June Roses 6.8.2022

It’s rose time in the garden. In keeping with the longstanding Portland tradition of our Rose Festival, I have compiled a virtual tour of the blooms in the garden this week. Of course you are most welcome to stop by the garden and see them for yourself! But don’t dally, the blooms will only last a few more weeks.

For more details on the photos click the first one to open in a carousel. You will also see a caption at the bottom of the photo with more of the story.

In all we have 20 different roses in the garden. A few have not bloomed yet, and the earliest bloomers are almost done for season. For more information on our collection click the Heirloom Roses tab above.

Pollinators love our garden! It’s fairly easy to photograph these insects, because they are so intent on collecting the pollen and happy from eating the nectar the plants make for them.

I will leave you with a few non-rose related photos. We have been planting the garden with yummy veggies, as you can see below. Like the rest of you, we are waiting eagerly for the rain to retreat and the sun to return to warm the soil so our plants can grow.

For more details on the photos click the first one to open in a carousel. You will also see a caption at the bottom of the photo with more of the story.


It’s been a very wet spring for us in the PNW – so it was a rare sunny morning when we met this week to take care of a few things in the garden. And now the rain has returned – the plants and seeds we put in are getting a good watering-in for the next few days.

Narcissus and columbine in the flower garden.

I took a few more snapshots to share while we were there. Things don’t change too quickly in the gardens, but it’s been nice to see the effects of neglect disappearing with each work day we have.

This week we spread some free mulch compliments of the Oregon City Parks Department (thank you, Paul!) The hope is to suppress some of the many and varied weeds that grow in our soil. I will check in later this summer to let you know how it went!

Here are the pictures I took. For more details on the photos click the first one to open in a carousel. You will also see a caption at the bottom of the photo with more of the story.

I will leave you with this garden quote I just picked up: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” Chinese proverb

5.4.22 Early Spring

The garden is waking up! After a two your absence we are SO HAPPY to be able to return and care for the plants growing there. For more details on the photos click the first one to open in a carousel.

This year’s goals are to amend the soils in the Vegetable garden, establish a *new Native American Garden, re-work the Herb garden and get two years of weed growth under control. Our next project involves laying chips to re-new the pathways to prepare for garden visitors in June.

Remember, our Heritage Roses will begin blooming at the end of May, and continue into June.

The Interpretive Center remains closed except for special events. You can check their webpage for more information: https://historicoregoncity.org/. Once the Center re-opens we will offer seeds from 2019 for free. But of course you are welcome to make a donation – the money helps us buy supplies like seeds and educational materials for student groups.

I am looking forward to an inspiring year!

Another Springtime Comes

As another season begins so continues the cycle in our little garden. It begins with Columbine, Forget-Me-Not, Foxglove and blooming herbs.

Plants are reliable and in our garden fairly predictable. Every year the Harison’s Yellow rose blooms in the early spring, with Charles Lawson being the very last to bloom. In between we have a rainbow of roses gracing our garden

In these unusual times we have not been able to tend the garden as in past years, but we are doing our best. And the plants are just living their lives with no one to interfere or witness. Our Cardoon is reaching for the sky, we have common weeds coming up in new places, and we have tried to contain some of the weeds by covering the unused beds with burlap until we can plant again.

Like our plants, we will persevere and look forward to what the season brings, and the time when we can once again meet to care for the garden.

Blue, Yellow, White, Red, Pink, Green & Purple

Don’t you just LOVE spring!! I think our little garden does, too.

Bachelors Buttons, Columbine & Radishes gone to seed

Columbine in the rain, fancy green and pink blossoms, and photographed from below. Beets going to seed with twisted stems, giant Mullein rosette (my left foot for scale) and columbine with purple spurs from above.

So many color combinations in the garden right now – and the roses are beginning to bud up too!

Even though we aren’t currently working in the garden there is plenty to see. We have allowed many plants to run rampant in the veggie beds including veggies going to seed. (Okay, who am I kidding? They are just having a little party over there with no one to weed them out!)

There is borage, feverfew and the calendula are all coming along too. They just weren’t as photogenic as the columbine and bachelors buttons were yesterday. They will get their turn too, I promise!

See you next time – in the meantime stay safe. We can’t wait to see you again!

Aquilegia coerulea labeled to show the flower's parts.

The parts of a typical columbine flower (Aquilegia coerulea): a) sepal; b) modified petal consisting of a blade and spur; c) stamens and pistil.

Image and text borrowed from U.S. Forest Service webpage.

Springtime (2021)

The gardens remain quiet for now. Waiting, as we are, for COVID 19 restrictions to be lifted. The garden continues to grow, with or without us.

Columbine and roses are armed and ready to bud up and bloom in the next month or so – stay tuned for photos as it happens!

Summer 2020

As you all know, the summer of 2020 has been anything but normal – for us humans. But the garden has her own rhythm and schedule. We have not been able to work the garden, but I have stopped in a few times to keep the roses at bay, and harvest a few columbine seeds. Here are some snapshots I took on those visits.

On June 25 (below) we still had a few roses blooming. The rest of the garden was coming alive too. As buds turned to blooms and veggies went to seed the bee activity began in earnest. The cover crops filled in nicely too. Our yellow Evening Primrose made a nice hedge along the fence, the hollyhocks began their show. Peas planted early bloomed and by now have gone to seed, the yellow calendula and daisy flowers of feverfew round out the garden regulars.

About a month later (below), on July 23 the mid-summer plants and flowers were in full bloom. Hollyhock and crimson clover, our cover crop, put on a show. The leeks and onions with their globe shaped blooms attract pollinators galore as they go to seed. Our three cardoon plants with artichoke/thistle shaped blooms looked so cheerful next to the fence, and make a great photo op with the wagons in the background. We had soft pink bloom of soapwort, sweetpeas, bachelors buttons and the orange daylilies to round out our rainbow of blooms this year. The apple trees were working hard at the back of garden too, setting fruit for a fall harvest.

Just last week, August 24 (below) I stopped in once again. After a nice hot, dry summer there are plenty of seeds for us to collect this fall. The grapes are ripening nicely too. It has been interesting to see how the garden has done on it’s own. There are plenty of weeds – but since most aren’t that photogenic you will have to take my word for it!

We have a regular group that works the garden every year. The hardest part about the pandemic has been, for me, and for many, not being able to connect with one another. I look forward to the time when we can all meet together under the sun and work in our little garden, gossip and get caught up on each other’s lives. Until that day comes we have our memories.

Annual Rose Report

June is for roses. This year’s bloom has been different. There wasn’t as many people to witness and visit the garden, and we have had record cool and wet weather in early June.

Walking through the garden on June first, it was a sunny day and the mid-blooming roses were out in full force.

And our helper insects were present as well. (below) They were active on the roses and the hops vines.

We love checking in on the Ladybug larvae each year, and consider them a good indicator of the health of the garden. They do a pretty good job for us on the aphid population, since we don’t use any pesticides in the garden.

Just yesterday we came back to tackle our resident giant – the Old Cardinal rose. He didn’t have a lot of blooms this year, I think owing to late pruning last year. Even though we aren’t working in the garden on a regular basis because of the Stay Home orders, a few of us came out to do this necessary work. If this rose isn’t kept in check it will take over the world! (And of course we were so beat after finishing the task I forgot to take an “after” picture….. next time I stop over I will get that shot for you).

Because of the size of this plant we frequently find nesting material woven in the branches. Sometimes we see eggs. This is the first time we have seen the baby birdies. They weren’t discovered until we were half done with the task, so we placed the nest back in the recesses of the bush and waited to see if Mom returned. She did come back as we were leaving.

As quiet as the garden is, nature makes sure to keep things going. Volunteer borage, calendula, a cabbage plant in the herb garden (and a baby bunny) and Love in a Mist beginning to bloom.

Our next visits to the garden will be for seed collection. In the right photo are leek plants going to seed, providing forage for local bees. The white blooms on the left are from the cover crop we added earlier in spring.

That’s all for now. Up next will be an update on the “after” photo of our giant rose, hopefully photos of the cardoon in bloom, and whatever nature reveals to us on our next visit to the garden. We hope you have a safe and peaceful June – see you soon.

Quarantine Quiet

Everything here in our Oregon County is still closed, but the garden is standing quietly growing as it always does. It’s rose season right now, and the roses are just beginning to put on their show.

I spent a few minutes walking around, listening to the echo’s of past work days in the garden. Besides the garden, I miss my friends. Margueritte, Kathy, Karen, Cindy, Kath, Barb, Rhonda, Jean, Beth, Jeanie, Laura, Bruce and all the others that have worked in the sun with me over the years. We will all return, though probably not this season.

My walk reveals the plants that we left growing blooming and forming seeds. We will be back in the fall to harvest for planting next year. We put in a cover crop to help enrich the soil and discourage weeds from settling in. The Calendula are growing well in that bed, too.

I even attempted a short video of all the activity in the sage. I added music too and posted it on Facebook. I am not a videographer, but I hope you can get a sense of the scene from this short clip.

In these strange times I find that it helps to have something to think about, and focus on. For me it’s my garden, and the gardens I care for outside my home. I hope that you also have something that keeps you centered, that you stay well, and that we can see each other soon.

April Flowers

We are in the midst of Stay Home orders for COVID-19. But the flowers in the garden don’t care. They bloom without us, and don’t miss us a bit. But I miss them. So I drove to the garden yesterday to check on things and take photos of our unique Columbine flowers. This year they didn’t disappoint!

There is so much variety and diversity growing side by side in the garden.

I was not alone in the garden – there were bee’s aplenty busy working the blooms for pollen and nectar.

Poet’s narcissus was one of the first daffodils to be cultivated. Ours have multiplied to two good sized clumps. I love this flower, because it signals the beginning of the spring blooming season.

Of course there were other things to see in the garden too. I found a nest in the back of the garden, and the cardoon is looking beautiful along the fence. The gooseberries are filling in nicely and the Chinese forget-me-nots are taking over right now!

Finally, the veggie garden. We won’t be able to cultivate anything because of the Stay Home orders, but the leeks and beets and orach will grow without any care. We need them to go to seed for harvest in the fall. We had potatoes in as well. All these crops can grow unattended and with minimal water during the summer.

In a few weeks the roses will begin to bloom, and I will head over to take a look. It’s nice to know that in times of uncertainty our garden remains, and waits patiently for us to return. Stay tuned and stay well.