Snow Day

Snow Day

Controversy! Some of us at plant lust and friends love snow, and others hate it. I’m in the minority on the love-it side. Snow makes my heart happy. We only see it every few years in Portland, and it’s usually fleeting. I watch the winter weather forecast eagerly, looking for signs of hope. Most of the time, snowflake forecasts are fools gold. Even though I pray for snow, I understand the heartbreak when those of us pushing the limits of our planting zones have our hopes for mild winters dashed. I know a wintery day brings some people down the same way a 100 degree day sinks my heart. But the universe is indifferent to our suffering, all we get to do is watch. This weekend’s snow was followed by freezing rain. I know. Even less popular than snow. Some of the plants may not survive their ice bath. But boy was were they pretty. Opuntia NOID, shared by another Portland Gardener with a large mature plant. Hope that means it’s hardy. Opuntia humifusa should be just fine. Hardy to zone 4, and a real trooper, having survived a mad vandal ripping it to pieces one year in the heat of summer, and an over-crowded, over-shaded situation the next. This Agave NOID might be toast. It spent cold nights indoors in previous years. Such thick snow and ice for this poor thing. Maybe the squid agave will make it? Zone 8b. A girl can hope. Chief Joseph Pine shouldn’t be phased. The ice just magnified the gold needles. I really love this plant. The Fatshedera flowers looked like miniature...
The Plants of Union Way

The Plants of Union Way

Have you noticed a trend of stylish shops with stylish plants on display? I’m seeing a lot of good plants in new places, and I like it. My stepfather was stationed in Germany when he was in the military, and always remembers coming across a sign which read “Grün ist Leben,” green is life. Indeed. We never really knew what the sign maker intended. I guess it could be interpreted as a drug reference, but we like to think it’s a gardening thing. Recent Design Within Reach catalogs showed off their fancy pants furniture alongside big agaves and cacti. I’ve noticed agaves and yuccas and opuntia, oh my… in all kinds of fashion photography. It makes perfect sense to me. Plants should be a part of our lives. Grün ist Leben. Birthday-season has kicked off in my world, and I have a gift giving occasion just about every weekend from now through the end of the year, making September-December one big holiday party blur. For reasons I can’t explain, not everyone wants plants as gifts, so I’m venturing outside of the nursery shopping I’d really rather be doing during this frickin’ perfect planting weather. Happily, plants are having a moment in stores of all kinds, so there’s still some garden-y inspiration to be found while wandering the aisles. Have you been to Union Way shopping arcade in Downtown Portland? It’s like a very tiny outdoor mini-mall, with shops built around an open air alley. Nice shops for presents, but what really caught my eye were the wall mounted succulent planters. I like that the planters are not cookie cutters,...
plants en masse

plants en masse

  Mass planting has its place, as evidence by the Hakonechloa shown above in my previous garden. People couldn’t resist petting it when they walked past. It was a such successful grouping, mentioned by Ms. Nestmaker way back when. I actually put that together, and then loved it. Isn’t that the greatest thing about gardening? You plant things, and often get even more spectacular results than imagined. It still surprises me no end, the great things plants do.     And then there’s a sea of Juniper at our new house, stretching far and wide along top the lava-rock wall, that plant selection, maybe should have been cause for reflection. Thusly, I’ve started operation Juniper removal project, a few branches at a time. I know you’re laughing. But I got a couple bids, all in the thousands, so I thought it a worthwhile undertaking. Just think of the improvements I could make with that kind of dough–tell Jabba I don’t have the money with me–the plants I could buy, the compost, the rocks. Pitter patter says my heart. Plus this one-branch-at-a-time business is all I can manage with my current state of shoulder rehab. And besides, it’s an old family tradition. My hummingbird-loving dad, Poppy, was forever cutting yard debris into itty bits to fit it into the bin. (Come to think of it, maybe that’s how he found time away from the thundering herd. He was as only child, yet father to six. My mom was from a big family, so I don’t think she found us quite as alarming.)   So the Juniper caper. I’m still not sure what I’m doing on the removal portion of the program....