Saying hello to Jim!

Although navigating most of the front edge of our yard often warrants the use of a machete, the northwest corner of it has been conspicuously empty. It used to house some lower growing shade lovers, but never really looked good, so it had bothered me for a while. The fact that I needed something taller became painfully apparent one day when a table I had sitting under the Great Magnolia disappeared, because someone happened to see it from the street. It was a cool table too – a knock-off of an Eames Tulip table – so I was bummed. Not entirely easy to move either, as it was heavy. That someone must have really, really wanted it…

Some weeks ago, after the Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour, a few of us stopped at Xera – a lovely purveyor of plants here in town. They focus on drought tolerant plants, and have a long shade border planted up along one edge. In it, I spotted the perfect plant to fill my empty corner – an Osmanthus ‘Jim Porter’. Greg – one of Xera’s owners – told me they had one left in their greenhouses, and kindly offered to bring the very last one in for me. I was so excited – what luck! This was perfect!

Look at those lethally beautiful leaves. No wonder I fell hard...

Look at those lethally beautiful leaves. No wonder I fell hard…

As timing would have it, my friend and fellow blogger Matthew walked in right after this. I showed him the plant I was going to get, and then my luck suddenly quadrupled. “Oh yeah, that’s a nice one! You can have mine, if you like”, he said. “It’s gotten really big, and I don’t have a better spot for it.” Seriously – what??? Wow…

So, this past weekend, after dropping the kiddos off at tennis practice, I headed over to Matthew’s, shovel in hand. It really was big – it took the two of us to get it out. It was so tall, it stretched from one end of the bed of my little pickup truck, to the other.

Here it is, all loaded up in my little truck.

Here it is, all loaded up in my little truck.

Anyway, to stray for a moment – there is something very magical about Matthew’s garden at 9 am. This was my second visit. The first time I saw it was a sunny afternoon. It looked fabulous that time too – except I can’t prove it to you, as I didn’t bring a camera then. This time, I was sure to snap some pictures…

Matthew's garden looking gorgeous in the morning light!

Matthew’s garden looking gorgeous in the morning light!

The foliage of a Caesalpinia shimmering in the slanted rays.

The foliage of a Caesalpina shimmering in the slanted rays.

The Shed-teau is new. Last time I saw it, this part of the garden was occupied by a large vegetable garden.

The Shed-teau is new. Last time I saw it, this part of the garden was occupied by large vegetable beds.

A different view, showing more of the forecourt of the Shed-teau.

A different view, showing more of the forecourt of the Shed-teau.

Yvvie - the resident adora-pup!

Yvvie – the resident adora-pup!

Matthew devotes a large part of his garden to peonies and water lilies. The water lilies give him a lot more grief than the peonies do.

Matthew devotes a large part of his garden to peonies and water lilies. The water lilies give him a lot more grief than the peonies do.

Well, the lilies themselves don't give him grief, but the pesky resident raccoons have been keeping the poor man up at night. Reading this will get you an idea of struggles at hand.

Well, the lilies themselves don’t give him grief, but the pesky resident raccoons have been keeping the poor man up at night. Reading this will get you an idea of struggles at hand. Feeling tremendously empathetic, I can’t help admiring the handiwork that went into coon-proofing the fish- and lily ponds. Those silver balls are bells that jingle when the cage is tampered with.

As it always does, time flew, and my stay in this wonderful garden had to come to an end, as it was time to head back to the tennis courts. Once home, I put Jim in his new home as soon as I could. Poor thing, he must be wondering what he did to deserve being cast out of the serenity of Eden and into my cluttered mess of a yard. Sorry Jim, I will try to make you happy.

Here he is - Jim, King of the Corner. Tall and proud, with license to hurt the next jackass who wants to steal garden furniture.

Here he is – Jim, King of the Corner. Tall and proud, with license to hurt the next jackass who wants to steal garden furniture. The last gap of my front edge has finally been plugged. Come on, Jim – you can spread your thorny goodness out all you want!

P.S. See all that space in the parking strip? Well, that’s a story for another day… 🙂

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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15 Responses to Saying hello to Jim!

  1. Loree says:

    I love Jim! And that Matthew, what a nice guy…plant people are the best. Furniture stealers? Well they’ve got a big load of payback coming someday and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

  2. mattb325 says:

    Wow, what I nice guy! I’ve been following his blog for ages, and yes…he has done wonders with his garden. That osmanthus is magnificent – and all the better for now having a story attached 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes, his generosity mad a huge difference in my garden. Every time I visit his garden, I realize how much work there still is do be done in mine.. There is nothing like stark contrast to drive a point home!

  3. That yard doesn’t look like a cluttered mess

    • annamadeit says:

      Haha, Derrick – you are looking at a part I just cleaned up, so thank you! The front is all about appearances – beyond that – who knows? I’m working on a small piece at a time, and will report on my progress. 🙂

  4. Pauline says:

    I too have a prickly Osmanthus, it is the devil to weed round!! Hopefully yours will keep unwanted visitors out!

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh I sure hope so, Pauline! For now, I just hope it survives its recent uprooted-ness. As for weeds, with all that dry shade, weeds have never been much of a problem in that spot. Fingers crossed for Jim!

  5. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    Nothing better than adding a specimen-sized plant to the garden — no waiting for results!

    I’m dismayed about the table theft though. I thought everybody in Portland was pretty cool but apparently jerks are everywhere. 😦

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes – hooray for instant improvement! But yeah – assholes exist even here, sad to say. Oh well, whomever tries next will get hurt – at least if they try to get past Jim!

  6. Alison says:

    I’ve been planting lots of prickly plants lately too, trying to stop the rampaging raccoons in my own garden. That’s some cool foliage on your new fella. I’m so sorry those asshats stole your table. I hope it wrecked their backs.

  7. Kris P says:

    I hope the Osmanthus does the trick for you. It’s unbelievable that people have the unmitigated gall to pilfer something right from the front of someone’s house. I guess we’re lucky to have an active neighborhood watch program – otherwise, I suspect the bench my husband just installed around our Magnolia tree might suffer the same fate.

    Yvvie is a cutie and I wholeheartedly sympathize with Matthew’s struggle with the raccoon population.

    • annamadeit says:

      I hope it does too, Kris. And yes, I hate when people just help themselves to whatever is out there. I’m super paranoid about my tools walking away, and the other day, I yelled at a woman who was picking off my flowers. If she had only asked, I probably would have said yes. Stupid people… Other animals are so much easier to understand – even if they drive you nuts, like raccoons. 😦

  8. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Jim is wonderful there. So sorry about your table – that really sucks. Matthew’s garden looks magical in your pictures and how nice of him to give you this cool new osmanthus!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks – and yes, I’m still bummed about it too. Matthews’s garden IS magical! He is filling the hole with a Crape myrtle, which I’m sure will enhance it even more… Just lovely!

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