Neighborhood Gardens of Portland Part III

It seems as if winter is making an early appearance this year. Therefore, it's time to revisit some of our neighborhood gardens before the weather turns everything into a wasteland. In the final installment of Neighborhood Gardens of Portland for 2014, I give you the colors of early and mid-autumn.

In true Portland style, a Japanese maple and Asian-inspired gate. Native sword ferns in the foreground, some invasive English ivy in the near foreground. Unfortunately, English ivy is everywhere in Portland; there are regular "pull parties" to keep it in check.

To start off, I wanted to share this street very near to an entrance we take to Mt. Tabor. These photos are fairly recent. Before we get into all those yellows and oranges, however, let's backtrack and begin in September and move our way forward through the months.

OK, here we go - some September photos. First up, is a hell strip planted with summer bulbs - dahlias, lilies and some perennials, too.

Speaking of dahlias, here's a colorful bunch.

A lovely heather. I really am beginning to love heathers, they grow so well here in our acid soil and are colorful textures at times when virtually nothing else is blooming. I encounter many heathers all over the neighborhoods blooming at different times of the year.

This is a sweet little garden around the corner from us, not far from Bob the cat. There are veggies, perennials, some natives and nice hardscaping that is all quite new.

They grew some lovely beans and I think those are orange cosmos on the left. The bees loved those this year.

Speaking of Bob, this is Bob the cat's garden. He keeps a nice one, don't you think?

A bit closer towards Mt. Tabor a really attractive Perovskia atriplicifolia with a cotinus in full bloom.

There is this wonderful old building on Belmont Street in the Mt. Tabor area. It is pinkish in color and reminds me of a European structure, perhaps French. Covered in Boston ivy, it always makes me stop in my tracks.

Just some beautiful ornamental grasses.

We have visited this garden before, you can revisit that post here. This is early autumn, the Joe Pye Weed is done blooming and seed heads are beginning to form.

This is the same view in October.

Here is the tiny vineyard in August.

Here it is again in early November.

Early September.

Here it is in early September.

 Here it is in early December.

Oh, those grasses.

Some lovely California fuchsia or Zauschneria californica on a really dry, exposed corner with a lot of traffic. This is one tough plant and native to California and southern Oregon. I love it and so do the hummingbirds.

Some urban fruit trees planted in a hellstrip.

This was late October, a sumac and some pumpkin buddies.

Near that same street, a garden I often admire with many small shrubs, conifers and perennials. Trees on Mt. Tabor in the background.

Same garden, wider view.

I don't know about other cities, but Portland has its share of urban chickens. I thought this was a particularly handsome coop.

Just a favorite corner garden, always something interesting to see.

Here it is again from a different angle. I admire this garden regularly on my neighborhood walks.

Detail of the above garden.

 Here's the same garden early December.

I believe this is a crabapple tree, displaying some festive colors.

Mid-November in the neighborhood, full color.

Electric, even.

Two different maples, interesting placement but oh boy, what color!

Different garden but electric nonetheless. I guess we did have some great fall color after all.

Peony seed heads.

Peony leaves.

A hanging basket on a cold frame veggie garden. I like it!

For those of you familiar with Chickadee Gardens, you'll recognize this. Many people proudly display these all over the Portland metro area. If you are interested in one for your own garden and are outside of Portland, you can get them here. If you are in Portland, you can to to Metro's website and take the pledge and get one for free, details are here or you can find them where Master Gardeners are on hand at farmer's markets and the like. Go on, take the pledge!

Rose hips, late September.

 Late November after a rain storm.

 Some autumn color on Mt. Tabor in early December.

And a parting shot of an undeveloped piece of land on very expensive Mt. Tabor. I am grateful for these little refuges, places for birds to go undisturbed and for wild asters to take hold. It is a neighborhood garden in my eyes.

That concludes our tours of Neighborhood Gardens of Portland for 2014, I'm sure to have more for next year. Next week a special treat, stay tuned for the flora and fauna of Nepal via my husband, safely home after a long month away.

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!


  1. There really are so many beautiful small gardens in Portland, too many to count. Love it!

    1. Aah, that's the fun of walks in our neighborhood, something new around every corner :)

  2. Thanks for sharing all this great fall color, on this very gray and damp day.

    1. Oh, you are so welcome Alison - fall color always cheers me up.

  3. Reinforces the notion that Portland really is a city that loves to garden!

    1. A PARTY city ready to garden :) Well, we do love our gardens and I for one am very grateful for that. We've got nothing on England, though!

  4. Such beautiful small gardens and autumn colours in Portland, I loved these pictures on this cold and gray day and all the leaves have fallen off here, winter is coming definitely.

    1. Thank you Janneke, the cold and gray is also here. Winter is on its way. I hope you have a good winter and not a brutal one. My friends in Aalphen a.d. Rijn said they look forward to the ice skating on the canals when you get a really good freeze. Do you get that too?

  5. You do indeed have glorious fall color in Portland! Your neighborhood gardens are generally also far more interesting than those in my own neighborhood. People often describe California as a gardening haven but I think western Oregon, and specifically Portland, really win the prize.

    1. Hi Kris, sometimes we really do. A lot of Japanese maples here, they tend to do really well so for that alone we have a lot. I think Oregon does have a great gardening climate, it's just that it's on the edge of hardiness for so many plants we love that you in CA can grow so well. The grass is always greener, right? Honestly though, I love them both!

  6. Anonymous1:22 AM PST

    You certainly have a lot of keen gardeners in your area, everyone doing their bit to keep the whole looking good. By the way, what is a hell strip? This is definitely an American phrase which I have never heard before! Helen

    1. Hi Helen, nice to hear from you! I love your post about pruning roses, it is a monumental task at Sissinghurst it seems, but one done with a lot of enthusiasm. I read that post very carefully.

      To answer your question, yes I suppose 'hell strip' is an American phrase, it means the small strip of dirt between the sidewalk and street in front of any home. It is typically in the baking hot sun all summer and pouring freezing rains and ice in winter and has to deal with foot and auto traffic, not to mention more pollution, etc. BUT we choose to plant every square inch of our homes (we are responsible for the hell strip's maintenance however the city owns the land), so we cram as much in there as possible, sometimes even veggie gardens in quieter neighborhoods with less auto traffic. Wow, that's a long explanation. Anyhow, thanks for reading! :)

  7. So many delightful gardening enclaves around our fair city. You live in one of the best. Thanks for being so generous in sharing it.

    1. You are so right, Rickii, there are many in Portland and mine is no exception. Love it.

  8. Gorgeous gardens, and the colours on those maples are UNBELIEVABLE! I had to go back and look again

    1. The maples were gorgeous for a very brief period of time this year. If you are ever in this area in the autumn (your spring, of course) - do visit the Japanese Garden for its fall color. Scott at Rhone Street Gardens has a beautiful post about it from last year, it's amazing.

  9. Beautiful! Thanks for the tour! I really want to see that garden with the two little blue conifers and the Japanese blood grass for myself. I love that one!

  10. Ah well any excuse to go for a walk with the ol' camera! The garden you speak of is a sweet one, I'll try to take more pics of it for you next time.

  11. Wow, these are all stunning. I especially love the second photo.

  12. There are some really beautiful photos here. I especially like the fall color ones.


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