Wordless Wednesday: Welcome to Spring 2013

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Camellia ‘Bob Hope’.
Sedum obtusatum boreale.
Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’.
Sedum cockerelli grown from seed.
Helleborus. 
Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus.
Mukdenia rossii. 
Camellia ‘Black Magic’.
Japanese Spurge, Pachysandra terminalis.
Yellow Stream Violet, Viola glabella.
Spurge ‘Blackbird’, Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’.
Helleborus.
Helleborus with Ranunculus ‘Brazen Hussy’.
Aquilegia with Clematis heracleifolia.
Sulphur Heart Persian Ivy, Hedera colchica ‘Sulpher Heart’.

Wordless Wednesday: My Garden and Life through the Eyes of a Therapeutic Foster Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Rosa “Golden Showers”.
Japanese Snowbell Tree, Styrax japonicus.
Pacific or Western Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa.
Multnomah Falls.
Trees in the Columbia River Gorge.
Rosa rugosa.
Evergreen Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum.
Clematis “Josephine”.
Leopard’s Bane, Doronicum orientale.
Living wreath.
Entrance shade garden near the street and sidewalk.
Columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris.
Me with box.
Macavity—the old lady black cat.
Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum.

Garden Blogs Flinging Themselves upon Seattle! (Pre-Fling Prep Course: Kubota Garden)

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Grrrrrrr. I’m an anatomically incorrect stuffed eel toy and I’m about to take Seattle! I’m a lean, mean, green, garden stalking machine.

The Amateur Bot-ann-ist has never been a flinger, but I’m flinging this year to give it a shot. I’m almost always open to new garden viewing opportunities, especially when my cohorts are not kids groaning in the backseat. Garden Bloggers Fling 2011 (Seattle).

My husband needed a break from California so he came with me. After our arrival, I tagged along while he accomplished some work. There is a tasting planned for this Saturday so first we dropped off several cases of wine at the Fremont Wine Warehouse. Then we jumped back on the freeway and headed back to another shop. I marveled at the greenery both times we passed through downtown. Due to our wet and mild summer it is looking even better than usual.

While he was pouring samples at another shop in West Seattle I sat in the car and played with my new camera. It’s a Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and I think I’m in love. Seriously.

While I was in the car I realized that on our way back into the city we could revisit a garden that I’d only seen once during a winter trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show: Kubota Garden.
We bloggers will be visiting the Bloedel Reserve on Monday so the least I could do was revisit the garden left behind by Fujitaro Kubota. He was a Japanese immigrant from the island Shikoku, a self-taught gardener, and a man who became a keystone to what is called the Northwest Garden Style. He also designed the Japanese garden at the Bloedel Reserve.
An island of Bergenia cordifolia.

After having seen the Kubota Garden during the winter, I have to admit that today it felt like an entirely different place.

Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo.’

This Japanese maple, known in Japanese as the “Floating Cloud Tree” took my breath away.

The green canvases he painted with a textural brush are so calming and peaceful.

As you walk through the scenes, experiencing the layers, it feels cleansing and refreshing.

There are nooks and paths that lead to views.

You may even find a place to rest in the small forest. It was planned and planted in such a way as to make the space seem larger and longer. This is very pleasing to the eye.

There are two red bridges. One bridge is lower and wider.

Red berried of a Vaccinium parvifolium.

There were native red huckleberries.

The other bridge is higher and is more of a Moon bridge.

As we left the garden we both noticed the construction that we’d seen several years ago was now complete and that they’d added a new wall and passageway into the garden. The contemporary construction includes “tiles” made of rusted metal rectangles which truly enhance the garden with their weathering. Additionally, the concrete blocks reminded me a great deal of the Gordon House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, where I used to work. Do you like the wall finished or unfinished? I love either, but I think that the raw and unfinished wall could look a lot worse. It truly is kind of interesting.

I’ve not yet met any of the other garden bloggers, but I certainly feel as though I’ve arrived. I look forward also to deeper contemplation of the Northwest Garden Style that means so much to me. Cheers to you Seattle!

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden (Portland, Oregon)

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Ever since I can remember I’ve been visiting what my family always referred to as The Rhododendron Garden, though nowadays, I’ve finally started calling it by a name others actually recognize: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.
The garden was started back in 1950, when my dad was a boy, and not long after my Grandfather Salvatore, aka Sam, had returned home from World War II. Situated at the southeastern edge of Portland, it sits right in the middle of my Portland universe.
For about a decade or so I didn’t visit the garden at all. Instead I was spending more time with friends, and less and less with family, and now that I have been gardening for about 10 years, I love to visit there more.
With over 2,500 Rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants, the setting is idyllic.
The garden is great if you need planting ideas.
Fringe Cup. Tellima grandiflora.
Wood Anemone. Anemone nemorosa ‘Flore Pleno’.
It is also a great place for some color after all the grey rain.

Not long ago this retaining wall with ferns was added. I have enjoyed watching it grow and change but part of me really wants them to add a stumpery just so I can say that we have one here in Portland. (I know they are all over the place in the woods, but to have an official one would seriously crack me up.)

I have one of these in our garden but it’s barely alive. Ours has been broken, stepped on, and tripped over, and it’s alive, but it doesn’t look this nice.
Spider Azalea. Rhododendron stenopetalum Linearifolium.

To see a Rhododendron tree in bloom in the middle of the woods is a sight to behold.

Nearby, the carpet of primroses was breathtaking and it was great to see an art class painting en plein air. I want to draw again so badly but I simply have too much to do. Maybe that will be added to my long list of things.

Primula pulverulenta.
Then there are those azaleas!
There are a lot of reds in the Crystal Springs garden, and I know that not everyone loves red, but I am fond of the color.
Rhododendron ibex.
These colors work too.
There was no tag on this one, but I found the lighter green foliage rather interesting with the pale violet blooms. It must be an early bloomer since it’s already beginning to fade.
Here is a Cercis in bloom with an accompaniment of Rhododendron.
Have you ever seen a purple like this reaching for the sky? Neither have I.
I added these two reds because I grew up with them. The big bloom in the middle is the hybrid Rhododendron ‘Jean Marie de Montagu’ and the smaller bloom in the back is most likely a Hino-Crimson azalea. The only other classic crimson combinations would be a Rhododendron ‘Vulcan’ and a Wards Ruby azalea. I only know these because my mom stuffed her acre sized garden with them and I loved red so I was kind of all about those blooms each spring.
(As a kid, I would sit on my thick fuzzy red blanket in an ocean of lawn at my parents’ house for hours and hours at a time. My mom didn’t need to put me in a playpen since I wouldn’t touch the grass. I know. I was a weird kid.)
Here is another bank of azalea blooms.
This is my favorite yellow Rhododendron.

Rhododendron lutescens.
Beside the lake, after you cross the bridge to the island, you’ll see a weeping cherry tree.
On the return trip back, this is the same bridge. Even when packed with folks during the springtime, it is enchanting.
The other bridge is back at the entrance. This is the Moon Bridge as seen from above. It was also at the beginning of this post, but from below.

Before I go though, I should mention the birds. There are a lot of birds, but most of all, there are water birds because the garden is both surrounded by, and is full of, water.

Pair of Mallard ducks sleeping in a tree.
Geese and a gosling.

The garden sits across the street from Reed College—a fine institution of higher learning. Though I never attended the school as a student, I did spend a lot of time on the campus with two of my best friends during their years as undergraduates. That was a long time ago though.

Due to the busy season at the garden, and because the small lot was reserved for a film crew, I had to park in the school’s parking lot. So, on my way back to the car, I noticed these gorgeous Ceanothuses in bloom and the short walk was worth it!

Back at home I worked on my pile of plants this afternoon. Funny I hadn’t noticed that a Candelabra Primrose was beginning to bloom, but I sure noticed it today! How rewarding to see this after having cared for it for a year or two. It is another primrose I’ve grown from seed and I cannot wait for it to give me more babies.

Primula pulverulenta.
My native Rhododendron occidentale has not yet burst open, but I am watching it closely. This is one of those plants that your nose may notice much sooner than your eyes.

Lastly, if you made it this far, the American Rhododendron Society will be in Vancouver, Washington this week for their convention. So if you have the time, you should check it out:
American Rhododendron Society Presents The World in Your Garden May 11-15, 2011
Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, WA