Sunday, August 31, 2014

Oh deer...the latest garden challenge...

As if late spring frosts, scorching heat, four summer vacation absences and dought weren't enough.  This morning I can add another garden challenge to my list:  deer.

Oh, I know you're thinking - "she's always had deer, this is nothing new."  And you'd be right.  BUT, the plants that were on the buffet last night are plants that have been in the ground since May or June.  And the deer have been through - drinking from the fountain and leaving footprints often.

But last night they decided to expand their palate.  

 This was a lovely hibiscus.  Now it's a stem sculpture!
They didn't belong to the clean plate club when they chowed down on this rock rose.  See -- they left just one so you could tell what it used to be.
These sun-tolerant coleus have been here for months.  They've done great and they are at the deer entrance to my garden.  I know they've passed by here many times on their way to the bird bath fountain and the bird feeders that they share with the birds.
Another chomped coleus, and to the right of it, they even nibbled on the dwarf variegated pittosporum.  They've left this coleus alone all summer long.
And then they found the abutilon, which is only feet from the front door.  They don't normally sashay all the way up to the front door, but I guess they felt sociable last night.

Oh well.  Not much to be done about it.  Maybe I'll do a little rain dance this afternoon so they have food in their own habitat.

What are the critters doing in your garden?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fall in the garden: In the air and on the ground...

I can't honestly say that fall is in the air.  With temperatures hovering around 100 for the last several weeks, the thought of fall remains a distant longing.

But it is coming.
Many of the summer-blooming plants are slowing down and taking it easy, done with the hard work of developing flowers.  And waiting in the wings to take their place, the fall bloomers grow stronger with each day. 

And the trees.  Well, the one tree -- the Burr oak.  A majestic specimen, it decided last week that it was about time for the weather to turn and began dropping its leaves with abandon.
And they fell.
 And fell...
 And fell...
Then the Moy Grande Hibiscus next to the oak got the message, too.  And it started to turn and drop its leaves.
Oh, look who was posing for me on this rain-drenched leaf.  We were lucky to get a nice rain yesterday evening -- I'm sure it made this guy happy to have a cool shower.
And so the leaves keep turning.
Fall will be here soon.  A whole new season in the garden, with new sets of chores, challenges and opportunities.

I'm ready, are you?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chinese garden is an oasis in the heart of downtown Portland

The second stop on the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling was the city's Chinese garden, located right in the heart of the downtown bustle of Portland.  It encompasses an entire city block.  Entering the garden, you leave behind the bus fumes, honking horns and scads of people click clacking their heels on the way to work.
 Waiting for the doors to open.
 I'm not sure if this statue was greeting us or trying to keep us away!
 Intricate stone work greeted us as we walked into the garden.
It takes your breath away.  This pearl nestled among skyscrapers provides a welcome respite from city life.The view across the lake makes you feel like you've become a time traveler to a faraway land.
 I love the lines and the curves of all the pagodas.
 I can only imagine how long it took carvers to create some of these intricate pieces.
 Beautiful details adorn even the windows.

The point of this pagoda roof looks almost menacing as it peeks out from the trees.
Garden bloggers fan out to check out all the sights.
The sounds from this waterfall add to the spiritual sense in this garden.
 Inspirational writings adorn the rocks along side the waterfall.  I wish I knew their meaning.
The entire garden surrounded this lake.  The blooming water lilies made me think of Monet's garden and paintings.
A tea room on the grounds offered a resting place from some bloggers. But with the growing warmth and humidity of the day, I passed on the hot tea.

 This clever pepper-shaped window offered a glimpse into the neighboring courtyard.
 The courtyard is framed here by a life-sized circle.
 Our visit to this garden was a beautiful and peaceful start to our day.
And a peek into the distance revealed the glint of the city lurking with its modern skyscrapers as we left the garden.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Children's garden a fantastic wonderland...

As if tours of Kylee's garden (Our Little Acre) and her mom Louise's garden (Two Girls with a Purpose) weren't enough - I got an added bonus.  After lunch I got to see the amazing Children's Garden that Louise helped design, create and raised the money for it as well.

I thought - yeah, yeah, I expected a few raised beds and maybe a birdhouse or two.  Oh my.  Was I in for a treat, and you will be too.

With an entrance like this, I knew big surprises lay ahead.
Louise and Kylee - ready to lead the tour (with proper rain gear).
Welcome - come on in!
Just follow the path.
Something's not quite right (angled) about this kiddie fun house.
Who doesn't love running over a bridge?

The bed that runs along the inside of the circular path unfolds with the letters of the alphabet and plants that start with that letter. From asparagus to zinnia - it's all about learning.

Beautiful plants dot the garden at every turn.
No shortages of places to play and be "hands on."
This would inspire any child to eat vegetables.
The Enabling Garden, designed for the disabled, includes raised beds and trellises to make it wheelchair accessible.
Animals - friendly and stauesque - fill this garden with adventure.
This rainbow garden, the contribution to the park from Louise and Kylee's family, was truly one of my favorites.  Filled with stunning plants in full bloom, they echoed the rainbow pathway just begging to be walked around.
The creativity factor in this soared through the roof.
And the focal point, as if all the other components weren't enough, is this sculpture that celebrates inclusion, diversity, peace and harmony and love around the world.   (Well, that's my interpretation of it.)
"Good morning, Mister Sunshine, you brighten up my day." -- Bee Gees
Everyone's a kid in a children's garden -- even me!
One of the most exciting stops in the garden -- the butterfly house.  All the plants in the garden around the house were butterfly friendly.
How insightful.  And what an amazing lesson for children -- to see life unfold before their eyes -- through two different perspectives.
Pollinator heaven.
And a little clever art with a seat to go along with it.  Perfect for butterfly watching.
Amazing creature.
The inside of the house was covered with chrysalises and butterflies that had just emerged.
They were everywhere - just waiting to join their flying friends.
They paid absolutely no attention to me - leaving my happily snapping away with my camera to capture the  moment.

Then we entered the secret garden - ducking in and finding ourselves in a perfect hideaway.

Kitty guards the entrance.  It's a stone sculpture - in case you couldn't tell!

A peaceful Zen garden is one of the last stops around the park.
And finally, a monument that honors the contributions of local businesses and citizens, like Louise,  whose creativity, hard work and financial support made this all possible. 

I only wish I lived near the garden, because it's really not just for children.  It's an amazing park that delights the senses of young and old alike.

What an accomplishment, Louise.  My hat's off to you and all you did to make this a reality.