Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday Parkways

This last Sunday, the 19th, was the City of Portland’s NE Portland Sunday Parkways event. The first Sunday Parkways was held last year in, June, with 6 miles of streets closed to vehicle traffic in North Portland. Loosely based on a weekly event CicloVia in Bogotá, Colombia, Sunday Parkways is intended to get city residents out and about in their neighborhoods, walking and biking, and hanging out with neighbors. The Bogotá event sees over 70 miles of city streets closed to traffic, the NE Portland version had 7 miles of streets closed. Since the event passed within 1 block from our house we needed to check it out.

Besides the people watching (which there was plenty of, and would be a great topic for a whole new blog) this was a great opportunity to walk lots of streets that I usually only drive. Of course those of us on foot were a pain in the ass to the bikers who thought they owned the event, which made me just want to walk right down the center of the street. But since the great garden photos required me to be on the sidewalks (and occasionally in the yard or driveway) I didn’t get to irritate the number of bikers that I would have liked too. This Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin is just around the corner from a street I frequently drive, however I never noticed it. Beautiful…but messy.
I believe this is a Rose of Sharon, although I have never seen a flower quite like this one. Love the buds as they are opening.
I should have got a better picture, but this is the gate I want to replace the chain link one we currently have (to keep Lila in) have to look really close, it's rusted metal in the center of the picture). I made a mental note of the location so I could go back and ask them about it (later when the husband isn’t with me and won’t be mortified at my doing so).
Poor little palm. Maybe they thought it would go summer dormant like the grass and come back when the fall rains do. Not so lucky I am afraid.
Ah…getting rid of sod the “right” way, a modified lasagna method of killing the sod and building up a planting medium.
We stopped at Wilshire Park and listened to a band. They were young and full of energy, keeping the crowd entertained.
Because I am tree dumb I can’t tell you what this tree is. But I love the pealing bark!
Do you think this homeowner is terrified of plants?
Don’t understand this method of pruning. They want to make it easier for cats when they climb the tree?
A collection for sure.
I would love to know how long it took them to make this fence and gate!
I am seeing this around town a lot. These yellow tubs were our paper recycling bins before the city decided to change it up to a huge metal/paper/everything but glass rolling bin. Guess they are being recycled now.
Stock tank planters are showing up everywhere these days. I’ve never seen this version before with the painted logo.
Interesting edging material…I would be afraid kids would need to play with them. Rolling them down the center of the street perhaps?
Just when I think I've kicked my desire to have a Cotinus I see one like this and the yearning kicks in again.I love the deep color of the Globe Artichoke and really like seeing the later stages after the bloom has faded.
It was a great day to get out and walk around and snoop in the yards of my fellow NE Portlander's. If you live in Portland there is one more Sunday Parkways event planned for the year, on the 16th of August in Southeast Portland.


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS DANGER!!!!! hope it's a fabulous one! It's definitely a hot one! :) See you tomorrow!

  2. I think your peeling tree is an Acer griseum, Paperbark Maple, a gorgeous little gem that stays relatively small and NEVER needs pruning.

    The Sunday Parkway went past our house as well. Seemed pretty cool (lots of bicycles for sure) though we missed the better part of it while at Skamania Lodge--the continuing birthday festivities for Megan's brother, Elliot. We did get out for a walk earlier, to Wilshire Park and back, just as things were setting up. We saw that cardboard treatment, which is a bold step, don't you think? I was trying to talk myself into doing our parking strip that way in the Fall, but it appears instead we're just not watering. Then I guess we'll peel it off like old carpeting--a method used by my neighbor with surprisingly good results.

  3. I missed our Sunday Parkway this year but loved the first one! I agree about the bikers: it was fun seeing whole families teetering along on their bikes, but it was dangerous as all-get-out for us pedestrians!

    That lasagne-method front yard is awe-inspiring: they are GOING for it! I plan to do a similar, but smaller kill-job on some of my front lawn this fall/winter. Guess I'd better start now.

    I like what I can see of that gate design. It does look to have pretty big openings to hold in a small dog. I guess you could attach a mesh of some kind inside. But the rusted metal effect is really nice.

    Don't you just love Portland in the summer?

  4. AnonymousJuly 20, 2009

    Hi DG~~ Is it your birthday? Lucky you! Go buy that Cotinus. Well not THAT Cotinus know what I mean.

    You literally had me in stitches with the "terrified of plants" caption. HILARIOUS !!! What could possibly be the reason for that barren landscape? Maybe they're into deserts. Death Valley? Too bad they weren't out there so you could ask them. But whatever the reply, it wouldn't be as funny as your surmise.

    The Doug Fir looks imaginative.

    It looks like you've got a colorful bunch of neighbors. I'm in Albany but when I see the Portland news it seems like there is a tacit animosity between car drivers and bicycle riders. Just curious if it's true.

  5. Thank you Andrea!! I am having a wonderful long weekend...and look forward to seeing you and DS tomorrow. Hope all is well there.

    Patricia, what you describe (stays small, never needs pruning) sounds ideal! I am going to have to find a space for this creature. Hurray for "continuing birthday festivities" I've managed to make a 3 week affair out of mine!

    We talked about going the lasagna way with our front yard but ended up just not being patient enough. I was very impressed with the efforts of these folks and will be watching to see where they go with it.

    Jane, glad to hear I was not alone in the feeling of pedestrian danger. I hope you document your lasagna progress, I would love to see what you do!

    You are smart to think about the openings and a small dog...pretty sure our little pony Lila could make through those holes...they would definitely need to be closer together.

    Grace!!! Were you reading my mind? Yes today is my birthday and after a leisurely breakfast/reading on the patio (I took the day off - one should not work on their birthday) I wrote this post and then decided to head to Garden Fever to see if they still had the fabulous Cotinus that I'd be coveting. It's my birthday and I deserve it! (hah!) Well they were all sold out, however thanks to Megan's post today I fell hard for a lovely Black Lace Sambucus and made do with it (what a sacrifice!). I flirted with the idea of the Chocolate Albizia but at $79 I managed to just walk away.

    As for the bikers vs. drivers yes there is a fair bit of tension. Most of the bikers are safe and reasonable but there are a few militant ones that make the rest look bad. The ones that use the rules as they like and basically put the drivers in the position of almost killing the bikers. THOSE are the ones I wish would, well, stop riding. I must stop because I could go on at length and there are several bikers that I really like and don't want them to hate me! I did almost injure one of them though when he was using the sidewalk as the freeway and I was making a left hand turn into a parking lot. GEEZE!

  6. I love that gate with the tree. Beautiful! Everything here is fantastic. Nice place ;-)

  7. Hey there's my tree! Well not really "my" tree but I have one in my backyard. We call it a mimosa, I think it's the same thing. It's only messy for about a month or so.

  8. I bet step two of the lasagna treatment will look a lot like the "fear of plants" front yard. That's where the patience has to kick in.
    I keep seeing stock tanks peeking through in your photos. Where did you find yours? Pam over at digging did a post about turning a huge one into a pond...but she is in Texas, so it doesn't help me much.
    Thanks for the tip about the upcoming Sunday Parkways event. Sounds like fun. I will watch for it.

  9. Stephanie, glad to show you a little more of Portland!

    MTJ, YES, thank you! I knew there was another name but I couldn't think of it. Really only a month? Uhm...I do love them.

    Ricki, I very highly recommend the folks at the Burns Feed Store in Gresham for stock tanks. They have a great selection:

  10. Happy birthday! Congratulations on your new black lace sambucus. I can't for the life of mr get a good picture of it, but I do love it. I was going to laugh if that silk tree was my moms but I think it's another tree? You probably will eventually need a cotinus. I'm loving the gold leafed one.
    I tried to comment on your fatsia post, but had difficulties with my phone. Im glad you came down on the pro side of that debate. I have one and like it, but I worry sometimes that Im falling out of love with it.

  11. AnonymousJuly 22, 2009

    I'm a former Portlander sweltering in the high humidity of NE Alabama. Mimosa trees are very invasive here - take a look at the seed pods sometime. The butterflies love them, though. I suppose there are different varieties - maybe there are some that are better behaved than the ones around here. And cutting them doesn't kill them - they just re-sprout! I suppose they might be OK in town...

    Barbara H.

    Barbara H.

  12. Megan, ya it's a different tree than your mothers...closer to my house. GFever had the gold leaved Cotinus and I almost went that way but I was determined to go dark.

    Barbara, I couldn't take the humidity! Thanks for the tip...I'll watch for the seed pods.

  13. Sunday Parkways: I'm glad I found this post! How interesting! I have three bowling balls but never thought about them being an edging material! I LOVE Portland! I lived there in 1992-1994 and my best friends live there. I rented an apartment on the Park Ave., near the PSU where I was working for one semester. Beautiful city, I believe it's one of the best in the U.S.(and I saw a lot of them!)How lucky you are!


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