sedum corner, ooh la la

sedum corner, ooh la la

Plants surprise me every time. I know they grow and all, but holy moly, the lengths to which they go. When we removed our 12′ x 40′ section of mass planted juniper, I didn’t have an exact plan. Except for the little lower bed which spoke to me right away: Sedum Corner. And I am happy to report that in just its second season, it’s fabulous. I must have take a picture of the shrubs planted in this space before, but darn if I can lay hands on it. It had a several spireas and azalaleas, which are perfectly fine–but not here. When I say “we” removed, I mean Bill and Elliot. But I provided strong moral and editorial support. This stage of the project is always nerve-wracking. Getting to where you want to go entails a big impossible-looking mess. It reminds me of being in the dentist chair after Dr. Jeff has drilled a gaping hole my tooth. Dear dog, please don’t let anything go awry at this delicate juncture: I do not know how to fix it myself. Since I knew what I wanted to do here, moral support included encouraging the guys to go faster. “No hurry, take your time.” Those scalloped hoohahs mentioned above, I flipped them upside down and planted Dasylirion longisssimum and Agave bracteosa behind them. Flipped is better, don’t you think? At this stage, I had every intention of tracking plant identifies–with one of my many failproof systems. This one is not bad. Imagine if I were consistent. I’m so happy when I take the time to do this, stellar photo or not. And I just realized another benefit of taking photos of the tags, I’ve got...
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....