Wednesday Vignette – fall flavors

Two independent photos for you today – both signs of our pending descent into Autumn. There is something about fall color – somewhat muted, and absolutely sublime. These two jumped out at me today

Hypoxia hemerocallida seed heads

Hypoxia hemerocallidea seed heads against the case of my lap top. I found the golden, somewhat hairy stalks fading into the dark, funnel shaped seed heads, beautiful. This is a really interesting plant, with powerful, medicinal properties. Among other things, it is used to boost the immune system in HIV patients. Read more about it here.

Normally a beautiful, cool bluish green, Little bluestem grass blows me away when the weather cools, and its colors turn. The exquisite coloring of this grass brings me joy on a daily basis, this time of year. Wish I had room for drifts of it...

Normally a beautiful, cool bluish green, Little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium)  blows me away when the weather cools, and its colors turn. The exquisite fall coloring of this grass brings me joy on a daily basis, this time of year. Wish I had room for large, voluptuous drifts of it…

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Wednesday Vignette – seeing

A little over a month ago, we spent a week at the Oregon coast. Somehow life was quite different on the other side of that vacation, compared to what it is now. The most recent month has been full of new and sometimes strange, situations. Matted together, like felted wool, they have somehow made a mere 30 days or so, feel like an eternity. The sounds of the mighty Pacific, the warm sand between my toes, the sunshine, and the joyful peace seem like eons ago. And, I realized that I barely shared as much as a snippet of this fantastic week with you. My apologies – this will be a compensatory, extra long WV, to make up for that. Looking back at the photos, they do indeed contain some truths and illustrate beautifully the dichotomous fluctuations of life. As shown by the waves, continuously coursing toward the shore, there will be highs as well as lows – and even occasional flatlines.


Like, for example, that there are always at least two sides to everything – at least.


Stepping away allows you to see that…


…and to contemplate the various shadows and reflections.


Any unexpected deviation from the straight and narrow…


…forces choices. Choices are hard, and endless distracting opportunities and goals are revealed.

After ike the beautiful Indian princess Ewauna

After life throws you a curve ball, like Seatka did to the beautiful Indian princess Ewauna, it is perfectly acceptable to stare into the ether for a while, while you contemplate your options.

Be sure to explore every avenue of possibility.

Be sure to explore every avenue of possibility.


Charge forward – blaze new trails!


Leave no crab shell unturned.

One just never knows from where the next glimmer of possibility might come.

One just never knows from where the next bright idea might come.

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Foliage Follow-Up – September 2016

A couple of days late, but figured I wanted to join in with Pam at Digging’s monthly meme anyway, celebrating the best and boldest of any garden – the foliage! Head over there for a treat you don’t often see, and also offerings from other foliage fans the world over.

Carex 'Sparkler'

First out is a newcomer – Carex ‘Sparkler’. I killed one once before, when I dug it up, and then forgot about it for a little too long, as it withered away, above ground. I will be nicer this time.

Miscanthus 'Cabaret'

Another variegated beauty – Miscanthus ‘Cabaret’. I know for sure that one day I will regret squeezing it into the corner like this – they get big. The leafy goodness at the bottom of the photo is a kind of Arisaema. Wish I could remember the species, but alas not. Just take my word for it – it is gorgeous!

Sauromatum venosum

One of my favorite bold garden residents – Sauromatum venosum.

Canna Cleopatra

I put a picture of the flower of this marvel in this month’s Bloom Day post. I think you’ll agree that the flower has NOTHING on the foliage of Canna Cleopatra – it is so amazing.

Canna 'Stuttgart'

Another Canna lily with fabulous variegation. This one is called ‘Stuttgart’, and is also more shade tolerant than many of the others. Yet another reason it appeals to me.

Papyrus 'King Tut'

An annual in these parts, but who can resist? Papyrus ‘King Tut’ is a showstopper. I guess this isn’t really foliage, but heck – it’s green, so it made the cut.

Crazy foliage mix

Not the best photo, but here is a crazy mix of foliage seen from where you enter into my little “tropical corner” behind the garage. Crammed in, from the lower left corner; Datisca cannabina, Papyrus ‘King Tut’, Phyllostachys atrovaginata (Incense bamboo), Trachycarpus fortunei, Metapanax davidii, Podophyllum pleianthum, and Hebe vernicosa. I guess there is a Clematis in transition, sitting in a pot with a small start of chartreuse Baby Tears tagging along for the ride, in this photo too. It is safe to say, that just about any shot of my garden will have pots with plants, patiently waiting for a home, in it. My cramscaping tendencies know no bounds…

I'll end with a NIOD Yucca that is the pride and joy of my hellstrip. Wish I knew its name - pretty sure it came from a box store. It's a really nice one!

I’ll end with a NIOD Yucca that is the pride and joy of my hellstrip. Wish I knew its name – pretty sure it came from a box store. It’s a really nice one, especially when the light hits it just so.

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Bloom Day – September 2016

Every month, on the 15th, Carol over at May Dreams Gardens hosts an international flower fest. This month, Bloom Day caught me unawares, but I managed to go out there and snap some pictures. There isn’t a whole lot that you haven’t seen before, but here goes:

Plumbago flowers

Bluer than blue – the Plumbago ground cover shows its pretty blue flowers.

Miscanthus zebrinus

Miscanthus zebrinus is blooming…

Hakonechloa in bloom

… as is the Hakonechloa.

Euphorbia millii

Euphorbia millii – Crown of Thorns – has such a pretty red color.

Sambucus nigra 'Black lace' berries

Not exactly flowers, but still… The berries of Sambucus nigra ‘Black lace’ are highly decorative this time of year.

Liriope 'Royal Purple'

Love the dark stems of Liriope ‘Royal Purple’. The corky bark of a dwarf Elm in the background.


A lovely red Abutilon just blooms and blooms.

Canna 'Cleopatra'

Canna ‘Cleopatra’ keeps sending them up. I still like the foliage better than the flowers. Sunburnt, moisture-starved bamboo in the background. I think I’m going to take it out this winter – it is never happy, or watered enough.

Dark Sedum

A pretty dark Sedum I forget the name of. It is being usurped by a Himalayan blackberry that has its roots protected by a fence. I keep cutting it back, it keeps returning.


A rescue Mandevilla rewards me with a bloom or two. Funny – I thought it would be red. Instead, it turned out to be pink.


I’m slowly learning to not write off entire genus of plants, as I find that as soon as I do, I find one that I like. This is one of those cases – a Petunia I fell for this spring. Is it ‘Cafe au Lait’? ‘Cappuccino’? Don’t remember exactly, other than its name has something to do with coffee.

Hydrangea 'Little Lime' fall flower color.

The one and only Hydrangea left in my garden – ‘Little Lime’. The green flowers are now fading to pink.


I have NO idea what this is. I think it’s a weed, except I really like it! Ideas any one – should I take it out?

Clematis durandii

Clematis durandii. Such a pretty Clematis! It suffered for too long in a nursery pot, but is now rewarding me for its release.

Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'.

Can’t get over the fabulous colors of Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’. Just wow…


Can’t remember exactly which Zauschneria this is, but I love its silvery leaves.

Rosa 'Hot cocoa'

Rosa ‘Hot cocoa’ showing of its color transition.

Rosa 'Hot cocoa' bud

You can really see how close to black parts of it can get, when you look at its buds.

Fuchsia magellanica

A true flowering work horse – Fuchsia magellanica. When people ask you for something that blooms for a long, long, long time – this is a good answer.


This potted, dwarfed little Eryngium made me smile. Poor thing – next year, I WILL give it a home in the ground.


One of those pretty Heathers that I always fall for, this time of year.

Gary elliptica 'James Roof'

A promise of things to come – Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’. Come winter, I will know why this native shrub is commonly called Silver tassel bush.🙂


Another Zauschneria. This one is a lot taller and has thready leaves.

Bronze Fennel seed heads

These are so pretty, but I’d better cut them back before they go to seed – Bronze Fennel.

Aster lateriflorus 'Prince'

My Calico Aster is covered in tiny blossoms.


More Asters to come – pretty, puffy, purple ones, that I thought were annuals, have come back for several years now.

Oreganum 'Kent's beauty'

Even the unplanted is producing flowers. Here is pretty Oreganum ‘Kent’s beauty’

Lobelia cardinalis

Lastly – returned from the near dead. A rescued Lobelia cardinalis has the most lovely bud. This one deserves another chance at life!

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Wednesday Vignette – being watched?

So… I had this idea. I found a bunch of glass globes, and figured I would add some wire, and hang them in the thicket of Viburnum branches that form a canopy above my outdoor seating area. I put tea lights in them, and quite frankly – from a distance they look quite nice. Great, white orbs, illuminating the space. What I didn’t account for though, is that sitting underneath them, you get a distinct feeling of being watched. Not in a creepy way – just watched. The shadow created by the candle itself becomes the pupil, and the flickering of the flame gives the illusion of a continuously, ever so slightly animated iris. Together, the two form staring, reactive eyeballs. Or, if you prefer an alternate interpretation – you are being surrounded by a number of animated, glowing boobs, complete with nipples and areolas.


I have about a dozen of them, suspended from the branches. Whatever way you read them, they do add to the night time experience of my garden, and despite their anthropomorphic qualities, I do like them. This evening was spent in their light, together with friends. It was quite lovely, and a nice ending to a very mediocre day. What do you think? Are they boobs, or are they eyeballs? They really could be both…

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Wednesday Vignette – blurred vision and jumbled priorities

Just got home from witnessing a school board meeting, where an enormous amount of energy and emotion was expelled over whether to push for a construction bond this November, or postpone it to next May. With over a billion dollars needed to make a dent in decades of deferred maintenance and skipped upgrades – either way, quite frankly, the money would come too late. In Portland’s case, the past few months have unearthed lead in the drinking water, lead in the paint, radon, mold, leaky roofs, seismic shortcomings – you name it.


In the national news, our fair city’s schools have been compared to Flint, MI – which is a fair assessment, I suppose – at least as far as the snowballing of the public goes. But, what baffles me is that this is such a big deal to so many. Old school buildings have issues – everyone knows that… right? What I feel is far more damaging is the sinister truth of what goes on on the inside of the ailing buildings – something that is continuously sanctioned by a lame administration and ditto school board. There are staggering differences in course offerings, enrichments, instructional time, electives, and opportunities – varying from school to school throughout the district. Now, THIS would be something worthy of a major, public hissy-fit. Yet, though we may protest, there is a kind of laissez-faire aura surrounding the powers that be. And, although great strides toward fairer deals and increased educational equity were made via the work of the DBRAC committee these past two years, all those advances currently seem to have taken a backseat to the more tangible facilities issues of lead, mold, and radon.


Do I not agree that a bond is needed? Well, of course I do – it is desperately needed. In fact, we probably need about five of them, portioned out in bitesized chunks, acceptable to a primarily childless voting public. But I find it baffling, and not so little disturbing, that deferred maintenance takes political precedence over the continued, sanctioned sacrifice  of generations of kids, and neglect of their educational opportunities. The logic behind that – to me – is a tough one to grasp. The blurred priorities as evidenced by our board, reminded me of some photos I took this past summer, in a hot, humid greenhouse, where both glasses and camera lens fogged up instantly. Try as I might, I could not see clearly. That day, it took stepping out of the situation, cooling off, and taking a new look with refreshed eyes, to see clearly again. I imagine this is what needs to happen here too. Diffusion, distortion and disparity is, quite honestly, the last thing our kiddos need. Wouldn’t you agree?


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Soften the Environmental Blow With a Green Roof!

As a follow-up to Chrys Stewart’s post I just re-blogged, I want to reblog another, related post I wrote back in 2011 on my other blog, The Creative Flux. (Wow – hard to believe I have been blogging that long – it’s been a fun ride!!!) Anyway, most of the info it covers is still both current and relevant, except that the City of Portland no longer offers incentives for installing a green roof. So don’t worry about following that link. Really people – we need more green roofs…

The Creative Flux

Ever since I attended an architectural product luncheon back in 1993, where a Swiss rep was showing his wares – various sizes of the plastic, egg crate-looking modules holding the planting medium used to create planted roofs – and lauding their inherent benefits, I have been wondering why green roofs did not instantly rise to their deserved superstar status in the building world. By no means a novel idea, it seems the acknowledged benefits of green roofs are finally entering a well deserved renaissance, even though it has yet to turn into the kind of sweeping rage that solar panels are enjoying. A visit to the Oregon Convention Center for the recent Green Roof Expo yielded an abundance of green roof approaches, and a plethora of options – products, plants and philosophies. Maybe we’re nearing the point when the world will see the light? Green roofs are too cool to…

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