A fruit-filled Friday: FOTD Challenge

I’m sharing memories of a fruit-filled Friday in Hood River, Oregon last fall. We took a trip to northern Oregon in search of fall foliage, but stopped to buy some tasty fruit in Hood River. These apples were at Smiley’s Red Barn, one of 26 stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop. Visitors can stop at fruit stands, orchards, wineries, and vineyards along this route. If you’re craving a good beer, check out some of the great breweries and pubs within a half hour from Hood River.

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

Memories of summer at Old Mill: Friday Flowers

memories of summer in old Mill

This photo of memories of summer at Old Mill shows one of the many colorful plantings bordering the trails. This border is located along the Mill A Loop trail, one of my favorites in Bend, Oregon.

Friday Flowers

Blanket flowers up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a photo of blanket flowers up close that I took last summer. These perennial flowers are big and showy. Their contrasting colors make them stand out as a star in any garden. These easy to grow plants are also drought tolerant. They attract butterflies and birds.

Blanket flowers up close

Macro Monday

Hummers – sketches & photo: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing pencil sketches I did of hummers in action. I’m also including a photo of a hummingbird hovering over a border planting in a garden. These very active birds are difficult to capture with a pencil or a lens.

Hummers in action

Did you know their heart can beat faster than 1,200 beats per minute? However, when food is scarce hummingbirds go into torpor, which is similar to hibernation. Their heart rate drops to as low as 50 beats per minute. Hummers are amazing birds!

Hummingbird 14Aug2016

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art

The wisest ones wait – 2 haiku: SS & Haiku Challenge

the wisest ones wait
impatient trembles of green
longing for fall’s kiss

The wisest ones wait for fall

scarlet embraces
gold whispers, orange laughter
autumn’s fleeting love

Autumn leaves in Oregon

Sunday Stills (SS) – Leaves and Trees

Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge – Wait and Wise

Marigolds up close: Macro Monday

I saw these marigolds up close in a park at the end of July. These vignettes show orange, yellow, and white flowers that were growing in a border planting. Marigolds are an easy to grow annual that blooms for weeks during the summer months.

Marigolds up close
Yellow flower blooming
White flower blooming

Macro Monday

Bonsai trees – Living works of art: Thursday Tree Love

These bonsai trees in the Portland Japanese Garden were living works of art. We visited the garden in mid-October, when the colors of autumn were beginning to put on their show.

The first tree is a Japanese maple and it’s 35 years old. This variety’s foliage changes from green to shades of golden-yellow and red. This maple’s reddish bark intensifies in color over the winter months.

Bonsai trees - maple
Japanese maple, Acer palmatum ‘Beni-kawa’

The second tree is a vine maple and it’s 75 years old. This type of maple is common in Pacific Northwest forests. Those growing in shade tend to have yellow fall color, while those in direct sunlight are more likely to turn orange and scarlet.

Vine maple
Vine maple, Acer circinatum

The third tree is a trident maple and it’s 30 years old. This maple is native to China, Korea, and Japan. It gets its name from its three-lobed leaves.

Trident maple
Trident maple, Acer buergerianum

The fourth photo shows a miniature forest of Japanese maples and it’s 35 years old. These trees already dropped their leaves for the season.

Bonsai trees Japanese maple
Japanese maple forest, Acer palmatum

The sixth photo shows a Japanese beech that’s 30 years old. This species only grows in parts of Japan – it is an endemic species. Its copper-colored leaves stood out from the rest of the bonsai trees.

Japanese beech

The seventh photo shows a winterberry and it is 45 years old. Winterberry are endemic to a province in China. Their distinctive red berries let you know they’re related to holly.

Winterberry bonsai
Winterberry, Ilex reticulata

The eighth picture shows a dwarf Asian pear and it’s 25 years old. This pear is native to China and Vietnam. This was one of my favorites because I admired its twisting branches.

Dwarf Asian pear bonsai tree
Dwarf Asian pear, Pyrus calleryana ‘Mame Nashi’

Thursday Tree Love

Fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland: LAPC & FOTD

I have been patiently waiting for fall at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Every day, I visited their Fall Color Status Update website. In mid-October, the site indicated good leaf color in their plantings. Off we went!

A brilliant rainbow of colors bordered the Flat Garden. The green Circle and Gourd Islands in the sea of white gravel represent enlightenment and happiness.

fall at the Japanese Garden

This nearby path is bordered by more subtle colors.

Path in a garden

The Garden limits the number of visitors, but they crowded around this maple tree with its bright red leaves.

Japanese maple

The structure of the branches on laceleaf maples is just as impressive as the color of the leaves.

Fall at the Japanese Garden

There are water features throughout the garden. This simple fountain is elegant in its design.

Garden fountain

The reflections cast by fall leaves in the ponds are stunning.

Woodland garden

The gardens are so calm and peaceful. This photo shows a view of Heavenly Falls – a fitting name.

Heavenly Falls

The Garden includes layers of varying structure and color.

Fall at the Japanese Garden

Some of the yellow-colored leaves you might see are on gingko trees – a personal favorite of mine. Their fan-shaped leaves fluttered in the breeze.

Gingko leaves

Visiting the Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden is located in Washington Park, west of downtown. The 12-acre garden includes eight separate garden styles. Purchase tickets ahead online or at the entrance gate. Be aware that parking is limited. There is a short uphill path to the garden. Shuttles are available upon request. The Cultural Village includes a gift shop, café, arts learning center, and concierge.

When His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, visited Portland Japanese Garden, he proclaimed it to be ‘the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.’

Portland Japanese Garden Visitor Guide

The brochure notes they hope visitors experience “a sense of peace, tranquility, and a deep, personal connection to nature.” I certainly did!

Though you can visit throughout the year, fall at the Japanese Garden is especially beautiful. In Japan, the times of seasonal change are revered for their impermanence. I was glad to witness the transition with my own eyes.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – A Day of My Week

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Autumn cascara leaves up close: Macro Monday

Here are a couple pictures of autumn cascara leaves up close. I spotted these beautiful multi-colored leaves on shrubs near Santiam Junction in Oregon. They were growing within an inhospitable looking lava bed.

Autumn cascara

This tall shrub is attractive year round. The oblong leaves, with their distinctive parallel veins, are glossy green for most of the year. Autumn cascara leaves have spectacular colors. Cascara produce greenish-yellow flowers in the spring, and dark purple fruit in the summer.

fall leaves

One of their common names is Cascara sagrada, Spanish for “sacred bark.” The bark is well known for its laxative effects. See the Names section of Cascara, Frangula purshiana for funny Chinook names based on these qualities. 😉

Macro Monday

Milkweed seedpod up close: Macro Monday

Here are three photos of a milkweed seedpod up close. As you may know, milkweed flowers are a favorite of monarch butterflies. North American populations of this butterfly have been rapidly declining.

I got a packet of seeds for free from Deschutes Land Trust, one of our local conservation nonprofits. To find milkweed seeds near you, use the Milkweed Seed Finder courtesy of the Xerces Society.

milkweed seedpod
seeds up close
Milkweed seedpod

We planted milkweed starts in our garden this year, but they fried during a week of unusually hot weather. 🙁

My friend, Suzy, planted hers last year and had greater success. This seedpod she gave me measures 4 inches in length. A couple of days ago it split along a seam. Each seed is attached to a little wispy fluff known as coma.

Does this milkweed seedpod remind anyone else out there of the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Macro Monday

Poppies & honeybee up close: Macro Monday

Poppies & honeybee up close in our garden this spring. This bee has full pollen baskets on its hind legs. Did you know these pollen pellets can account for 30% of a bee’s weight?

Poppies & honeybees

Macro Monday

Fading hibiscus up close: Macro Monday

I saw these fading hibiscus flowers at a local garden center in early June. The petals are past their prime, but the flowers still have a style all their own.

Fading hibiscus

Macro Monday

Artichoke blooming up close: Macro Monday

We planted a couple artichoke plants in our garden this year and assumed they died after a week of extreme heat. Several leaves on both plants turned brown from the sun, but the plants survived. Here are their purple blossoms up close. Artichokes are pretty and tasty!

Artichoke blossom close up
vegetables in bloom

Macro Monday

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Sale: FF

Once a year, in the middle of June, Clearwater Native Plant Nursery opens its gates to the public. This contract grow nursery provides native plants for restoration and landscaping projects. Plants sold here grow well in upland, riparian, and wetland habitats. The nursery is located in Redmond, Oregon.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery provided plants to the Deschutes Land Trust for the restoration of Whychus Creek, 15 miles to the northwest. The plantings provided wildlife habitat and helped stabilize the soil near the creek.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Annual Sale

I had never been to their annual sale before. This nursery is not open to the public the rest of the year.

We arrived soon after opening and there were already a lot of people there. Plants ranged in price from $3 for a 4-inch pot, to $27 for a 5-gallon pot.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Plants for sale are laid out in neat rows.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

Walking through them is like being a kid in a candy store.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

You can find the plant labels at the end of the rows.

I purchased eight plants including the rosy pussytoes and showy penstemon pictured below. They are great wildflowers to include in my low water usage landscaping.

Some of the plants for sale had already bloomed. Gardeners need to use their imagination to think of what these plants will look like in the future.

I remember seeing prairie smoke plants at Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park and wanted one ever since. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the plant I purchased at the sale will fill out and look like the ones in Yellowstone.

Prairie Smoke Wyoming 1June2018

A few tips if you plan on attending this sale…

  • A list of plants this nursery sells is on their website to view ahead of time.
  • Parking is limited but people don’t stay long so be patient.
  • Helpful volunteers are available to answer your questions.
  • Bring your own boxes and/or wheeled carriers. They are not provided.
  • Take a picture of the plant label at the end of the row. Individual plants don’t always have labels.
  • Bring cash! They do not accept credit or other forms of payment.

Friday Flowers (FF)

Flowers flowers everywhere!: Friday Flowers & FOTD

I saw flowers, flowers everywhere while walking the riverside trail in the Old Mill District of Bend this morning. This is my favorite time of year to walk by the plantings near the amphitheater. Can you see why?

Flowers, flowers everywhere

Friday Flowers & Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Yellow & white iris up close: Macro Monday

I saw this yellow & white iris in bloom in mid June. When you see them blooming, summer is on the way. The golden colors in this blossom mirror the warmth of summer days to come.

Yellow & white iris

Macro Monday

Pink flowers in my yard: Sunday Stills

Today I’m featuring portraits of pink flowers in my Bend, Oregon yard. All of these plants are drought tolerant, once established.

The first photo is an ice plant. This groundcover has cheerful starburst flowers and succulent leaves. The leaves turn a bronze color in winter. We had an escapee take root in another part of our yard and it survived without watering.

Ice plant

The second plant is a Woods’ rose. This native 2-5 foot tall shrub attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Red rose hips develop once the flowers lose their petals.

Pink flowers of Wood's rose
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Manzanita blossoms up close: Macro Monday

Manzanita blossoms May2021

Manzanita blossoms are putting on a show right now in Central Oregon. The delicate pink blossoms contrast with the thick, leathery green leaves and red bark. The bark on these shrubs peels like on a madrone tree. It’s one of my favorite local plants but it refuses to grow in my garden. That gives me an excuse to seek them out in the wild.

Macro Monday

A bold blue sage border: Friday Flowers

bold blue sage border

I saw this bold blue sage border in the 80-acre Oregon Garden, located in Silverton, Oregon. It’s impressive how they pay attention to all the plants surrounding bold flowers such as these. The framing brings out their best features.

Friday Flowers

Within a small seed – 4 haiku: LAPC

Within a small seed blanket flowers
Blanket flower seed heads

within a small seed
a tiny new life slumbers
awakened by sun

Hops and chives
Hops & chives

emerald limbs stretch
stems lengthen and reach skyward
embraced by springtime

Flower border May 2020
Mixed flower border
Continue reading

A colorful corner in Bend: Friday Flowers

Here’s a colorful corner filled with blooming summer flowers. This planting includes: hollyhocks, foxglove, blanket flowers, ‘orange blaze’ red hot poker, black-eyed Susan, pansies, and more. I’m looking forward to seeing them again in a few months.

A colorful corner in Bend, Oregon

See more photos of flowers in bloom at Flower Border at Old Mill and A peninsula of flowers.

Friday Flowers

A white coneflower up close: Macro Monday

Here’s a white coneflower up close in my garden. I usually see pink or purple coneflowers, but they’re also pretty in this color. Their scientific name, Echinacea, comes from the Latin word for ‘sea urchin’ and the Ancient Greek word for ‘hedgehog.’ The spiny cone-shaped central disk resembles some type of prickly creature.

White coneflower August 2020

Macro Monday

Snow-capped mountain ash: Thursday Tree Love

Snow-capped mountain ash

Snow-capped mountain ash berries are a delicious dessert for our feathered friends.

Thursday Tree Love

Showy layers of a poppy up close: Macro Monday

Showy layers of a red poppy up close

Showy layers of crepe paper-like red petals encircle a yellow melon-shaped ovary. Golden-anthered stamens stand guard over the precious seeds within.

Monday Macros

Yew branches up close: Macro Monday

Yew branches August 2020

This yew plant in my garden measured three feet in height for many years. I don’t think it was fond of our High Desert temperature fluctuations. Last year it finally grew taller so now it’s almost five feet tall.

Yesterday I caught one of our resident “landscapers” chewing on the new growth. Guess he thought it needed a trim. 😉

Buck mule deer

Macro Monday

A blooming cosmos up close: Macro Monday

A blooming cosmos

A blooming cosmos is one of my favorite sights to see in a garden. We had several colors of cosmos in our garden this summer, but this magenta-colored flower was my favorite. I love how the color contrasts with the bright yellow center. The bees appreciated them as well.

Macro Monday

Oregon grape up close: Macro Monday

Oregon grape up close in my yard dressed in seasonal colors. The prickly leaves on this semi-evergreen shrub get burgundy highlights in the fall. Oregon grape plants have yellow flowers in the spring and purple berries in the summer. It’s striking year-round.

Oregon grape up close October 2020

Macro Monday

Goldflame honeysuckle up close: Macro Monday

Goldflame honeysuckle

These colorful flowers are on a goldflame honeysuckle plant. Hummingbirds frequently visit this vine’s gorgeous flowers. In North America and Eurasia, 180 species of honeysuckle have been identified.

Macro Monday

My cactus in summer: Friday Flowers & Fan of…

Last weekend I took a picture of my cactus covered with snow. This post shows my cactus in summer. Aren’t they pretty? I’m missing their beautiful blossoms already.

My cactus in summer June 2020
Cholla in bloom July 2020
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Sweet alyssum up close: Macro Monday

This delicate beauty is sweet alyssum. Sweet to see and sweet to smell. Most common as a white flower, this dwarf variety has lavender purple blossoms.

sweet alyssum up close

Macro Monday

A peninsula of flowers: Friday Flowers

A peninsula of flowers

This peninsula of flowers was seen in the Old Mill district of Bend, Oregon. The gardeners do a great job maintaining these picturesque flowerbeds. They brighten up even the darkest of days.

Friday Flowers

Nasturtium blossoms up close: Macro Monday

Nasturtium blossoms up close

Bright nasturtium blossoms up close in our High Desert garden. These flowers look pretty and they taste good. They have a distinctive spicy flavor.

Macro Monday

Focus on the form of cactus: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Symmetry. I decided to focus on the form of cactus in my garden by showing them in infrared. It highlights their prickly symmetry well.

Focus on the form of cactus in infrared 1October2020
Close up of cholla cactus infrared 1October2020
Cholla cactus fruit up close 1October2020
Prickly pear cactus in infrared 1October2020
Focus on the form of catus - Prickly pear fruit 1October2020

To see some of these cactus blooming in brilliant colors, see Prickly and pretty.

Bachelor buttons up close: Macro Monday

Bachelor buttons up close Bend, Oregon August 2020
Bachelor buttons up close in Bend, Oregon August 2020
Close up of flower July 2020

Bachelor buttons up close in our garden. I never knew they had so many colors. This flower has such an interesting structure – like a bouquet of tiny trumpets.

Macro Monday

Bright blossoms haiku: Friday Flowers

After waiting years
for bright blossoms to appear,
luminous at last

Bright blossoms - yucca in Bend, Oregon July 2020
Golden sword yucca

Friday Flowers