Friday, June 14, 2024

Eight months of Mondays in the garden (Part Three)

Today's post is the third and final of the series. In my introduction (at the top of the first post) I shared why  I decided to take all this photos, and I've shared my thoughts about each photo as we go. There are a couple of other things that occurred to me as I edited down the images to a manageable number. First of all, the prevalence of blue sky, or at least dry conditions with a hint of sun. I tried to always take these photos on a Monday, regardless of the weather, yet there are a surprising number of days where it's dry and the sky is clear—which is not how I think of October thru May in Portland, Oregon. Perhaps it was the fact we were in an El Niño.

I was also a little surprised by how the garden still held visual interest for me throughout the project. I suppose that ties into why I did it (to determine when things ceased to be autumn lovely, and became winter ugly). This had me thinking back to David Culp and his philosophy of looking closer even in the wintertime: "The changing of the seasons gives us so many more reasons to enjoy the garden. If the seasons were all the same, we would have nothing to look forward to, and perhaps no sense of urgency to enjoy them as much." 

Today's post starts looking south across the patio at the shade pavilion, October 9th 2023. It's obvious to me that some containers have already been pulled (for the winter migration), but of course there are still plenty left in place.

October 16th, the shade pavilion is now in greenhouse mode.

October 24th, the shelves inside the greenhouse are filling up, and there's a huge tetrapanx leaf (even bigger than the magnolia leaves) that's fallen on the right of the table.

October 30th, I've left the table and chairs in place so we could eke out every possible outdoor moment.

But by November 6th they've been stored for the winter. The neighbor's maple is colored up and starting to drop it's leaves. It feels like about 80% of them end up in my garden.

November 20th, I am amazed at how long the tetrapanax have held on to their leaves (visible on the right, above the shade pavilion).

December 11th, that's a bare patio.

January 1st, a glowing greenhouse!

January 8th, I've started to pack everything that I can move into the greenhouse.

January 17th, Wednesday. The storm started Friday afternoon (the 12th) and I completely forgot about taking photos on Monday the 15th. By Wednesday things had gotten even icier and there was no way I was going to try and get down onto the patio to take my usual shot. You can see both stock tanks behind the garage were wrapped up, as well as the fern table.

January 22nd, it's above freezing!

February 19th, a few containers have emerged from the greenhouse, ready to go back in if needed.

March 5th, I'm playing with the Leo planters and deciding where they'll live.

March 25th, an order from Little Prince of Oregon has been picked up and plopped down on the patio (on the left, corner). 

April 15th, the neighbor's maple is looking alive and I've got plants everywhere...

April 22nd, the walls came down!

May 13th, the plastic bins under the shade pavilion are because we were away for a long weekend and the temps climbed into the 90's, I put some vulnerable plants in the bins with a bit of water.

May 20th, the furniture is out and most of the containers have migrated—although I see the bromeliad trashcan lids aren't yet on the metal tubes behind the garage and the containers that hang under the shade pavilion aren't all in place.

June 4th, yes! That's the way I like it.

Okay, the final view! Standing on the patio looking back towards the house, October 9th.

October 24th, isn't that fern on the bench amazing? It's Phlebodium aureum and it spent the entire winter outdoors—of course it was in the greenhouse for the week from hell.

November 6th. The leaf clean-up goes on and on around here. I feel like they came and went too fast in these photos. I must have cleaned them up towards the end of the weeks and so the Monday photos didn't reflect all that fall (and blow in).

November 14, agave covers in place and the blue sky certainly shows off the neighbor's tree all a flame.

December 6th, grey day and more plants going dormant.

January 1st, such a beautiful New Year's Day.

January 17th, honestly... I am so glad this is the last time I'll be reliving this winter nightmare via photos.

January 22nd, still a little ice in places.

February 5th, there's a pile of wood on the patio, but I don't think this photo makes it immediately obvious where it came from unless you page up and compare. Do you see it? 

February 19th, the light in this photo illuminates the scene of the tree crime. Yes, we hacked back the Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'. Why? Well part of it (but only the south half) had a bad case of Albizia psyllid (at least that's my ID, I'm certainly no expert). Mid summer sticky honeydew and cotton-like silk strands fell on everything below. It only seemed to affect part of the tree, so we'll see if this drastic cut back solves it, if not then the whole thing will come out. 

March 11th, if you're wondering about the odd branch that it looks like we left behind when we cut the Albizia julibrissin, that's actually my very tall, and very narrow, Embothrium coccineum, the Chilean firebush. You'll see it in bloom in a later photo.

March 18th, the covers are off the in-ground agaves. All of the Agave bracteosa and Agave 'Mateo' along the patio wall lived through winter's destruction.

March 25th, I'll call your attention to the sad looking palm about middle of the photo. both of my Trachycarpus wagnerianus were hit hard by the wind and ice, many fronds were broken at the base. It could have been worse, I've got a few Portland friends who lost their palms, and my Trachycarpus fortunei (shown in Monday's post, the tall one against the orange wall) didn't suffer at all. This was how it looked after I cut off the broken and bent fronds that kept hitting us in the face when we walked by.

April 15th, the Podophyllum pleianthum planted at the base of the magnolia (tree on the right) are up.

April 29th, the containers are free! Well, some of them.

May 20th, Clifford (the big leaf magnolia) has almost achieved maximum leafage and red blooms are starting to show on the Embothrium coccineum at the back of the house.

June 4th—this my friends is the end! I hope you enjoyed this very quick walk around the garden as we raced through the weeks. Summer is ahead! (no, that's not the next series)

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


  1. I've really enjoyed this walk through the seasons, even with the horrible freeze pictures. Sorry you had to relive it. You can really feel all the differences. Can't help but loving the June groove the most. Although your pavillion is pretty fantastic year round.

    1. June, July, August, early September. Those are all the best "grooves" and make all the work worth it.

  2. It's an interesting study, Loree. I've mentioned that I dislike late summer here but, off-hand, I couldn't say what it is about that time of year that makes me feel that way, beyond the temperatures which can relegate us to the indoors with all the shades drawn. Part of it, may be the apprehension of what the heat and excessively dry conditions are doing to my plants but maybe I'll do a mini-study of my own.

    1. I know late summer gets a bad rap from many. The heat, the dry conditions, the possibility of fire. Up here it feels like many are just holding their breath, waiting for the rain to start.

  3. AnonymousJune 14, 2024

    I've enjoyed this, very interesting. You've probably said, but how big is your pavilion?
    Next you need do one picture from each year you've been there, or from every x years....

    1. I'm guessing the footprint is about 12 x 8... (we've been here since 2005, too bad I didn't start taking annual photos back then, but there is this post with photos from home inspection day:

  4. AnonymousJune 14, 2024

    Love how your summer shade pavilion becomes a greenhouse in the winter. It’s so fascinating to see the changes in OR weather throughout the year. Summer is so amazing it almost makes up for the long,cold winters!!

  5. Loree, what a brilliant and well executed project!
    I, too, am fascinated by your multipurpose shade pavilion.
    One day, I hope to visit your wonderfilled garden.
    Cheers, Dana

    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos and please do let me know when you're down this way (in the summertime).

  6. AnonymousJune 15, 2024

    With the help of this weeks' series I finally have a good sense of your back garden's layout, and thanks to the bonus 'view', it's a good one. Speaking of which, where did Phlebodium aureum end up? It's not on the bench in the final photos. Also, Podophyllum spotty dotty (?) in the blue pot: does it get any winter protection? I should considered Podophyllum in a pot...

    1. The Phlebodium aureum is currently under the shade pavilion. If you click on the June 4th photo of that view (to make it larger) you can see some of its fronds next to the chair on the right. The Podophyllum is indeed spotty dotty and the pot is used as a table (with a cement piece on top of it) as a base for the heater in the shade pavilion. So the pot doesn't experience a hard freeze in the winter. (the heater is only used when we're in the mid-twenties or lower)

  7. Yes, October was dry. I don't know what it was, but this set of photos made me feel the winter cold the most. December 11th onwards looks too cold and bleh to want to be outdoors. I have a premonition that the Albizia is getting replaced...

    1. Ah, so you think the bugs will be back? Damn.

    2. Or maybe you might not like the way it regrows. They do get pretty darn big. There is an Albizia in Corvallis that gets this treatment every 5 years or so. It grows back so fast! Amazingly resilient trees.

  8. How fun to see these areas through the seasons. What a great idea! Every season looks comfy to me, but as you know winter is long and severe here. Still, there are many places that have worse and longer winters than we do. Thanks for sharing the various views. :)

    1. I come from a place (Spokane, WA) that has actual winters too, I have no desire to experience that again.

  9. I know I sound like a broken record, but this series has been so interesting--and an inspiration to do something similar in it own garden!

    For a photographic reference, see
    Mark Klett's rephotography project:

    1. Thanks for the link. I wish I had been methodical in my location and aim of the camera. Instead I went for the general spot and hoped to get it kinda right.


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