Big, Bold, Statement Plants

Big, Bold, Statement Plants

I’m starting to think every front garden needs one. Mine sure does. A big old, stop-the-car, would-you-look-at-that, jaw dropping, statement plant. The kind you make sure to drive by when you’re in the neighborhood, like an old friend. (more…)

Snow Day

Snow Day

Controversy! Some of us at plant lust and friends love snow, and others hate it. I’m in the minority on the love-it side.

Snow makes my heart happy. We only see it every few years in Portland, and it’s usually fleeting. I watch the winter weather forecast eagerly, looking for signs of hope. Most of the time, snowflake forecasts are fools gold.

Even though I pray for snow, I understand the heartbreak when those of us pushing the limits of our planting zones have our hopes for mild winters dashed. I know a wintery day brings some people down the same way a 100 degree day sinks my heart. But the universe is indifferent to our suffering, all we get to do is watch.

This weekend’s snow was followed by freezing rain. I know. Even less popular than snow. Some of the plants may not survive their ice bath. But boy was were they pretty.

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Damn, I wish I’d planted that

Damn, I wish I’d planted that

To the best of my knowledge, there’s no rule against coveting thy neighbor’s plants. So I’ve been cruising this garden regularly ever since I spied pomegranates along the path last winter. I was kind of dying to know what was inside. The fruits are smaller than the ones you see at the grocery store. Are they ripe? Are they edible? I was soooo close to knowing the answer.

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Fall foliage wish list

Fall foliage wish list

Oh, October. So dreamy, with the leaves all ablaze. And over much too quickly. If there’s one month where I’d like to press pause and enjoy it a little longer, it’s October. Second best to being able to freeze time is planting more of this stuff at home, so there’s more time to admire it.

Because there’s no such thing as too much fall color, I keep a running wish list whenever I see spectacular fall foliage I must have. This year has been bananas. So much jaw dropping, vibrant color everywhere. We’ve had a pretty dry October in Portland, so the leaves have been sticking around longer, and those that have fallen are dry and crispy.

In no particular order, because I haven’t the heart to rank one plant better than another, these are a dozen dazzlers that made the list.
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Black Flower Round up

Black Flower Round up

Just another warm sunny October day here in Portland. The usual.

When I travel, I always meet people who say “Portland? It must rain all the time.” Or my favorite, “You probably get snow year round.” I wish.

I’m soooooo tired of watering plants. Maybe later this week the skies will finally open and give us a break.

It’s not quite time for sweaters and boots and blankets and hot drinks by fires, which is when I really start getting in the mood for Halloween. But that’ll roll around soon enough.

In the meantime, how about some black flower ogling to get in the mood for spooky times? (more…)

Grasses Having a Moment

Grasses Having a Moment

I’ve been lying. Many a time, I have said, “pppffffftttttt, flowers, they don’t do much for me. I like leaves!” And what am I doing now? Screeching to a stop to go photograph and pet the blooms on the grasses. Nothing makes me lament my shady lot quite as much as seeing glorious grasses in full bloom, dancing around in the sun.
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Ushering Out Summer with a Mesmerizing Mystery Grass

Ushering Out Summer with a Mesmerizing Mystery Grass

Like it or not, the calendar, indifferent to our preferences, announces the final day of summer today. Me, I love this time of year. The heat loosens its grip on our days, and my favorite plants are peaking. Grasses are blooming, the big leaves are at their biggest. The angle of the sun makes everything look magical and golden. It gets me in the mood for plant hunting, and I’ve got it bad for this mystery grass. I’ve got to get this into my garden.

UPDATE: Okay this is funny. It turns out this is Stipa barbata. The Annie’s Annuals description describes this plant similarly, so if I had just searched plant lust for “Mesmerizing Grass,” it would have led me to its identity. How random. But the photos we had were from the stage where the flower looks more like mexican feather grass, before it gets all puffed up and wispy.
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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.

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Sweet Little Log Planters

Sweet Little Log Planters

We had a wonderful, cool misty break from summer heat last week. The plants and the Portlanders seem to be in much better spirits. I know I am.

We’ve naturally been showing off sun worshipping plants the last few months, but I don’t want the woodland plants to feel left out. I have always had a soft spot for shady characters that make me think of a cool, mossy, ferny forest. I’m loving the little log gardens I’ve noticed here and there lately.
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