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Platycodon grandiflorus

Platycodon grandiflorus

This is the mystery plant John’s step mom gave me. She is heavily accented and I could never understand what she was telling me about this plant. I thought it might be ginseng, as she was telling me something about it’s root.

Turns out, this is a native of Korea, as is John’s step mom, and a relative of Campanula. White is the most common color in Korea. And the root is used therapeutically for coughs and cold.

She planted them for me two years ago, but the first year the deer nibbled them away to, I thought, extinction.

Happily, I was wrong. I look forward to seeing this open up.

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Garden Gone Wild

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We had a visitor recently who came with out his wife and gushed how she will be sorry she missed my garden. He took a photo similar to this and I have to wonder. Will she be impressed, or just see the mess?

But all is not chaos, if you just take the plants individually.ImageImageImage

My neighbor gave me a bunch of gorgeous snapdragons. Of course they weren’t blooming yet when I got them, so they are place with no particular artistry connecting them to their surroundings.

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I have been trying, but can’t seem to capture the loveliness of this Dahlia. I took some pix in the evening and morning, but this is the best one out of a dozen.

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I tried to capture the amazing glow this yellow Dahlia has. Check it out.

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I’ve had this creeping winter berry for years, but I had put it in an out of the way spot, some what idiotically thinking it had the best exposure for it. It may get more sun here, but it doesn’t seem to mind. The thing about this plant is supposed to be it’s red berries in the winter, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the smaller, simpler blooms.

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My neighbor was very vague about what what this plant was when she gave it to me. I thought it might be some sort of romaine as it was growing, but after chewing on the bitter leaf, I wondered what it could be.

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Turns out it’s a blessed Double Poppy!

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I wonder if there are a bunch of poppy seeds in here.

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I love the way these liatiris look as they get started, but it’s been tough to get a good pic. This is the best so far…

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And to end the day, I was visited by this cool dragonfly!

Japanese Anemone

I’m getting depressed that my garden is stressing me out so much. I follow a blog whose blogger proclaimed English Ivy as his arch nemesis.  I thought, yes, I need to work on the ivy that is going to smother my Myrtlewoods. Haven’t.

Instead, I am dismayed by the intractable bracken fern, the pernicious dandelions and the obstinate Japanese Anemone. These have never given me an impressive display and I had other things to plant so I thought I’d remove them. Ha!

I thought if they had competition from other plants and I repeatedly pulled out any green they sent up, I would eventually beat it. This makes me want to take the “not” out of my blog title! I was out there today with a shovel. I didn’t know when I was cutting into the anemone roots or the shrubs that I want to keep there.

I uprooted 4 perennials in the name of the cause. It remains to be seen if my tactics will have a more satisfying effect. I called the friend who gave me this plant in the first place. She told me at the time that it would take over and I shouldn’t plant it anywhere with other things growing. Did I listen?? Of course not.

I asked her if she had eradicated the anemone she was working on when she gave me these plants 4 years ago. The answer was no, along with a description of the methods she used. Nothing I haven’t tried.

But perhaps I am more anal than her and will have better luck.

I wish.

A Sunday walk my garden

Today I enjoyed a nice blog I follow:

A Sunday morning walk through the garden. | Arthur in the Garden..

I thought I’d make a similar blog. Mine will be more wordy and most likely more boring.

If you come to visit my garden, you will notice everything from the incomplete waterfall

waterto overgrown, poorly planned flower beds.

rox entranceBut a closer look is in order. Even though the hardy fuchsia is tied with the heather for the plants I should have been pruning, the fuchsia is lovely in the rain and the heather is hosting a tea rose. rose fusia

If you investigate the fuchsia closer you may find a few things hiding, pleading for escape from the magenta clutches.

ox  A species of oxali, O. tetraphylla has become quite large in its quest for sunlight.

oxf I wondered why the fuchsia had a different shaped flower, then I realized it was the bloom of O. tetraphylla .

straw I wonder if these strawberries will ripen under the fuchsia?

Did you see the Huechera ‘Berry Smoothie‘ leaf masquerading as a strawberry’s leaf. It’s not trying to fool you. Some not a complete idiot gardener has no imagination for how things will spread and grow.

coral  But it’s flowers look pretty with their back drop.

Moving to the right of the fuchsia,

I planted some chive seeds seven years ago, and they have been happily reseeding ever since.

old You can see them busy at making more seeds.

newBut there are still new ones starting. Maybe a new flower comes after I cut some to eat.

thriftIt’d be nice if this sea thrift grows up to mingle with the chive flowers. They are in the same area, but the sea thrift is not blooming so well this year. Maybe next year…

Did you notice the large rock in this picture?

roxThere are actually three large rocks there. My Mom gave me these heathers that are now taking over the world. I recently learned that you have to prune them regularly, for if you need to cut them back too far, they will look like shit. I predict I will cut these down to the ground and see what happens.

You will notice the tons of foxglove, Digitalis purpurea . I am worried they will crowd out the larkspur, Delphinium trollifolium,  I have in there. It’s done now, but I would like it to spread and co-mingle happily with the foxglove. We’ll see. That’s a familiar mantra in my gardening philosophy.foxI am pleased with the amount of speckling the foxes have this year, anyway.

Growing at the base of the rocks, you will find the pinks, Saponaria ocymoides mingling with the blues, Isotoma fluviatillis pinks
I worry about that blue star creeper. It gets everywhere and I’m afraid its going to run over the top of my violets and bunch berry, but I have seen those two spreading. I’m spending my efforts trying to just keep them in place. I have a purpose for the ones I pull up.

You get the idea that I just let things be and see what comes up. I don’t know if that works for you, but here on the Southern Oregon Coast, well upriver 10 miles from the actual coast, I sure don’t mind. I’ve got these ferns volunteering everywhere. I only try to get rid of the bracken ferns that invade my flower beds. Of course those are the ones that are impossible to get rid of.

colubineThe native columbine is still going strong, and reseeding everywhere!

As you move down this bed, you will pass through an arbor on which is growing a Honeysuckle of some sort. (Another gift from my Mom)honeyI’ve always heard they have a sweet scent, but this is the year I’ve really noticed it. I am careful not to let it get loose, as I understand they are quite a problem in some places. So far, so good.

If you hang a left here, you will notice my day lilies and Dahlia’s starting, but right now the show is the snap dragons a lovely neighbor gave me.

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If you take a right from the arbor, you will head on around to this ground cover that I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called. It’s got some cute little blooms on it right now.something It’s a steppable, but I don’t want to step on it!

It is growing right next to the Lavatera my Mom gave me.Lavatera

(I have bought some plants myself!)

Against the back drop of a cedar log that once rolled down the hill and hit our house, (the hill we are making the waterfall out of, actually) are these darling star flowersstarflower

Next is a plant I did buy myself and share freely with dozens of people. Scabiosa ‘Burgundy Beaujolais’ scabiosa Okay, not much of a picture yet. This flower is quite a tease and won’t come into full bloom for another few weeks. That’s okay, though. I find it’s phases quite interesting. Once open, the butterflies will be in heaven.

Continuing down the bed, you see the red lilies my Mom gave me bordering the driveway.lily

If we head down the driveway, we can visit the neighbors.

At the head of their driveway, you will find our bearing tree, a huge myrtlewood. myrtle In California it is the California laurel. It only grows in Southern Oregon/Northern California and the Holy Lands. I find that strange. Don’t you? The Holy Lands can’t possibly have the same ecosystem as us! Also, for a specimen that is so particular where it grows, it can’t be killed here. When cut to a stump, it just sends up hundreds of new branches until it is another large tree. Too bad you can’t cut a bearing tree down. This one would make a heck of a coffee table!

bearingThe metal square you see on the upper part of the trunk is a plate which is a map. It shows the township, range and section our property is in.

I’m bringing  a soft apple and some cereal John didn’t like over to feed the neighbors bunnies and mini horse.

bunny mini Aren’t those mini horses adorable!!

On our way home, John spied a bird’s nest. Can you find it?nest

Some photographers carry around a spray bottle filled with water for more special looking pictures. This is not necessary here. Rain in late June makes the common Daisy look inviting.

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Come again soon!

Gardening by ladder

Yes, this is an adventure. Some of my readers may already know that I have declared war on dandelions. I feel rather successful today. Note the harvest. Image

I have a challenging property. No one is to blame except myself. However, since I’ve begun this war, I’ve decided the best tactic is to never let them go to seed. Eventually the brush will grow up and over take them.

In the past, I thought I would tolerate the dandelions for the sake of preventing erosion. I regret that decision today, as I cold heartedly uproot the bastards wherever I see them. And of course, this is not always convenient. Hence the ladder.

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I think it is a good compromise. This way, I need not tread on my steep slopes where my weight and foot wear would cause more harm than good. Now, I only need to discourage the deer from tromping over the more vertical locations on my property.

Picture, if you will, my figure desperately clinging to the ladder while trying to wield a weeding tool to pop up dandelions. Sometimes I would plant my bottom between the rungs and weed that way for a while.

Why go to all the trouble? I am literally infested with dandelions from an attitude of indifference and tolerance, and I can not tolerate it any longer.

Erosion is a real concern. I am glad to see life other than dandelions take hold there on my slopes. Bracken fern, yellow violets, foxglove, salmon berry, thimble berry and cedar and myrtlewood seedlings have admirably filled in many spots.

In places I have tried to help the process, such as the planter to the right of my ladder. I have a weigelia growing there, and I also found this native strawberry. I must have placed it there a few years ago and forgot. A nice surprise.

Normally, these are extremely diminutive, but the ones I found look quite vigorous. Image That’s my forefinger there.

Recently, we discussed the problem with a local nursery man, and he thought we should try some Lamium galeobdolon. Happily, we used a technique requiring no pressure board planter. We dug a hole on a diagonal, planted the lamium in it’s nursery soil, then covered that soil with the thick clay soil our slopes are made of. It’s coming along nicely.

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The nursery man thought we would be able to just root new plants by taking a cutting and just sticking it into the slope’s soil.It is supposed to do that, but I don’t think it will work that way here.

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But do take note of the native fern (sword fern?) battling the slope in the previous picture. Go fern go!

In the mean time, I am leaving that ladder right there, as I’ve left plenty of dandelion starts in the ground. But like Arnold, I’ll be back!

So, I’ve filled this blog with a lot of ugly pictures. I thought I would leave you with a couple pretty ones I took today.

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Dandelions

The gardening bug crept up on me slowly. I bought my first house at age 28, and after a while, I started paying attention to the flower beds that were already established.

I remember my friend, Jennifer coming over to help me one day and I was amazed that you were supposed to pull grass out from the flower beds and cut in a defined border. I honestly never thought about it before.

I didn’t have a whole lot of success with my own plantings until I learned that plants require extra water in the summer. Who’d thunk?

Segue to my purchase of five and a half acres of swampy hillside, a dozen years later. When I left my home in Portland, I couldn’t leave my two huckleberry plants I had just established. I had a beautiful sword fern I contemplated digging up, too.

After I planted my huckleberries down here, I looked around. My hillsides are covered in huckleberries and sword ferns. (Remember, I am not a complete idiot, but I sure feel like one sometimes.)

Every couple of years, I read an article about how wonderful the misunderstood dandelion is. It has medicinal properties, it tastes great in a salad, it’s root will break up compacted dirt.

Portland is a very green city, and as a budding gardener, I was exposed to a lot of thinking about organic gardening, preventing erosion, using native plants to avoid the need to water, etc.

Maybe I’m not so much an idiot as naive, but after we carved our homesite out of a hillside, there was an incredible amount of bare dirt contrasting sickly with the amazing, abundant green all around us.

If you’ve ever been to the Pacific Northwest, you can imagine. If you are from the arid Southwest, you would be awed. There are many beautiful things in nature, and Oregon’s green is at the top.

Knowing that we receive substantial amounts of rain in the winter, and with my Portland mind set, I began to worry about erosion. So when the first dandelions came to colonize my bare slopes, I welcomed them.

Gah! Makes me want to take the “not” out of my blog title!

Last year I declared war on the dandelion and I curse the day I ever worried about erosion here in rural Southern Oregon. A little erosion is a fact of life, whether you build, or a hillside decides on it’s own that it needs to slide and slump down.

I plan on doing much blogging about my thoughts on gardening, but now, after some rain, it’s a good time to start pulling dandelions!

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