Thursday, June 30, 2011

Creative vegetable gardening

We Portlanders love our veggie gardens and we’re up for growing our veggies pretty much wherever, style be damned! So it is with great appreciation of their going a bit above and beyond that I share with you these vegetable gardens with a little style. First up is the veggie plot of a neighbor of mine. The curling wood planting bed has been around for awhile, but this year he’s stepped it up a couple of notches with metal, bamboo and jute accents. Unfortunately some of the panache has been lost in photography…it is much better in person. Since he intends to build up the jute framework as the veggies grow it will only get better with time. This urban garden also has room for raspberries… Blueberries… And lots of tomatoes. Next up is a planter I spied in the Kennedy Community Garden. It’s not a stock tank but rather two sections of galvanized material (the surrounds used for egress window wells) bolted together. This has a couple of benefits over a true stock tank, for one it’s easier to get in your car. And secondly since the bottom is open to the soil beneath drainage is improved. Next up this small garden is actually in the parking lot of Old Portland Hardware and Architectural Supply on Division Street. They’ve used old metal light fixtures and laundry tubs for planting. And added lots of colorful accents! I’m not sure what the material is that makes up this composting container but it beats the usual solid black plastic in the looks department. While I wouldn’t be too terribly thrilled if my neighbors decided to put an old tub in the front yard and grow veggies in it, here in the parking lot of architectural salvage store, it seems right at home. Speaking of home I should share a couple of photos of my veggie garden, although it isn’t going to win any awards for creativity… This year I’ve narrowed it down to tomatoes (7 of them, I just couldn’t decide which ones so I bought them all), peppers, basil, ginger mint and cardoons (which I doubt we’ll actually eat but I like the way they look). This area gets so sunny and hot that they are all very happy.

The fact that I’m growing ginger mint again this year is a bit of an accident, I thought I pulled it all out of this container last fall when I ripped out the tomato plants. I guess not since it’s happily back! Oh well, good to have on hand for cocktail emergencies. This Manitoba tomato is a new variety for me, it is supposed to require only a short growing season for the fruit to ripen, so after last year’s tomato disappointments I thought this one would be a good one to include. Its leaves don’t look much like tomato leaves though... I also snuck in a soggy Aloe polyphylla that I rescued from the 50% off table at a local nursery. It's drying out in the sun, I think it will make it but I did have to pull off a bunch of mushy leaves and get the roots out of the waterlogged soil. Hopefully it will live on to someday do it’s cool leaf spiraling thing! So…what’s growing in YOUR veggie garden, and are you being creative?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two styles of gardening and landscaping your Portland ranch-style home

I heard there were Yuccas blooming in my favorite "ranch-land" neighborhood garden so of course I had to go see for myself. I think these are Yucca whipplei, but don’t take me to court over that. I’m glad to have visited when I did as I’ve ever seen this garden so in bloom! I’ve shared pictures of this garden over and over, are you getting tired of it yet? I know I’m not.
And now for something completely different…

Just down the street is another brick ranch-style home, this one for sale. The garden could not be more different…warning shocking shrubbery! One of my fellow plant lust’ers recently looked at this house as a prospective buyer, so these pictures from the back yard are hers. I was hoping for an open house last weekend so I‘d have the opportunity to a little extra snooping myself. No such luck. While it’s obvious which of these two gardens I prefer, I do love the fact that they can peacefully coexist in the same neighborhood, no HOA rules here!