Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Many Faces of Portland--Part I

Summer is definitely winding down, despite the blast of heat and humidity a week ago and again today.  Students are back into the routine of getting up early to board the school bus and spending the day in the classroom. It's safe once again to walk into a discount or big-box store where they have finally finished re-stocking their shelves after the onslaught of college students stocking up for a semester of dorm or apartment living.  Summer vacation is quickly becoming a faded memory.

My own mini-vacation to Oregon and the Portland Fling in July is still vivid in my mind, but the details are getting fuzzy.  Even though I semi-organized photos when I returned home, I look at some photos and can't remember, was this in the Ernst Garden or the Fuller garden?  Joy Creek Nursery or Cistus?  Before my memory gets any hazier, I want to share some of the highlights of this memorable trip and my apologies to our hosts for any mis-labeled captions.

Like any big city, Portland has many sides to its character, and the gardens we visited during the Fling represented the different faces it presents.

It is a Vibrant city:

Hydrangeas at either the Fuller or Ernst garden

What I will remember most about the gardens in Portland are the lush plants and huge blooms.  One of the local bloggers told me they have a saying that if a plant usually grows to 3 feet tall, it will grow to 6 feet in Portland.  After seeing so many gardens in Portland, I believe it!

Hydrangea at Cistus Nursery
Not only were hydrangeas covered in blooms, but those blooms were huge.

Bloom at Joy Creek Nursery--I wish I could get my hydrangeas to turn blue instead of pink.

And Blue!

Crocosmia at Cistus Nursery
Crocosmia has to be a signature plant of Oregon as I also saw them in many home gardens when my daughter and I visited some coastal towns in Oregon.  I've never seen any this big before.

Begonias in a container planting at the Fuller garden.
Look at the size of these begonias compared to my hand!

Portland also has its Serene and Tranquil side:

We visited one of my favorite places in the whole city on Day 2 of the Fling--the Portland Japanese Garden.

Despite the heat, shady areas, shimmering pools and waterfalls, and mossy stones helped to make us feel cool.

I've visited this garden on previous visits to Portland--you can learn more about it here, if you wish.

More Asian inspiration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, one of our first stops on Day 1.

I had also visited this garden once before--more on the differences between a Japanese garden and a Chinese garden can be found in an earlier post here.
Serenity could be found in smaller spaces as well--here a scene from the Fuller garden.
The Playful side of Portland:
Orange Buddha at JJ De Sousa's garden

Entrance gate to JJ's garden--hmm, I wonder if she has trouble with rabbits:)
 Blogger Gerhard demonstrates the size of JJ's hostas.
I missed taking a photo of one of the best examples of playfulness--a scantily clad mannequin at Floramagoria.  Check out other Flingers' posts or the Facebook page for this one.
Portland is also a Colorful city:

Garden shed at Chickadee Gardens.

Koi at Japanese Garden

 Octopus? planter at JJ's--can you tell orange is her favorite color?
A colorful nook in the garden of artist Linda Ernst--
I love the way the art echoes the colors of the plants.
 Masses of blooms, foliage, and art create a beautiful display at Floramagoria.  
The Creative side of Portland:
Glass art in the garden of Joanne Fuller
 really stand out in all the green foliage.
Sculpture at the entrance to Westwind

A screen of metal spirals in either the Ernst or Fuller gardens serves as both trellis and eye-catching art.  I should explain these two gardeners were next door neighbors, and one garden led into the other, which is why I can't remember the exact location of couple of these photos.

Even the gravel path leading from the front to the back garden of Joanne Fuller held some interesting objets d'art. 
Next door, the creations of glass artist Linda Ernst blended in with the colorful blooms of the garden.
If you look closely, you'll see these glass blocks were made with leaf impressions.
At Floramagoria unusual pieces of garden art strategically placed here and there catch the eye amidst the interesting plant combinations.
I fell in love with Portland the first time I visited it five years ago, and I was thrilled to have the chance to visit it once again during this year's Fling.  Many thanks to our hard-working and super-organized hosts who gave us the opportunity to visit such a variety of gardens.  There are so many faces of Portland that I can't cover it all in one post, so stay tuned for Part II--which, at the rate I'm going, may not get posted for another month:)


  1. Great photos and descriptions as always, Rose! I wonder why plants grow so well and so large in Portland? Is it the temperatures? The ocean breezes? Just enough sun? A combination? I've heard it from others, too--just curious if they know why. It looks like it was a great Fling. :)

  2. Bellissimo quel giardino! E meraviglioso quell'angolo con le perenni! Grazie per queste immagini!

  3. You have chosen to show some fun and pretty images from your trip. I love the Jap/CHi garden. Those boulders are magnificent all covered with lichen and moss. FUN.

  4. Rose you captured Portland beautifully and so many shots I did not see in other bloggers pictures. I loved how you broke down the many aspects of the gardens there....I really wanted to go and am sad I missed it...I especially wanted to see the Japanese Garden, but I think I would never have left after being there as your picture made me long to see it even more...thank you for this lovely view of the Fling.

  5. Those Japanese Gardens are so beautifully tranquil looking. I love the metal spiral art too, I wouldn't want to cover it up though as it's so nice.

    You were really lucky to have so many great gardens to visit, lots of lovely memories I'm sure.

  6. I'm glad you were able to attend the Fling! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos. :-)

    They do get a lot of rainfall there.

  7. Good Morning Rose,

    The hydrangea blooms are beautiful. I never really took to hydrangea until I visited you all four years ago. I now have several in the garden and they are all doing well :)

    The Japanese garden is so serene.
    I love to see moss covering stones. I would love to have a moss garden in my little wood, it is something I am thinking seriously about. I have the right conditions.

    I love the glass artwork but would never consider it. Could you imagine it, with Nella and the Grand-children :)

    Lovely post, tku for sharing..........

  8. Beth, I'm not sure why they have such lush plants, but I'm sure weather plays a big part--lots of rain, but not the torrential downpours we get in the Midwest. They can grow so many different things, too, from cacti to prairie plants.

    Pontos, Thank you for visiting! These were indeed beautiful gardens.

    Lisa, You know I love Japanese gardens, and this one is my favorite of all. The Chinese garden is a little different, but still so peaceful and interesting.

    Donna, You would love the Portland Japanese Garden! It's definitely the most beautiful one I've ever seen. I had planned to do more in-depth posts on all the places we visited, but time has gotten away from me this summer.

    Paula, Yes, I definitely came away with some lovely memories, not only of the gardens, but of the people I met.

    Shady, I'm sure the rainfall makes a huge difference. Most of us attending decided that Portland is a gardener's Paradise!

    Cheryl, I'm glad your hydrangeas are doing well. I just love these plants, and I'm happy to say the 'Vanilla Strawberry' you gave me four years ago (has it really been that long ago??) is doing very well. It was covered in blooms this year.

    Moss on a rock seems so simple, yet it really is a peaceful image, isn't it? I totally agree about the glass art in the garden. Even when I've found some pieces in my price range, I passed on them because I knew they wouldn't last long with Sophie around or the little ones, for that matter:)

  9. Lots to see in Portland! What a lovely trip you must have had. I'd have been in heaven for sure!!

    I wonder why everything grows so well there. Those begonias next to your hand - wow! The hosta leaf and the hydrangeas are huge!

    The Japanese gardens do speak of serenity and I love your shot of the bridge. You have a way with the camera - of making simple things appear captivating!
    Looking forward to part 2.

  10. I know what you mean about 'safe' to go into the stores. I made the mistake of walking into Staples the other day, not realizing it was the day before school starting. Yikes!! Those west coast gardens are sure something else. Sometimes I wish we hadn't moved to the east coast, everything really does grow bigger and better out there.

  11. As I looked through all the wonderful pictures of this year's Fling I couldn't help but wonder what the Toronto Fling will be like. The first of June is a terrible time to have chosen as a date for the Fling! Bulbs will be done and we will be in that awkward lull waiting for the perennials to have kicked in. I wonder who is choosing the gardens and what they will choose? I hope Toronto is going to be up to the task!

  12. Great photos--some things I did not even see there! I like the shadows cast by JJ's carrot fence. It was in deep shade when I was there.

    That was the funnest vacation ever, I think. Did I meet you? Well if I didn't, we meet in the blogosphere. :)

  13. Excellent Portland roundup. Makes me wish I could go right back. I do envy them their mild weather, I think that is one reason Portland is such a great gardening city.

  14. Excellent Portland roundup. Makes me wish I could go right back. I do envy them their mild weather, I think that is one reason Portland is such a great gardening city.

  15. I very much enjoyed your pictures and descriptions Rose! Wonderful! I am always struck by how lovely the Portland Japanese garden is. I was especially smitten with your first two pictures of it. Incredibly lovely.

    I also can't get over the picture of Floramagoria. Superb!

  16. I'm glad you're putting these pictures of the Fling up, Rose. SO much fun to see all the gardens. I selfishly ask that you don't wait a whole month before putting up more pictures!--Kimberley

  17. How I wish I could have been there. I would have gotten to me YOU!

  18. The lushness of the gardens reminds me of gardens in Edinburgh. I always assumed it was because it was a wet but temperate climate. They don't get the cruel winter cold, or the humd heat of a midwestern summer!

    Your photos are lovely. I've never been to Portland, but you're photos make it look like a fabulous destination!

  19. Portland is an amazing city. I loved the way you captured its many faces. Your creativity shines through in this post.

  20. Wendy, I had a wonderful time in Portland, and I wish photos could show just how big and lush all these plants were. Thanks for the compliment on the photography--the Japanese Garden is one of my favorite places ever!

    Marguerite, Back to school week at the U of I is not the time to run errands:) I don't know how many times while visiting the gardens in Portland I would say, "What is that plant?" And then realizing what it was, I'd invariably add, "I had no idea it could get that big!"

  21. Jennifer, I have no doubt Toronto's Fling will be fantastic--Helen of Toronto Gardens is one of the organizers, and she was taking lots of notes during the whole Fling as well as talking to other bloggers about what they would like to see. I don't know if I can go--the timing may not work out, but I'd love to.

    Hoover Boo, I've seen so many photos on other blogs, too, of things I missed and wonder, how could I have missed that?? I think we may have had a brief introduction, but wish I'd made a point to really talk to you at some point. So many people, it was hard to meet everyone!

  22. Love the blue hydrangeas.
    That garden shed is brilliant!
    Wonderful close ups of the fish!

    Love it all really........ hard to choose a best and I love the way you presented the post!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  23. Great post about the many faces of Portland and it's gardens! I love seeing these gardens again through the lenses of other bloggers and reliving the fun of the fling!

  24. I've really enjoyed reading about the Portland Fling Rose, and love the way you have pulled images together from different gardens to communicate what you got from your trip - some of it anyway! I'm told plants grow much larger here in Cemaes too, I've assumed because of the mild climate. I love that "circles" screen, and the leaf mould stones.

  25. Jason, I agree--Portland's weather is ideal for gardening. I think we had more of their weather this summer, and our own gardens are showing how wonderful it is to have so much rain!

    Sweetbay, The Japanese Garden in Portland is beautiful beyond words. I wish I had taken more photos of Floramagoria, because it was another fantastic garden, but it was raining when I was there, which made taking pictures a little more difficult.

    Kimberley, Glad you enjoyed it! It probably will be a month before I get the rest done--time seems to be flying by.

    Commonweeder, Wish you could have gone, too! Maybe one of these days the stars will align, and we'll both be at the same Fling.

    Cassi Renee, I'm sure you're right about the temperate climate making a difference. I haven't been to many places in the West, but Portland will still be one of my favorites, I think.

  26. Sally, Thank you; it's a lovely city, and this time I got to see so many different gardens--they were all beautiful!

    Maggie, Hydrangeas are my favorite, but I've never seen as big or beautiful ones as I saw in Portland.

    Outlaw, I'm still visiting the different posts on Portland. I enjoy seeing the different views, too, and seeing some things I missed!

    Janet, I think Portland's climate must be very similar to parts of the UK. What a difference not having frigid winters and having lots of rain makes!

  27. Rose, thank you for your lovely wrap up of our fair City of Roses (yes, it really is the City of Roses!) It was a ton of fun to meet everyone and have everyone over to our garden and to visit some of Portland's finest. You captured it well, thank you!


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