I went to Hawai'i with my boy and hit the tropical gardens and I almost rethought all the NW natives I have in my yard.
Maybe high maintenance tropicals are the way to go? How gorgeous is that?
I've been clearing out the yard for winter, chopping down my unruly dahlias and planting tulips en masse. I also planted this freakshow:
It's an allium, which is the genus of onions, and boy did the bulbs smell like it. Apparently they are good to plant around your tulips and other bulbs because they deter would-be bulb eaters, like voles. While I was in Hawaii a huge storm came through Portland, which knocked over the patio umbrella (I meant to take it down before I left, I swear) . . . which took the table with it . . . which took out my birdbath . . . which smothered my chives. There's nothing like returning from paradise to a little bit of reality. Surprise! You're still a homeowner! There are no drinks in coconuts here.
It's sort of sad to see everything cleared away, like my poor tomato plants that never got past the green stage.
I think I'm going to turn my focus this winter to planning the front yard. And maybe applying for jobs in Hawaii.