Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Save the date: Garden Bloggers Fling goes to Toronto

Among other Toronto Fling highlights, garden bloggers will celebrate at the Toronto Botanical Garden in June 2015
Will you be here when, for the first time, the Garden Bloggers Fling ventures beyond the U.S. borders? Yes, on June 5, 6 and 7, 2015 (with an optional day of Niagara gardens being planned for June 8), the Fling will convene in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. That's Canadian Zone 6 and USDA Zone 5, for those playing along at home. And we're creating an exciting itinerary… just for you.

We begin our teasers as we will end our official 3-day get-together, with the location for our Fling dinner, the Toronto Botanical Garden. The TBG is truly rolling out the green carpet for us, and we're thrilled to have their sponsorship as well as their breathtaking setting for our culminating event.

Polish up all your social media accounts (such as Twitter or Instagram), because they'll come in handy, especially at the TBG. The official hashtag for this year's Fling will be #GBFling15.

More details will unfold soon. We're hoping to open our registration early, perhaps before the winter holidays. Warning, especially to Canadian newbies who haven't yet "flung": last year's Fling in Portland sold out in one week. So, be ready, be steady… we'll give you a heads-up before we say go!

The knot garden and a glimpse of the spiral mound
Euphorbia afire beside the perennial lawn
Baptisia and Amsonia in the Oudolf-designed entry garden
The terrace where we'll enjoy our alfresco event. Other surprises, too. Stay tuned…

Thursday, July 17, 2014

...and the kitchen sink

This is a space for any post that doesn't quite fit in to any one garden, whether it be travel-related, about multiple gardens, or just general Fling musings.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Portland Fling Round-Up!!!

The Fling is over now and all of us on the planning committee had a great time...we hope you did too!

As in the past, please put links for your own posts about each garden in the corresponding post on this site. To make things a little easier, we've implemented the same linking system used by several Memes...if you've participated in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, it will be very familiar. At the bottom of each post, you'll see the graphic below followed by a simple form for submitting your own links...hopefully this will be easier than posting in the comments section.

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Also, to make it easier to navigate, here's a list of all the gardens, just click on the name to go directly to that page, we can't wait to see all your posts!!!

Pre-Fling Event
Pomarius Nursery

Day 1 - Friday, July 11
Timber Press
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Cistus Nursery
Joy Creek Nursery
Old Germantown Gardens
Westwind Farm Studio

Day 2 - Saturday, July 12
Portland Japanese Garden
McMenamins Kennedy School
Danger Garden
JJ De Sousa Garden
Chickadee Gardens

Day 3 - Sunday, July 13
Ernst/Fuller Gardens
Rhone Street Gardens
Floramagoria
John Kuzma Garden
Bella Madrona

And a spot for any other miscellaneous post that doesn't quite fit into these categories
Miscellaneous Posts

Also, just an FYI...the linking widget used is sometimes almost instant, other times, it might be a few minutes before your link shows up.

Fling Preview: Bella Madrona

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Bella Madrona began forming in 1980, at an 1892 farmstead. It was named for the madrones growing naturally here, in gravelly soil formed by the ice age floods. Over the years, garden rooms were added, surrounded by hedges. We began having large parties and benefits, which required that crowds could move easily from room to room, and that large open spaces be included.

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The plant material, though special from the beginning, was chosen to complement the overall space. Now that the garden is 34, and the gardener is 64, the prime focus is keeping towering hedges sheared, pruning trees and shrubs to allow some semblance of light in, and repairing crumbling infrastructure. The garden has directed its own maturation, with some editing help from the aging gardener.

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As a result it has taken on a personality and possesses a sense of place that is to many visitors alluring, eccentric and magical. The lower area, essentially a bog, with its metasequoia grove and large bald cypresses, is a world apart, belying its proximity to the urban growth boundary. It is, along with the garden as a whole, home to a great variety of wildlife, and, indeed, the place is as much for them as it is for the humans who live here and who visit.

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Fling Preview: John Kuzma Garden

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This half-acre garden designed by Sean Hogan of Cistus Design Nursery is entering its fourth year and emphasizes Mediterranean acclimated plants. The front entry garden, with nolina, agave, arbutus, arctostaphylos, Dickonsonia antarctica, and several large Quercus suber, surrounds a decomposed granite courtyard.

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The back garden has a reflecting pool facing a broad, graveled courtyard flanked by trachycarpus and several Jubaea chilensis. Wide gravel paths lead to broad leaved evergreen trees and shrubs, several tropical areas; and several large succulent beds with a rock crevice section. The green roofed garden shed is adjacent to various eucalyptus varieties and several beds of bamboo.

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This winter, with an arctic event in early December (I estimate 10-12 degrees low in my garden, at 600 ft elevation) was challenging. I lost some zone 7 plants that had not hardened off due to a mild fall. Many thanks to the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling Committee for including me in your tour and I look forward to meeting you all.

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Fling Preview: Floramagoria

Floramagoria path and structure
Three years ago, we removed our beloved 10-year-old garden to make way for new hardscape and outdoor living opportunities. Concrete walkways lead to the covered bamboo dining pavilion, fire pit, gunner fountain and bogs.

Floramagoria cattails
Painted concrete walls frame the garden beds filled with unusual plantings with a tropical flair. The part of the garden nestled under the giant sequoia is filled with a unique collection of shade plants celebrating the diversity of foliage. A blue concrete wall and raised pond separate the shade bed from the other textural elements at play in the Mediterranean and cactus/succulent beds.

Floramagoria shady corner
This year, we also added a partially enclosed structure over our deck allowing for another area to rest and enjoy the garden. Throughout the garden, you will find interesting artwork, a custom metal fire pit, a one-of-a-kind floral chandelier in the dining area and an amazing colorful insect tile mosaic.

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Fling Preview: Rhone Street Gardens

RSG Sign
We moved into this house 5 years ago because we loved the close-in neighborhood with its tree-lined streets. While I dream of a cottage in the country with acres to plant, learning to garden on this 50’ x 50’ lot (half the size of a typical Portland lot) has been a fun and rewarding challenge.

Echinacea & Deschampsia
While I’m not attempting to mimic nature, I’m inspired by natural plant communities, and I’m always working to emulate the same feeling of lushness, abundance and spontaneity. This garden is short on style, heavy on heart.

North Garden from West
I sort of imagine my garden as a stylized meadow of sorts, which fits our location, being a clearing amongst tall trees. I’m a lover of plants that are fairly close to their natural state, closer to the look of the species, rather than extreme and over-bred hybrids.

Silver Scheherazade
Of course, my greatest love is of grasses. Late summer and fall are the highlights of the year in my garden with winter interest provided by the bleached, structural sheaths of grasses and black, graphic stems and seed heads of various perennials.

North Garden With Cats
This past winter we endured repeated flooding, so the garden isn’t quite as lush as it was in the past...but it’s slowly recovering...and, of course, always changing!

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Fling Preview: Joanne Fuller & Linda Ernst Gardens

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Linda Ernst: My lot-and-a-half city garden hosts several garden ‘rooms’ and a variety of garden art, with a bit emphasis on fused garden glass, which I craft in my garage-turned-studio.

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The front garden features plants for winter fragrance and hydrangeas for summer interest, anchored by a huge swath of Hakenenchloa macra. The side yard features a patio and fire pit; mixed borders; a small dry garden; clipped euonymous, berberis, taxus and juniper; and a small raised-bed kitchen garden with interesting solutions to the problems of hiding the less attractive bits of garden reality.

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The backyard is a gravel dining courtyard with stainless steel fountain and stacked stone seating wall, and a stucco wall sparkling with a colorful window of fused glass tiles. Bends are a mixture of crisp hedging and billowing prairie plants. A bluestone and steel mantel is adjacent to a new steel and glass gate leading to Joanne Fuller’s garden next door.

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Joanne Fuller: This small urban garden continues to evolve. I love big bold leaves, strong colors and quirky plants. These passions create a retreat filled with texture and form in a small garden where thereis something interesting at every turn.

Parking Strip Garden
Sit under the Japanese Maple and take in the newest arrangement of shade plants, or lounge in the tropical corner under the banana. Art continues to be a theme with glass, metal and stone artwork throughout the garden. Down the street, a whole different low-water, high-impact scene is emerging.

Jack in Pulpit
This garden is a great place to come learn about how you can have high impact with a regular city lot. Come, relax a while and enjoy.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fling Preview: Chickadee Gardens

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What exists today is a relatively new and small urban garden on a typical Portland lot (50 x 100 feet).


I am proud to be certified “gold” by the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (which is a collaboration between Portland Audubon and the Columbia Land Trust).


In the garden, you will find some 200 species of Pacific Northwest natives, plus dozens of species of hardy perennials arranged mostly by color, none of which are invasive.


The garden is cram-packed with plants (a bit of an addiction, especially living so close to so many great nurseries) and also contains many enticements to attract wildlife: bird baths, thistle, sunflower and suet feeders, brush piles, mason bee houses, a bat house and many pollinator flowers.


My primary interest is balance - visually balancing the many garden areas and maintaining a pesticide-free, healthy habitat for our native birds and insects, as well as for family and friends. I love experimenting with textures and colors and freely add to the garden when I feel it contributes to the big design picture.


In my attempts at balance, like any other gardener, I have experienced many mistakes. I am quite happy to toss out the old and go with the new—if it fits within the parameters set forth by the Backyard Habitat Certification Program and enhances the garden in some way.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fling Preview: JJ De Sousa


Our garden has two distinct personalities with one common goal. One personality is lush, soft and shady while the second personality is hot, dry and spiky. Both serve to expand indoor living space into outdoor areas with a focus on entertaining.


The shady front garden is a space to get out of the sun and appreciate the lush plantings including grasses, hydrangeas, gunnera, bletilla, hellebores, conifers and a collection of 30-plus varieties of hostas.


The back garden is a place to soak up the sun in an architectural space featuring a collection of over 40 varieties of agave and cactus and a small orchard of olive trees. Entertaining spaces include a courtyard with a fireplace, numerous dining areas and an outdoor living room with emphasis on beautiful, colorful furniture, outdoor textiles and great lighting for the evening.


Our garden is truly unique and we are excited to share it!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fling Preview: Danger Garden

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I am a proud practitioner of the “crammit” style of gardening, bare ground = room for another plant. This is a collector’s garden with little attention paid to what style- purists might think. The hardscape helps to control the chaos, however in the words of Amy Stewart, my garden is just the place where I put my plants - meaning design principles lose out to plant lust every time.


Little remains of the garden we inherited, which was primarily lawn with narrow planting beds. The front garden you see today dates to 2011 when I was forced to start over after losing the structural plantings (phormium and cordylines) in back-to- back horrible winters. This part of the garden is designed to require minimal water and maintenance, while summer brings more color, it’s meant to largely be the same no matter the season.


Work in the back garden began summer of 2007 with construction of the retaining wall and patio. The shade pavilion (which doubles as a sort of greenhouse in the winter) was added in 2009 and more lawn removed (to expand the planting beds, again) in 2013.


This spring, 2014, several over-grown shrubs (small trees) on the north side of the property were removed and a new fence built – changing the entire feeling of the space. The exposed “openness,” as well as the loss of several established plants (winter) has me struggling to feel connected to the garden again. As usual I’ve responded to the challenge by over-planting...

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Fling Preview: McMenamins Kennedy School

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Since its 1915 opening, this historic elementary school has been a beloved fixture of its NE Portland neighborhood. Shuttered by the school district in ’75 (due to declining enrollment and age of the building) McMenamins launched its renovation in the spring of 1997, infusing the 80-year-old structure with new life, and reopened Kennedy School in October 1997. Now it’s OK to sleep in class and smoke in Detention, a unique and fun lodging, dining and meeting experience.



The property had very little growing on it before McMenamins began creating a garden. The plants could almost be counted on 2 hands:
4 Maples (2 Norway and 3 Bigleaf), 3 Western Red Cedars, 1 Douglas Fir, 2 Japanese holly, 1 Rhododendron sp., 2 ancient and near dead Kwanzan Cherry.

The most mature “new” shrubs and trees were planted in 1997 and 1998 with layer after layer of new garden space or paved space (courtyard, bike rack, etc.) added bit-by-bit at the expense of existing lawns. A second driveway into the parking lot was removed and converted to a xeric planting in 2009.


A new hotel wing and surrounding garden space (including a roof-runoff collection swale) was completed in late 2012.

The edible plant collection continues to expand, but diversity in a small space is the goal. McMenamins gardens, not just at the Kennedy School, but Edgefield, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, Grand Lodge, Rock Creek Tavern, Anderson School (soon), and Wilsonville, to name a few, are meant to inspire, entertain, soothe, nourish, and embrace everyone who visits them!

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