Saturday, February 18, 2017

Barren's Spring Clean Up!

We had a break in the rainy (serious pineapple express happening here) weather and I worked in the garden to prep for spring.

I spent time cutting the grasses and trimming the phygelius to a manageable size. I raked up the winter debris and cleared fallen leaves...but only in the spaces where it would keep the garden too wet and damp, otherwise..fallen leaves = winter mulch. I also hunted down the emerging buttercups that love to spread all over.

Lemon Cypress looking a bit shaggy, but it's nice and bright. They have shallow roots and require staking (not sure they were the best choice to create my privacy screen). Bronco grass and dwarf conifers are keeping the garden interesting in winter. Pictured 'Golden Spreader' (abies nordmanniana), 'Golden Tuffet' thuja occidentalis, Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Iceberg, Abies pinsap 'Spanish Fir' and Picea omorika 'Tijn'
The garden is nearing the end of dormancy. It's the ugly time of year, despite my attempts to add in a splash of evergreen shrub or dwarf conifer. 

The loss of the main trunks of our very old snowball tree (viburnum macrocephalum va. sterile) created a mess when it came down after heavy snowfall. We used the new electric chainsaw to cut it up and then the kids helped to haul away the tangle of branchs. 

Daphne odora 'Zuiko nishiki' next to the ancient rhododendron and the stump from the old snowball tree. Puma the cat slinks across the barren garden bed
The snowball tree, see stump above, left us with a gap in the border of our close in garden. It also changes the amount of sunlight this area will receive. I'm excited to move some plants around that will appreciate more light. I kept a few of the newer limbs on the snowball tree so that it might rebound someday. My husbands great-grandfather planted it..probably 85 years ago.

This garden will still receive a lot of afternoon shade from a nearby dogwood tree, so the remaining ferns and hostas will hopefully be alright. I'll find out! I am prepared to dig them up later this spring as that area will get a full dose of morning summer sun.

Pictured above is the bed that is bordered by clumping bamboo 'Green Screen' on the side and two pines in the back and the dogwood tree on the otherside. This is my favorite bed. I have several grass selections, from panicums, to calamagrostis to pennisetum spathiolatum and new last year, deschampsia cespitosa 'northern lights' (that's if the cats don't eat it first). It gets a fair amount of morning and summer afternoon sun with more on the horizon as the tall row of cedars on the neighborning property will be cut down with the sale of that home. More on that later. 

In the winter months, the hardy and native sword ferns stand out as does the white pine 'Louie' in the back. The grasses have been combed and now seem a little skimpy as all else lies in quiet sleep. One of the surprises is that my rosemary has not died due to the frigid temps we had in mid-January. 

This is a colorful bed in the summertime when the cone flowers dominate and the cape fuchsia'a lure the hummingbirds in for a snack. For now, it's resting..except for the blare of the 'blue pool'. #joyof children

A few things are beginning to rouse from their slumber....

sedums are awakening
camellia unfurling

and some things just look better in winter...

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Treasure Island'

lemon thyme

The work is done and now it's time for the garden beds to wake up! The spring bulbs should be on display in another month and my hope is that by cleaning up now..I'll be able to get a better view of those daffodil blooms.

Cheers, Jenni

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Feb 2017 Bloom Day - It's Been a Hard Winter

In the past, my Feburary Bloom Day posts have been filled with pretty hellebore blooms..but the garden has taken a big hit this year from frigid dry air and snow/ice storms. The blooms are behind or flat out damaged with unsightly foliage to boot.


I am not sure which hellebore this was labeled 'Pacific Frost' but I'm not sure if it's true. It is some variety of helleborus argutifolius corsicus.

Helleborus 'Apricot Blush' from the Winter Jewel's line..based right here in beautiful Oregon, is beginning to bloom. It always lightens up as the bloom ages, but this particular plant begins with a darker mauve blooms with pretty veins and a deeply hued center.

Also from the Winter Jewel's line is this pretty double painted white hellebore. It was already open this time last year......this year....just starting. But, you can see the damage to the foliage from the winter weather.

Just buds beginning on the 'Charlotte' hellebore from the 'Spring Promise' line.

And another double white hellebore with a picotee edge.....just beginning to open after a week of sunshine after a long, cold, winter.

And finally here is 'Valerie' from the Spring Promise line. She is an early bloomer and began blooming in earnest in January.

I hope to make room for more hellebore varieties in the future..but that's another story.

Pieris will bloom soon and so will the daffodils.

When the daffodils bloom....then it will really be spring.

I'm ready. 

Vist Carol at May Blooms Gardens to see what is blooming around the world as garden bloggers share their bloom day posts. 

Cheers, Jenni

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Winter Visit to Joy Creek Nursery with Friends

The weather might be chilly, but that didn't stop the Portland, Oregon area Garden Bloggers from meeting up at Joy Creek Nursery for a tour and talk on how to manage winter storm damage by Mike, co-owner of the nursery.

Some people know how to strike a pose...NW Style (i.e coffee in hand)
Joy Creek Nursery is a gem in our neck of the woods. They have a diverse open garden to wander where they specialize in clematis and hydrangea breeding (as well as many other species). Also, I will add, they have a great online catalog for those who are not located in the area.

A big January snowstorm brought temps as low as 11 degrees and snow 18" deep to the nursery. The weather created damage all over the Portland metro area and those of us gathered were very curious to see how the experts at Joy Creek would manage the damage their garden had sustained.

Mike discusses a the fate of a tall hydrangea aspera that broke at the base. Mike will keep the remaining upright trunk and see what happends. While this type of hydrangea sustained a lot of damage, the hydrangea macrophylla(s) did not. Those are maintained and pruned yearly keeping the plants more compact. 

Mike discusses a plant that sustained heavy damage at the base, with one of the trunks breaking off at the base. Mike intends to remove the broken piece and leave the others up providing additional supports hoping the plant will right itself with time.

Look at all of those fabulous garden bloggers!
Mike discussed that he will prune his phygelius down to about 4 inches to the ground. He also discussed damage sustained to their rhododendrons. He encouraged pruning some of the larger varieties into a more compact shape. They will recover with patience and time. 

This Pinus parviflora variety was greatly damaged. Mike is concerned that the next big windstorm will finish it off. It had a major, upper, branch that you can see, came off due to the weight of the snow. This tree will come down soon.

Below is a pic of a vertical juniper species that bent due to the weight of the snow and ended up like so many vertical species do when damaged..with a big hole in the middle. bloggers are the masters of 'strike a pose'

Mike plans to tie this juniper up with 'tree tie' a product that has more of a chain link quality. They will not tie the tree up too tightly, as they want air to circulate through it.

A newly built rose garden. Notice the seed heads still intact in the forefront. Keeping seed heads up for birds to eat is a great way to allow the garden to be multi-season and to keep it a source of food for birds in the winter months.
After our storm damage talk, we ventured to the barns where hot coffee and a tasty spread awaited us. Maurice, the other half of Joy Creek Nursery, gave us a slide show presentation of a fernery that he is building on his home property. 

WOW! Talk about inspiration. Maurice took down about seven mature poplar trees on his property and recycled them by building a fernery that is truly a work of art. I'm still awestruck.

Maurice, co-owner of Joy Creek Nursery, giving us a slide show presentation on a 'fernery' that he has build on his home property.
I have to give a special shout out to Tamara of Chickadee Garden blog and Ricki of Sprig to Twig, who organized the event and provided a delicious, home-cooked lunch. Tamara is the social media coordinator of Joy Creek Nursery and helped Mike and Maurice show their appreciation to our little bunch for all the support we have provided to Joy Creek in the past.
Well, it's a love love situation because an opportunity to hear from the pro's about the necessary winter work in the garden and a chance to hang out with some of the nicest people I know = a great day in my book.

And there were plants for sale. 

Need I say more. 

Interested in reading the blogs from some of the bloggers who attended this event? Check out my right side bar under 'Pacific NW Bloggers...'  You'll find them there.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Cold and Snowy Start to 2017 - Jan GBBD

It's the first 'Bloom Day' of 2017 and I have no blooms to share....because everything is covered in about 7 inches of snow.

Here's the RainyDay Cottage, blanketed in snow.

Generally, this is the time of year when I celebrate my hellebore collection. Not sure what condition the plants will be in after this all melts. Prior to the snow storm, we had a week of very cold temps. Dry, frigid air laying waste to my pretty plants.

The snow storm has already caused some damage.  In this next picture, the 80+ year old, Chinese snow ball tree (viburnum macrocephalum var. sterile) planted by my husbands great grandfather, is overloaded by the weight of the snow. After trying to lighten the snow load, I realized the old tree had broken at the base. Turns was rotting. So..the hubby got the chainsaw out (always a favorite moment for him) and cut down the old wood. Luckily, I've been letting a few new shoots grow over the past few years (to try and fill in the back). Those are healthy and this old tree will still keep on going....just in a very reduced way.

The old viburnum tree

Of my three cats, only one would venture out into the cold. That's right....Demon Cat turned into the 'snow cat'!

One of the sweetest things about snow, is that it makes the world quiet, softening the sounds of everyday life.

I love how snow can make tree branches stand out, like on my Twombly red sentinel japanese maple.

However, now its like day 5 of icy snow.... and I'm over it.

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Visit Carol at May Dreams Garden to see what is blooming around the world. 
Cheers, Jenni

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Winter Blooms and Foliage in my Oregon Garden

Icy and snowy weather has befallen the Pacific Northwest. It brings beauty to the garden and horror to the freeways as folks in these parts just don't know how to drive in the snow.  We do not get snow frequently enough in the Willamette Valley to become good at navigating it on the roads.

I've been homebound a few days with the kiddos (the perks of working for a school district) and have had time to snap some pictures of snowy garden scenes. While I think I have a nice selection of winter blooming plants, I have many on my list to get. The Anna hummingbird stays around all year and I want to provide more natural nectar for those cute little things.

Here is my garden in winter.

I seriously love this plant. I love photographing it all year as it changes color. Right now, this summer blooming heath has pink tipped foliage and the dried blooms add creamy charm.
calluna vulgaris 'firefly'
The abelia is blooming and oh, that pink tipped foliage is so pretty!
abelia 'Sunshine Daydream'
When I bought this dwarf conifer..I wasn't expecting it to hold this 'blue' color all year. It is beautiful and the snow sharpens the color even more.

chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Blue Surprise'
callicarpa 'Beautyberry'
I cannot get over panicums. In winter, they have remained upright with their petite seed heads dancing in the wind.
panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

Licorice Ferns 
polystichum setiferum 'Alaskan Shield Fern'
pinus densiflora 'Burke's Red Variegated'
Isn't this a pretty picture? I've only grown pieris a few years and I have been so pleased with their early blooms for the bee's and hummers. They handle the part sun areas under tree's nicely. I had not noticed the winter red coloring and now it just adds to how great I think this shrub is.
pieris japonica 'Scarlett O'Hara'

Demon the Terrible
My only bloom..ish! 'Elly' from the Spring Promise line started blooming in November. The shape of the blossoms reminds me of fancy, ballroom dancing skirts.
helleborus spring promise 'elly'

Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for December's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow up and check out more amazing gardens. Even in December we can find beauty in our gardens.

Wishing All a very happy, holiday season.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Garden in November

We've weathered a few October storms that have dumped over 8+ inches of rainfall in the Portland metro area. Webbed feet is an asset these days.

November, however, begins with sunshine and I took advantage of the pretty weather to take some pictures to showcase the gardens as they transistion deeper into autumn.

'Fireglow' Acer Palmatum
The warm hues from my Japanese maples are welcome. I look forward to the leaves changing every year. It's really a breath taking sight. Acer Palmatum 'Fireglow' is my favorite. In the summer, I love to sit under it and gaze upwards. The leaves look like they are on fire as the sunlight bounces off.

Acer Palmatum 'Fireglow'
In the fall, the leaves turn a warm reddish hue. It is a standout piece in my garden.

Acer Palmatum 'Sango Kaku' or Coral Bark Maple
If you love fall color, I suggest adding blueberries to your landscape. The irridescent red hues are brillant. I have a little girl that loves to eat blueberries, so they are important to our edible garden, but the bonus of fab fall foliage can't be beat.

blueberry fall foliage
Every year I think about moving my callicarpa to a more prominant location...and then I forget. I need to remember because it's a show stopper this time of year.

Callicarpa aka Beautyberry

I need to take some cuttings and make a few more starts to sprinkle around the garden in those hard 'dry shade' spots. This tall scrub is perfect.

As we have not had a frost yet, the dahlia's continue to bloom. 

Dahlia's are an autumn favorite of mine. 

The seeds from the butterfly weed are popping from their pods. I love it when the pod first splits open and you see this amazing pattern of the seeds layed like falled dominos. 

Asclepias tuberosa or butteryfly weed seeds 
The summer blooming heath produced white, needle shaped heads in autumn as well.

calluna vulgaris 'Suzanne'
Northern oat grass turns a coppery color, but it's the dangling seeds that really delight me in autumn.

Mt. Airy Fothergilla is a shrub that I planted specifically for it's fall foliage.  I like it's shape, it's slow growing nature and the bottlebrush spring blooms. But, what I really love are the gold and orange colored foliage in the fall.

Mt. Airy Fothergilla
And what's this? A second flush of astrantia 'roma'? Yes, I'll take that.

Astrantia major 'Roma'

The garden is simply stunning in fall. I am benefiting from some of the plant choices I made, specifically for fall foliage and blooms. It's wonderful to have something to mavel at in the November garden.