Monday, August 25, 2014

Old House Dahlias

It seems odd with my love of big, crazy, and bright flowers, that I don't have many Dahlias.

There were a few Dahlias that were discovered in my yard when I moved in many years ago, but I neglected them. They were planted in too much shade, so they stretched for the sun, and toppled over. They never bloomed, so I had no idea what color they even were.

Years later, I would occasionally get seduced by 6-packs of mini Dahlias at the nursery and I found that over time, many of them would come back each year.  A rainy and cold Portland winter will sometimes kill the tubers, but more often than not, they come back just fine year to year with no digging.

Tubers that don't need to be lifted and stored in the fall, fit right into my no fuss, plant it and forget it mindset. But having to stake a plant each years seems like too much fuss.

I purchased two Dahlia tubers ('Mingus Art' & 'Melqua Nebula') this year from a display of Old House Dahlia bulbs at Portland Nursery and had to give them a try.  'Mingus Art' has flowered wonderfully for several weeks now. 'Melqua Nebula' has just kicked into gear and the first flowers are open.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to stop by Old House Dahlia's open garden.  There were so many lovely eye-popping varieties, I may have to rethink Dahlias.
Sorry, I spaced a few of the names...

Please check out their website for tons of pictures. They ship tubers and sell cut flowers too.

'Show & Tell'
'Alfred C'

'Orange Ice'
'Honey Dew'
'Little Scotti'
'Melqua Nebula' - One of the bulbs I bought this year!
'Eligah Mason'
'Black Widow'

'Jungle Man'

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Wonders of Laurel Hedge

This past Sunday, mom and I piled into the car and headed to Estacada, Oregon to see the open garden at Laurel Hedge.

The description in the HPSO booklet sounded great and I took a peek at their website, so I thought we were in for a wonderful surprise. It's always a good thing to be able to show mom a new and fun garden she's never seen before and a car ride out into the country was just the ticket.

Somehow, I managed to get to Estacada without getting too lost.

Torii Gate

White Garden
One of the owners, Matt, met us at the parking lot, said hello, and gave us the lay of the land. We met the other owner, Darin, in the gift shop after our tour. Both very gracious hosts. My mom couldn't stop telling both of them how much she loved the garden.

We started out with our map in hand and immediately fell in love with this two-acre garden. The scale of the garden is impressive and even more impressive that just the two of them take care of the house, garden and retail shop. 


Wheelbarrow art!

This garden has everything we love.

A charming greenhouse, rustic and formal statuary, bird houses, a pond and hillside stream, lots of cute outbuildings and different seating areas to enjoy the garden.

Many of these items created from reused materials, salvaged items or antique objects. It makes me wish I could actually use a tool and make something!

Three Door Arbor
Matt said these arches were made from stair forms?!?

Some of the garden reflects a more designed sensibility with low formal boxwood flower beds and a white-flower spiral garden. Other areas are wilder, with trees mixed with perennials. The closer to the house, the more formal the garden became.

I asked Matt if he had a favorite plant and he said that he enjoyed trees the most in the garden and combining their reds and yellows together. Matt said that Darin loved any of the white flowered plants. 

A pair of owls.
White Spiral Garden

I mentioned that I thought the grass was well tended. Turns out that Matt mows the lawn and Darin does the lawn edging. There was barely a weed to be seen in the grass and the edges were crisp. That's my kind of lawn!
Grass Stepping Stones

The pond and adjacent hillside stream are especially lovely with an elevated seating area with fireplace overlooking the pond.

Lake House with fireplace overlooking pond  (Love the "Wine" sign!)

There are some gorgeous sweeping views of the garden from near the house

The small gift shop behind the barn has interior design items for sale, so be sure not to miss that. There was an abundance of cute stuff to take home.

We ended the day with lunch at the Viewpoint restaurant. The view of the Clackamas River and Mt. Hood from across the road was the icing on the cake of a perfect day!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Smell Me! I'm a Pretty Flower!

There's nothing like grabbing your first morning cup of coffee and wondering what that rotten smell in the kitchen is?

Does the garbage need taken out?

Did I leave rancid food in the sink?

Did the dog do something bad on the floor?
Then I realized it is just Orbea variegata blooming on the plant stand.

I stood in my bath robe admiring her large pretty bloom while sipping my coffee.

It's such an amazing flower. The tiny hairs on the flowers edge are so delicate, the pattern is so amazing and the center part so complex. 

So, I decided while walking out the door that it should be "Take Your Stinky Flower to Work Day" and scooped her up. She rode to my office in my cup holder - just perfect for keeping the bloom safe.

Orbea variegata - Beautiful!
Such perfect stars.
Smell me! I'm a pretty flower!

People at my office know me as a little bit of a jokester. I especially love punking people or scaring them in the hallway. 

Oddly enough, people were VERY suspicious of my flower and what the sign actually meant. 

I had to reassure them that "it's only a flower".  How can a flower hurt you?!?

One person thought that perhaps it would grab her nose 'a la Audrey' in Little Shop of Horrors. 

It was so much fun to see different people's reactions to the fragrance and their descriptions of what the flower smelled like (rotten blue cheese, father's feet, 'dead' something).

It does have a very intense fragrance but you have to be very close to get the full brunt of it!

The experience is a lot like finding a bad gallon of milk in the fridge and then having someone else smell it just to prove it smells bad.

But even that bad smell makes you want to smell it over and over.

It's so bad...