveled with two friends and my sister to a Metro Gardens of Natural Delights tour in Tualatin and Lake Oswego. Several times we had to backtrack due to my crummy navigational skills in this unfamiliar area, but it was a fun and rewarding tour, with discoveries waiting at each of the four stops.

I liked the way the blue pots and bright greens of the foliage above contrasted with the purple color in this front entry grouping.

This first garden was nicely annotated with little white tiles giving many of the plant names. Isn't this saxifraga great with its serated edges?

I discovered brunnera, and was captivated. I'll have to wait to plant some though, until our clearcut develops some more shade.

A lovely zen-looking fountain. Even choked with some little water plant it was so appealing on this hot afternoon.

The lazy woman does plant notes: how thoughtful of the host gardener to leave the tags for us.

This is Oregon Tilth's Organic Education Center at the historic Luscher Farm. An interesting way to ripen tomatoes: they had pruned off every lateral branch, leaving just a center stalk with its tomatoes, held up by these cool spiral wire supports. Standard cage supports were being used on other tomatoes, too.

They had lots of fun scarecrows, and lots of chickens too! The farm is open from dawn to dusk so I'll definitely visit again.

A cooling, dripping waterfall with some nice floating plants that looked like salad mache, but must be some other thing entirely. This was at the third garden along with....


A big, old fatsia japonica to give the two in my garden something to aspire to.

Bee balm: now I see what all the fuss is about!

Last stop on the Metro tour: a lovely shaded garden overlooking Oswego Lake. This one had very formal plantings, including a parterre and sizeable shrubs as well as large trees, but not the sort of thing that photographed very well.

The Gang of Four was pretty played out by this time: I thought Sally and I would have to pry Laura and Karin out of the comfy swing when the witching hour of 4 p.m. came!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bloomday, July 2009

Here's a little Anna's hummer that has been visiting several times daily since the crocosmia 'Lucifer' bloomed. My camera isn't fast enough to catch his wings.

Agastache Acapulco - a bee and hummingbird "magnet" as they say in all the catalogs. It happens to be true in this case.

This is a Sally Holmes rose I planted last year to showcase our roman brick chimney. I had one at our last house and it was an amazing performer. This one appears to be taking after her sister in just one year.

A new climber I put in less than four weeks ago and it's just busting out: Darwin's Enigma will help to cover our yards of chain link fencing. I always like a white rose, and this one's blossoms are simple and small - just perfect.

An unknown but completely unself-conscious rose that blooms all summer on my parking strip.

A couple of blooms from our Northwest native area. A digitalis, and above, a snowberry, with minute pink blossoms that has been covered with so many bees I thought we might have a swarm somewhere close.

Finally, a couple of vegetable flowers. I would grow eggplant just for its foliage and flowers, let alone the tasty resulting veggies. This is Ichiban and it's a gorgeous purple.

And what vegetable flower can rival a tomato? I guess it looks so good to me because I'm dreaming of eating the late summer harvest from this Brandywine.

Happy Bloom Day all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sauvie Island (semi-)wildflowers

These are probably some pretty domesticated wildflowers: Sauvie Island has been cultivated for at least a hundred years. I have to say I have no idea what most of them are. But they're all a delight on a misty Sunday morning walk on the Oak Island loop. We pretty much had the place to ourselves except for a few well-behaved dogs and their people.

These little daisy-like flowers remind me of camomile, but the foliage isn't right.

An entire meadow full of them makes me want to take up painting!

Along the Oak Island walk, there's an abandoned farmhouse that's off-limits. But the remnants of its hidden garden remain to tantalize. This rambler was climbing over blackberries, I think. Or maybe it was the other way around...

Even the emerging grass seed-heads were wonderful: little soft tassels with stripes.

Grass heads, teasel and some kind of aster, I think.

These reminded me of lupine flowers, but I've never seen yellow and orange lupines.

And last, the ubiquitous Queen Anne's Lace. I don't care if it's's still one of my favorite wildflowers.