Thursday, August 27, 2015

Purple Garden, White Garden

After coming down off of last week's post about Botanist Peter Goldblatt's garden, this all seems rather unexciting. Still, I press on, documenting my own garden throughout the year. I've already covered several of my color-themed borders here at Chickadee Gardens such as the yellow, blue, orange, and chocolate gardens. This week let's take a look at the cool and shady white border and also the hot, dry purple and silver border.

The white garden is on the north side of a fence in the backyard and features a fairly large gala apple tree, a Viburnum opulus var. americanum, two hydrangeas and a pieris. Pictured here is native Oxalis oregana, a Japanese painted fern, native maidenhair fern, a hosta that has not taken off as expected and, on the far left, a native Spiraea betulifolia. This photo was taken late spring and I include it now to show off the white blossoms of the spiraea. Polypodium pleianthum at the top.

Hydrangea quercifolia or oakleaf hydrangea in the foreground, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Mariessii Variegata' with the blue flowers. When it comes to staying power in these dry times on the West Coast, the oakleaf has all other hydrangeas beat by a long shot. This photo is from June.

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - black mondo grass, Oxalis oregana on the right, Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco', Carex conica 'Snowline' on the left. I have three of these and love them for their evergreen nature and ability to brighten up the shade. The black mondo grass is wonderful, and I'm beginning to believe it's worth its high price as it spreads in clumps so wonderfully and is evergreen, too.

Hydrangea and astilbe love.

Astilbe, maybe 'Deutschland'. A great plant but it did fry in this heat. This photo is from June.

A wider shot of the grouping.

Carex conica 'Snowline' again in the foreground. Tiarella trifoliata on the left is a sweet native woodland plant that is also evergreen and a winner for me.

Closeup of Spiraea betulifolia blossoms from earlier this summer.

Closeup of Physocarpus capitatus, our native ninebark. This is also from earlier this summer.

Purple and Silver:
On to the purple or perhaps silver border. This is situated in the back garden and is in hot, full sun. The end of the "peninsula," if you will, is all this border consists of. It gets sun pretty much all day.

While not everything is technically purple, the colors do harmonize. Pictured here is Armeria maritima, or sea thrift, with sedums and sempervivums.

Verbena bonariensis lends a tall, whispy quality to the back of the border.

Flower and foliage of a sweet potato vine. The darker foliage contrasts very well with the silver leaved plants such as the one pictured below.

Convolvulus cneorum or silver bush. I love this plant for its evergreen-ness. It is totally fine with little to no water. Just give it great drainage in the winter.

A broader look at my "cram-it style" of gardening. Hebe 'Quicksliver mingles with Armeria maritima, Aqueligia 'Black Barlow', sedums, fescue and others (wow, that's a lot of plants in a small area...what's wrong with me?)

Echinops ritro at an easy 6 feet high. THE favorite of bees all around, bumble and honey bees.

Penstemon serrulatus or Cascade penstemon, a native that can handle the wetter climate of the Pacific Northwest much better than the super-heat-loving ones. This has been a fairly trouble-free plant for me and one the bumble bees especially adore.

Pelargonium sidoides or South African geranium. It has been hardy for me with good drainage. These blooms just appeared, oh so late in the season.

A mix of a few plants - with a cast of the smoke-filled light due to all of the wildfires we've had in the West.

My first bloom of Salvia discolor. I really like this plant and did not know what to expect this summer. It's been very drought-tolerant as well as looking great. The blooms are a bonus.

Pictured here is its foliage with Festuca glauca 'Beyond Blue' poking its head up from the bottom of the photo. This fescue is the best I have come across, period.

Lovely sweet potato vine with Echinacea 'White Swan'.

The golden-colored foliage in back is Penstemon 'Husker Red' which starts out a deep purple foliage. In the middle is Hebe 'Quicksilver' and in the foreground bottom is Carex 'Frosty Curls'.

Both borders have suffered from our record-breaking heat and dry summer, but the silver/purple garden less-so as they are mostly drought-tolerant plants. The cooler white border, however, has required much more water, especially the lacecap hydrangea. I will not plant these again, but the oakleaf hydrangea or Hydrangea quercifolia has been a champ with little to no extra water. I've said it before: It's one of my top 10 favorite plants of all time. This summer was an experiment to see what did well and what won't make the cut for the next garden in my life. I have at the very least learned a lot - especially my tolerance for watering.

A bonus bee just for fun. I was in the garden this past weekend and spotted a flying insect I had never seen before (to my knowledge). I was lucky and got a couple of photos and identified it as a wool carder bee. Pictured here, he's, um, ahem, with a female. She's so much smaller than he is and I was surprised at how aggressively he found and landed on her. It turns out this is typical behavior for this species. He fends off all other flying insects when he finds a good flower source but will allow the female to hang out.

Here he is, rather large and intimidating, actually. Glad I got a photo.

There they all are, the color borders. The only one left to highlight is the pink border which is in the hell strip to the north of the blue border I featured earlier this summer. That is a post I shall save for springtime.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Botanist's Garden: Peter Goldblatt

There are neighborhood gardens, collector's gardens, public gardens, and designed gardens. I have visited all of these kinds of gardens and more, but never before have I visited a botanist's personal garden. Peter Goldblatt, professional botanist, has cultivated magnificence here in Portland for the last 10 years. I was lucky enough to meet him and his partner Lendon and visit their private paradise.

A mutual friend Sharon Bronzan (with whom I visited Sheila Ford Richmond's garden) suggested I see this special place before Peter and Lendon left for a long botanic vacation in the Himalayas. She and I visited at the end of a long, hot summer day recently. I was honored to be able to visit and photograph this amazing collection. When we pulled up I knew this was going to be an experience unlike any other I'd known as a garden blogger.

It was immediately apparent that a whole host of unusual perennials, trees, shrubs and grasses take center stage here.

Veronicastrum virginicum spikes
A bit about Peter's background: He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Capetown in 1970. He was the Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and was recently an adjunct professor at Portland State University. He is the author of many publications and papers, including a few from Portland's own Timber Press. Here is what their website says about Peter:

Peter Goldblatt is a leading expert on the iris family, having spent his life studying its taxonomy, evolution, and biology. He is currently Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

A native of South Africa, Peter was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in 1970. He spent forty years studying irises in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, and Madagascar. In 1999 he was awarded the International Bulb Society's Herbert Medal.

Author of many papers, Peter has written several books, including The Moraeas of Southern Africa (1996), The Genus Watsonia (1989), The Woody Iridaceae (1993), Gladiolus in Tropical Africa (1996), and Gladiolus in Southern Africa (1998). Goldblatt and John C. Manning are coauthors of The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs ( 2002) and Crocosmia and Chasmanthe (2004).

In his spare time, Peter enjoys reading and traveling.

This man is a rock star in my world. Oh, my gosh. I had no idea. I felt rather small and silly but Peter and Lendon were so gracious and answered all of my questions. Truth be told, I was so overwhelmed I forgot to ask a lot of questions that, in hindsight, I should have asked. Let us take a tour around the incredible botanic paradise. Fair warning: there are a lot of photos here as I took a few hundred in all. Actually, this post is rather abbreviated by comparison. Here is a link to his most impressive C.V.

He claims to not like asters, but they liked his garden. The pop of color made them photo-worthy.

This living arch serves as a gateway to the back-garden by way of the western side-garden.

Ariasaema fargesii, I believe. Common name is Asian Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Immature fruit from a quince bush.

Agapanthus, sword ferns, maidenhair ferns and deer ferns in the background. A lovely, shady woodland nook in the front garden on the way around to the back.

Climbing Corydalis claviculata. I saw this plant at Portland Nursery last summer and now I regret not buying it.

Path leading us to the back garden, the corydalis is visible on the right climbing up what I believe is a physocarpus or ninebark.

I count what...maybe eight different species in a two-by-two square foot area? If I knew the square footage of the garden I could estimate how many plants are here. Thousands, easily.

A beautiful rhododendron, possibly Rhododendron pachysanthum.

Path in the back garden.

Crocosmia 'Solfatarre', a plant we both agree is a winner. It's my favorite crocosmia species and a new addition to my own garden. 

The silver plant could be Artemisia absinthium.

An old familiar friend, Mimulus auruntiacus or sticky monkey flower.

Sculpture by Mike Taylor.

View of the back garden from a path on the west side. What a lovely place to enjoy the garden.

Rhododendron species.

Pittosporum upper left, rodgersia and thalictrum.

Could not remember this plant. Anyone? - Denise from A Growing Obsession I.D.'d it as Galtonia, which seems spot-on. Thank you, Denise!

Shade garden, the lawn is just visible on the left. It should be noted that Lendon is the mastermind behind the landscaping aspect of this incredible garden.

Shade garden with a wonderful water feature.

Achillea, a rare one - I believe Peter said Achillea sibirica.

Here is the path leading from the lawn to the shade garden and then the wonderful waterfall feature just visible at the top of the photo center.

Royal fern or Osmunda regalis. Having seen this beauty in Peter's garden, I bought one from the nursery where I work.

Thalictrum species. Such fairy-like flowers in the shade garden. Evan Bean of the Practical Plant Geek properly I.D.'d it as Anemonopsis macrophylla. Thank you, Evan!

What color and texture combinations. They were everywhere, and every photo is different. There is something to keep a plant-lover busy for many years.

Coleus forest.

 Part of the path on the eastern side of the garden leading down towards the shade garden which opens up to the lawn and sunny borders.

Eucomis species.

I believe this is Epimedium wushanense. Wow, what leaves!

Asiatic lily with astilbe in the background.

 Hakonechloa macra on the left and a Nandina domestica 'Filamentosa' on the right.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress' on the left. Japanese painted fern on the right.

Potentilla gelida in the foreground. This path is in the sunny garden.

They lit the fire for us. What a treat.

While Sharon, Peter and Len were relaxing, I was madly taking photos before the sun set. The house is a 1900 mill-worker's home that Lendon added onto over the past couple of decades. It's in a wonderful neighborhood of Portland, too - John's Landing near the Willamette River.

Clematis species.

Toad lily or tricyrtis species.

Artemesia (I think) and Potentilla gelida and maybe three other plants in there.

Hydrangea quercifolia or oakleaf hydrangea with the greenhouse in the background. One of my top 10 favorite plants.

Fantastic urn, a focal point like this gives gardens a sense of place.

Hakonechloa macra, hydrangea, coleus, and what looks to be Impatiens balfourii on the left.

A kind of senecio--Peter could not remember the species and I have never seen it myself. It could be Senecio cephalophorus. Sedum laxum on the left, heuchera on the right.

Lovely sculptural focal points in the garden surrounded by hostas, a maple tree and more.

Len is a smart man. Around the garden perimeter he has left this space to be able to access the garden from the back side so as not to disturb the garden. What a genius. This should be built into every garden if space allows.

Rhododendron species, maybe a Rhododendron yakushimanum hybrid.

A final look back at the home and the front garden.

I asked Peter to describe his garden. He put the question back on me asking how I would describe it. Foolishly, I answered "Tropical" then realized my mistake. I just meant tropical in the sense that it has a va-va voom lusciousness about it. He never did answer my question, I think because it's a really difficult one to answer. It's his garden, unlike any other. Obviously, there are a plethora of hardy plants which I recognize but also many other treasures that you just have to discover on your own. It's a garden for a man who has been involved with plants on a very elite level for decades. It's a garden of a collection of plants cultivated with an incredible partner who built the foundations for such a place.

Peter, I cannot thank you enough for your's and Lendon's time and for opening your garden to a humble garden blogger. I want the rest of Portland and beyond to know such a treasure exists here and if we're all lucky, perhaps you'll open it again for future Hardy Plant Society of Oregon open garden dates.

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