Wednesday Vignette – my first Tell the Truth Tuesday

It’s a good thing I have kind and patient neighbors. Our west side yard, facing their house, has undergone many changes and experiments, and it’s time for yet another revision. Each time, there seems to be an ever so slight boundary creep, as evidence of my excess and addiction inch closer to their garage wall. (It passed the midpoint stipulated by our deeds, a while ago.) So, here is my long overdue first contribution to Alison of Bonney Lassie’s fabulous and occasional meme – Tell the Truth Tuesday.

As anybody who has set foot in my garden knows, this is one of the only three – or maybe four – spots that ever gets any direct sun, for any length of time. (At least compared to the rest of it.) So, this is where my most prized sun lovers get to live, shoehorned in next to each other. I often put sun-loving plants with others of similar inclination in pots, so I can move them out in more light if they look unhappy. I do the same with plants that are borderline hardy, so they can be dragged indoors if need be. Anyway, after a year or two, these containers usually look rather crappy, and its time to take them apart, and save what is salvageable. Because we live in the eye of the eastern Columbia Gorge winds, the west side of the house is also the lee side, where all kinds of zone related surprises happen. So, this is where most manifestations of my denial ends up.


This past weekend, I disassembled several of these ugly old planters (hooray!!), and attempted squeezing most of the surviving contents in among their peers on the sunny side. These kinds of exercises almost always result in other things being moved, and so, a garden game of musical chairs ensues. This photo was taken in the midst of this transitory chaos. (Cat included for scale.) I’m still not finished (obviously).

One of the new things I just added is that fabulous Acacia dealbata. I’m a little worried about that one. It survived this past winter in a large pot, and is supposedly hardy to zone 9. I killed one once before. It was planted on the north side of the house – which was at the mercy of the whipping east winds. It succumbed rather quickly during its first cold winter. My worry here is that this one will quickly get way too big for its spot, in its new, cushy location. You can’t see it here, but the reason for my worry is just outside of the picture frame on the left – a 10′ Eucalyptus that was bought as an “annual” in a 4″ pot, years ago. Yes, yes, I know planting this is wrong, and goes against all best practices. Yet, I still went ahead and did it – those blue ferny leaves are just too fab to not have… I’ll do what I do with the Euca – cut it back every year, to keep it small. (I secretly nurse a hope that it will die before it eats the side yard. It is W-A-Y too close to the house…) For now, that wheelbarrow filled with horticultural hopefuls will remain part of the landscape – until I’ve worked my way around the house. More truth-telling marvels to come…

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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23 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – my first Tell the Truth Tuesday

  1. Your efforts are even more impressive now I understand your lack of sun

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Derrick! One of the interesting things I have learned, is how adaptable most plants are. Like humans, they thrive when treated right and in the optimal spot, but there are a lot of levels between thriving and merely surviving. I may not get the same glorious show as I would have gotten in more favorable conditions, but many of my beauties do surprisingly well. It’s a constant experimentation, though. Sometimes, there is a marvelous surprise in there!

  2. Tina says:

    I’ve fantasized about moving to Portland; maybe a bit more of a fantasy as I’ve visited with a real estate agent or two and both mentioned those winds when I said I was a serious gardener. Winds and shade, that’s a combo! I look forward to more tales from the gardening musical chairs adventure! My contribution and thanks for hosting:

  3. annamadeit says:

    Microclimates are so interesting, aren’t they? It took me a while to figure out mine, but taken together they have served me well, now that I know how to use them to my advantage. As for the shade – it’s what saves this heat averse Swede in our hot summers. For as much as I sometimes lament the lack of light, I know I would regret removing some of my sunshields. Temperatures drop several degrees when you enter my garden on a hot afternoon, and I love that! Plus, the birds love the protection of the dense canopy, and I love them and their shenanigans. If anything, I will lighten that canopy a little, but not too much.

    So you actually got to the point of meeting with real estate people? Wow – that is serious! I remember you said your son used to live here. You not still thinking about it, are you?

    • Tina says:

      Kinda? Sorta? Maybe? -ish? Truthfully, if we moved from Austin, I don’t want a huge city and while I like Portland very much–beautiful city–I like the size of Eugene. Corvallis is also lovely, maybe too small. We’ll see. I’m hankering for change, and though I’m a native Texan, probably wouldn’t live anywhere else in Texas but Austin. I don’t seem much point in moving to a different neighborhood in Austin, so elsewhere is appealing.

      • annamadeit says:

        You know, I would not move here again. Portland has gotten way too big for me. I like smaller cities, too. The traffic here over the last few years has gotten completely nuts. Plus the summers have gotten too hot for me. I’m ready to move again. Not sure to where, but back to Sweden sure would be nice.

  4. I move things about often. June has worn me out this year. Great post.
    P.S.. I went to church dressed as RBG. Ha!

  5. Alison says:

    Welcome to truth-telling! It’s so interesting to see your sunny spot. I have plenty of western and southern sun in my garden, so I’ve never had to move stuff around seeking out the sun, but I sure know the craziness of planting something you think won’t survive and then being surprised when it not only does, but gets way too big for its britches. I enjoyed seeing your kitty too.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Alison! Yeah, I learned a long time ago to multiply whatever the tag says with at least 1.5 here in this climate. And I STILL get surprised!

  6. Kris P says:

    Growing a Eucalyptus as an “annual” made me laugh. I hope your Acacia makes it. No matter how big they are or how many of those magic garden spots you have, it seems all too easy to fill them up. I always tell myself that I’ll make adjustments if one of the many plants I cram into a spot really takes off (caught between hope and fear that it will) and then, when it does, I’m torn about what to do. Unless a plant is clearly on its last legs, I’m always loathe to pull it out. Right now, I have a royal battle mounting on my back slope between a very nice Ceanothus arboreus and a monster Romneya coulteri.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, it’s easy, alright… Yet I keep moving things around. Best of luck with the ongoing royal battle… to my knowledge neither Romneya or Ceanothus take well to moving once established… 😦

  7. Pingback: Wednesday Vignette: An Objective Description of the World – A Moveable Garden

  8. I don’t do a lot of zone denial but I do like to pretend that my part sun is really full sun. In any case, best practices were made to be ignored.

  9. tonytomeo says:

    Acacia dealbata?! That is one of the most invasive of the exotic weeds here! It is wicked!

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