Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Eight months of Mondays in the garden (Part Two)

If you missed Monday's post you'll want to go read that introduction, so you understand what I'm up to with this series. Today we have three different views to cover so this is the most photo heavy of the week's posts. Let's dive in...

The first set of photos taken is with my back to the orange wall shown in Monday's post. I'm looking south and a little west. The brown wall is our garage and of course you see the shade pavilion on the right. October 9th...

October 24th, the Magnolia macrophylla is dropping leaves and the shade pavilion greenhouse walls are up.

November 6th, containers are migrating into the "greenhouse" and there are many more fallen leaves, with more to fall...

November 14th, panels are in place to keep the in-ground agaves dry (I do not do this in the front garden, just in the back). I chose to leave the 3 dish planters (far right) in place for the winter to see how they did... 

December 6th, grey skies, leaves have fallen and been cleaned up, winter is being kind at this point.

January 1st, the New Year, so green!

January 17th. The white that looks like snow is actually ice, graupel and a bit of snow. It was slicker than, yes, snot (apologies if you've not heard that one before).

January 22nd, yes the dish planters stayed in place all through the storm. I'd discovered mealy bugs on a couple of the plants in there and didn't want to risk putting them in a protected spot with other plants. They quickly turned to mush.

February 5th, dish planter plants tossed, dishes cleaned, repurposed as moss holders for a bit. The airy plant in front of the poly panel is a Lomatia tinctoria that's gone black (yes, it should be green).

March 5th, left to right; the "evergreen" Metapanax delavayi (above the garage window) has dropped nearly all it's leaves, I've begun cutting back the lomatia, and the palm leaves that were damaged in the cold wind are slowly being removed. I wanted to cut them all immediately, but leaving them helps the plant recover and push out new leaves.

March 11th, the first of the protective panels came down. I wanted to get in there and remove rotting agaves. The panels were to keep the plants dry, but the duration of below freezing temps did most of them in. 

You can see I also had started buying new plants and plopping them in places, the dish planters have been removed and I've placed new rusty dish planters against the garage.

March 18th, we must have had a dry spell if the hose is out, the second set of polycarbonate panels has also been removed.

March 25th, plants are starting to trickle out of the shade pavilion greenhouse, the rusty color in the fern planting at the base of the garage is new growth of the Adiantum venustum, Himalayan maidenhair.
April 15th and the garage-side ferns have grown into their bright spring green and the podophyllum are up around the base of the big-leaf magnolia.

April 29th, the shade pavilion greenhouse walls are down!

May 13th, it's hard to see, but I've finally planted the new plants on the bottom right of the photo, and the empty sky is once again covered in leaves from our magnolia and the neighbor's trees.

May 27th, there is furniture on the patio again!

June 4th, yes that is a big bowl of bromeliads. I'll share more photos and talk about why it's there in a future post.

The next view, looking west towards the patio, October 9th (I have no idea what the strange green at the base of the Nolina 'La Siberica' is, a digital error?).

October 24th, shade pavilion greenhouse walls up, more magnolia leaves down.

November 6th, even more leaves. The patio furniture has gone into storage (the garage) for the winter.

November 14, panels in place to keep the agaves dry.

December 6th, green but kinda desolate. Of course when I look at this photo now I'm blown away by the lush mahonia and aspidistra directly ahead of the patio pathway. They won't look this good again ever, because...

January 17th. Bamboo drama! It will stand upright again, but many culms will loose all their leaves over the coming months.

January 22nd. The beginning of the downward spiral.

January 29th, the epimedium on the left (ground level) have gone brown. There are many years I never bother to remove the old foliage because it looks good even as the new growth appears.

February 19th, epimedium cut back, but the blue sky feels promising, even as the bamboo starts to drop it's dead leaves.

March 25th the Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' on the far right side has lost a lot of leaves, which combined with the browning bamboo has the neighbor's garage (whitish wall) looking very exposed over the top of the fence.

April 15th, new growth from the podophyllum, epimedium and Syneilesis aconitifolia on the left.

May 6th, shade pavilion walls down and containers on the patio!

May 20th, the patio is in full swing with furniture again.

May 27th, although it's been going on for weeks, this photo really shows Clifford's—Magnolia macrophylla—leaf explosion. 

June 6th, the last of this view.

October 16th, the north end of the lower back garden. Several containers have already been moved in for the season, but a few remain. I'm awed by the dense canopy of foliage as it doesn't look this green currently (as I write on June 9th) thanks to the winter storm.

October 24th, everything that can move, has moved (for the winter)

November 6th, the winter cover is in place over the potted Agave ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue'—an attempt to keep it dry and thus more able to deal with cold temps.

November 11th, leaves all cleaned up, things looking tidy.

January 8th, I've been thinking of winter covers for a few things, as I know what's on the horizon.

January 17th, it's here. This was absolute hell for the gardener (me!). We were below freezing for over 150 hours with a low of 12F. Extreme cold, fierce wind, sleet, and ice all added up to horrible conditions not experienced in Portland since a storm back in 1990.

January 22nd, it's over. The Stachyurus salicifolius (upper right hand side) is already turning brown and loosing it's leaves.

February 5th, the stachyurus continues to brown up and the bamboo isn't looking great, otherwise you might not be able to tell things were hit.

March 25th, the Agave ovatifolia is opened to the air. I was thrilled to inspect it and discover no damage. The overall canopy of green is looking sparse.

April 1st, Clifford's bare stems are not something I see on the patio too often.

April 22nd, Clifford is starting to leaf out, and the containers are starting to appear on the patio.

May 13th, the containers are still kind of plopped in place, as we were away for a visit to Spokane for Mother's day and I hadn't taken the time to arrange them.

May 20th, containers arranged and furniture in place.

June 4th, things looking wet as we'd just had a downpour. That's it for today, we'll continue the series on Friday with two more views.

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Monday, June 10, 2024

Eight months of Mondays in the back garden (Part One)

If you're a regular blog reader you know I hate winter—and since autumn is basically the opening act for winter, I can't help but also lump it into the "dislike" category. It's too bad really, because on it's own autumn can be rather beautiful, even I can admit that. 

So in an attempt to mentally separate autumn from winter I started taking weekly photos of the back garden early last October. I thought maybe I could pinpoint the moment when my feelings about the garden changed, when winter took over and things fell apart. I suspected that moment was much later than I realized. Of course, what I didn't know when I started the project was that we'd have an extremely mild winter, all the way up to January 12th when record cold arrived and winter hit like a sledgehammer. There was no fuzzy hard-to-define moment of change, instead there was a solid—deadly—line. 

So I forged on, thinking maybe I'd call the project complete once we took down the shade pavilion greenhouse walls, or when Clifford (the big-leaf magnolia, M. macrophylla) broke dormancy? Maybe when the patio furniture was back on the patio? 

In the end I went for a full 34 weeks, taking (nearly) weekly photos from 7 different spots in the back garden. I ended up with just over 230 photos. I'm not going to share all 230 of them, but I am going to run this series all week. Today we'll look at two views; the back garden entrance and the orange wall, the north boundary of the upper garden. For each image I'll include the date, and what stood out to me about that particular photo. Here we go!

The back garden entrance on October 16th 2023, a few of Clifford's fallen leaves serve as a reminder of the season.

November 6th, more leaves. Clean up happened at least twice a week for a few weeks.

November 14th, the maple leaves are from the south-side neighbor's tree. The polycarbonate panels are now in place to keep the agaves dry.

December 6th, the cement piece in the far corner is new, a taboret à la David Culp.

January 1st, the New Year! Things are looking much the same. A little more trimmed up and tidy. Winter was proving to be the mild dream we'd been promised with an El Niño winter.

Until it wasn't, January 17th. I missed Monday and took this photo on Wednesday, which was Day 6 of the storm. I couldn't open the gate to get it out of the photo because it was frozen in place. The foliage is frozen at an odd angle because the wind was hammering us at the same time the temperatures dropped and frozen precipitation started to fall.

January 22nd, 11 days after it started and we still had ice/snow on the ground in places. Such is life in NE Portland near the Columbia River Gorge.

February 12th, blue sky! Palm fronds are missing (broke off in the wind) and the Metapanax delavayi foliage (top left of photo) has started to die off.

February 19th, that same foliage (the Metapanax delavayi) is now falling, it would continue for the next 2-3 months. This is an evergreen shrub that was burnt by sub-freezing winds.

March 25th. When I started this photo-essay I was hoping to capture a "this is winter!" moment, and not with an historic storm. However this photo says "this is spring!" to me. Things have flipped and there is life in the garden again, I've taken the winter covers off the in-ground agaves (we won't talk about the fact so many agaves died anyway, 12F and below freezing day and night for 5 days was just too much).

April 15th, blue sky and bright green lawn!

April 29th, So many plants are up and looking good. The Metapanax delavayi is leafing out again.

May 13th, harsh sun and shadows and lawn that needs to be mowed, but you can see the staghorn ferns are starting to emerge from the basement and get a nice hose-down (on the ground in the shadows).

May 27th, my garden is once again a place I want to spend time in, and not just working!

June 4th, the final shot of this view. Things are wet as we just experienced a heavy rainfall in the days prior. 

Here's the second view of the series; the orange wall, the north boundary of the upper garden. Our house on my right, the patio on the left and our garage behind me. October 9th 2023...so very jungly!

November 6th, golden.

December 6th. The Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Akebono' (far right) has almost lost all it's leaves, the Passiflora lutea climbing on the palm trunk has died back, and the hakonechloa (Japanese forest grass) has gone golden.

January 1st, the New Year. There had not yet been a killing frost in the garden. 

January 8th. At this point we knew a change was coming, we just didn't know how bad it was going to be.

January 17th. There's a Pseudopanax ferox under the tall insulated cover next to the palm, and an astelia under the black pot. The edgeworthia is bent under the weight of the ice.

January 22nd. The waiting game begins, damage doesn't show up right away on a lot of things. 

February 5th, the large leaves of the Rhododendron sinogrande (in front and to the right of the palm) are starting to take on an unhealthy hue.

March 5th, by now I'd cut back the volunteer sword ferns and (along with the kill-back of evergreen ground cover) the ground is looking so bare, on a positive note the flower buds on the edgeworthia are starting to open.

March 11th, plants are starting to emerge and I'm starting to play around with ideas for containers and plantings for the spring.

March 25th, another shot that says SPRING! 

April 29th, the Lysimachia nummularia (creeping Jenny, ground cover) is quickly covering the bare soil again (in many winters it stays almost evergreen) and I've been buying plants which are staged in place making the area look much fuller than it is. On the far right the big leaves of Rodgersia podophylla have emerged.

May 6th. The tall palm was trimmed up a few weeks back, and the fronds on the palm out of frame on the left are gone, also trimmed up due to winter damage. The Pseudopanax ferox just to the left of the palm has been dropping leaves for months, I feared it was a goner but I am happy to report that as of June 6th it started to push out new growth towards the top. 

May 13th, I'm feeling behind now as I haven't yet planted the things I bought to go in this area and we just had a couple of 90 degree days!

May 27th, some of the new plants are in the ground here, but not quite all. You might notice the staghorn fern on the far right, hanging from the Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' and there's a plant missing on the right of the palm trunk. I moved the Sinopanax formosanus that had been there (scroll up and you'll see light green leaves that are now missing). 

I decided I hated it there and so I moved it to the west side of the patio behind the bamboo tanks. I feared it was probably going to die in the move, but it's actually looking pretty good.

June 4th, THIS is what I'd been working towards... things are as they should be again *sigh* another summer in the garden...

To be continued on Wednesday with more views!

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.