Friday, October 2, 2009


Last Saturday evening found us at McMenamins Edgefield, in Troutdale, Oregon. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Portland; yet I’ve only been there once before, for a summer concert on the lawn. There was no time to explore the grounds then, and with daylight fading fast I only had a few minutes to explore this time. Let’s pretend the dusky lighting was intentional, to enhance the mood. Careful….dangerous plants ahead!
This Castor Bean seals the deal for me. I simply must grow this plant next year. Grace has been tempting me, with the pictures she’s got on her blog, and standing here looking at this beauty, gotta do it. As a nod to its evil reputation it will go in a stock tank, out of reach from curious dogs. The squirrels and raccoons are on there own.
This white Cleome has me planning to include more white blossoms in the garden next year. The way they reflect any available light is just beautiful. Huge Gunnera! Husband included for scale, he’s 6”2.
Gunnera bloom… I needed to see this Sambucus to remind me just how big they get, note to self…look at this picture before you pull that plant out of the container and put it in the ground!
Seeing a sign like this makes me wonder what incident caused its creation. Something unfortunate for sure. It’s always surprising to see a relative of our Clifford out and about in the world. So tall…our baby is going to get tall! I appreciate the open branching, hopefully it will still allow for sun on our patio when Clifford is this tall.
With the frequency that I seem to post about McMenamins I should issue a disclaimer. They aren’t paying me, at least not directly. They are long time clients of the firm I work for, Ankrom Mosian Architects. I don’t actually work with them myself, but I hear fabulous things from those that do and they have my never-ending praise for their attention to the gardens. Why spend your hard earned money at a restaurant with bark mulched covered planting beds with a couple of sickly shrubs planted amongst the weeds when you can support horticultural fun?


  1. Thanks for the fun tour. Oh ho, you are going for the ultimate dangerous plant! Well, I can see why, it's stunning. Hope nobody keels over, though!

    Agree about McMenamins, they seem to do a good job all around, inside and out. I was sad that they didn't get the nod to do what they wanted up at the north end of Lake Washington the other year, I think it would have been awesome. Oh, I got a sumac today, not even sure where it will go but it was on sale and I **had** to have it!

  2. I wish we could grow gunnera here.

  3. You'll like the castor bean, they're fast growing no-care plants. I used to grow them every year, but Oscar wanted to chew on the stems so I stopped. Putting them up in a container is the perfect answer. Maybe I can bring one back next year. Those Cleome have been catching my eye in blogs, love the white flowers, how did I not know about those?

  4. Hmmm...taking danger to new levels, eh? The more poisonous plants the better, as far as I'm concerned. The wildlife have enough sense to leave them alone.

  5. I always enjoy seeing what McMenamins is doing with their plantings. They do more than just put plants in and let them go, too. They seem to regularly re-think or re-do existing beds.

    That cleome is lovely: I just saw a photo from a family member's tour of Edgefield gardens and she also focused on it.

    We had a year-round castor bean when I lived in Southern CA, but it didn't have that yummy reddish cast. Is it a different variety, do you think?

  6. Karen, I didn't know about the Lake Washington project but I am sure they would have done a good job. Too bad! I would love a Sumac too, but I have no idea where I would put one! I loved the one we had as a kid, I used to play with the red berries like there were valuable gems.

    how it grows, well that sucks! I know I would have loved to have grown them when I lived in go. I am lucky here in Portland.

    Megan, I feel the same was about the Cleome! Duh. Where did you buy Castor Bean when you grew it? I don't recall ever seeing one in a nursery.

    Ricki, I like your "take no prisoners" attitude.

    Jane, could be (the Castor Bean). I need to learn more about the plant...and what are the "good kinds" to speak. I think I might have to look into growing Cleome's next year!

  7. I'm pretty sure a guy down the street has one of those Castor Bean plants. It gets HUGE. Although I noticed today he cut it back. Last year it looked like it froze up but it never died all the way out and bounced right back.

  8. I adore Edgefield, which I have described to friends as "a theme park for grownups"


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