a grand weekend out: the Willamette Valley

a grand weekend out: the Willamette Valley

Every time I take the drive south from Portland on Interstate 5, I’m reminded in living technicolor, that I really do live in the Willamette Valley. You see vast stretches of pastureland, mountains, sheep with requisite guard Llama–and a veritable menagerie of birds. Hawks perch on fence posts all along the highway, eagles soar overhead, egrets and all manner of flocking birds fill the open fields. Read More…

A luxurious carpet

A luxurious carpet

I happened upon this cheery scene while out on a neighborhood walk a few weeks ago. An intensely planted front yard stood in stark contrast to the dead dormant lawns surrounding it. At first glance it’s not exactly my planting style, with it’s colorful floral display, but I crossed the street to get a closer look and in doing so was reminded about the importance of covering the ground. Read More…

Fall foliage wish list

Fall foliage wish list

Oh, October. So dreamy, with the leaves all ablaze. And over much too quickly. If there’s one month where I’d like to press pause and enjoy it a little longer, it’s October. Second best to being able to freeze time is planting more of this stuff at home, so there’s more time to admire it.

Because there’s no such thing as too much fall color, I keep a running wish list whenever I see spectacular fall foliage I must have. This year has been bananas. So much jaw dropping, vibrant color everywhere. We’ve had a pretty dry October in Portland, so the leaves have been sticking around longer, and those that have fallen are dry and crispy.

In no particular order, because I haven’t the heart to rank one plant better than another, these are a dozen dazzlers that made the list.
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Gossler Farms Nursery, in person

Gossler Farms Nursery, in person

Writing for two blogs (this one and my personal blog, danger garden) it’s sometimes hard to decide where to post certain stories. In early September I had the pleasure of visiting Gossler Farms Nursery and accordingly took a gazillion photos. When I finally started editing them down (a task made sadly easier by the fact it was a beautiful sunny day, thus harsh light and shadows made many of them worthless) I still wasn’t sure where to post them. However, after Megan shared bits from Roger’s visit to Xera Plants last week, it became obvious I needed to do a Part II “Gossler Farms, in person” post here.  Read More…

Punica granatum ‘Eight Ball’ ?

Punica granatum ‘Eight Ball’ ?

The great thing about walking the neighborhood is you see things you might miss from the car. I’d noticed this particular garden because it has the most exquisitely pruned Sambucus. And truth be told, I’ve been hoping to catch the pruner in the act–so I can offer to clear some of the pruned bits. Rumor has it that it’s easy plant to propagate. And I’m ready to give it a try.

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Operation Embrace Autumn

Operation Embrace Autumn

This year I have a plan. Instead of fighting the loss of summer I am celebrating the beauty of autumn. I know that comes naturally to many of you, and I’ll admit I’m a touch jealous. I want to be the person who is happy in the moment. Not looking back, or rushing into the future, but living in the now. So in addition to buying a new pair of boots and a couple fabulous sweaters (oh and scarves, we must have scarves) I’m finding new ways to enjoy my garden. Can’t spend the afternoons working in the garden? Then I’ll find a way to bring some of those plants into the house.  Read More…

I do declare: Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fen’s Ruby’

I do declare: Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fen’s Ruby’

My birthday is the Ides of March. So perchance you’ll forgive my proclivity to ignore warnings. Have you ever fallen head over heels with a plant despite other gardeners’ cautions? Tis indeed the case with Fen’s Ruby Cypress Spurge. I’ve got it bad for this little guy. But honestly, this is no Bishop’s Weed. I have never had anything but gushing admiration. It looks fabulous almost year round, adds lush texture, and it provides such a great counterpoint to the other plants. And in the unlikely occasion it wears out its welcome, it yanks with alacrity. Read More…

More from McMenamins Kennedy School

More from McMenamins Kennedy School

Last week I shared the spiky side of the Kennedy School gardens, but there is so much more to see! Walking the grounds is always a mix of checking in on old friends, to see how they’re doing, and discovering new things. Sometimes I have a pretty good idea what they are, other times I don’t have a clue. Read More…