Wordless Wednesday

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Dianthus barbatus ‘Sooty’.
Unknown Abutilon.
Allium christophii.
Unknown lettuce leaf in a lettuce mix I grew from seed (Lactuca).
Dragon Arum aka Dracunculus vulgaris.
Fresh store-bought chickpeas (Cicer arietinum).
Father’s Day Dinner ikebana with Beech, Asparagus, Feverfew, and Dianthus. 
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea).
Lilium columbianum. 
Tradescantia pallida with a friendly Heuchera bloom.
Unknown Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria).

Wordless Wednesday: My Garden Mythology as Seen by Examining My Roots (Home, on the Sandy River, and in the Gorge)

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Achillea ‘Moonshine’. 
Sicilian Honey Garlic, (Allium siculum aka Nectaroscordum).
Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) and an Armeria 
Dutch Iris, Iris x hollandica.
Miniature Climbing Rose, (Rosa ‘Clove Love and Kisses’).
Columbine, (Aquilegia ‘McKana’s Giant’.)
Clematis ‘Mrs. N. Thompson’. 
Growing up beside streams and rivers in the PNW this is how I learned to arrange rocks. Funny I still do this in my garden. (Note the fly fishing going on in the background. Fish are to my family as plants are to me.)
Great landscaping at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery in the Columbia River Gorge. (I think those white flowers are Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota.)
Salal (Gaultheria shallon) with a delicate white bloom—such a great native plant.
Native rose growing along the Columbia River.
Native Sedum.
Oregon Iris, (Iris tenax) in front of the Multnomah Falls Lodge.
Green Walls—PNW style.
My favorite little native Mimulus still clings to the wall at Multnomah Falls. This year the population looks a bit larger.  
Had to zoom into the falls to get a closer look at the exposed roots of this tree or shrub.

Terra firma in springtime…

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A Phalaenopsis orchid given to me as a gift last Christmas (2011) has finally re-bloomed.
Like the above orchid, I’m currently in the process of re-blooming too. It seriously took my being able to accept that I had to simply shut my own eyes, let go (trusting that I would be caught by something), and finally I allowed myself to fall backwards—yes, I guess back into my own life.
So what if I went to that moment kicking and screaming? I made it.
If I told you what happened next, well this wouldn’t be a garden blog any longer.
A lovely organic leek I sliced for fresh potato and leek soup on St. Patrick’s Day, 2013.

Cooking has again become popular around here and I’m happily creating and trying new things. I’m learning to make the basics, while appreciating the bountiful produce that’s appearing as the season changes.

Being gluten-free is easy most of the time, but then you find recipes such as the one for the cake seen below, and you just have to make a cake to share with your friends.

Though not a garden, or even a plant, I had to share my leprechaun trap cake with everyone. Although no leprechauns were hurt, we did attract some pixies. (See below.)

I wish this had been a gluten-free cake, but it wasn’t. I think that it turned out well except for my poor handling of the frosting. Someday soon I will master buttercream and this cake will look more like it’s covered in grass. (That’s why it’s here. I knew there was a reason! Grass!)

The pixies are French so they could have cared less about the rainbow and pot of gold. Note that one has a ladybug on its thigh and the other has what looks to be a snail. No, oops, I mean escargot.

Like other gardeners I am excited for spring and I am feeling very playful and happy again.

The vintage ceramic potatoes make for nice vases on St. Patrick’s Day too. 

I really miss ikebana classes a lot but due to the divorce I’ve had to cut such things from my life for now. In the meantime, I’m doing the best I can and it’s not so bad at all.

Vintage hanging ceramic indoor planter with an Aligator fern (Microsorum musifolium).

The fact that I’ll be moving sometime during the next few months has finally sunk in and I’m looking at my plants much differently now. Although I have not yet found a place to call home, I’m finally getting excited about it.

Epiphyllum grown from seed. I like to call this move “doing the Icarus”.

Someday soon, I hope to see many of my houseplants bloom—like this Epi cactus!

Well, stay tuned since it’s moving with me. I have no idea how many years it will take, but I will wait for it.

Green mums in a small vintage liquour glass inherited from my family.

These past few weeks I’ve quietly sat back a bit to think about my life, my garden, my plants, and who I am and who I want to be now. I started this blog when I was obviously a different person, living a different married life. It was full of chronic illness, unhappiness, and for a time, troubled foster children.

When things changed for me over a year ago, I was shown by many of my gardening friends that I belonged here.
I learned that lesson rather quickly, but I didn’t know how to start over. I have no shame in admitting I needed to find my own way. I’ve learned some incredible things about myself during the last two months. The serendipity I’ve experienced has given me a kind of hope.

My niece Chelsea glam’d me up for an event.

Yes, then there are the things you need to do for yourself. My marriage did not make me feel very beautiful at all. Let me tell you now, if you feel that way yourself, get out. It is the most important lesson I’ve learned. The people you surround yourself with should always help to make you feel like the beautiful person you are and sometimes that’s just not what happens.

My nieces helped me to really understand this recently and I’m proud of them. When you help to raise a child, and then they come over to spend hours making you look pretty—after you’ve not looked so great for nearly a decade—it does something to you. To say that my niece Chelsea made me look beautiful one Sunday to prove a point to me is an understatement. She’s been telling me for years she missed me, and that she wanted the world to see the woman she sees, and I have to say the kid’s got a great eye. I just wasn’t seeing it.
She proved her point, and as an aunt, it was the first time I’d sat back to be school’d by one of my nieces and it was so worth it.

Oh weird! Downtown Portland. I remember this place…

Trust me when I say that I’m not giving up gardening. I’m very much going to continue blogging too. I just need a little more time to adjust. There are many changes afoot.

There is direction too—and maybe even a plan (possibly a very detailed plan).

I’m over the shock and pain of having fallen blindly. I survived and I’ve planted my feel solidly on the ground. It’s new where I’m standing but I’m certain it’s terra firma. In characteristic Ann fashion I’m standing a bit uncomfortably in the middle of an empty field and I’ve covered my eyes with one hand while with the other I reach into my pocket for seeds.

I am throwing out the seeds. I am casting them blindly in every direction, and if you look closely, you’ll notice I’m coyly smiling. If you listen, across the distance, you’ll hear me laughing again. It’s not loud, but it’s happy at least.

So take that springtime! I’m ready for you this year.

Let’s get this party started.

The Annual Blackberry Pilgrimage (Willamette Valley, Oregon)

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Yesterday I drove south on I-5 to Woodburn to pick blackberries with a friend of mine at another friend’s house. This has become an annual pilgrimage of sorts and is something we look forward to because good clean berries are becoming so hard to find in the city.

A beautiful blackberry bloom.
We picked for several hours, and after we filled up all of our containers, we probably had about 40-50lbs. of blackberries in the back of the car.

If I can convince one of the foster kids to go back with me, I will return in a few weeks. There are plenty of berries left.

When I returned home my husband remarked that the berries looks so clean and perfect. I had to agree.

After I was done—and truly “tuckered” out—I took a few more photos of fun plants. This thistle reminded me of how we all need to explode sometimes. Sometimes it can get ugly, but sometimes it can make us feel better.

In the beginning, the bloom had resembled the one below, but now, after the explosion, it has morphed into something even more beautiful.

When I took to the shade, I found this Douglas Spirea in bloom. It is a native shrub and one that many don’t like because it is a prolific re-seeder. I think it is really pretty and they should make a candy that looks like it—or a beehive hairdo!

Spiraea douglassi.
We arrived fairly early yesterday, and for a spell, some farmer or nearby homeowner was burning their debris. I tried to get a picture of the smoke, but it was so beautiful yesterday, the sky wouldn’t let me capture the flaw.

As we left, we stopped to admire this view of Mount Hood over a field of garlic or onions that appears to have been grown for the seed or dried flower market.

Driving home in rush hour traffic was so much more pleasant with the scent of freshly picked blackberries in the car. If you’re feeling stressed, I highly recommend a drive to the country to pick fresh berries.

My Plant Patriotism

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Every year around the 4th of July my Allium ‘Hair’ burst forth. I love these little green puffs as they float around and I love that they arrive at just the right time becoming that much more special to me.
Happy 4th of July to everyone and anyone who loves the United States of America and all that it represents: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Garden Blogger Blooms on a Wordless Wednesday

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Bat Face Cuphea, Cuphea llavea.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum.
Dainty Daisy, Daisy Fleabane, Oregon Fleabane, Erigeron speciosus ‘Grandiflorus’.
Dianthus plumarius ‘White Lace’.
Armeria pseudoarmeria.
Dianthus plumarius ‘White Lace’.
Kniphofia uvaria.
Kniphofia uvaria.
Yellow Onion, Golden Garlic, Allium moly.
Columbine ‘McKana’s Giant’, Aquilegia ‘McKana’s Giant’.
Dianthus.
Allium christophii.
Nectaroscordum siculum.
Allium cernuum.
Sedum kamtschaticum.
Rosa ‘Julia Child’.
Iris tenax.
Common Rue, Ruta gaveolens.
Rosa ‘Sweet Chariot’.
Aquilegia vulgaris.
Rosa ‘Sombreuil’.
Dicentra formosa.
Goat’s Beard, Aruncus dioicus.
Aquilegia atrata.
Dianthus superbus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’.
Spanish Snapdragon, Antirrhinum braun-blanquetii.
Western Labrador Tea, Ledum glandulosum.
Rosa viridiflora.
Rosa damascena.

Out of my Illness Ill-nest

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Whenever summer comes around I get excited, but then I have to remember, summer is my garden’s best season, but it is not always mine. It takes longer for me to recover from a swelling, and there is simply more to do, so that means an additional chunk of time taken from my life that I hadn’t planned to lose in the first place. To add to this irritation, this past weekend there was a one-day conference here in Portland concerning Hereditary Angioedema, its three types, and what treatment options are available for all of them. We left with the realization that my Type III HAE is really as crazy and as unpredictable as it feels, we were told there is no treatment anywhere on the horizon for me, but to help that process along, I gave them blood and DNA samples so I understand now that it’s all out there for the right researcher to investigate and that’s kind of exciting. So, with that in order, it’s back to work.

My Egyptian walking onions are all ready to walk out on me. Maybe being surrounded by the jungle that is our garden right now has inspired them to take the walk they need in order to get better spacing for next year. I hate to anthropomorphize, but this little army of onions really cracks me up. Luckily, every single part of them tastes great too. 

I have also finally started to break open the Christmas houseplant terrariums I’d planted to help those plants continue on their journey. The heart I found at a thrift store recently and since I love topiary so much I stuffed it and planted some baby’s tears in it. With all of the rain we’ve been having, this should do well this year. 

Here is the lovely Julia Child rose. We all need to have golden butter colored roses, right? I only have this one, but it is more than enough. 
Lastly, here are two of the three black cats (Mona in the foreground, Maurice in back). And with that, I’m back on my horse, and off to garden at my employers’.