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Archive for the ‘outdoors’ Category

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.

redyellow

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.

daisy

Come again soon!

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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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

ImageImage

Secret

When I drive over the Catching Slough on my way home every night, I almost always catch my breath. Tonight was a golden monochrome of silver.

Pale green/gold light filtered through lavender clouds and caressed the green, velvety rolling hills, revealing depths in the contrasting textures of leaf and needle and blade. Mysteries lay up every draw. The tide waters filled the Coos river to its banks, its steel gray waters the perfect anchor to the scale of hues in this picture.

Shhh, I thought. Too many people knowing about this would ruin the serenity of this scene. I think this as I hit the wipers once. As I drive on, I turn the delay on low. Before I reach home, I have gone through every setting on the delay and back to off.

Maybe I don’t need to worry so much about keeping this secret. Many people are so sweet, they would just dissolve in all this rain. 🙂

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!

“Lost” Keys

Another vote for deleting the “Not” in my Blog title….

Last night I was rather busy, coming home. I put down my laptop case, unstrapped my backpack, and then headed outside to hunt slugs. (I’m all for the minimal suffering, so I hunt them and stab them with a steak knife. No, I am not next in line to be a serial killer, I just think it’s the humane thing to do!)

Then I called my highschool best friend I’ve recently reconnected with. During our chat, I wondered about my keys. I can’t remember why, but I looked in the little bowl by the door and only saw the spare car key in there.

I began to shuffle through the things on my desk top and table, mentioning to Jennifer that I couldn’t find my keys. That led to a discussion on Alzheimers, and then on to more fun filled topics.

I have to get to bed very early as I need to rise at 4:00 every work day morning, so at 7:45, I sorrowfully said I had to go. I finished up my blog post, then cast about for my keys again.

I looked over the desk and table again. I searched my backpack. I upended my backpack. I searched the bare kitchen counters. I looked in my coat pockets four different times. I looked in the bathroom. I went back outside, covering my hunting path (found another slug to kill).

I was sure I would find it outside, because my car key is one of them fancy dancy electronic remote start keys that cost $$$ to replace, but no, I did not find them out there. I went back in the house, through the whole routine again. I pleaded to the universe for mercy. I was going to go crazy in the near future.

I checked the top of the dryer, and I found the spare car key.

Wait a second. Wasn’t the spare in the little key bowl? I look again. After spending a half hour frantically looking everywhere, I find that I mistook my bunch of keys for the spare key. I had put them where they are supposed to go, after all.

D’oh!

But I assure you, I am not a complete idiot.

Nostalgia

Yeah, it’s been a dry winter and I’ve been worried about forest fires, beings as how I live in the forest!! But a few days ago the rain started. I think it’s been wetter the last few days than all of winter. And our freshly chip sealed driveway is taking a beating by the constant downpour.

And yet….

I was coming up Beaver Hill around 5:30 AM and there was the clouds kissing the tree tops, and getting mighty slobbery at it too. A feeling comes over me. Sometimes I feel it in the heat of summer.

I am taken back I don’t know how many years, probably not too long after we moved to Oregon from Missouri. These states are so different from each other. I’m sure it rained in Missouri, but in the summer fields turn into dirt. Here in Oregon, it usually rains well into June, and though we might have a warm summer, rarely does it top 90, let alone 100. Our fields turn into, well. less green. The grass will turn a lovely golden color if left to grow long. The best descriptor of Oregon summers is pleasant.

Oops. I think that’s supposed to be a secret….

Many people don’t care how lovely it is here in the summer, because they know most of the year it is, ahem, damp. Except this year. I was off work for 3 weeks the beginning of April and it was acting like August. We made the appointment to get our driveway chip sealed. Well, that’s another blog, I think.

I have this memory, so clear. Being in some sort of truck, wet to the skin, feeling the heat coming up from the floor boards. It felt so heavenly. Chime in sisters, if you remember similar. Seems like it could have been a return from skiing, but I believe it had more to do with target shooting on Mt. Hood in a clear cut. Maybe it’s the culmination of hundreds of rainy day hikes.

And when I see those clouds come down to touch the earth the nostalgia is so visceral.  It’s like a peek into another world. It’s the past thrust into my lap. I am overtaken. In the best way.

So, rain on!

Rogue Jet

My lovely and generous sister won a $50 gift certificate for a jet boat ride up the Rogue River in Southern Oregon, and she gave it to me! boat

I am a pretty big cheapskate and wouldn’t have gone with out the discount. Once we had gone, John couldn’t believe that attitude. It is so worth doing. But you must go the complete 104 mile wilderness trip. I suppose if you can’t be on a boat all day, you should take advantage of their shorter trips. You will see Bald Eagles and Osprey. Probably deer, elk, turtles, and maybe even a bear. I saw all of these, except the bear. I guess some have even seen a cougar down by the water.

They’ll give you a thrilling ride through some really spectacular county

.speed

Even when there is no white water, the pilot will make some.

wave

And if it’s good weather, you won’t mind getting a little wet!

smile

 

I was thinking about this trip tonight, as I start to get the Sunday night blues. The ride up the river is so thrilling with new sights to see around every corner. The ride down is so fast, though. Just like seeing your weekend slip away, too soon it’s over.

 

 

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