May 18, 2009

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This is what I see when I sit out in the garden, feet up (of course), on a warm day – lovely.  At the uppermost left hand corner of the photo below is our bird feeder.  I could sit for hours and hours watching my little bird friends eat and sing.

Straight ahead is the cutting garden with our remaining apple tree beyond that (Red Delicious, I think).  I’ve got poppies, delphiniums, foxgloves, alyssum, day lilies, dahlias, carnations, and peonies here.  The red roof to the left is the shed Greg built last summer, or was it the summer before that?  Goodness, how one can lose a sense of time.  We hope to train some sort of pretty vine up this to hide the woodpile and the mondo Portland yard debris and recycling rolling carts.  I am all about aesthetics.

Here is pretty Paris doing some essential grooming in front of the garden we call the key (as in basketball, because of the shape).  If only she could find a way to remove all of the bits of debris from her fur.  Holy smokes!  She brings in all manner of grass, bark mulch, leaves, and other things, once growing, and sometimes alive (bugs and ants) into the house.  The key has a steppable ground cover whose name escapes me, crocosmia, lavender, and rosemary – though the rosemary will be moving to the herb garden (see below) some time soon to make room for more lavender.  Sven the terra cotta garden gnome is supervising the watering of our newly planted cherry tree – grafted with three varieties – Sam (I’m not familiar with this), Bing, and Montmorency – both favorites.  I am super excited about this tree.  We thought we might plant one in the front yard, where the apple tree resided, but changed our minds.  We wanted the back yard to be a little less open, and this is the perfect solution.  As for the front yard, that’s going to be turned into a very Portland naturescaped area – all native plants and shrubs and maybe a bioswale, too!  I’ll take pictures when it happens.

As you can see, I am always lucky to be surrounded by friends.  Little Milo is talking to a squirrel perched in the sequoia above.  From left to right: ceanothus, raspberries (hoping for a bumper crop!), purple sage, oregano, Delavay osmanthus, lemon thyme, tarragon, and English thyme.  The osmanthus will be moving near the cutting garden and the rosemary will reside in it’s place – our little herbal family.  Not in the photo, but nice all the same are mint, catnip, cat mint, lemon balm, and our Belle de Nancy lilac.

I know I am rambling a bit, but I have to share this – our cats, and actually, many cats from the neighborhood, are often found sitting or lying near the catnip and mint.  I love seeing them there and watching their personal idiosyncrasies.  Milo likes to rip leaves off and then lie nearby, happily sedated, while Paris is most content if she is actually lying on it, or to put it more accurately, rolling with wild abandon while making cute chirps that likely translate as, “I love catnip!  I love catnip!”

This area, when in full bloom, is a very, very happy place for pollinators.  The humming birds love the honeysuckle vine, looking the best it ever has, I might add.  I think the icky snow was very good for it, small mercies.  The bright green shrubs are lime mound spirea, and they will soon be covered in rather fuzzy pink blossoms that bees and butterflies adore.  The taller shrub, at the right, is a box honeysuckle.  It is a little wild, but makes teeny tiny cream colored blossoms, just now dropping, that bees can’t seem to get enough of.  I love the little humming symphony.  As well, I love to help my bee friends, as they are kind of in peril.  Visit the Xerces Society to find out more, or just plant something that blooms to give them some food.

Finally, here is Hans the garden gnome tending to his patch.  You already know the spirea and honeysuckle from above.  Next to that is the evergreen Thuja, Abelia (also a little wild looking but a favorite of hummingbirds and bees), a coral bell not quite in bloom, and the primrose.

It is hard to believe this was almost entirely weeds when we moved in.  Only the apple was here, all the more reason to put my feet up and enjoy!