KnorQ's Kitchen

Serial Hobbyist

Category: Oregon

Around the Yard: understory update

The other day I was out in the yard admiring the back-lighting on the plants under the right fir tree.  1.5 years ago this are was barren — it has been satisfying to experiment with new plants and watch this spot grow in.


Two years ago I started transplanting neglected ferns from other parts of the yard to this area and slowly I have added hostas, epimedium, more ferns, Heuchera, spiderwort, hellebores, trillium and crocus. Back in February of 2013 the Right Fir understory looked like this:

Over the past couple of months a few of the tiny, new ferns have put on some impressive growth.




The third fern from the top is is a crested male fern “Crispa Cristata” – not sure about the two above that. Need to get better at documenting these things…that is what the blog is for, right? Not sure what that plant is directly above — I thought it was a baby fern at first but…not so sure.  Below are some shots from the fir tree on the other side of yard. I recently expanded the planting beds here and all the transplants are still quite small. New plantings in this area include blood grass, bishops weed, variegated St. John’s wort, Mahonia aquifolium, along with the existing rose campion — basically a hodgepodge of aggressive spreaders. Anchoring this area are a small hardy fuschia, ostrich fern and a arching Japanese holly fern I picked up at the HSPO sale. Also – the ugly pottery collection is clustered under this tree next to the new-ish Fatshedera ‘Gold Heart’ planted this past spring.




This week in the edible garden 1

Check out this pretty tomato:


Ugh! Dammit! Brown on the bottom, mealy on the inside. Thankfully that is not true for all of the tomatoes – just most of the big ones

Still harvesting greenbeans and I’ve had success ripening some of the larger tomatoes indoors in a brown paper bag with apple peel.




Pumpkin is big and getting its orange! The vine, however, looks like it is dying and getting moldy – I need to read up on this situation.




This week in the edible garden

20140728-090205-32525842.jpg Harvesting: Green beans, summer squash, herbs, kale, chard Planting: Nada Growing: tomatoes, green beans, beets, cucumber (tiny cukes this week – see above), zucchini, summer squash, pumpkin, chard, kale, grapes, blueberries, sweet peas, herbs of all sorts Gave up on:  Nothing this week – the garden seems to be in a happy place. 20140728-090229-32549112.jpg   Above – Pumpkin! It is putting on rapid growth – I need to put some netting up before I lose it to crows. This week is also my first harvest of green beans. 20140728-090227-32547014.jpg 20140728-090228-32548074.jpg   20140728-090259-32579700.jpg 20140728-090353-32633331.jpg 20140728-090352-32632423.jpg 20140728-090352-32632003.jpg 20140729-093210-34330267.jpg
Yes!!!! I see some reddening happening on that tomato! Speaking of which – the tomatoes are out of control but last night I checked out our friend, Sarah’s, tomato trellis system and I have some ideas for next year. I should have taken a photo – below is our tomato tangle. The scale is off but the plants on the right  are nearing 7ft tall. 20140729-093211-34331008.jpg 20140729-093209-34329423.jpg   One last pumpkin shot with my shoe for size reference.

This week in the edible garden



Harvesting: Chard, carrots, arugula, zucchini and other summer squash, herbs and very last of the lettuce until fall.

Planting: Kale

Growing: Tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, grapes, blueberries, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, carrots, kale, strawberries, chard, sweet peas, herbs of all sorts
Gave up on:  Blueberries – they don’t like it their spot in the garden. I will have to do some rearranging come fall.







This tomato makes me very happy. This week the cucumbers are blossoming and the first tiny fruits are forming. The first of the zucchini was harvested. The green beans (blurry above) are bulking up as well as the pumpkin (not pictured)

This week in the yard

Pretty NOID rose out in force! Below – the veg garden below is looking a little wild. Next year = prune tomato plants early. It is so cool to see how large the tomato plants are in the raised beds.
It is hard to get a sense of scale from this picture but for comparison sake, below is a picture of the tomato plants from last year that were NOT planted in a raised bed. They are much smaller:
Below: The butterfly bush got a hard chop in late April (as it had last year) and it came back blooming!

Back in May the lawn around the base of the left fir tree was smothered to expand the planting beds.  Because I have a moratorium against new plant purchases I searched around the yard this past weekend to see what I could transplant to this area. Basically I found what I have historically thought of as enemy plants: aggressive spreaders like Bishops Weed and Sweet Woodruff.  My rational is that I’m a cheapskate and this area is challenging: deep shade, transplanted rocky/clay soil and little water. If these plants can’t grow here then…? I took some plugs of blood grass and threw them in here too along with some columbine that had been popping up around the yard.
Because I am weak-willed I also ended up with the plants below from Portland Nursery: An Ostrich Fern, St. Johns Wort and a hard fushia (not pictured).
We’ll see how that all works out. Below are the blooms in the yard – the poppies and dahlias are still going strong, the first of the nasturtium opened up, the 2nd sunflower arrived along with the very first sweet pea (yay!) and one final plant indulgence – my first echinacea – also from Portland Nursery.

This week in the yard

I’m trying to learn how to propagate clematis from seed…hmmm…It looks like a lot of work — need to do some reading on this topic.
The first Dahlia bloom – seem here with the Shirley poppies gone wild.
The rose below is “Dolly Parton” – yes, I bought it because I love Dolly Parton but also because it smells sooo good. I planted her last fall and she is not doing so good – bad case of black spot. In the background is a hydrangea a co-worker gave me as a house warming gift almost two years ago and my latest rose bed addition “shockwave” in the back right.

Below is the little bamboo/coral bark maple corner that was completed in April — I am so happy to see how much this area has grown. Well most of it has grown.

This bamboo below was purchased from some craigslist dude and is supposed to be fargasia  robusta. Mostly it just looks dead:

This bamboo below  was  bought from a vendor at a garden show – It has gained some height and is doing alright. It is also fargasia  robusta.

This bamboo below was purchased from Bamboo Garden Nursery – a mecca for all things bamboo – and it is going gangbusters! It has put on a ton of  height and has over 6 new shoots. Lesson learned – buy from the best (or at least a legit) nursery when you really want your plants to thrive.
In other news – did I mention I have poppies and they make me really happy? Ha!

Above — I scattered the columbine seeds that were collected last July and now there are little columbine plants everywhere. Below is the left fir understory which is holding up nicely in the heat.



This week in the yard


This week’s yard update is flower-heavy. Above – the first of the poppies arrived – a very colorful round up. This week also brought the very first sunflower:

Above a lily I purchased at the 2013 HPSO sale from Judith Freeman of  The Lily Garden –  I don’t recall the name. Below is a bouquet I rounded up from the backyard:



Road Trip > John Day River


We rented a raft at Service Creek and headed out to the John Day River for a day float on the 4th of July. I love this river! Very mellow float as you can see from the pictures — typically the water level means no more rafting after July 8th or so… we caught the last float of the season. There were some folks hanging out on the shore but I don’t think we saw another boat on the 7 mile trip. We did encounter a beaver — my first beaver sighting in Oregon. This year we put in at Mile post 86 and took out at Service Creek — the float was nice but this is not my favorite part of the river. I highly recommend the Twickenham to Clarno for an overnight float as we did in 2011 – we also enjoyed launching from Service Creek for a day float (from our 2010 trip) – both of these sections of the river are more secluded and scenic.



Hike > Angels’ Rest

Saturday was a beautiful day to head up to  Angels’  Rest in the Columbia Gorge.  The 5mile RT trail was busy in the morning but so beautiful with lots of wild flowers in bloom.

This week in the edible garden


The rogue potatoes are flowering above and below the shelling peas have put on some nice growth – the vines are nearly a foot tall now.

The bed to the left below was planted with the first of the green beans (bush variety Jade II and ??)

Still haven’t put up the grade trellis but the vines are filling out – they even have tiny grapes forming! This year I will remove the fruit before it matures and concentrate on training the vines for a healthy first harvest next year. Here is a picture of when the grapes where first transplanted in March 2013 – It seems like they have been here longer.

Tomatoes above and lettuce below … all making slow but noticeable progress. Not sure if the red mulch is helping much. I added a tomato to a different bed without the red mulch and it seems to be growing faster (?!)

I found a sprouted beet in the compost bin

So I broke off the starts and planted it…an experiment
The blueberry bushes have never really thrived in the garden – they were planted in March 2013 and are still a year out from producing (hopefully) fruit. The blueberry below is Brigitta.

Below is a hodgepodge area – oregano, a dahlia and some over-crowed poppies:

The Rhodies are in full blow and provide a nice backdrop for the edible garden – I like the freckles on this one: