Garden Happenings: End of May

Portland Oregon Garden Design

We’ve had lots of visitors and trips in the last 6 weeks, so haven’t been working as much on the garden. Larger projects (ie: this year’s path project) were put on hold until schedules cleared up again, but we’ve still enjoyed as much time in the garden as possible with our guests. We’ve been able to enjoy the nice days by sitting together in the back garden to enjoy a meal or spend an afternoon catching up. And if I’m honest, there wasn’t much that *needed* to be done in the garden (this is the first year I can say that) — just a few adjustments I wanted to make.

Like many gardeners, I often sit down in the garden with a book looking to relax and enjoy the day, but as I look around I spot a weed here, or something I might change there… plans change and I find myself making lists and impromptu nursery visits to fill an unexpected gap or because I wanted to move something around.

All that said, we’ve had some beautiful days over the last month, and the windows and doors are open to the outdoors more often than not as we head into June… which to me, marks the beginning of summer.

Here’s what’s been going on in our front garden recently:

Garden Gate

The American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) growing over the gate trellis is on its 6th year & is filled with blooms this year.

The bioswale

The bioswale, which is lined with a mixture of native and ornamental shrubs & perennials, has filled in really nicely.

Against the neighbor's garage

Looking a bit closer on the North side of the bioswale you can see a ninebark right in the middle of the shot that was put in last autumn to replace a barberry that died in that spot. We believe the barberry death was due to the extreme heat & drought we experienced last summer. I’ll be watering this area more attentively this summer, and am looking forward to the dark ninebark leaves filling that space in the future.

The ceanothus

The ceanothus (noid) which is one of only a handful of plants that came with the house that is still with us, is gorgeous when it blooms. It smells like honey, is swarming with bees, and draws your eye up to its beautiful blooms. I cut lots of dead branches out of it this year and it’s much better over there now that it’s more open and filled with light.

Looking across the front garden

This photo is taken from the front path, and shows the “no bare earth” strategy I employ to keep weeds down. I also just enjoy the tapestry of plants that this method creates — with different things blooming at different times of year, and the contrast of colors and textures it gives you.

The cardoon!

And finally, the Cardoon! It’s amazing! I don’t actually eat the stems, I just enjoy how it looks. I keep thinking to myself that surely it’s maxed out and will stop its upward trend, but then it just keeps on going. There are a handful of buds at the top, so I’m looking forward to their purple show soon.

Kate McMillan

Author Kate McMillan

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  • Wow, your garden looks fabulous, seriously wonderful. You aren’t opening for the HPSO are you? On and that Cardoon is amazing!

    • Kate McMillan says:

      Thank you! I am working my way up to a HPSO opening — there are still a few things (terrible deck – there will be a future post about this) and an unfinished path along the south side that I would be too mortified for people to see at this point. It also feels very *scary* to commit to something like that, but I will one-day overcome that fear.

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