if you please, build me a path: part 1

if you please, build me a path: part 1

I’ve been talking about paths and patio ever since we moved into our mid-century ranch house some 2+ years ago. I’ve consulted with trained professional, gotten sketches, drawn my own diagrams, saved a million examples on Pinterest. Sometimes it seemed all I was ever going to do is talk. And then I found inspiration. Nothing kicks me into high gear like a good buy. And by good buy, I mean any plant or accoutrement that I fall in love with and can’t live without. And honestly, if said object of desire then gets marked down by 65% or 70%, Oh là là. It counts double if you liked it before it went on sale, right? It started with a visit to the stone yard–to plan for pathways on either side of the house. I really wanted 2′ x 2′ pavers, but that seemed too hard. So I picked out 1′ x 2′ pavers instead, and headed to the check-out office. Of course, I hadn’t thought the project all the way through. But we did expect to get help. At our Alameda house, Bill and I built a low stone wall and, a few years later, a tumbled blue stone patio. The little patio was tucked into a sweet spot, right between the front and side doors. It was our nod to a porch, and we told our neighbors that if we were outside, they were welcome. I’m not sure they could always see us, but most were adept at hearing the pop of a cork. And another view, from the shady side. I really loved that garden, but alas, the new owners did not. They kept the patio,...
one thing leads to another — part II

one thing leads to another — part II

Remember last week when I said this week I’d continue with part II. Well, I’m to hell and gone from Cartagena. We’d been waiting on our contractor for a patio project, then suddenly the crew touched down. They’re making terrific progress, and we love it. (More on that later.) But as anyone knows who has had construction going on, it’s a tad trying to “stay on target.” My son Elliot repeats that to me like mantra whenever he accompanies me to Costco. He claims I have a tendency to wander off and lose focus. Hah, he should have seen me around here this week. But now, I’m doing my level best to get back to the topic that I claimed I would write about. It all started with a workshop at Bob Hyland’s Contained Exuberance shop in Portland, OR (wherein I learned something new, because workshops are good for that.) There were so many fabulous pots to choose from; that alone was enough to set my eyes spinning. And that was without even considering the complicated math problem of incorporating into my collection of pots at home. Yesterday I was back by the shop, and things had been rearranged. The photo atop the post features a new display. I wasn’t sure about the face pot before, but on the pedestal, I think it’s terrific. How do you feel about faces in the garden? I say no, generally speaking, but once in a while… I also like this new look in the shop, with pots arranged to invoke thoughts of a flowing creek–complete with fountainhead. Meanwhile, it got me thinking about all the pots I have already. It’s been so long since I bought many of them, I don’t remember what I planted initially–just that I fell in...
one thing leads to another–part I

one thing leads to another–part I

To think of the plants I’ve babied along, knowing in a dim corner of my brain that its days are numbered. But once the synapses fire in earnest, stand back. Mind you, I don’t always record the before scenario–because once I get it in my head it’s okay to get the ax, I need to act fast–in case I lose my nerve. Funny, the things that nudge me down the gardening path. No straight logical line. How about with you? I went to a workshop last weekend–at Bob Hyland’s Contained Exuberance shop–adjacent to Xera Plants in SE Portland. I’d been to one other of Bob’s workshop before, and as it turns out, I learn something new every time. That’s how it is when you talk to other gardeners–not to mention trained professionals. I was excited upon entering and espying the wine. And then I learned it was for color demonstration purpose only. (They’d have opened it if I insisted–or even just made the casual suggestion–but I was driving my own self that day–so I didn’t carry on. I’m just saying, workshops with wine tasting, could work out for both parties.) Here’s Bob sharing the ins and outs of pot life–construction technique, wall thickness, and durability. All pots are not created equal. Honestly, duh. Where have I been? The primary reason most of my pots have gotten through winters unscathed is because I’ve a tendency to fall for the most expensive option. I can’t deny the durability. I bought several similar of this type, and they’ve all performed terrifically–for many seasons. Doesn’t that Japanese Silver Grass look terrific. I LOVE grasses in pots, though I may have waited a...