June 2018

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After several years the Clivia miniata I grew from seed finally bloomed. 

Oh June and the happy days of summer are here again!

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Cirsium occidentale beginning to bloom in the hellstrip. 

Ok, maybe not… It’s cold and raining outside and the winter holiday season is definitely over. I like this time of year though. It’s seed season around here and it’s still a great time to catch up on blog posts.

It’s always a big deal to set up the table in the garden for dinners. Last June I remember feeling really excited about it and about the many new folks I’d be meeting. Having a new kitchen helped me so much. I’m still not certain if I’ll be hosting underground dinners this year but I think it’s likely inevitable. My only thought is that I’d like a new table setup.

Seeing my little Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’ makes me smile. Little did I know what incredible joy it would be and I have fellow blogger Alison to thank for that. Even now it’s in the garage giving off its fine fragrance. I can’t wait to plant it near my hammock this year. I’ll sit under it at night and evening-dream the dreams of champions.

(As a matter of fact this whole area is going to be changed quite a bit this year. Be on the lookout for posts on that progress. There will be a lot going on around here in the coming months.)

Last June I also went on a plant nerd expedition to find Iris tenuis or the Clackamas Iris. Luckily I’d mentioned wanting to see it in the wild to botanist friend Alexander Wright and we most certainly succeeded. It’s thanks to friends like him that I learn so much. If I’d had to do this on my own it would have been quite the search. It was such a fun day trip I hope to do more of them this year too.

Last year the back garden was good, but not great. It was a struggle for me to keep up with the grassy weed mess out front but Mona didn’t mind. She began to take over Mona-land again near the back fence. Even now, each and every winter day, she sits on her bench under a tree back there.

(I love seeing her out the kitchen door. Sometimes this part-feral friend even comes up to the back door to look in at us. Of course she runs away if I invite her in, but she’s at least finally bonded with the new cats and she interacts with all of us in her own way.)

I also finally added these great planter hangers to the back fence and I need to continue hanging a few more. They’ve been a great success and when you have such a small city garden the only way to go is vertical.

The view from the bathroom window upstairs is slowly improving. There are a lot of issues yet with what I see from up there and from down below though. Adding the hanging planter was a great idea, but then I got lazy about watering it so plants sadly did not flourish there. Hopefully this year I’ll improve the planting a bit. It gets a lot of sun so something that will bloom like crazy and still be a bit drought tolerant will be key. (I’m thinking Pelergonium may do the trick.)

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Ipomoea ‘Pretty in Pink’. I think. It was from seeds sent to me by fellow blogger Grace. 

Due to the tree removal (and my life in general), I didn’t get to plant nearly as many seeds last year. Since I only work part-time, my guess is that I was exhausted from what I was accomplishing. Looking over the photos from June, I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do so I must have been working very hard. I think mostly I was promoting and arranging dinners.

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Melampodium leucanthum, or Blackfoot daisy. 

The most successful plant in the garden in 2018 was something I picked up in Texas during the Fling. I’d never heard of this desert plant, Melampodium leucanthum. Native to the Sonoran desert it’s likely not going to survive a wet Oregon winter but I’m crossing my fingers. This little plant bloomed from June until October and it barely had any water. I think if it had been planted somewhere where it never would have been watered it would have bloomed and bloomed too. Even if it becomes an expensive annual for me I’ll include it again. I loved this plant and I highly recommend it.

 

 

VERONA, ITALY: GIARDINO GIUSTI (PART TWO)

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A few weeks ago I introduced the Giardino Giusti and began to describe our visit there. It’s been just a few months since we left Italy, but it feels like ages right now. As I said before, the garden is simply incredible and the plants found there are all part of what I’d consider the traditional Italian garden. Maybe the photo collage is too small, but above on the far left you’ll see Acanthus mollis, some jasmine, and a hellebore with an Italian terra-cotta planter on a classical Roman-style pedestal. In the middle image you’ll notice the Italian cypresses flanking the perfectly painted Italian building. These trees are used to the extreme in this garden, oh, and that last pic on the far right, the boxwood! Oh, the boxwood! There’s architectural remnants too—but course.

Up the stairs in the lower garden there is an orangerie, although I cannot remember what to call it in Italian. Beyond it there’s an area dedicated to Brugmansia, but they were only just beginning to grow again after having been planted out. (I assume they’re protected over the winter.) Above this area, you can see a lovely structure which you’re able to walk up to in order the sit and enjoy the view below of the garden and town itself.

The flowers in this area were mostly Iris. The many citrus plants were blooming and the scent of their blooms was intoxicating. Along a wall, for the second time during an Italian vacation, I saw caper plants growing.

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Looking back towards the entrance to the garden, I noted this row of statuary lined up above a roof’s edge. My husband recognized the style of dress and the symbols each held and they essentially represent the classes. There’s nobility, military, clergy, and a peasant.  What’s missing is the piece that was up above the other 4. If I had to guess, it may have been religious, but I’m not certain. (My guess at the 4 statues representing the classes is a guess as well, but it’s and educated one.)

Protected in this area is the lovely Citron fruit. These lovely structures are so simple. The fruits were so happy and snug growing against their wall.

Sadly I cannot remember right now what this area had been, but I do remember the little pockets in the walls.

Before heading up the lovely path I had a lesson in Italian. I made the mistake of goofily pronouncing belvedere as we would in English, as I had learned as a kid from watching Mr. Belvedere. My husband lost it. When he lost it, I lost it cracking up at him. Then I had to laugh at how to correctly pronounce the word in Italian—bell-va-dare-aye. I felt so stylish. Of course this led to me talking about Signore Bell-va-dare-aye! It doesn’t take much for me to have fun, now does it? Turns out that to my husband “Belvedere” is somehow sacred. Yes, it means “viewpoint” if you hadn’t figured that out already.

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I guess when you have a view like this, you might want to take it seriously.

Next post, you’ll be seeing a bit more of it.