Thursday, September 25, 2014

Garden Blogger's Fling, Portland: Rhone Street Gardens

Beloved Rhone Street Gardens, home and garden of Fling organizer extraordinaire Scott Weber, is next on our tour of Garden Blogger's Fling gardens. Tucked away in Southeast Portland, Rhone Street Gardens is a special oasis. 

Sited on a 50 x 50 square foot lot; it's significantly smaller than most by Portland standards. It did not, for some reason, feel small. It felt like a private meadow, something intimate and welcoming.

If I close my eyes and picture Rhone Street Gardens, I see electric purple, sizzling pink and soft grasses that add structure. I feel as if I were a child exploring a hidden garden with something to surprise me at every step. The character of the garden is contemporary in its structure (galvanized tubs and siding and an eco-roof), with a sophisticated selection of plants in a billowy setting. It's literally a meadow on a street corner; what lucky neighbors!

 Scott has created a wonderful eco-roof, less than a year old and already looking well-established.

The south side of the house with a little peek down the path, a few garden bloggers taking it all in.

Every plant harmonizes with the others, Nothing felt out of place. This garden is one for the heart, one I could have lingered at the longest, but, ironically, it is also the smallest of the gardens we visited.

Fellow blogger and plantswoman Anna of Flutter and Hum.

When I think of Rhone Street Gardens, I also think of persecaria. A lot of persecaria.

Aaah, Pennisetum 'Vertigo', which Scott turned me on to this year. I love this for structure, height and color contrast.

Texture, foliage and subtle color everywhere.

Here's a perfect example of what I mean by contemporary structure and sophisticated plants.

Verbena bonariensis sprinkled throughout the garden glowed on this overcast and rainy day. I love this plant and wish it reseeded as much in my garden.

Two tubs, two similar shaped plants, two salvias, two different foliage colors. That is sophisticated and deliberate good gardening in my book. Repetition and variation.

Geranium 'Rozanne' no doubt breezing about. Electric purple.

The sweet front entrance: some grasses and sumac for structure
and a pop of echinacea in a color found throughout the garden.

Echinops, still interesting even after its bloom cycle has completed.

Structure, again - this time in the form of a waterfall.

Sedum 'Matrona', my favorite upright sedum.

Some bloggers getting into the action.

There's Norm and Heather! Heather was also a volunteer for the Portland Fling, and another extraordinary gardener and blogger at Just a Girl with a Hammer. We'll see her garden in a few weeks.

Boots showing me how it's done.

Like this!

A beautiful agastache, another prominent flower at Rhone Street.

Spent alliums are also contributing to the overall vision at Rhone Street with their structure and contrasting color against many shades of green.

Foliage! It all harmonizes.

Fellow bloggers Jane of Mulchmaid fame and Jason of Garden in a City.

Agastache and persecaria, a lovely combination.

Hi Pam! That's Pam of Digging fame, she who started it all! Thank you, Pam!

Aaaand what Portland garden would be complete without the neighbor's chickens visiting?

Hello, Miss Hen!

Such a sweet vignette. Scott's sense of color and design shine through again.

Rhone Street Gardens packs a punch in a tiny area. My hat is off to Scott for his amazing ability to create a sense of place on this street corner in Southeast Portland. What is also amazing is that while he opened up his garden to 80+ bloggers from around the world, he also was key in organizing this year's Fling - from hotels to catering to buses and beyond, he is definitely a multi-talented gardener and I for one appreciate all of his time sacrificed.

It was a joy and a treat to finally be able to see it in person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Scott and Norm (and Boots the cat, too)!

That wraps it up for this week, stay tuned for more Portland gardens next time.
Happy gardening!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Garden Blogger's Fling, Portland: Joy Creek Nursery

Even as a destination nursery, I have visited Joy Creek Nursery many times. It's about a 30-minute drive from our home in SE Portland to the nursery on the hill in Scappoose.
It was also a stop on the first day of the recent Garden Blogger's Fling.

 I have to admit I am cheating a little bit. I did not take any photos during the Fling visit. I know! I know! What was I thinking? I was thinking of buying plants, which is what I always do when there.

 Never mind the acres of gorgeous gardens surrounding the home that sits on the hillside, I always go straight to the plant tables. I know how gorgeous this place is, it's a mystery why I never stopped to take photos. So to correct this and to represent Joy Creek Nursery properly I went back a few weeks ago. What follows are images of a very hot late summer's day in both the established garden areas as well as the nursery.

 A bit about Joy Creek: The nursery itself is on about seven acres of a 40-acre farm. It was founded in 1992 in the Joy Creek canyon near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The best part, for those of you reading this but do not live in the Portland area, is that they are also a mail-order nursery. Oh, yes. You're welcome. All of their plants are nursery-grown, so not collected in the wild. They specialize in a few genera such as penstemon, clematis, hydrangea and hosta, but carry a dizzying selection of other plants as well.

Before we browse around the large nursery area, let's look at the gardens surrounding the home on the site. It's a great opportunity to see mature examples of plants offered at the nursery.

 There are hot sunny borders,

And shady areas, too.

 One of the many hydrangeas. The next several photos will be text-free for your viewing enjoyment:



 The gardens are vast and diverse, definitely worth a good long look. Now, let's visit the nursery.

This is the view of the gardens and the nursery as you drive up the road.

In the nursery area, they have plants organized in very helpful groupings, here are just a few:

 And sedums and succulents, too. I have purchased MANY from them over the years.

 The checkout area in the barn is even full of character and warmth. They serve lemonade and cookies on weekends, and you can refill your water bottle. They sell gravel to amend clay soil so prominent here as well as other kinds of amendments. There is a resource center and tear sheets on caring for your clematis, penstemon, etc. They really do think of everything.

 Do you see why I just go straight for the plants?

 That is one lucky bee.

 The hayfields in the distance provide a colorful backdrop to the evergreen forest surrounding this site. This really is out in the country. This is a destination nursery and visiting is a very special event.

Just a small sampling of the abundant number of sun perennials they offer, there are many more tables - enough to keep me occupied for the better part of an afternoon.

 Looking into the checkout barn.

 Up against the barn is a nice shady area with a wonderful display of foliage plants.

 It is especially nice to shop while surrounded by farm, garden and woods. More sun perennials on these tables, shrubs and mixed border plants ahead and to the right.

The covered area in the background houses the shade section with an excellent variety of both common and unusual cultivars. I love their shade selection almost as much as the sun selection.

What I don't have represented in these photos are the clematis section, the penstemon section, the native plants section (yay!!), and others. Just too large of a nursery to get them all in! Besides, I can't show you everything at once, right? I will be back and fill in a few gaps.

This is looking out from under the shady plant section to the propagation and storage areas, for nursery staff only. I imagine many of the mail-order plants waiting to go to their new homes are out there.

  The owners, Maurice and Mike, have made a nursery paradise for all of us lucky gardeners to enjoy. It is a seven-day-a-week labor of love offering not only fab plants, shrubs, trees and vines but design and installation services, too. They regularly host classes, taught by both employees of the nursery as well as guest nursery people from all over the region. It's truly a gathering place to engage in the exchange of ideas and knowledge, as well as a place to meet like-minded plant people.

On many occasions Maurice has helped me with diagnostic issues for my clematis, answered questions about salvias or penstemons, or given incredible suggestions for must-have plants. He is so generous with his time and advice, both of which I tend to need a lot of when it comes to gardening.

 A parting shot of an asclepias and a bee, happy together.

I saw this note on the checkout table and couldn't resist taking a photo. A very appreciative customer sent hydrangea bouquets along with this lovely note. It sums up how I feel about them, and frankly, I'm not surprised others feel the same affection about these wonderful people.

In fact, I have a short story to share: While checking out, one of the nursery employees mentioned that the plant in my car (purchased earlier that morning from another nursery) was drooping and I could open all my car windows as theft is not an issue up there. She then asked if she could water my plant for me. Really? OK - she even offered to get it out of my car. While I fetched the plant, she got the hose ready and proceeded to give it a good soaking. She even repacked it for me, very thoughtfully within a good cardboard box. Yes, it was looking horrible, it was a very very hot day up there and the water likely saved the plant, so I thank Joy Creek from the bottom of my heart.

That's the kind of people I love to work with and support with my garden dollars, local, independently owned and operated nurseries. I want to keep these people in business a long, long time and I am not alone in that sentiment.

That's it for this week, thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!