When You’re Not Really in the Garden

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These last 3 weeks I’ve meant to be here more, and I’ve meant to be in my garden, but the medical requirement to walk 15-20 miles per week has been taking up a lot of my time.
Just a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of walking 6 miles during a really great thunderstorm. Yes, this was classic Portland in the spring.
From the Hawthorne District, I could look back and see where I’d come from and at this point I was a bit worried about the rain that was coming. (Mt Tabor is the green hill you can see far off in the distance.)
By the time the rain started to pour, I was already well on my way home.
Wet and cold, the sky continued to darken but the sunset was nice that night.
Rosa ‘Golden Showers’.
When I go on my walks, as I round the corner for home, I can now see my roses blooming more and more frequently. Sometimes I think of my garden as one big neon billboard exclaiming some really colorful person lives here. I like it this time of year as the jungle begins to take over and there is a different world outside my window.
Oftentimes I see gardens that I think look nice, but are too patterned. I might have a jungle, but these lines really fascinate me because they boggled my brain a bit. I’d rather have a jungle.
Always before reaching home I wander the reservoir at Mount Tabor Park to get in some extra miles. It is such a beautiful place to walk. I walk over the hill you see there in the background and reach home that way. It is such a wonderful place to live.
This past Sunday I walked to the store to purchase ingredients for a lemon tart I was making for a party later that evening and I ran into what I later discovered was a swarm of bees. It was just waiting here until the group could determine where to go. What an amazing thing to watch. One moment it was there, the next it was gone. I wish I could have seen them at the moment when they all flew away.

Later that same day, after the tart was partially completed, I walked over to Portland Nursery to purchase some heirloom tomato plants from myself and a friend. Along the way I spotted this old mattress frame being used as a trellis support. This isn’t exactly my style, but I do love its lines and conical rust-colored squiggles as the grid floats there in the air.

Yes, I am sure this post is a bit random, but when you’re not really in the garden, so often you are, aren’t you?

Fall Round Up

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Our summer was a bit of a dud here in the NW due to El Niño. What’s funny is that I remember another summer like this during the 80s when I was a young girl. My family lived on a medium-sized creek and each summer I was able to purchase a new raft for my own use. Usually I just tied it up under some overarching bushes, and with my trusted radio by my side, I’d read all day. That summer, it was just too cold to hang out in the creek all day, and I feel the disappointed feelings of that memory creeping over me as I write this. I don’t think I like El Niño a lot.
Yesterday, while cleaning up my overgrown jungle with a weekender foster child, I saw these blooms and I knew what they meant. Ah, how I adore my Cyclamen, but they are the bellwether of autumn whether I like it or not.

Cyclamen hederifolium

This little darling popped up and I have no idea what it is, but I would love to find out if any of you have and idea. I am sure that I planted it, and that it is in my database, but I just need a hint to figure it out. There are at least 729 entries in my spreadsheet now. Yikes!

Sedums and the like are some of my favorite little garden friends. This is an image of Old Man’s Bones.
Sedum globosum

Another thing I have become more and more proud of are my ivy topiary items. Since ivy is considered the ultimate evil in these parts, even if you just have the completely non-agressive type, I keep it around just in case. The leaves on this are the tiniest I have ever seen.

Hedera helix ‘spetchley’
I only have one of these that’s made it through my neglectful care this past season. I purchased the seeds from Thompson and Morgan and I intend to grow more of these next season. I have never seen such amazing dark leaves on an annual snapdragon.
Antirrhinum majus nanum ‘bronze dragon’
The last single specimen plant in my garden that I am showing is my dwarf pomegranate shrub. I am really sad that it did not make it very far this year. We have tons of blooms, but nothing resembling a small fruit is anywhere near making it. It is a true perennial in this climate though, and I don’t regret planting it at all. Last year I had two small pomegranates so I can wait another year to try again. (I have harvested about 50 figs from my dwarf fig tree so I am quite happy with the fruits of my labors.)
Punica granatum var nana
Here is the pomegranate in context. It is to the bottom left in the corner of this picture. The grapes are escaping their supports in this picture and are about to reach out to strangle their neighbors. (These are Italian wine grapes. I planted them to remind me of all the hard work my husband does making wine down in California.)
This picture is meant to show how unremarkable our porch is this year. Typically, the porch would be lit up with late summer color. I have color, but it just didn’t really grow enough. Better luck next season. I WILL be back.
Here is the cleaned up front area. In my mind, it is the least attractive area in our garden. I think it is due to the heat during the summer. The Provence lavender was finally harvested at least for crafts and gifts. It had eaten the sidewalk and folks would walk around it to avoid it. Now I will be able to watch more neighbors walk by since they won’t avoid our side of the street anymore.
The backyard and I have a love/hate relationship. The greatest accomplishment back there this past season though was the additional growth of items that block our view of the small apartment building behind us. I have hated the view of this building for some time, and I really don’t like the walkway that is frequently used by the tenants and their continued curiosity, as well as their loud cell conversations. Maybe I should add that I would also like a sound buffer from the busy street a house away from me, and that maybe next summer, I might like to have an outdoor movie setup but I have to protect them from my noise then too so it is a two-way street, right? I want to be a good neighbor, really I do.
 

Oh, and this is my big boy Maurice. He has had a rough summer with the foster kids and has taken to living privately in the basement with his friend Mona. He has been mishandled by too many kids these past few months and today we spent several hours alone together in the garden. He was very happy.