Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In between rains

A deluge ended last week and another one is expected to begin late tonight but the weather this past week has been fantastic. I think everyone is hoping that the nasty snow and ice business is behind us. The mornings always start out cold here - a wet cold - uncomfortable enough that I put on a thermal undershirt. Around noon, however, I am shedding that as temperatures have been approaching the upper 50s. It has been beautifully sunny too. 

I have been out in the garden - planting, pruning and building. Although there has been lots of rain, our soil drains so well that it never feels wet or soggy. 

A few weeks ago, I finished this project - an arbor to cover our garbage and recycling bins. Of course, I have an ulterior motive for it - climbing plants! I have planted clematis 'Bill McKenzie' to grow over it and will maybe mix in another clematis or a rose. I still may add doors to this if I can figure out a way to do it.



I also planted Canadian hemlock 'Emerald Fountain' (Tsuga canadensis 'Monler') on one side.


I finally got a row of Arborvitae 'Smaragd' planted on the west side of the house. This is a strip that is only about 6 feet wide. We wanted something to provide some shade in the summer and help cool the house. Do you see the strange limb hanging from the mature arbovitae in the background? That is from the snow storm a few weeks ago.


Less gardening space means finding plants that stay narrow. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Green Arrow' is a recent find.

 

It seems that everything I planted last year needs to be moved. I am constantly questioning where plants should go. It never ends. It is also rose pruning time.


Now it is on to one of my bigger projects - landscaping the hillside in back of the house.  Right now it doesn't look like much but the final vision in my head features terraced beds, steps and maybe even a rock wall at the top. I am desperate for some division and garden rooms. Right now, everything just runs together.


I started digging steps today. This is scary but exciting work. I do not have a knack for this type of thing and I am not precise enough to do it the way a professional would. Just trying to figure out what type of rock to use drives me nuts. I told Michael that maybe I should just hire a professional designer to help me with this and he said I was crazy. So, now I am ready to work and the rains begin again. Fun!



Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Garden Share Sunday: The Oregon Garden

The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR 
The Oregon Garden in Silverton is a great garden to visit in the middle of winter because of the fantastic conifer collection. I visited in January of 2015 and have never been any other time of year but maybe I will remedy that this year. 

If you would like to share, post a link in the comments section.


The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR

The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR

The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR

The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR


The Oregon Garden, Silverton, OR


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday Vignette

Euonymous japonicus Albomarginatus

Despite all the snow and ice we have had this winter, the season here in southwestern Washington is essentially a green one. Shining like a beckon on a rare sunny day yesterday was Euonymous japonica 'Albomarginatus' (I am thankful that the previous house owner left the plant tag attached). It is also sometimes called "Japanese Spindle".

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Garden Share Sunday: Dumbarton Oaks

dumbarton45a

The world has become such an ugly place this past year. I no longer watch TV news and it is about all I can do to keep up with social media as it is just one impending doom post after another. I know I should be keeping up with important issues but my mental health says otherwise. To escape from this drudgery, I usually find refuge in the garden, physically and mentally. When I can't get out into my own garden or visit others, photographs and books do the trick.

Another reason is that I just heard we could get 8 inches of snow tonight! Enough already!

While organizing some photos this past week, I realized that I have visited a lot of gardens in this country! Why not kick off the week (or if you prefer, the end of the week) with a soothing image of a spectacular garden? 

I begin with Dumbarton Oaks, probably my favorite garden. I have only had the chance to visit it once and that was ten years ago. It is hard to select just one image but I am very fond of The Terrace Garden. This garden was designed by Beatrix Farrand. For more photos, see my earlier blog post or my Flickr album.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, February 3, 2017

A thin layer of ice

More ice overnight - nothing major, just a thin veneer over everything this morning...


Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)



Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)  


Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)

Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)

Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)

Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)

Thin ice (2/3/17) (Vancouver, WA)


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy