Thursday, June 9, 2011


Just a quick note to say that I've changed over to a non-blogspot URL so you can point your browsers to

The more succinct "" was already taken. Boo!

I made some changes, including adding a blogroll with my favorite bloggers ---->

If anything doesn't work, or if you have any suggestions you can email me at Heather [at]

Looks who's all grown up.

For the thirty or so of you who regularly read my stories about my house: thank you. Your comments and encouragement mean so much to me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My lens was dirty.

It looks like I just needed to clean my camera lens. Again. Is it normal to have to do that every 2-3 days?

Looks better, ya?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Real yards have curves

We got our first real summer weather this weekend! It was sunny and 85 and perfect. Greg and I hit up the "Naturescaping for backyard habitats" garden tour through EMSWCD. They showcased six homes where people had achieved the gold or platinum status from the Audubon Society. There were some really beautiful gardens . . . and there were some really sloppy ones. It turns out I like my gardens a little tidier than some folks. I was sort of bummed about that at first, especially since I'm always telling people, "I like it wild!"

I like it wild but only in a controlled manner, apparently. This comes as a surprise to absolutely no one.

I did come away with an overwhelming need to obtain some meadow rue. It's the airy, lacy, beautiful stuff on the top of this photo and it makes me DROOL.

Thalictrum occidentale. Crappy photo courtesy of my phone.
Then I spent all of Sunday taking the leftover stones from the dogbone and using them to define the hillocks in the backyard. The grass has a way of trying to creep up into the beds.


And after:

As I'm sure you've noticed, my camera can't take a sharp picture to save its life. I keep cleaning the lens to varied effect. I think it's the universe telling me to buy a nicer one?

I packed the spaces between the retaining stones with mulch to try and stave off the encroaching grass. It won't work but it should slow it down.

It was tricky under the hemlock (Is it a hemlock? Shit if I know.) because you don't want to bury the roots of the tree or you'll suffocate it. And then it will fall on your house. I had already stupidly dumped soil and mulch on top of the area beneath the tree last summer. We wanted the stones to look like were actually retaining something, which meant scootching some of that soil and mulch down toward the stones, hopefully giving the root system more air. Or not. Anybody know how to remedy this?

The blurry photos, they make me so sad. The lack of varied color in this area makes me sad as well.

I'm liking the formality of the retaining stones so much that I'm tempted to continue some sort of boundary in the new raised bed area. It would really tie the whole yard together.

I also brought the center curve out a bit, making it easier to mow around it and giving us a spot for the old birdbath.

My freakshow bulb is awesome.

Allium schubertii

I'm having a love affair with fringecups. The cups start out green, fade to white, then turn pink. They are gorgeous.

Tellima grandiflora

My dianthus bloomed again, making it totally worth the $2.99 I spent at Home Depot last summer.

And my Farewell to Springs bloomed this weekend! Oregon, LISTEN TO THE WILDFLOWER. No more rain, please. It's time for summer.

Clarkia sp.

Also: I figured out the secret behind Colony Collapse Disorder. All the bees are in my yard. Sorry about that!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And suddenly we have a garden!

One single month ago the stump area looked like this.

The peonies and lupine are growing like gangbusters. I want to divide this lupine next year because the lime green foliage makes me tingly. I want it everywhere. It doesn't hurt that lupine is a nitrogen-fixer, so other plants benefit from its proximity.

Alas, I think I need to declare the DIY birdbath a failure. The wood is discolored and I suspect it's going to rot, despite being coated in something protective. I'm hoping to possibly use it as a form to create a new birdbath out of cement.

I've set my phasers to "lush."

I've set my phasers to "stunning?" Man, I'm bad at the puns.

Pretty pretty, shiny shiny! That's more my speed. Things are growing and I love it.

Oregon iris Iris tenax

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More experiments in yard trash

This old cement block has been floating around my yard, looking terrible and growing moss, so I'm going to try it as a lavender pot.

This is Grosso lavender, which is especially straight and spiky and it smells AMAZING.

It's probably too small a container, but we'll see how it does. Besides, a dying plant emerging from yard debris never looks bad, right?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I need this.

I found this at Portland Nursery and I need it.

 It's a birdbath. And it's a tiki dude.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The view as of today

We still need to work at making this look less like a giant square of cedar chips but for right now we needed to suppress the hoards of weeds that were sure to colonize the area.

Next up: evergreen plants, rain garden, new tree, deck. Go!

Edited to add: here's a reminder of the before: