Monday, May 21, 2012

Risking a tired is a garden...

Some random thoughts have been rattling around and ready to spill out.  No "drop the chicken" moments happening (thank you to a fellow writing classmate for that handy metaphor...Kristina is a talented young writer and you can follow her blog here  Kristina's writing blog Bird Droppings).....just recurring minor observations.  Hanna Rion has written, "The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses"....and this is so true.  But, it occurs to me that there are so many other "senses" that also awaken in the garden.  The sense of anticipation, the sense of wonder, the sense of accomplishment....well, the list goes on. 

Plants make it to wish list after visit to Dancing Oaks

Well, the wish list just got longer.  A visit to Dancing Oaks in Monmouth, Oregon, revealed these lovelies that now must find a place in the garden.  I was also happy to find the botanical name and tag information for a ground cover plant that I bought at a recent local plant sale which came with scant to no information.  Turns out it could be a pretty good score for that blasted slope which is plaguing us.

Heuchera Plum the foliage color
And, another "must have"...a sizable plant, Crambe cordifolia....this one easily topping 5 feet.  It is also known as Colewort, and said to easily grown to 8 feet.  Whoa!

For some time I've admired this plant and now I finally have a is a Sambucus, possibly Black Lace cultivar.  Also, known as an elderberry.  Another statuesque specimen from 4-5 feet.

This is the mystery plant...turns out to be a creeping raspberry.  Who knew?

Monday, May 14, 2012

A few things that are working for me right now......

One or two parts of the garden are beginning to is this Stipa Gigantea ornamental grass that I caught in the act of being backlit by the setting sun.

The thrill of plumage on grasses starts at this time of year (and I admit that I am a complete sucker for plumage).  And, so abrupt....only a few days ago it looked like this.....

Granted this is photographed from a different angle and time of day...but, you get the idea.

So much can change so rapidly at this time of year!

I'm also really beginning to like how the front foundation planting is coming along.  It consists of Moon Bay Nandinas, Japanese Forest Grass, Carex morrowii, one Skimmia and one vine maple in the corner with Christmas ferns at it's base.  The red blooms are Girard's Hotshot azaleas...the only blast of relatively short lived color amongst a green palette of foliage which I find a soothing place of welcoming to the side gate.

And, one last thing...this is an unusual color combination but I'm beginning to find it quite fascinating.....a vine maple and an artichoke wrestling to see whose foliage will get the upper hand....stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reusable, recylable....Trader Joe's in the garden!

The edge of the grass we wanted to keep was chiseled out with an edger to form a small trench, into which the bags were tucked.
Well, today was a busy day in the garden, so here is a snippet from the activities.  Trader Joe's paper bags come with suggestions on how you can reuse or recycle, but this was not on the about using them to reclaim some grass for a planting area? 

Let's say you have too much grass.  Want to get rid of it and create a nice planting area?  Don't dig up the grass....nature put too many goodies in there to discard!  Just paper over, with handy Trader Joe bags (or newspaper, or cardboard, also work well), spray with a bit of water to get 'em nice and soggy, and then cover with bark mulch or any other organic material.

Once you get the paper bags in place, spray with water and top dress with mulch, and they will stay in place (try not to step on them too much for the first couple of weeks).
In a couple of months the grass will have died back, lending all that good natural nitrogen and other organic elements to the soil underneath  (and, I can attest from my own observations that the earthworms just go crazy under that cozy layer of damp material, giving the soil a lovely texture). Then you can start gently digging and planting whatever suits you.  Meanwhile, you have a tidy mulched area, and the best mowing or watering!

Here is a larger view of the more of the planting area created in the last couple of days.  All of the mulched area (reddish brown in color, as our local mulch here in the Willamette Valley is a deliciously aromatic mix of chopped Douglas Fir wood) has been treated in this way and was previously lawn area....very tedious to mow.

There is quite a slope to this section, which made mowing downright treacherous...a terrace will go in to provide easy planting and maintenance, as well as a small rocky path to climb the slope.

And now, Oh, the possiblities!  The summer will be spent designing the planting for this new area and in the Fall when the rains begin again to provide water to the new plants, the digging will begin.  What fun!

Monday, May 7, 2012

It begins.....starting from seed

So begins the first post....May 7, 2012, and the sunniest morning yet here in the early Summer of the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  So, what am I doing sitting at the computer when I should be out madly working the garden?  I ask myself this, and other questions.....more to come.....