Sunday, June 23

What June flowering perennials to grow in Portland, OR

A pretty yellow Lilly in a wine crate

There is  nothing better than the display and burst of color that the early summer perennials provide.
The down side is that once most bloom, they do not repeat their displays. Such is the case with these early lilies whose blooms are beginning too fade. It is a Asiatic Lily variety that I planted in a wine crate 3 years ago. It would be good idea if I dig up the plant in the fall and try to propagate more from removing the tiny baby bulbs that are attached to its parent bulb. In our mild winter weather here in Portland, OR I  would just replant them. If you live in a cold area you  may want to replant in the spring. Here is a video. Press the play button in the middle of the two photos.

Daises in a another old wine crate

 In general perennials like these Shasta Daises need to be divided after 2-3 years. Reasons to do this include over crowding and wanting to propagate more plants. In some cases it can rejuvenate plants that are not in good condition. My Shasta Daises are 3 year old and are in a old wine crate. I would like to divide them and plant the extras in the garden. Here is a video on dividing perennials.

Sweet potato vine from a indoor sprouted potato
I experimented this year with a sprouted sweet potato. First I sprouted it in water and planted it outside when the weather is warm, It makes a wonderful tropical looking plant and I might even be rewarded with sweet potato's in the fall. It is a perennial in zones 9-11. Here is a great video that shows you how to start them indoors.

Another mystery that I grew from seed. I think it is a Holly hock not actually a true perennial 
I love Holly hocks because they remind me of the English Cottage styled gardens in London where I lived as a child.  They can grow up to 9 feet and add dramatic vertical height to the garden. They are known as easy growing flowers, but that has never been the case when I have grown them. For some reason they always die out from seed. This season I have discovered that the mystery plant that has not flowered for 2 years is a  Holly hock. It is possible that I planted them about 2 years ago. I can't wait until it flowers. I included them on this post, but you should know that they are short lived perennials and typically live 2-3 years. One bonus is that they do re-seed themselves easily.  

Can anyone identify the white flower? It is from the carrot family and is false Queen Anne's Lace
 I did some research and I think this white flower is called  Ammi Majus. I remember scattering the seed a few years ago. I suspect that I have been pulling it up wrongly identifying it as a weed for a year or so. It produces carrot like leaves. Now that one survived my ignorance I see it is a lovely plant.  I love it for bouquets. Here is a link to where I bought those seeds. Remember to not get the sap on your skin, but I have had no issues with  it so far. From furthur research I have found that this is a perennial in warmer winter climates. It possibly could survive our Portland, Oregon winter in a sheltered place.

Friday, June 21

A Note To Michele: Deer Eat Jerusalem Artichoke Leaves


I like the colors you have chosen this year. The bright colors really pop! Your garden is expanding and you have come so far with it since beginning a garden at this location. I'm impressed. I've enjoyed watching all your video walkthroughs as things progress. It looks fantastic!

I haven't added many new things in my garden this year. Like you, I need to divide large clumps of perennials. I'm concentrating on expanding the garden so I have more garden, less grass (and less mowing!) Here's a video of part of my garden. You'll see hostas, lady's mantle, scented geraniums, and bleeding heart. For some reason, I lost a lot of my lupine plants over the winter so I had no blooms this year. I suspect it was the temperature varying up and down. I also lost my allium- so disappointing!

The iris you sent me are blooming, however, only two survived of the whole batch. But those two will spread in time so I'm excited that at least those survived. Again I think it was our strange weather. The lilies you sent are doing fine. I expect they will bloom in July.

This year, the deer have been more common than in the past. My kids saw one last night as the sun was setting. Today when I went out in the garden, my Jerusalem artichokes had been defoliated! Only bare stalks remain. Sigh.

I've been working for a few years now to get a nice patch going and I was looking forward to seeing the pretty yellow flowers. I'm not sure what to do now. Do I cut them back? Will they grow again this year? If they do, will they be a snack for the deer again?  I don't know.

I feel honored the deer feel safe here. Not so honored they ate my Jerusalem Artichokes. But given a choice, I'll take the deer. Seeing one so close to the house is a magical experience. Here's one I caught on camera one winter.

It's about time for my little birds to return to nest in my garden. I think they are flycatchers, but not positive. Every year they raise their babies here. Here's a video from last summer of their babies leaving the nest.

That's all for now. I can't wait to see more of your garden as the summer continues.


Sunday, June 16

A note to Caroline: More color this year in my urban Portland, OR garden

A view of the Woodland "Gulch" back garden

Expect the unexpected when your gardening in Portland, Oregon. It was hot this week , near 90's and I hear it it is dropping to the 70's in a few days. It has resulted in me harvesting peas with cherry tomatoes on my patio and at the community garden. That is a first for me. The photo above was taken in the "Gulch Garden". The one that I created from fighting blackberry bushes at the back of the property. I have started to only plant perennials because planting the area with annuals was a chore because I had to recreate the garden each year from the blackberries.

A view of the patio. I always create two rooms
Here is a view of the patio I am still working on. I have the space to create two outdoor rooms. One with wicker seating and the other with a patio table that I use as a potting area and place to dine. This year I decided to do a brighter color palette to create more of a tropical look. The bright orange lily and shanta daisies are now in bloom.  The gladiolas and calla lily look like they are next.

Lambs Ear gone crazy

So many perennial now need a new home. Like the lambs ear that has doubled since last year. Where to put it is a good question. It has been growing in full sun. Part of the "Gulch Garden" is very sunny and part is very shady. At the edge of the bed are succulents that also need some pruning as they are covering each other in hopes of gaining more territory. 

A bright splash of color is provided by nasturtiums

I loved growing these nasturtiums for my hanging baskets. They are very easy to grow and more economical for me than buying a pre-made basket at a garden center. They seem like a very versatile plant.

Here is a short video tour of the garden. Do you use a specific color scheme and if so what is it? 

Saturday, June 15

Roses-Portland , Oregon

 If Love was a Rose bush, the thorns are the basis on which selection is made of those who really deserve the affection which we all eagerly seek.

Saturday, June 1

June is National Rose Month

In honor of National Rose month, here is a photo of my red blaze climbing roses. These have survived almost 30 years of cold Maine winters.

What to do when it is just too Darn hot to Garden?

It has been a very hot summer everywhere. From what I have been told it is normal to get 100 plus days from the months here from  May to Oct...