Easy Shade Planting in Steel Beds

By | Container Planting | No Comments

This past weekend a friend & I picked up food from Malka (used to be Carte Blanche Food Cart) at their popup at Elevator Café & Commons here in SE Portland.  Carte Blanche used to be right around the corner from our house, and to say we were obsessed is putting it mildly.  They did the popup to celebrate finally getting the permit for construction…

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Portland Bioswale Garden

Building a Bridge Over Our Bioswale

By | Our Garden's Progress | 2 Comments

We’ve had drainage issues on this property.  You can read about how we’re managing some of them using bioswales: Let Me Tell You About My Bioswales. The bioswale on the south side of our property is in the middle of a path.  We did this because it will allow us to have plantings on either side in a relatively narrow space.  It hasn’t been too…

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What’s Happen in the Winter Garden

By | Our Garden's Progress | 2 Comments

So far winter has been relatively kind to us (*knocking on wood*) — especially after last year’s ice storm after ice storm extravaganza.  And as a result, it’s been easier to be outside noticing the slow progress towards spring.  A dip into colder weather can place some things on pause, but others are responding to the increasing light.  I know I am.  We’ve now had…

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Winter Moss

Looking Closer in the Winter Garden

By | Garden Tour | No Comments

January is hard for me, and I know I’m not alone. The holidays are over, so there’s less distraction — fewer parties to give & attend, less champagne to drink, and the decorations (and especially lights) start to come down. And for someone who loves to garden, being stuck indoors because of weather, and limited daylight, takes its toll. So I do all the things…

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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 | 2 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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