Sunday, December 28, 2014

Portland Garden Bloggers Fling - Day 2

We started our day in Portland's peaceful Japanese Garden.
one of many ponds in the Natural Garden

Covered gate to Zig Zag Bridge and Lower Pond

Upper Pond

Next, we headed off on foot to the International Rose Test Garden next door, where we ate a sack lunch and listened to a presentation from Corona Tools. I lost track of time and raced through the garden after lunch, breathlessly boarding the bus just before departure. Sheryl of Yard Fanatic ran the gauntlet with me; now a part of the Austin, Texas contingent, Sheryl used to live in Portland and knew all the secret spaces of this garden.
Frank E Beach Sculpture

gold medal garden

Shakespeare Garden

The first stop on our afternoon tour of three private gardens was Tamara's Chickadee Gardens, a/k/a Casa de los Tres Gatos, chock-full of jewel tones, succulents and living roofs.
casa de los tres gatos

chickadee gardens

green roof

We next toured the garden of JJ de Sousa, interior & garden designer and proprietress of digs inside & out.
front garden

little door


Loree's aptly named Danger Garden was next.
yucca garden



We ended Day 2 at McMenamin's Kennedy School, a former elementary school transformed into a restaurant, theater and hotel.
Kennedy Elementary School

ferns and other fauna

Kennedy School side garden

Thanks to Loree Bohl of Danger Garden, Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens, Jane Howell-Finch at MulchMaid, Ann Amato-Zorich at Amateur Bot-ann-ist and Heather Tucker of Just a Girl with a Hammer for putting together a wonderful second day and a marvelous Fling.

Next up - a recap of the last day of the Fling, where I and 80 garden bloggers from the U.S., U.K., Spain and Canada tour five gorgeous private gardens (two next door to each other) then say farewell to Portland and each other at the magical Bella Madrona.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Portland Garden Bloggers Fling - A Jam-Packed Day 1

Day 1 of the Portland Fling started out with breakfast and books at Timber Press Publishing. (Can you tell we were excited to be there?)
"Timber Press" publishers

Bloggers packed the offices, browsing the stacks, mingling with staff and each other, while noshing on bagels and fruit and sipping coffee and mimosas - quite the juggling act!
breakfast crowd

Several Timber Press authors were in attendance (some more camera-shy than others).
Authors at Timber Press

We each left with bags full of goodies and a free Timber Press book from about a half-dozen recently published titles. (It was so very hard to pick, but in the end I chose the book Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives by Evelyn J. Hadden.)

From the publishing office, it was a short walk to Lan Su Chinese Garden, located directly downtown.
Lan Su Chinese Garden

The garden takes up an entire city block and is designed to give the visitor a sense of what the private home and garden of a well-off Ming Dynasty-era family might look like.
Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland

Each section of the garden had a poetic name like "Hall of Brocade Clouds",
Hall of Brocade Clouds

"Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain",
flowers bathing in spring rain

and "Knowing the Fish Pavilion".
Knowing the Fish Pavilion

Doorways gently lured visitors along the garden's many paths.
courtyard doorway

The stones in this path are laid out in such a way to soothe tired feet when walked upon barefoot.
stone path

I found myself drawn to the small, quiet spaces, like this garden near the Scholar's Study,
Scholar's Study

this big silent rock underneath a weeping katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum),
tree and rock

this flower carved into a bridge near a fish pond,

and this tiny white horse figurine surrounded by colorful saucers in the window of the teahouse.
window of teahouse

After an hour, it was time to board the bus and trek several miles outside the city to Cistus Nursery.
Cistus Nursery, Portland OR

Cistus was chock full of succulents,
succulents at Cistus

spiky plants,
one of many greenhouses

trees, shrubs, and a ginormous metal bird statue.
Bird statue

The main greenhouse was called The Big Top. I loved the displays and seating areas inside. (Plus, there was coffee in the back.)
Under the "Big Top"

Hey, I resemble that remark. But slow down? No way!
"plant nerd crossing"

Back on the bus to the next adventure -
on the bus

Joy Creek Nursery, eighteen miles outside the city.
Joy Creek Nursery

Here, we ate the world's yummiest brown bag lunch from Elephant's Deli while listening to a brief presentation by Dramm, then set off to tour the gardens and retail area.

Some gardens seemed to be primarily display gardens,

while others seemed to be growing spaces for nursery stock.
clematis area

I've never seen so many rudbeckia in one space,
or monarda,

or clematis.
pink clematis


Texas clematis hybrid

After a brief rest on the porch of the house, it was back on the bus to see two more gardens in this jam-packed day. To get to the next garden on Portland's Old Germantown Road, we had to hike up a bit of a hill from the road toward a big iron gate,
up the hill through the gate

and around a circular drive with a sunny VW Beetle,

to this gorgeous home on 2 acres, full of winding paths through lush, layered landscapes.
Home and garden

birds eye view

At the top of the hill near the house was a greenhouse and pool.
view from balcony

pool and greenhouse

This little shallow spot in the pool was just too inviting.
cool feet

And right next to the shallow pool was this colorful little patio table, surrounded by all manner of tropical plants. Wouldn't you love to have coffee out here every morning? (On this sunny afternoon, we enjoyed orange-pineapple juice and freshly baked almond-chocolate pinwheel cookies, courtesy of the family baker. What a treat!)
lilies and banana

A quick peek inside the greenhouse -
inside the greenhouse

then back down the hill and onto the bus to the last garden of the day - Westwood Farm Studio, with a gorgeous grassy meadow designed by John Greenlee.

The "farm" is a working lavender farm, and the "studio" is a music studio - two music studios, in fact.
through the meadow

The home was designed by mid-century architect Pietro Belluschi, but we weren't there to tour that.
garden near house

I enjoyed a foot-dip in the saltwater pool next to the 'yoga house',

then hiked up to a glass greenhouse on top of a lushly landscaped hill,
garden near greenhouse

surrounded by daylilies and more daylilies,


and at the end of the path, found this charming guesthouse. Whew! Can I check in?
guest house

Thanks to Loree Bohl of Danger Garden, Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens, Jane Howell-Finch at MulchMaid, Ann Amato-Zorich at Amateur Bot-ann-ist and Heather Tucker of Just a Girl with a Hammer for putting together this wonderful day.

Next up - a recap of Fling Day #2 where I and 80 garden bloggers around the world converge on a Japanese garden, a rose test garden, an elementary school turned into a hotel and restaurant, and three fantastic private urban gardens on lots about the size of mine.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.