a garden tour: Heldreth’s Paradise

a garden tour: Heldreth’s Paradise

Recently the Heldreths held an open garden for fellow bloggers. We’d seen snippets of Laura & Charlie Heldreth’s garden in photographs, but most of us had not visited in person–and never en masse. If you’re a plant nerd, you know there is nothing better than kibitzing with other gardeners. No worries about dirt under your fingernails in this crowd. From left to right, Matthew “the Lents Farmer” Hubbard. Laney and Emma checking out the fish. Linda “WhatsitGarden” Coombs. Our host Laura “Gravy Lessons” Heldreth. Carter, artist extraordinaire. The very modest Amy “The World’s Best Gardening Blog” Campion. And gentle giant Barnaby. Bloggers could also be found in the garden party room. Isn’t it fabulous–a pergola AND sails.! The couple staring adoringly across the table, Lonnie and Mindy “Rindy Mae” Northrop — are parents to the cute kids shown checking out the fish. That’s Charlie Heldreth in the black shirt, co-creator of this terrific garden–and head mixer of the Italian Margarita! At center in the green shirt, Evan “Practical Geek” Bean. With his back to us, Alan “the Mardi Gras Gardener” Bertin. And the other side of Alan below. He recently started blogging and claims to be a novice gardener. I’ve visited his place, and I can safely report that he is a quick study. Gardeners–all so modest! Loree “danger garden” Bohl (in a super cute half-pic. The photographers had had two of Charlie’s Italian Margaritas at this point. If you’d tasted them, you wouldn’t blame me for imagining them harmless.) And the talented Anna “Flutter & Hum” Kulgren with jug of cough-suppressant in hand. I hope you’re enjoying the people pictures, but since these are bonafide garden blogger, it seems germane. And I like people pictures....
Tetrapanax, don’t make me sorry!

Tetrapanax, don’t make me sorry!

Oh boy, talk about a good thing, and perchance too much of it? The jury is out. But if year one is any indication, Flamingo Park, we may have a problem. These plants were gifts from Ron Wagner, a guy who packed his bag, and I mean singular bag, and headed for Thailand, leaving all his his earthly possessions behind. I only wish I’d met him sooner. He was a super talent as both artist and gardener. And look at his great digs.   This is what it looked like when I brought it home. A nice size already. I paid him a few bucks for the first couple, and then he piled a bunch more in the car. He said we might as well plant up northeast Portland. Last year, they got 4-5′ tall. The plants below get plenty of sun, at least 6 hours. I planted a couple others in the side patio bed. These get less sun, not more than 5 hours. (The upshot, those with a little more shade are growing faster.) Just to the right, there’s more full on sun–where I plant tropicals–bananas, Colocasias, Cannas–and whatever else wends its way into my shopping cart. See, the Tetrapanax last year was shorter than the Canna Musafolia. And this year, in February, I was so excited when I saw this new growth. It made it through the winter! And then I forgot about for a while, because I was not outside pulling weeds as I meant to be. Brrrrr. A month later I checked again–in the part-shade bed. Look, I towered above them. And now. Don’t get me wrong. I love these plants. Then I looked down...