Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekend walking to open gardens

I'm training for a nine-day walking vacation I'll be taking in September, so it helps to have a destination to motivate me on longer practice walks. This past weekend, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO) helped me get going with two open gardens that were an excellent distance from my home.

On Saturday, I walked southward along the Willamette River. Destination: almost Sellwood. It was a good opportunity for a full dress rehearsal of my rain gear since rain was predicted nearly all weekend.

On Interstate Avenue, I always admire this commercial planting of privet(?), cistus and lavender; it looks great most of the year. Cistus could be used so much more all over the city, IMHO.
Passing the Rose Quarter, I enjoyed some Rose Festival parade floats and riders queueing for their big moment.

On the Esplanade, the Rose Festival fleet is docked along the waterfront.

Along the way, a man blew enormous, iridescent bubbles, much to the delight of the children -  and a good number of the adults.

Further along, Dragon Boats were practicing for their races.

Portland Opera Company showed their support for Pride Week with a wonderful display of rainbow flags on two sides of the upper terrace.

Finally, I reached Lucy Davenport's Bonsai Akira Nursery and garden. Lucy practices, sells and teaches bonsai using an eclectic group of Northwest nursery stock.

Many of the bonsai were for sale.

The kokedama were lovely.
This bonsai Callistemon nearly came home with me.

Many of the bonsai were in specially made pots by Sherri, a local potter who also had her wares for sale there. I couldn't afford a bonsai, but I did buy a lovely small pot.
On Sunday, I set out in an easterly direction for my second open garden. This walk through Boise, Irvington, Alameda and Roseway was a nice look at some established east-side neighborhoods and gardens. This combo of a flowering Cornus kousa and the Cotinus stopped me in my tracks (apologies for the overexposed image.)

I love it when people "get" the style of their house, and plant accordingly.

This front garden held a collection of curious art made of wood and metal.
A Billy Collins poem. I passed at least four poetry posts on my walk Sunday.

Creative and wonderful stair risers. Someone really had fun here.

Another right-house, right-plants example. I love this simple tropical mix of Tetrapanax, Trachycarpus, Fatsia japonica and black Mondo grass at this mediterranean-style house along Alameda.

I reached Mary DeNoyer's garden after a few hours of walking to discover this delightful welcome as I entered the back garden. I confess I was pretty tired and I didn't explore or photograph the front garden as much as I have on previous visits; I just wanted to sit for a spell.
But I did see these in the front garden as I came through: I have Eremuris envy.

Mary's back garden has gradually become lightly shady, and she has embraced the opportunities beautifully.

Specimen plants are featured nicely, like this intensely-colored dactyhoriza. I took this shot while relaxing in a comfortable chair under Mary's patio cover; I always enjoy sitting and experiencing gardens from the gardener's regular point of view. 

I do love a before-and-after so I went right to Mary's display of early garden pictures. So much has changed.

Multiple container plantings allow her to feature succulents and other small specimens, as well as plants that may need winter protection.

I didn't ask, but I think this small rock garden area at the end of the driveway is newer.
Shade-lovers and a few roses along the driveway.

My Mukdenia rossii is obviously in too much shade because it's not turning this fabulous red along its margins.

 One last shot of the foliage contrasts surrounding the deck. The brugmansia already has a bloom!

I'm so appreciative of the HPSO Open Garden program (just one of many benefits of membership) and I want to thank all the gardeners who open their gardens to members each year. Thank you particularly, Lucy and Mary, for this past weekend's motivational (and inspirational!) walk to, and around, your gardens.


  1. Kudos to you for doing so much walking. Honestly, I doubt the gardener's point of view is sitting, it's probably a kneeling, weed-level view. Nigel complains constantly that I never sit in my own garden. Thanks for sharing your photos. I have never been able to get my Mukdenia to show that red color, that's one reason I gave away some starts of it at the last swap.

    1. Maybe we both have dud Mukdenias. I'll try moving mine - but just once.

  2. Alan and I had an after hours personal tour at Mary's garden after my own open garden on Sunday. Such a gorgeous garden and so many special plants. Her use of color in shade is inspiring.

    1. Yes, Mary makes me appreciate my growing shade and gives me great ideas!

  3. walking to gardens is a great idea. i just met mary about a week ago, so it was fun to see her garden in your blog.

    1. But you didn't get to see her garden? Next visit - she's open by appointment!

  4. I imagine walking is a good alternative during the Rose Festival parade day-and what nice observations you were able to make along the way. I'm with on b-4 and after. They can be really energizing if you are stuck in one of your own projects.

    1. Before-and-afters also let you appreciate the work that has gone into an established garden. Bring 'em on!

  5. It is fun to see before and after photos. All the work and creativity is an inspiration. All of your walking wore me out just reading about it. You should be in shape for your big adventure.

    1. Lots more walking is needed to be ready for Hadrian's Wall!

  6. What an inspiring weekend you had! I regret missing seeing the ships, I love to drive across a bridge or two while they’re in town. However since I was up in Spokane for 4 days I missed it all, Mary’s open garden ncluded.

    1. I love driving over the bridges during Fleet Week, too. But not the bridge lifts as they leave on Monday!

  7. What great walks with two Open Garden days! It's always fun to see what other people have done with their gardens, and an excellent incentive to keep walking, too.


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