Monday, April 29, 2024

No. That is not a funnel holder.

We took down the walls of the shade pavilion greenhouse on April 21st, or as Andrew had taken to calling it, the plant fort. It's such a good feeling, Having all of the garden open again, even if it looks a little empty under there...

Photo from last summer, to show the way I like to see it.

As we were working Andrew caught site of a funnel (used as a planter) that I'd stuck into one of the holes on the metal top of the step, that's when he said the words that I've used to title this post "No. That is not a funnel holder." (I'd been walking around looking for a bit of ground to push it into, where it would be out of the way, and I swear there was a light bulb above my head when I dropped it into the step hole).

I don't think he was so much opposed to the idea of a funnel, as he was anything that would obscure the step. What he wasn't factoring in was that I'd successfully grouped plants at the edges of the step last year. Nobody tripped, nobody was hurt...

Why should funnels be any different? (2023 version above, 2024 as it is currently below).

So in case you didn't get where I was going with this, I'm all in with funnels as planters on the step. It's just too perfect!

There's one filled with a begonia that I received as B. sp. UI64 Michael Wicledon Collection that has been bumping around the garden for a couple of years, it's not fully hardy so it spent the winter months on my desk in the basement.

Hosta 'Cameo'—a miniature hosta with a mature size of  just 4" x 8"—was already in another funnel planter. It spent last summer tucked into a fluted planter with other shade lovers (this planter).

Since two funnels didn't seem quite right I decided to take the cactus that had been in my original funnel planter out (the step [aka funnel holder] is not in a sunny spot, so not suitable for a cactus), and put in something new, a semi shade lover. Three seemed like the perfect number. This one is a vintage motor-oil funnel with a flexible tube attached to the bottom. After years of being used as a planter the tube had rusted and was ready to break apart with just a twist of my wrist.

I looked around at my assembled crew of possibilities (all the plants I've bought that don't yet have homes) and decided this sweet little Pyrrosia davidii from Far Reaches Farm was just the thing.

Once I'd planted it up and grouped the trio for their photo-shoot, I realized there was a already a third; this one much larger (too big for the step holes) and planted up with a Pyrrosia polydactyla. That funnel is tucked into a very heavy metal base Andrew found for me.

So, back to the funnels in the step—the step which is NOT a funnel holder.

I love them.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop’s Close, now home to the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon

Back in January of 2023 I wrote about visiting the Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close for what I feared might be the last time. The property had been put up for sale and it looked prime for a developer to buy the large parcel and divide it into smaller lots.
Thankfully (surprisingly) that's not what happened! From the Spring 2024 edition of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Quarterly magazine: "Elk Rock Garden is the legacy of Peter Kerr, a grain merchant originally from Scotland, who moved to the land in 1893 and purchased it in 1905. The 1916 manor house was built for Kerr and his family on a site selected for its Mount Hood view. Although Kerr hired John Olmstead of the Olmstead Brothers landscape architecture firm to evaluate the site and Portland’s first superintendent of parks to develop a planting scheme, it is understood that Kerr largely followed his own inclinations in creating what now may be the oldest private estate garden in the Pacific Northwest. It features an extensive plant collection, including rare and native trees, shrubs, and perennials, many of which are labeled. A winding stream, edged with lush plantings, ferns, and moss-covered rock, is a particular highlight."

"After Peter Kerr’s 1957 death, his family made an endowed gift of the estate to the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. The diocese occupied the two-story mansion for more than six decades, a period during which the public was able to enjoy the magnificent gardens. In late 2022, the diocese announced that it was selling the property, then known as Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop’s Close. For several months, the future of the garden appeared to be uncertain. Then in July 2023, Kerr descendants, through the Elk Rock Garden Foundation, purchased the nine-acre estate, saving the historic garden and generously ensuring public access to this botanical treasure."

My visits have always included a look at these trough planters that came to Elk Rock Garden after the closing of another local garden that I was never able to visit, the Berry Botanic Garden.

As as you may have inferred from the title of this post, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon has a new home at the garden. This is very exciting news for society members! The HPSO has moved offices a few times over it's 28-year history, most recently to a less than inspiring (but affordable!) office off a main street in South Portland. Now the offices (and someday the lending library) are in the manor house at the garden. It's just such a perfect match. 

My visits to this garden have always seemed to take place in the fall and winter, after all spring and summer are just too busy in my own garden and often include travel plans. In February this part of the garden is alive with color as the hamamelis (witch hazel) are in bloom.

It was such a change to see the trees all leafed out and the area alive with spring green.

The reason for my April visit was a tour with the HPSO Eastside gardener's group. We all descended upon the garden, had a good walk about, and then met up inside the home for a tour and tea. Yes, inside the home! After visiting for over 10 years and wondering about the home I was finally able to go inside!

But first, a few more photos in the garden. I usually catch this Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' after it's lost its leaves and is just a gnarly old trunk. This visit I got to see (and smell) the flowers!

The Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress' here look better than in many gardens around town (winter damage).

Pacific Coast iris

This pedestal (and it's twin across the pathway) is usually topped by an urn, recently planted with a sculptural dark-leaved astelia. 

Well, at least it's still nearby.

Looking across the front parking area...

Maybe Rhododendron 'Medusa'? A Facebook friend posted a photo of his blooming plant by that name and it looked quite similar.

The house from across the garden.

Loropetalum chinense 'Pipa's Red'

I couldn't decide which photo I liked better, so you get both.

Even though I live in the land of ginormous rhododendrons it still inspires awe when I see a house-sized one.

Much smaller than the rhododendron, this pieris was certainly just as impressive, with that blood-red foliage.

A look east across the Willamette River towards Mt Hood, that's a million dollar (+) view.


Their Rhododendron sinograde was looking quite sad too (like mine and many others here in the PNW), still, it bloomed.

I didn't catch the name of this purple rhody, it's color change from the typical shades of pink was appreciated.

Okay, a couple of photos from inside the house. First off, the front entry door is behind me, but the hallway shoots straight through to another door that opens next to the huge white wisteria I shared earlier at the back of the house.

It's a door to that opens to the million dollar view of Mt Hood in the distance (it's there, look closely).

The dining room with its long table and wide mantel.

As a person with a background in historic lighting I couldn't help but be horrified at the many florescent box lights that had been mounted throughout the house. There were several questionable choices made throughout the years as updates happened. What were they thinking!?! 

Ending on a better note, this piece of furniture (which had me thinking of a baptismal font—after all the mansion had very recently been the home of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon—but no doubt I'm wrong) held a great selection of houseplants in a sunny window. 

A big thank you to the Kerr descendants for keeping the property from being sold off and developed. You've preserved a piece of your own history as well as one for all of Portland. I have no doubt there are great things ahead for the match-up of the Elk Rock Garden Foundation and the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, If you'd like to visit the garden it's open (free of charge) Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. More info here.

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Girardin garden; places to play, swim and relax

This stop during the Vancouver BC Study Weekend event felt different from the rest, like the garden was specifically meant to be enjoyed as an extension of the house. I do wish that we'd have been allowed to tour the house as well as the outside areas.

The description: "The garden of  Elise Girardin in North Vancouver sits on the edge of a ravine, under a canopy of Doug Firs. A gem of a garden wrapping around a recently renovated mid-century home. From shady front to a sunny back, it has many interesting plant choices and combinations." (a very understated description!)

Every person I saw respected the "lawn" as a no walking zone and used the curvy border to venture out across the front garden.

The materials met in an artistic fashion.

Another swing that I didn't make use of (there was a similar one in Monday's post).

Walking into the back garden the swing made sense as part of a playtime trend.

Turning to the right...

What a fantastic pool.

With plants surrounding it, of course.

Behind the trampoline was this fun fort/A-frame.

The temptation to play was strong!

The views from the back of the house must be amazing.

In the trees at the back of the property now.

Looks like a nice office/studio going in over-looking the ravine.

It goes down, down, down from there...

Making good use of fallen moss.

Allium seeds

Robinia pseudoacacia Twisty Baby

Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow'

A different view of the pool and play area.

And the back patio with those huge windows.

A final look back out towards the garden.

The fabulous use of materials continues around this side of the house.

And this garden visit draws to a close...

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.