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A Wishing Tree Blooms in Portland

A Wishing Tree Blooms in Portland

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A Wishing Tree!  That’s so Portland. This humble horsechestnut on the corner of NE 7th and Morris in Portland is the bearer of hundreds of wishes tacked to its trunk by passersby.  I visited the Wishing Tree last week after reading about it online. Our local KGW did a story on it earlier this year, as did The Huffington Post.  They… Read more →


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The Beauty of Death in the Winter Garden

The Beauty of Death in the Winter Garden

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Winter forces us to look closer for beauty in the garden.  No more cantaloupe-sized hydrangea flowers, no flamboyant dahlias, no voluptuous tree peonies.  We look to the details to find beauty in unexpected places. My neighbor has an English holly that hangs over the fence in the corner of our backyard.  The leaves it drops are thick and waxy, but… Read more →


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Paperbark Maple--A Must-Have Specimen Tree

Paperbark Maple–A Must-Have Specimen Tree

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Planting a paperbark maple is one thing you must do to be considered a Serious Gardener.  (The other two are gardening after dark by the light of your car headlights, and asking for manure for your birthday.) But novice gardeners can get in on the fun, too, because the choice paperbark maple (Acer griseum) is surprisingly easy to grow.  It… Read more →


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Feeling Brave, I Taste Ginkgo for the First Time

Feeling Brave, I Taste Ginkgo for the First Time

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  Nobody who’s smelled ginkgo fruits for the first time has ever said, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna have to eat some of that.” If you haven’t experienced them first hand, well, they have the aroma of something that maybe was once food, but has since passed through one or two digestive organs before finding its way to the nostrils.  Dog vomit,… Read more →


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A Rainbow of (Borrowed) Autumn Leaves

A Rainbow of (Borrowed) Autumn Leaves

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They’re calling for gloom and doom tomorrow—ice and snow and more cold, blustery winds.  A shock to humans and plants alike, who’ve just enjoyed the warmest August, September, and October in recorded history in Portland. As of yesterday, there were still roses, dahlias, asters, and marigolds blooming, among others.  And fall color is still jamming, as you can see, though… Read more →


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Looking Down Instead of Up:  Autumn Leaves

Looking Down Instead of Up: Autumn Leaves

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Wait!  Before you rake those leaves up, let me get some pictures! Have you ever taken the time to truly appreciate the beauty of fallen leaves?  I took a walk today looking down instead of up, and this is what I saw: Red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves strewn across the sidewalk.  Not always red, their autumn leaves can also be orange… Read more →


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Seven Perennials with Colorful Fall Foliage

Seven Perennials with Colorful Fall Foliage

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Who said only trees and shrubs get to turn color in the fall? Some perennials get into the act, too, with colorful fall foliage.  These plants really earn their keep in the garden—they also have blooms earlier in the year! The undisputed queen of perennials that turn color in fall is Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrictii).  Its pale, steely blue flowers… Read more →


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Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

Eight Great Shrubs for Fall Foliage and Fruit

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The rainy season has begun in Portland.  It hasn’t been terribly cold, but we’ve had several fires in the fireplace.  After a day of sloshing around in the garden, it’s nice to sit by the fire and dream of sunnier times.  Like last week… We had one bright, sunny day last week, and I went looking for fall color.  Here… Read more →


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Feed Your Veggies So Your Veggies Feed You

Feed Your Veggies So Your Veggies Feed You

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How do you fertilize your vegetables?  Do you pull a bag off the shelf?  Feed them a steady diet of homemade compost? Here’s how to give them what they really need… In his latest book, The Intelligent Gardener:  Growing Nutrient-Dense Food (New Society Publishers, 2013), Steve Solomon’s message is simple—How can you know what nutrients to add to your soil if you don’t know… Read more →


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A Bed of Shareable Perennial Plants

A Bed of Shareable Perennial Plants

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I love before-and-after shots, don’t you? Here’s a short time lapse of my new perennial bed.  Photo #1 was taken on Sept. 18th, just after the plants were set into their new homes.  It was Portland’s second hottest summer on record, though for the record the grass is usually that blond here every summer.  Photo #2 was taken today, Oct…. Read more →


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