Friday, August 14, 2009

A little slice of the tropics, in Portland

Summer is working its magic! My banana (Musa Basjoo - an older one, not the new one I just rescued) is putting on some height, multiplying, and I swear the leaves this year are twice the size of previous years.
The Cannas are reaching for the sky and blooming, there seem to be less this summer; perhaps winter took a few. Maybe this is the year I finally divide them, I’ve been avoiding doing it because it sounds like an opportunity to accidentally chop them in half the wrong way and kill them.

The Colocasia (Elephant ears), Hakonechloa and Hibiscus are thriving and you can’t see more than a square inch of soil, a measure of gardening success in my book.
And I love morning sun filtering through the bamboo and lighting up the Trachycarpus fortunei.
But did you notice the scariest thing in these photos? Peeling paint on our house and the side of our neighbors garage. Am I the only person who gets stressed out at the idea of painting her house? It’s not the painting, it’s the plants. I can’t bear the idea of the trampling that is going to occur. Do you do it in the fall when the plants will have the winter to recover? Do you do it in the spring when there is still bare dirt showing? Or instead do you procrastinate like we have?


  1. I vote for spring! That way the new growth will be on its way and quickly cover any damage :)

  2. I second what Andrea says, but when we had our old house reroofed, which I worried about for the same reason, we did it in the fall. I made sure plant protection was in the contract, and all went well. Good luck!

    Oh, and your garden is fabulous, full of beautiful texture.

  3. DG~~ Frankly, I DIDN'T notice the peeling paint until you mentioned it. I was wiping the drool from my chin after gazing your tropical border. The refreshing gradations of green and the complementary textures... fabulous. I'm wondering the identity of the small pointy-leafed mingler next to the Forest Grass in the third photo. A euphorbia?

    I saw several Musas at HD today and I thought of you and your rescue. And it made me wish I had several acres. I would have snatched them up fast. I'm hoping that a kindhearted plant lover will be along shortly to take them home.

    A few years ago when I did an outdoor painting project the paint store guy said something about nighttime temps, like not below 50 degrees, or it won't set up something. So with our wet, cool springs, it might be good to tackle the project now. But, hell it can wait. Summer will be over soon. Who wants to spend the remainder tromping on a well loved planting?

  4. People who live in cedar-sided houses, as I do, shouldn't even think about having to paint them. Did you notice that if you drop the T (for tropical), paint becomes pain?

    Meanwhile, I'm deeply envious of your Hakonechloa grass. Seems like if I even look at it in the garden centre, it dies on the spot.

  5. A&M, thanks for the vote. Now to decide on a color...

    Pam, when we had the garage reroofed it was done in the mid summer and I was wigged out worried. Luckily it all went well, they were very careful. The house painting will just be us (the husband and me), for some reason that makes it scarier.

    Grace, Your right, that is a Euphorbia - Euphorbia polychroma, a fav! Yikes! Were the Bananas on clearance? I'm lucky they only had one at my HD, I couldn't have refused a few more, dangerous! 50 degrees at night, this is good to know. And thank you for the kind words! true! (paint/pain)...we painted my cedar-sided house in Spokane the summer before we decided to move to Portland. All those tiny little grooves!!! Augh. I think this is the first spring/summer I managed to not buy another Hakonechloa, I LOVE that stuff. Maybe you need to give it another try?

  6. Everything looks so full and lush. No dirt showing is indeed the sign of gardening success - one I'm still chasing.
    Whenever I do some spring time chore outside, I end up trampling something that hasn't quite come up yet, so I vote for fall, where you can still see all the plants you need to avoid.
    My neighbors had a fence installed and I braced for losing all the plants on that side of the yard, but they were amazing, they didn't harm so much as a single leaf, so it is possible.


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