Thursday, June 27, 2013

Portland International Rose Test Garden


I was excited about seeing the Portland International Rose Test Garden and it did not disappoint. The roses were absolutely stunning! I've never seen blooms the size they were - I'm not sure what they feed them with but it certainly works. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed. I stopped by again when I revisited the Japanese Garden (they are located right next to each other).

Portland International Rose Trial Garden

One thing that did surprise me was that I didn't see many old roses being grown in Portland. I guess I was just not looking in the right place. In this garden, I did expect to see mostly hybrid teas.  They were amazing and I wonder how they grow so well since the climate is damp and rainy most of the year - surely powdery mildew is a problem?


The rose garden is perfectly positioned on a bluff overlooking the city. A series of terraces are laid out on the hillside. I love terraces.


 There were a few archways in the garden. The one above is covered with the rose "Dortmund", a rose that I used to grow.



There were also a few pillars. This one is covered with the climbing rose "Eden".


Most of the roses were displayed in generic rose beds but there was one section where they were inter-planted with ferns.




Interesting, right? You would never see this combination in Alabama. If you did try this, the ferns would be burnt toast in no time.







I have some individual rose shots of some interesting varieties that I will share in an upcoming post.




Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, June 21, 2013

June is for Hydrangeas

Hydrangea "Mlle. Emile Mouillere"
Madame Emile Mouillere

I'm interrupting my Portland vacation tour with photos from my own garden. The hydrangeas are just spectacular this year. I'm sure the regular rainfall we've been getting has helped. I'm so happy we are having a "wet" year instead of a dry one. And I'm hoping by saying that I haven't jinxed it!

When I think of June, I think of hydrangeas. Well, first I think of heat and humidity but then I think of hydrangeas. :)


Hydrangea "Bluebird"
Bluebird (one of my favorite lacecaps)


Hydrangea "Tokyo Delight"
Toyko Delight
Hydrangea "Twist N Shout"
Twist n' Shout
Hydrangea "Fasan"
Fasan (The Pheasant)
Hydrangea "Fuji Waterfall"
Fuji Waterfall
Hydrangea "Woodlander"
Woodlander
Hydrangea "Lemon Wave"
Lemon Wave
Hydrangea "Charm"
Charm
Hydrangea "Invincebelle Spirit"
Invincibelle Spirit
Hydrangea "Sister Therese"
Sister Therese
Hydrangea "Twist N Shout"
Twist n' Shout

Glory

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A visit to Rhone Street Gardens

Rhone Street Gardens

I have followed Scott Weber's blog Rhone Street Gardens for many years and I was very excited to get to meet him and see the garden. I am always blown away by his amazing photography and collection of unique plants. Scott had presented a workshot at Joy Creek Nursery earlier in the day and I know he was exhausted. It was mighty nice of him and Norm to show us around late on a Saturday evening. Thank you Scott and Norm!

Rhone Street Gardens

The house sits on a corner lot in a popular neighborhood. The garden area is small with only a few feet between the house and the sidewalk but every inch is jam-packed with an array of colorful perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Scott even gardens in the roadside curb strip for maximum benefit! He has also used attractive tin containers in the driveway and path areas. I think he has one small strip of grass left but I'm betting that he has dug it up since I was there. (I'm wondering if he has considered a rooftop garden - I bet they do well in the Oregon climate!)

Rhone Street Gardens

There were so many interesting plants and many that were unfamiliar to me. He has a large assortment of alliums, persicaria, geranium, agastache, rodgersia, and the list goes on. Stunning textural combinations and artfully arranged scenes, it is truly a lovely garden.

And I got to see those popular kitty cats but didn't even think to take their photo - where was my brain? Oh well, Scott has some amazing cat photos on his blog too. I urge you to visit his blog.

Rhone Street Gardens

Let's go in for a closer look, shall we?
Rhone Street Gardens
Allium cristophii
Rhone Street Gardens
Clematis recta purpurea

Rhone Street Gardens
Silver Vein Virginia Creeper
(Parthenocissus henryana)

Rhone Street Gardens
Panicum 'Shenandoah' and Persicaria 'Golden Arrow'

Rhone Street Gardens
Allium nigrum with Origanum 'Aureum' in the background

Rhone Street Gardens
Lupine

Rhone Street Gardens
Astrantia maxima 'Roma'

Rhone Street Gardens
Rhus tyhpina 'Tiger Eyes' (Sumac)

Rhone Street Gardens
Agastache "Golden Jubilee" and Knautia macedonica

Rhone Street Gardens
Knautia

Rhone Street Gardens
Annementhale lessoniana

Rhone Street Gardens

Next up - The International Rose Trial Garden

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
This treasure box of a garden sits on one block in the midst of downtown Portland. Once you are inside, the outside bustle of the real world seems to melt away. I absolutely loved this garden and you will have to forgive this photo-heavy post. Every step and every turn revealed a postcard vista.

The name of the garden is interpreted as "Garden of Awakening Orchids". The name represents the relationship between Portland and Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China's Jiangsu province.

The garden was created in 2000 on a parking lot donated by Northwest Natural. Most of the materials used in the creation of the garden came from China, including 500 tons of rock. Sixty-five artisans from Suzhou lived in Portland for 10 months while they assembled the structures that were made in China. More than 300 plant species that are found in traditional Chinese gardens grow here. Lan Su is considered the most authentic garden outside of China.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
You enter the garden in the Courtyard of Tranquility, a courtyard that you would
find at the home of a wealthy family.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Terrace
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Painted Boat in Misty Rain - This pavillion represents the friendship that departed from Suzhou
and made its way to Portland.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Rock Mountain and Waterfall - mimics a rugged mountain range complete with streams and waterfalls.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Tea House - "Tower of Cosmic Reflections"
where you can enjoy tea and snacks with views of the garden.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Scholar's Courtyard is a quiet place for study and inspiration.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Moongate entrance to the Scholar's Courtyard.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Knowing the Fish Pavillion
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Windows and doors are found throughout the garden. They form views within views and create the illusion of infinite space.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)



Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Chinese gardens are designed to engage all the senses. The sense of feel is achieved with these exquisite pebble mosaics. I wanted to walk barefoot over these paths but resisted the temptation.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)





Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The sense of smell, provided here by Confederate Jasmine.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
As I made my way through the garden, I noticed that most of the plants were plants that I grow in my own garden. Persicaria "Red Dragon" (Fleece Flower) is a favorite.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Plants in the Chinese Garden are symbolic. The noble evergreen pine reminds one to presevere. The pine, along with plum and bamboo are collectively known as the "Three Friends of Winter."


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
A beautiful grouping of some of my favorite plants - Weeping Willow, hydrangea,
lorepetalum and Japanese Maple.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  
Next up - Scott Weber's garden!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy