Never say never, redux

Never say never, redux

I am a long time proponent of the one-plant-per-pot style of container gardening. Even with succulents I prefer to keep it simple and let that one strong plant stand alone — all the better to appreciate its features. However as I’ve said before (for example here) never say never… (more…)

Never say never…

Never say never…

My business partner Megan has said, “There is no such thing as a bad plant, just plants used badly.” I’m pretty sure she’s on to something.

Some plants get a bad rap because they’re work-horses, standards used over and over again, often in commercial settings where they’re abused – and thus not looking their best. Some plants become representatives for an entire genus, like the ubiquitous rhododendron foundation plantings seen in front of every third house in my Portland neighborhood. How many casual gardeners have the opportunity to discover unique rhododendron species, those beyond the common? And some plants are disliked simply because familiarity breeds contempt. In my case the conifer I grew up with, Pinus ponderosa – growing everywhere in my native Eastern Washington – was so ever-present and looming, they turned me against conifers in general.

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Is the saying true, does familiarity breed contempt?

Is the saying true, does familiarity breed contempt?

As those of you who read my personal blog (danger garden) know – and are probably sick of hearing about – I opened my garden as part of a fund-raising tour last weekend. One of the frequently asked about plants was the Callistemon viridiflorus. Some of those asking expressed shock it was hardy here in Oregon, followed by a sort of disapproving grunt and something about “growing them in California, why would I want to grow it here!” I’ve heard a similar reaction from others who’ve grown up surrounded by “bottlebrushes” they don’t feel the attraction that I do…

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a garden tour: designer Vanessa Gardner Nagel

a garden tour: designer Vanessa Gardner Nagel

I love getting into other people’s gardens. And when the gardener is also a professional designer, it’s an extra dose of fun. This weekend, Vanessa Nagel-Gardner opened her personal as part of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Open Gardens 2016. It’s a terrific opportunity to see fabulous gardens, and for a joining fee of $35, an absolute bargain. You can tour April thru October around Portland environs, so check your local listings for opportunities near you.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all you terrific gardeners willing to host these events. We all know how much work goes into it. Such generosity exists!

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More from a beautiful autumn

More from a beautiful autumn

There appear to be a few reoccurring themes on this blog, and in my gardening life. First up…”never say never” – just because you’ve not cared for a particular plant doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself falling for it’s charms someday. Megan recently admitted to buying a Fuchsia and I’ve somehow found myself embracing ornamental cabbage and kale. The latest example? I spent a couple of hours last week at the Portland Chinese Garden celebrating Mumvember

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Gardenspotting

Gardenspotting

I just love it when I’m driving down the street on some uninspired errand, when I spy the house of an obvious mad gardener. Even better when I have time to stop and poke around for a closer look.

This garden makes me happy. Clearly the person who lives here loves plants. They are gifted in a way I envy. They’ve densely packed the garden with a diverse living privacy screen that’ll look good all year round, all without looking like a hoarder.

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I wish I’d planted that

I wish I’d planted that

The garden is feeling camera shy this week. It’s had a long dry summer and we are both really looking forward to some rain. I’m starting construction soon, finally replacing my chain link fence after years of masking the eyesore with plants. Since many of my plants took a beating this year anyway (due to many factors, spilt milk), it seemed like a good time to hit the pause button and get a proper backdrop in place. At this point I’m just coasting out the summer and looking forward to next season, in this case, spring, when the construction is done. In my fantasy garden “next season” is never two seasons away, waiting out the fall and winter in anticipation of spring, holding over with only the evergreens, so the garden isn’t completely asleep. It would be much more fun to approach winter with anticipation of a spectacular garden show. I have such envy every time I see winter trees and shrubs covered in fruit and berries, and realize the garden could still be unfolding all year round, festively decorated and inviting the birds to stop by.

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