Monday, July 12, 2010

A hot day in the city

Last Thursday, our first day predicted to hit 100 degrees, I had plans to meet a couple of old friends/ex-coworkers downtown for lunch. It is almost embarrassing how long it has been since I’ve been downtown. I mean it’s not like I live in the suburbs or avoid downtown, I love it! But what better day to finally be out enjoying the city than on our first really hot day! I’ve been meaning to check out the green wall and courtyard at Hotel Modera for about a year now. This is an old Days Inn that had been reworked and updated -opening to much fanfare.
I was very impressed. We stayed at this Days Inn back a few years before we lived in Portland; we made a quick, cheap trip down to visit and needed a place to stay. It is completely unrecognizable now.
The planting squares in the floor grid…
...and the rusted metal planters were well done.
I was surprised how much the wall still needed to grow in, but then again it was nice to see how it was put together. Had it been all lush and filled in I wouldn’t have been able to see the workings.
Next up a quick stop at Pioneer Place, our downtown mall (clearance jeans 40% off at The Gap!) and a surprise agave sighting, Agave desmettiana 'Variegata'…
10 of them! Perfect specimens too.
Funny to see desert plants in a water feature. And I wonder what will happen to them when they are replaced with the next feature plant?
Finally I made my way to Director Park (named for the grandparents of a prominent local developer, the park caps a 700 space underground parking garage), our 'newest' downtown park and designated meeting spot.
I followed the plans for this park as it was being built, and I was excited to see it back when Ricki of Sprig to Twig blogged about in March, only to be disappointed when I looked at the pictures. I thought there would be more green, but it was all hardscape.
So I had pretty low expectations…happily I can say it was better in person, of course seeing it on a hot day helped. Portlanders LOVE their fountains and this park featured a nice big one where kids and adults could cool off (on the left below). Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of it being used. Parents can be a little defensive when strangers start taking pictures of their kids.
The planting areas are filling in and looking good.
And the bioswales too. I want to see how this looks after a big rain storm!
But in the end it was the repeating patterns that won me over. I am a sucker for patterns in the landscape.
And setting down in the shade of a tree on a hot afternoon.


  1. I love all the cement/planting areas. The squares of grass, the staggered brickwork around the tree. So well done! That wall is stunning! You certainly wouldn't have guessed it an old Days Inn!

  2. Been meaning to get down and check out that green wall-curious as to see how they keep it irrigated. Great photos!

  3. Love that contemporary design! It would never fly in our colonial town. Too bad.

  4. AnonymousJuly 12, 2010

    Hi Loree-- When I quit working I was five months pregnant with my son. Deathly sick, the bathroom was at the end of the hall and I remember being at war with myself trying to get there stat while not wanting to embarrass myself. This was the 9th floor of the Pacific Building. Light rail was a pipe dream. Pioneer Square was under construction and I could watch them as they tore down the old parking garage. They were selling bricks for like $12.00, [I think] and I thought this was too expensive. Times have changed. I bet I wouldn't even recognize most of what was a regular destination for me for those working gal years.

    I have to tell you Loree, I see a bud emerging from my Hesperaloe!!! I'm thrilled. I'm wondering if yours is blooming yet or if this is the normal bloom time.

  5. Interesting, your downtown.

  6. Hey! I recognize some of these spots. :) You live in one of my favorite cities... I clown around there a few days, every summer, as we meander our way out to your glorious coast for R&R in goofy little Netarts. In fact, we'll be there in exactly one more month (tick.. tock.. counting the days.)

    Great pics. I use white stones like the ones in the agave photos for my lavender.

  7. I need to check out the Modera plantings, myself.

    I saw those ten agaves in Pioneer Place last week and immediately thought of the danger garden! I like to think they rotate out the plants and they go back to a nursery somewhere for some R&R in their favorite garden situation. And the agaves will specially need it after being in the fountain for the summer.

  8. Love that slatted bench. Nice tour of the park. Wow, you are brave to be soaking up extra heat from the cement on a 100 degree day! It was probably much hotter from all the radiating warmth. Oh yeah, I forgot, you love heat! I was glad when the mercury fell back down to the 70s this week, have to say.

  9. Oh, it IS looking better...but then that is the way of plants, isn't it? I was afraid that it would be like a cauldron once the sun came out. Thanks for the link!

  10. Laura, glad you like it! And you're right. There is not a single remnant left! But I do wonder what the rooms are like.

    PortlandGardenGeek, have you been to the Portland Nursery on Division? They have several panels mounted on the side of the building that it's interesting to see irrigated.

    How it Grows, too bad indeed.

    Grace, you do not paint a pretty picture! Thank goodness those years are behind you right? Now about that Hesperaloe...fabulous! I haven't noticed any buds coming from mine but now I am going to go investigate! Congrats!

    Darla, interesting good or interesting bad?

    Kate, what fun you have ahead. Aren't traditions like yours the best?

    MulchMaind, I hope you are right. I've just heard enough horror stories about those plant maintenance companies to fear otherwise.

    Karen, faced with the option of lunch outside vs. inside a nice cool air conditioned restaurant we chose inside. The heat is only good for so long.

    ricki, of course! You know the surrounding buildings did a really good job of shading parts of the park at all times.


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