Thursday, July 09, 2015

Early Summer at Chickadee Gardens

As June was a record-breaking month for high temperatures in Oregon and coupled with little rain, summer arrived like a flash of lightning. Best to try to capture it before it fades into high summertime. So, let's take a quick tour around the front and back gardens to glimpse a few plants of interest this hot time of year.

First up: In the back garden, the Armeria maritima or sea thrift had a banner year. Maybe it was due to the hot spring and extra sunshine.


This photo of the Hydrangea quercifolia was taken in early June. Now the blooms are entirely open and covered in bees. We love the bees!


Blue on blue, or azul on azul in this case, as the the painted wall is the garden shed, a.k.a. Casa Azul à la Frida Kahlo.


The Knautia macedonia has been lovely this year. 


One of two Astelia 'Red Gem' plants in the garden. This one has stayed pretty much the same since its planting in 2013. Seen here planted with Sedum purpurem and Sedum oreganum, both Oregon natives.


A lovely color combination of Mimulus auruntiacus and orange sedge. The Mimulus or sticky monkey flower is in a pot, is native and this particular plant seems to be an apricot color, whereas the label was marked as orange. No bother, it's still lovely.



A shot of Casa Azul with eco-roof number two on top. Check out the Coreopsis which was self-sown, so cheerful.


Agaves, jasmine, Lonicera involucrata or twinberry, and a bench.


 The container on the table was a find at our recent Garden Blogger's Bazaar where about 10 of us sold garden-related goods and plants to the general public. I scored it from Danger Garden and it's my new favorite pot. No, it's not terra cotta but rules are made to be broken sometimes.


 Eco-roof taking on some hot hues due to hot weather stress. Fireweed was a volunteer, as were the two Penstemon 'Husker Red' seen flopping over. They were placed exactly like candlesticks on the roof, it was quite funny. I think some birds were having a go at us.



 Hey, guess what decided to bloom? The Yucca pallida, purchased at Cistus Nursery last year. 


 Bird's eye view (from the eco-roof).



Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' is showing off its form.


The teeny tiny veggie bed is coming along nicely. I noticed my first green beans, grown from seed, are coming along. Here, required in Portland, is kale with some lavender in the background to attract pollinators. 

Here's our Christmas in July tree. The Eccremocarpus scaber or Chilean glory vine has not only overwintered but climbed up through the Cunninhamia lancelota tree to adorn it with its orange baubles. It's a favorite of the hummingbirds so I let it climb where it will.


Moving to the front garden:
The Verbena bonariensis has sown itself into a kind of fence along the edge of the hell strip this year. I like the effect. 


Front porch plantings look pretty much the same. I'm not a big flower person for pots, I guess I'm more of a low-maintenance person and that means these guys.


Out front in the yellow garden, a fairly new heather is putting on some great growth. This is Calluna vulgaris 'Velvet Fascination', one grown by Little Prince of Oregon.



The Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' always attracts lots of honey bees.


Here is a wonderful little addition to the yellow garden that I added two, maybe three years ago. It's Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. Nana, or primrose. I purchased it from Xera Plants, but I haven't seen it available for sale this year. I'm sure it will be back again at some point. It's not pictured with its bright, clear yellow blooms, but they are gorgeous and each lasts a day. I love it. Velvety soft leaves, slow grower, forms a long tap root. Great plant.


My new favorite nasturtium, Yeti - seeds purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, you can find a link here. Blooms and blooms and blooms. I am afraid this scorching heat has taken its toll, but it will likely recover.


The ornamental oregano is happy. Wowsers. This has really filled in and will soon take over the north side of the yellow-garden wall, so it's doing its job quite well, thank you very much. Dies back completely in the winter and spreads more each year.


One of several yuccas that are putting on all kinds of new growth. In the background is the Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form' (wooly tea tree), also from Xera Plants. It takes to pruning well, a good thing as it tends to reach out for the sun, and I want it to grow up. I have since pruned surrounding shrubs to bring in a bit more light to satisfy this Australian native.



Blooms from Digitalis lutea. I sowed seeds last year and this year I have a dozen or so of these sweet yellow foxgloves blooming. 


The yucca forest.


My Cotula hispida fields are slowly turning into Sempervivum arachnoides fields as the Cotula seems to be a bit picky, and I apparently can't give it what it wants. The semps, on the other hand, seem quite happy.


A bit of the garden near the front door that I somehow rarely photograph, I guess due to the fact that it's mostly shade and difficult to get a good shot.





The Asclepias speciosa or showy milkweed is stronger than ever this year. We did see an actual monarch butterfly floating by a month or so ago, but no eggs nor caterpillar. I still look every day for one. There's a great article in this quarter's Pacific Horticulture magazine about gardening and attracting butterflies and how leaving our plants undisturbed seems to be key to attracting them. We probably inadvertently wash away eggs when we water, something I hadn't even thought about. Butterflies are very sensitive to this and won't come around and lay eggs if the territory seems too hectic to them. They seek out undisturbed land, so gardens are a tough sell for butterflies. Still, I plant it for the pollinators.


Here's a new to me crocosmia - Crocosmia x crocosmiflora 'Solfatare' or 'Solfaterre'. I purchased these from Gossler Farms and boy do I love them. Darker foliage and yellow apricot flowers that now are just starting to appear.


The two big shrubs out front rarely bloom as they usually get pruned before they have a chance. This year they must have done so in secret as there are a few clusters of these gorgeous berries that appeared out of nowhere. This is Myrica rubra and a lovely, lovely shrub/tree.


Pictured here is a detail of the Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form' flowers. So very sweet and prolific this year.



The second Astelia 'Red Gem'. This one is much larger and east facing, planted in the ground. It's done very well so far (as far as hardiness is concerned). However, we haven't had a brutal winter since I've planted it so we'll have to wait and see. For now, it's a keeper.



A parting shot of the casa with a few of the potted trees and plants in good form so far.

It's been a great spring and summer, I have to say, but boy, it's been hot. It really seems that drought and heat waves have hit the Pacific Northwest. We have broken many heat records these past three weeks with record high "low" temperatures, prolonged 90-plus degree days and zero water in sight. I know many of my gardening friends who have given up on watering completely. I have slowed down and luckily many of my plants are drought-tolerant, but not all and I have many pots that as you all know dry out quickly. This all confirms for me my next garden will definitely be xeric - much more like Greg Shepherd's of Xera Plants which we visited a couple of weeks ago. I can't see maintaining hydrangeas in the long run if this is the way it's going to be.

Whichever way the weather ultimately ends up going, I enjoy the drought-tolerant plants and plan to go that route, so it's nice to document the garden I do have now as it goes through seasonal changes - even if they are two months ahead of schedule. The crape myrtle is getting ready to bloom and I've seen them in full bloom elsewhere in the city.

So that's what's happening at Chickadee Gardens these days. Thank you for reading and as always, happy gardening! 

34 comments :

  1. Looking lovely as always Tamara! Seeing images of your garden now (and saying how hot it is) just brings back so many great memories of the fling last year :)

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    1. Thank you Mark and Gaz. Memories of hot gardens, yes, that sounds about right! You guys are so kind :)

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  2. Heatwave or not, everything looks fantastic! The Astelia 'Red Gem' in the pot that hasn't changed -- fertilize? Plants in containers use up those nutrients pretty quickly. Sempervivum "fields" as you call them always make me envious -- too hot and humid here for them to thrive, and deer munch them. Wish I would have been able to see your garden during last year's Fling!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks Alan. I wish you could have made it too, but alas. Through the interwebs it is :) Yes, good point about fertilizing. I should do that here, I'll find something appropriate and give it a whirl. Thanks for the tip...sometimes my brain doesn't switch on all the way. I rarely if ever use fertilizer and when I do it's organic, so will have to figure out what will be appropriate here. Sorry about your semp loving deer!

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  3. It's looking good there at Chickadee Gardens. I tried that Cotula last year, two pots of it, one died over the winter and the other hung on, but it's not as happy as I'd like. Your clusters of Semps look very nice though. I have lots ornamental Oregano too, I just love that stuff.

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    1. Why thank you Alison. Yeah, I'm thinking of giving up on the ol' Cotula. I love it so and its little UFO flowers but....the Semps are a good replacement. That oregano is great, it spreads in a good way which is great for where I have it. I've heard others have had difficulty growing it, but man...it's easy here.

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  4. Lovely as always Tamara! Can't wait to work with you today! :)

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    1. :) You're the best, Anna! An absolute love and wonderful person to work for. I mean with. Hee hee...:)

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  5. It's looking great despite the heat and drought. I love that vine crawling through the Christmas tree, the green roofs and that Myrica rubra, which I've never seen before. I hope the temperatures come down up there soon.

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    1. Thank you Kris! The vine is fun, isn't it? The Myrica rubra is apparently quite uncommon in the US but very common in Japan. It took a loooong time to properly i.d. the two shrubs? trees? we have out front that came with the house. Obviously have been here for quite a while. I really like them, great trees.

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  6. Your garden looks still great despite the hot temperatures. So many interesting plants to watch for instance the Leptospermum, which we cannot grow outside,the wonderful new nasturtium and the Yucca palida.
    That casa azul with the eco-roof is a wonderful place. Should like to have an eco-roof, but I don't think we have suitable roofs for it.

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    1. Oh, Janneke, thank you :) I am sorry you cannot grow Leptospermum, it's so lovely. Yes, your roofs if they are tile are likely tricky candidates for green roofs but it's a great idea and not difficult if you can find the right kind of membrane to keep the roof sealed. How has the Netherlands been this year for weather? Have you been as hot as we have been? I hope not! :)

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  7. Oooh, I was happy to see a post of your own garden. Everything is looking great. The weather has been so horrid and I'm really hoping my slave to the hose days are about to at least slow down.

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    1. Aaaw, thank you Mindy! I think that today, the heat has finally broken down and left the building, if for a few days. Enjoy it and I hope you get some good Mindy time in the garden today!

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  8. Looking good! So much to comment on but the star (well, next to Andrews container, which looks fabulous) has got to be the Myrica rubra, WOW! Gorgeous. Are you now tempted to let more flowering happen?

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    1. Oh, well Andrew's container is obviously the star :) As far as the Myrica - I would totally let it flower, but it gets kind of lanky up top. I honestly didn't even see these flowers, though so maybe it will do more of this in the future. I hope. Maybe just minimal pruning and see what happens. By the way, Paul Bonine was talking of maybe propagating this plant, it would be a good one to make available to the public.

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  9. It is all so beautiful and fun!

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    1. Thank you Cheryl for reading and commenting! I'm glad you like it :)

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  10. wow, i want so many of the same flowers! And it's cool to see how the twinberry shrub will look as a larger plant (mine's so small!). thanks for the beautiful pics and post!

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    1. Yes, the twinberry is a great plant, you can hack it back and it grows with gusto and even more flowers. Very tough great native plant.

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  11. Bravo on your drought tolerant and native plant emphasis garden! It looks fantastic in this heat! I'm going to check out that article you highlighted :) I'm intrigued by Calluna vulgaris 'Velvet Fascination'. That is one gorgeous plant.

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    1. Yay! I do like to try to balance natives and ornamental plants into some sort of happy party. The Calluna vulgaris has proven itself to me, I have three in the garden and they are all survivors and look great. I recommend them to be sure.

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  12. Your garden is doing great! it brings me memories of last summer there! :)

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    1. Thank you, Lisa, I'm glad it brings you good memories!! :)

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  13. With the bright colors of your shed and the persistent heat, I'm feeling like I'm in some exotic
    South American country. Too too beautiful!

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    1. Oh, thank you Rickii! That's quite a compliment.

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  14. Your garden looks great! I love the Eccremocarpus growing up the Cunninghamia. I bought two of those vines from Ann at the bazaar. I hope they grow fast enough to bloom this summer. I have lots of that oregano, too and love it. I guess I missed out on cashing in on my own woolly grey heathers that apeared spontaneously in my garden. Ah well.

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    1. Thanks, Evan! The Eccremocarpus is great, isn't it? Totally survived the not so harsh winter and is just growing like a champ. I gave Ann seeds - I wonder if she gave you a plant from those seeds? That would be cool if you got one of my relatives...hahaha..you'll have to keep us posted how it does!

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  15. So nice to tour your garden again ;) You wouldn't know there has been record heat from the photos -- it all looks so fresh still.

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    1. Thank you Denise! Well, I guess strategic photography saves the day, right? :) There are some brown patches, believe me....

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Mario! I appreciate it!

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  17. Your garden is fantastic, Tamara. You have several plants that are unfamiliar to me. The pot from Loree looks perfect on your table.

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    1. Aaw, thanks Grace! That pot is my favorite, to be sure. Wow. I can't believe she sold it, but we all have our preferences. Glad I got it...yay! Thanks for reading, Grace!!

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