Revived by the Rain

My black pansies were revived by yesterday’s rain and the cooler temperatures of the last few days!

06.12.16 Pansies

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My Poor Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

We’ve just survived four days of 100 degree heat here in the greater Portland area. Today was cool with rain, but our poor Gold Flame Honeysuckle looks awful! I think it got cooked, or sunburned, and I’m hoping we don’t lose it! I watered it each morning during the hot spell, but that kind of  intense heat is very unusual for this area and especially for this time of the year, so the entire yard suffered. We usually get a few days of 100 in July or August. Anyway, I’ve watered it deeply and will keep my fingers crossed that it survives. And if any of you know what I can do to help it, please let me know!

The Triangle Garden

06.08.16 Triangle_garden

Between our Kitchen Garden raised beds and our angled driveway, there’s a triangular shape. I’ve planted masses of Zinnias in that space and we are calling it our Triangle Garden. A cat dug in the center of the bed, but the rest of the zinnias are sprouting nicely. I’m hoping they’ll fill in and be a mass of color at the edge of our veggie garden!

Kitchen Garden

06.07.16 Kitchen Garden

Our kitchen garden today…

Our house is 106 years old. The oak trees that were planted when the neighborhood was young tower over us and shade much of the yard. The west side of the house has the most sunshine so that is where we are building our kitchen garden.

Building it is an ongoing project! We started two years ago when my husband built the first of the raised bed boxes. Our soil is mostly clay with rocks and many tree roots, so we decided not to try to put the garden in the ground. For that limited space, we designed a square garden with nine 4 x 4 boxes knowing that it would take time to build the boxes, double-dig down for each box before putting in a better soil mix. Progress toward the finished project would be slow, but we decided to just enjoy it each step of the way. By Fall two years ago, hubby was able to finish 6 of the boxes and we brought in soil for each one of them. They were ready for spring planting.

So when Spring came last year, we planted our first garden boxes. That first summer of the garden was a “grand experiment” for each member of the family! None of us knew much about what we were doing, but we knew we would learn as we go along!  Grandboy and his Dad chose their box and planted a fun mix of everything including peas, pumpkins, Cosmos, and a sunflower! Daughter chose the middle box and claiming not to have a green thumb she planted flowers instead of veggies (they were gorgeous and got lots of compliments from passers-by). Hubby planted pumpkins, green onions, and bok choi in his box but unfortunately all three crops failed. I planted tomatoes and peppers in my boxes. It was a good beginning for beginners, and a great learning experience for us all. (I’ll post at a later date about what I learned about growing tomatoes!)

By the Fall, hubby had also finished the last three boxes so we filled them with dirt and planted Crimson Clover as a cover crop for the winter. This Spring, we planted our second kitchen garden. Son and Grandson planted some beans in their box. Daughter planted strawberries where the flowers had been last year, and then she planted pumpkins in two other boxes and squash in another. Husband planted some tomatoes that he started from seed indoors, and I planted my beloved tomatoes and peppers and also started my herb box. We also bought 5 half-barrels to put along the north border of this little garden and planted blueberries.

So our garden for this season is planted and growing. Despite the intense heat of the last few days (very unusual for this time of year here!), the garden is doing well. And we are learning more and more each day about vegetable gardening and about being good stewards of the land!

Bill’s California Poppies

Bill's California Poppies

Bill’s California Poppies

Bill is my 90-year-old friend from my morning exercise class. Mixed in with our exercise routine are quick conversations about gardening, a shared interest. His retirement home is just across the street from the gym, so this morning we walked over after class and he showed me his two garden beds in the community’s small garden area. It is, of course, very different for Bill from the 5 acres he used to live on with forest and gardens to tend. But I’m glad he is still gardening. His peas are beautiful and he sent me home with some wonderful Red Romaine lettuce for my lunch. The veggies were in one of his two raised bed boxes. The other one was filled to overflowing with his favorite flower: California Poppies. They were beautiful!

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Little herb garden

We are having fun with our garden. I planted herbs in one of our raised beds closest to the sidewalk. I’m wondering if any of our neighbors who love both gardening and walking-while-garden-watching will recognize the whimsy of this planter box. They will have to live up to my blogging friend, Debi, (nothing of importance…again) who immediately asked, “Are you going to Scarborough Fair?” when she saw this photo on my Instagram page. And now I’m also looking for a neighbor who loves westerns to notice that the sage I planted was Purple Sage. Too silly…sorry!

Note:  My friend, Debi, informs me that it was not she that made that great comment! It was actually made by another Instagram friend, Mama Shepp (Lit and Life: For the Love of Books, Family, and Life). I’m afraid the last two days of 100-degree heat here have fried my brain!

Black & Blue Salvia

06.04.16 Black & Blue Salvia

Black & Blue Salvia

The temperatures today are supposed to reach 100 degrees! That’s awfully hot, record-breaking hot, for June in this small Oregon town. So I was out early watering the yard to help our little vegetable garden and our June flowers survive the heat. After watering, I took photos of some very lovely blooms.

Last year, my husband picked up a Black & Blue Salvia at Fred Meyer’s. We didn’t know anything about Salvia, but he liked the way it looked so we brought it home and planted it in a tub under the oak trees. It did very well there and the hummingbirds loved it!  So this spring, I bought another Black & Blue Salvia and put it in the same tub, not knowing whether or not the old dead-looking plant would revive itself. This morning I found the new plant in full bloom, and I’m happy to say that last year’s plant has some healthy-looking leaves on it now. We are looking forward to watching the hummingbirds enjoy these beautiful flowers all summer and fall! Hopefully, they can survive the unusual heat we are having this year.

Salal

Salal

My Salal is flowering!

We have plans for a “native plants garden” in the front corner of our yard. It’s a big project, so we won’t be getting to it until the fall, even though we’ve already cleared the space for it. I’m so excited to put it together…bring in a big load of dirt, add some good-sized rocks, and plant some lovely native trees, shrubs, and flowers. I’m going to put in Red Flowering Current, a Vine Maple, some Salal and Oxalis, then plant a variety of native ferns and flowers.

Last year, in anticipation of this garden, I bought some Salal, planted it in a pot and put it in the space on the north side of the front porch which I call my “plant hospital.” Whenever I put a plant there because it’s been struggling somewhere else in the yard, it recovers and flourishes! That’s what the Salal is doing! I checked on it the other morning after a rain, and it was flowering! I’m really looking forward to building that native plants garden and planting my dear sweet Salal in it’s new, permanent home!