Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Many Faces of Portland--Part II

When I wrote my last post about Portland--Part I of its many faces--I jokingly said that it might be a month before I finished the sequel.  Little did I know how true that would be!  Fall activities have pushed blogging to the back burner, and I'm still learning how to navigate Windows 8.0 on my new computer, especially locating and editing photo files.  But enough of excuses--it's time to look back on more impressions from this summer's Portland Fling.

The Historic side of Portland:

I confess I really don't know much about the history of Portland, but it's hard to travel to Oregon without being reminded of its significance in the Westward Movement.  When I made my first trip to Portland--a four-day road trip--in 2009 to help my daughter move there for grad school, I couldn't help but think of the hardy pioneers who made this long and treacherous trip, not in days but months.  Pioneer Square in the heart of the city, where the above sign is located, commemorates the courage of these early pioneers.

When we traveled to the coast the day before the Fling, Daughter and I found many more historical sites.  Near Astoria at the northwestern tip of Oregon, the Astoria Column stands out as a reminder of early exploration of the area.  Built in 1926 and financed by the Astor family, the column overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River.  Modeled after the Roman Trajan's Column, the tower's murals depict significant events in the early history of Oregon including Lewis and Clark's expedition and the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Gray in 1792.  That's my daughter at the top who, even though she's in good shape, said she was winded by climbing the spiral staircase of this 125-foot tower.  Needless to say, I stayed on the ground.

Throughout state parks and other points of interest, there are reminders of the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806 that paved the way for later travelers along the Oregon Trail.

One of the goals of the expedition was to find a waterway across the western part of the continent suitable for commerce.  The Wreck of the Peter Iredale in Fort Stevens State Park is a reminder of the importance of the shipping industry to Oregon.  It has stood grounded in the sand for more than 100 years, even surviving a bombardment of Fort Stevens by the Japanese during WWII.

But back to Portland and the Fling . . .

The gardens of Portland are Eclectic:

Some of the gardens we visited certainly had a unique style, such as the Dry Garden above located in the Portland Japanese Garden.

Others reflected the individual style of the gardener.  I just had to stick this photo of JJ's garden in somewhere.  No surprise the pots are orange, since that is the dominant color in her garden, but they were huge! 

But what is most noticeable about the gardens we visited in Portland is that because of its temperate climate, they can grow just about everything.  From a Southwestern style of cacti and succulents as found in Danger Garden's front yard above . . .

. . . to a more Midwestern feel with prairie and native plants at Scott's Rhone Street Gardens . . .

. . . to a little bit of everything, found at Floramagoria above.

Portland's gardens are Inviting:

Danger Garden

Every garden we visited had cozy seating areas where tired bloggers on sensory overload could catch their breath for a minute and chat with others or make notes of creative ideas they had seen and wanted to remember.

As inviting as the gardens were, sometimes they could also be a bit dangerous:)  Loree's Danger Garden is appropriately named as a few bloggers found out first hand when they became a little too curious.  A few had some minor battle scars after getting too close to Loree's collection of cacti.

But those skirmishes were isolated incidents.  A seating area at Floramagoria even provided a cozy fire.

No fire needed on the warm day we visited the colorful Ernst garden.

Another large seating area at Floramagoria provided the perfect spot for lunch on a rainy Sunday.

And a favorite spot for several of us on the sweltering first day of the Fling was the patio table at JJ's garden shaded by a misting umbrella.  Yes, I did purposely stand under the spray and got a little wet; it felt wonderful! (Notice those big orange pots in the background again--this gives you a better idea of their size.)

Portland's gardens are Wildlife and Eco-friendly:

This sign greeted us as we entered Chickadee Gardens and gave us a clue on what to expect within--a garden filled bees and other pollinators.

This garden was jam-packed with plants, including a green roof above the garage porch.

More friendly plantings at Floramagoria

With its own beehive in the side yard.

If you look very closely, you'll even notice a bee on a waterlily at the Chinese Garden.

A stand of tall Rudbeckias at either Cistus or Joy Creek Nursery
 not only attracted me, but the bees as well.

There were feline helpers in many of the gardens we visited, but one of the more unusual "wildlife" visitors was this chicken at Scott's garden.  He belongs to a neighbor down the street, but apparently
prefers the offerings at Scott's and frequently comes for a stroll through the garden.

Bloggers always seem to have their cameras ready, but what is fascinating these three?

Why, the famous Danger Dog himself!  I wonder if he knows the celebrity status he has achieved through the blog Danger Garden:)

Although the Fling is all about gardening and having the chance to see one fantastic garden after another, it's all about people, too. I was delighted to see some familiar faces from other Flings I've attended, meet some bloggers for the first time whose blogs I read, and to meet so many new people.  One thing is true about garden bloggers--there is never a shortage of things to talk about!

A few of the Friendly Faces in Portland:

At JJ.'s garden

With 80+ bloggers in attendance, gardens were photographed from every angle.  Forgive me for not identifying everyone in these photos, but there were a few people I didn't get a chance to talk to, and even more whose names I'm afraid I may have forgotten in the last two months. 

At the Fuller garden . . . I think

At Scott's garden

One name I won't forget--Claire, who was my seatmate on the bus for one day and whose distinctive red hat made her stand out in the crowd. 

Janet of The Queen of Seaford kept her Facebook followers up to date with posts from the "front"--here at Scott's garden again.

Alas, her face isn't visible here, but this is Michelle of Veg Plotting taking a break at the Chinese Garden.  I was so excited to finally meet "VP", one of my first commenters over six years ago.  Michelle was one of five bloggers who made the long journey from the UK to attend this year's Fling.
When they weren't photographing the gardens, bloggers always had time to chat and swap ideas.  Taken at the Chinese Garden again, that's the irrepressible Tammy of Casa Mariposa on the left, who is as fun-loving and delightful in person as you would expect from reading her blog.

More familiar faces to many--and one new one--Jean, Gail, Charlotte (of the UK), and Lisa wait for the bus outside Scott's garden.

And finally, one of our hosts--the super-organized and very patient Scott in front of his Rhone Street Gardens.   So many thanks go to him and his cohorts in organizing a fantastic and memorable Garden Bloggers' Fling this year!
Readers who also attended the Portland Fling may notice a couple of omissions here and in my previous post.  I wrote about both Old Germantown Gardens and Westwind Gardens earlier, which you may find here if you missed it.  I left a little early from the garden tours on Saturday and even earlier on Sunday to spend some time exploring other parts of the city with my daughter.  As a result, I didn't get any photos of the McMenamins Kennedy School and completely missed the Kuzma and Bella Madrona Gardens.   I also deliberately omitted most photos of Scott's garden because I hope to do a separate post on just his garden one day--no doubt that will be in the dead of winter!


  1. This is a fun post Rose. You did a great job with those two good fingers. :)

  2. Oh, it looks like so much fun! If my family will stop having major events happen during the flings, maybe I'll make it one of these days. ;-) After reading this and many of the other Portland posts, I can see I must make it out there to see the lovely, eclectic gardens!

  3. Rose- it was so exciting to meet you too as you were one of my first gardening discoveries from across the pond via ABC Wednesday. It's been lovely to revisit these gardens again through your eyes - I was one of the bloggers who got the full Danger Garden experience! I hope on another Fling we get more time for a long chat :)

  4. Fun to read and see more from this year's fling. Also great to put faces to some of the bloggers I "know", but have never met. I really like the use of colorful accessories and furniture in some of these gardens. It really adds to the overall effect of the gardens.

  5. I did so want to visit the eclectic collection of gardens and the beauty of the city you showed us here...but I am glad I saw it through your eyes.

  6. I had been waiting for part 2 and wasn't disappointed. I'm always curious about Portland, Maine's sister city, although we Mainers like to point out that Portland, Oregon was named after our city. The gardens are gorgeous and it looks like you had fun with your friends. It's wonderful how blogging builds community in the real world too. Thanks for the tour!

  7. That danger garden made me laugh - it looked so nice and cozy! And then you told us what the danger was! Ouch!

    Looks like everyone had a good time. Thanks for taking us on the tour. I'd love to go to Portland for the next fling!

  8. Another great wrap up of the fling. You're right that the gardens stood out for their inviting and environmental qualities. I wish I had had the time to visit more of the sights.

  9. What a great post! I love Danger Garden's front yard, you wouldn't believe it could exist in the same city as Scott's beautiful garden, but there again I think I have moved somewhere with a very similar climate. Some great ideas for seating areas, though I think avoiding cacti should be an essential part of designing any place to sit, I remember walking around a garden in Arizona and thinking how easy it would be to brush upl against one of the many cacti that gave it such a striking architecture. Portland is definitely somewhere I regret not having managed to spend time in, back when I was travelling to the US regularly for work.

  10. I enjoyed all of it!
    Loved the *inviting* photos and the *danger dog*!

    Portland looks as though it has some great history and loved that tall, round pillar with the graphics.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  11. What a fun post from our fair city! Sensory overload indeed - I wish we could do it all over again, now that it has cooled off a little... Anyway, I'm glad you got to visit the coast and some other sites as well. I have never seen that shipwreck. We might have to take a roadtrip out there soon. Let me know if you visit your daughter again soon - maybe we could meet up?

  12. Thank you for sharing all of that. What great gardens and love all the photos of the bloggers taking pics and posing too!

  13. A very interesting post about Portland and the Fling! The garden at Floramagoria is wonderful -- I remembered the gorgeous picture from your first Portland post.

  14. Great post. A wonderful tour of the Fling tour. It is so inspiring to visit other gardens and get new ideas and see new approaches.

  15. Rose, I like your 'historic' approach to the area, and I find the Portland gardens very interesting, but what I feel the most is my regret that I missed a chance to see the gardeners whose blogs I follow for several years!
    Familiar names and some familiar faces... Thank you for posting the pictures!

  16. Awesome post of the fling in Portland. So much to see and do! So glad you had fun. I very much enjoyed seeing it all through your eyes.

  17. What a great post! I love re living the fling later in the year and haven't posted anything about it yet myself. It was so nice to see you at the fling! So much fun!

  18. Wow. What a trip you had. I love Portland. I've explored it some, but you really got to explore it. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks all for stopping by and leaving a comment. I don't know where the time has gone lately--I am way behind in reading blogs, let alone replying to all your lovely comments. I had hoped to do more in-depth posts on the Portland Fling, but I don't think that's going to happen. But it certainly was a wonderful experience--Michelle, Jason, Anna, and Peter, it was so great to meet you all!


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