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It’s that time of year when imprudent planting decision make themselves known. Labor Day already, can you believe it? At any rate,  I’m editing heck out of the garden. Noting where plants have flopped, too little sun. Or plants are fried, too much sun. Also looking at the water sprouts on the apple tree, which seem to get away from us no matter what. The upright branches radically changed the amount of sun getting through to the Hot Bed. Thusly, I ordered a lightweight pole pruner; it seems manageable without me become a menace. Water sprouts beware.

The bananas have been on hyperdrive this year. I have several pods–all started from wee pups. Oooh, they are so big, and several have flowered and produced the tiniest little bananas. That’s a first around these parts, at least for me. I read the blooming stalks will die, and I’m super relieved.

Wee bananas on the Musa basjoo. Photo by Bill Wagenblatt


I had to remind myself to look at what I do like, instead of  just gazing at horror in at the overgrown challenging bits. Last fall we ripped out so much from the front garden. And then Covid this spring. So I didn’t do as much plant shopping as I’d anticipated. There was a big bare spot right in the middle. Happy to report, these self-seeded New Zealand Purple Castor Bean performed with vigor. Don’t you love that, when a volunteer that steps up and makes it perfect.

Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple’ – a volunteer from last year.


Big leaves make me so giddy, especially in contrast to finer foliage. Before gardening in earnest, Megan told me contrasting foliage size and color keeps the garden from looking messy. Well, in theory.

Big dreamy leaves of Ricinus communis ‘New Zealand Purple’


This section of the garden makes me happy too–along the south end of the backyard fence. Those Rhodocoma capensis are super swoon-worthy, and I love the backdrop of Canna musafolia–both red and green varieties–and Musa basjoo. Big sexy leaves with fine texture, again a winner.

Satisfying combo Restio, Canna, and Banana


Although this pesky pandemic is sincerely thwarting opportunity to commune with fellow gardening friends, I did manage a couple outings in the last few weeks–with mask and careful social distancing. But even in claustrophobic cloth, it was great to see garden, plant, and people.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning the demonstrations happening in Portland. Friends and relatives from around the country have written in alarm—to see if we’re okay. Yes we are, thank you very much. The majority downtown is calm and pretty—though largely deserted because of the Covid Pandemic. But rest assured, Portland is far from a burned out cinder oft portrayed on the news.

Santa Fe Taqueria in NW PDX


An old hangout, Santa Fe Taqueria on NW 23rd. Our son, Elliot, lived a block from there for a year–and we’d meet him and Megan there for family Happy Hour. It’s only a few miles from where we live in Northeast Portland. We finally found a place where everyone knew our name: The Parents.

Alas, Elliot moved to Beaverton a year ago to be within walking distance of Nike.

Nike Campus — no walking there during pandemic. That’s Elliot on the right, with cousin Jenna and her husband Ben.


But with Covid, turns out Elliot’s been working from home almost the whole time anyway. He’s moving back to the downtown soon–and then maybe we’ll try Happy Hour again, outdoors. It’s hard not getting together with your kids, grownups though they be.

A few more shots around Portland–which is decidedly not aflame.

Downtown streets are mostly empty.


Amazing artwork is appearing on buildings boarded since Covid shutdown.


We said hello to the artist working here. She was sweet and friendly–taking an opportunity to practice her art on a blank canvas.

Below is the currently shuttered Apple Store–with more incredible art.

Beautiful art. And heartbreaking.


Gates to Old Town Chinatown. Lan Su Chinese Garden this way.


We haven’t been to the Chinese Garden this summer, but I read they are open with reservations. I’m want to go to there.

Lan Su Chinese Garden April 2017


I didn’t really say much about editing in the garden, other than it’s time to do it. But you know what I mean. Such strange times. It’s hard to stay on topic.

Hope you and yours are well, and that you are getting in lots of gardening–complete with your fair share of zealous editing.