Wednesday, September 9, 2015
On an overcast Day 3 of the Portland Fling, our tour bus made its first stop at Scott Weber's Rhone Street Gardens. Through Scott's blog, I've long loved his garden from afar, and I was so excited to finally see it in person.
We piled out of the bus and spilled out onto the street and sidewalks, where Scott (in navy-and-white plaid shirt and khaki shorts, lower left) was waiting to greet us.
At long last, here were all the Pacific Northwest plants I've come to know and love through Scott's blog, up close and in person, like Geranium 'Rozanne',
a multitude of grasses and Persicaria and big fluffy allium seed heads,
Rudbeckia triloba and Teucrium hircanicum and so much more! Despite the cloud cover, at times the light would illuminate a plant just so, giving a tiny hint of the ethereal glow that Scott's photos capture so well.
Walking along the North Border toward the back of the house,
I found a fence covered in Clematis tibetana and an open gate. Peeking inside, I found -
the Back Garden, hooray! - with a little teak bistro set for two on a brick patio,
surrounded by foliage and flowers, vining plants and wavy grasses,
in an explosion of soft textures and soothing colors. I was particularly taken by the cloud-like seed heads on this ornamental grass, a Panicum, I think. I'm pretty sure the purple flowers are Verbena, but I never found out what the broad-leaved dark and green plants were (maybe Rodgersia?), or the masses of little golden flowers (an Astrantia, perhaps?).
Sitting in one of the bistro chairs, one can gaze out upon the beauty of the Back Garden's raised beds.
A grouping of galvanized steel planters stands nearby to hold the overflow. The white lily is 'Silver Scheherazade', the purple flower is Geranium 'Roxanne', and I think the raspberry-red flower is 'Mars Midget' Knautia macedonica.
Walking back toward the Front Border of the house, I passed this cute garden shed, a stock tank full of more gorgeous plants,
a big purple Salvia guaranitica (is this 'Purple Majesty' or 'Amistad'?) in a galvanized steel container,
and another seating area with two green Adirondack-style chairs behind a bushy green Amsonia hubrichtii (left) and a big frilly yellow-green Rhus tyhpina 'Tiger Eyes' sumac (right). A rain chain directs water from the porch roof into a wooden rain barrel.
One last glance at the Front Border as we say farewell...
Of all the glorious Portland Fling gardens, Rhone Street Gardens was a special treat. It was lovely to see an unabashed plant collector's garden curated so perfectly. Despite the large number and variety of plants in a very small urban plot, Scott's skillful use of texture, color, bloom cycle and plant placement avoids the "Plant Geek Plunker Syndrome" that plagues gardens of impulse buyers like me. Scott's garden has inspired me to take a hard look at my own Front Border and do some careful planning before embarking on an overhaul. I can't grow many of these PNW plants in Central Texas - our summers are too hot and too dry for too long - but I can grow a few, and come up with some native and adapted Texas plants that could give a similar look and feel.
Many thanks to Scott Weber for opening his garden to us Flingers, and for coordinating the Portland Fling along with Loree Bohl of Danger Garden, Jane Howell-Finch at MulchMaid, Ann Amato-Zorich at Amateur Bot-ann-ist and Heather Tucker of Just a Girl with a Hammer.
Next up, a pair of gorgeous private Portland gardens, side by side.
Words and photos © 2009-2015 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.