Thursday, September 04, 2014

Late Summer at Chickadee Gardens

I've been so focused on other gardens and activities that I haven't posted about Chickadee Gardens for some time. It's been a very busy summer of Flings, family, projects, cats, commitments, love, loss and extreme heat. Through it all, our garden continues to give me comfort and focus, and it has the uncanny ability to point me in the right direction.

Let us pause and see what is growing at Chickadee Gardens before the summer is gone.


In the front, things are filling in. After petting a neighborhood cat, I saw the garden from his point of view and snapped a few photos. Not bad!


I do love the orange, and this year it's all the rage, don't you know? Here are just a few blooms in the orange garden:

Mimulus aurantiacus, native to the hot regions of the West Coast.

Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, also native. Plus they're host plants for monarch butterflies.

Good ol' marigolds...I never used to like them but they line the veggie bed and, well, I've come to find them charming.

Agastache, or hummingbird mint. 







 This year I found these lovely cones on the Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca'.


This year's "It" plant, Digiplexis is blooming its head off still.


 I really do like this vignette, the Loropelatum chinense which bounced back from the dead this spring, a Pennisetum setaceum 'Vertigo', some sedge and oxalis.


 From the hell strip looking at the front garden. The Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is really filling in this year.



 OK, can you believe this is one sunflower plant? I bought the seedling in a 4" pot from Annie's Annuals and, well, look at the darned thing! It's called Japanese Silver, and even though there is no silver anywhere on this, I am very impressed. The birds and bees love it.



 The Verbena bonariensis blooming away.



 Solidago 'Fireworks' just coming into bloom in the yellow garden.



 It does look like fireworks!



 My little Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Barry's Silver' also in the yellow garden, from Xera Plants.


 Solidago 'Little Lemon'


 The crape myrtle has recovered from last year's tragedy. You can relive my horror here.


 Origanum 'Kent Beauty' volunteer.

 
 Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer' also from Xera, also in the yellow garden.


 Crape myrtle magic.


 This is our mystery shrub, one of two. I think it's Myrica rubra, as does Paul at Xera.


 Crape myrtle in full glorious bloom.


 So I'm out taking photos and hear howling. Hmmm...someone is talking to me through the window.
 Yes, I see you, Lucy.


 Everyone hears you, too.



Memorial to a bird.


 Japanese painted ferns and oxalis.


 A friend gifted me one of those Pink Zazzle hybrid gomphrenas. It's really quite fun!


 Seed head of an unknown variety of penstemon.


 This little vignette wasn't as successful as I had hoped, but it's alive after what I recently learned was the hottest August on record in Portland. I think next year it will be all desert plants so I don't have to water it a billion times. The salvia 'black and blue' in the pots might also have to go...do they always get so touchy in such hot weather? I've grown them for years but have never had this kind of problem keeping them going.


And lastly some Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' that is so very happy here, and I really like this plant a lot. It's surrounded by some Sedum oreganum and salal, both Pacific NW natives.

I can feel the garden winding down after a brief peak. It was brutally hot, even for me, so not much activity in the way of planting, just watering enough to keep everything going. There are no more open gardens this summer, just time to enjoy the garden and the wildlife that is slowly increasing as the days get progressively shorter. We had so many hummingbirds this summer, and they continue to come to the feeders, so cleaning and filling them has become a weekly if not sometimes daily task. The black oil sunflower feeders have more and more visitors, especially the garden's namesake bird, the black-capped chickadee. They are beginning their super-binge for the cooler days ahead. Goldfinches have also returned, soon the juncos will follow. We still have many bees, the sedum keeps them happy as does the crape myrtle, which sounds alive if you stand right next to it. All of these animals are such a joy to observe and interact with, and I plan do to a lot more observing as the days continue to decline . . ..

On that note, thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening! 

I think we should return to more Fling gardens next week...there are still so many to cover! Stay tuned.



22 comments :

  1. Great to see updates of your garden again Tamara, and how much it has grown since we were there last July. Interesting enough I've never seen a Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca' cone before!

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    1. Thanks, guys! It continues to grow, indeed. Those cones on the Cunninghamia, I have never seen them either, I thought they were fascinating. Glad you caught that, I took the photos for the Cunninghamia fans (a.k.a. you guys and a few others...).

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  2. I enjoyed this look at your late summer garden. I filled a window box this year with sedums and succulents, and it's looking good so far. So much easier to care for! Love the heart and feathers on the Buddha. Your crape myrtle is lovely. I wish I had room for one.

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    1. Good, Alison - sedums it may be for my little planter. The crape myrtle is one of my favorite all-time plants, I never knew that before we inherited it....Thanks for reading and commenting, as always :)

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  3. I'm seeing the earliest goldfinches here in Austin too, Tamara. And yes, 'Black and Blue' sage gets VERY touchy here in the heat (which is every summer). It looks like total crap in my garden right now, but it always springs back in the fall. Not sure it's worth putting up with the rest of the year though. I LOVE your Solidago 'Fireworks' combo with the forest grass below.

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    1. Really? That's great, aren't the goldfinches the sweetest?? Good to know about black and blue, I thought I was going crazy. I may switch it out after all, we'll see what plant sales hold for my near future gardening plans. I too love the Fireworks with the forest grass, it worked out well, glad you like it!! :)

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  4. So nice to see your own garden again and so good the crape myrtle is doing well now, the flowers are lovely. Always interesting to see the different plants growing in other parts of the world, for instance I do not know the Pinkl Zazzle gomphrena. The Digiplexis flower is stunning and your Solidago ´Fireworks´, so many interesting plants.

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    1. Yay! Yes, we have some interesting hybrids and plants going on here on the West Coast. The Pink gomphrena is new to me too, it's kind of a hot weather plant and think will perform as an annual here. The Digiplexis, do you have those? I bet they will make their way to Europe soon if they haven't already, very cool plant, cross between Digitalis and Isoplexis. Solidago is native to our area, so it and its cultivars tend to grow very well here.

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  5. I'm sorry I missed your garden open , I'd love to see it some time , it looks wonderful !

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    1. Hi Linda, you are welcome to come by any time! Send me a note and let me know if you have plans to be in the neighborhood, would love to have you over!

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  6. I have such Japanese forest grass envy! I really wish I could pull it off in Austin. The only grasses that seem really happy in my yard are Mexican feathergrass and Lindheimer muhly.

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    1. Oh, I would miss the grass if I lived in Austin....it's such a staple of what my overall vision for the front garden is and it took four or so years to finally fill in....it's pretty carefree here too, luckily...I do love the Mexican feathergrass too...so lovely. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  7. Wow, so fabulous. I cannot tell your Crape Myrtle suffered any such tragedy from the looks of it. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Fifi! Well, if you saw it in person you'd see a big ol' hole in the middle which is camouflaged by the blooms right now. Prune your myrtles, people! hahah..

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  8. Amazing that loropetalum looks that good after a rough start in spring. Thanks for generously "opening" your garden again for a post-fling look. I've been wondering if that heat we experienced on the fling is normal for Portland, and now I'm hearing no, definitely not, that it's been a summer for the record books. Your garden seems to have sailed through it beautifully, judging by the photos.

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    1. Hi Denise, thanks for reading and commenting! I am quite surprised the loropetalum did come back, I was ready to yank it as it looked like it would have been an eyesore for the Fling. BUT it had green cambium so I left it and am glad I waited. As far as the heat wave - it kind of is normal, I can say as a native Portlander. We always have some hot spells in the summer and it's always dry, but this year has been especially hot and dry, so in that regard, not so normal. I try to plant drought tolerant plants that do well in our Mediterranean climate (hot dry summer and wet winter), but believe me I did do extra watering last month!

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  9. Love your mystery Myrica rubra. I NEED that. Was fun to see your garden & meet your kitties in person.

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    1. Hi Patricia, well - Paul at Xera wants to take cuttings, if he does maybe he'll have some for sale someday. If you would like a cutting, feel free! Kitties always love company :)

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  10. Wow, girl. You hooked me with that first photo. Your garden is awesome, despite this infernal heat. I especially love the Loropetalum and Pennisetum duo and the bones of your crepe myrtle are to-die-for. Love the PINK Gomphrena too, of course. :) I'm working on a similar Sedum oregano carpet. I love that stuff! If mine looks half as good as yours I'l be happy.

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    1. Aaw, thanks Grace! I know - that Loropelatum and Pennisetum - like like like. I'll try that again if the Pennisetum does not make it. You are so sweet, Grace! thanks for commenting...

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  11. So many pretty pictures!!! I might need to do a stalker-ish drive-by. Ha! My garden is waning, and although I'm sorry that summer is nearly over, I will be SO GLAD to not have to water anymore!!!! I'm over it. BTW, you may be changing my mind about orange flowers. They're slowly making their way into the parking strip....you never know, one may jump the fence into the yard next year. :)

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    1. Thank you Mindy! Your garden is a gorgeous one, I must say. I'll be doing a post on yours this fall sometime, I'll keep you posted. In the mean time, do come by any time, you are always welcome, neighbor! No need to stalk.

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