Jim Rondone's garden

Earlier this month, I visited Jim Rondone's garden in Portland as part of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Open Gardens. Jim is the President of the organization and we work together on the board. I missed out seeing his garden last year and wanted to be sure and make it this year.

His house and garden sits at the top of a hill. Climbing up a flight of stairs brings you to the front garden, a small area bordered by a stone wall.

Carpenteria blooms rise above the stone wall that overlooks the street below. 

Following a pathway along the side of the house takes you to the back garden where you arrive at a stone terrace that is shaded by a Golden Catalpa tree (in the first photo). This patio area sits on a fairly steep hill which is landscaped with naturalistic plantings (shrubs, grasses, perennials, bulbs and annuals). As you descend from the patio, gravel pathways meander through the garden.

Gillenia trifoliata or Porteranthus trifoliata (aka Indian Physic or Bowman's Root) is a beautiful perennial that is native to the Eastern and Southern U.S. (although I never heard of it until moving here). I bought one last year at the nursery where I work but it only has a few tiny blooms and apparently needs full sun to bloom like this. I will be transplanting it this fall. It was absolutely beautiful in Jim's garden.

Looking down the slope toward the vegetable garden. 

A view of the vegetable garden. 

Foxtail Lilies and California Lilac (Ceanothus) border the back of the garden with views of the neighborhood in the distance.

Standing in the vegetable garden looking back up at the house and garden. 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow. He sure knows how to garden!

  2. I love this blousy look. So much in bloom really makes it.

  3. You had me at Foxtail Lilies!
    I LOVE them but can't seem to grow one to save my life!


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