the spider gallery at joy creek


One of the owners, Mike, was gifted this metal spider sculpture. Its subtle presence on the side of the barn seems just right for the season of all things scary.


Not that we find spiders scary…at all! They are friends of the garden and their artistry stood out on a foggy morning.


There were the traditionalists, some adding a little twist on the side.


While others took a more free-form approach.


Whatever the style, raiments of captured dewdrops enhanced the early morning show.

wednesday vignette & a thanksgiving trip


Anna (Flutter and Hum) hosts every Wednesday with eye-opening observations of a visual and often philosophical bent. This week she confronts dark times with thoughts that put them in perspective. By contrast, my vignette features a world glittering with a dusting of snow and hoarfrost. We were driving to Idaho for Thanksgiving and the road between Walla Walla and Lewiston, all sensual rolling hills, was bespangled under a blue sky.


In Waitsburg, a charming little town along the way, we veered from the main road and stopped to capture this scene.


These charming refugees from the chopping block were quite chatty. Their mistress assured us that they enjoy pet status…no ovens in their future.


After an eight hour drive, we reached our destination: Kathryn & John’s spread overlooking the Clearwater River in Idaho. Sami traveled with us. Call me crazy, but she’s old in cat years and clingier than she used to be. I got her a harness and a leash and steeled myself for a challenging trip. As it was, she settled in my lap and alternated between snoozing and watching the world go by.


The Idaho deer make ours look like pikers. Of course K & J feed and coddle them, so they are fearless in their foraging. Just look at that pile of rocks! That’s what came out of the ground creating the fenced veggie garden. Looks like the start of a swell crevice garden to me, so I’m forwarding to them Loree’s post on that subject appearing today in (Plant Lust).


The birds get plenty of TLC too.


Another large fenced area (with an equally huge pile of rocks) protects a small orchard.


And we thought Portland was cold! Blue skies and sunshine beckoned so we bundled up and traipsed around.


Still frosty on the drive home. To my eye, the wind farms fit right into this landscape. How do you feel about them?

snow day

Phlomus russeliana

There’s nothing like a snowfall to bring out the photogenic side of a garden that was beginning to slip into a dowdy phase. The seed heads of Phlomus russeliana are always fetching, but they take on an especially jaunty air with caps of snow.

Phlomus russeliana closer

So cute, in fact, that I couldn’t stop at just one photo.

Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

I featured Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ in the last post, but its quirky tracery of twisted branches really shows up against the snow.

‘Thunderhead’ pine

It has been so cold that the snow is dry and light. I can just enjoy the way it nestles into the ‘Thunderhead’ pine instead of worrying about it weighing down the branches.

NOID Yucca

The NOID Yucca from Ryan seems to be sailing through the cold snap.

snow on the grass

It was a mere two inches of snow: not enough to even out the surface where it fell on rough grass. It almost looks like clouds as seen from above.

bottle garden with autumn fern

The bottle garden pretty much disappears during the high season, but here it catches the light and is set off by just the snow and an autumn fern.

rock cairns with snow

Even my silly little cairns acquire an aura of mystery when partly hidden by snow.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ in bud

This is about as far along as the blooming trusses of Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ have ever progressed before being blackened by a freeze.

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped

This year we had plenty of warning, so I wrapped the trusses in bubble wrap, covered with a plastic bag and secured with a rubber band. I read somewhere that bubble wrap is not a good insulator for pots. Any thoughts on that?

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ buds wrapped with snow

Time will tell, but at least I tried. I sure would like to see this thing in full bloom some day.

Echium under pot

A few things got the overturned pot treatment and many potted plants are clustered on the deck. As cold as it is, these precautions may be entirely inadequate.

bird feeder

The bird feeders got filled. The birds got so excited once the snow arrived that I had to refill a couple of times a day.


Some suet for good measure.

winter sun at mid-day

The sun moves in such a low arc that taking pictures at mid-day is almost like late afternoon. Love that winter light.

September’s split personality

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

We asked for rain, and it came down in buckets. Anything with big trusses, like this Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ was laid low.

Macleaya cordata

Some tall things, like the Macleaya cordata (plume poppy), met a similar fate.

Leonotis nepetifolia

Once standing proudly a good 8′ tall, Leonotis nepetifolia now crouches on the ground. Before I had a chance to get out there and stake them, the flowering tips began to bend upward to reach for the light. Note to self: next year, stake early and stake liberally (yeah, sure…like I’m about to do that).

Lion’s tail

See what I mean? At this point they would look mighty peculiar if I were to stake the bent stems.

Chasmantium latifolium

I actually did stake the Chasmantium latifolium because last year it dipped over into the pond. Live and learn: the stakes need to be taller, with at least two levels of bamboo poles strung between them.


Waterlogged zinnias were dead headed, the plants freshly tied up to existing stakes, and these little flower factories are already pumping out new product.

Hydrangea Preziosa
Hydrangea Preziosa

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’ is turning many shades of dusky hues. Beaten down as it is by the rain, I needn’t hesitate to cut freely and hang the flower heads upside down to dry. I find all kinds of uses for them during the holidays.


The big mopheads fade to even more interesting colors.

Verbena bonariensis

I like the deep purple of the last throes of Verbena bonariensis, but most of them are finally flopping and must be cut back.

So the first week of September was soggy and it seemed that summer had ended with a flash of light and a clap of thunder. Hah! We are into the second week, characterized by temperatures in the 90’s. Our Texas friends laugh condescendingly, but we Oregonians (with a few notable exceptions) wilt and whine in such weather. I am circulating a petition for Indian summer: crisp, sunny days in the 70’s. Are you with me?