Archive for Dramatic Flowers – Page 2

Diversity of Dogwoods Part II

Portland Landscape Designer Appreciates Diversity of Dogwood Trees

The diversity of dogwoods is well illustrated by these two trees:  Cornus Kousa ‘Summer Gold’ and Cornus Controversa ‘June Snow’.

Summer Gold dogwood

Bright cream flowers are backed by colorful variegation of ‘Summer Gold’ dogwood. Photo courtesy of Heritage Seedlings

Korean Dogwood ‘Summer Gold’

I love ‘Summer Gold’ partially because it’s so different from other dogwoods.   ‘Summer Gold’ has narrow bright green and gold leaves and an upright narrow shape.  The shape fits into urban settings much better than a round headed typical dogwood.

Traditional dogwoods (Cornus Florida and Cornus Kousa) have a wide oval solid green leaf and a  20′ or more wide round canopy.   ‘Summer Gold’ was created by local Crispin Silva who is a delight.  His curiosity and enthusiasm about plants has inspired many people in Portland including me. People here refer to his plants as “Crispin’s Creations”.

‘June Snow’ can be the single tree in your backyard because she has it all, grace, fall color, and an amazing floral display.

‘June Snow’ Dogwood matures at 30′ tall and spreads to 40′ wide. She has an arching shape and while bigger than typical dogwoods She has the most graceful silhouette even in winter.  I use her to create light shade for medium to medium small landscapes.  Too big for your typical row house back yard that is only 20′ wide, with another ten feet she can be the single beloved tree.  She was introduced by J. Frank Schmidt Company also near Portland, Oregon.

Her branch structure is incredibly graceful and open.

Cornus 'June Snow'

‘June Snow’ dogwood at Portland’s Legacy-Emanuel Hospital in The Children’s Garden.

When she flowers in June these flat topped clusters (which often exceed 6 inches) seem to float above the foliage.  The fall color on ‘June Snow’ can compete with any dogwood. The color show starts with orange yellows and moves into intense purple red and purple as fall deepens.  The fruit that develops from the flower clusters are quite tiny and not messy.  The local birds will eat them.

Studying trees is what Portland landscape designers do so we can bring you the best choices.  Ok and we are geeky about plants.   Read more about dogwood trees….. Diversity of Dogwoods Part 1

 

 

 

 

Diversity of Dogwoods Part I

Cornus Kousa 'Satomi' at Joy Creek Nursery.

Cornus Kousa ‘Satomi‘ at Joy Creek Nursery.

Diversity of Dogwoods – Part I

Dogwoods are a very large family.  There are twiggy shrub dogwoods whose hot colored stems light up the winter landscape.  There is a dogwood who blooms in March with yellow flowers and makes an edible fruit.  There are semi evergreen dogwoods we are experimenting with here in Portland.  This is the kind of knowledge homeowners need their designers to be up to date on.  When a client asks me for a dogwood I know its the visual and emotional impact of the flowers they are thinking of.  Designers think through the details to find the right variety for the clients size of yard and environment so our clients don’t have to.  Landscapes come in all different sizes and environments and now so do Dogwoods.

Plant designers have been busy improving our old-fashioned dogwood tree into a garden designers dream tree. Our old dogwood varieties have problems that plant designers have been working on for 40 years.

Cornus-Kousa 'Satomi' Intense pink flowers. Photo by Randall C. Smith, courtesy of Great Plant Picks

Cornus Kousa ‘Satomi’  Intense pink flowers.  New on the scene, ‘Little Ruby’  is a deeper pink. Photo by Randall C. Smith, courtesy of Great Plant Picks

They are improving drought tolerance, disease resistance (okay not sexy but important!)  and cold hardiness.  They’ve created new shapes that fit better into the urban environment.

What is sexy or desirable are the improvements made to the flowers.  Let’s admit it, where dogwoods are concerned,  we want even pinker flowers.   Everyone wants more color than nature supplies on her own. There are darker shades of more intense pink red.

Cornus Kousa 'Venus' has large dogwood flowers

Cornus Kousa ‘Venus’ has large white flowers which are 6 to 7 inches across.

Varieties such as ‘Little Ruby’  showcase the new strong colors.   ‘Little Ruby’ is wider than tall.  She is  plump and round headed and can be used in the landscape as a shrub or small tree.

Another new variety is called ‘Starlight’.  This cross is from our own native Pacific Northwest Dogwood;  the shape is upright and more narrow.  It works for your small yard or as a street tree. There’s a beautiful ‘Starlight’ in the courtyard of the Edith Green federal building in downtown Portland as an example of a tree perfect for urban life.

Cornus Kousa 'Starlight' dogwood

‘Starlight’ dogwood is a cross from our Pacific Northwest native dogwood. The narrow shape is perfect for urban life. http://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/cornus-starlight

 

‘Venus’ features ginormus white flowers which are 6″-7″ across.  Like ‘Starlight’ they produce little to no  fruit unlike the many Korean dogwoods hybridized and sold in the last 15 years.  In fact even Friends of Trees offer messy Korean dogwoods.  I confess I make a TSKK TSKK when I see the huge mess they make on the sidewalks. In the fall they drop a large raspberry colored fruit.  Friends of Trees is a fabulous organization and many clients have been happy to purchase an inexpensive tree and learn how to care for their tree.  I would use the fruitless varieties near walkways and for small yards and save the old fashioned fruiting types for large properties.

 

Garden Designer Brings Integration and Function To “Mismatched” Landscape

The new deck feels like an outdoor living room and makes the garden feel part of the house.

The new deck feels like an outdoor living room and makes the garden feel like part of the house.

“My garden adventures with Carol, Design in a Day, began in 2010.  Carol took my “mismatched” garden and pulled it together by incorporating a variety of plants which added interesting leaf shapes, texture, and color.  With the addition of stone paths and walls, art pieces, and a deck with planter boxes, she created a garden that blends continuity, interest, and beauty.

The old deck seemed small and cut off from the garden area.

The old deck was too small, felt cut off from the garden, and made an unattractive view.

Since a garden is an ever-changing palate, I have continued to work with Carol as my garden coach so my garden space will continue to thrive.

Carol is professional, knowledgeable, and talented.  She’s a good listener and will collaborate with a team of experienced and creative contractors as well as resources for plants.  With Carol’s style of landscape design one can select from a wide menu of options – from a garden design only where the client does the work, to a design and consultation, up to supervision of the project.”

August in the garden: Hakonechloa Macra 'Albostriata' - Japanese Forest Grass; Aconitum 'Tall Blue' - Monkshood; Hardy Fuchsia

August in the garden: Hakonechloa Macra ‘Albostriata’ – Japanese Forest Grass; Aconitum ‘Tall Blue’ – Monkshood; Hardy Fuchsia

When I work with an established garden, I strive to bring an experienced eye that can see exciting new possibilities with the removal of plants and features that no longer work (or missed by a mile simply because no one knew what could be).  It’s hard for clients to do this on their own.  For many years some plants were wonderful and were loved.  I have been hired to help my clients have their best garden. Telling them a plant  is great just because they love it is not earning my pay.  I try to do this gently when it needs to be done.

We (Lois and I) made so many amazing changes in our design process but I will speak of a few.  This garden already had a mature dogwood tree.  Its location was perfect but it had been damaged by the pruning of a well intentioned “mow, blow and go” gardener.  It took 3 years of light but precise pruning to correct damage and now it is the long term focal point of the back garden.

The new deck feels more like an outdoor living room and is an extension of the great room. What had been a dark interior room now feels significantly bigger and airy.  We used planters instead of railing and they bring the garden (including year round flowering plantings) up into the view from inside.  Before our design, the garden was obscured and felt cut off from the house, now it feels like part of the great room.  We created a kitchen window view with plantings that look good year round and bring the Anna hummingbirds into close view in winter.  This had previously been a forgotten area and the client had no expectations for it.  To her it was just a side yard.  Now it is one of her favorite views.

Driveway pic 1 plants tempOur adventures do continue.  Here are photos of our latest improvement, a retaining wall and plantings that dresses her driveway beautifully.Driveway pic 2 temp

New Portlander Loves Colorful Garden

Janet loves sitting out in her patio garden and also seeing the color explosion from her dining nook.

Joanne loves sitting out in her patio garden and also seeing the color explosion from her dining nook.

Joanne Diehl found her perfect home in Portland.  I met her in the early spring.  Her new home showed the results of careful attention to color, the interior was full of soft hues, contrasted with a deep red, a favorite color.  Mostly Joanne felt there were no problems.  She just wanted a colorful landscape.  But we designers tend to see things differently.  I get very excited about color or plants but I could see many problems that needed to be solved first.  As Joanne and I talked, we made a tidy list of issues.  Her view out of her kitchen and dining area was not attractive and not private.  She was constantly catching  AEC “accidental eye contact” from the neighborhood walkers while drinking her morning coffee.

Tricky property in a neighborhood just off busy Boones Ferry.

Tricky property in a neighborhood just off busy Boones Ferry.

The view out included the cyclone fence, a rough gravel parking area adjacent to the road, the neighbor’s lavender garage doors and the intersection.  The house had no door to the back yard and it was dark due to the neighbors overgrown trees.  She had a small porch off the kitchen opening to the front yard.  She wanted to step out of her kitchen into the perfect summer patio.  It would be for her and her new granddaughter so they could enjoy the flowers and each other.  Joanne had faith from day one that we would make magic and together with Donna Burdick of D & J Landscape Contracting we did just that.

What a great summer garden, this is just months after the installation.

After corner garden.  What a great summer garden!

Joanne is “all gardener” and I confess I had to gently convince her to have some winter bones in the design.  This front patio was also her curb appeal.  She didn’t want to give up the summer floral explosion that is important to her.  She is right to be concerned, doing too many evergreens can rob space for the full billow of summer color and flowers if one is not astute and adequate patio furnishings also.  Her front yard was very small and it had a lot of big dreams to fulfill.

During construction. it was a friendly neighborhood so everyone came by to watch the transformation.

Before corner garden.

So here’s our list:  Create private summer patio room.  Make room for lots of flowers.  Curb Appeal.  Attractive from sitting area inside the house.  Small, only 15 feet deep. Privacy from street and intersection.  So yes we needed magic. And together we found plenty!

We saved one existing plant Seiryu Japanese maple, it created wonderful privacy.  All the rest of the plants were new.  Joanne and I designed her planting plan together.  

We designed Spring of 2014.  Her stone patio, new fencing, soil prep and plantings were installed that summer.  I drove by the fall of 2015, a full year after her garden was installed.  I was delighted to see how mature and colorful her garden looked and I left her a note that I had been there.  Here’s her reply:  “Sorry I missed you.  You came by just before my big fall clean up.  I read your last newsletter about pruning lavender in the fall.  I got after my lavender which lead to all kinds of cleaning up.  My new front garden is a great way to meet my new neighbors as they walk by and stop to chat.  I’d like to say the garden is cheaper than therapy, but it is definitely therapeutic for me!”

Hellebore Heaven

Hellebore 9

A sample of the many varieties of Hellebore in bloom at the open garden.

If you love Hellebores (like I do) don’t miss this open garden.  The O’Byrne family designs Hellebores and have an international following.  Marietta and Ernie are rock stars in the garden design world.  Their Hellebores will dazzle you with color and form. Plus they are sturdy plants, bred in Eugene Oregon at the Northwest Garden Nursery.

Why go?

First, you’ll have a chance to buy these unusual and fantastically beautiful plants (most are not available locally).  Second, you can buy them in a large 2 gallon size, not in tiny sizes.

Hellebore in woodland setting.

Hellebore in woodland setting.

 

Display Garden

Walk through a 1.5 acre garden with many different micro climates.  See Hellebores planted en masse in an open woodland with companion plantings of shrubs and spring bulbs.

Hellebore 2

Here are Hellebores with drought tolerant Yucca in full sun.

Also see the large sun garden where you will find Hellebores in combination with interesting rock garden plants, succulents and more.  Most people think Hellebores are for shade only.

The garden art is unique, interesting and never overwhelms the garden, something I appreciate in a design.

My sister's feet on a Jeffrey Bale stone mosiac landing.

My sister’s feet on a Jeffrey Bale stone mosiac landing.

Open Garden in February

Call a friend and save the date: Northwest Garden Nursery holds an open garden every year, typically the third week of February. Last year I took my sister Donna and her friend (and my client) Sherry.  They are plant fiends and appreciated seeing such a large display of Hellebores. We were not able to purchase any plants, however, because they were sold out! So make sure you go early in the week if you want to make some purchases.

We also visited Greer Gardens and I got to say good bye to Harold Greer who is beyond the rock star status.  His lifetime of work with Rhododendrons and other plants has enriched my designs and my life, so it was poignant to go and purchase a few last plants from him.  I purchased a rock garden plant, Rhododendron kiusianum White Form.  It was exquisite. He has closed his mail order company.  Bloom River Gardens will be trying to fill Harold’s shoes.

Hellebore 7 Hellebore 6 Hellebore 4

Pictures left to right:  Double Hellebore covers my fingers.  Amazing foliage.  Dark edge contrasts with sunlit pale petals.