glistening September views

glistening Renga lilies, Arthropodium cirratum, a giftt from Kris/Late To The Garden Party

This morning’s mist was heavy enough that the downspouts gurgled. The garden embraced the moisture with its leaves and petals, in a heart-melting effect that can best be described in one word: glistening. A full rainy day is predicted for sometime mid-September. Before it all smashes down in a rainy windstorm, I took some photos this morning from every corner of the garden to document its first summer.

view from the house, standing at the back steps. Neighbor’s hedge is laurel, with a spangling of bindweed. If you stand still long enough, I’ve no doubt bindweed will start creeping around your ankles. It is the town scourge, an enemy sneakily waving white trumpet flowers — show no mercy!

This rich, water-retentive soil and cool coastal climate (zone 8b) has limitations that would be deal-breakers for many, but it is very kind to herbaceous perennials — we’ll see how many survive the long, rainy winter to return next year!

still on the steps, looking straight ahead. If you’d like an ID on a plant, leave a comment. The Anisodontea ‘Strybing Beauty’ in the left stock tank is roof-high and marginally hardy in zone 8b. I’ve been tip-pruning it all summer. I’m in the process of setting up a makeshift cold frame and may grab some cuttings.
Looking east along the overhang. There’s a 2-3 foot perimeter dog path along the fence where Billie is in the photo. I doubt I’lll plant anything closer to the fence because the neighbor’s bindweed would love to get a root-hold and high visibility is key. Keeping a mulched moat is the best defense.
another view looking east (a deceptive one because the camera flipped the perspective) showing the basic layout and the three stock tanks close to the overhang. Unless I have a radical change of mind, there will be no hiding neighboring houses, no mitigating the stark fence boundary, just a simple space to grow plants
Looking west along the overhang to the garage. This area with the melianthus was the last to be planted. The diascia in that stock tank has been in bloom since April, no lie — I should get cuttings of that as well (‘My Darling Tangerine’). Three planted in the ground are in bloom as well, but nothing like the performance in the stock tank
looking southwest at corner garden shed. Paint is needed, outdoor lights replaced, but the garden comes first, right?
view from the corner garden shed back at the house
looking west at the garage across the main planted areas — gaura, agastache, penstemon, Aster ‘The Prince,’ succisella, Deschampsia ‘Goldtau’ — like I said, for more IDs, leave me a comment
same view but grabbing more of the planting closer to the back fence. I walked along the landscape timbers that separate the two large planting areas all winter to plant — not possible now. Along with retaining the slightly elevated back berm, the timber acts as a brake to Salvia uliginosa and other large perennials, which have plenty of elbow room to move without squashing other plants
standing at the back fence looking at the house. Umbel is Selinum wallichianum. Dahlia is ‘Camano Sitka,’ incredibly tall and vigorous so I hate to quibble that the flowers are a tad too big…Distant yellow flowers are Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen,’ positively hedge-like
Japanese sunflower towers over the southeast corner

I think that covers the garden from almost every angle, so I’ll finish with some close-ups.

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ — I think it’s safe to say, for instant gratification, this is a great first-year garden plant for coastal Oregon. Very late-blooming but good leaves all summer. May eventually replace it with something less vigorous…
This glistening Yucca linearifolia died in my zone 10b garden, was resuscitated and rerooted and now seems to be flourishing — so relieved!
Dahlia ‘AC Rosebud’ — Marty says he hates this dahlia but loves ‘Camano Sitka.’ Personal taste is endlessly interesting…
Helianthus argophyllus (Texas native annual known as the Japanese Sunflower) is every bit as cool as its reputation. Hated my zone 10b garden — loves rich, moist soil. Needs staking. All dahlias were staked too.
Heliopsis ‘Bleeding Hearts’ was found local and looks like an instant classic.
It blends in really well, leaves and flowers,
Southeast corner with the Japanese sunflower
Scrophularia auriculata ‘Variegata’ (or S. aquatica ‘Variegata’) has been so good all summer, steadily increasing in girth. Hummingbirds come to its tiny flowers before the salvias!
Big surprise to have Clematis stans x heracleifolia bloom its first summer. Found at Hortlandia in April — yes, I admit I’m weird when it comes to clems in not craving the big-flowered vines. C. heracleifolia also performed decently in my zone 10b garden, back in the days when it was much wetter.
glistening Rhodocoma capensis will need thinning and careful pruning as it grows into its towering shagginess. The Plectranthus argentatus in the stock tank is another plant I’d hate to be without, slightly marginal here. The slider stays open til nearly bedtime — last night a large moth flew in, giving Billie a startle, then the chase was on.
Brachyglottis monroi, a smaller version of B. greyi — the overhang extends slightly over some of the rock plantings which theoretically should provide more dryness in winter
Sonchus palmensis (uncertain to survive this winter), Crambe maritima, Cassinia x ozothamnus, couple Aloe cooperi squeezed in. Ask for any further IDs. And on the far left, just added last week, nonblooming Calluna vulgaris ‘Skyline Barcelona.’

I’ll close this out with Billie surveying her world and a potful of sempervivums and this weird mashup of orostachys and sedum called ‘Sedoro’ — so many plants! Let me know if there’s a favorite plant of yours that I’ve missed and must absolutely grow. And please take care if you’re caught in the abysmal West Coast heatwave. May fall weather be kind to all of us! More soon, AGO

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14 Responses to glistening September views

  1. I’m endlessly impressed with how much you have done in one growing season. Cool plants I’ve never heard of have transitioned to your Tillamook garden, and happily thrived. I’m considering liberating my Yucca linearifolia from their pots into the Astoria garden after seeing yours out there. And I’m with you on the small-flowered clematis; I don’t grow any but if I did, they’d be the quiet little beauties.

    It’s also interesting (and a little disheartening, honestly) to hear how supportive your soil is for growing. I made the early mistake of “tough love” planting in my Astoria garden, reasoning that the plants had to survive whatever soil was there. I now think I would have had a much higher success rate if I had amended the soil somewhat, so the plants could at least get established before trying to expand into my weird, clay/rock/hydrophobic soil. Wah, wah, wah. Lessons learned, and still figuring it all out!

  2. Kris P says:

    What a transformation you’ve made of that space! I’m impressed and more than a little envious. Your dahlias look outstanding by comparison to mine, which are currently hanging on by a thread. I haven’t watered them as much as in years past due to the enhanced water restrictions and the misery introduced by the current heatwave is about to be amplified by a 15-day ban on outdoor watering. Our local water provided let us know on Wednesday that we’re included in the MWD’s water ban because Cal Water gets some of its water from MWD. Ugh!

  3. Elaine says:

    Love the different perspectives you have shown in your photos. So often we only really look at the garden from the house outwards. Something totally different emerges from your photos of the back to the front. I have a C. heracleifolia ‘First Love’ with soft lavender flowers. It is many years old and is easily shrub sized at 5′ x 4′. Kind of have a love/hate relationship with it as it’s in the wrong spot but it is a tough one.

  4. Erik says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at your statement ‘Paint is needed, outdoor lights replaced, but the garden comes first, right?’ absolutely the truth! The transformation of the back yard space is truly wonderful and to your question as to what will survive the coming rainy season? Well, one plants’ demise is just an opportunity for something else! Lastly, we had a similar morning drizzle yesterday which left the garden sparkling! Oh, I almost forgot, have you considered Sonchus canariensis? Supposed to be hardy to z8b. Might be a good alternative if s.palmensis doesn’t make it.

  5. hb says:

    More flowery, cottage-garden-y than I would have expected from you, but early days still. Flowery is my kind of garden, so the rest of my reaction is “fabulous!”.

    Does gardening completely stop come the rainy season? And what’s growing out front?

    Be glad you are there and not here. Our overnight low was 80F.

  6. Tracy says:

    Wow, what a great garden, can’t believe it was just planted this year!

  7. ks says:

    Between your two gardens I would venture to say you can grow just about anything ! My plant budget would go to hell in a handbasket right quick-you gotta try it all. right ? It’ll be some time before anything glistens in these parts.

  8. Denise says:

    @Jane, yes, the soil is good stuff here in this river valley. I’m surprised there aren’t more microfarms taking advantage of the soil, but the growing season/climate is definitely tricky for reliably producing crops. I remember stripping the sod in the zone 10 Long Beach garden back in the early 90s and having brief but tremendous growth then too — so there might be some of that effect going on when the sod is first stripped and all those nutrients made available. I’m going to go your “tough love” route in the front garden once I figure out whether to use berms or not in front.
    @Kris, dahlias are grown like hedges here! There’s a dark red pompon I see lining entire front fences — there’s really no way to duplicate that in SoCal. Every region has its strengths. I’d love to have a couple of ‘Blue Flame’ agaves to wake up to every morning!
    @Elaine, since the garden is a rectangle it’s simple enough to capture all the perspectives! I’ve planted the C. stans at the edge of the berm bed so it can spill over but am not entirely sure how much room it’s going to want — sounds like quite a lot.
    @Erik, so true, I rarely mourn plant losses for long! And thanks for the reminder on the Sonchus canariensis. I prefer the palmensis, but if canariensis has better odds for survival I’ll go with that one.
    @Hoov, it does look flower heavy but there’s a lot of grasses and stuff mixed in. I’ve always found that flowers draw the eye, so if dotted throughout it can look more intensely flowery than it really is. I don’t know what to expect this fall/early winter! It’d be great if stuff hangs on til early November but I have no idea for now. Nothing has been started out front. It’s amazing how the whole town declines to water the front lawn, it’s a complete brownout. In fact it looks like very little irrigation is used at all, so all those rhodies and maples are getting pretty dry by September. Marty is in LA right now and smack in the middle of the heat wave, including power outage for almost 12 hours late last week in Mitch’s hood…
    @Tracy, I can’t believe it either!

  9. Denise says:

    @Kathy, yes, we do have to try all the plants! There’s a horticultural student staying in the Long Beach garden now, so we’ll see how those two get along.

  10. Gerhard Bock says:

    Your Tillamook garden has never looked this good to me as it does today, on a day when a record 113°F is predicted. Your photos–which look like pages out of an Annie’s Annuals catalog–might make me do foolish things, like order plants that will prompty die in our Sacramento Valley heat :-).

  11. Denise says:

    @Gerhard, this punishing heat is out of control. All garden conditions are not created equal! I ‘ve done plenty of foolish things too, ordering plants doomed to expire in my Long Beach garden. I still think fabulous gardens can be made in hot and dry conditions — but so many of us get snookered by the stuff that wants it cool and wet!

  12. As I started paging down and admiring your photos it hit me how much this is still (to my eye) a Denise garden. A different climate, a different plant palette, a very different home—but it is still recognizable as your design.

    Still no rain or mist here, as of tomorrow we are in second place for record long periods with no rain, add in that August was the hottest month ever and it’s dry…

  13. Denise says:

    @Loree, I’m not sure why that pleases me so much, that you recognize me in this garden! Probably has something to do with I’m really just figuring things out on the fly and it all feels so experimental…

  14. Pam/Digging says:

    What a glowy, glistening garden, Denise. I can’t tell you how envious I am of your gardening in a place with such reliable moisture, where dahlias are, as you say, grown like hedges. Your pics are beautiful, and everything looks so happy. And yes, as Loree said, it’s still very much a Denise garden.

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