country roads

the gallon pot section

We took the back roads but with a destination in mind. We were on the hunt for trees and Maurice at Joy Creek had recommended Conifer Kingdom in Silverton. Richard called ahead to determine the hours and days and off we went.

bigger specimens for bigger pocketbooks

We arrived within the allotted time framework, only to be told that they were closed to the public. As with most gardening folk, they responded to our obvious disappointment kindly, allowing us to take our time and look around.

cows graze in the background of this bucolic setting

What a place! All conifers, all the time! We were in heaven. All of the plants were in tip-top shape and the variety was overwhelming.

Pinus schwerinii (x) ‘Wiethorst

This was basically what we were after: something kind of light and fluffy.

Oh Goody! It was available in a one gallon size
Pinus koraiensis ‘KG’ (‘Gee Broom’)

But faced with such abundance, who could stop at just one?

Abies pinsapo ‘Aurea’ (Spanish Fir)

I fell hard for this Abies. Overcome with plant lust, we knew we had to have all three. Alas, we were not allowed to pay and take home our new adoptees but must order online and wait at least two weeks for them to be shipped to us. The owner ambled over for a chat and volunteered to waive the shipping fee.

Yippee…they have arrived!

I was distressed to be unable to hand pick each tree but they did as well or better and even threw in a gift (second from right) Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese Umbrella Pine). http://coniferkingdom.com is a good place to start browsing if you are a tree nut. Once restrictions are eased, a beautiful drive through the countryside can lead you to this oasis. I plan to make a day of it, pack a picnic and hit the trail around Silver Falls. If you are planning a trip to this area you might consider staying at The Oregon Garden and dipping into the nurseries and wineries scattered about.

family fun

Richard is taking the picture

Hillary wanted to be near family during the pandemic so she is here and with two good cooks on hand we are enjoying fabulous meals and interesting dinnertime conversations. She is also working at Joy Creek 3 days a week to make the family connection all the more iron-clad.

fruit tree pre-pruning

Getting the orchard pruned is a big project every spring. Richard has a love/hate relationship with this particular chore.

the process
the result

This year the project went much faster with Hillary’s help.

and that girl knows how to recuperate
when the sun shines, this is how we keep our distancing

We can easily add a few more chairs if you decide to share one of these sunny afternoons with us (I am sure they are just around the bend).

IAVOM (believe it or not)

Epimediums are so delicate

I’m not going to work (cuz, you know…I’m old) so here I am making bouquets at home. There’s so much going on out there that it is hard to choose. Hence several arrangements tucked in here and there around the house and deck.

I like to give them plenty of space
so we can see the intricate details, up close and personal
Lilacs with Euphorbias

The Lilacs are just coming on, so I stuck them in with a big bouquet of Euphorbia wulfenii that resulted from a cutting back project (two weeks ago and they’re still looking fresh). I cut back then dug out a huge clump of it. Because of its profligate ways there are still plenty of new clumps here and there. I would hate to be without it.

Thalia against Hanoki Cypress background

That vase is fairly flat (if we looked at it from the side it would look narrow). In the background is a pair of candlesticks made by Richard and the cloth was a gift brought back from Japan by my boss, Maurice. Oh, and the little hand-crafted vase in the first photo came from a craft fair (alas, a thing of the past, at least for now). Cathy’s https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/in-a-vase-on-monday-cuckoo-in-the-nest/ meme is NOT a thing of the past and I am pleased to be joining in this Monday.

Happy Easter!

use whatcha got

No trips to buy dye kits, so decorating eggs became a fun group effort. The moiré egg on the right (my personal favorite…meaning “eat last”) was done with a combination of felt pens and colored pencils. The two dark greens top and bottom sat in red cabbage water overnight (chopped up red cabbage boiled, strained, with vinegar added). One kept its original, lovely brownness because we ran out of ideas and/or enthusiasm and the last three were done entirely with felt pens. I like them better than those Paas numbers and they were way more fun.

Hillary (darling daughter)

Hillary is staying with us and boy, do we put together some super meals when we pool our resources.

case in point: corned beef and cabbage stew (Hillary) ? Irish soda bread (me) ? Zinfandel (Richard)
and just look what she brought with her to oversee the whole operation

I hope you are finding ways to spice up your life while following the guidelines to stay home and stay safe. I have been out of the loop for some time, during which WordPress has “improved” things beyond my comprehension so please bear with any glitches and accept my very best wishes for the season, whatever it may bring your way.

autumn leaves…etc.

autumn leaves…etc.

Summer is glorious but I have always been drawn to the subtlety of the muted tones as things wind down in the garden. Here is the latest example: Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ has been starring in a parade of bouquets at Joy Creek. It lasts and lasts. This week the supporting cast is especially strong: Cotinus ‘Grace’ and Hydrangea quercifolia foliage, the fading blooms of Hydrangea ‘King George’ and several plumes of Miscanthus ‘Cosmopolitan’.

Meanwhile, at home, Iris ‘Immortality’ is gifting me with a second flush of blooms. I like a single flower, backed up by a branch of Ponciris trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ (those wicked thorns would do any dragon proud), complete with three of its fruits. It should be fun to see what others are finding to put in a vase as the choices dwindle with the season. Go to Rambling in the Garden to get in on the act.

my special island

early days (with visitors)
recently (with mothers day orb and new tree)

I decided to begin a new island where it would get full sun. I call it Bali Hai, referring to the song from South Pacific…”Here am I, your special island, come to me, come to me.” Richard finds this super-silly, but oh well… This summer photo features Penstemons ‘Margarita BOP’ on the left and ‘Blue Springs’ on the right. The folks that discovered Margarita used to end their days on the back porch drinking Margaritas, hence the name, BOP standing in for Back Of Porch.

Chamaecyparis lawsonia ‘Blue Surprise’

I was so excited when I brought home the little tree in the upper photo (isn’t that color to die for?) Well, die it did. If you look closely you can spot a small tuft of green at the base so I’m not giving up on it (anything could happen).

early planting of Siberian bearded Iris
Those same Iris ‘Immortality’ blooming in May

So satisfying and they are giving me a second bloom right now. More iris? Yes, please!

Carex ‘Ice Dance’ (I think)

My good friend Anna gave me a big clump of this, which I separated to make a nice sweep of grasses.

and look at them now, with Lavendula ‘Marshwood’ in the foreground.

I have been incommunicado for some time. If you are reading this, you have somehow refound me and I would love it if you would tell me how in the comments. I now go as sprig2twig.com, which makes a lot more sense than my prior handle. It took a lot of time on the phone with various providers to get here, but WELCOME! I hope this is the start (or renewal) of a beautiful friendship.

nosegays

So much of what is bloomingnow is a treat for the nose. I look forward to the scent of lilacs that transports me to my gram’s casual side yard (never referred to as a “garden”). The bottlebrush blooms of privet and a few store-bought Alstromeria fill in the blank spots.

Lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis is taking over the bed where it was introduced. I was warned, but it just means I can cut as many as I like and sniff away.

Enkianthus is an extremely slow-growing tree with clusters of bell-shaped flowers adorned with subtle stripes.

See what I mean? I adore these.

This is indeed the season for an embarrassment of riches. Excorda ‘The Bride’ is showing off her gown of white and turning heads. The Rhodys are strutting their stuff (here we have ‘Horizon Sunset’) along with Choisya ‘Sundance’ with fragrant white blooms.

Whensome things wimp out, others come along to take their place. Here I added three stems of our native Camassia and a few Centaurea montana.

Who doesn’t love a touch of blue?

The red vase was just asking for some red Rhodies and a dark Anthriscus leaf to set them off. Am I filling every nook and cranny with flowers? You bet! Why, there’s even a little posy in the port-a-potty. Don’t mis out on Cathy’s collection of bloggers’ vases at Rambling in the Garden.

Now…if you are moved to leave a comment (and I adore getting comments) please do not be put off by the ominous “fatal error” message. I haven’t the skill to fix this annoying problem. On the up-side, your comment will appear nevertheless, so please ignore the nasty warning. Who knows what WordPress is up to here: seriously, if you have any ideas for a fix I will be eternally grateful.

magical succulents + iavom

They tend to be a bit fragile, so bits and bobs are always breaking off from the mother plants.

I had a pot that needed some filling in at ground level so just poked those bits into the soil. Voila! In a matter of weeks they had surpassed all expectation. Kinda reminds me of Jack and his magic beanstock.

This little vase is an afterthought because it took shape a couple of weeks ago. The mums last and last in a vase even though the great outdoors destroyed what was left out there. Supplemented by some dried Persicaria and Chasmanthium latifolium and a decorative leaf plucked from a NOID houseplant, I’ll offer it up for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’.

dahlia time

You still have a couple of days to catch the dahlia festival at Swan Island Dahlias in Canby OR. We went last Monday to avoid the crowds…HAH! It was wall-to-wall people but a fun, festive atmosphere. (I just missed catching a shot of an adorable little girl peeking out the center of that flower graphic)

Row upon row of incredible flowers stretch as far as the eye can see.

Thanks to clear signage, you can wander the fields to create a list of must-haves.

My latest heartthrob is the pom pom form, like ‘Maarn’, above. Hard to believe that nature can produce such geometrical perfection.

‘Spartacus’ is a whoppin’ big guy with recurved petals and a velvety richness.

‘Gitt Crazy’ has wonderfully modulated shades of color and a name that must have come from a late-night session fueled by who-knows-what.

The fields will be open through September. Here’s a glimpse of what you will miss if you can’t make it to the festival: music, food, crowds of happy people, and extensive indoor displays of cut flowers like those above. I prefer seeing the flowers growing in the fields, where the varying heights and strength of stems are obvious.

We came home with a nice bouquet…

…and a full color catalog that I cut up to make my selections (it was a little too overwhelming to me to make up my mind on the spot). Prices range from a low of $5.95 to upwards of $25.00 for new introductions. You can order online HERE for delivery at planting time. OOOH what bouquets I dream of making next summer!

company coming…what to do?

Richard has a passel of Estonian cousins who were converging in Portland for a big family reunion. I knew about this a year in advance and had visions of getting the whole garden ship shape by the first of October.

Hah! You know what they say about best-laid plans. At least I had enough sense to concentrate first on the approach to the house. Delusional Drive was fully weeded and looking pretty darn good, if I do say so.

Once I accepted the fact that that was as far as it would get, I put out a few banners to dress up the drive a little more…

…and let it go at that.

Once they reached the front deck, there was plenty of food and drink to distract them from the flaws in the rest of the garden.

And after all, the point of the gathering was to catch up and retell the fascinating stories that make up the family lore.

R did conduct a few tours, primarily of the forested area, where Mom Nature never needs to apologize for her gardening skills.

Then it was off to Neskowin, a charming little beach town on the Oregon Coast.

Beachcombing, of course, but wandering the lanes here are a treat for the horticulturally inclined.

Cottages have ruled for years but new construction is often upscale and modern, with landscaping to match.

The cottage gardens tend toward the blowsy and colorful.

This gardener was not shy about the use of color.

The use of driftwood and stones establishes pride of place.

Coastal storms have a way of sculpting trees into works of art. Often they are the only ornamentation needed.

Here the remains of a tree support a collection of whirligigs to turn in the wind.

A fitting farewell to the beach and the cousins: sunset looking out to sea with Proposal Rock in the background. this year I really really do hope to whip this garden into shape.