Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up: Portland, Day 3, Part 1

Portland Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden in Portland is more than five acres of peace and tranquility. Pondering my lack of photos from there, I think I was just too absorbed in the experience to remember to get my camera out. The waterfall above might have been my favorite view (it's a cell shot). Trails meandered up the hill and through the woods. Water and the sounds it makes were a soothing backdrop…completely enchanting.

Some of us were fortunate enough to tour the garden with the garden curator, Sadafumi Uchiyama, who kept us enthralled with Japanese garden and design philosophy.

One of the more practical things he told us was that the hemlock hedges there are pinch-pruned—all of them!, by hand! Why? Because the plants can tell how you prune, and they respond differently depending on how you do it. Pruning with tools is harsher and causes a more dramatic, wayward regrowth response, he said.

This blinding white raked gravel (beautiful garden, bad photography—sorry!) symbolize Water and Summer in the Flat Garden. Plants and elements represent the four seasons, so it changes subtly as the year passes, but remains beautiful. The gourd-shaped bed in the photo, and the round one to its left, just out of view, represent enlightenment and happiness. The garden is meant to be viewed from a main viewing spot, as if it were a painting.

International Rose Test Garden

Down the hill and across the street is the International Rose Test Garden. There are 7000 plants here and nearly 500 varieties. One could easily photograph roses here all day long, but this sunny day made it more pleasant to stroll and sniff.

Ferns, and hostas in full bloom, made for a nice gathering spot in a welcome bit of shade. In a few minutes we would go to our next stop, Tamara Paulat's Chickadee Gardens.

Chickadee Gardens

What are all those garden bloggers looking at?

This Pesticide Free Zone sign! (And that photo-bombing foxglove.)

Chickadee Gardens has approximately 200 Pacific Northwest native plants, and is all organic. Creating such an environment provides a safe haven and habitat for wildlife, as well as the people who visit.

How cute (and wonderfully practical) is this vegetable garden tucked into the backyard. This was my kind of garden…lots of interesting plants and ornament, but with a sense of responsibility to the creatures that live with us here.

The "hellstrip" out front was so lushly planted! It added another layer of beauty to the garden and the neighborhood around it. The homeowner is completely charming too. Thank you for allowing us to see your garden, Tamara!


Read more Portland posts

The Portland Japanese Garden
International Rose Test Garden

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up: Portland, Day 2, Part 2

After lunch at Joy Creek Nursery (Day 2, Part 1), our group of Flinging garden bloggers headed to Old Germantown Gardens, the two acre property of Bruce Wakefield and Jerry Grossnickle.

As soon as I took one look down this inviting slope, deja vu hit.

But then as quickly, a flash of recall—I turned to Bruce and asked him if his garden had ever been on the HGTV program, "A Gardener's Diary."*

His look of total disbelief reminded me just what a garden nerd I am! I had recorded and saved several of those shows and watched them over and over—and in fact, yes, theirs was one of them!

Bruce and Jerry are enthusiastic gardeners who have created, or developed, lots of niche environments on their slope. This allows them to have all sorts of fun with an incredible array of plants. Dry areas, wet areas, hot spots, cool, sunny, shady—there's a good place for nearly anything. It was so much fun to get to see this garden in person after seeing it on TV so many times.

Panoramic views from the house and driveway show off the lovely conifer collection.

A greenhouse adjacent to the stone patio is home to lots of container plants and makes a good place to overwinter tender perennials.

Do you feel drawn in? It's hard not to want to descend into the green wonderland these two gardeners have created. They have done all the work themselves (for 23 years!)…it's hard to fathom, isn't it? And Jerry bakes, too! Pinwheel cookies and mango lemonade were served in the cool of the kitchen as we wound up our delightful tour.


We stepped off the bus into a field of lavender at our next stop, Westwind Farm Studio. It was a treat to be given scissors to cut a bunch to take home. Mine is now in a vase on my desk so I can reach over and touch it to release the fragrance every so often.

Westwind Farm Studio is about four acres of garden and 40 acres of meadow, designed to be a refuge for both people and wildlife. Naturalistic plantings like these are my personal favorites. What a pretty view from this slope.

Down the hill and through the poppies is where the house and pool are.

Drinks and cool feet were a refreshing way to end the day.

Crocosmia, Russian sage, and a peaceful view beyond

Do you see the perky little blur above this great stand of Jacob Cline beebalm? It's a hummingbird! These flowers drew so many hummers it was like standing near a bee hive. They created quite a buzz! I did the best I could to catch their antics, but, well, this was the best I could do—it was time to hike back up the hill to the bus!

Still to come: Portland Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden, and McMenamins Kennedy School

*If you enjoyed HGTV's "A Gardener's Diary" as much as I did, you might like catching up with the host, Erica Glasener. John Markowski interviewed her last spring for his podcast, Gardening Talk with ONG:

Check Out Gardening Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Gardening talk with ONG on BlogTalkRadio