Geranium palmatum and Another Open Garden

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Pelargonium ‘Antares’, a rather showy and compact plant.

I’ve been trying to keep up around here.

The back garden as she is tonight.

It’s difficult to keep up with tasks in the garden at home while working so much. Owning what feels like thousands upon thousands of plants I just can’t keep up. I sometimes feel like an ill-fated character in a Charles Dickens novel. What’s the moral of this tale? Why am I doing this? I dunno. By the time I get to this point I’ve fallen into hysterical laughter.

I know I have a lot of friends who love to live this crazy life.

Maybe you’re one of us too?

The potting bench on the south side of the house.

What wrong did I do to deserve all of these weeds? Why are we swimming through spring to summer? Why? Why? Why?

The north garden entrance. I prefer for folks to enter this way but most want to go through my pretty wooden gate.

At least I’m getting to some pruning. And I am removing and cutting back hard. Limbs from trees and shrubs are being cut. Gardening is maintenance but with an eye toward careful artful pruning. But you must be patient for things to grow. So many great plants take much patience.

We won’t talk about the front garden. This is like slamming my head into a wall. It needs to get back within my control lol.

But weeding… Oh I curse the heavens!!! I shake my small swollen arthritic and lightly clenched fists at you!!!

Some parts of the garden are much better though, and as things grow, I’m really happy.

The south garden as seen through a dirty window upstairs.

Part of that happiness comes from having made decisions. So much stress comes from worry. Life is short. Make a decision and make it happen. If it’s the wrong choice, choose again.

Geranium palmatum at Secret Garden Growers.

A happy plant this year is one that I wasn’t sure about how to plant. I had a few and the pretty one below is the one that made its mark on me. I can’t get enough of it. It’s taken some time to get to this size. Geranium palmatum is only hardy down to zone 8 so not all of you can grow it. This took a few years to look this stunning. (You can’t bring this one in easily to protect it.)

Geranium palmatum in my garden. It’s HUGE!

It’s a glorious bloomer. I will collect as many of its seeds as I can to sell in my new shop, but I am sure that I’ll be weeding a few of these along with the weeds.

It doesn’t give me a rash though like a few of the weeds.

Oh the weeds!!!

Geranium palmatum and friends in the south garden.

This Saturday I will open the garden again to Hardy Plant Society members, but I do so in the hopes that they can meet a horticulturist in her garden. My plant garden lab is lush and full this year.

I look forward to greeting guests again, and here’s to late summer! I’ll be open again soon and hope that things will be just right…

The Tiny Parking Strip (Hell Strip) That’s Now a PRIDE Strip

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Doesn’t look like much tonight, but let’s give it a few weeks to settle in a bit more.

This post has been in the works for many years. I have one of the worst planting strips I’ve ever seen in Portland. I think it’s about 10 inches wide—but that’s it. Honestly, friends and I have joked about it since I moved in, but I’ve learned a few things since then, and there ARE (at least) plenty of plants that work out there.

I trimmed up the needlepoint ivy this week after 2 or 3 years but it has to go. It’s time to rip it all out once and for all.

The heat dome last summer was the ultimate lesson. To my surprise, many of the plants there did great and showed no damage at all. Since the same cannot be said for a few others that I thought would be fine, I’ve spent some time mulling all of this over.

Felix is the king of his sidewalk. He was pleased that I was cleaning it up this week.

While weeding out there, I spent time thinking over what to write here. These are not complicated takeaways at all. I guess in a space this small, one that is the planting skirt to my garden stage, just a little ta-da is all that’s needed for this verbal fanfare.

So, xeric plants work well in this space. What a shock. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it. The only real issue here though is that both light and water have varied over the years. For the most part though, I don’t water this area at all. This is why there is ivy in the driest spot. I am going to replace it though soon to try something new.

Working on the “hell” strip had me associating words and immediately I thought about everything I was “going to hell” for, so then I thought, yes, my queer identity!

Perfecto!

The white nigella that I’ve grown for years. It just self sows there on the curb.

So the Pride Strip was born—and I had a great laugh. Why hadn’t I thought about this before? Now I don’t have to remove or change the colors, and I can ADD MORE PLANTS!

Nigella damascena white, Salvia gregii ‘Rossetto’, Erigeron karvinskianus, and Stachys byzantina.
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Spice Islands’, Phlomis ‘Sunningdale Gold’, Salvia gregii ‘Rossetto’ and Aurinia saxatilis.
The mature part of the pride strip has really grown and the plants are weaving together. It’s really quite beautiful.

After I decided where I wanted to head with this little project I knew I had to talk to my neighbor friend to see if she wanted to extend my planting plan a bit to where the strip crosses over to her property.

The far end of the pride strip overlaps with my neighbor’s property. She and I talked it over last night and decided to extend the color display. She recently removed some ornamental grass we’d had here for a few years. It was time for something new.

Luckily, she was thrilled. Flowers are needed now and I want to see people smile when they see so many happy colors dancing.

Now we wait and see how it grows… Santolina chamaecyparissus ‘Grey’, unknown oregano, and a bunch of new things with a special Eriophyllum lanatum ‘Takilma Gold’ there in the foreground. This one was a 2011 Cistus Nursery introduction from the Siskiyou Mountains.

I will add more plants, and I plan to sow seeds out there to liven it up. Since I’m hoping to open a new seed shop soon, I need to have more seeds sown on the property.

Just a few more plants to color up my strip.

Some plants came home with me from work today too. I just had to get some plants in bloom since I have another Open Garden next Saturday.

Evan and I will be selling some plants so having the front area cleaned up seems like a great idea. I just hope that I will have enough time to clean up more. All of this rain is so depressing and it slows me down in the garden since I have to weed so much more. The weeds just won’t stop growing!!!

Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’ came home with me from work. These will bring me so much joy this summer. I just love that punch of color.