Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day December 2015

The Meiji shinto shrine in Tokyo

At the end of October Greg and I flew to Japan for our honeymoon. We had one full perfect day in Tokyo under our belts when I got a call that my brother had passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 42 and an exceptionally good human being. We are completely devastated by the loss of him. I think almost everyone knows this already (and you've all been so nice, thank you for that) but I'm posting it here for those last far-flung friends of mine who don't have a Facebook account. (Which is so annoying, guys. Everyone is on there; please get an account already.) In-person social interactions are exhausting and I can't handle talking on the phone, so I find myself very grateful for social media, which has allowed me to interact with the living without getting out of sweatpants or this fort I've made from used kleenex.

I am also grateful for my mahonias, which are bright, cheery beacons in the winter.

Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies'

Mahonia x media 'Charity', which bloomed for the first time!

And this clematis, which I put in the ground in July, forgot to water, and thought I killed. It defied me by blooming through a hard frost and some of the heaviest rain we've had in ten years. Thank you Xera, for growing bullet-proof plants. This one is evergreen, turns bronze in the winter, and blooms November through February. I planted it outside my kitchen window where I can appreciate the hummingbirds covering it.

Clematis cirrhosa 'Wisley Cream'

Thank you to our host Carol at May Dreams Gardens. We really can have flowers almost any month of the year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sneak peek: HPSO and Garden Conservancy Open Day Tour

This weekend I was able to preview three of the gardens to be featured in this year's Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO) and Garden Conservancy Open Day Tour. The organizers did a great job of choosing a variety of styles of gardens. There's something for everyone.

If you'd like more information, check out the tour page on the HPSO website. Tickets are greatly discounted for HPSO members; if you haven't joined HPSO, what are you waiting for? It's cheap, it's fun, and you'll get access to tours, lectures, and classes with like-minded gardeners. Did I mention that a lot of our local nurseries offer discounts to HPSO members?

On with the tour!

The Prewitt Garden:
This 1/3 acre garden blew my mind in a really great way. In addition to the most impressive potager garden I've seen in a long time, they also have a great succulent selection, and some of the biggest salvias I've ever seen. I don't get excited about edibles but this garden really inspired me. And the owners are delightful.

This Salvia 'Amistad' was well over six feet tall.

Is this the most perfect grape-covered potting bench ever?

The Mitchell Garden:
Whew, I loved this garden. The owners have done all the work themselves and they use texture and layering expertly. Repeating plants and establishing a rhythm is something I struggle with and they do this really well. They've worked in a large number of conifers into their planting, meaning their gardens look great in the dead of winter, too.

Be sure to smell Hosta plantaginea, it smells like citrus!

The Winchester Place Garden:
My apologies to Zachary and Leon: my camera battery died upon entering their garden!. I love how these two roll, with separate terraces for cocktails and dining, plus expertly designed hardscaping, with attention to sight lines. Their garden is half formal restraint and half colorful exuberance, with bright annuals repeating throughout.

The tour runs next Saturday, August 29, 2015 from 10am to 4pm. Tickets can be purchased online at the HPSO website. Do yourself a favor and go! And big thanks to the owners for opening their gardens to us. We had a blast.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Random personal updates

Do you know what happens when you have a busy spring and summer and then your laptop dies? I don't know either, but you sure as hell don't blog. Many of you know this already from Facebook, but Greg and I got married in June on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Getting to have all of our closest friends and families with us for a week was fantastic. I had no idea how much love everyone would surround us with during that time. Getting married is super fun and I can't recommend it enough. Exactly a week after our wedding, the Supreme Court made marriage legal for everyone in the US and our marriage felt that much more special. We were giddy.

My family, spearheaded by my eldest brother Chris, spent the six months prior to our wedding making us tiki mugs. The first night in Hawaii we met up for dinner and one by one everyone brought us a wrapped mug that they had carved and glazed themselves, from my little nephews and nieces to my parents. It was overwhelming in the best way.

Zwucker is our portmanteau.

Can you even?

I learned a few things getting married, namely that I don't understand wedding photography at all. My nieces are beautiful and photogenic, so why not set them up so they look like they're watching TV while I get my picture taken?


Greg and I are not terribly comfortable in front of the camera, but I think we knew that.

How long do we have to stare at this green screen while she photographs my back fat?

Luckily we loosened up after a few maitais.

Me and my sister reenacting a childhood dance

I'm not changing my name and we're not having babies, so future big news around here will be limited to the gardening and pet variety (if I can convince Greg to get a dog and a cat).

In gardening news, I'm barely watering anything and seeing what survives! A roster of the departed will follow soon. Happy Monday! Yay marriage!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden bloggers' bloom day May 2015

Good lord, this is a bloomy month. Everything is blooming right on schedule, so I'll just show new plants or ones that I missed last year (or we'd be here all day).

Akebia longerracemosa 'Victor's Secret'

Papaver orientale 'Royal Wedding'

Camassia leichtlinii semiplena, Allium christophii, and Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer'

Iris x pacifica 'Alison's pink lips'

Stipa barbata

Stipa gigantea

Parahebe perfoliata glows from across the yard

Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer'

Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'

Erigeron glaucus 'Wayne Roderick' with Camassia quamash

Cistus obtusifolius

A very happy bloom day to you! Thanks, as always, to our host Carol at May Dream Gardens.