Decorating for Christmas - Garden Designer

Decorating for the Holidays – Lighting up the Darkness

By | Garden Miscellany | 2 Comments

At the point that I’m writing this, we’re about a week away from the darkest time of year.  And this year has been better than most when it comes to sunshine.  So while it’s still pretty depressing to have only 8.5 hours of daylight (I’m easily affected by things like that), it’s been much worse in previous winters where the sun made an infrequent appearance….

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Growing Olives in Portland Oregon

By | Great Plants | No Comments

Surprised to hear we can grow olives in Portland, Oregon?  I was. Before we moved here from San Francisco 9 years ago, I had purchased a potted olive tree (Olea europaea ‘Arbequina’) from an olive oil retailer (Stonehouse? McEvoy Ranch? I can’t remember) in the Ferry Building.  We kept it in the little enclosed patio space in our rental — here’s a photo of it as a…

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Bark in the Garden: Details are Important in the Off-Season Garden

By | Our Garden's Progress | No Comments

Despite our lack of a hard frost this autumn, the garden is slowly revealing itself.  It’s shedding away the foliage of the growing season with leaves strewn around to insulate the garden beds & provide habitat for overwintering creatures.  And with the fluffy outer layers gone from many plants, it’s easier to focus on their structure & form.  One of my favorite details to include…

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Bioswale & Rain Garden Design

Let Me Tell You About My Bioswales: Managing Stormwater in Portland Gardens

By | Managing a Garden | No Comments

You guys: stormwater management is no joke.  As the climate changes, and we have to deal with more frequent and stronger storm surges, it’s something all of us will need to think about in our own gardens.  I’m reading a great book on it right now, actually, Sustainable Stormwater Management: A Landscape-Driven Approach to Planning and Design. The author, Tom Liptan, worked via the Bureau of Environmental…

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Protecting Plants for Winter

Protecting Plants in Cold Weather

By | Managing a Garden | 2 Comments

As I write this it’s a cold, blustery, rainy November day.  I’ve been working to close down the garden for winter, which although I’ll be doing some trimming & hardscaping projects, means that all other gardening activities have ceased until February or March.  I’ve planted & moved everything in the beds that needed it, I’ve planted my spring bulbs, I’ve dug up my dahlias &…

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Love Conifers

My Love Affair with Conifers

By | Great Plants | No Comments

Conifers sometimes get a bad rap.  I regularly hear them disparaged.  People sometimes refer to them as old fashioned, or passé, or worst of all, boring.  Maybe you’re one of those people? Well, sit tight, I hope to change your mind. While I acknowledge that plant fads are worth paying attention to, and knowing what’s trendy can be important, at the end of the day, I’m…

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Time to Start Dreaming

By | Our Garden's Progress | No Comments

We’re closing in on the end of our house foundation project. This is a project that’s been going on for more than a year now, and you can read more about it here & here. This project has taken over our entire lives — all our finances and all our free time. We’ve got our final inspection in just a few days, and that means we…

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Plant Combination for Autumn

Autumn Plant Combination

By | Plant Combinations | No Comments

Before we know it the days will be noticeably shorter, and we’ll be dressing in layers for the nip in the air. Thinking ahead to autumnal plant combinations I’m looking for something that will gracefully slide into cooler weather and take me right up to the holidays (and beyond). This combo (from top-left): Abelia grandiflora ‘Hopleys’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Anenoma ‘Wild Swan’, Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’, and…

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plant combinations for late spring

Late Spring Plant Combinations

By | Plant Combinations | No Comments

There are so many things happening in the garden in late spring that it can be difficult to narrow down beloved plant combinations to just one or two options that I like best!   But here are a couple that I’m particularly fond of right now.  As always, I’m looking for the following criteria: The plants look beautiful for as long as possible. Different things happen at…

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The Garden in May - Portland Oregon

Garden Happenings: May

By | Our Garden's Progress | No Comments

We’ve had some early hot & dry weather here in Portland, and as a result, lots of things are blooming early & in unplanned combinations.  Things are also moving QUICKLY.  We seemed to go from late daffodils to tulips to alliums (and beyond) at such a pace that it’s all gone by in a floriferous blur.  But what can you do?  Trot outside with the…

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