Thursday, May 30, 2013


Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.

(pic:  honeybee on avocado flowers, via

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


On a chilly am, the honeybees cluster at the hive entrance.

Iris Raised Bed

 Raised bed for heritage irises and herbs.  A couple of irises are currently blooming.  Several more are in bud.  The later ones are from the Spring planted irises from Old House Gardens.

My goal last fall, until now, was for the irises to establish in this location.  They look good.  So now, some minor  maintenance, nurturing, and puttering from time to time, and hope for a more lavish display next year.  I feel fortunate that some of the Spring planted irises did indeed bloom, or will, so I get a taste of things to come.

The little blu-ish iris is Her Majesty.  It's not as blue in person, but bluer than the catalog color.  Effect of soil pH?  Climate?

New raised bed for heritage irises.  Built this past weekend, filled, and moved several irises from places where they had bee stuck due to no good places elsewhere.  The variegated iris is Iris pallida variegata alba.   The other blooming iris is an unnamed Iris I bought from a source in Tennessee last summer.  Slight fragrance.

I also planted herbs from other locations.  Chives, oregano.  Areas the will have irises later, I planted with swiss chard and carrots.  I planted the edges with sweet alyssum seeds.
Helen Collingwood

Night Hawk
Helen Collingwood.  I've been wondering if i would like this one.  I do.  It's handsome and has a mild sweet fragrance.  It has not fallen over in the rain, and the rain has not damaged the flowers, which gives it an advantage over a lot of the fluffy modern varieties.

Night Hawk.  Also a mild sweet fragrance.  Not a heritage variety, but I liked it.  This iris did fall over in the rain.  So I staked it for support.  The color on my computer looks true to the flower.

Bumblebees have been exploring these flowers.  I didn't see any honeybees in them.

Planting Seeds.

Spring Seed Planting
These are the seeds I planted in the past week.

Alyssum and Bonanza Mix Marigolds in the tomato bed.  They sprouted during the rains of the last week.  Also planted alyssum seeds in the border of the new iris raised bed.

Clemson Spineless Okra - Also in the tomato bed.  Clemson Spineless was introduced by Clemson University in 1939, 50-64 days.  That's in an ideal hot climate - possibly 2 or 3 months here if it bears at all.  After one week of rain, I also saw sprouts.  I read that they require soaking and heat.  So I started some today after soaking with 2 changes of water, for several hours.  I also read Okra doesn't respond well to transplanting.  The seeds I planted today I planted in newspaper-lined containers to reduce transplant shock.

Swiss Chard - in empty squares of the iris bed I set up last weekend.  It will be mid to late summer before I add the irises in those spaces.  I don't want to leave it with bare soil.  Space is at a premium.

Petite Yellow Watermelon ( 65-80 days) and Blacktail Mountain Watermelon (65-75 days) - Haven't tried watermelons here.  Starting in containers, today.  Then into raised bed.  Cleared some space in the raised bed, from winter vegetables.  Some of those didn't do well, others have been harvested - radishes, greens.

Minnesota Midget Canteloupe (60-75 days).  Haven't tried these either.  These are a small melon, 4 inches, and the vines are 3 feet long.  May plant them in containers, not sure yet.  Also starting in containers, today.

Japanese Soyu Burpless Cucumber (65 days).  Starting in containers today.  Will find a place for them.

Asparagus Pea (60-75 days).  Starting in containers.  Will need to fine a place for them too.

Parisian Carrot (55 days) and Red Cored Chantenay Carrot.  (70 Days).  Also in the new iris bed, for the same reason.

Also some cleome seeds for Ning's meadow.

Also the last of the sweet potatoes.  One week ago, I discovered what looked like near dead sweet potato starts in the mailbox.  They were there for the weekend.  I cleaned them up and planted the best looking ones in a half barrel.  These sweet potatoes were described as an early variety, good for the North.  The remaining set I placed in a glass of water, with daily water changes.  They also look better, grew new roots, so I planted them today.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tomato Bed

Tomato Bed
Tomatoes, planted and ready for some sunshine.  The 3  smaller ones were plants I grew from seeds.  Late start for those.  Also some basil plants.  Last week in this tomato cage, I also planted 2 rows of okra, and edges of sweet alyssum seeds and marigold seeds, which have germinated.
Korean Dogwood

Trees I Planted Sept 2012

Another View of Trees Planted Sept 2012

Greenspire Linden 8 Months Later

Planted Sept 8 2012

May 26 2013
Growing Nicely.  Some care, mulch, compost, and watering, and it looks like it's settled in.   Being May instead of September, everything is greener.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I've planted several Buddleia hybrid shrubs around the Battleground place.  They are sterile hybrids, meaning they do not produce seeds.  Buddleia davidii is illegal in Oregon due to prolific seed production resulting in invasion of the plants into wild places, but sterile hybrids are legal.

Since I bought them at Portland nursery, I wondered about their legality in Washington State.  So I looked it up.

Image is from Wikipedia commons, public domain.  The images of the hybrids I bought are similar, but not identical to this flower.

I wanted Buddleia shrubs due to fast growth for some privacy, and good nectar source for insects.  Especially honeybees, but also other nectar collecting insects.

According to the WA noxious weed website, Buddleia davidii (again, the fertile one) is a Class B noxious weed.  Quoting, "Class B Weeds:  Non-native species presently limited to portions of Washington. Species are designated for control in regions where they are not yet widespread. Preventing new infestations in these areas is a high priority. In regions where a Class B species is already abundant, control is decided at the local level, with containment as the primary goal."

So the species would be considered an issue.  That does not designate sterile hybrids which, by definition, can't be invasive.  In King County, Buddleia davidii are on the nonregulated noxious weed list, which means they are not forbidden but are discouraged.  However, I'm not in King, I'm in Clark County.  I also looked up the Clark County list.  Again, it lists Buddleia davidii, but not hybrids

I think I'll be OK growing these varieties.  I feel like I have to be a lawyer to figure out what I can grow.  Gardening should be a respite.....

Bearded Irises in Bloom.

Sunny Disposition 1989, Accent 1952, Bumblebee Deelite 1986

Accent 1952
 Irises in bloom.  These photos were from a few days ago.  It's raining too much today.  All of these were divided and replanted last year.  From clumps that were filled with grass and not blooming.  After dividing and replanting, I watered multiple times in the summer with 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of Miracle Gro for tomatoes.  Not organic.  But no pesticide or herbicide.  I considered this intensive care for these irises.  It worked well.  They recovered very well.  This method was successful.  The clumps are each in a tree circle of edging to keep out grass.  That helps a lot.

Sunny Disposition.  One of the first ones I grew.  There are starts of this one around the yard, and at the Battleground place.  Sunny Disposition is fragrant.  It blooms despite neglect.  It sometimes falls over in the rain.

Accent.  Identified via HIPS website.  Accent is reliable, rugged, takes neglect, and does not fall over in the rain.

Bumblebee Deelite.  Much smaller.  These have also multiplied and grow nicely.  I planted them in the fence rows at the Battleground place.   None of those bloomed this year.  It's a cute variety.

Redondo.  Doesn't look anything like the web photo.  Red type colors do not come true in photos and the internet.  This is also a smaller variety.  It was an early bloomer.

Immortality.  As of last year, considered a heritage variety.  Lush white flower.  I'm glad it recovered.

Gay Parasol.  Nice with a light fragrance.  Will either keep  here or add to heritage varieties at Battleground.

Pink Bubbles.  A border variety.  The leaves were not vigorous but the flowers are nice.  Also a heritage variety that I might move to the Battleground place, but also like here.

Edith Wolford.  Not a heritage variety yet.  This clump recovered very well with the treatment above.  Many flower spikes and each with multiple flowers.  Very nice.

Red Oriental Poppy.  I grew these from seeds in about 2002.  They needed a year or two to bloom.  I've moved them once since establishment.  Lush and bright.  Nice.   Last winter I read about growing Papaver somniferum, and found seeds at Portland Nursery.  Then I read about potential legal problems with growing that species.  So I didn't grow those.  Papaver orientalis is just as lush, and no legal issues.
Redondo 2000

Immortality 1982

Gay Parasol 1974, Pink Bubbles 1980

Edith Wolford 1986, Gay Parasol, Pink Bubbles

Red Poppy

Bearded Iris Order

Gingersnap 1965
Gracchus 1884
 It's a rainy day, 4th day in a row.  Chilly, 40s.  Not inspired to work in the rain in the garden.

Even though I'm streamlining in some ways, and giving up some varieties, I ordered these.  Mainly for the heritage varieties and fragrance.

Gingersnap is described as having a root beer scent.

Gracchus is not described as scented.  I saw a bed of this variety at Schreiner's.  It is better in person than in the catalog.

Owyhee Desert is unusual.  The flowers are described as smaller than most.  Good in a rainy climate were the big flowers fall over.

Photos are from Schreiner's.  Since I'm linking to them, I hope it's OK that I'm posting them here.  Every order from them has been excellent.
Owyhee Desert 1997

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tree starts. Figs. Wild Plums. Apples.

Fig, Wild Plum, Apple, starts
Current status of mostly fig starts.  These were cuttings starting in Jan and Feb, some from my trees at home and some from exchanges on gardenweb.  Fig varieties Carini (New Jersey), Ronde de Bordeaus, Black Marseilles, LSU Champagne, LSU Tiger, Panachee, Smith, Hardy Chicago, Lattarula, King.  The apples are two that I grafted at the Home Orchard Society grafting workshop. The apples are Spitzenberg and Sutton's Beauty.    The plums are grown from seeds from a neighborhood wild plum tree.

Grafted Tomato. Broccoli. Chilis.

Grafted Tomato Hawaiian Pineapple.  Broccoli.

This grafted tomato is growing fast.  There are flower buds which were present when it was bought.  I don't know yet if it will lead to good tomatoes, but the growth is impressive.

This is the first time I've grown broccoli.  Starting to develop broccoli head in the center.

Chili peppers.  Also growing nicely.  These are at the place in Vancouver.  The ones at Battleground are bug or slug eaten and smaller.

Both the Tomato and Chilis are mulched with dried cherry blossoms I swept off the deck.  Kind of an exotic mulch.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fruit Trees. Mini Orchard.

Almaden Duke Cherry

Jujube in bee yard

Jujube in orchard
 Almaden Duke Cherry, I moved last summer.  At the time I wondered if it would survive, due to wilting.  Growing nicely.  Only a couple of cherries now.  That may be due to the late frost, which caused a lot of damage to other trees and vines.
Illinois Everbearing Mulberry

North Star Cherry

Sunflower Paw Paw

NC1 Paw Paw

Oregon Curl Free Peach

Indian Blood Peach

Charlotte Peach

Chinese Haw Red Sun

Seijo Persimmon
 Jujube.  I forget which of the two this is.  One is Li and the other is Coco.  From One Free World last summer.  Both are late to start, but now growing.  They have a lot of growing ahead before they amount to anything.   Not a good recommendation for the source.  Planted last fall.
Nikita's Gift Persimmin

One jujube is in the bee  yard, the other in the little orchard.  This fall the other may also be in the bee yard, to provide room for another plum or peach.

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry.  Whatever frost damage was there, it's recovered.  Soon it will need a bird net.

North Star Pie Cherry.  Thanks to the rainy week, it didn't lose a leaf or wilt after planting.  From Lowes.

Sunflower and NC1 Paw Paws.  growing nicely.  They seem to leaf out later than most other trees, about the same time as the jujubes and mulberry.

Oregon Curl Free Peach.  This little tree won't have peaches this year.  It is one of the least affected I've seen as far as Leaf Curl is concerned.  From One Green World last year.  So far, not very vigorous.  There is a summer ahead for growth.  Might make up for lost time.

Indian Blood Peach.  Minimal leaf curl.  Much less than most of the others.  This year I hope it recovers from the damage I did transplanting it from vancouver.  I lost most of the roots when I dug it up.  Surprised it survived.  Can't be disappointed at it for not having peaches this year - just survive and grow.  From Raintree.

Charlotte peach.  Supposed to be curl resistant. It's not.  Or not very.  What a mess.  I will need to research replacements.  I don't want to get stuck with another susceptible peach tree.  It's making a comeback with new growth.   Give it another year to see what happens.

Chinese Haw.  Growing nicely.  From One Green World.  Bare root planted last fall.

Seijo Persimmon and Nikita's Gift Persimmon.  Both growing nicely.  Bare root, planted this spring.  From Raintree.  They will need extra water all summer, because persimmons are said to have inadequate roots to support their tops, for the first year.


Iris and herb bed
Iris germanica

NOID from Tennessee

Los Coyotes
The iris and herb bed.  Most of the newest heritage irises are yet to bloom.  They do have buds.  I think they are later blooming, and smaller, because they were planted this Spring.  Next year they should be a bit bigger.  It's nice to see them blooming the first Spring.

Loreley heritage iris.  1909.  Sweet fragrance.  The flower itself is floppy.  The color pattern on each petal is different.  This was from Iris City Gardens.  Planted last summer.

Iris germanica.  This was planted this spring.  1500.  From Old House Gardens, planted this spring.  Fragrant.

NOID from Iris City Gardens.  Date unknown.  Not fragrant.

I plan to start a second raised bed for heritage irises and favorite ones, especially scented, and herbs.  Then these in mixed beds and the kitchen garden will have a better spot.

Los Coyotes.  Not a heritage variety.  I like the form and colors.  Like many modern irises, it flopped over in the rain.  No fragrance.  I do like the flower but not the flopping.  Haven't decided if it will be in the iris bed or I might give it to Ning for his iris border.

Iris florentina.   1500.   Nice scent.    Smaller than I expected, but it was planted this spring.  Maybe next year it will be larger.  from Old House Gardens.
Iris Florentina

Kitchen Garden

Here is the kitchen garden now.  Yesterday I added a raised bed.  As usual bottom is lined with chicken wire to prevent mole damage.   I planted tomatoes.  This time the deer/rabbit fence is vertical.
 There is space in this format for 2 more raised beds.  Then it will be three by three.  It does not have to be that formal.

I planted the tomatoes deep, as is the recommendation.
 Instead of a gate, the chicken wire on one side is looped over screws and held in place by clothes pins.  The fence posts are screwed to the sides of the bed using deck screws.

On the sides that do not open, the chicken wire is stabled to the frame.  To frustrate and annoy rabbits.

I don't think the deer will jump in.  I read they don't like confined spaces.
The lighter-green tomato was in the raised bed with radishes and snow peas.  I don't know why it's lighter green.  Maybe not enough nitrogen.  The other plants in that bed are quite green.

This soil is 50/50 compost topsoil mix from recycler.  That might green it up.

I have some seedling tomatoes at home that will also be added.  Maybe next week.


This is the Weigela I bought at Schreiner's last week.  It was in a 1-gallon container.  Large plant but pot bound.  I suspect it's a start from one of the big weigelas in their show garden, likely an old or heritage variety.
I pruned the roots so they will grow into the surrounding soil instead of winding around.  That might leave it more susceptible to dehydration but better in the long run.  The soil is fairly high clay so should retain moisture.  I mulched with compost then straw.  It will need watering this summer.

Weigelas are listed as deer resistant, drought tolerant, and pollinator friendly.  I saw honeybees pollinating them at Schreiner's.  They are also listed as hummingbird friendly.

I think this one will grow large, based on the ones I saw at the show garden.

If they bloom on growth that occurs early spring the year before, it might not bloom next year.  If they bloom on growth that occurs after flowering, there is a better chance of blooming next year.