Here’s an up close view of prickly pear cactus buds in my garden. Yes, those spikes are sharp and difficult to weed around, but I eagerly await the day when their delicate yellow flowers unfurl.
Here’s a picture of tulips up close growing in my garden. There’s something special about these two flowers.
They are the first to make it to this stage without being eaten by our resident deer!
Here in Central Oregon, homeowners can take steps towards fighting future fires for free. In the spring, you can dispose of yard waste for no charge. In Bend this year, the free disposal runs from April 30 through May 15. Here’s a link showing dates at all locations. The landfill also takes yard waste for half price in early November.
You may wonder why the local landfill is taking yard waste without charging the usual amount. Central Oregon is in the exceptional drought category, according to U.S. Drought Monitor.
Here’s a western tiger swallowtail painting I did on a small wooden box.
Here’s one I saw on the High Desert Garden Tour a few years ago. The Western tiger swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, ranges throughout western North America.
The state insect in Oregon is the Oregon swallowtail butterfly, Papilio machaon oregonius. They have paler yellow coloring on their wings.
Would you like to attract butterflies to your garden? Here are a few things you can do, according to Gardeners.com:
- Choose plants that attract pollinators
- Limit, or eliminate, your use of pesticides
- Provide shelter for breeding and avoiding predators
- Provide water
- Consider keeping a beehive
For a good list of plants that attract butterflies, go to Attracting Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators.
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A white poppy up close growing in our garden last year. Poppies come in a variety of colors, but they’re also pretty in white.
This bridge with a view takes you to the entrance of the Portland Japanese Garden. The bridge’s glass walls bring you closer to the natural world beneath you. Straight lines contrast with the curves and textures of the surrounding forest. When you ascend the stairs and exit the path, you’ll enter the Cultural Center. With its minimalistic design, it stands out yet blends in at the same time.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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the wisest ones wait
impatient trembles of green
longing for fall’s kiss
gold whispers, orange laughter
autumn’s fleeting love
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This nearby path is bordered by more subtle colors.
The Garden limits the number of visitors, but they crowded around this maple tree with its bright red leaves.Continue reading
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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?
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.
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!
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 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.
Plants for sale are laid out in neat rows.Continue reading
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.
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.
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.Continue reading
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.
within a small seed
a tiny new life slumbers
awakened by sun
emerald limbs stretch
stems lengthen and reach skyward
embraced by springtime
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.
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.
Snow-capped mountain ash berries are a delicious dessert for our feathered friends.
A planter full of color near the flag bridge in Bend, Oregon.
Showy layers of crepe paper-like red petals encircle a yellow melon-shaped ovary. Golden-anthered stamens stand guard over the precious seeds within.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.