Fall Color

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica): Love This Tree or Buyer's Remorse?

Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica): Love This Tree or Buyer’s Remorse?

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I’m a slow shopper. It takes me ten minutes to pick out five apples at the grocery store. Now I’m trying to choose a tree for the parking strip, and that’s a major decision. I’ll have to live with it every day, you know? Persian ironwood, or Persian parrotia (Parrotia persica), is on my shortlist, and I’m weighing the pros… Read more →


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A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

A Visit with Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery

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“That’s my favorite tree in the garden,” said Roger Gossler, as we gazed at a dazzling katsura tree in peak fall color at Gossler Farms Nursery in Springfield, Oregon. He said it was a Cercidiphyllum magnificum, not a Cercidiphyllum japonicum, as I had thought. I asked him what the difference was, and he said that C. magnificum stays smaller and has a more arching,… Read more →


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Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

Fothergilla Fall Foliage Fiesta

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When the crisp, cool days of autumn transform the garden into a fiesta of color, no shrub parties harder than fothergilla. In response to October’s increasingly frosty nights and shorter days, its matte blue-green foliage breaks out in jubilant tones of purple, gold, orange, and crimson, eventually culminating in an orange-red glow. Fothergilla is no slouch in the flower department, either, although… Read more →


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Seduced by Sassafras

Seduced by Sassafras

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Occasionally, somebody asks me that ridiculous question: “What’s your favorite tree?” As if I could choose just one. If pushed to decide, however, I usually find myself saying, “Sassafras.” Sassafras albidum is native from Massachusetts and Michigan in the north to the eastern edge of Oklahoma in the west and to North Florida in the south. It flourishes in the Cincinnati area,… Read more →


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12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

12 Unusual Plants at McMenamins Edgefield

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McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon is a former poor farm turned restaurant/hotel/brewery/winery/theater/golf course. Heck, they even have a glass-blowing studio. Of course, my favorite attraction is the incredible landscaping! Here are a dozen interesting and unusual plants I saw there this year while exploring the grounds (in chronological order, more or less). Pretty sure I killed this as a houseplant… 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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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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