Saturday, November 20, 2010

My new best friend

I haven't been this excited about a landscaping book in a L-O-N-G time. I am going to be spending a lot of time with this book; it is, after all, Winter in the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I love being able to say Rocktober. I think it makes October my favorite month. That and that I married the nicest guy in Portland in the month of October. It's a good one. All fall-y with bright yellow and orange trees and crazy light from a low setting sun.

The Ace Hotel is highlighting small businesses in Portland, and the boys and I got to go play in the photobooth one morning after drinking too much coffee at neighboring Stumptown. Here is the product:

Thanks Ace! I do love thee, especially the Palm Springs Ace. I hope to see you again in March.

Happy Fall, happy planting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

San Francisco and Napa Valley

Golden Gate
My husband and I made a split decision to load up the wagon and drive down to San Francisco to visit some friends last week. We had no real agenda except to eat good food, relax with friends and stop in Napa to visit a bicycle manufacturer friend, Curtis Inglis of Retrotec. I really didn't think about making garden tours part of the visit, but I ended up at three really cool places and the trip gave me some much needed design inspiration.

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. The hills and views and neighborhoods could make anyone fall in love. I think it is my favorite climate for plant life (50 degree summers, I can do without though...). Palms and agaves mingle with eucalyptids and native ceanothus and wax myrtle. And Redwoods! Oh majesty!

Just like my last visit and all future visits, we stopped into Flora Grubb - my major nursery crush. This place wows everyone, even my 6 shopping companions who are not plant geeks. I love the Wooly Pockets vertical garden.
Green wall at Flora Grubb

While considering options for the day over delicious Blue Bottle Coffee, our friend suggested the California Academy of Sciences. I had forgotten that this gem had just opened and the science nerd/ex-museum employee had to take a visit. It was really a fun museum. They had all the crowd pleasers - butterflies, dino bones and an aquarium, but my favorite part was the roof. The architecture of the building was spot on and the green roof was a perfect reason to get visitors to check out the sweeping lines of the building. The museum is touted as "the greenest museum in the world" so the green roof was a shoe in I suppose. But what if this roof didn't have a reason to be viewed? Like so many city buildings now - it would have been wasted space. I hope other visitors appreciate it as much as I did.
Cal. Academy of Sciences Green Roof

After saying good bye to friends and fog, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa Valley and much needed sunshine. I had remembered reading about public gardens in Sonoma called Cornerstone, and I did a quick internet search to find the place. We stopped in to the free gardens and spent a nice afternoon strolling around. The gardens were designed and installed by architects, students, designers, artists and horticulturists from around the world. These are a few of my favorites.

Cornerstone Gardens
Cornerstone Gardens
Cornerstone Gardens
Cornerstone Gardens

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vertical Garden

About a month ago I was approached by Joe Hess of Osmose Design to design and install a vertical garden on the balcony of a penthouse in the 937 Condos in the Pearl District. His firm had designed the interior of the condo and they included a nine foot tall, four-sided column on the balcony. He needed a plantsman (plantswoman?) to select the plants for it, and through a mutual colleague, we were introduced. The selection criteria were the following: 1.) The plants had to grow no taller than 24". (the balcony is pretty tight, so there had to be plenty of room to move around). 2.) The homeowners wanted to be able to utilize some of the plants for cooking and eating. 3.) The plants had to sustain high winds and each side of the column needed plants with specific light requirements. Asthetically, we decided that it should be wild and whimsical. (If you are not familiar with the genius of Osmose Design, check out their work immediately - mindblowing! They are pushing the envelope of interior design like nothing else I have seen.) About a month after the installation, I went back to check on it, and it really is a sight to see. The photos were not doing it justice, so I made a little video of it here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crafty Containers

I have never grown tomatoes in containers - usually I just plant them throughout the ornamental beds, filling in bare spots. I don't have a ton of room for edibles, and just a little raised bed in the front yard that would be overwhelmed with plants as large as tomatoes. This year I decided to experiment with growing tomatoes (and a yellow squash) in containers.
One day while working, my assistant, Ben and I were scheming about types of materials to make containers from and we really wanted to use old steel pipes but the pricing was out of my personal budget. (I'd love to do it in a client's yard, though.) Ben used to work at Stumptown Coffee before I stole him back and he was talking about all of the burlap bags that they cycle through and we thought it would be cool to use the bags as containers. So, I got my very sought after 'Black Krim' and 'Sun Gold' tomato starts, added organic potting soil, fish meal and steer manure to the bags, and planted the starts. There are now 2 containers in a sunny spot against the garage between the 'Karl Forester' reed grass. Kind of charming, no?

Speaking of containers, my Agave attenuata is out of the greenhouse and back in the garden. I like being able to add a colorful container anywhere, and it makes it possible to have non-hardy plants in the garden. I love this plant!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eye Candy

Okay so this isn't an interior design blog, and I am an outspoken critic of the tendency of bloggers to write about other people's blogs, but please let me indulge both of these urges now and publicly freak out over this home:

At heart, I am a country girl - I grew up in rural Florida, and explored my neighborhood by foot and horseback. I lived in agricultural country, across the street from tomato fields and avocado groves. And most of our trees produced some sort of delicious tropical fruit like mangoes, tangerines, loquats (my absolute favorite) and starfruit. If I could live on a farm in Santa Barbara with my adorable family I would be as happy as a lark.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


What's better than planting a tree?...Getting paid to plant a tree!

The city of Portland is giving a $40 rebate if you plant a 6' or taller tree by May 1st. $50 if it's a native tree. If you want to plant a tree on your property, Superwonderful can help you select and plant the right one.

More info HERE on the treebate

I love garden trees. To me, they are the most important part of the landscape, anchoring all of the shrubs and perennials. They actually even resemble an anchor come to think of it. I have dreams of sitting beneath shady trees in the summertime. Remember the cherry tree we lost last April? Well, a new 'Rubra' dogwood is going in it's place. And, you better believe I'm gonna get my treebate.

(photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden)

PS - I just realized the blossoms of the dogwood are the exact same color as the Superwonderful logo! I guess I picked the right tree!