HPSO Fall Fest Lecture: Sean Hogan on deck

HPSO Fall Fest Lecture: Sean Hogan on deck

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon holds a giant spring sale–and also a smaller Fall Sale. Oh, there is still a gaggle of crazy gardeners vying for fabulous plants, but the fall sale is a little more mellow than spring’s Black Friday crush. And a great feature of the fall event is an opening lecture by a groovy plantsperson. This year, the incomparable Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery with a talk on his top 40 plants.  (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…)

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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I do declare: Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fen’s Ruby’

I do declare: Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fen’s Ruby’

My birthday is the Ides of March. So perchance you’ll forgive my proclivity to ignore warnings. Have you ever fallen head over heels with a plant despite other gardeners’ cautions? Tis indeed the case with Fen’s Ruby Cypress Spurge. I’ve got it bad for this little guy. But honestly, this is no Bishop’s Weed. I have never had anything but gushing admiration. It looks fabulous almost year round, adds lush texture, and it provides such a great counterpoint to the other plants. And in the unlikely occasion it wears out its welcome, it yanks with alacrity. (more…)

Unexpected groundcovers

Unexpected groundcovers

Groundcovers are…

The icing on the cake?

The bow on the present?

The cherry on the sundae?

Whatever cliche fits best, they deserve some special attention. Last week I realized how important groundcovers are to pulling together a garden, and I’ve been looking for some good contenders ever since.

I’m sure we’ve all seen certain plants get overused as carpets in parking lot beds and in front of new homes as builders’ favorites, and those plants get crossed right off our lists. Lucky for us there is no end to new and unusual plants, which is why we garden, isn’t it?

For groundcovers to make the cut on this particular list, they had to meet some basic criteria:

  • – Be super cool or weird
  • – Have a long season of interest
  • – Don’t rely on flowers as the main attraction
  • – Be reasonably easy to grow
  • – Be frost hardy
  • Don’t be something I’ve seen a million times

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