Forgive the lack of photo on this post, but there's a good reason. Remember those io moth caterpillars that I said were disappearing?. Indeed, they're gone (hence the lack of photo). They didn't seem large enough to be ready to pupate, but who knows. Or maybe one of those huge crows that haunts our office gobbled them up. Who knows. I guess that's the way nature works.
Phormium is big in Portland, as I mentioned in the last Portland post. In fact, we saw it at both of the private gardens we toured in Northeast Portland. We were supposed to be able to see six urban gardens, but there were major problems with scheduling and the buses -- don't get me started.
Our first stop was at Darcy's Bloomtown garden. Like many Portland gardeners, Darcy had removed her front lawn in favor of more plants. Amen, sister!
Curbside bed as seen from front garden
Look at how many plants she packed into a narrow, four-foot wide space!
Love that color!
Clever garden gate
Now on to Nancyland! Nancy also removed her front lawn in favor of plants, but not before adding this humorous homage that made me believe that Nancy was my kind of gardener:
Nancy also included a recycled window as a garden gate. Note the nice detail of the marbles along the top edge.
Indeed, Nancy's garden spoke to me in so many ways. It was chock full of interesting art and recycled materials.
And last but not least, humor
This says, "My garden kicks ass" in Latin. I couldn't have said it better myself!
To see all of the photos that I took at Nancyland, click here.
Gardeners like to enjoy their own gardens, but they also love a chance to peek at what their neighbors are doing. Occasionally, this lands a gardener in a sticky situation. At the recent Garden Writers Association conference, I learned of a safe way to get glimpse what's blooming in other garden bloggers' yards through Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (thanks, Dee).
There were ten in the bed and the little one said
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
I was thinking of this yesterday when I left the office and then again when I came in this morning. Why? Because those cute little io moth caterpillars are already dwindling in number. When I left last night there were only six.
This morning there was only one.
Did they get tired of being snuggled up against their brothers and sisters? Did the little one ask them to all roll over? Or did some bird come and whisk a few of them away for a snack? Who knows. I keep hoping they're hiding under a leaf and I just didn't see them, but I doubt it.
On an interesting note, the redbud tree they were on is already showing flower buds. Seems a bit early since it's now October and these trees normally flower in the spring. Wonder what's going on there.
It's no wonder that Kniphofia is commonly called red hot poker. It is definitely a hot plant! I included a shot of one variety in my last post, and this post will have even more.
We saw several varieties of Kniphofia--as well as oodles of other great plants--at Joy Creek Nursery while in Portland for the Garden Writers Association conference.
Kniphofia, variety #1
Kniphofia, variety #2
I don't claim to know what varieties these are, but you can check the Joy Creek Nursery online catalog for all of the varieties they offer for sale.
They also had a great selection of ornamental grasses.
Japanese Blood Grass (I think)
If this is what I think it is, it's supposed to grow in Zones 5-9. I don't know about its heat zone tolerance.
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gold Bar'
This plant was amazing and I am definitely making room for it in my garden. It should grow fine here in North Central Florida, from what I've heard.
This looks a bit like an ornamental grass, but it's actually a yucca. I liked it so much that I might have to find a spot for it in my garden. I think it would look nice next to one of my 'Queen Emma' crinums.
Trachelospermum asiaticum'Ogon Nishiki'
And speaking of variegation, this variegated Asiatic jasmine was unlike any I've seen. I wonder if it would do well here in Florida?
I couldn't resist taking a shot of this beautiful apple tree that was spilling its bounty onto the ground. It made me nostalgic for the apples that Jenny and I would buy at the farmers' market in Northampton when we were in college. Sure, we have apples at the supermarkets here in Florida, but we just don't get the diversity that I used to see at the farmers' market there. The only northern apples we ever see here at the markets are 'Rome' and 'McIntosh'. Oh well. I guess it's the trade-off I pay for living in an otherwise blissful place where I don't have to shovel snow.
Dahlias? Done that. What else did I see in Portland that was worth blogging about? Here's the first of several posts with the best things I saw in Portland.
Hands down, Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island has to be the most fantastical nursery that I've ever seen. If you're ever in the Portland area and have a taste for exotic or unusual plants, you simply must stop in for a visit. How you squeeze all of the plants you crave into your luggage is something that I will leave up to you.
Sign behind service counter
Click the photo to read the funny story behind where this palm came from.
Phormium and ferns
Phormium plants are striking and appeared in almost every garden we visited in the Portland area. Apparently they like the dry summers and moist, mild winters. I've heard they would melt in hot, wet summers in Florida, but I haven't tried growing them myself.
Yucca and agave
This brugmansia appeared with many other tender plants in the Cistus Nursery "Zonal Denial" room.
How could I resist?
Did I mention how tall these cannas were? Given, I'm only 5'2" so I'm not the best scale, but these must have been 12 or 15 feet tall. I believe that the tallest ones with the small orange flowers were 'Omega', but I'm not certain.
To see all photos I took at Cistus Nursery, click here.
While walking from my car to my office this morning I was greeted by dozens of little jewels glistening in the grass. They were itty bitty spiderwebs. I'm guessing that they're always there, and that I only noticed them today because we had a particularly foggy morning. It's amazing the little surprises that nature can hold. What amazing things have you seen recently in your garden?
P.S. And yes, I promise to add more photos of garden goodness from my trip to Portland! I've just been busy with other work-related projects.
Emily, Tom and Erin all know how smitten I am with dahlias. I mean, how can you not love flowers that are so richly colored and so beautifully formed? They also feature prominently in the bold gardens of Christoper Lloyd, Sarah Raven and others--the gardens I'd love to emulate.
I admired the yard each time Jenny and I walked to the store, but it wasn't until my last day in Corvallis that I stopped by with my camera. Lo and behold, the gardener himself was out in the yard.
I found out that his name is Art Redfern and that he has been growing dahlias for more than 20 years. He got started with dahlias because his wife's father had grown them. Art now grows more than 250 different dahlia varieties. Wow.
I had a feeling he was growing lots of different types since they're all arranged in gridded beds with plant ID tags.
The East Bed
The West Bed
It was quite an impressive operation for someone who does this as a hobby. And of course, the dahlias themselves were equally impressive.
After I'd chatted with Art for awhile and said that I really ought to be getting back, he asked if I'd like a bouquet to take with me. Well yeah... of course! Like I'm going to turn that offer down!
Jenny came around the corner at this time, no doubt wondering where I had disappeared to. By the time Art was done cutting, Jenny and I both had our arms full of dahlias. You can see all of the ones he gave us in this photo. And yes, they really are that big.
In fact, the large pink one in the center was bigger than my head! Art told us that it's called 'Elsie Huston' and that it's a repeat prize winner at dahlia shows. No surprise there.
It would be a lot of work, but I just might have to see if I could grow some dahlias at home. I know they need a good, rich soil and lots of moisture. Our native soil wouldn't work, but maybe I could amend the soil with bags of composted cow manure or try growing the dahlias in containers. Who knows--maybe I could become the dahlia queen of Florida!
If you're interested in learning more about dahlias, Art recommends the Colorado Dahlia Society.