Thursday, June 30, 2016

When It All Comes Together

One of the best books I've read about garden design, The Inward Journey, talks about creating your garden in a way that reflects your oldest desires.  For me, that meant creating a cove.

I attempted to do that in the far corner of my backyard by sectioning it off from the rest of the yard with a boxwood hedge and a simple iron arbor.  There was an existing mature apple tree that gave me a good start on the feeling of being closed in.  I added several Japanese maples and a chair and after just a couple years it really is starting to feel like a cove.

Japanese maples - Seiryu (in the foreground) and Iniba Shidare in the background

My satisfaction peaked the other day when my daughter came out to read while I worked in the yard.  I wasn't paying much attention while I worked but when I looked up and saw that she had chosen to sit in this uncomfortable chair and read a book I was thrilled.  Thrilled that she loves to read so much and thrilled that something in her was drawn to spend time in this part of the yard.

I could stand to learn a few things from her example.

After she caught me taking this picture she started hamming it up for the camera.  Here's a better view of the way the "cove" is coming together:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Chinese Garden in Portland

Too much has gone on in my life recently for me to devote much free time to blogging.  And as previous posts have mentioned, the drought has put a damper on things for me . . . even if it hasn't dampened anything else.

Not too long ago we had a chance to tag along with my wife on a work trip to Portland, Oregon.  When she wasn't working we had a chance to explore one of our favorite cities and this time I convinced them to tour the Chinese Garden.  They were not thrilled.  But they were good sports.

That quickly changed though.  Almost immediately after entering the gardens we saw that they were giving a demonstration on how to make Hawaiian leis.

The pond was a big hit too even though the koi had been transported to another facility while they rehabilitated the habitat for some reason.  

I found the stone work in the pathways to be remarkable and enviable.  How long would it take to do something like this?

There was a lot of variety in the patterns throughout the different parts of the garden.

I don't know what these are called, but I thought this was a cool way to border a tree with stone.

This was a look I'd definitely like to mimic in the right situation.  I believe that's Japanese forest grass and black Mondo grass which I already grow.

Intricate, beautiful, and amazing.

Who hasn't wanted a moon gate of their own?

 One of the most charming aspects of the garden is that it is literally surrounded by downtown buildings.  But you quickly forget about them.  When I left the garden I found myself envious of the people whose office windows look down upon this garden.

They had a small selection of bonsai on display.  And by that I mean they had just a few - not that the bonsai was small.  But it was small.  The bonsai was I mean.

 My wife photo bombing skills were on point.

I will be writing more often I hope.  If you've given up on checking in on me, I don't blame you at all.  I hope to give you a reason to stop by and say hello once in a while though.