Summer of ‘18 – Top 30

photo credit Loree Bohl

It’s been a minute since my last blog post. 5 months of minutes almost to the day. Somehow I’ve missed the entire summer so I thought my “annual” summer recap might be an appropriate comeback.

This year I’ve upped the ante to a top 30 instead of 25. Also, my favorites are in no particular order. I’m getting lazy in my old age.

– Asclepias fascicularis

Why it’s on the list: I’ve always had a taste for weird and unusual plants and the tall, wiry and wispy nature of this particular asclepias resonated with me. My front garden will undergo a pretty dramatic facelift this year and I’m hoping for this guy to play a key role.

Asclepias fascicularis

– Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’, Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Euphorbia ‘Dean’s Hybrid”

Why they are on the list: Yes, I know I’m cheating a bit by sneaking three plants into one entry but this was one of my favorite moments of the summer. The gaura did what gaura does and just appeared out of nowhere lending itself to this vignette. You can’t beat eryngiums for long-lived summer interest, either. Long after the brilliant blue has faded, this eryngium still delivers.

Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’ and Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’


– Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’

– After years of repeatedly asking The Lents Farmer what this plant was, I finally remembered to buy one this spring and I could kick myself for not jumping on the nigella train sooner! That color, those scraggly leaves, those seed heads! Swoon!

Nigella demascena ‘Miss Jekyll’

– Gillenia trifoliata

– Why it’s on the list? I’m not sure why I don’t see this plant more often in gardens. It is such a lovely perrenial shrub for spring and early summer and the fall color is great, too! The flowers are a bit reminiscent of gaura but without the naughtiness. You’ll probably start to notice a trend of my fondness for plants with lots of movement as the list progresses.

Gillenia trifoliata

– Echinacea ‘Green Envy’

– Why it’s on the list? This plant stopped me in my tracks at Pomarius Nursery. Unfortunately, so did the price tag and I left it behind and regretted it the moment I got home. I spent the rest of the summer tracking it down and finally found one. My echinacea phase has run it’s course but the unique beauty and staying power of e.’Green Envy’ will ensure that this one always has a home in my garden.

Echinacea ‘Green Envy’

– Sisyrinchium ‘Lucerne’

– Why it’s on the list? How many sisyrinchiums are enough? Well, I’ll be sure to tell you when I figure that out! Several years ago I bought Sisyrinchium ‘E.K. Balls’ from Xera Plants and every year I’ve added one or two more low growing versions. This spring I decided that more is more and that they would become my little beacons of spring for the hellstrip. I particularly like the height of Sisyricnchium ‘Lucerne’ and their “blue eyes” lend themselves well to their surroundings.

Sisyrinchium ‘Lucerne’

– Rose Campion

– Why it’s on the list: This picture says it all. I’ve never had a swallowtail visit my garden. For a few weeks this year, they could not get enough of the several campions I had scattered throughout my garden. They were almost daily visitors flitting from one to another throughout my garden.

Rose Campion

– Dierama trichorhizum (dwarf)

– Why it’s on the list: I’m a bit cracked out on dieramas. I just couldn’t resist when I saw this dwarf version from the ladies at Secret Garden Growers . I am impressed with how much it has grown in just a year and hope to share it this spring with my blogger friends.

Dierama trichorhizum (dwarf)

– Jasminum officinale ‘Argenteovariegatum’

– Why it’s on the list: There is so much to love about this plant. The new growth in spring is a stunning rose/pink eventually becoming this fabulous variegation. This is the first year it’s bloomed enough for me to really enjoy it’s incredible fragrance, too!

Jasminum officinale ‘Argenteovariegatum’

– Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

– Why it’s on the list: If I was ranking my favorites, this clematis would be a strong contender for number one. I found it on the clearance rack at Garden Fever at the very end of the season last year and snatched it up after seeing it on Danger Garden’s blog. I wasn’t prepared for the fabulousness of this plant. On it’s journey to full bloom, every incarnation revealed something unique and beautiful. Even when it was done, it left behind a fabulous purple central tuft! Unfortunately, it quickly succumbed to clematis wilt and I cut it back to the ground. I’m happy to report it’s made a full recovery and is currently flowering!

Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’


Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’

– Lilium formosanum var. coccineum

– Why it’s on the list: I’m working through a lily phase and the more unusual the better. Of course, I could rely on the ladies at Secret Garden Growers for a unique contribution to my collection with this fabulous “dwarf”. The only thing dwarf about this lily is the height because the flowers are full size and fabulous! It does make for some tricky picture taking!

Lilium formosanum var. coccineum

– Kniphofia ‘Timothy’

– Why it’s on the list: Kniphofias were part of my “Holy Trinity” of a favorite genus of plants when I first started my garden and thanks to cultivars like Kniphofia ‘Timothy’ my love is just getting stronger. I am crazy about the contrast of the coral flowers and cinnamon stems and the constant reblooming over the summer is an added bonus!

Kniphofia ‘Timothy’

 – Penstemon ‘Enor’ and Agropyron magellanicum

– Why they are on the list: There really isn’t anything else I’ve found that can duplicate this almost luminescent blue in the garden. It’s probably the only reason the Penstemon ‘Enor’ is still there with its lackluster performance over the past two years. They sure are pretty together!

Penstemon ‘Enor’ and Agropyron magellanicum


Agropyron magellanicum

– Eryngium agavifolium, Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Violett’, Acanthus unknown

Why they are on the list: Here is another of my favorite moments of the summer. I love how everyone is lining up like little soldiers! Thanks to some generous blogger friends, I’ve added several more liatris to this area of the garden.

Eryngium agavifolium, Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Violett’

– Kniphofia ‘Safranvogel’

– Why it’s on the list: OMG this color! Coral where have you been all my life? Well, you’ve been here all along  (see Kniphofia ‘Timothy’) but you just needed the right spot! K. Safranvogel did not disappoint when given a prime location in the triangle garden this year. It’s combination with Artemesia ‘Silver Foam’ and Brachyglottis monroi has inspired a front garden overhaul!

Kniphofia ‘Safranvogel’

– Coreopsis ‘Sweet Marmelade’

– Why it’s on the list: Before there was coral there was apricot! The unique color of this coreopsis always makes it a topic of discussion during garden visits.  This was my first coreopsis and it may end up being the last as I’ve grown weary of their flopsy ways.

Coreopsis ‘Sweet Marmelade’

– Pennisetum spatheolatum

– Why it’s on the list: I blame Heather Just a Girl with a Hammer  . I hold her accountable for my obsession with grasses. Upon seeing this grass in her garden, it was love at first sight. There is nothing quite like the graceful movement of Pennisetum spatheolatum and last summer the hell strip was reimagined with grasses galore!

Pennisetum spatheolatum

– Eryngium variifolium

– Why it’s on the list: 1.See Something Wicked This Way Comes….2. It’s an eryngium.

Eryngium variifolium

– Trachelium caeruleum 

– Why they are on the list: I’ve loved these from the moment I saw them at Xera several years ago and I’ve collected almost every different variety they’ve offered over the years. From dark purple, dark blue to this beautiful lilac color, these umbels make perfect companions to the crocosmia, manzanita, and grasses in the hellstrip and throughout my garden.

Trachelium caeruleum – species I believe

– Eryngium leavenworthii ‘Purple Sheen’

– Why it’s on the list: A PURPLE eryngium? Are you kidding me? I snatched three of these up when I discovered them at Portland Nursery in early spring.  I was giddy with excitement of what might come in late summer. Wow, was it worth the wait. The jury is out on their hardiness so I’m hoping for some self-sowing!

Eryngium leavenworthii ‘Purple Sheen’

Leave it my blogger friend Loree to snap the best picture of this plant during a quick stop at my garden…Can you believe the color? No editing here folks.

photo credit Loree Bohl

Photo courtesy of Loree Bohl

– Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’

Why it’s on the list: Over the years, grevillea has replaced cistus in my plant genus ‘Holy Trinity’ and Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’ was my shining star this year! What a show it put on this summer again the Tetrapanax.

Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’

– Lilium ‘African Queen’

– Why it’s on the list: Another stop in my tracks moment courtesy of Heather! I had never seen (or at least taken notice) of trumpet lilies until I saw them in her garden. These bulbs were the first plant purchase of the season this year at the Portland Home and Garden Show. The height and drama ensure there will be more to come!

Lilium ‘African Queen’


– Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

– Why it’s on the list: I couldn’t remember why I bought four of these late last season until this guy started to come to life. Every day for months I noticed something new and different and the way it moves in the wind is hypnotic. It’s still beautiful today.

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

– Eryngium aff. lattifolium

– Why it’s on the list: If I was doing a countdown, this would be number one. It checks off every box: weird, wild, wacky and will hurt me. I discovered this in the display garden at Cistus Nursery a couple of years ago and brought one home in a tiny 4″ pot. A couple of years went by and I had forgotten what it had looked like. I couldn’t even find pictures online. Then things started to get crazy this spring!  I’ll let the pictures tell the story as this eryngium rocketed to almost 7 feet tall! It was magical watching it grow. This plant created a pollinator frenzy like I’ve never seen before. The “towers” are still standing strong today!

Eryngium aff. lattifolium

Eryngium aff. lattifolium

Eryngium aff. lattifolium

– Lilium martagon ‘Russian Morning’

– Why it’s on the list: If only I could have all the martagons! This martagon was my best performer this year. They are such perfect companions to the hostas.

Lilium martagon ‘Russian Morning’

Enter a captionLilium martagon ‘Russian Morning’

– Grevillea ‘Molongolo’

– Why it’s on the list:  My Grevillea ‘Molongolo’ had the best year yet as it has reached almost 8×8 feet as I’ve given it more room. Check out those freaky, fabulous apricot flowers!


Grevillea ‘Molongolo’


Grevillea ‘Molongolo’

– Disporopsis perdeyi

– Why it’s on the list: There is something luxurious and sexy about this plant. At the same time I have this picture of in my head of Carol Burnett standing at the top of a staircase saying “I saw in a window and just couldn’t resist!”

Disporopsis perdeyi

– Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Danube’

– Why it’s on the list: You know it is spring in Portland when the camassia starts to bloom. I’ve not been impressed with some shorter versions, however, Camassia leichtlini ‘Blue Danube’ was an absolute showstopper in the hellstrip and I have plans for adding more in the spring!

Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Danube’

– Gordlinia grandiflora

– Why it’s on the list: Cistus is known for walking the hardiness tightrope. I try not getting too attached to what I bring home from Sauvie Island.  So, two years ago when I bought home this foot tall tree, I kept my expectations low. I have high hopes for this beauty as it reaches almost 10 feet tall. I’m crazy about the open branch structure, glossy leaves that turn bright red in the fall and its sweet flowers in late summer and early fall.

Gordlinia grandiflora

– Paeonia ‘Nike’

– Why it’s on the list: There had to be at least one peony on the list! This is my first and only tree peony. I love the big, dramatic flowers and how the color changes with the light and throughout its life cycle.

Paeonia ‘Nike’

– Grevillea rivularis

– Why it’s on the list: Stay tuned for next year’s edition when this is my #1! I started out this season with a list of about 20 must have plants and took it to Hortlandia. Thanks to The Desert Northwest, I was able to cross this hard to find grevillea off my list.


Grevillea rivularis

It feels good reflecting on my garden again after such a long break. This season was different for me. With so many competing priorities and life changes, I feel there was barely time to keep up my garden’s maintenance so writing about it just didn’t sound like much fun. And then there was loss. Scrolling through pictures of flowers and plants for my blog also meant reliving memories and moments that, at times, would bring me to tears.

But, life goes on and over the past month I’ve focused on what’s next and what could be for my garden and I feel like it’s having a personal effect on me, as well. Funny how digging in the dirt can do that to you.

This blog is dedicated to our sweet girl, Yvette. Our Nay Nay. My little Monkey.

Your Uncle Alan loves and misses you. We all do.


Yvette in one of her favorite spots – Uncle Alan’s lap






Backyard Beauties

For the past six months, my backyard has been the black sheep of my garden. I have been renovating my basement into an apartment for my sister and sister in-law and dreading the thought that at some point there would be an egress window dug out in one of the beds. Without going into any detail, I’ll let pictures below do the talking…


A nightmare in real life

Before construction of the egress window began, I did my best to dig out adjacent plants and get them out of the way. I was not prepared for my garden to be left in this state of disarray for six weeks! Eventually the original company was fired and a new company came and completed the work in a day! Then my awesome contractor swooped in for the final cleanup. I came home to the following picture one day. Overall, there was minor plant damage, but the grass was toast and left me seriously considering if I should finally just give in and gravel the whole damn backyard!


Looking better!

Bless my contractor. Imagine what he had to endure from this crazy garden man endlessly fretting about his garden for months! He and his crew brought in some grass seed and peat moss and in another five weeks or so it looked like this…


Beautiful new grass!

They even did the rest of the backyard, but I probably should have killed ALL the grass and started over since the new stuff looks so damn perfect and doesn’t have any weeds or clover!

I dream of one day reimagining the entire backyard with fabulous hardscape, a shade structure and fancy seating. For now I’ll have to settle with shifting outdoor furniture around and dressing things up a bit! I’m going to marinate (with a glass of wine, of course) on the idea adding some temporary pavers to this area. For now, the grass is definitely staying!


It was time to retire the wooden adirondack chairs and fire pit for a more modern vibe

Inspiration is everywhere and I’m so fortunate to know some talented and gracious gardeners who have shared their gardens with me. This little potted plant grouping is my humble “homage” to Danger Garden. I was lucky enough to score one of her agaves at our latest plant swap. All this spiky goodness seemed like a prefect match for these fabulous containers I got last summer at the closeout sale from Contained Exuberance!


Agave salmiara ferox (thanks Loree!), Agave victorie-reginae (thanks Matthew!), Agave ‘fromlanceatheswapii’ (thanks Lance!), and two plants that miraculously survived outside this winter…Anigozanthos flavidus and Cuphea ignea ‘David Verity’

The inspiration for this blog came from a particularly crappy morning, so I started taking pictures of pretty things to make me happy. So, without further ado, here are my current “Backyard Beauties”.

IMG_1207 2

Anigozanthos flavidos flower bud! Neglect has it’s rewards!

Solanum crispum ‘Glasvin’

Paeonia ‘White Sands’

Paeonia ‘Coral Sands’

Tradencentia (perhaps ‘Osprey’)


Astrantia major ‘Star of Fire’

Iris sinenisii

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Ball’

Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’

Tanacetum densum ssp. amani

Clematis florida ‘Seiboldii’

Ozothamnus romarinifolis ‘Silver Jubilee’

Erica terminalis


Sisyrinchium striatum



Paeonia ‘Border Charm’

Paeonia ‘Border Charm’

A Spring Update…A Foliage Focus

Things are about to get a little crazy at The Mardi Gras Gardens in the next couple of weeks. The whole “April showers bring May flowers” thing will ensure that the garden explodes with color and flower power!

I’ve got a reputation for being a bit of a flower floozy. Truth be told, I like to get freaky with some sexy foliage, too! I thought this would be a good time to take a stroll through my garden where texture and foliage are the stars and before I start inundating you guys with close ups of the hundreds of flowers that will eventually overtake my garden!

So let’s take a quick stroll through the front gardens…

My front gardens are three separate spaces with three unique personalities. The left garden I call Wild and Wacky since it’s where I started putting a lot of my weird and unusual plants. The right garden has turned into a “cottagesque” mixed border. The hell strip from hell I now lovingly refer to as The Grasslands – you’ll see why in a minute.

From the beginning, I’ve always considered myself a bit of a collector of plants and I’ve taken advantage of the physical divisions of my garden and try to at at least group likeminded ones together.  I don’t always succeed so I’m sure I’m breaking all sorts of garden design rules but it’s truly a reflection of me and what I love about gardening.


The left garden today.

Oh, and who doesn’t love a before and after…


Left garden in 2013.

You may have noticed that I have no sidewalks. My garden flows directly into the street and presents some distinct challenges. For the most part, I love how unique it is and I’m working on some ways to “curb” people’s thoughts about choosing to park on my side of the street.


Callistemon viridiflorus,  Corokia x virgata ‘Mangatangi’, Ozmanathus ‘Sasaba’, Grevillea miqueliana and Hebe ‘Pink Elephant’ are some favorites here.

One of my favorite things over the years is watching my garden expand out over the hardscape. I’m fascinated by the indomitable nature of plants and their insistence of growing wherever they damn well pease! The Iberis sempervirens, Aquilegia ‘Leprechaun Gold’, Rose Campion, gaura and several sedum and carex have made themselves very comfortable in the gravel drive!


I feel fortunate to have this wonderful hardscape come with the house.

Next up is what I once called the Triangle garden but a fellow blogger was touring my garden one day and called it a mixed border so I’ve called it that ever since. It’s definitely mixed up, for sure, chockfull of a variety of plants and major late spring and summer color and flower power.  Right now,  with the exception of some early spring flowering trees and shrubs, the foliage takes center stage.


The right garden today marries strange bedfellows like grevillea, yucca, palm and ozothamnus with various lilies, pierus, roses and LOTS of peonies.  Weird, but it works for me and it sure makes for some fun foliage contrast in spring! 

Another shot from the beginning…


The right garden 2013.

My lot is some weird slanted rectangle. I’m sure there is a name for it but geometry was one of my worst subjects! I’ve always called this area between my driveway and street my “Hellstrip from Hell”. My entire front garden is full sun but this area takes the worst beating. I’ve learned a lot over the years from very smart and talented blogger friends and from gardens I’ve toured and with consistent trial and error (and some idea stealing), I have ended up turning this area into “The Grasslands”.


Tip of the “rectangle ” 2018 beginning to fill in. 

This is a picture from Gooogle maps! I couldn’t find a picture of mine probably because I was terrified of this space.


Tip of the triangle 2013

I got a wild hair late last summer and reimagined most of this area. It’s the first time I feel like I’ve been able to apply a lot of what I’ve learned over the past five years. I’m excited and nervous to see how this area comes to life this summer. I can always change it if I screwed it up!


Eventually groups of Nesella tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass), Stipa gigantea, Stipa barbata, Anementhele lessiniana and Pennisetum spatheolatum will rise above the evergreen cistus, grevillea, archtostaphylos, and callistemon.

It’s a pretty picture is my mind…We’ll see how it plays out!


Archtostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn and my first try and pruning. I hope I didn’t butcher them too badly!


Callistemon seiberi


My oldest and largest Stipa Gigantea with Grevillea miqueliana, Cistus ‘Warley Rose’ and Lagerstreomia ‘Tuscarora’ in the background.

While it’s definitely all about the grasses, lots of parahebe perfoliata, sisyrinchiums, kniphofias, zauchnerias, caryopteris and crocosmias will bring color throughout the early and late summer after the camas finish their stunning display.


My little Tetrapanax papyrifer “forest’ and Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’ in the background signal the end of The Grasslands and the beginning of the Shade/Fern Garden. 

I tend to get a bit of analysis paralysis when I’m writing my blog so it’s taken several days to pull this one together. In that time, it’s crazy how much has changed and how much is beginning to come into bloom! Looks like the May Bloom Day post is going to be a doozy!

I’ll put on my Flower Floozy hat and will see you then!

A trip to the Elk Rock Garden, the garden at the Bishop’s Close.

The best things in life really are free – especially in Portland. I can’t believe it took me this long to discover this hidden gem just a stone’s throw away from my house! Although we just missed the crocus in bloom, there were still many wonderful sites to behold in early March and many promises of beautiful things to come.


Matthew The Lent’s Farmer with Yvee at the entrance on a rare sunny afternoon! As you can tell by her smile, Yvee is as excited to explore as we are!

My family and friends who aren’t in the gardening community often give me a lot of grief because I’m constantly dragging them to places like this but what a wonderful way for a fairly new gardener to see fully realized and mature plants.

This could be a photograph from our trip to Ireland!


On to the garden and it’s wonders….


Rhododendron sinogrande (right?)

A lesson I’ve learned over the years is to take pictures of plant tags! I’m pretty sure this is the one I saw at the Portland Home and Garden show in February.

Although I don’t particularly like rhododendron flowers, I do have a thing for interesting foliage so they present a bit of a conundrum for me. Then there are the ones like in the picture below….wow! If only I had the setting for something like this..


If you are a magnolia lover, the garden will be a delight for you! Everywhere you turn around there is one waiting to be discovered!


Magnolia dawsoniana

One could get dizzy looking up and down so much! So many tall, mature trees providing shade to a plethora of goodness below! Take this oxalis for example. I’m always to tempted by oxalis and this incredible carpet really is making it hard to resist!


In my head, this is what the slope of my shade/fern garden looks like!


My harsh reality!


This will be my shade area’s second year so there is still a lot to do and a bit of a blank canvas! There are about 15 hostas still to pop up, though! 

Visiting gardens can be great for inspiration and this field of hellebores gave me a great idea for my shady slope!




What a great place to see fully realized attributes of your favorite plants! I’m going to be an old man by the time mine gets anywhere near this!


Stewartia pseudocamelia

One of the meandering paths. Caution: not completely “wagon accessible” throughout.

Remember what I said about their magnolia collection? This one was a “clutch the pearls” moment!


Magnolia delavayi

SWOOON! If only I had the space for this beauty!


One the other end of the spectrum, there were darling little woodland beauties lining the paths along the way!


Not sure what it is but it’s adorable

Look at the color! I must figure out what this is and find it!


I had to smile as I stumbled upon a familiar nursery tag!


My favorite nursery Xera Plants. 

The madrones (Arbutus menziesii) had the best view!

I’ve seen troughs before at open gardens and, if memory serves me right, McMenammin’s Edgefield, but this is the first time I’ve seen them in a more natural setting. I thought they were pretty cool and wondered how old they might be.



The lawn was beautiful, too, and reminded me that we were actually in what was once a residence.


Look at that green space!

A little perspective for scale.


Another magnificent magnolia! Matthew and Yvee were good sports putting up with my picture taking but decided to go on ahead.


I met up with them for some selfies before leaving.

One last look….incredible!


Looking forward to my next visit and seeing what new wonders will have appeared!

For more information for your own visit



Time to Say Goodbye….Charlie Brown Rhododendron

In “Move it or Lose it”, one of my first blog posts, I shared the virtues of embracing change as a key lesson to a beginner gardener. This lesson has served me well over the past five years as I’ve come to understand my garden better and learned more about gardening.

I bought my house five years ago and I’ve said goodbye to plenty of plants that came with the house (ugh, those cotoneasters!). For the most part, the unsightliness, impracticality or death of the plant made removing them an easy decision. There is one plant, let’s call it my Charlie Brown Rhododendron, that I’ve hemmed and hawed about removing for years.

Yesterday Charlie Brown went into the yard waste bin.

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Charlie next to the cotoneaster. It probably should have been removed at the same time as the bamboo – or the cotoneaster! 

It was time. In retrospect, I think I held onto Charlie out of sheer stubbornness because Matthew The Lents Farmer told me I should get rid of it the same day we took out the bamboo. Also, I am sucker for an underdog so I swore I would save Charlie Brown and resuscitate the poor thing from the brink of death!


Four years later!

Fast forward four years and Charlie Brown recovered well. Perhaps too well because it was getting to a point where I was going to have to chose between trimming the Magnolia ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ or removing Charlie Brown. Sorry Charlie.


Driveway view. Growing into the magnolia

While I loved the shade Charlie provided the driveway side of the front bed, there are other plants I’ve added over the years that are now more important to me and need more space.


A much better view of the magnolia. The Enkianthus, a favorite, will fill in some of Charlie’s space

It was tough for me as a beginner gardener being comfortable with negative space so I tended to over plant. This is the year I am finding myself editing so the plants I love have the room they need to thrive.


My Grevillea ‘Molonglo’ has become so large it covers Charlie’s stump! 

My Grevillea ‘Molonglo’ is one of those plants that has done exceptionally well and I’ve spent three years training it to go around Charlie. With Charlie gone, it can now grow in it’s natural direction and stop smothering all the disporums and heuchuras in it’s path!


Time for the Camellia ‘Yuletide’ and the Stachyurus salicifolius to take center stage

I’m enjoying the open feeling and like that I can now see the opposite side of the front garden from my driveway. Everything looks a little weird now with all the perennials still dormant and with many of the evergreen shrubs only a couple years old. Pretty soon it will be an entirely different picture and I can’t wait to see how it looks!

Lessons I’ve learned from Charlie Brown

  • Be comfortable with negative space
  • Be patient. Things will fill in.
  • Plant more evergreens. And be patient! Eventually there will be less negative space year round
  • Give your plants the space that’s on the tag!!! Will I ever learn this lesson!
  • Don’t be afraid to say goodbye!

Breaking Dormancy

It’s been a few months since I’ve published a blog post. As the holiday retail season ramped up to it’s inevitable fevered pitch, my motivation for accomplishing anything other than coming home and curling up into a ball evaporated.

I haven’t been completely unproductive however. As a way to justify my lack of blog work, I convinced myself that working diligently on my garden plant catalog would be a sufficient substitution. After many starts, stops, reformats and reincarnations, I made tremendous headway on my catalog. No more rifling through tags and scrolling through pictures searching for names of plants every time I want to write a post! I’ve even created a list of “must haves plants” for this year that will hopefully keep me more focused and fiscally responsible.

But, with crocus, galanthus and hamamelis flowers on display, buds popping out and peonies pushing up to the surface, and the memory of the holiday season behind me, I thought it was time for me to come out of my own winter hibernation and dust off the ole blog and give an update on what been happening at The Mardi Gras Gardens.


It’s clean up time!

Our seemingly unseasonable warm and sunny weather in late January and early February sparked a serious wave of productivity from me!


The ever evolving backyard post clean up

Anyone else get the winter itch to impose radical changes upon their gardens in spring? Well, it was a close call for me this year but I quickly realized that all I needed to do was get out and do come serious clean up!

I’m beginning to see the benefit of maintaining a healthy balance of perennials and winter interest evergreen plants. Once all the clutter was removed, I could appreciate what I already had and focus on editing versus replacing.


This year my radical changes will be saved for the non-plant parts of the garden! I need to figure out a better use of this space and that old fire pit has to go! 

This will be a unique year for me, where I begin to edit out plants that don’t serve their purpose any longer. As I move out of my beginner phase as a gardener and into my sophomore years, I’m realizing I’m not the cramscaper that I thought I was.

This will require a significant behavioral change from me this shopping season as I’m accustomed to buying what strikes my fancy and then figuring out what to do with it when I get home! This year I’ve complied a list of my “must haves” to hopefully keep me focused and my garden less crowded! We will will see how that goes!


One of the front areas of the garden all cleaned up and ready for perennial fill in!

Luckily, I do have one area of my garden that still needs lots of plants and that is my shade/fern garden on the side of my house. (see below) One challenge however, is that a large portion of the space doesn’t actually belong to me. The entire slope belongs to the adjacent apartment complex, but it just didn’t seem right not include it in my plan so rationalizing spending a lot of money on that space is tough.

The manager of the apartment complex is wonderful and I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor, so I find deals where I can.  She’s even chipped in here and there and is a life saver watering this side when I’m not able to get to it!


The shade/fern garden in it’s infancy


Probably the most exciting thing that’s happening this year is my twin sister and sister-in-law are moving in with me! They are renovating the lower level of my house and creating their retirement home and beginning a whole new chapter of their lives. I am over the moon to have them share my home with me!

The only downside is a little sacrifice of planting space under my bedroom window to make way for their bedroom egress window. I had to relocate a few plants to make way for the window and a lobelia laxiflora gave it’s life for the greater good but it’s easily replaceable. The jury is still out on whether the Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ will need to be moved.


Getting ready for basement egress window

While this last bit of nasty weather was definitely unwelcome, having a few weeks in the middle of winter reconnecting with my garden revitalized my soul. It got me very excited about this season and I cannot wait to see how the garden comes to life this year!

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite moments in my garden before the snow and freezing temperatures came a couple weeks ago.


Crocus ‘Orange Monarch’


Iris reticulata brightening up the hellstrip

And the ubiquitous winter hellebore photos….


Helleborus ‘Ruby Wine’


Helleborus ‘Pippa’s Purple’


Unknown Hellebore (from swap – Alyse thanks!)


Helleborus ‘Apricot Blush’


Two unknown planted precariously close to one another


Helleborus ‘Snow Fever’


Grevillea ‘Neil Bell’




Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’


Euphorbia ‘Ruby Glow’


Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’


Hebe unknown (possibly ‘Pink Elephant’)


Libertia peregrinans

Until next time!








I’m Still Here!

Who doesn’t love a Shirley MacLaine reference?

Yesterday I was traipsing through an area of my garden that has become a bit overgrown and stumbled across a Crocosmia ‘Solfaterre’ still blooming. At that moment, I pictured Shirley MacLaine sitting on top of a piano wearing a red sequin dress! That should give you a little peak into the window of my mind!

With November around the corner, I thought I would take advantage of this last bit of beautiful weather and see what else might be out there to surprise me.


Crocosmia ‘Solfaterre’


Tulbaghia violacae


Achillea ‘Moonshine’


Calamentha ‘Montrose White’


Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

DSCN0954 2

Berkheya Purpurea


Still going strong


Rosa ‘Ralph’s Creeper’


Phygelis ‘Pink Trombone’


Non stop all season


Salvia discolor


Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’




Penstemon ‘Enor’


Penstemon ‘Blackbird’


Still more to come! 


Callistemon sieberi 


Parahebe cattaractae ‘Delight’


Fabiana imbricata ‘Violocea’

Pretty soon cold temperatures and rainy days will become the norm for several months but for now I’ll enjoy this little bit of summer hanging on by a thread.

What’s still surprising you in your garden?



Season of ’17 – Top 25

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s Fall Plant Fest. Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery gave a talk on his Top 40 Plants. I am shamelessly stealing his idea for this blog post.

The following is my own ranking of my favorite plants. Not having real kids, my plants are my babies. I’m told you’re not supposed to like any child more than another, so I’m sure glad I don’t have them. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have a favorite.

These plants are the ones I can’t wait to see come up every season, the ones I look for when I water, the ones I pay special attention to walking around with a glass of wine after work. Okay, maybe I even talk to them, too! And of course, the plants I have way more pictures than any of the others!

25. Paeonia ‘Fernleaf hybrid’


I love the texture of the leaves and it’s small stature. Not the most floriferous in it’s early years.

Why it’s on the list: For it’s sentimental value. It’s one of the first peonies I purchased when I went with Matthew, The Lents Farmer, for the first time to  Adelman’s Peony Gardens for their opening weekend. Plus, it’s my first peony to bloom and signals that my garden is about to come to life!

24. Antennaria dioica ‘Rubra’ (Pink Pussy Toes)


This was a new addition to the garden late last year


Why it’s on the list:  After getting over the giggling, I’m gaga over this little plant and I’m not sure why I haven’t added more to this part of my garden. In addition to wonderful little flowers and added texture, it provides a great ground cover that looks good all summer. Honestly, it’s so photogenic and I loved seeing it come to life for the first time in my garden.

23. Agastache ‘ Electric Punch’


I have so many pictures of this agastache but these are from the eclipse and really captured the crazy light.


Why it’s on the list: Last year I asked Greg at Xera for a recommendation for something to add behind my Kniphofia ‘Shining Scepter’, since the space looked really bare after it bloomed. This agastache rose to the occasion – literally. The color is spectacular and it’s a hummingbird favorite!

22. Eryngium Yuccifolium 


So simple and stunning.


I’m becoming an eryngium collector of sorts


Eryngium yuccifolium just behind the left Adirondack chair


Amazing foliage on the E. yuccifolium. My stepdaughter Yvee likes it more than she is letting on.

Why it’s on the list: This Eryngium has it all for me. Beautiful foliage, stalks and flowers that last and keep their shape and color for a long time! It doesn’t seem to attract as many bees as the others which is nice considering the location.

21. Tulbaghia violacea (Society garlic)


Such great color

Why it on the list: This little guy is a workhorse. The first pictures I have this season are from mid June and it is STILL going strong! Also, it seems the more I neglect it, the better it gets! Who doesn’t love that? This one is high on my relocation list as it’s getting crowded out by some neighbors.

20. Cistus ‘Mickie’


Such a beautiful combination


It makes a fabulous backdrop to some if its neighbors, too!


Three Cistus ‘Mickies’ were all planted at the same time three years ago. Only one has thrived and is in the worst part of the soil. The other two are struggling and have lost their variegation.

Why it’s on the list: I fell in love with cistus early on when I started gardening. This year my love affair began to wane and I’ve removed quite a few. Cistus ‘Mickie’, however, has great density, incredible flower power that doesn’t get messy, and wonderful variegation (when it doesn’t revert!).

19. Archtostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’



Spring is here!

Why it’s on the list: Come on, it’s an Archtostaphylos! Beautiful little clusters of flowers, glossy leaves and stunning bark all make for wonderful year round interest! After several years of being terrified of pruning, I gave it try and I am now able to enjoy much more of it’s bark than what you see here.

18. Coreopsis ‘Sweet Marmalade’


Such a unique color


I love this combination

Why it’s on the list: I’m a BIG fan of Coreopsis – except for the yellow one’s. I’m constantly on the lookout for unusual colors and this one hits the nail on the head. I found this one at Garden Fever a few years ago.

17. Crocosmia ‘Emily Mckenzie’


I’ve had a love affair with Crocosmia every since I saw my first massive clump of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. It was one of those moments before I even thought of gardening where I went “WHAT is that?” It was one of the very first plants to go in when I finally had my own garden. As fate would have it, it did not cooperate but by then I realized there many other options out there!


Why it’s on the list: The colors of “Emily McKenzie’ make me swoon. It has thrived in the hellstrip and is getting quite large. The extreme heat this summer seemed to take it’s toll on it’s bloom time this year. This is the crocosmia that inspired me to add another six (or was it eight !?!) to the hellstrip this year! I think I may have a problem!

16. Barbera replicata


There is danger lurking amongst the beauty!


Not quite sure how to prune this yet

Why it’s on the list: I have a penchant for plants that will hurt me. I love the glossy leaves, the contrasting color of the new growth, the adorable flower clusters in early spring and the wonderful combination of them all is one of very favorite moments of the year.

15. Oenothera fruticosa ‘Fireworks’


Positively radiant!


What a contrast to their leaves and buds!

Why it’s on the list: Intense color, long bloom time, durability, reliability. This is an attention grabber in the landscape!

14. Zauschneria – Assorted


Zauschneria ‘Select Mattole’

I’ve been eyeing these in the  BF and other’s gardens for years. He’s always warned me of their “rambunctiousness” so I’ve been trepidatious about trying them.


Zauschneria ‘Silver Select’


Zauschneria ‘Calastoga’


Zauschneria unknown

Why it’s on the list: It’s easy to think that it’s all about that amazing, vibrant flower color but I love the texture of the foliage, too. In particular, Zauschneria ‘Select Mattole’ and ‘Silver Select’ are standouts. That being said, who doesn’t love that amazing punch of color and it’s appeal to our hummingbird friends?

13. Acanthus mollis




Little skyscrapers!


Why it’s on the list: I love an architectural plant! In it’s third year, my Acanthus mollis put on quite a show all summer making a statement by itself and a wonderful backdrop in a favorite part of my garden. Oh, and the little spiky things are an added bonus!

12. Candy lilies 



I have no idea how this did so well competing with the roots of the maple tree. NOTHING wants to grow here!


Happy in the hellstrip, too!

Why it’s on the list: Full disclosure, I had no idea what to expect when I planted these. I received these from a fellow blogger at a plant swap. I was unsure of what I was even getting. I think I purposefully left myself in the dark so I could have the surprise of seeing what would come to life when they finally bloomed. I was thrilled! The orange/red colors are stunning and I love how these beautiful flowers perch at the end of long slender stems! Most exciting is I planted one in the very worst part of my garden riddled with tree roots and it thrived!

11. Romneya Coulteri


Why it’s on the list: I can’t wait for this to mature! So far I’ve only had one or two flowers per year but this summer saw a lot of growth so I’m hopeful for a floriferous summer of ’18. Besides the obvious large beautiful flower, I love the wild nature of the plant and it’s foliage color. Plus, Who doesn’t like a fried egg on everything?

10. Kniphofia ‘Pumila’


Why it’s on the list: I have an irrational attraction/attachment to Kniphofias. I can hardly keep track of how many I have in my garden and could probably give them their own top 25. Kniphofia ‘Pumila’ was a new addition last year to the hellstrip and I waited with baited breath for it to bloom. It took it’s own sweet time but once it did it was a doozy! Big, bold, chartreuse flower stalks really made a statement. Looking forward to seeing this one develop over the years!

9. Callistemon viridiflorus


The promise of wonderful things to come!


Ready for it’s close up!


In all it’s glory!

Why it’s on the list: Callistemon, Kniphofia and Cistus were my Holy Trinity of sorts when the BF started introducing me to nurseries outside of the Home Depot. I was just drawn to them and this Callistemon ‘Viridiflorus’ was the first one I ever purchased and is near and dear to my heart. It’s a focal point in my garden and in full bloom it is truly spectacular!

8. Eremerus – Unknown




Why it’s on the list: I tried to avoid using any plants that were new to my garden this this year but I could not resist these Eremerus. These make the list because they were one of the first bare root plant I’ve ever tried and I really had no idea how they would turn out. Holy cow was I thrilled! Every day I could not wait to see what was happening with each one! They worked so beautifully with all the peonies and had interest for quite a long time even as they faded!

7. Eryngium Agavifolium


I call this one “Big Momma”



Why it’s on the list: This Eryngium is the one that started it all! A “hand me down” from Matthew when we first started dating, this particular plant will always hold a special place in my heart. I have several E. agavifoliums but this one is a standout and is by far the largest and tallest – in one year reaching almost six feet! Combine the glossy, spiky leaves and fabulous structural interest as it matures and you have a winner in my book!

6. Inula magnifica


Picture perfect!



Magnificent indeed!

Why it’s on the list: I am in love with the huge leaves and the gorgeous, bright flowers that cover this plant for long periods in summer. Even as the flowers go to seed, they are still beautiful and add interest to the garden. This is a favorite of the bees, too!

5. Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’


Exciting things are happening!


A feast for the hummingbirds!

This was one of those ‘”OMG, I NEED this” plants I stumbled across at Portland Nursery a few years ago. The BF warned me of it’s potential marginal hardiness, so I did what any sane gardener would do – I bought it anyway! Well, after this past winter, I thought it was a goner as it looked a dead as dead could be. But, one day when I was weeding, I saw these little sprouts coming out of the ground and I just squealed! (I do that a lot!) The photos below give you an idea of how well it came back this year almost matching the height of the Joe Pye Weed!


Why it’s on the list: Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I have a thing for the color orange! This fun, tropical feeling plant adds wonderful color and interest to my backyard all summer and is a hummingbird destination! Plus, I love proving the BF wrong.

4. Agapanthus inapertus ssp. pendulus ‘Graskop’

DSCN0799 2

Brilliant color!


Unique and interesting shape


Little soldiers

Why it’s on the list: This Agapanthus is amazing. Stunning color, stiff, tall vertical stems and beautiful glossy deep green foliage that has interest all summer. Plus, the bloom time on this guy is incredible. These pictures were taken the second week on August and the flowers on this plant were still looking good up until about two weeks ago!

3. Stipa Gigantea


One of the many beautiful moments!



Early spring

Why it’s on the list: It’s big, bold and beautiful in so many of it’s iterations. From early spring to fall, Stipa gigantea makes a new and unique statement in my hellstrip. This grass has ignited a new passion in me for grasses..

2. Dierama ‘Xera’s Darkest Purple’


I squeal when the first buds begin to show



Why it’s on the list: I think this just hypnotizes me every spring. I find myself staring at it as it moves in the wind. I try my best, but I can never quite capture the dierama’s impact on it’s surrounding area or it’s stand alone beauty.

1. Lagerstromea ‘Tuscarora’ 


Making a statement in the hellstrip


Some serious color happening with the cotinus in the background!


The tag from Xera describes this crape myrtle shape as a “hot air balloon”.

Why it’s on the list? Crape myrtles have huge sentimental value to me as I grew up with at least four of them in my yard as a kid in New Orleans. Also, after three years with just leaves, a little watering advice from Paul at Xera went a long way and I was rewarded handsomely with a floral powerhouse! This was the year the bark started to peel, as well.

Creating this list was a journey. Realizing I have so many personal connections to my plants is, perhaps, a little disturbing. Maybe I should change the name of my blog to ‘The Sentimental Gardener”?

We shall see which of my “kids” make the cut next year.

What are your favorites this year?


A September Surprise

I’ve struggled blogging this summer. As the summer wore on, I found myself busy comparing myself to other gardens and bloggers and becoming intimidated rather than inspired. Maybe this beginner was hitting a “sophomore slump” so I reflected back on why I started blogging in the first place.


I call this area ‘Wild and Wacky’

I started my blog a couple of years ago documenting the progress of my garden and sharing lessons I’ve learned along the way for other beginner gardeners. Given the number of pictures in this post, I feel confident that I’ve documented where my garden is at in September of 2017. Now, as far as lessons go, I’d have to say I’ve had more of an epiphany than a lesson: I love my garden in September.


Unknown aster with Grevillea miqueliana ‘Sunset’, Callistemon viridiflorus in the background

While the color and flower power of spring and summer are exciting, form and texture (see “Something Wicked This Way Comes”) stop me in my tracks at a nursery and in September I’m learning I really get a chance to appreciate it.


Penstemon ‘Blackbird’, Osmanthus heterphyllus “Sasaba”, Solidago ‘Fireworks’

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good splash of color and a beautiful flower as much as the next person and there are many examples throughout my garden reflected in this blog post.


Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’ with Yucca ‘Color Guard’

In terms of practical lessons, I’d have to say the most important lesson I’ve learned this season has been – BE PATIENT! If you know me, you’re probably laughing right now because if there is one thing I am in short supply of – it’s patience.


Agapanthus ‘Graskop’, Solidago ‘Fireworks’, Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’, Hesperaloe parviflora***Please ignore the elephant in the room photinia. Long story for another blog.

People can TELL me it takes time for things to establish and that things will do better if I don’t move them around all the time, but I’m not always the best at hearing what’s being said. I’m sure the BF would chime in at this moment!


Halimium ocymoides, Baptisia ‘Cherries Jubilee’, Zauschneria ‘Select Mattole’

Also, just to be clear, I’m not going to stop moving things around. I’m just going to be more thoughtful about it!


Magnolia grandiflora ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’

I’ve come to love this little part of my garden. Spreading sedum, sempervivum and volunteers of aquilegia, gaura, rose campion and others are extending the depth of this bed a few inches every year.


Aquilegia ‘Leprechaun Gold’

As someone with self proclaimed control issues, it took awhile to appreciate the generosity of nature and allow it to just do its thing.


Penstemon ‘Enor’, Sciadopitys verticillata or Umbrella Pine

As I was watering the other day, a man stopped his car, rolled down his window and said, in his best Jack Benny voice…”Your perennials are textbook! They are fabulous, just fabulous!” Then he just drove away. I was so caught guard all I could must was an awkward “Um, th-thank you?”.

Funny the lens we have for our own gardens. Where I only see the mistakes I’ve made, holes from lost plants, the next move I’m going to make (ha!) or the color combination that just isn’t working, strangers see something totally different.


Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’, Salvia uliginisa,

The photos above and below are where I was watering during the drive by compliment. I definitely appreciated the compliment but it took me a bit to not look at everything that was wrong and appreciate what was going well. I do love the overall texture and feel of this weird triangular piece of land.  Although it hard to see, this summer I’ve been sneaking in three’s and five’s of things to help calm the “chaos” and to add more color for this time next year. Isn’t it funny how we go back to the beginning. (see “The Home Depot Years, Everything has to be in Three’s Right?”).


“Triangle garden” right wide shot

I’ve also been trying to add some continuity to my garden by repeating plants throughout the different beds. I love my “Collector’s Garden” but there are times where I feel like there’s just too much going on. It’ll be interesting to see how things feel next summer.


Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius “Silver Jubilee’, Penstemon’ Enor’ Asclepius tuberosa,                         I’m best guessing due to a tag loss – Agropyron magellanicum ‘Blue Wheat Grass’

This is the year my Gaura “Whirling Butterflies” really came to life. Although I planted just one four years ago, I’ve been gifted with many more throughout the years. Easily removed, I’ve been able to keep the ones I want and edit those I don’t. In fact, they helped me see the benefit of having multiples of the same plant as they helped provide continuity and a place for my eye to follow in the “chaos” of a large mixed border.


‘I’m kicking myself that I didn’t pick up more of this Allium “Medusa’ at Cistus Nursery this summer. While it definitely stands on it’s own, imagine it en masse!

I certainly don’t profess to have any sort of expertise in garden design but I’ve learned great lessons reading some wonderful blogs and I also try to understand what are the things that make similar gardens to mine “feel” right.


Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ seed heads add interest long after their color fades in spring

Last year I decided to move most of my peonies over here and I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated their leaves throughout the season – an idea I got from the BF’s garden. Keeping seed heads in place for interest is another lesson I picked up from a fellow blogger.


Achillea ‘Fireland’, Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

I’m becoming obsessed with grasses. I wouldn’t be suprised if one day my whole garden looks like a prairie! I wish I had taken a better picture of the several schizachyrium I have throughout my garden. I’m just blown away by them. I kind of regret spreading them out.  Luckily some grasses seem to not mind being moved so we will see.


Salvia uliginosa or Bog Salvia

I am in love with this Bog Salvia (Sage). It is doing well in an improbable spot. Without a “boggy” environment, I’ve been able to keep it under control. Hummingbird crack and easy access for them!


Cistus ‘Mickie’, Coreopsis ‘Cruisin’ Broad Street’, Caryopteris ‘Longwood’,                             Anemanthele lessoniana in the background.I got an idea to replace my carex with Anemanthele lessoniana visiting a garden of a blogger friend.

One area that is not short on flower power and color this time of year is my hell strip. It’s also where I’m hoarding most of my grasses.  But, I’m not going to spend time here because I have a blog post in the works for it.


Zuaschneria, Grevillea miguelinia ‘Sunset’

I made the mistake of fixing up my zauschneria tags! I believe the one above is Zauschneria ‘Calistoga’.


Stipa gigantea, Lagerstroemia ‘Osage’, et all


Passiflora ‘Star of Surbiton’

This passion flower withstood the winter is thriving and now reaching 20 plus feet up the utility wires in the hell strip making for some beautiful displays.


Zauschneria ‘Silver Select’

I went a little crazy with the zauschnerias last year and went back for more!


Zauschneria ‘Select Mattole’


Crocosmia ‘Solfaterre’, Zauschneria ‘Silver Select’

The zauschnerias are rocking my world this year.


Now I really wish I had cut that Eryngium agavifolium stalk down!

Heading up to the house and back yard.


Tigridia making it’s last hurrah with my adorable Fred Meyer bargain penstemon from earlier this summer

I’ve struggled with this bed from day one. One day I will figure it out. The Inula magnifica needs some love but I hate to cut it back just yet. I did learn a tough lesson here: don’t move your Eryngium ‘Blue Sapphire’ while it’s flowering! There’s that pesky patience thing!


Edgewarthia, Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’, Solidago ‘Fireworks’

The BF taught me about “borrowed scenery” and my neighbors do a beautiful job here helping me out with my view for my morning coffee.


Entrance to back yard (from the front)

A peek into my back yard.


A peek from back gate

Things are starting to look a bit rough back here. The moles have done a number on the beds this year and the grass in looking pretty rough. This is the area of my garden that I’m still learning a lot about. Different soil types, tree roots and different levels of sun is challenging for someone learning as they go. Lot’s of trial and error going on back here.


Those not a fan of garden “accoutrement” will probably not be a fan of the back yard.

I learned a hard lesson in the back yard last year. Thinking that this area would be protected, I took chances on some less hardy plants that did not survive last winter.


The Gordlinia grandiflora survived the winter and has put on a ton of growth this year! Still waiting for it’s first flower.

I know this corner is a little crazy but it’s a favorite of mine. Texture and long lasting color wrapped into one make me very happy! It’s a good lesson for me to apply in the rest of my garden. Find what you like and repeat it!

As I wrap things up, I think the biggest surprise of this September is that I finally finished a blog post!

Thanks for taking a moment to stroll through my garden with me!

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – July 2017

I’ve not done a very good job of revving up my blogging productivity this summer. I’ll chalk it up to hard labor in the garden, erratic work schedule and a busy visitor schedule. We’ll see how things go from here on out.

I tried my darnedest to stay true to what’s blooming TODAY but the morning light just didn’t want to cooperate so I cheated a bit and had to use a couple from this past week.

Short on commentary and long on pictures, hopefully the story will tell itself…there’s a lot going on at Mardi Gras Gardens right now!


Dierama pulcherrimum ‘Slieve Donard’


Dierama ‘Xera’s Darkest Purple on it’s last leg 


In happier days a few weeks ago


Hemerocallis ‘Strutter’s Ball’




Echinacea ‘Double Scoop Bubble Gum’






Bericheya Purpurea


Echinacea ‘Ruby Star’


Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’


Tulbaghia violacea – a favorite


Nothochelone nemorosa 


Penstemon ‘Cha Cha Lavender’


Asclepius tuberosa  FINALLY blooming 




Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’


Shasta daisy


Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’


Romneya Coulteri


Inula magnifica (currently being used as an “AirBeeNBee”) groan


Lilium ‘Conca d’Or’




Eryngium Yuccafolium




Coreopsis ‘Sweet Marmalade’


Kniphofia ‘Toffee Nosed’


Penstemon pinifolius ‘Melon’




Coreopsis ‘Crusin’ Broad Street’


Monarda macrantha


Zauchneria ‘Bowman” is my best guess but I bought a bunch at the same time! 


Lobelia laxiflora




Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’ Sorry, could wait to snap a photo I love this so much


Tigridia form early this week


Tigridia this morning


Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ ALMOST – thought I lost it and came back roaring form the ground! 

Thank you to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting Bloom Day and be sure to check out the links to all the bloggers posting their bloom day photos from their gardens today!

And thank you for taking a moment out of your day to visit my blog!