I Get Nostalgic

I Get Nostalgic

This Concordia neighborhood has the kind of trees and plants so common when I was growing up on Mallory Avenue—in the Boise Elliot neighborhood a mile away. Oh sure, people gardened, but other than my Grandmother who loved Dahlias, I didn’t know anyone with the kind of plant passion so many of us share today.

Grandmother Kate Loved Dahlias

Grandmother Kate Loved Dahlias

There were Monkey Puzzle Trees and roses, maples and elms, and tomato plants in summer. My grandfather loved tomatoes, and once produced a two-pounder. He grew clover as a cover crop, and told me he did it for the rabbits.

American Elms Reigned Supreme in Portland

American Elms Reigned Supreme in Portland

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Gardeners are the best kind of people

Gardeners are the best kind of people

In June of 2013 I was part of a group of Garden Bloggers (“The Fling”) who visited the Wave Garden in Point Richmond, CA. I was awestruck by the garden and vowed to return the next time I was in the Bay Area. That first visit was on an extremely hot day and the garden was filled with dozens of other bloggers, all fondling the plants and scouting for the perfect shot. This time there was a lovely breeze coming up off the bay and I was the only person in the garden. It was heaven.

The Wave Garden - heaven

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Use the Whole Pumpkin

Use the Whole Pumpkin

I love all of October, especially Halloween. It’s so much fun to see jack-o’-lanterns and their spooky friends turning up on porches. But me, I’m not a big fan of pumpkin carving. Especially step one, where you find yourself up to your elbows in seeds and stringy pumpkin guts, wondering if you’ll ever get it all so you can get on with the fun part.

And then you have the matter of the pumpkin seeds. Crazy good for you. You should absolutely eat them every chance you get. So delicious salted and roasted. And such a pain in the bum to clean and dry and prep for cooking.

In my fantasy life, I’d have time to spend an afternoon on a cooking project, and I’d pull those slippery seeds out of that mess and enjoy roasted seeds all squash season long. In real life, I usually put them in a bowl for “later” and then throw them away when they’re moldy. I hate throwing away good food! So I am pretty excited I found a way to use those pumpkin parts, without having to cure my case of kitchen laziness.

Bear with me here, I know eating pumpkin guts sounds a little weird and a lot hippie. So let me give you a sneak peak of where this is heading. Chocolate cupcakes in your future.
chocolate pumpkin milk cupcake on skull cake

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Musings on Miscanthus

Musings on Miscanthus

I went thru a period wherein I never left a nursery without a grass or sedge in hand, usually several. I just couldn’t pass them up. I’d pop them in here and there in the garden, and loved watching them wave their wild arms in the breeze. I planted a couple Stipa tenuissima years ago, and those little critters, what performers. Some worry about their promiscuous inclinations, but they’re so easy to pull if you really feel inclined. And the new growth color, could anything be lovelier.

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Making new plants, aka propagating

Making new plants, aka propagating

My biz partner Patricia equates plant propagation with visiting a nursery… “buying plants, that’s propagation right?” Well truth be told that’s pretty much how I do it too. After all it’s a plant lust mission to support our contributing nurseries, a JOB requirement!

My most successful (nonshoping) propagating experience thus far can be attributed to Mother Nature. Those plants that are supposed to be wicked reseeders? I rarely experience that side of their personality, perhaps due to my propensity for tidiness (I really do try to let them linger and go to seed). The exception is Euphorbia rigida, seedlings actually appeared! I’ve moved many of them around the garden, but love how these five plants placed themselves just so along the sidewalk and pathway in front of our house.

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Barkspotting

Barkspotting

I was so blinded by this lovely striped bark, I forgot to look up and take note of the leaves, leaving my stumped on the identity of the beauty. I’m thinking it may be a Crepe Myrtle. I have a few lovely trunk mysteries on my hands here. Any bark experts out there?

This neighborhood is proof that gardening is contagious and these neighbors all have the bark bug.
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Concordia Neighborhood: Making its Acquaintance

Concordia Neighborhood: Making its Acquaintance

Before we moved to Flamingo Park, I’d been focused primarily on living in the new environs—what it would be like to be in a different house and not know every inch of the garden. It was so hard to imagine leaving our home of 33 years—in an area I’d been walking for 25 years, where I recognized almost everyone I encountered, and they recognized me. I knew the time and distance of every route. What was in bloom where. Which fruit laden shrubs were Cedar Waxwings favorites. I fully expected to miss it all—my great neighbors, who put up with me planting things in their yards; Beaumont Market, aka 5 p.m. Gossip Central; the fabulous and funny women at The Arrangement, gems, the lot.

The Arrangement on NE Fremont. Nice household goods & a warm dose of free therapy.

 

But I’m happy to report, though I still think of my familiar haunts, I don’t exactly pine for them. It’s just different now. And the best part, I hadn’t even begun to appreciate how much I’d love exploring a brand new neighborhood.

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Visiting an Icon; Flora Grubb Gardens

Visiting an Icon; Flora Grubb Gardens

Many people break down the plant selling biz along these lines: there are nurseries and there are plant stores, plant stores sell the plants the nurseries grow. However when a plant store becomes a destination for both new and experienced gardeners alike, heck even non gardeners, and manages to alter the conversation about plants…well, that plant store might just have become an icon.

Icon

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The Time has Come, the Weather said,

The Time has Come, the Weather said,

For moving plants indoors.

And do you think I have a plan?

NO–even though I swore.

Agave victoriae-reginae

Agave victoriae-reginae

Aloe

Aloe NOID from a Big Box Store

 

Cabbage Tree

Cussonia spicata aka Cabbage Tree

Agave–Aloe–Cabbage Tree,

Shinning hardwood floors.

Tempting foliage all around,

And kitty cats who soar–

Mister Kitty & Posy

Mister Kitty & Posy