Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Summertime Evening - August Edition

Well shit... 

Tomorrow is already the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday. Where did the time go?!?

I spent the early evening yesterday watering with my gardening assistant Coco. Turns out she's not that into gardening and mostly runs around like a dong-dong wanting to play with her ball. She has to constantly interrupt me while I water.

Last week I took myself off the appointment list for open gardens. My garden isn't really a late season garden, so I felt like people would be disappointed if they visited. 

I'm too critical of my garden I know, but once the grass burns up and the temperatures rise, the garden starts looking a bit shabby. Several 100 degree days doesn't help either. 

So for those that may want to see what's happening in the garden, below is a little tour on an August evening. 

Happy Summer!



My birthday plant: Tricyrtis 'Miyazaki'


Coco and her favorite ball.

The weird leg is part of the shade support for the goldfish.

Shedteau Yvette

Poor Thunderbolt Hosta is getting squeezed out

Statler looking handsome

This Agastache is a little out of control.

The path to the rose garden.


Lobelia tupa with the "floppsies"

The fish are in there somewhere.
The Azara has grown like crazy. Waldorf in the back.



Thursday, April 2, 2020

State of the Garden - April Addition

It's the beginning of April and a lot is popping up in the garden. It's been rainy and on the cold side which sometimes makes being outside a little bit of a bummer. There have been a few glimmers of sun and warmth.

I'm lucky to still be working during this odd time in our history. I still haul my keister to work everyday, while the rest of the staff "works from home"... 

It appears that this year I'm gardening just for me, for my sanity, health and well-being. And I'm okay with that. While I enjoy the smell of dirt and lilies, I don't want to do it from inside a box. So solitary gardening it is for the time being!

Camellia japonica 'Nuccio’s Pearl'

Magnolia stellata 'Waterlily'

Some of the predictions from my last blog post are clearly out the window.


When I'm home, since I can't do anything, go anywhere, and all the spring gardening events are cancelled, my garden is looking pretty good.

My three HPSO open gardens are scheduled for May and June, but it seems unlikely they will happen. 

My fledgling assistant Cosette is still pretty much a failure at gardening, but has at least learned to stay out of the flowerbeds - mostly. Her constant running of the side lawn at top speed to fetch her ball has really helped with lawn aeration. My grass lawn looks the best it's ever looked!

"Coco Loco"
The peonies will be spectacular this year. I already feel for my poor FB and Instagram friends that will have to deal with the onslaught of flower pictures and my selfies with peonies.

Paeonia mascula var Russoi
Paeonia 'Black Panther 黑豹' foliage

Before all the craziness happened, I managed to bring home ten roses. My last post predicted I'd end up with three roses! A sane person might ask what the hell I was doing coming home with ten roses, but you know...it happens. It wasn't all at once. It took three different trips to the nursery. I know I had "Grandma D's" blessing.

Alan gave me a David Austin rose for Christmas, well the catalog actually. I got to pick one out. My mother, who visited for Christmas, and I both read that catalog from cover to cover several times. I had about eight roses picked as potential options.

As it turns out, Alan and I were both at Portland Nursery when the roses came in and I/we picked out a Weeks rose named "Koko Loko", which was fitting as that's one of assistant Cosette's nicknames.

It's an exotic tan with mauve edge flowered rose that fades to lavender. I'm very much looking forward to seeing it bloom. The rest of the roses were a mixture of David Austin roses and a couple random roses that struck my fancy.
Koko Loko™
https://www.weeksroses.com/product/koko-loko/roses
I gave up what was left of the vegetable patch for many the roses. The past few years have been bad for tomatoes between blossom end rot and the rats eating them. The Lents Farmer is no longer in the vegetable business. My boss will just have to buy her own tomatoes.


The trillium, daffodils, primrose, hyacinth, early iris are all up and doing their thing. I've been looking out for the terrestrial orchids, paris and random bulbs to pop up. I'm never happy until all my old plant friends are present and accounted for.

Trillium kurabayashii
Trillium ovatum
There are a lot of plants that would normally die, but the past winter was so mild, they are doing just fine. Many are getting cut back or haircuts.

I'm still working on my fall clean up and weeding here and there in the flower beds.

I recently removed the big Yucca that was one of the original plants in the yard when I bought the house. It was getting too shaded and floppy and was just not attractive. I actually broke the shovel trying to get it out. I resorted to sawing out most of the trunks. I'll have to get a new shovel at some point.
Yucky Yucca
Hasta la vista Yucca!
I think some of the smaller ponds will go away this year. I've been growing waterlilies for more than a decade and they are becoming a lot of work I don't want to do any more. I will keep the larger 300 gallon ponds though. Deciding which lilies to keep will be hard.

The bogs still hold my attention and I would like to focus on growing more bog orchids.

Pinguicula grandifolia
Mossy bog
A hope for this year was to spend more time with garden friends and less time online. Funny how that went down the drain. So here's to spending more time with garden friends online - safe and home.

When we can all get together again safely - let's party like it's 1999!  


Thursday, January 2, 2020

What Will 2020 Bring to the Garden?


2019 was a pretty good year in the garden, although I didn't blog much about it.

I didn't feel the need to buy many plants in 2019. I made it through many spring sales and plant pilgrimages and kept my plant buys to plants I REALLY wanted (mostly). I was happy to drive and watch everyone else buy plants.

Last year, I came to the conclusion that my garden is at a point where I just need to maintain what I have. If I have too much more, I don't think I have the ability to tend it to the level I expect of myself.

I don't have grandiose notions to dig up big swaths of lawn anymore, and on the contrary, took some steps to eliminate some of the extra things I didn't really need to take care of.

There were a couple "problem" flower beds that got a good clean up and rearrangement of plants. The jury is still out on whether or not I did a good job, but I'm happier with them now.

I talked myself into removing the Glorybower tree that moved into my front yard many years ago from the neighbor's and look forward to pulling out fewer seedlings and suckers.

I got a David Austin rose for Christmas. Which means my boyfriend gave me the new David Austin catalog he got in the mail and I now have to narrow down my selection to just one rose. I've already picked out five, which means I'll probably end up with three this coming spring. At least that gives me time to figure out where they will all go.

My tomatoes were awful in 2019, so I hope 2020 will be a better year.

In the new year, I'm still looking for more hardy orchids and will try to focus on orchids for the bog gardens. At least, if they are in the bogs, Coco can't yank them and run across the lawn with them in her mouth.

My new Intern Coco is progressing in her gardening skills. She now knows exactly which plants will pop her balloon in less than a minute. 

In 2019, I started disconnected myself from a lot of internet/FaceBook specialty plant groups. I found they were not helping me enjoy plants more and on the contrary made me want to distance myself even more.

In 2020, I hope focus my attention to local plant groups and plant people I can interact with in real life. There's much more joy in that even if it means putting myself out there more.

I also want to share my garden again though the HPSO open gardens program and I hope to encourage some friends that haven't yet opened their gardens to do so in 2020.

So, happy New Year to my fellow gardeners and plant people!

Happy growing!


Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Today's Favorite Plant - 20th Century Pear

My special plant of the day is Pyrus pyrifolia (20th Century Pear aka Nijisseiki 二十世紀) .

I'm generally not a fan of fruit trees, but this Asian pear tree was an impulse buy at a big box store in 2007. 

When I bought it, it was a funny little stick wrapped in a plastic bag in a bin for $10.

Because the label called it "ultra-dwarf", I thought it would be an adorable tiny little tree. Boy was I wrong! 

Apparently I didn't read that the mature size is still 15-40' tall and 10-20' wide. But in the past 12 years, I've done my best to keep it on the "smaller" side, carefully pruning off new growth here and there. I've managed to keep the tree around 9' tall.

The fruit of this Asian pear combines the flavor and sweetness of a pear with the crispness and quality of an apple and are best when tree ripened, usually the end of August. They are crisp, a bit watery and sweet with white flesh and a thin tan skin.

My fruit harvest is about a dozen pears on the tree each year but if I am not on top of it when they ripen, the raccoons/opossums will take all of them. 

In 2018, I got one pear that wasn't half eaten or full of tooth marks. It was just enough though to make it worthwhile.