Monday, July 7, 2014

Portland: A Private Garden Walk

Did you know that Portland, Oregon is known as the "City of Roses?"  When I found out we would be able to sneak away to Portland one weekend and visit Dan's cousin, my first thought was "food trucks" and "farmer's markets."

Then I was at a social gathering going on and on about:
  • Spring coming
  • caring for orchids
  • pruning roses
You know, basic bar night chatter. One of the girls said that I sounded like her parents and all their garden talk. She said that they have a huge garden with a collection of clematis, roses, fruit trees and vegetables on the Tualatin River.
She said that if we had time, we were welcome to visit them when we went to Portland. How fun!  It turns out that their collection of clematis includes more than 300 plants!
I started looking into Portland and found out that it is known as the City of Roses.  I just missed the annual Portland Rose Festival by one week - I would have loved to see the annual rose show! When we drove around the neighborhoods of the city, I noticed large healthy hybrid tea roses blooming hearts out.  What a great city.

We arrived at their address and wow! It is a gardener's paradise. When we visited, so much was in bloom!  

First I'll show you some of the clematis...
My favorite story was that they have both the Princes Charles and Princess Diana clematis (I think this is Princess Diana clematis, below) but they keep them far apart in the garden. Good thinking.
I wish I was able to note which clematis was which as I was taking pictures, to help you with the names, but alas, we'll just have to enjoy them and play 'match game" on Google if we want to find one for our own garden. This lilac blue clematis with the smaller center petals stacked on top was my favorite.
It was fun to see so many different types of clematis wafting in the breeze; thriving in this beautiful landscape.  I heard that several garden magazines beat me to it and have already featured this very garden! You can see why.
The clematis blooms had quite a range of different petal sizes and were in shades from white and pink to lavender and deep blue. Some had wide petals and fluffy stamens and others blooms were small and wispy. What a collection!
In addition to vines, there were some pale raspberry foxglove (below),
and oriental poppies in unusual shades,
and fringed double poppies,
 And the large but paper thin, lacecap hydrangeas. 
I am grateful that these new friends of ours, shared their time and knowledge with us. I could have stayed a week and been perfectly happy weeding and having my way with garden gloves and a clipper. Imagine when the fruit trees are producing!
And imagine being able to eat fresh figs whenever you want!
Oh the arrangements I could make.  And on that note, I'll leave you with one last photograph.  The bouquet of fresh Sweet Pea that they presented to us as a gift.  Gardeners are kindred spirits and I made sure to have a set of my photos printed and mailed (along with a photo disc) to their house as a thank you.
We left their house, stopped at Fabric Depot for a few essentials and then drove north back to Seattle. These delicate Sweet Peas brightened up our hotel room and looked beautiful on the kitchen table for the rest of the week. 

(Sigh) I love this time of year, no wonder I was talking about Spring so much.

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