My Gardens and Collections
- Heather Garden
- The Cardiocrinum Project
- The Natives are Restless
- A Plethora of Penstemon
- Pulmonaria Sanitarium
- Small collections and 'one-offs'
- Go Tell Aunt Rhody...
- A Rose is a Rose
- The Algae Farm (otherwise known as 'The Pond')
Gardens I've left behind
The Pond Project
My thumb is not necessarily green, but, I do get lucky from time to time. My gardening experience is project oriented and many times focuses on plant collections. The projects are planned in advance. Then there are the random trips to the nursery where things just sort of follow me home. For example, one day a five foot tall tree peony just climbed in the car with me. Another time it was a giant tree fern that now has fronds 6 feet long, and a trunk six inches thick. For some odd reason now I have a collection of Sisyrinchium angustifolium and californicum growing next to a giant gunnera in the back yard. Tucked away in a corner by the chimney you'll find a very happy, healthy Goodyeara oblongifolia (Rattlesnake Orchid) that is never supposed to grow in captivity. I just don't know how these things happen.
I like to use as many native plants as possible in landscaping. They are usually more disease resistant than hybrids, and require less irrigation. Water conservation is important to me, even though here in northwestern Oregon water is hardly a rare item. I find it's easier to control weeds in flowerbeds where plants are individually drip-fed. I am also experimenting with introducing food crops into the landscaping. No, I don't mean planting a row of corn along the driveway. But, how about the bold, blue-gray leaves of an artichoke as a feature in a rock garden? I'm thinking the dark green mounds and large yellow flowers of summer squash could catch one's eye as well. Rather than plow up the ground like an 'official' vegetable garden, I'm running drip irrigation to the plants and leaving the ornamental bark dust covering the soil. After the crops are gone I may replace the plants with pansies or ornamental cabbage for the winter.
I'm also interested in environmentally friendly pest control, and use as few chemicals as possible. Aphids respond well to insecticidal soap, and, mixed with sulphur, controls mildew as well. I've had good success with biological control of caterpillars, and fish love mosquito larvae.
I planted the Heather Garden in the fall of 2004. The entire focus of this garden is COLOR! Now, you might ask what's so special about heather color? Well, it's like this - the heather garden puts on its color show almost exclusively between December and March when the rest of the yard is bare dirt and yellowish grass. And it's not just a little bit of color. It's vibrant pinks, purples and white. Even their first season as baby plants they put on quite a show!
The Cardiocrinum Project is two small simple bulbs. But we have big plans for them!
I have two garden projects pending - A collection of a dozen or so hybrid Penstemon and six different varieties of Pulmonaria. The plants are on order, waiting for warmer weather. These will get their own web pages in due time...
I built the pond in August of 1999 (at the home we sold in 2003). The 'rock' waterfall was created from styrofoam, chicken wire and concrete. The whole project consumed a week of precious vacation time. I'm now learning all about pond chemistry, algae control, aphid control (yes, my water lily has a serious aphid problem), and filter maintenance.
I started my carnivorous bog in January of 2000. This was (again, at the old house) my pride and joy. It was a joy primarily because after the initial design and installation, I have had to do almost nothing but pour water on it. This was the high impact, low maintenance garden of my dreams. A few weeds appear from time to time, but they were easily plucked from the soft, damp soil. I planted pitcher plants, venus flytraps, sundews, butterworts and bladderworts. I only selected a single hybrid for this collection. All the rest (more than 20 species) are native plants, though not indigenous to my area. One plant in that collectioncollection, Sarracenia oreophila, is actually on the endangered species list. Unless something extraordinary is done, at the rate its natural habitat is being destroyed in Alabama and Georgia it will be extinct in the wild in a few years. This garden has been a source of great pleasure watching the bugs get eaten by the plants, rather than the usual bug eats plant scenario. Check it out - it's a kick!
So, now with a new home and new yard to populate, I've started all over. I have a small collection of fuchsia, a growing (no pun intended) collection of native ferns, and most recently I've planted a heather garden with 45 or so different varieties. I've also taken the time to whine about the sad things I see happening in gardens tended by the less competent. One of these days I'll talk about my new pond after it recovers from the most recent raccoon damage.
But, why the elaborate website? Despite appearances to the contrary, this website is really for me. This is where I keep track of what I've planted and where, when it blooms, when leaves emerge, special events (plantings, major trimmings, etc) passings and burials. Without this website, I'd never keep track of it all!