breaking up is hard to do

This is the view of Delusional Drive as you are leaving our little chunk of paradise. We are hard-pressed to understand how so many potential buyers have toured the property and failed to fall in love.

Oh well, that just means that we have more time to enjoy dinners with friends out under the cherry trees. Which reminds me of a wonderful Italian movie ‘The Story of Boys and Girls’ that truly celebrates the art of dining al fresco.

The moon has been putting on a pretty good show of late…wouldn’t have wanted to miss that!

And some things are just coming into their own, like this sea of nutmeg thyme. I suspended keeping up with Sprig to Twig for a long time because it felt like I was just repeating myself. Now that we are getting ready to say goodbye, there is a new poignancy to things that had been taken for granted.

Having anticipated a move for quite some time, several treasures reside in pots, not all of which come off looking as intentional as this one.

Other favorites are waiting for a change in the weather so that I can dig up a little bit to take with us. I will surely miss the many special specimens that have come from blogging buddies, enabling drifts, like these Phlomus, to bring continuity to a large property. New challenges may revitalize my interest in blogging, above all staying in touch with the stellar group of people who connect this way. In the meantime, I keep my fingers crossed that some gardener will come along to raise this special property to new heights.

19800 NW Rainier Ave PDX 97231 is for sale

the beginning of the gracious s-curve that is the driveway

Nature lovers, privacy lovers, traffic-avoidance lovers: this could be your long-sought sanctuary. A dead end street off a dead-end road leads to a winding driveway designed to be a year-round delight: conifers, shrubs and perennials usher you into a private paradise.

bees are a-buzzin’ when the cherry trees are in bloom

Twenty years of active involvement in the gardening community have resulted in a large collection of unusual, prized plant material, all chosen to thrive in our climate. Spring and summer bring the bonus of a constant parade of blooms.

birds and butterflies put on a show

Privacy does not equal isolation. Plantings create buffer zones between us and our friendly neighbours (several third-generation residents speak to the desirability of the neighbourhood). Twenty minutes to downtown Portland, 10 to Scappoose and just over an hour to the coast on smooth-running Hwy 30.

one of those friendly neighbours

Orchard, woodland (rich in wildflowers and other natives), two spring fed year-round brooks, a meadow and cultivated areas around the house invite you to enjoy as-is or put your own stamp on them. Gardeners take note: plenty of space for sun and shade gardens to expand.

a large covered deck, good for entertaining or lolling

What about the house? The daylight basement ranch, built in 1974, is perfectly sited on the 3.89 acres. Updates in 2003 to the living/dining and bedroom areas tamp down that 70’s vibe. Hardwood floors, arched doorways, windows that bring the outdoors in. Cozy up to the amazing free-standing fireplace on a winter’s evening or entertain on the large deck or under the cherry trees on a summer day. A large, well-insulated studio with three skylights is a few steps away down a paved lavender walk. Let it beckon to your creative side or use it as a guest house or ???

There’s Richard, to give you an idea of the scale of the trees on the back part of the property.

We really do hate to leave but it has become increasingly clear that the time has come to move on to our next chapter and give someone else the chance to experience this place. More details at

To arrange a viewing, call Diana Erickson at: 503-319-5544

catching up

end of May bouquet

Iris season slipped right by without a single one making it to a vase but the Peonies and Foxgloves were not to be denied. I’m not a big fan of pink, but pairing it with the bronze of Persicaria Red Dragon makes it OK by me.

today’s bouquet

The Dahlias are just beginning to put in an appearance. Here, I’ve paired them with Lysimachia ‘Alexander’

‘Alexander’s’ foliage is supposed to be variegated

I started with a single plant that has multiplied nicely but only a few still sport the variegated foliage. The rest have reverted to solid green.

Sweet Peas

It has been a few years since having success with sweet peas. What was I thinking? The fragrance is heavenly. The clear marbles hold the stems upright nicely.

My Mothers’ Day bouquet came with some orchids in the mix. They were kept fresh in these water-filled tubes that also took the place of stems. Neat tool, don’t you think?

My favorite task at work is creating big, showy bouquets to showcase the plants we carry (admittedly, I often fail to resist a few that are in the display gardens but not for sale on the tables). When the weather is cool, many of the blooms last for two weeks or even longer.

In which case, a little fluffing up is all that is required. Cathy is completely dependable with her weekly In a Vase on Monday posts. I do continue to make bouquets but posting about them seems to have fallen by the wayside of late. Summer, you know…it calls us into our gardens, where the stress of these times tends to fall away and there is no place I would rather be…how about you?

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). 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 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, 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.


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.