Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ferrante Garden

Well, I think I've wallowed in self-pity long enough over not getting to go to the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland. (Wah, wah, wah! Time to get over it.) I made up for it by taking part in the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, which I've covered in a couple of June blog posts, as well as attending the HPSO/Garden Conservancy Tour in Portland in late June with my friend Annette. Also, while I was away in Massachusetts I managed to take a day to visit a couple of gardens which I have yet to post about. And just this past weekend I went down to Long Beach, WA for the Music in the Gardens Tour. So...I'm behind on posting, which means I better get my finger out and start writing and sorting through my pictures.

You can read about the HPSO/Garden Conservancy Tour here. Basically, it was a joint effort of the Garden Conservancy and Hardy Plant Society of Oregon that focused on 6 gardens in North and Northeast Portland, small urban gardens with the stated theme: "Within the City Limits: Minimum Space - Maximum Results."

Once I start sorting through my photos it's usually easy to see which gardens were favorites -- it's the ones where I took plenty of pictures. We actually visited the Ferrante Garden third that day, but it stood out immediately. It's obvious even with a cursory glance that Jenn Ferrante has a great eye for color-matching plants, containers and garden art and for placing art and creating plant combinations that work.

From the website, in the words of the gardener: "A wonderful large corner lot is home to a seven-year-old garden filled with luscious plants and quirky art. Foliage rules here, with featured areas of both shade and sun plants. I have a definite color scheme, focusing on black, chartreuse and burgundy. No pastels in this garden! Gravel hell strips frame both sides of the garden, containing plants that thrive with little water. The west-side garden is a lovely respite containing an angled deck that puts you right in the middle of all the plantings."

I took a bad establishing photo of the lovely Craftsman style house, but I'm not going to share it.

This hanging multi-paned window and matching containers were on the front porch.

Love this fabulous rusty container

Leaf and flower belong together

These glass lanterns matched not only the foliage but also nearby chairs and seat cushions on the deck.

I love terra cotta containers

This line-up of terra cotta clay cylinders was just below the stairs

Many Flingers have remarked on Facebook and in blog posts that orange seems to be a signature Portland color. Here it is again.

Enormous Kirengeshoma palmata

This metal trough planted with succulents hung on the fence, and was topped with a dead moss-covered branch.

Simple table vignette

The purple barberry and Panicum are pretty common plants, but still make perfect companions.

Water-loving Acorus gramineus is a perfect plant for just below a rain chain

There were quite a lot of rusty garden ornaments featured here as well. We asked Jenn where she got her garden art, and she said she'd bought quite a lot of it at the Cracked Pots Art Festival, which is an annual art show that is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, in Edgefield, OR. It showcases Northwest artists who make provocative art from reused, recycled and reimagined materials. Read about it here.

I hope you enjoyed this look at Jenn Ferrante's garden in Portland, OR. It was a fun day for me and my friend Annette. We even ran into Loree of Danger Garden and the MulchMaid herself Jane Finch-Howell.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden This Week...

Is Eucomis comosa 'Sparkling Burgundy.' I have this plant growing in two places in my garden -- in the new front bed, where it springs up from amongst a clump of Sedum 'Angelina,' and in the gravel garden, where I have a pair of plants that have been growing for a couple of years, now well-established and getting bigger every year. Strangely, a second pair planted in the gravel garden only 6 feet away disappeared after our harsh winter. (Fortunately, they left me a bare spot where I planted a cactus and an Agave.)

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' in the gravel garden (Please ignore the weeds)

Not quite flowering yet, but close

It wasn't hard to decide what to choose for a weekly favorite. They are the best-looking plants in my heat- and drought-stressed garden. So I picked them despite the fact that they aren't actually flowering yet.

I'm glad I did, and I'm glad I went out to photograph them when I did. When I stepped over to the new front bed to take photos, I saw this:

What a beauty!

Surrounded by lilies, Sedum 'Angelina' and Nasturtiums

I have three growing in the front bed, the third is to the far upper left.

Another view of those same two

It's not hard to see why they're called Pineapple Lily.
Here's some info about Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy.'

Zone: 6b-9b
Height: 1-3 feet
Width: 1-3 feet
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Water Needs: Medium moisture

From Plant Delights Nursery: "We selected this dramatic, purple-foliaged pineapple lily as a seedling in 1983, and it has now become one of the most talked-about plants in our garden. This dramatic accent plant produces strap-like foliage of dark burgundy forming a rosette to 24" wide. In late summer, the clump produces a 20" tall bloom stalk resembling a miniature purple pineapple...very cool! Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' is very easy to grow and tolerates a wide range of garden abuses. In cooler climates, it makes a great color-bowl combo plant!"

They're right about the garden abuses -- the ones in my gravel garden have only been watered once since our summer drought began. I don't remember where I got the two well-established ones in the gravel garden, but the three new ones came from The Lily Pad in Olympia, WA. and they have been watered daily. (Once the new front garden is well-established, the watering there will also taper off).

Loree at Danger Garden hosts The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme. Check out the links in the comments of her post here to find other garden bloggers who are sharing info about their favorite plant this week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Foliage Followup -- July, 2014 -- A Few Crispy Critters

When we got back from our trip to Massachusetts on Sunday, one of the first things I noticed was that my 'Forest Pansy' redbud was already dropping way too many leaves, due to drought and heat stress. Unfortunately, it was one of the plants that wasn't covered by the sprinklers that I had left on a timer. They're pretty leaves, but I would vastly prefer it if they stayed on the tree. I've noticed since the heat wave that many of the native trees around town have already started to turn. I've never noticed that happening so early before. PNW native plants often start to go dormant early, in mid-summer, an adaptation that makes them suited to our droughty summers. But 'Forest Pansy' is an eastern redbud, and I was rather afraid that it might have gotten so stressed that it was dying. I gave it a lot of water, which soaked right in, and have watered it each day since. I think it's perking back up. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Crispy, but colorful redbud leaves -- A harbinger of Fall

Much healthier-looking than when we first returned, but I'm still worried

Because it's the kind of plant that loves wet feet, my large clump of Darmera peltata/Indian rhubarb likes the low spot where it's planted, but when there's no rain for weeks, in my garden there's no such thing as a wet low spot. Many of the leaves are dry and crispy.

Fortunately, the Ricinus communis 'New Zealand Purple' and the Tertrapanax papyrifera 'Steroidal Giant' are planted where they got the benefit of the sprinkler all week.

'New Zealand Purple' and Amaranthus foliage

Canna 'Tropicanna' is fabulous, and likes wet feet too. It's planted in a container with no drainage holes.

My 'Gryphon' Begonia, which recently dropped every leaf, is starting to wake up from its short period of sleep, and is producing new leaves.

These dark elephant ears and dark-leaved Canna really stand out here in this shady spot surrounded by bright green.

My serviceberry/Amelanchier alnifolia is really quite heavily laden with fruit, and is going to provide a feast for the birds as soon as they discover them.

Bolting lettuce is trying to push its way through the bird netting that I put on to deter neighborhood cats. We were eating this just the week before we left, but not now, it will be way too bitter.

Squash plants love the heat too, they are spilling over the walls of the raised veggie beds, where last week when we left, they hadn't even reached the ground yet.

That's some of the outstanding foliage in my garden this month. How about yours? Post a comment at Pam Penick's blog Digging, so we can all come and ogle your plants.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, July, 2014 -- Lots of Orange, Red, Yellow and Pink -- And a Touch of the Blues

Once again, I am thoroughly amazed at how quickly the middle of the month has arrived. Summer is going by so fast! And lately we here in the PNW have  been in the grip of a heat wave, which for us means temps in the mid-to high-80s. This kind of weather happens so seldom here, that very few houses and establishments have air-conditioning, so it's hard to escape the discomfort. Fortunately, the temperatures go back down into the 60s at night, which means if you stick a fan in a window after sunset, you can pull some cooler air into the house and thus get a little sleep.

Some of you know that I was away for the past week, visiting my son Iain in Massachusetts, helping him recover from arthroscopic surgery on his hip. The surgery went well, and he is recovering very quickly, already hobbling around on crutches and putting partial weight on the operated-on leg. I had been planning to spend part of last week in Portland at the Garden Bloggers Fling, but when the surgery got scheduled for the same week, sadly, I had to choose my son over fun and garden touring with other garden bloggers.

Anyway, I returned this past Sunday to a garden that was very floriferous despite the heat and lack of rain. I had left four sprinklers on a timer throughout the garden beds, so some of the newly planted perennials and shrubs got well watered. Others didn't fare quite so well, but a good dose of water from the hose yesterday perked almost everything right back up.

Here's what flowering right now in my PNW Zone 7b/8a garden.

Lots of orange and apricot and yellow Nasturtiums

Daylily 'Bold Tiger'

Dahlia 'Midnight Something'

Echinacea purpurea

Bright orange Nasturtium with Mertensia maritima

Lily 'Llandini'

Nicotiana and bug

Another very fragrant lily whose name I can't be bothered to look up

Ornamental Oreganum 'Kent Beauty'

Nicotiana alata


Starts with an M -- Morina longifolia (Thanks to Garden Bug!)

Milkweed and feather grass

Kniphofia and feather grass

A view of the curve in the recycled concrete wall

Another lily

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Another ornamental Oregano, Oreganum libanoticum

Linum lewisii, there it is, that touch of the Blues

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to everyone! GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Bloggers from all over the world contribute to this meme, so go check it out here.