Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Garden of Amy Campion

Fellow garden blogger Amy Campion has the World's Best Garden Blog. Yes, she does, and she lives here in Portland; lucky for us! She and her husband and three cats just bought a new home, too - with something of a blank slate of a garden to transform into whatever she can imagine. 
Amy comes to us after working at a large retail/wholesale nursery in the Cincinnati area for 16 years and brings a great deal of experience to Portland. Recently, she invited me over to have a look at her newly planted garden and to meet George the cat. How could I resist?


Her garden is definitely bountiful. It's the agrarian paradise I would love to have myself some day. So many great veggies in colorful rows surrounded by a variety of perennials. Plus, she has the know-how to propagate almost anything. Did I mention she's also a damned fine garden writer? From her website:

"I like to write about phenology (bloom times and other seasonal events in the garden), and I also delve into such topics as garden photography, fall color, underappreciated plants, plants with winter interest, and vegetable gardening. Sometimes my excursions around the neighborhood lead me to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly examples of pruning that abound! I have also been known to wax poetic on baby oak leaves".



We all know who really runs the show, though: George the cat. This guy is a superstar, after all. When Amy and Jeremiah moved from the St. John's neighborhood of Portland to their current home, George vanished. Turns out the big guy walked back to his old home, some twelve miles away. Silly boy! He was famous around these parts, you can read about him here. I think he's happy to be at home with his mom and dad now, though, with no plans to travel any time soon.



Not only is Amy a great cat momma, she's a great propagator. Here is just a sampling of her talents. She does this for fun, mind you. Here's a link to a blog post she wrote about five seed-starting myths. Very good information, something I really need to learn.


So I actually visited her lovely garden twice. The first visit was in the spring, when the sweet peas were just coming up.


She had just planted the veggie garden which I have to admit, I am in total love with. To have this much sunshine, great soil and know-how, wow. Things were just getting started and looking great.


Broccoli, lettuces, peas, tomatoes and more. Amy really has a bounty growing at George's farm.


With lots of pretty fleurs sprinkled in, too.



Fast forward to a few weeks ago, George was ready to show me around again. Plants had been added and plants had grown significantly. When Amy and Jeremiah moved in, the backyard was a bit overgrown with blackberry and ivy. It looked nothing like it does today. You can see some great before and after shots from a post she recently wrote here.



Remember the sweet pea starts? They were coming along nicely.





Gaillardia pulchella or Indian blanket flower, a favorite of pollinators and native to large portions of the U.S.


Borage, which Amy found out is a host plant for painted lady butterflies. You can read about her experience here on her blog! That's great news for pollinators, a plant that plays host for another butterfly is always a great thing to know about.


More propagation magic.


Some pea magic. Quite beautiful, too.








Stachys or lamb's ears, so soft and fuzzy.


A Ceanothus recently planted on the eastern edge of her garden, a great evergreen shrub that will grow quickly and provide pollen for bees.


Cerinthe major, a sweet annual, a start of which Amy gifted me.


A look at one of her perennial beds with sedum, Imperata cylidrica or Japanese blood grass and euphorbia.



Cephalaria gigantea. Gigantea is right, wow.


Phygelius 'Moonraker' on the left (which I had at one time, a cool plant), and I believe Amy told me the iris-looking foliage is candy lily.


Poppies, poppies, poppies!


I wish I could get poppies to grow in my garden. My cat sits on the seedlings so I have no chance.
I'll have to admire Amy's from afar. George should teach Hobbes about proper cat garden etiquette.


Like this. See? George isn't sitting on the poppies.



Tapestry of color and texture. This has grown in so much since my last visit. This gardener has the magic touch and great soil, too, apparently. Sandy loam is the phrase I believe I heard. Something of a rarity in these clay-infested parts.


Mahonia I think Amy said Charity. Euphorbia rigida on the right.





Country garden snapdragons, so charming and colorful. I love them.





Closeup of Phygelius.


Veggie goodness.


Daylilies, veggies, and borage.




A big fat bumbler having a go at the borage. Wow, he's happy.


To repeat myself, what an agrarian paradise! Beyond that, though, Amy has great perennials, annuals, sedums and has added several evergreen shrubs. Amy is a gardener who knows her plants and, frankly, I am humbled in her presence. Plus she's so fun and I so enjoy spending time together, so I don't mind feeling a little bit like the student when it comes to propagating and many other gardening topics that she's mastered. She's also been writing for gardening books recently, so be watching out for her talents not only on her blog but in the larger world of horticulture.

Stay tuned as Amy's garden continues to settle in and progress. She has some great plans ahead. We are all happy that she and Jeremiah have chosen to call Portland home, and I for one am happy to call her my gardening friend. I'll certainly bring you updates to this sweet garden as time passes.  Welcome to Portland, Campion family - and sincere thanks for the delicious veggies and colorful flower seedlings, mighty generous of you!

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





33 comments :

  1. Oh, how I love that vegetable garden and George the cat......it's always nice to have a cat around in the garden. The Phygelius aequalis is stunning, I had that one once, bought a plant in England but through the time I have lost it. And now I go to have a look at Amy's blog, thank you so much.

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    1. George is quite a guy, he's a love bug and so so easy going. You are welcome, Amy is a talented writer with a witty sense of humor. Glad to introduce you to her blog, it's a good one :)

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  2. I'm not sure how I'd react if I had a blank slate garden... I think it might be stressful. Amy's garden looks young but very nice! I envy those who garden in fenced yards...

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    1. I know! I went over there thinking "Wow...if this were my garden, what would I do...??" and admired thoroughly what she has done. Fencing is good, believe me. Very very good. What's the saying...fences make good neighbors?

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  3. You are too kind, Tamara! George and I enjoyed showing you around the garden. Please come back and visit anytime.You are one of the reasons that I'm very happy we decided to move to Portland.

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    1. Oh, no, YOU are too kind :) What delicious broccoli and lettuce and that Cerinthe has taken off, thank you thank you :) We're all lucky to have you in the 'hood, Amy! :)

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  4. George …reminds me of my dear departed Campbell . Amy's garden looks really well laid out and everything so big and healthy ! I hope she hosts the swap so we can visit .

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    1. Aaaw, Campbell...what a great name. Well, maybe Amy will host a swap...hint hint...and you can meet George in person! Yay! hint hint.... :)

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  5. Sandy loam, wouldn't that be nice? I like her approach, filling up space with vegetables and easy-to-propagate perennials. It's something I might emulate in my next garden, just so things don't look empty while I slowly add more expensive trees and shrubs.

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    1. Oh, wouldn't it, though? She's got a great plan, indeed.

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  6. Thanks for sharing Amy's blog, garden and the wonderful cat story. I'm glad George made it back to where he belongs (even if he didn't know it). Do you know what that flower is between the snapdragon and the Phygelius close-up? I've never seen anything like it.

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    1. You are very welcome, Kris. I don't know what that flower is, Amy would, of course :) Amy? Amy? I think it might be an annual - of which I forgot the name.

      I too am glad George is home. He's a character, that one - such a love. He is very happy at home with his momma, that's for sure! He's not leaving any time soon, I can tell you that.

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    2. The striped flower is Calibrachoa 'Aloha Grape Cartwheel'. Isn't it fun? I have it in a hanging basket.

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  7. How nice to see Amy's garden through your eyes, everything has grown so much since I last saw images on her blog. Oh and I love Linda's idea that Amy host a swap! Amy?

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    1. Thanks, Danger - hopefully she'll host a swap and you can see for yourself how cool it is!! :)

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  8. The flower in question is calibrachoa.....a trailing annual.
    Thanks for the tour. I dream of a veggie garden that big.
    By the way, hope to see you pop in this Sunday!

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    1. Thanks, Mindy! I know, wouldn't it be grand to have that much space? Lovely.... :)

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  9. Amy's has done a great job! When I had my big veggie garden, it was always a little crazy and wild. Amy makes growing veggies look as beautiful as the rest of the garden. I'm glad we get to enjoy her zest for propagating plants too. I'm looking forward to this year's blooms on the Cephalaria gigantea she brought to the 2014 Spring Bloggers Plant Exchange.

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    1. She sure does, Matthew. I'm glad she's here in Portland sharing her talents with us all, I think we've all benefited from her propagating !! Yay for Amy!!

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  10. Amazingly productive garden, and I spy lots of favorite plants, Geranium renardii, Emilia javanica and of course the poppies. I get lots of squashed plants from cats/dogs/raccoons here too. Stuff I'm really scared to lose I place one of those empty wire baskets over, the kind used for hanging baskets, which works great. There are always some losses tho, like the young leucadendron that something dug around and smashed...

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    1. Yay! Ha ha..that's funny, I'm not the only one with squished plants. I like your solution, thank you for letting me know, I'll do that for ones I'm not willing to lose.

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  11. LOVE IT!!! What an awesome garden/farm! I wish I had been there, too.

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    1. Yay! I wish you could have met Amy when you were in Portland, unfortunately she wasn't on the Fling....but maybe someday :) Hers is an awesome garden/farm, indeed.

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  12. Thanks for the cool tour! Like you, I would love to have a big veggie garden again - and the know-how Amy has to grow everything so well. I am adding my name to the chorus calling for a future swap at George's (er, Amy's) garden!

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    1. When I have a big veggie garden I'm kidnapping Amy for a few months, she doesn't know it yet, though. Yes, let's persuade her to host a swap, George can show us all around and have us over for tea and cookies.

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  13. Amy is a rock star gardener!! I love how she weaves in veggies around her ornamental plants. I am blow away by her propagating skills. And..bamboo? pyramid for the sweet peas. How cool is that?!! Lovely write up T!

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    1. Yes she is, well said, Jen. She's got skills, to be sure! :) Thanks for the lovely comments!!

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  14. Skills AND a good eye...dynamite combination. This blogging bud (with cat) is a great addition to our little bouquet.

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    1. Yes, she's got them both, indeed :)

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  15. What a lovely and restful garden. Thanks for introducing me to another great gardener.~~Dee

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    1. It is, Dee! You bet, glad you know of her and her blog now!

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  16. I really enjoyed seeing Amy's garden through your lens.After meeting her and reading her blog, I'd expect nothing less than what you've shown with ornamentals and edibles dancing about together. What a fun garden!

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    1. She's a fabulous gardener, Peter....dancing together is a great description! I love it...

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