my kingdom for a tree, or two…

my kingdom for a tree, or two…

Do you count losses from pesky winter weather as opportunity? That’s the path I’m taking. This small tree/large shrub for instance. Do you think it’s a sign that I can never remember its name? Oleander? No, that’s not right. It has Rosemary-like foliage. It’s from New Zealand, and I bought it at Xera Nursery. I transplanted it from my Alameda garden. But I have a devil of a time remembering the genus. (more…)

the Urban Forest

the Urban Forest

Do you have any notion of the percentage of evergreen versus deciduous trees in your area? I hadn’t given it much thought. I’ve been wanting to add conifers to my garden, not too big–and I want them to have an open canopy. But other than that, what I don’t know is a lot.

How about you. What’s your sense of trees in the Urban Forest? (more…)

there’s always room in Skidmore Woods

there’s always room in Skidmore Woods

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. (more…)

Mt. Hood National Forest by Mother Nature

Mt. Hood National Forest by Mother Nature

It seems like five minutes ago I was recounting my reading group’s trek to the McKenzie River near Eugene, Oregon. But that was already a whole year ago. Our annual fall retreat is 20+ years in the making. This year, the six of us went to Welches, Oregon. We stayed in a lovely home on the Salmon River. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty. Welches in the Mt. Hood Corridor, 45 miles west of Portland, between Zigzag and Wemme. That’s right, Wemmy.

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Stopped cold by the foliage…

Stopped cold by the foliage…

Walking back to the hotel our first day in San Diego I spotted a tree that stopped me in my tracks. Instant plant lust! Never mind that I had no idea what I was lusting after.
by hotel 1

As I’ve written before travel induced plant lust is a malady I frequently suffer from. Identifying the new object of my affection becomes a game, will I spot it again…maybe in a nursery, or a botanical garden? Or perhaps a local gardener will walk by while I’m drooling, take pity on me and whisper the name in my ear? (more…)

I’ve got a bad case of magnolia lust

I’ve got a bad case of magnolia lust

Magnolias are a romantic bunch, thought of like southern belles with a blousy bloom, a fleeting moment of floral perfection. Whenever I confess to love them madly, I’m met with a questioning glance. This does not equate. She of the spikes, desert plants and love of foliage…magnolias? Yes!

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Travel induced plant lust…

Travel induced plant lust…

On the short list of ways I enjoy spending my time, and money, traveling comes right after buying plants. Or maybe they should be equal, because while traveling I can buy plants?

Wherever I venture I make a point of visiting neighborhoods. Walking up and down streets and seeing how the residents garden (or don’t) tells me a lot about an area. My most recent explorations took place in the Bay Area of California, a climate that sends me into plant lust overload. Seeing a garden like the one pictured below is escapism at its best!

plant lust overload

(more photos of this garden here)

However it is one thing to lust over something you cannot have, it’s another when you discover a new obsession that just might be in your growing zone. Let me back up a bit…

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A Few Good Trees for Flamingo Park

A Few Good Trees for Flamingo Park

I’ve been studying trees for my new garden this week, and with so many worthy candidates, I’m giddy at the prospects. In my last garden, I got a bit carried away, adding some 25 trees in our 50 x 100 city lot. All in all, I loved those trees, but probably wouldn’t plant some of them again, mostly for aesthetic reasons. One Birch was too close to the patio. Or rather, we planted it before we considered a patio; if only we’d sited it a few feet farther out… But the birches did a superb job of screening us from the street, provided a shady westside garden, and their glowing white bark was nice in dead of winter. There were a few misses, e.g. Acer plantanoides ‘Drummondii’, aka Variegated Norway Maple, pretty, but reverted to green in a most ungainly manner in spite of our best efforts. The Albizia julibrissin, a gorgeous but a weak tree and so so so messy. (I hear that A. julibrissin ‘Chocolate Summer’ is smaller and more manageable. Hmmmm.)

Some earlier choices, though, were spot on, and they are still on the favorites list.

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