Gardeners have been known brake hard when they happen upon this scene. It’s an ordinary city lot in the Alameda neighborhood located in northeast Portland. As you can well see, the gardener here employs stealth and magic in the tiniest spaces.

You know when you have the thought that there is no room for your latest horticultural heartthrob? Well I’m here to tell you, there’s always room–as evidenced by Skidmore Woods.

Skidmore Woods in Portland's Alameda Neighborhood.

Skidmore Woods in Portland’s Alameda Neighborhood.

I think people’s opinions on this fall into opposite ends of the spectrum, genius or madness. But in all seriousness, why can’t it be both. I LOVE this place. I’ve never been lucky enough to catch the gardener in process, though I do occasionally see evidence that he/she is nearby.

A gardener was here--one with an optimistic view judging from bin size.

A gardener was here–one with an optimistic view judging from bin size.

The very front corner shows remarkable restraint. One lovely Lace Leaf Maple. The kitty was there when I visited 2 weeks ago. So sweet and soft. Just like that cute dog Mae Mae I met a couple weeks ago in the Mt. Hood National Forest, I wanted to make her mine. I did not. Because that would be wrong.

Japanese Lace Leaf Maple all on its ownsome.

Japanese Lace Leaf Maple all on its ownsome.

I stood behind the maple to take photos of the sidewalk views–looking right to left.

The north sidewalk view looking east.

The north sidewalk view looking east.

Straight ahead. I’d love to get in there and see how it feels. It must be fantastic.

Straight ahead, the path to the house.

Straight ahead, the pathway to the house.

And the other way, to the north.

The west sidewalk view looking north.

The west sidewalk view looking north.

Taken as a whole, I’ll admit to the cacophony. But if you narrow your view, there’s a delicious scenario everywhere you look.

An Ilex? groundcover.

An Ilex? groundcover.

These are Cyclamen, right? I’m such a baby with these. Summer dormant confuses me. I’m I alone in that?

Solid silver and a variegated Cyclamen.

Solid silver and a variegated Cyclamen.

This looks like a Daphne to me, but I’ve been fooled before. It looks great, whatever name applies.

Daphne perchance?

Daphne perchance?

Peering this direction feels calming to my eye. It’s those clean lines of bark that settle it down.

Clean lines with layered backdrop.

Clean lines with layered backdrop.

Here’s a closer look at the conifer in the foreground. I don’t know my conifers, except Dedrus deodara, because my parents had one. Well, maybe a couple others, but limited knowledge at best.

A Thuja maybe.

A Thuja maybe.

I may need to disabuse myself of the notion that I don’t like Camellias. I suspect it’s because of all the Camellia in my past trimmed into lollipop shrubs. In Skidmore Woods, I’m reminded of their innate beauty.

White Camellia

White Camellia

and this

White Camellia acting a wintertime Romneya coulteri.

White Camellia acting a wintertime Romneya coulteri.

and pink ones too.

Pink Camellia with fluttering petals.

Pink Camellia with fluttering petals.

All shades of pink peeking though here and there.

Free form camellias, the way they want to be.

Free form camellias, the way they want to be.

I take it back. I do like Camellias. I do, I do, I do.

How's this for perfection?

How’s this for perfection?

And even when it’s waning, still terrific.

Glorious until the end.

Glorious until the end.

Every little spot is utilized to great effect.

A spot for a big leaf Rhododendron. Of course.

A spot for a big leaf Rhododendron. Of course.

Loads of green on green texture.

Delicious, no?

Delicious, no?

Before I developed full-on gardening mania, I toured a woman’s garden and I remember her saying, “I have so much trouble getting plants to stay in their place.” Say what? That’s just crazy talk.

Everything is in its own place.

Everything is in its own place.

Plenty of space on the garden floor too. Take advantage!

Look at those leaves. I.D. anyone?

Look at those leaves. I.D. anyone?

No garden is complete without Epimediums. Lots of them.

Epimedium, of course.

Epimedium, of course.

More gorgeousity.

Clean structure with busy backdrop.

Clean structure with busy backdrop.

And, of course, the glorious Arthur Menzies Mahonia. How do I not have this glorious plant? How about you, is it in your garden?

Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies'

Mahonia x media ‘Arthur Menzies’

Can’t resist adding this picture too. The texture is just the best. Hope someone knows what it is.

What is it--besides incredible?

What is it–besides incredible?

To recap: yes, there’s room for your latest plant heartthrob. You may recommence planting. You’re welcome.

Cheers

 

Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies'
Evergreen mahonia very upright 6-10' with bright yellow flowers in winter that rise a foot above the leaves. Frost hardy to 0 °F, USDA zone 7.
Rhododendron macrophyllum 'Albion Ridge'
Big leaf Rhododendrons. There's a great nursery in Portland, Bovees, and they have great Rhodies. It's hard sometimes to buy them, however, because the Missus can't barely part with them.
Epimedium 'Akebono'
Epimedium 'Akebono' aka Akebono Barrenwort. So many Epemediums to choose from, and that's the good news.